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Fall Weekend Road Trips: Jim Thorpe, PA

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean road trips have to end, too. There are plenty of weekend getaways throughout the Valley and beyond that are just a short drive away. And what better time to explore what the region has to offer than the fall season?

From pumpkin and apple picking to fairs, festivals, and ‘fests galore (and everything in-between) autumn awaits any adventurous road trippers looking to leaf peep and get spooked til their heart’s content.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stone, Unsplash

Fall in Love With Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe is one of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s most charming small towns. And while summer may be a great time to explore—think hiking, waterfalls, scenic drives, and train rides—there’s something special about visiting this historic hamlet in autumn. Below is a sample itinerary for an unforgettable fall weekend in Jim Thorpe.

The Event: Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival

When: Saturdays and Sundays from October 7-October 23, 2023 (times vary by activity)

Price: Free (fees apply to some activities)

Where: Josiah White Park in Downtown Jim Thorpe

Travel Tip: For those looking to hit the festival before checking in, be sure to plan ahead for parking. There are plenty of public lots throughout town, as well as a parking shuttle from Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

The Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival is the perfect way to begin a weekend in Jim Thorpe. Explore the downtown area and seasonal specials from local vendors while soaking up the scenic surroundings. Events and activities include scenic train rides, free live music, arts and crafts vendors, great food and drinks, and more at this family-friendly fall event.

Want to make the weekend extra fall fabulous? Then be sure to take a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. Starting September 30, the historic railway is offering its Autumn Leaf Train Excursions. The perfect way to leaf-peep the area’s stunning foliage, this seasonal excursion is a round-trip adventure through some of Northeastern PA’s most breathtaking mountain scenery. September 30-November 5, 2023. Rain or shine. Tickets are same-day purchase, with no advanced ticket sales.

Where to Stay in Jim Thorpe

Even though Jim Thorpe is just a short drive away (less than an hour from both Allentown and Bethlehem), what makes this road trip even more special is staying a night (or two!) in one of Jim Thorpe’s historic hotels. Close to all the downtown fall action and bursting with classic, Victorian charm, below are some of the best places to spend a weekend in Jim Thorpe.

The Inn at Jim Thorpe

Built in 1849 and located at the heart of Jim Thorpe’s National Register Historic District, this landmark is a historic haven with plenty of personality, history, and charm.

Address: 24 Broadway, Jim Thorpe

Contact: 800-329-2599

Rates: Start at $144 and up/night (packages available)

Amenities: Restaurant, spa, downtown location, $10 breakfast voucher, onsite parking

Harry Packer Mansion

You can’t get more historic than this luxury inn perched high above the charming downtown area. Gothic, gorgeous, and unforgettably unique, this is an extra special way to stay (and play) in Jim Thorpe.

Address: 19 Packer Hill, Jim Thorpe

Contact: 570-325-8566

Rates: Start at $220 and up/night (minimum weekend two-night stay)

Amenities: Full bar, breakfast included, onsite parking, Victorian-era decor, adults-only establishment, quaint and cozy

Times House Bed & Breakfast

This cozy spot is the epitome of elegant, romantic lodgings in the heart of Jim Thorpe. In-room breakfast and luxe furnishings make this an extra-special stay for anyone looking to splurge for the weekend.

Address: 25 Race Street, Jim Thorpe

Contact: 267-934-9393

Rates: Start at $175 and up/night (packages available)

Amenities: Whirlpool tubs and electric fireplaces available, en-suite continental breakfast, free off-street parking, classic and cozy decor

Where to Eat & Drink in Jim Thorpe

When not enjoying the local fare at the fall foliage festival, be sure to explore Jim Thorpe’s delightful downtown area to eat, drink, and be merry—complete with quaint, historic buildings and stunning mountain backdrops.

Marion Hose Bar

Located downtown in a renovated historic firehouse, this new eatery’s delicious fare focuses on local flavors and offers a cozy, laid-back dining and drinking experience. $$ 16 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe


This inventive restaurant is the perfect mix of upscale and approachable. Located in one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods Moya’s bustling Race Street location is as scenic as the restaurant itself. $$-$$$ 24 Race Street, Jim Thorpe

Stone Row Pub & Eatery

Locally sourced comfort food and a cozy atmosphere make dining at this family-owned restaurant a highlight of any Jim Thorpe visit. $$-$$$ 45 Race Street, Jim Thorpe

Notch Eight Craft House

With fun drinks, great beers, and casual pub fare, Notch Eight’s locale in a historic building turned upbeat, modern bar highlights the restaurant’s focus on the best of everything local. $$ 107 Broadway, Jim Thorpe

More Fall Fun in Jim Thorpe

There’s always something to do in Jim Thorpe and the surrounding area, but these fall events are the perfect way to soak up the spooky season.

Historic Jim Thorpe Trolley Tour Jim Thorpe Trolley Company, daily tours through October 29, 2023

Ghost Walks in Old Mauch Chunk The Inn at Jim Thorpe, Fridays & Saturdays through November 18, 2023

The Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival Country Junction-World’s Largest General Store, Route 209, Forest Inn, open daily through October 29, 2023

Scenic Chairlift Rides Blue Mountain Resort 1660 Blue Mountain Drive, Palmerton, Thursday-Sunday through October 29, 2023

Photo courtesy of Marius Ciocirlan, Unsplash

Jim Thorpe may seem like it’s right around the corner (and it practically is). However, when the trees begin to change color and the days (and nights) get a little cooler, this Carbon County gem leaves summer behind and becomes a beacon for fall beauty. While the Fall Foliage Festival is a great reason to go, there’s no better way to explore the area than to spend the weekend—soaking up the historic downtown vibes and mountain views while living fall to the fullest.

Visit Jim Thorpe’s website for more info on parking, attractions, lodging, and events.

By exploring places in your own backyard, you get to see them from a new perspective—and there’s no better time to experience PA’s changing natural beauty than an autumn weekend getaway. There’s just something special about fall: the trees are ablaze, awash with colorful, multi-hued splendor, the farms are filled to bursting with pumpkins, apples, and cider, and the countless PA towns and cities open their doors to visitors looking for hauntings, hayrides, and happy vibes. So be sure and hit the road this October and see what our beautiful state has to offer—even places you’ve been to before can feel new and exciting during spooky season.

So grab that cardigan and hit the road this weekend. Happy (fall) road-tripping, everyone!

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