A Travel Price Comparison for Pennsylvania Lancaster vs. Pocono Mountains for Attractions, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Lancaster or Pocono Mountains, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Lancaster

Lancaster is a traditional, picturesque, and scenic town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and food.

Pocono Mountains

Pocono Mountains is a relaxing, scenic, and beautiful region. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the museums, skiing, and food.

Lancaster and Pocono Mountains: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Pocono Mountains. Although Lancaster and Pocono Mountains are both popular with visitors, Pocono Mountains has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Pocono Mountains is more popular for its skiing, resorts, and hiking, while Lancaster is known for its museums, shopping, and impressive beauty. Pocono Mountains is more touristy than Lancaster and is popular for its hiking trails, boating and fishing, and small towns. It is also home to Bushkill Falls. Lancaster is popular for its history and long running Amish community.

How is Lancaster different from Pocono Mountains?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Pocono Mountains and Lancaster. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Skiing?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Pocono Mountains is a great region for skiing. However, Lancaster is not a skiing destination.

Pocono Mountains draws a large crowd in the winter for its impressive snow skiing opportunities. There are a number of ski resorts in the area that offer family-friendly skiing or more advanced options. Some of the most popular ski areas are Big Boulder, Blue Mountain, Camelback Mountain, and Jack Frost Mountain.

Lancaster is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Lancaster is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Pocono Mountains is not as famous, but is still a good region to visit for its museums and history.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Lancaster. Filled with history and local culture, there are many educational opportunities in the area where you can learn about Amish traditions. The Amish Village has tours and unique experiences. The town also has James Buchanan's Wheatland, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Toy Train Museum, the Ephrata Cloister, and the National Watch & Clock Museum, among many others.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Pocono Mountains. Visiting a local museum is a great way to learn about the area's history and Native American population. For a glimpse back in time, you can visit the Asa Packer Mansion, Grey Towers National Historic Landmark, or Columns Museum. The Old Jail Museum is a fascinating place to visit and even offers ghost tours. The Pocono Indian Museum and Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm are both worth a visit as well.

Is the Food Better in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Lancaster and Pocono Mountains can be difficult as they are each good in their own way.

Lancaster is becoming an appealing option for foodies. You can sample authentic Pennsylvania Dutch dishes at one of the Amish restaurants in the area. Many places serve food family-style and dishes include chicken pot pie, ham balls, and pork and sauerkraut. Whoopie pies also originated in the area.

Pocono Mountains offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Family-friendly restaurants are common. Many serve up casual American cuisine like burgers or pasta. There are also more upscale restaurants, some with impressive views, that will elevate your culinary experience. For a local experience, find a restaurant with a seasonal menu that makes the most of the local ingredients.

Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Nightlife?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find decent options in both Lancaster and Pocono Mountains.

Lancaster doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. It's a small town, but you'll still find local pubs and cozy bars where you can enjoy a drink in a laid back atmosphere.

Most people don't head to Pocono Mountains specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. There are some resorts with casinos and bars as well as local breweries and bars. You'll also find a theater or two in the area.


Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Resorts?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Pocono Mountains is a nice place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Lancaster is not a resort destination.

Pocono Mountains has a few great resort options. Resorts range from family-friendly to romantic. Many have indoor pools or even water parks. Some also have spas, restaurants, and plenty of amenities.

Lancaster is not a resort destination.

Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Hiking?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Pocono Mountains is a great region for hiking. However, Lancaster is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors go to Pocono Mountains for the hiking trails. There are miles of hiking trails that take you through forests or to spectacular waterfalls. Trails range from easy to challenging and each offers a great way to escape into nature. Some of the more popular trails are found in Tobyhanna State Park and Promised Land State Park. The Appalachian Trail also passes through the area.

Lancaster is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Lancaster is notable for its shopping opportunities. Also, Pocono Mountains is not as famous, but is still a good region to visit for its shopping areas.

Lancaster is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Many visitors pick up hand-crafted Amish items while they're in town. Furniture and Amish quilts are particularly popular. Farmers markets and antique shopping are both unique in the area and there are also art galleries and several outlet stores that you can visit.

Pocono Mountains has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. Head to the towns for some the best local shopping. The downtown areas in each of the major towns - Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg, Milford, and Honesdale - have local vendors, antique shops, and the occasional flea market or farmer's market.


Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Families?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Lancaster and Pocono Mountains are both high quality destinations for the whole family.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Lancaster. In you area you'll find farms and petting zoos, amusement parks, and train rides. They can learn about a unique lifestyle at the Amish Experience or soak up the local beauty and farmland in the surrounding countryside.

Pocono Mountains is a very family-friendly place to visit. There's horseback riding in the warmer seasons and kid-friendly skiing in the winter. The kids will also enjoy the hiking, ziplining, and indoor waterparks in the area. Animal farms and petting zoos are also popular, particularly with the younger kids.

Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Couples?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Lancaster and Pocono Mountains are both high quality to visit as a couple.

Lancaster is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. This region is known for it's local beauty and serene farmland, making it a relaxing and peaceful destination for couples. There are walking trails, outdoor activities, buggy rides, and a variety of dining experiences. You can also stay at a bed and breakfast or local inn.

Pocono Mountains is a very popular place to visit for couples. Romantic resorts, cozy cabins, and luxurious spas all make this a wonderful couples destination. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the hiking and adventure sports in the area, while those looking for a more relaxed experience will appreciate the dining and cultural activities.

Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Pocono Mountains is a great region for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Lancaster is not known for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Pocono Mountains. There's no shortage of campgrounds, cabins, and hiking opportunities that will let backpackers enjoy a bit of nature.

Lancaster is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Although it's often overlooked by backpackers, the region offers a unique cultural experience.


Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Lancaster and Pocono Mountains both offer decent public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Lancaster. The city has buses and several transportation options, but once you're outside of the urban core, your options are limited.

Public transit is generally limited in Pocono Mountains. There are some bus services that run between a few towns, but they're not an efficient way to get around.

Is Lancaster or Pocono Mountains a more walkable city?

Lancaster
Pocono Mountains

Lancaster and Pocono Mountains are decent when it comes to walkability.

Lancaster is generally not a very walkable town. While the city itself has walkable areas, most visitors want to get out and explore the countryside, which requires a car.

Pocono Mountains is generally not very walkable. While there are plenty of hiking trails and some walkable towns, you really need a car to explore the area.

For even more information, also check out Is Lancaster Worth Visiting? and Is Pocono Mountains Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Pocono Mountains or Lancaster?

How long in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Both Lancaster and Pocono Mountains have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Pocono Mountains than in Lancaster. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Lancaster, and 3-7 days is enough time in Pocono Mountains.

Families should spend more time in Pocono Mountains than Lancaster. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Pocono Mountains, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Pocono Mountains than Lancaster. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Pocono Mountains that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Pocono Mountains than Lancaster if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Pocono Mountains.


  • How many days in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains? Ideal Length of Stay
    Lancaster 2-3 
    Pocono Mountains 3-7

One day in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

You'll find museums and food around the scenic destination of Lancaster. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

You'll find shopping and museums around the region of Pocono Mountains. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

You'll find food and shopping around the picturesque town of Lancaster. If you have a weekend, this town makes for a great vacation. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities.

You'll find museums and skiing around the relaxing destination of Pocono Mountains. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This region offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Lancaster is a popular choice for travelers. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

You'll find skiing and food around the beautiful region of Pocono Mountains. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this region makes for a great vacation. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this region has to offer.

A week in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Lancaster is a great place to explore. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Pocono Mountains is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Pocono Mountains, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Pocono Mountains or Lancaster?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Lancaster is $183, while the average daily cost in Pocono Mountains is $174. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Lancaster and Pocono Mountains in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lancaster $91
    Pocono Mountains $89
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lancaster $182
    Pocono Mountains $178
Compare Hotels in Lancaster and Pocono Mountains

Looking for a hotel in Lancaster or Pocono Mountains? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Lancaster


Hotels in Pocono Mountains


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Lancaster Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lancaster $69
    Pocono Mountains $49

Is it cheaper to fly into Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Prices for flights to both Pocono Mountains and Lancaster change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Lancaster $53
    Pocono Mountains $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lancaster

For Lancaster, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • International Food Tour Lancaster, Pennsylvania: $62
  • Red Rose Walking Food Tour in Lancaster: $65

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lancaster $19
    Pocono Mountains $30

Tours and Activities in Lancaster

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Lancaster.

  • Guided Tour of the 1792 Johannes Mueller House: $12
  • Guided Ghost Tour of Lititz: $12
  • 45-Minute Private Guided Historic Walking Tour in Lititz: $12
  • Historic Columbia, PA: Guided Tour of the Bank Museum: $14
  • Lancaster Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $24
  • Evening Ghost Tour by Candlelight: $25
  • Lititz Whiskey and History Tour : $25
  • Lancaster Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Premium Amish Country Tour including Amish Farm and House: $36
  • Lancaster County: Amish Farmlands, Museum Tour, Farm Visit: $36
  • Amish Experience SuperSaver Package: $47
  • Lancaster History and Breakfast Walking Tour: $57

Tours and Activities in Pocono Mountains

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Pocono Mountains are as follows:

  • Delaware Water Gap Air Tour: $141
  • Private Mount Pocono Observation Air Tour: $64

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lancaster $11
    Pocono Mountains $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Lancaster

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Lancaster:

  • Guided Brewery Walking Tour in Lancaster City: $79
  • Lancaster City: The Ultimate Walking Craft Brewery Tour: $79


When comparing the travel costs between Lancaster and Pocono Mountains, we can see that Lancaster is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Lancaster Expensive? and Is Pocono Mountains Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Lancaster has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Pocono Mountains. When comparing the sizes of Lancaster and Pocono Mountains, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Lancaster or Pocono Mountains?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Lancaster or Pocono Mountains in the Summer?

Both Pocono Mountains and Lancaster during the summer are popular places to visit. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Lancaster this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Pocono Mountains for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Lancaster is generally around the same temperature as Pocono Mountains. Daily temperatures in Lancaster average around 77°F (25°C), and Pocono Mountains fluctuates around 75°F (24°C).

In Pocono Mountains, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Lancaster. In the summer, Lancaster often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Pocono Mountains. Lancaster gets 310 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Pocono Mountains receives 288 hours of full sun.

Pocono Mountains gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Lancaster usually gets less rain in July than Pocono Mountains. Lancaster gets 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain, while Pocono Mountains receives 4.4 inches (111 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Lancaster 77°F (25°C) 
    Pocono Mountains 75°F (24°C)

Should I visit Lancaster or Pocono Mountains in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Lancaster and Pocono Mountains. Many travelers come to Lancaster for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, many visitors come to Pocono Mountains in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Lancaster is around the same temperature as Pocono Mountains in the autumn. The daily temperature in Lancaster averages around 56°F (13°C) in October, and Pocono Mountains fluctuates around 55°F (13°C).

Lancaster usually receives more sunshine than Pocono Mountains during autumn. Lancaster gets 194 hours of sunny skies, while Pocono Mountains receives 168 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Lancaster usually receives more rain than Pocono Mountains. Lancaster gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Pocono Mountains receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Lancaster 56°F (13°C) 
    Pocono Mountains 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Lancaster or Pocono Mountains in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Lancaster as well as Pocono Mountains. Many visitors come to Lancaster in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Pocono Mountains for the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Pocono Mountains can be very cold during winter. Lancaster can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Lancaster is much warmer than Pocono Mountains. Typically, the winter temperatures in Lancaster in January average around 30°F (-1°C), and Pocono Mountains averages at about 28°F (-2°C).

In the winter, Lancaster often gets more sunshine than Pocono Mountains. Lancaster gets 153 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Pocono Mountains receives 127 hours of full sun.

Lancaster usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Pocono Mountains. Lancaster gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Pocono Mountains receives 3 inches (77 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Lancaster 30°F (-1°C) 
    Pocono Mountains 28°F (-2°C)

Should I visit Lancaster or Pocono Mountains in the Spring?

Both Pocono Mountains and Lancaster are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Lancaster for the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Pocono Mountains because of the natural beauty.

In April, Lancaster is generally around the same temperature as Pocono Mountains. Daily temperatures in Lancaster average around 53°F (12°C), and Pocono Mountains fluctuates around 51°F (11°C).

It's quite sunny in Pocono Mountains. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Lancaster. Lancaster usually receives more sunshine than Pocono Mountains during spring. Lancaster gets 237 hours of sunny skies, while Pocono Mountains receives 213 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Lancaster usually receives less rain than Pocono Mountains. Lancaster gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Pocono Mountains receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Lancaster 53°F (12°C) 
    Pocono Mountains 51°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Pocono Mountains and Lancaster

Lancaster Pocono Mountains
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 30°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 28°F (-2°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Feb 33°F (0°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 31°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Mar 42°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Apr 53°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 51°F (11°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
May 63°F (17°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Jun 72°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm) 75°F (24°C) 4.4 inches (111 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Sep 68°F (20°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 66°F (19°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Oct 56°F (13°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Nov 46°F (8°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Dec 35°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 33°F (1°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)