Join us, and rediscover home as we dive into the DiscoverNEPA Bucket List!
We’ve Put Together a Solid List of “Must-Do,” NEPA Activities
Whether Northeastern Pennsylvania is your home turf, or if you just find yourself coming back again and again, you’ll have a blast checking items off this list.
From ambitious, “out-of-the-box” ideas to more “let’s take it easy” adventures, you’ll find plenty of unique things to do right here in our own backyard – all with a special NEPA twist.
All year long, we will be setting out to complete what we’re calling the official DiscoverNEPA Bucket list. And we want you to join us.
Sure, there will be once-in-a-lifetime activities like sky diving, zooming around in a race car and running a marathon. And some of the items will be simple, everyday sort of things we often take for granted, like enjoying a pint at America’s oldest brewery. All of the items on the DiscoverNEPA Bucket List, however, will be specific to Northeastern Pennsylvania. With a little planning, open minds, adventurous spirits, and an eager group of interns, we’ll do our best to check our way through this list.
Follow along, and keep an eye out for videos, blog posts, deals and contests as we continue to revisit the DiscoverNEPA Bucket List throughout the year.
And remember, this list is not final. Hopefully, as we check one item off, we can add a few more. And, as always, we’re looking for your suggestions. If you know of a truly unique NEPA experience, and it’s not on our list, please let us know about it.
The DiscoverNEPA Bucket List
#1 Jump Out of an Airplane...
Above the Poconos Skydivers
…with a professional and a parachute of course. Grit your teeth, muster every last bit of courage and step out the door of a perfectly good plane and into the clear, blue sky.
#2 Dog Sledding
Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours
Take the reins and be the musher, or just grab a seat on the sled and enjoy the ride as these beautiful huskies pull you through a snowy Pocono wonderland.
#3 Master the Art of Pizza Making
Luzerne County Community College
Learn from the pros and take your home pizza craft to the next level. From tossing the dough to spreading the sauce, you’ll get hands-on experience in every part of the pizza process. Just remember, pizza = hungry friends.
#4 Hike an Icy Waterfall Trail
Valley To Summit Guided Wilderness Adventures
Yes, people actually do this. With a professional guide, the right equipment, and some warm socks, you can experience this one-of-a-kind thrill. These trail pros provide all the gear. All you need is your adventurous spirit.
#5 Take a Tomato to the Face
Pittston Tomato Festival
I can think of only one place locally where it’s perfectly legal to whip a tomato at someone. Every year, the Annual Pittston Tomato Festival hosts the infamous tomato fights. All proceeds go to local charities, and you’ll have a story for the grandkids.
#6 Take a Polar Plunge
In NEPA, we like to pride ourselves on being able to handle the cold, but just in case anyone ever doubts you, jumping into an icy pond or lake in the middle of January is probably the best course to set them straight.
#7 Drive Fast... No, Real Fast.
Stock Car Racing Experience at Pocono Raceway
They call it the “tricky triangle.” Pocono Raceway is a legendary race track that confounds even the best drivers in the world. YOU are not a professional race car driver. That doesn’t mean you can’t hop into a 600-horsepower stock car and blast around the track at over 150 miles per hour.
#8 Tame a Wild River
Whitewater Rafting Adventures
The Frances E. Walter Dam releases water into the Lehigh River at up to 1,700 cubic feet per second. This creates devastatingly strong currents, thrashing whitewater rapids and swirling whirlpools. Let’s grab a raft and show this bad boy who’s boss.
#9 Ride the Phoenix
Knoebels Amusement Resort
This is an easy one. Most of you have already done it. And why not? It’s only the greatest wooden roller coaster in the world. For those of you who’ve already ridden it, we’ll just pretend you didn’t. And for those who have never experienced the Phoenix, there’s only one rule — hands up all the way!
#10 Brew Your Own Beer
Scranton Brewer’s Guild
And then give me a call and I’ll come over and help you drink it. Just kidding. But why not give it a try? Hook up with some local experts. Attend a workshop, and start cranking out your very own IPAs and fruit beers. You can combine this with the pizza making class. It’s only natural.
#11 Become a Cannoli Champion
La Festa Italiana
It’s just like the famous hot dog eating contest, but it’s with cannoli, and they taste a million times better than hot dogs. Every year, Scranton’s La Festa Italiana honors the region’s Italian heritage. Share in that honor by eating as many cannoli as humanly possible.
#12 Run a Marathon
OK. This one’s probably the toughest. But with the proper training and motivation, it’s definitely possible. Set a goal. Work your way up to it, and, when you’re ready, take on one of the country’s most popular marathons. You can do it!
#13 Get a Close Up of the Stars
The Friedman Observatory
Get a rare look into the cosmos at a local observatory. Nothing helps to spur on our natural sense of curiosity and wonder better than a good, long look into the depths of our galaxy. Of course, the right equipment and a knowledgeable guide make it all the more intriguing.
#14 Have a Pint at America's Oldest Brewery
Yuengling has been making beer in Pottsville since 1829. They probably know what they’re doing. Stop in. Take a tour of the world-famous brewery, see the beer caves and enjoy a pint or two in the tasting room.
#15 Bury the Hatchet
The Hatchet Factory
No, seriously. Pick up an axe, whip it across the room and bury it directly into the bullseye. Bring your friends. Bring some snacks and beers. And bring your wild, inner Viking.
#16 Put in a Long Day on the Farm
The Lands at Hillside Farms
Nothing stirs the soul quite like a little honest handi-work. Whether it’s painting fences, sweeping out the barn or shoveling… well, you know, The Lands at Hillside Farms in Shavertown is always looking for a few good volunteers (you’ll probably get a some ice cream out of the deal, too).
#17 Soar Over NEPA
Take to the sky in your own personal sightseeing tour of the Wyoming Valley. You can get a bird’s eye view of this beautiful region by plane or helicopter. And if you’re daring enough, you can also stunt roll through the sky in a WWII Era Warbird.
#18 Survive a Giant Corn Maze
Roba Family Farms
Autumn in NEPA brings so many good things — foliage, apple cider, pumpkin spiced things, and sincere panic and frustration. Seriously, when did we decide that corn mazes had to be impossible… or is it just me? At least when you make it out, you can reward yourself with a cozy campfire.
#19 Don a Kilt and Drink Green Beer
Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Ok fine, you don’t have to wear the kilt, but you have to witness the 2nd largest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the country. And there’s going to be green beer somewhere, so you might as well have a few. And if one thing leads to another and you feel like putting on the kilt, you go for it.
#20 Take on White Lightning
Montage Mountain Resorts
Montage Mountain Ski Resort boasts the second steepest drop in the entire east. Grab your board or skis and head for the mountain’s famed North Face. You’ll know it when you see it, because it’s the giant scary mountain covered in snow.
#21 Take the Ultimate Ice Cream Tour
The NEPA Ice Cream List
Our comprehensive list of cool treats includes over 70 sweet spots to grab a cone, a sundae, a shake and a welcome ice cream headache. And if you do the math, you can score a different ice cream treat every day of the year.
#22 Run With the Saints
Saint Ubaldo Day
This traditional Italian holiday has been going on in Jessup since the early 1900s. Only two cities in the world partake in the annual Running of the Saints, and one of them happens to be right here in NEPA. Join in. It’s only two miles. Plus, there’s got to be tons of Italian food involved here somewhere.
#23 Become a Master Archer
The Archery Zone
It’s one thing to pick up a new, weekend hobby, it’s totally awesome to become a master at something really cool like archery. You can train with certified local experts and eventually reach a competitive level, or just blast those targets for fun on the weekend.
#24 Float Among the Clouds
Endless Mountain Hot Air Balloons
Soar over some of NEPA’s most scenic landscapes just 30 minutes north of Scranton. Glide through the air over pristine, pastoral farm country, and dense green forests. And, as always, celebrate each landing with a traditional champagne toast.
#25 Launch Yourself Down a Mountain
Montage Mountain Ziprider
Get a bird’s eye view of the stunning skyline from the top of Montage Mountain. Then, get strapped in and soar through the air down the Mainline Trail at up to 50 miles per hour.
#26 Pierogi Challenge
Edwardsville Pierogi Festival
No. It’s not a thing…Yet. But we can make it one at the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival. Make your way through the festival, trying at least one pierogi from every vendor you can find. You may not feel so well after, but you’ll be a local hero… to some… alright, to me. You’ll be my hero.
#27 Paint Your Masterpiece
Discover your natural, artistic ability and creativity. Sign up for art classes. Learn how to make pottery, paint some of NEPA’s gorgeous landscapes, or draw some cats. Under the guidance of talented local artists, the sky’s the limit (Sorry — I stole that line from one of my cat posters).
#28 Drive Through a Holiday Lights Paradise
Festival of Lights
Every year it gets bigger, better and brighter. Soak up the cheerful glow of the holiday season at this 2.5-mile drive through display. Stop by the fire pits after for some s’mores and cocoa.
#29 Bike 100 Miles… or 20, or 10
Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo
Join hundreds of cyclists from all over the eastern U.S. on an amazing “100-ish” mile bike ride through Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming Counties. Of course, you don’t have to sign up for all “100-ish” miles. Grab some adventurous friends and hit the road for a beautiful springtime ride through NEPA.
#30 Experience NEPA by Train
The Stourbridge Line
See world famous Poconos like they were meant to be seen on this scenic 25-mile train ride. Coast along the roaring Lackawaxen River, idyllic towns and through dense, colorful forests.
#31 Complete the Famous Waterfall Loop
Falls Trail, Ricketts Glen State Park
No photo will ever come close to doing this trail justice. Take on the full 7.2-mile loop, or opt for the easier 3.2-mile stretch. Either way, you’ll get up close and personal with 21 breathtaking waterfalls.
#32 Sleep Under the Stars (in style)
Glamping at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
Enjoy the rugged adventure of camping, the smell of a toasty campfire, the tranquility of the river at nightfall and a night sky like you’ve never seen before. And then climb into your comfy tent and sleep on a real bed.
#33 Eat More Kielbasa than Any Human Ever Should
Plymouth Kielbasa Festival
Sure, it’s pretty much a traditional treat reserved for certain holidays, but in the little town of Plymouth, Kielbasa is king. Get to the annual Plymouth Kielbasa Festival and work your way shamelessly through each local vendor. Don’t forget your Tums.
#34 Join an Epic Paintball Battle
Running around in the woods with a few friends and some paintball guns is fun, but imagine joining over 4,000 players in an epic re-creation of the D-Day invasion. It’s insane, crazy, sweaty, painty and awesome all rolled into one neat little package.
#35 Discover the Wonderful World of NEPA Beer
DiscoverNEPA Brewer’s Loop
Hop on the nearly 400-mile loop through some of NEPA’s coolest towns and pay a visit to over 30 independent craft breweries. Sample stouts, lagers, IPAs and grab a few souvenirs along the way.
#36 Land a Trophy Trout
A & G Outfitters
With NEPA’s abundance of rivers and streams, you’d think catching some trout wouldn’t really be a big deal. And in most cases, it’s not, but landing a monster brown on a flyrod in the middle of an ice cold thundering stream, now that’s an experience. Luckily, we know a guy who knows a guy.
#37 Taste Your Way Through the Bloomsburg Fair
The Bloomsburg Fair
It’s kind of Strange, I know. But it’s not nearly half as strange as some of the unique food creations you’ll find at the Bloomsburg Fair. Use that birch beer to wash down a tasty rabbit sausage sandwich, or a peanut butter and bacon hot dog. Culinary curiosity alone should compel you to add the fair to your list.
#38 Explore America's Largest Indoor Waterpark
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
You’ve seen one waterpark, you’ve seen them all, right? Not quite. This massive indoor waterpark features 220,000 square feet of wet and wild fun, rides, slides, pools, arcades and so much more.
#39 Become a Crack Shot
Hausmann’s Hidden Hollow
Head out to picturesque Susquehanna County. Soak in the bucolic wonder of NEPA’s peaceful, rural landscape, and blast away at some sporting clays. Master the art of sport shooting in this ultra-laid back setting.
#40 Make a Difference
Support a Cause
Normally, bucket lists are selfish endeavors, and they should be. They’re all about enjoying life, but as you make your way through our list, remember that charity is often the most rewarding experience. There’s a lot of good here in NEPA, and we’d be better served to share it.
#41 Enjoy a NEPA Sunset
Big Pocono State Park
The beauty of this one is that it happens every day, but it never gets old. Sometimes all we really need to feel content in this life is a quiet moment with a setting sun. Throw in a mountain or two, and maybe a few fluffy clouds, and a close friend or loved one nearby — that’s it. That’s all we ever need to help us rediscover home.
About the Videographer
Originally from “up da Eynon,” Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and their two young boys. Rarely will he pass on a good pickup game of basketball, or a cold beer and a futbol match. When not behind the camera, you’ll find Brian proclaiming his love for NEPA from pizza shops to mountain tops and beyond.