The Scranton area is gaining some ground as a gateway to the Pocono Mountains, a recreational area to the north and east with skiing and watersports. Local museums focusing on industrial heritage, such as the Anthracite Complex and the Steamtown National Historic Site, are excellent models of working historic preservation and education. The location is isolated from big-city amenities and services. There is talk of reviving commuter rail passenger service into New Jersey, which could give the area a big boost as a residential area and base for telecommuters and small business. It will take some time, but perhaps the low cost of living and strategic location relative to major eastern markets will bring the area a long-awaited economic resurgence.
The city complex lies at the southwest end of the crescent-shaped Lackawanna River Valley where that river empties into the Susquehanna River. Surrounding the valley to the northwest and east, mountains provide protection from winds and also influence temperature and precipitation during both summer and winter. Summers are relatively cool with frequent showers and thunderstorm activity. Winter temperatures are not severe, and most precipitation occurs as rain. However, when warm moist air from the valleys to the southwest collides with cold air from the north, snow and blizzards can occur. The area is cloudier and rainier than most areas of the state. First freeze is mid-October, last is late April.