For a luxurious family getaway in the Hudson Valley, Mohonk Mountain House is a delicious splurge in any season. The historic Victorian castle, just 90 miles from New York City and North Jersey, is surrounded by thousands of acres of forest, miles of hiking trails and breathtaking mountain vistas. It attracts both locals and guests from around the country, including the tristate area.
Cozy guest rooms include fireplaces or rocking-chair balconies, but no televisions, so get ready for hours of family togetherness. Don't worry, there's a kids club, myriad indoor and outdoor activities, an award-winning spa, and decent wi-fi signal. We revisited the local family resort this winter for a long weekend getaway and are happy to share our review with Mommy Poppins readers.
The striking resort overlooks Lake Mohonk and the Shawangunk Mountains and is loaded with old-fashioned charm. Parlors and porches, fireplaces and libraries abound in this National Historic Landmark. The original stone main building, circa 1869, is flanked by two slightly newer structures, plus a spa wing with a heated indoor pool and a massive dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a sweeping view of the mountains.
Cozy up by the fire in the Grove Spa Lodge.
Nostalgic family fun is a major draw of Mohonk House. A huge lounge is furnished with comfy chairs and sofas, and cabinets are stocked with puzzles and board games. My kids played chess, attempted billiards, and spent plenty of time at the ping-pong table in the game room. Daily activity schedules are posted on the main bulletin board and range from yoga and art exhibits to corn hole and guided nature walks. During our winter break stay, my kids made chocolate-dipped pretzels and folded origami foxes with very patient staff members. Evening happenings include live music, movie nights with fresh popcorn, and bingo. Tea and cookies are served daily at 4pm.
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In the main dining room, kids can enjoy a special buffet and an ice cream sundae bar!
Dining is an occasion at Mohonk, with bountiful buffet tables, chef's stations, small plates, and a children's station marked by balloons. Kid options include chicken tenders, hot dogs, french fries, or mac and cheese, in addition to all the fruit, veggies, pasta, and meat on offer. The chefs preparing house-made pasta with shrimp and cream gladly swirled some butter in a pan for my boys' plain noodles. Recent menu upgrades include more locally sourced meat and farm-fresh produce, and chef-prepared specialties are in rotation. We all indulged in the dessert buffet: rows upon rows of mini pots de creme, carrot cake, chocolate ganache, berry parfait, and so much cheesecake. Naturally, the ice cream sundae bar with toppings was a big hit.
In the summer visitors can take a swim or relax at the gorgeous lake.
Outdoors, Mohonk's expansive grounds include 85 miles of hiking trails, ranging from paved strolls and moderate climbs to rock scrambling and hair-raising crevasses. Many trails are ideal for family hikes, but some, like the Lemon Squeeze, are for seasoned hikers. Warm-weather activities at Mohonk on offer are tennis, lake swimming, golf, horseback riding, and s'mores over a fire. Come winter, an open-air ice skating pavilion with a huge stone fire place keeps families busy for hours. The pro shop is stocked with snacks, hot chocolate, and skates in every size to borrow—not rent, because the fee is included in your room rate.
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Take advantage of the miles and of pristine hiking trails in any season. Photo by the author.
Though the resort is mostly all-inclusive, be prepared for sticker shock: a family of four will spend around $900 per night on a holiday weekend. You can likely book four tickets to Florida for that price, so to make the indulgence is worthwhile, make sure your family is up for outdoor adventures and old-fashioned fun. Alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, horseback riding, carriage rides, and golf all cost extra. Most of the guest rooms have been updated, but some remain a bit rustic.
The Kids Club is included with room rates and is available for kids ages 2–12 on weekends and during school breaks. Choose between the morning and afternoon session, each jam-packed with crafts, indoor games, and activities, plus outdoor fun. Special evening sessions are also scheduled during peak seasons.
Tips for visiting:
- Plan your stay during one of Mohonk's Kids Stay & Eat Free Specials: Presidents' Day weekend, Easter/spring break, or mid-to-late July.
- Live nearby or staying elsewhere? Try a Day Guest Pass: for the cost of brunch or a spa treatment, enjoy access to the estate's 85 miles of hiking trails, boating lake, and gardens.
- Arrive early and stow your bags before the 4pm check-in to enjoy the resort's amenities all afternoon.
- Explore the charming village of New Paltz during your stay. Stroll the Water Street Market for amazing coffee and eats; check out the historic buildings on Huguenot Street, from the late 1600s; or visit the planetarium at SUNY-New Paltz, where free family-friendly Astronomy Night shows are scheduled monthly.
Note: We first reviewed this resort back in 2010, but have updated this post with feedback from our 2018 visit.
For more travel ideas in our Family Travel Guide with firsthand reviews written by parents!
All photos courtesy of the resort unless otherwise noted