RECOMMENDED: The best family vacations from NYC
There's no shortage of activities to entertain your crew at family resorts near New York City. In addition to top-notch accomodations, many of these spots are equipped with swimming pools for kids, an extensive roster of outdoor activities and even onsite family restaurants where you can refuel after a long day of fun. These hotels let you and the kids go boating on lakes, embark a woodsy hikes or even tackle steep waterpark slides, all within four hours of NYC. With everything in one place, your vacation will be convenient, stress-free and enjoyable for the whole family!
Family resorts near NYC
Canoe Island Lodge
Travel time: 3 hours 40 min by car
This lakeside retreat is open for business from May through mid-September, giving your family the perfect opportunity to make the most of summer vacation with not a skyscraper in sight. Homey lodging options like chalets, log cabins and cottages line the pristine Lake George waterfront, ensuring a relaxing spot to kick back, completely surrounded by the beauty of nature. The lake is the centerpiece of it all, beckoning you and the kids to spend your days swimming, competing in mini sailboat races, waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing or paddling around in rowboats and canoes. Combined with a schedule of other fun activities like sand castle contests, scavenger hunts, capture the flag and crafts like lei-making and tie-dye, the tots can zero excuse for boredom. Don’t forget to journey to private Canoe Island, just ¾ of a mile from shore, for a game of beach volleyball or walk along the wooded trail. Rates include breakfast, lunch and dinner (except in July and August with lunch is available a la carte), but be sure to hit up the great island barbecue on Thursday evenings, when chicken, ribs and corn-on-the-cob are cooked on the grill to give guests a real taste of summer. 3820 Lake Shore Dr, Diamond Point, NY (518-668-5592, canoeislandlodge.com). Rooms from $183 per night for adults, children’s rates calculated according to age ($25–$70 per night), children 6 months and under free.
Great Wolf Lodge
Travel time: 1 hour 45 min by car
Carved bear sculptures and faux raw-wood siding lend a rustic, log-cabin feel to this lodge. But don’t get too cozy: The state-of-the-art water park and recreation areas make this spot anything but a sleepy retreat. Little ones will delight in splashing around in the warm pools—especially in the wintertime when there’s snow falling right outside. In the water park, kids’ll see a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, a roller-coaster water-slide hybrid and activity pools for smaller ones. Once they’ve dried off, try mini golf (per person $6), a wizard-themed scavenger hunt that comes with an electronic wand ($16–$22 plus $13 activation fee) or an ice cream–themed manicure at Scooops Kids Spa (including a scoop of ice cream and a bottle of nail polish $45) while Mom and Dad treat themselves to a massage at Elements Spa. The kids will feel like they’re on an outdoor adventure as they watch a Forest Friends sing-a-long show, go on a Wolf Walk through the Grand Lobby and meet the Great Wolf Kids characters. To round out the nature-themed experience, opt for the resort’s woodsy Wolf Den Suite (per night from $290), where you can relax while the cubs curl up in a man-made in-room cave area, complete with bunk beds and a TV. 1 Great Wolf Dr, Scotrun, PA (570-688-9899, greatwolf.com). Rooms (including water-park access) start at $192 per night.
CoCo Key Water Resort
Travel time: 2 hours and 15 min by car
No need to rely on sunny weather to bask in a tropical environment with the kids—this indoor water park has you covered year round, rain or shine. Though it’s not required to spend the night in the hotel to enjoy this splash center, a night or two in these cozy accommodations in Waterbury, Connecticut has undeniable allure (no cooking or making the beds!). For the smallest guest, there’s a slide-filled aquatic jungle gym with zero-depth water entry, called Parrot’s Perch, where little ones can get soaked without any need to swim, and the Dip-In wading pool. Bigger kids and their parents can enjoy three mega (252- to 355-foot-long) water slides, float down a “river” on inner tubes and do slam dunks in a mini pool-cum–basketball court and try out the Lilly Pad Adventure, a pool activity that requires strength and balance. Mom and Dad may want to take turns luxuriating in a whirlpool at the adults-only Palm Grotto indoor-outdoor spa before heading up to the room for bathtime before dinner at TradeWinds, the onsite restaurant (open Wednesday through Sunday). 3580 E Main St, Waterbury, CT (203-706-1000, cocokeywaterbury.com). Wet & Wild 2 Night Splash and Play package (includes 3 days or water resort access) starting at $165. Water resort day pass starting at $34 per person.
Mohonk Mountain House
Travel time: 1 hour and 50 minutes by car
Families will find the luxurious mountain getaway that they’ve always dreamt of at this idyllic resort. This old hotel boasts incredible history—since it opened as a 10-room inn back in 1869, five U.S. Presidents have stayed here!—and kids will love the fact that it resembles a castle. In the fall, enjoy tennis and mountain biking through the nearby Shawangunk Mountain Range by day and, for an additional fee, a horse-drawn carriage ride by night. In the winter, play broomball on the resort’s ice-skating rink, or take in views of the Catskills via cross-country ski trails (ski rentals included). The resort’s renowned kids’ club keeps young nature lovers busy identifying animal tracks, birds and trees while you relax at the spa. Though the Mohonk Mountain House is pricey, children’s programs and all meals are included. There’s a kids’ buffet and babysitters are available if parents want to enjoy fine dining in the evening. 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY (855-883-3798, mohonk.com). Rooms with meals included start at $771 per night, kids stay free on select dates.
Travel time: 3 hours 53 min by car
This Dude Ranch will give your gang a much-needed dose of fresh air, thanks to the Adirondack Mountains surrounding the serene grounds. You can post up in the main lodge, or choose from a variety of rustic log cabins or lake houses on the premises—perfect for small families or even groups up to 16 people. Either way, you’ll be within walking distance of the beach, indoor heated pool and horses. Those interested in bonding with the gentle steeds can sign up for riding lessons and guided trail rides—even youngsters can have a go on the smaller ponies. Other in-nature ventures include boating, waterskiing and fishing on Sherman Lake, hayrides, campfires, outdoor movie nights and a full roster of sports including archery, tennis, volleyball and kickball. From May through September, you can spend the evening watching bona fide cowboys wrangle cattle at the resort’s Grand Entry rodeo, and if you find yourself with extra free-time, regular arts & crafts and bingo sessions are the perfect way to kick back. PO Box 369, Warrensburg, NY (518-494-2742, ridinhy.com). Rooms start at $240 for adults, $95–$155 for children; minimum two-night stay. All rates include three meals per day, horseback riding and other activities.
Rocking Horse Ranch
Travel time: 1 hour 50 minutes by car
Leave the iPad and Nook at home and get ready for some old-school bonding at Rocking Horse Ranch! The all-inclusive resort, reminiscent of an upscale sleepaway camp, sports a laundry list of activities—horseback riding, shuffleboard, bungee jumping, mini golf and waterskiing. There's also an indoor water park and a giant outdoor water slide. Families can play softball and volleyball with other guests or show off their singing talent during karaoke nights. Magic acts, ventriloquists, jugglers and other entertainers take to the stage after dinner. There's no chance of going hungry here—three all-you-can-eat meals are served daily. Kid favorites include the build-a-burger bar at lunch and the sundae station. Parents will go for the bagels with gourmet cream cheeses at breakfast. Sound exhausting? Rocking Horse also offers a variety of facials and massages (from $90 per hour), so grown-ups can decompress while the kids are off enjoying the country air. 600 State Rte 44/55, Highland, NY (800-647-2624, rockinghorseranch.com). Rooms from $299 per adult per night, children ages 3–15 from $45, children 2 and under free.
Travel time: 2 hours 22 min by car
Offering one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms plus mini suites and large guest suites, this Callicoon, NY getaway is under three hours from the city and offers plenty of amenities to keep the little ones on their toes. In warm weather, families might show off their golf skills, go fishing (catch and release only, $5 pole rental), zip around on some Go Karts or Bumper Boats ($6 for eight to ten minutes) or take a dunk in one of two heated outdoor pools. Little ones will especially dig the dump bucket, waterslide, jungle gym and waterspouts, and toddlers will love the splash pad. In wintertime, Villa Roma’s main appeal is it’s ski area, complete with two slopes, a tube run and a ski school for all ages. Skis, snowboards and boots are all available for rental. Warm up inside with a game in the resort’s eight-lane bowling alley, ($3.50 per game plus shoe rental) or by duking it out in the Wii room. 358 Villa Roma Road, Callicoon, NY (1-800-533-6767, villaroma.com)
Woodloch Pines Resort
Travel time: 2 hours and 15 minutes by car
With seemingly every moment of the day filled with activities from archery to Wiffle ball, pony rides to trapshooting, you’ll feel as though you’ve enrolled in family camp. Getting the kids away from the petting zoo or off the go-cart track might prove difficult, but tell them they’re running late for Woodloch’s family bake-off, “Cupcake Wars,” and they might be inclined to get moving. In chilly months, families can go for the gold in Woodloch’s Winter Olympics on Saturdays (January and February only); teams of 10 to 12 get knee-deep in the snow during wacky contests like snow-bowling, tube-pulling and sledding. Warm weather means mini golf on the resorts two courses and swimming time in the outdoor pool, splash play park and jacuzzi. Even the littlest ones can track down fun activities like scavenger hunts and craft projects with Woodloch's friendly mascot, Boomer the Bear. 731 Welcome Lake Rd, Hawley, PA (570-685-8000, woodloch.com). All-inclusive packages per adult per night from $110 for adults at $33–$90 for children ages 13–19. Kids stay for free on select dates.