Camelback Resort in Tannersville, PA, in the Poconos Mountains region, is an ideal getaway for the active family. The hotel offers a massive indoor water park, skiing, snow tubing, rock climbing, a ropes course, mini golf, laser tag, an arcade, and more. When checking in you enter a beautiful open lobby with windows overlooking the water park, an indoor adventure area, and the gift shop—and people milling about dressed in everything from swimsuits to snow gear.
We’re big fans of mid-week trips, since we like avoiding crowds and are always on the hunt for a good deal. Camelback Resort met both requirements, with a room at the fraction of the regular cost and a “free skiing or snow tubing” pass for everyone in our party.
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Snow Tubing at Camelback Resort
The snow tubing hill is accessible by car or via a free shuttle that leaves every 15 minutes. You pick up your tubes at the base of the hill and then ride up a long magic carpet lift to the top of the hill. The resort workers manage this process really well and keep it things moving smoothly and safely. Our 4-year-old’s tube was attached to mine, so we were together the whole time and she wasn’t afraid. We raced down the hills for about 90 minutes, until our fingers and toes were pretty frozen.
We brought our own helmets and wore warm waterproof snow clothes. If you are less than 48 inches you’ll have to attach your tube to someone taller. This was a very fun activity and you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to participate. Prices fluctuate, and we ended up paying $20/person, saving our free vouchers for the skiing.
Arcadia: Camelback's Indoor Adventure Center
After tubing we went back to the hotel and got our extreme adventure on at Arcadia. This is an indoor adventure area with the ropes course, mini-golf, rock climbing walls, and laser tag. We purchased an ‘all stay” pass for about $28/person (we used a coupon from a booklet they gave us at check-in for $5 off). This allowed us to putt, climb, and balance on the ropes as much as we wanted during our stay and included one round of laser tag. It also included $5 worth of free games in the arcade area.
Laser tag was a surprising amount of fun; unfortunately the ‘all stay’ pass only included one round. Mini golf and the rock climbing wall were pretty straightforward. However, the ropes course was very impressive and not something you have access to every day. If you’ve never tried a ropes course before, you’re guaranteed a thrill as you teeter above the golf course and navigate the obstacles. You can also buy passes for each of the activities a la carte, so there are many different pricing options.
Aquatopia: Camelback's Indoor Water Park
Aquatopia is a thrill seeker’s ideal indoor water park. It’s a 125,000-square-foot oasis of aquatic fun with extreme slides. Aquatopia is reserved for guests staying at the lodge so it doesn’t get too overcrowded. It’s accessible via wristband that doubles as your hotel room key. It has seven pools and 13 slides, including the longest indoor water coaster in the U.S., Storm Chaser, and the Venus SlydeTrap, which was our favorite. You ride in a six-person raft, slide through dark tunnels, take steep drops, then sail up and down the walls of a giant basin until you drop down again into another dark tunnel and plunge into a pool. Our 4 year old squealed in delight, I shrieked in terror. But we raced back up the stairs again to do it several more times.
We also took full advantage of their version of the lazy river, called Lost River. This ride snakes through an area of the water park only accessible by water. It’s relaxing but full of signs suggesting waterfalls and adventure ahead, although it never really delivers on those. We also enjoyed Kartrite’s Quest, a giant aqua-play structure filled with slides and a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket at the top. Although it looks like a little kid’s area, you actually have to be 48 inches or taller to use some of the slides.
Another area of the park has two super-tall slides where trap doors drop from under you. Another favorite of ours was #FlowRider, a wave simulator. The staff working the attraction are well trained and offer tips to help you master the surf.
There are also playful water areas for toddlers and little kids, but the park is best for bigger kids, so they can take advantage of the epic slides. This very clean park is well staffed with lifeguards. Free life jackets are available, so the park feels very safe. There were a few lines for the FlowRider and Venus SlydeTrap, and I imagine that on a weekend the wait is pretty long. A lot of the slides at Aquatopia are for people 48 inches and taller. Our daughter isn’t this tall but there were enough thrilling slides for people 42 inches and higher to keep her happy.
Skiing at Camelback Resort
The next morning we stopped back in at the adventure desk and traded in our vouchers for free lift tickets as well as rented ski gear for $40/set. Camelback is the largest ski resort in the Poconos, with a total of 34 trails and 16 lifts. There is a lift at the end of the hotel that takes you to the top of the mountain if you already have your ski gear. Or you can take a shuttle, which leaves every 15 minutes and takes you to the bottom of the main ski center, where you can rent gear. We took the shuttle, got fitted for skis, and then went to the bunny slopes to get our 4 year old on the hills for the first time this season.
There are three great beginner slopes, but some were only accessible if you take lessons. We ended up skiing on the biggest bunny hill, with a long magic carpet lift. We played in this area for a couple hours. My boyfriend did one run from the top of the mountain, which he enjoyed. Hopefully we’ll be able to take our little one to the top on our next trip.
This resort really does have it all. If you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), like my family does, Camelback can be a little overwhelming. There is a lot of fun to be had here--it just takes some planning to ensure you can do it all.
Tips for Visiting Camelback Resort:
- Aquatopia and Aracadia are reserved for guests of the hotel only.
- Bring a zip-up hoodie for the water park, since you’ll want something warmer than a normal beach cover-up.
- Don’t lose your towel cards, they’re firm on this policy.
- Snowtubing and skiing are open to the public.
- If you do an overnight stay with the free ski/snowboard promotion, you only get to do one for free. We paid to tube and used the vouchers to buy lift tickets to get the maximum value from the vouchers.
- Every stay receives a $250 savings book, but only through Apr 30, 2016.
- The rooms come with a refrigerator. Visit a grocery store before coming. They don’t sell a lot of grocery items in their gift shop.
- Bring your own helmets so you don’t have to rent them--and ski/snowboard gear if you have it.
- For our 4-year-old we use an edgie wedgie and trainer backpack when skiing; both are very helpful in teaching little ones how to ski. These items are not available to rent so you’d have to bring your own.
- This resort is huge, with long walks between rooms and the lobby, so bring a stroller if you have little ones.
Trips like these are a lot of fun but don’t kid yourself into thinking this is an easy day on the beach. We were actually sore from all the running and climbing and swimming and laughing. Now I’m ready for that beach vacation!
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