Hotels & Resorts

Not Just Skiing: Smugglers' Notch Is Year Round Vermont Resort for Families

Smugglers' Notch Resort is one of my family's favorite places to ski in Vermont, and like many other families in the Northeast, we find ourselves returning year after year to hit the slopes. However, we vacationed here last summer and discovered it's also a great year-round destination. We will be visiting again this February during our extended family ski trip, but another summer trip to Smugglers' Notch Resort is awfully tempting, too.

With outdoor adventures and special activities, each season at Smugglers' Notch has its own individual charm. The resort reinvents itself throughout the year, offering families distinct and unique recreation options to make the most of a mountain vacation. 

A Hudson Valley Family Getaway: Rocking Horse Ranch

For families looking for a fun weekend getaway near NYC, Rocking Horse Ranch in New York's Hudson Valley is a definite crowd-pleaser in winter or summer. This year-round, all-inclusive resort provides non-stop activities for all ages, including an indoor water park, horseback riding, snow tubing, skiing and even spa services and babysitting, all of which add up to a memorable family getaway less than two hours from NYC.

Read on for our parent review of the resort and useful tips to know before you go.

Best Family Travel of 2015: Our Favorite Resorts, Beaches and Cities

Planning a family getaway in 2016? We have a little inspiration for you. We're looking back at our favorite destinations of the last year and revisiting what made these locales so compelling for kids and parents.

Read on for our top 12 travel reviews of family-friendly resorts, great cities and beaches and warmer climates of 2015.

Check out the Mommy Poppins travel site or the day trip and weekend getaway guide for more fun travel with kids. Planning a few vacations? Read last year's top 10 favorite vacation spots for Mommy Poppins families.

Frost Valley YMCA: Family Weekends to Celebrate the Holiday Season

This post is sponsored by Frost Valley YMCA, but the opinions are those solely of the author.

‘Tis the season for celebrating long-standing family traditions—and starting some new ones, too. When the holidays get a little too hectic, one of the best ways to take a breather and really enjoy quality family time is with a weekend away. And since you might be short on time, the closer to home, the better.

Our sponsor Frost Valley YMCA—located in the Catskills, about 2.5 hours from midtown Manhattan—is open for family weekends from September until June, but winter is a truly special time to visit. There are plenty of outdoor activities (snowtubing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowshoe hikes), as well as indoor fun (the climbing wall and winter-themed arts and crafts). And this year, Frost Valley is offering two getaways at reduced rates to help everyone celebrate the season.

Hotel Rooms with Views of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Chances are you're not even thinking about Halloween yet let alone Thanksgiving. But as anyone in the NYC hotel industry will tell you, families looking to book a hotel where they can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade do so up to a year ahead of time! For a room with a view of Snoopy, Spidey, Hello Kitty and their other inflatable pals, you've really got to plan in advance.

It's not just tourists who splurge on hotels for the Thanksgiving procession, either. Over the past few years, we've had many New Yorkers write in asking which hotels looked out on the Macy's Parade route (it sure beats watching from the street). While most of these hotels still have availability at the time of this writing, call right away as they'll most likely sell out soon. And if you do get shut out, it's worth checking closer to Thanksgiving since there are sometimes last-minute cancelations.

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor: Taking Tweens to Their First Scary Halloween Haunt

No parent likes to contemplate it, but the day will come for our kids when trick-or-treating is no more. If your family is as hooked on Halloween as ours is, you'll want to find a way to keep the magic going, even once your baby starts to look really big to other people (particularly people opening their doors at night). Filling this void is the main reason for the many seriously spooky teen and adult haunts around the Southland—haunts like Universal Horror Nights, Knotts Scary Farm, and Dark Harbor. But how to transition? You can't just hit the brakes on collecting candy with Elsa and suddenly start running from chainsaw wielding zombies.

I had a theory (having visited a few of these fright nights) that Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary might be the perfect tween transition to a different way of celebrating All Hallows' Eve, and I committed so fully to this theory that I booked our whole family (and some friends) for an overnight on the haunted, haunting ship. And guess what? It worked! Three tweens I know (all 12 years old or very close) had the time of their lives screaming with the spooks all night at the Queen Mary. The evening was enormous fun, and I think a few things we did to prepare helped stack the deck in favor of success.

Ship Happens: Taking Kids To Visit the Queen Mary in Long Beach

Half a century ago on Halloween, the ocean liner Queen Mary made her last luxurious journey across the Atlantic, then set off the long way around to the Pacific (she was too wide for the Panama Canal) and docked in her permanent resting place at the port in Long Beach, California. There she has sat ever since, alternately charming and frightening visitors year-round, a key shape in the Long Beach skyline. She looks pretty, but is there a reason to bring your family on board the Queen Mary for a visit? Is there enough to entertain kids? We spent an afternoon on board so that we could know what we're talking about when we say absolutely, yes.


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