Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania
Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania is one of those hidden gems that most visitors either stumble upon or hear about from someone else who has stumbled upon this charming little town. Having grown up about 10 minutes from Jim Thorpe, I have to admit that I never visited until I moved out of the area.
The appeal of Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania lies in its mountain beauty and unique Victorian architecture. In fact, Jim Thorpe is frequently referred to as "The Switzerland of America". Visitors will find a number of historical attractions including the popular Asa Packer Mansion along with a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, skiing and rafting. If you're planning to stay overnight, there are a number of unique Jim Thorpe Hotels that serve as great bases for exploring the area.
Jim Thorpe Attractions
Please note that some Jim Thorpe attractions have limited hours or close completely during the winter months.
Insider Tip: When you first arrive in Jim Thorpe be sure to stop by the visitor center housed in the Old Mauch Chunk Train Station to learn about attractions, schedules and upcoming events.
Asa Packer Mansion - This national historic landmark was the home of Asa Packer, a local philanthropist and founder of the Lehigh Railroad and Lehigh University. The 11,000 square foot Victorian Mansion has remained unchanged since it was willed to the borough in 1912. Be sure to notice the 850 piece chandelier which was copied for the movie, "Gone With The Wind" and the mansion's primitive, but effective air conditioning system.
Insider Tip: All visits to the Asa Packer Mansion are by guided tour only. Tours run 1 hour and are not intended for young children. Note that you must climb a steep set of steps to enter the mansion.
Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway - Climb aboard a 1920s style passenger coach and take a 16 mile round trip diesel train ride through Lehigh Gorge State Park. Trains depart from the historic passenger station in downtown Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania and travel through scenic Lehigh Gorge to Old Penn Haven before returning to the station.
Old Jail Museum - On the far end of town (definitely walkable from the main town square) is the Old Jail Museum, made famous by the Molly Maguires, seven of whom were put to death in the jail's dungeon. The highlight of the guided tour is a handprint on the wall in cell number 17 where one of the Molly Macguires was held before his execution. To protest his innocence, he placed his hand on the wall and stated that his handprint would remain on the wall always, as evidence that he was in fact innocent.
The Mauch Chunk Museum - Did you know the town of Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania was originally named Mauch Chunk? Well, you can learn about the history of the town's name and other historical facts at the small, but interesting Mauch Chunk Museum.
Unique Shops and Restaurants - Dozens of charming shops line Broadway and West Broadway, most of them housed in ornate 19th-century landmark buildings. Antiques, accessories and art galleries are among the finds. There are also a number of restaurants in town offering everything from Tex-Mex, English Tea, vegetarian cuisine and Irish Pub fare. One of our favorites is Flow, a farm to table restaurant with a creek running through it and an attached art gallery for browsing while you wait for your dinner.
Mauch Chunk Lake Park - This county owned lake and park is a real family friendly gem. Our family tries to make a day trip here at least once during the summer. The park is about a 5 minute car ride from downtown Jim Thorpe. In season, there is a well guarded beach and swimming area with bathrooms, changing rooms and a concession stand. The park also offers wooded biking and hiking trails along with boating (restrictions on motors make this a very peaceful place) and kayaking. Mauch Chunk lake is very popular with campers, but don't expect to find large RVs and motor homes here as they aren't allowed. The park caters to tent campers and pop-ups. It also offers 12 cabins for rent.
Rafting on the Lehigh River - The Lehigh River Gorge in scenic Jim Thorpe is home to great whitewater rafting, easy family rafting trips and exciting whitewater kayaking. Multiple, scheduled whitewater damn releases throughout the summer add to the whitewater fun. Jim Thorpe River Adventures can set you up with everything you need to have fun on the river. You can reach them at 800-424-raft.
Fall Foliage Festival - Jim Thorpe celebrates the vibrant colors of fall on three consecutive weekends each October. This popular festival features special performances at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, foliage steam train rides, crafters, food and free music at various venues throughout town. The Switchback Scamper, a 10k run, is also held annually on one of the Fall Foliage Festival weekends.
Insider Tip: Traffic into and out of Jim Thorpe is heavy on weekends and some congestion is to be expected, particularly during the Fall Foliage Festival. Be sure to leave some extra travel time if you have a reservation for a train ride or a performance at the opera house. Parking can also be a challenge on weekends. Parking at the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is probably your best bet (one reasonable fee for all day parking).
Jim Thorpe Hotels
Inn at Jim Thorpe
- Built in 1849, this New Orleans style hotel is located in the heart of historic downtown Jim Thorpe. Relax and enjoy a drink or a good book from the ornate cast iron balcony as you overlook the downtown. Choose from comfortable guest rooms and elegant suites, many with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs.Find the best rates for The Inn at Jim Thorpe
Find great rates for The Harry Packer Mansion
The Harry Packer Mansion - Spend the night in the mansion that was used at the model for Disney World's Haunted Mansion! The Harry Packer Mansion Bed & Breakfast sits high atop a hill overlooking downtown Jim Thorpe. Murder Mystery packages are the specialty here.
Read Reviews of this Jim Thorpe Bed and Breakfast
Angel of the Morning Bed & Breakfast - This Victorian B&B is located very close to the heart of historic downtown Jim Thorpe. Enjoy a full and delicious breakfast before you head out to explore the area. Choose from 3 different guest suites, all with private bath, off street parking and bike storage. The innkeeper is known for providing gracious hospitality. Adults only at this B&B.
Traveling with a group or just want room to spread out? Consider staying in a Jim Thorpe Vacation Rental instead of a hotel. Choose from secluded homes on wooded lots or vacation rentals overlooking Jim Thorpe's quaint downtown area.
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Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania attraction features and policies subject to change. Please verify features directly with the attraction.