Travel time: 1 hour and 40 minutes from NYC
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, a wizard-themed scavenger hunt or an ice cream–themed manicure at Scoops Kids Spa (which includes a scoop of ice cream and a bottle of nail polish). The kids can watch a Forest Friends sing-a-long, go on a Wolf Walk through the Grand Lobby and meet the Great Wolf characters. To round out the nature-themed experience, opt for the resort’s woodsy Wolf Den Suite, where you can relax while the cubs curl up in a man-made in-room cave area, complete with bunk beds and a TV.