There's a lot of catching up to be had when it comes to traveling this year and whether you're traveling for yourself or a loved one, the destination matters. It might not be somewhere far from home but a vacation is a vacation, and we could all use one right about now. Two destinations that have become incredibly popular are the Poconos and the Berkshires, both of which have completely different vibes but are located not far from one another. Depending on the type of vacation a person is looking for, one is bound to be better, but how can you tell if you've never been to either?
That's where we come in. Both New England destinations have their perks and are only three hours from one another but the two really have no similarities, which is why they're so interesting to compare. If you're set on having one or the other as part of your itinerary this summer, you should start by weighing out these ideas.
The Poconos: Homey, Nature, Affordable
The Poconos has always been a popular getaway for those in New York and especially in the city, as well as those in the surrounding states. Many opt to buy a vacation in the Poconos as well due to their affordability which is good news for those looking to vacation there because it means that rental rates for houses are also quite budget-friendly. Of course, there will be Poconos rentals and resorts that far exceed that of a typical vacation budget but it just means travelers should look a bit outside of their intended destination. The good news is that there's really no area of the Poconos that is lesser in value because it's all quite beautiful.
Chances are, renting in the Poconos will have travelers fully immersed in nature - we're talking bird watching from the back deck and the potential for a black bear to sniffing out your garbage cans in the morning. For many people, this is exactly the point of getting away on a vacation. For some, this is far too remote and too close to nature for comfort. The surrounding landscape, however, might put traveler's minds at ease - with rolling mountains and meadows in the valley, and plenty of hiking trails by which to take in all of this scenery, it's a true forested haven. In the summer months, it's not uncommon to run into large farmer's markets and festivals that happen throughout the season.
That's not to say that towns are not close by, though. East Stroudsburg and Stroudsburg are both central to the Poconos so if you're looking for more civilization, look for rentals and hotels closer to town. The town center is great for exploring local food and walking around while soaking up all of that small-town charm, while Tannersville, another nearby town, is perfect for shopping.
Takeaway: The Poconos is better for a nature-themed getaway, especially for those in love with waterfalls and mountain towns. It's also very affordable compared to the Berkshires and easy to get to by driving or using public transportation.
The Berkshires: Luxe, Countryside, Upscale
By contrast, the Berkshires, located in western Massachusetts, have a completely different vibe altogether. While it is still located in a mountain region of its own, there are many more meadows and open farmlands to the wooded, lush areas of the Poconos. The biggest difference, however, is likely in the price: the Berkshires has a reputation for being luxe with its resorts and its rentals, so there's a steep price hike over the Poconos. This could be exactly what you're looking for, though - if that country house rental is calling to you, or the 5-star resort with a full spa treatment sounds like a dream, then go for it.
Additionally, the Berkshires also give way to high-end dining and many farm-to-table options in neighboring main towns such as Lenox and Great Barrington. However, there are a number of other small towns that make for a beautiful drive on a sunny summer's day, especially if New England-style general stores and farmstands are of interest.
This isn't to say that the Berkshires doesn't offer its fair share of outdoor recreational activities, though. Kayaking, hiking, biking, and rock climbing are all options in nearby parks. The best of both worlds is offered although if you favor nature over being in town or vice versa, you'll want to pay close attention to the proximity of your rental or resort from each one.
Takeaway: The Berkshires is the perfect escape for those wanting a luxury mountain vacation without traveling to a midwest or central U.S. resort. It has more options as far as small towns and dining, with more emphasis on culture vs. nature.