‘Are We There Yet?’ Vacations Close To New York City

Without exception, anyone who’s driven with young ones to a vacation destination has heard the question — “Are we there yet?” – repeated over and over. This can try anyone’s patience, and is often the reason that many people choose vacations that are within a relatively easy driving distance of their home.

Fortunately for residents of New York City who look to escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and the four other boroughs, numerous first-class vacation destinations are situated within a few hours drive. In particular, these three resorts come highly recommended for families from New York City and the surrounding area who are looking for activity-filled vacations that are short in distance yet long on fun.

Crystal Springs Resort, Sussex County, New Jersey

One of the east’s premier family vacation destinations, Crystal Springs Resort is conveniently located in the Kittatinny Mountains of Northern New Jersey just 43 miles from New York City. The two-hotel resort, featuring Grand Cascades Lodge & Minerals Hotel, is well known for its stellar culinary program. Crystal Springs boasts ten seasonally inspired dining venues highlighted by four-star Restaurant Latour and its world famous Wine Spectator Grand Award winning wine cellar. Crystal Springs Resort has crafted an array of unique and exciting packages for all ages.

No two days are ever the same when visiting the resort as an endless array of activities awaits guests. Winter fun includes Glice skating, a unique experience that occurs on a synthetic ice surface and provides an alternate experience to traditional ice skating. The resort offers outdoor heated snow pools at both hotels. The Biosphere is the first structure of its kind in the U.S. to incorporate advanced German Foiltec roofing material, allowing nearly 100% light transmission for year-round tanning Feeling adventurous? Strap on a pair of snowshoes or head over to nearby Mountain Creek to enjoy snow tubing. Check out the winter bucket list here.

The resort’s Great Winter Escape includes rates starting at $329 per room, per night at Minerals Hotel and $459 per room, per night at Grand Cascades Lodge. The package features:

  • Accommodations at Minerals Hotel or Grand Cascades Lodge.
  • $50 Resort credit for one night’s stay; $150 credit for two nights, and $300 for three nights, to be used toward dining, spa, activities, or retail.
  • $40 breakfast credit per reservation, per night.

Dining here is an experience to be savored. One of the most celebrated restaurants in the state and beyond, Restaurant Latour showcases the best of New Jersey’s bountiful farms and artisan producers. Executive Chef Aishling Stevens and Chef de Cuisine Matt Laurich prepare a tasting menu that features such delicacies as tuna belly crudo, miyazaki beef wagyu and caramelized labneh panna cotta. For a more informal culinary experience, enjoy a buffet dinner followed by a show for the entire family at Minerals Hotel.

Woodloch Pines Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania

Nestled in the lake region of the pristine Pocono Mountains, Woodloch Pines Resort has been serving up fun for generations of families since its inception in 1958. An all inclusive resort, Woodloch is a true four-season destination resort that provides an endless array of activities throughout the year. Winter is no exception as families can enjoy Woodloch’s ever-popular Winter Olympics where guests trudge through a winter wonderland while vieing for the Woodloch gold in relay style events for all ages. The on-property snow cannons ensure that plenty of powder will keep the Olympic zone snowy all season long. Other winter fun includes snow tubing, snowshoeing and ice skating.

One of the resort’s most popular attractions is its theme show, featuring great music, dazzling choreography, a 25-foot screen, pyrotechnics and talented cast, included at no cost with your all inclusive stay. Always rated PG, bring the little ones with you. This year’s theme, “California Dreamin,” pays tribute to all things California.

Dining is one of the great pleasures, and welcomed conveniences, at Woodloch. Unlike most vacations, there’s no need to worry about getting reservations at a restaurant or overpaying for meals. Served family style in a clean, spacious dinning area, the cuisine here is always fresh and delectable. All food allergies are considered as is any special request.

The resort’s accommodations include hotel-style units, one and two-bedroom suites and vacation rental homes. On-site vacation rentals are located on the main resort property while Woodloch Springs Community offers off-site vacation rentals two miles from Woodloch Pines. Located on the magnificent golf course, these luxurious homes range in size from two to five bedrooms and all have kitchens.

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York

Ideally located in the Hudson Valley on a private glacial lake with views of the Catskill Mountains, Mohonk Mountain House is only 90 miles north of NYC, providing a very special mountain getaway. Owned and operated by the Smiley Family since its founding in 1869, the Victorian castle has been a sought-after destination for generations. With a wide variety of recreational activities like hiking, tomahawk throwing, mountain biking, archery and rock climbing, children and adults alike can experience the magic of the Hudson Valley through outdoor activities on Mohonk’s 1,200 acres.

During the winter months, guests can cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike with MICROspikes, ice skate or snow tube. For those who prefer to stay indoors, guests can cozy up by the fireplace sipping afternoon tea, spend the day relaxing in the award-winning Spa or drink craft brews in the Carriage Lounge. Once the warm weather arrives, Lake Mohonk allows guests to try row boating, paddleboarding, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and more. Sports like golf, tennis, disc golf and horseback riding are also available, encouraging camaraderie and teaching new skills.

Food is never an afterthought here and guests have a variety of dining destinations where they can enjoy Mohonk’s scrumptious farm-to-table cuisine, which is focused on sourcing locally grown ingredients from some of the Hudson Valley’s finest farms to create flavorful, satisfying meals. Executive Chef Jim Palmeri says, “Our goal has always been to create something to match the beautiful setting that we’re in. We hope that people will come here for the food and enjoy everything else that comes with it.”

All of these activities and more come included with the price of an overnight stay in addition to accommodations, three meals daily, afternoon tea and cookies and more.