Forested peaks, calm lake waters, and powdery ski resorts make the Poconos a true gem of a vacation destination for anyone looking to unwind. Every year, East Coasters trade the daily grind for the Poconos’ laid-back atmosphere in droves — so it comes as no surprise that the area sees 27.9 million visitors annually.
With a strong hold on travel demand and a special draw for families, the Pocono Mountains are one of the leading markets for vacation rental. For eager buyers, this means there’s major profit potential with the right Poconos investment property.
The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Poconos market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when investing in the Poconos.
Easily accessible from New York City, Philadelphia, and Newark, the Poconos are an ideal location for urbanites looking for fun things to do at any time of year. In the summer, waterfront days reign supreme on Lake Wallenpaupack and Lake Harmony, while skiing at six Poconos resorts is a winter hit.
That’s why — while many vacation rental owners rely on a single high season to generate the majority of their income — the Poconos attract a steady flow of travelers and enjoy two peak seasons. This gives investors higher occupancy and daily rates for longer spans of the calendar year, translating to more chances for five-star reviews and extra income.
Investing in the Poconos is also relatively affordable, with lower median prices for properties in hotspots like Mount Pocono and Stroudsburg than the U.S. average (not to mention it consistently finds a home on our list of best places to buy). And with bookings year-round, it’s possible to recoup upfront costs and start earning passive income faster.
The annual draw of the Poconos means investors can earn the trust of returning guests and potentially make more consistent income. Reaching your full potential, though, depends on a variety of considerations.
This region tends to attract large groups and families, so bigger properties often outperform those with smaller footprints. On average, five-bedroom properties see the highest annual revenue and daily rates, so look for as much square footage as your budget allows to really help maximize your investment opportunity.
That said, homes with fewer bedrooms still give investors plenty of room to shine. Three-bedroom rentals have one of the highest annual occupancy rates across property sizes, and they account for the largest portion of available inventory in the area — a win-win for those looking to buy at lower price points while still getting a full bookings calendar.
Our Real Estate Services (RES) team says those visiting the Poconos want to stay in close proximity to lakes, ski resorts, or waterparks — so buying a vacation home near one or more of these local draws can increase the potential for more bookings and annual income.
Given the area’s popularity among families and large groups, it’s most important to feature amenities that keep them comfortable and entertained. Start by maximizing capacity (and profit!) with bunk beds, trundles, or sleeper sofas. Then, include family-friendly touches like entertainment consoles or lawn games.
Our RES team says the two most sought-after amenities in the Poconos are game rooms and hot tubs. Game rooms offer tons of kid-approved entertainment all in one place, and can provide fun for all ages when they include things like ping-pong or pool tables. Hot tubs are a surefire way to please adult guests, plus they help catch the attention of cold-weather travelers and secure more winter bookings.
To make your vacation rental even more attractive to the Poconos’ summer guests, consider lake essentials like paddleboards and kids’ floaties, or big-ticket amenities like a private pool or boat dock.
As a traditional vacation rental destination, it’s also important to note that many properties on the market are older builds. While you might opt for a more outdated home to save some cash upfront, our RES team suggests being prepared to give it a facelift. A home that doesn’t keep up with more contemporary tastes and luxuries will likely lose bookings to nearby competitors. Add modern finishes, stainless steel appliances, flatscreen TVs, and upscale decor to really give your Poconos vacation rental an income-driving edge.
With year-round charm for travelers and solid vacation rental interest, investing in the Poconos can offer serious profit potential to owners who make focused, data-backed decisions.
Whether you’re in the market to buy an investment property or looking to make the most of an existing home, download our full Poconos Vacation Rental market analysis to set yourself up for success. It has tons of important insights, including:
Finding your perfect investment opportunity doesn’t have to feel like climbing Mount Pocono. Use this exclusive performance intel to guide your next steps toward vacation rental success.