As I take on this homeschooling journey with my kids, I am slowly starting to step away from the computer and getting to what we enjoy the most, which is learning through experiences and travel. What I am loving so far, besides my boys’ enthusiasm and ability to go with the flow our days, is that I am getting back to how I started my journey in blogging a few years ago, which is taking noting of the vast local resources available to us to enjoy.
Our latest adventure took us on an 1 1/2 hour drive to the Poconos, by the Delaware Water Gap. My initial plan was to go on a few hikes around Dingmans Falls. We parked near the visitor’s center and did the easy trail through the hemlock forest leading up to the falls. We climbed the stairs to the top and stopped for a light lunch but left feeling like we could do a lot more.
That took us to the Poconos Environmental Education Center. As a first-time visitor and one who tends to research very little before heading anywhere, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
What I found was a center with a lot of great information about the local area, including the over 77,000 acres surrounding it, the wildlife and natural environment, as well as activities and trails to explore.
I was satisfied with just the great choice of 12 miles of trails we had to choose from. But what further complimented the experience was the educational material that goes along with it. Each trail has different markings along the way that coinciding with numbers on a pamphlet for the specific trail you embark on. The pamphlet provides information and even historic tidbits of the area you are exploring.
My kids absolutely loved this and though I started reading the material at the beginning of the hike, as we progressed, they happily took turns reading and sharing. Because we had already done a bit a hiking beforehand, we did a shorter, 1.5 hour trail (it took us a bit longer than that because we kept stopping to read the material and talk about what we were learning). I loved the trails, the diversity of the environment there and the experience with my kids. We are eager to get back and go on a longer, more intense trail that promises even better views and a few waterfalls.
There are no dogs allowed (unless they are service dogs) and there is no swimming in the falls, but check out this list from the National Park Service of areas where you can swim in.
There are tons of family programs, adults-only programs, as well as homeschooling programs for groups of 15 and more kids. I was truly impressed with this center and we were so happy to have been able to spend our day exploring the area. The drive from New Jersey was easy and there were a few cute fruit and vegetable stands to stop at for some goodies for the road or to take back home with you.
If you want to stay for a longer weekend, the Embassy Suites in East Stroudsburg is located near all the Delaware Water Gap as well as the Appalachian Trail and other wonderful outdoor destinations worth exploring.
As for us, the “school year” has kicked off to a great start and with each passing day I am more and more convinced choosing to home school my kids this year was the best decision we could have made and one we are enjoying very much.
Can’t wait to get back out there and see what other fun we find!
In partnership with Embassy Suites. All opinions are my own. Find more travel tips from experts and other parents by visiting embassytravelhacks.hilton.com or follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #prettygreat.