These family-friendly getaways are just outside of NYC

With airfares high and airport delays even higher, this is the year to consider a quick trip to one of the New York region’s many family-friendly resorts.

From themed destinations to year-round water parks, there’s fun for kids and parents just a few hours away.

Here are five of the region’s top picks.

Green acres

Matt Baumgartner is a modern-day “gentleman farmer,” an upstate boy who spent more than a decade working in New York City, while operating bars and restaurants near his hometown of Albany. After returning home a few years back, June Farms was born.

Set on 120 acres in the tiny hamlet of West Sand Lake, about two hours north of NYC, June Farms is a family-friendly working farm with a focus on “heritage” breed animals — from long-haired (and horned) Scottish cattle to über-plump Tamworth pigs along with goats, ducks and chickens (the latter two producing eggs each day).

Exterior of a Hobbit hole at June Farms.
Stay in unique accommodations — including Hobbit holes — offered at June Farms in West Sand Lake.
June Farms

Overnight guests can stay in a range of comfy cabins, Hobbit holes and teepees including a groovy Airstream with its own hot tub (from $99 per night). And during warmer months, the on-site restaurant serves cocktails, craft brews and some of the best pizzas around.

Brick it up

Exterior of Legoland characters.
The plastic brick Shangri-la that is Legoland in the Hudson Valley.
LEGOLAND® New York Resort

Located in the Hudson Valley town of Goshen about 75 minutes north of the city, Legoland brings to life the best of the beloved Danish toy brand.

Opened in spring 2021, and completed at a cost of $500 million, the 150-acre park features seven distinct themed areas evoking Lego traditions along with a hotel whose 250 rooms are also themed (think pirate, kingdom or ninja and you’ve got the right idea).

The hotel is a short stroll from the park, where oversize Lego displays showcase everything from New York City’s tower-filled skyline to a recreation of Mount Rushmore. There’s also a roller coaster and water rides for the warmer months, live entertainment shows and — during each weekend in December — Legoland’s first Bricktacular, with tree-lighting, holiday songs and food.

Rooms from $85 per night.

My side of the mountain

Exterior of Mohonk Mountain House.
Festive and loaded with tot-approved activities, spots like Mohonk Mountain House are about an hour outside the city.
Mohonk Mountain House

Considering it’s laid out over 40,000 acres of verdant forests, it’s no wonder that the Mohonk Mountain House is beloved by NYC-area families.

Dating back to 1869 and just 90 minutes north of the city in New Paltz, NY, the all-year kiddie playground is a something-for-everyone crowd-pleaser — and a National Historic Landmark, to boot. There’s a lot to do here for both children and parents: 85 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, archery, snow tubing and cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis, a kids club and even a spa and yoga — most of which (along with the food) is included in the room rate.

Oh yeah, those rooms: They’re spacious enough for any-sized family with a rustic-alpine vibe that suits the resort’s mountaintop setting (from $664 per night).

Hole in one

A child going downhill on an innertube.
You don’t have to be “this tall” to go big on fun at the Poconos’ Woodloch resort.
Woodloch Resort

A new adventure ropes playground and mini-golf course are just two of the many reasons to visit Woodloch, a 135-acre family resort in the Poconos mountains in Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1958, Woodloch is an all-inclusive getaway about two hours from NYC offering nearly three dozen kid-, tween- and teen-friendly activities ranging from scavenger hunts and bakery wars to summer wildlife hikes, haunted walks, go-karts, bumper cars, hayrides and even their own “Winter Olympics” when the weather cools off.

For this year’s holiday season, Woodloch is hosting illuminated Festival of Lights wagon rides along with the traditional Yule Log Hunt. There are a range of meal plans to suit every family and, if you like what you experience, they even have real estate for sale.

Rooms from $120 per night.

Inside the splash zone

It’s 84 degrees all year round at Kartrite, New York State’s largest indoor water park and playground. Just opened right before the pandemic and set on a whopping 1,600 acres near Montecito, NY, Kartrite offers 11 different water rides and attractions along with 324 oversize suites.

For little kids, there’s Puddle Ducks — which is lagoon-like and shallow — along with the slide-filled Kartrite Island, the lazy river-styled Empire Bay and then the high-speed Krakken for big kids and parents.

In between are slides, rides and relaxation zones to keep kids busy and safe.
Back on dry land, there are 6 miles of hiking trails with guided hiking snowshoeing tours in the winter along with arts and crafts and obstacles courses.

Rooms from $200 per night.


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