Here are our picks for family vacations near and far
If it feels like summer is here and you haven’t taken a trip yet, don’t worry — there’s still time to plan a family getaway and get the kids out of the city for a bit.
Here are some of our suggestions:
Dude ranch that’s close to home: Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive, old-timey, camp-style experience, this is it.
This Ulster County, N.Y., dude ranch has horseback riding, archery, line dancing, bonfires, hayrides and more. The cost — $149 per adult per night — includes riding. Kids ages 7 to 17 are $99, kids ages 4 to 6 are $69, and kids 3 and under are free. Horse trails are open for children ages 7 and up; pony rides are available for the younger ones. All prices include three meals a day (breakfast and dinner are sit-down; lunch is buffet), plus a cocktail hour for parents and a “coke-tail hour” for kids. 800-346-4626, pinegroveranch.com
Southern alternative to Disney: Dollywood
Dolly Parton’s resort — set in the Tennessee area where Parton was born — is a seriously family-friendly escape for parents tired of working 9 to 5. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) In addition to a 150-acre amusement park, there’s a 30-acre Splash Country water park that has more than 23 slides and thrill rides. Dolly-centric spots at Dollywood include Dolly’s Home-on-Wheels, her 1994 tour bus, Dolly’s Closet (which sells clothes Ms. Parton might like — think sequins!), America’s largest interactive tree house (Parton loves tree houses and has her own) and Tennessee Mountain Home, an exact replica of the country star’s two-room childhood home. 800-365-5996, dollywood.com
Local camping: Taconic State Park
Located about two hours north of the city (near the border of Massachusetts and Connecticut), this state park offers camping (both tent-style and cabin-style, as well as trailer sites), hiking, bicycling, boating and more. Two areas, Copake Falls and Rudd Pond, have extensive trail systems with terrain varying from easy to challenging — all with great views. Campers can also bike or walk along the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and hike to Bash Bish Falls. Fishing enthusiasts can try hooking brown trout in the Bash Bish Brook. Cabins at the park range from $465 to $700 per week and accommodate 4-6 people; nightly rentals are also available. Campsites are $19 per night on weekends. 518-329-3993, nysparks.com/parks/83
Get Cruisin’: Norwegian Breakaway
This new cruise, which leaves right from the city and is Big Apple-themed, features a huge water park with five multistory waterslides and a Splash Academy play center with Nickelodeon characters such as SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer. Norwegian’s exclusive partnership with Nick also includes a Pajama Jam Character Breakfast, Dora’s Dance Party, Nickelodeon Arts and Crafts — and there is even a chance for your kids to get “slimed.” There are seven- and 12-night cruises, and destinations include Florida, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. During the summer only, the seven-night Bermuda cruise is available. Summer sailings start at $1,099 per person. 888-445- 5231, breakaway.ncl.com
Cape Cod-style getaway: Cape May
This town on the Jersey Shore was recently crowned Parents magazine’s No. 5 best beach town. There’s a charming pedestrian area, beautiful beaches, a boardwalk and picturesque Victorian-style homes, many of which are bed-and-breakfasts. There are also plenty of kid-friendly attractions nearby, such as the Cape May County Zoo, Cape May Lighthouse and Wildlife Preserves. One particular hotel, the oceanfront Congress Hall, offers many activities for parents and kids, including a private beach, pool, bike rentals and camp for kids ages 4-12. Family karaoke is on Thursdays at 6-8 p.m. Every Wednesday through Aug. 18, enjoy a family dinner with dessert and a movie on a large screen on the lawn afterward (popcorn included!). In July, rates start at $319, in August at $389 per night. 888-944-1816, congresshall.com