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Nature Retreats: Pocono, Pa.

A popular ski destination in the winter, the Pocono Mountains doesn't lose its outdoor charm as the summertime heats up. A popular camping and hiking destination, the mountain town offers both majestic scenery and the rugged wilderness many outdoorsmen seek. Distance from Baltimore: 195 miles Summer events/activities: Referred to simply as "The Niagara of Pennsylvania," Bushkill Falls (Bushkill Falls Road., Bushkill, Pa.; visitbushkillfalls.com or 570-588-6682) boasts eight majestic waterfalls, nestled deep in the hiking trails of the Pocono Mountains. If it's action you're looking for, head over to Pocono Whitewater (1519 State Route 903, Jim Thorpe, Pa.; poconowhitewater.com or 570-325-3655), where you can bike, hike and raft your way down the mountains. Cool lodging: If it's possible to capture the beauty of the Pocono Mountains, Skytop Lodge (1 Skytop Lodge Road, Skytop, Pa.; skytop.com or 800-345-7759) comes pretty darn close. The Lodge, situated on a scenic lake and surrounded by the majestic wilderness, offers a number of unique lodging options, from a grand lodge, to deluxe cottages, to luxury accommodations right on the Skytop Golf Course. Eat here: The Deer Head Inn (5 Main St., Delaware Water Gap, Pa.; deerheadinn.com or 570-424-2000), which claims to be the longest running jazz club in the country, also doubles as a restaurant and lodge. With live music every Thursday through Sunday, the Deer Head Inn provides an ambiance no other establishment can offer. Don't miss: The GoBowling.com 400 weekend, Aug. 2-4, at Pocono Raceway (500 Long Pond Rd., Long Pond, Pa.; poconoraceway.com or 570-646-2300) is NASCAR's annual late summer race in the hills of Long Pond, Pa. Every summer this quiet mountain town comes alive when the world's greatest drivers come into town. If you're looking for a party, pack up your truck, get some friends and tailgate your weekend away.
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