We are lucky enough in NJ to get a four day weekend every year in November. This past Teacher’s Convention Weekend, we went to Bushkill Falls, PA with a group of friends. We all had a Travel Zoo (great web site, btw) deal that gave us a one night’s stay at Bushkill Inn & Conference Center for only $119/night (46% off, normally $219). It’s only an hour and a half drive from Northern NJ and well worth the trip! It had just the right amount of activities and relaxation to qualify for a great getaway.
We arrived around 2pm on Friday and took advantage of the pool. It’s not as expansive as something you would find at The Grand Cascades or Great Wolf. It’s a simple rectangular pool but adequate for a group of 10 kids. The only thing we were wary of was the inner wall in the pool that sectioned off the jacuzzi area had a sharp edge. This is dangerous for kids jumping into the pool while standing on that wall, so be on the lookout.
As you can see in the photo above, there is an outdoor pool that can provide hours of fun for your family as well in the summertime!
Next to the pool is a small gym with a few treadmills and weights. If you can, try to get a room on the 3rd floor. Everything is conveniently located on this floor. There is a pretty large commons area that has nice sofas, a fireplace, bar area–it reminded me of those lounges on each floor in college dorms. This is a great place for mommies to hang out after the kiddies go to sleep! See pic below:
On this floor is also The Steakhouse, where we had dinner each night. It’s a pretty upscale restaurant, with pasta dishes in the $14 to $19 range and entrees from $22 to $39. I had salmon and many had the steak. All were well prepared and my only complaint was that the dishes were a little on the salty side. The kids meals were well executed and came out ahead of time–something we were very thankful for! If you choose not to dine at the restaurant, you can always head into East Stroudsberg (15 mins away) to check out some local dining options. There is also a Lounge, which has live music and more casual fare.
I was really impressed with the rooms…very clean and nicely decorated in beige and browns. Ours was a suite so there was a couch and table too. We slept well on the comfortable beds. I also really liked the staff there–they were very friendly and I didn’t realize how much that makes a difference! We saw many of them doing double duty in the archery area, kids club, and the servers were often there for breakfast and dinner.
Also on the third floor is the Star Room. This was a lifesaver! Our kids loved going there because you could play chess, card games, foosball, air hockey, pool, dance on a stage, and basketball arcade game. This occupied them for a nice chunk of time and the hubbies can watch the kids while the mommies get a spa treatment!
Speaking of spa treatment, the facility was booked solid that weekend due to a wedding but I did manage to squeeze in a mani/pedi which was fine but a little overpriced (priced around $100, but I had a $35 travel zoo credit). My friends enjoyed their massage but commented that the facial was not so great–consisted of a lot of chin rubbing and not much else! The spa itself didn’t have much–small steam room and sauna.
The best part of our stay was the Kid’s Club! I swear I will never go on vacation again without this option! On Saturday, from 5pm to 9pm we dropped off our kids and they had a fun-filled schedule, making crafts, playing Wii games, eating dinner, ice cream social and s’mores by the campfire outside. Our kids were a bit cranky and not in the best mood but the babysitters didn’t seem fazed. We were so thankful that we tipped them well!! It costs $30 per child and a $5 discount for every sibling after that (so $25, $20, etc.)
During that time we were able to do our spa treatments and have a couples-only dinner, which was such a contrast from the dinner on Friday night with the kids! This was seriously the best part of the vacation & worth every penny.
All the families enjoyed the outdoor campfire with s’mores. There is also a cute playground with swings and a pirate ship. Be sure you bring warm coats and gloves!
On Saturday during the day, we did some archery. The Inn provides all the equipment and the workers will help you out. My daughter was starting to get obsessed and some of us even hit bull’s eye! It was a nice activity before we hit the falls.
You have to drive less than a mile down the road to check out Bushkill Falls. It was a gorgeous day and the view was beautiful. There is A LOT of walking up and down stairs though–and if you are scared of heights you might have a problem. There are eight waterfalls you can view on the property. We took the 45 minute yellow trail and it was a nice hike. No strollers, though, so definitely bring the Ergo if you have a little one. Our friend is 8 months pregnant and was able to do it–but I don’t recommend it for pregnant women. Unless you are ok with going into early labor!
We also grabbed pizza after the hike from E&J Pizza on the Run, which is less than a mile from Bushkill Falls. Definitely try this pizza! We got the Greek pizza and the meat one, extra large size. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had! The stromboli was also very good. Order ahead of time, though, since they often get slammed with orders.
The complimentary breakfast was fine–I just wish there was eggs and sausage available. On our morning back we stopped at Perkins and had a nice, hot breakfast!
Bushkill Falls is open until December 1st, weather permitting as the trails can get dangerous in inclement weather. What else is there to do in the wintertime? From January to March there is snow tubing at Fernwood (6 minutes away) and skiing/snow tubing/snowboarding at Shawnee (20 minutes away) as well as horseback riding at Fernwood.
In the summer, Bushkill Falls has alot of great activities like mining for gemstones, mini golf, paddleboats, fishing, playground and maze.
I definitely think you should try the Bushkill Falls area if you are looking for something different. We’ve done the attraction-type places like Great Wolf where the kids are constantly entertained but also where parents are sucked into “money trap” situations where it seems they put a vacuum to your pocket!
I liked doing simple things like a campfire, enjoying the outdoors, archery, and games for a change. Definitely a place you want to go with some friends and children of similar ages or large families. Your kids won’t want to leave! I had to drag mine from the Star room!
Bushkill, PA 18324