The action at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., heats up in June as the summer schedule kicks into high gear.
The Party in the Poconos 400, a NASCAR Sprint Cup race set to run June 9, was named after a fan vote sponsored by Walmart. The Pocono Indycar 400 on July 7 and the Gobowling.com 400 Aug. 2-4 are the other two blockbuster events on the schedule.
A warning to golfers: Gearheads love teeing it up. I was hoping for a stay-and-play at the Inn at Pocono Manor during race weekend in August 2012 but was turned away. Both the inn and its two courses were sold out. It's wise to book early, although there are plenty of options at other local golf resorts.
The adrenaline rush of hitting a 300-yard drive against a mountain backdrop might not be as exciting as driving 175 miles-per-hour around the tight final turn, but it's still a pretty good feeling.
Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in Shawnee-on-Delaware
Shawnee's historic inn and A.W. Tillinghast course, both dating to 1911, sit on the edge of the Delaware River near the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Twenty four of the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort's 27 golf holes reside on an island in the middle of the river, reachable only by a portable bridge taken down each fall and rebuilt each spring.
The remote setting ensures a relaxing round of golf. Life revolves around the river. Guests can rent a canoe or kayak for a river adventure, go fishing or hike and bike the nearby trails. When it's time to relax, the resort staff at the restaurants and spa aims to please.
Great Bear Golf Club in East Stroudsburg
Those staying at Shawnee now have another great place to play just three miles away. The Kirkwood family, Shawnee's owners since 1977, bought Great Bear Golf Club at auction in 2012.
The Jack Nicklaus course, closed since 2010, has already received significant TLC from its new caretakers. The greens have been aerated, the bunkers refurbished, the practice area renovated, new golf carts purchased and the driveway and parking lot repaved.
The scenic course winds through a trio of lakes, several streams, wetlands, small bridges and rolling terrain.
Skytop Lodge in Skytop
This historic stone lodge, nestled within 5,500 acres, has been charming guests since 1928.
The Skytop Lodge looks onto the 6,656-yard golf course. Water comes into play on the first, 10th and 18th holes, but for the most part, it's a playable resort retreat.
Buying an all-inclusive dining plan ensures the best bargain and most convenience for families. The outdoor programs -- such as hiking, boating, biking, playing tennis, rock-climbing and ziplining -- will certainly work up an appetite.
Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in Lake Harmony
Set on the shores of the 125-acre Lake Harmony, Split Rock Resort & Golf Club is another family-friendly destination.
There are indoor options for bad weather -- an indoor water park, two indoor pools, indoor tennis courts, a video arcade, a billiard room, an eight-lane bowling alley, a fitness center and a movie theater -- but it's the outdoors that are most stimulating.
Activities range from swimming and fishing on a lagoon to mini golf, archery, bocce ball, shuffleboard, paddle boating, volleyball, and hiking and biking trails. The 18 holes of Split Rock's North Course stretch to 7,150 yards, although if you need a breather, the additional South nine is a shorter loop.
Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mt. Pocono
The Mount Airy Casino Resort course by Hal Purdy is a unique one.
Purdy was tasked with mimicking the "18 best holes in the United States" as selected by Sports Illustrated in 1965. Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins actually penned the piece, selecting the best first hole, second hole, third hole, etc., from around the country at that time. The likes of Merion, Pebble Beach, Colonial, Seminole and others made the cut.
Obviously, recreating the ocean setting at Pebble Beach's famed 18th hole isn't possible, but come see for yourself how well the routing of the hole was recreated. The casino resort continues to earn a four-diamond rating from AAA thanks to its five restaurants and 188 lavish guest rooms and deluxe suites.
The casino features more than 2,400 slot machines and more than 70 table games, including blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and poker.
The Inn at Pocono Manor in Pocono Manor
The Inn at Pocono Manor, dating to 1902, remains the region's longest continuously operating resort and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. A $5 million renovation in 2011 refreshed the main lodge and banquet space.
The historic Pocono Manor East Course, which originally opened in 1912 with nine holes by Donald Ross, celebrated its centennial last summer. William Flynn added nine holes in 1924 to complete the design. George Fazio built nine holes of the West Course in 1959 (it later expanded to 18 holes in 1965). Combined, they offer classic golf that feels like a step back in time.