Short Term RentalsVacation Homes June 30, 2024

What Communities are Short-Term Rental Friendly?

The Pocono Mountain region is renowned as a vacation destination, celebrated for its stunning natural scenery, lakes, rivers, and wide range of activities. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, romance, or adventure, the Poconos offer something for everyone. The area boasts ski resorts, the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, indoor water parks, motorsports, expansive state parks, fishing, hunting, camping, numerous nature preserves, and an array of resorts, hotels, campgrounds, and vacation home communities.

Vacation homes are a major draw in the Poconos, providing a perfect setting for families and friends to gather in a relaxed, natural environment. The region features many planned communities, initially developed for vacation purposes. Over time, some of these communities have become primarily residential and less welcoming to vacationers. However, there ARE still numerous short-term rental-friendly vacation home communities, many offering their own amenities such as lakes, pools, and recreational facilities. These vacation home communities are ideal for getaways, gatherings, and reunions, and they also present excellent investment opportunities.

Below we’ll delve into whether communities are rental friendly.

PLEASE REMEMBER that the rules in any community are subject to change without notice, so you MUST contact both the community and the municipality to verify the current accuracy of any rules.  Do not rely solely on this article.

ARROWHEAD LAKE – situated in Coolbaugh Township and Tobyhanna Township, is a well-known vacation home community where short-term rentals are permitted. This community has a long-standing tradition of vacation rentals and is one of the most recognized in the area. Arrowhead Lake consists of 4,330 properties including nearly 2,500 homes and over 800 lots.  While roughly 25% of homes are owned and occupied by full-time residents, the majority serve as vacation homes, with the number of rentals on the rise.

This gated, golf cart-friendly community offers a resort-like atmosphere with numerous amenities, including multiple pools and beaches. It provides a welcoming environment for vacationers and an attractive option for those considering renting their homes. However, about half of Arrowhead Lake falls within Tobyhanna Township, which has recently implemented a cap on the number of short-term rental licenses. Due to the uncertainties surrounding license issuance in this area, potential buyers should exercise caution when purchasing properties in Tobyhanna Township.

  • Rules for renting your property in Arrowhead Lake can be found here:
  • Search all homes for sale in Arrowhead Lake by clicking here

BEAR CREEK LAKES – located in Penn Forest Township, with a Jim Thorpe mailing address, Bear Creek Lakes is along Route 903 just west of Lake Harmony.  This community has a mix of permanent residents, vacation homes and short-term rentals.  While a proposal had been floated to limit the number of short-term rentals in Bear Creek Lakes, there was no limit passed as of the writing of this article.

  • Rules for renting your property and registration forms can be found here:
  • Search all homes for sale in Bear Creek Lakes by clicking here

BIG BASS LAKE (Gouldsboro, PA) – Located across Lehigh Township (Wayne County), Clifton Township (Lackawanna County), and Covington Township (Lackawanna County), Big Bass Lake is a gated community renowned for its vacation homes and short-term rental opportunities. This expansive community, known for its scenic lakes and beachfronts, offers a wealth of amenities to its residents and visitors.

Big Bass Lake spans three townships, each with its own regulations. In Clifton Township, the largest portion of the community, the township ordinance exempts Big Bass Lake from municipal short-term rental (STR) license rules. Here, guest occupancy is limited to three people per bedroom. However, properties in Lehigh Township (Wayne County) and Covington Township (Lackawanna County) do require municipal STR licenses. Additionally, the Community Association (HOA) mandates STR permits and guest registration for all short-term rentals.

Positioned midway between Camelback and Montage Mountain in Scranton, Big Bass Lake attracts visitors year-round, thriving in both winter and summer seasons. The community’s strategic location and robust amenities make it a popular choice for vacationers and a lucrative opportunity for property owners interested in short-term rentals.