The best family resorts NYC families need to visit
Travel time: 2.5 hours by car
The Country Place Resort — Home of Zoom Flume Water Park is just over 2 1/2 hours north of NYC and has spectacular offerings for families! All vacation packages include home-cooked meals, water park access (who can resist the world's largest water park zipline?) and tons of fun. 56 Shady Glen Rd, East Durham, NY (518-239-4559, thecountryplace.com). $88 per person, per night during the week; $118 per person, per night on weekends.
Travel time: 2.5 hours by car
This Catskills 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, zip around on some go karts or bumper boats 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 or by duking it out in the Wii room. 358 Villa Roma Road, Callicoon, NY (1-800-533-6767, villaroma.com). Prices vary per room selection and number of occupants.
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. 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 at one of the best family resorts in NY. 600 State Rte 44/55, Highland, NY (800-647-2624, rockinghorseranch.com). Various prices according to lodge selection.
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 at one of the best family resorts in NY. 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 larger groups. 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). Rates per person vary each season according to cabin.
Travel time: 2 hours and 45 minutes by car
You will find the luxurious mountain getaway that they’ve always dreamt of at one of the most idyllic family resorts available. This old hotel boasts incredible history—since it opened as a 10-room inn back in 1869 and 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. The resort’s renowned kids’ club keeps young nature lovers busy identifying animal tracks, birds and trees while you relax at the spa. 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY (855-883-3798, mohonk.com). Standard nighly rate starts at $584.
Travel time: 3 hours 40 min by car
This lakeside retreat is open for business from June through mid-September, giving your family the perfect opportunity to make the most of summer vacation without a skyscraper in sight. Homey lodging options like chalets, log cabins and cottages line the pristine Lake George waterfront, making it one of the best family resorts for those looking to get in tune with 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, the tots have zero excuse for boredom. Don’t forget to journey to private Canoe Island for a game of beach volleyball or walk along the wooded trail. 3820 Lake Shore Dr, Diamond Point, NY (518-668-5592, canoeislandlodge.com). Rooms with various accommodations starting at $153 per night, children 6mos–12 years, $28–$77 per night.
Travel time: 1 hour and 45 min by car
No need to rely on sunny weather to bask in a tropical environment—this indoor water park has you covered all year long, 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 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 try out the Lilly Pad Adventure, a pool activity that requires strength and balance. Parents may want to take turns luxuriating in a whirlpool at the adults-only Palm Grotto indoor-outdoor spa. 915 Route 73, Mount Laurel, New Jersey (877-4942626, mtlaurelcocokey.com). Various prices per room.
Travel time: 1 hour 55 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 will 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 ($7 per person) or catch a flick at Howly Wood XD Theater ($7 per movie) while mom and dads can opt for a little r&r at the Elements Spa Salon. 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 at one of the best family resorts around, opt for the woodsy Wolf Den Suite (per night from $170), 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).
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 the resort's Winter Olympics. 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). Packages vary.
Travel time: 6 hrs by car
Envision a summer where “camp” meets “hotel” and you’ve envisioned Tyler Place, a laid-back, all-inclusive spot that screams “family camp” and offers everything that goes with it. Families can rent a cottage, studio or family suite (with separate bedrooms…woohoo!) to get comfy before setting out to enjoy water sports like kayaking, paddleboating, rowboating, windsurfing and sailing (swimming, too!). Speaking of swimming, Tyler Place offers outdoor and indoor swimming pools and a splash pad for your wee ones to safely play in. Tyler Place’s rates include three meals per day. 175 Tyler Place, Highgate Springs, VT (802-868-4000, tylerplace.com). Prices vary depending on cottages or suites.