Catskills and Hudson Valley

Mohonk Mountain House: A Favorite Hudson Valley Resort Reviewed

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.

Free and Cheap Kids' Ski Programs in the Northeast This Winter

Let's face facts: No matter how exhilarating skiing and snowboarding are, they are also among the most expensive activities in which a family can participate—especially if your kids take a single run and spend the rest of the day sipping cocoa.

Thankfully, many nearby state ski associations offer free or mostly free lift tickets to grade-schoolers, even if you're not a resident of that state. Of course, there are hurdles to clear to get those benefits—kids need to be the appropriate age, apply online and, in some cases, be accompanied by a paying adult. There are also "processing fees" attached to several, but it breaks down to a very discounted ticket if you use it more than once. But for avid skiers and riders, or those who merely want to try out the sports, these programs can save you plenty of cash when skiing with the kids.

Read on for more information on how to ski for free in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. (Note: Connecticut has a residents-only program for free ski passes for kids at Mohawk Mountain.)

Check our Ski and Snow Sports Guide for more fun on local hills and mountains.

Farm Stays Near NYC: Enjoy a Farm-Themed Family Vacation

For New York City area families, it only takes a few hours to arrive in the bucolic countryside, where the landscape seems thousands of miles away from the crowded subways and packed playgrounds. Farm stays are an increasingly popular vacation option to enjoy that countryside and a back-to-nature experience. For children who’ve never been around livestock, farm stays provide a firsthand way to learn about the animal world in a casual fashion. It also often comes with a few more amenities when compared to camping.

If you're interested in the source of your food, farm holidays offer a fine way to connect with what you eat and sometimes even pick your own fresh fruit, veggies, and eggs. You're not required to work during your farm stay, but many visitors find farm chores so different from their regular routines that they are eager to participate. Curious kids should relish the opportunity to gather eggs, watch cows be milked, and pick fresh peaches off the tree. 

Consider these eight farm stay options in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, New York, and in Pennsylvania for your next family vacation

Camping in New York Just Got 100% More Awesome with Tentrr

Camping seems like such a nice idea. You connect with nature—just you and your family or friends in the woods. But the reality isn’t always as splendid. Gathering all the gear needed and packing everything and everyone into the car, or arriving at a trampled campground that's often just a few feet of dirt and some brush separating you from a band of beer-drinking bros, and you lose some of the romance. That's why we were excited to stumble upon a new way to reconnect with nature, especially for NYC or city families who don’t have room to store lots of equipment between trips.

A new website, Tentrr, connects private camp sites and campers, like an Airbnb for the Great Outdoors. While your host may leave you cookies or something extra to make you feel welcome, the best part of our stay was the total seclusion. The sites are on private land, so it really will be just you, the trees, and some woodland creatures.

Deal Alert! Mommy Poppins readers can save 20% off Tentrr. Visit our deals page to see all current offers for Mommy Poppins readers. 

Best Water Theme Parks Near NYC for Families

While there are no full-fledged outdoor water theme parks in NYC (yet), you don't have to go too far to find some awesome ones. We've rounded up 13 of our favorites for families in the tristate area, mostly in New Jersey, including beachside spots, and Pennsylvania, and all are less than a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan. No two are alike: Each one offers different experiences and thrills.

Find more rides in our Theme and Water Parks Guide, including indoor water parks for those rainy or cold days.

SplashDown Beach: Family-Friendly Water Park in Hudson Valley

A water park is hard to beat on a hot summer day. With summer's heat on the horizon, I'm re-living the fun my family had at SplashDown Beach in Fishkill, New York last summer. We hardly noticed the blazing temperatures as we coasted along the lazy river and enjoyed the waterslides and other thrill rides. Dubbed "America's Biggest Little Water Park," this Hudson Valley park, about 90 minutes north of NYC, offers all the fun of its larger counterparts, with a solid family-friendly vibe, attentive staff, and fun rides for all ages. There's a reason we included SplashDown in our roundup of best water parks for toddlers, but really the fun extends to big kids, teens, and parents, too.

Don't forget to check out the Mommy Poppins Theme and Water Park Guide for more amusement park fun—and waterslides.

Dutchess Daytripping: 15 Things to Do with Kids in Poughkeepsie

Nestled next to the Hudson River, the bustling little city of Poughkeepsie—and the surrounding town with the same name—is packed with family-friendly destinations. This Dutchess County destination is located an hour’s drive from White Plains and about 90 minutes from the George Washington Bridge, and it’s also easily accessible via Metro-North.  

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do in Poughkeepsie, with both indoor and outdoor options to suit any type of day trip.  
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Quick No-Fly Getaways for Burned-Out Parents in the NYC Area

There comes a time in every parent’s life...when you’re afraid you’re going to lose your mind if you don’t get a break.

At first, the idea of leaving your newborn baby might seem impossibly out of the question. But as parenthood rolls on year after year, getting away becomes essential. A lengthy overseas vacation of your pre-kids years might be out of reach, but a quick overnight? Yesssss!

So when your mini-me is driving you up the wall, you feel the need for quiet to collect a thought or two, or you just want to reconnect with your partner, check out these seven destinations for those in the greater New York City metro area. No need to hop on a plane. These trips are all within a 2½-hour drive of Midtown Manhattan, and several are reachable by public transportation. Many offer R&R perks, including in-house spas.

Find more weekend getaways, including those of the family variety, in our travel section, including Hudson Valley resorts for families.


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