Spring Break is coming up. Are you looking to stay local? Or planning a staycation? Perhaps an easy all-inclusive family weekend getaway within driving distance from the tri-state area? Then you should try Rocking Horse Ranch, an all-inclusive family resort in Highland, NY.
Rocking Horse Ranch was a last minute decision for us. My 6 year old had never skied before. I wanted to expose him to skiing before going on our big ski trip. At first, I was going to take him to Thunder Ridge, a local mountain, but decided to do a mini-vacation instead. Rocking Horse Ranch is an all-inclusive resort in Upstate New York, just 1.5 hours from Greenwich, CT, a little over an hour from Bergen County, New Jersey or 1.5 hours from Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The resort has a lot to offer- skiing, tubing, horseback riding, pony rides, horse-drawn carriage rides, indoor water park, rifle range, archery, mini-farm, ice-skating, nightly entertainment, and 3 meals + snacks all day. It was a good value since everything was included in the room rate!
Don’t expect luxury. The rooms and bathrooms are basic but clean. I’d compare it to the level of a Hilton Garden Inn or a Courtyard by Marriott.
The photos on the website make it look like a big sprawling resort but in reality, it is a small resort with one main lodge. Everything is steps away from your room so it is perfect for families with small children. I’d recommend staying at the Main Lodge if you are there during winter so you don’t have to put on your coat to go to dinner or to watch a show and you are in the same building as the pool.
Tip: You should try to get the room with the bunk beds. The kids will love it!
We arrived around
Dinner was a la carte with a dessert buffet. There was a wide variety of entrees to choose from including steak, fish, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. I started with mushroom soup and had eggplant parmigiana for my dinner. My six year old also had the mushroom soup with pasta and chicken fingers for his entree. Salad was served family style. The service was amazing and our waiter was very attentive. My son has a peanut/nut
Breakfast was buffet style. It had the typical hot breakfast items like scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages as well as oatmeal, cereals, bread, and fruit. You can also order from the kitchen. The eggs benedict was delicious.
You will not go hungry at Rocking Horse Ranch. They offer cookies, coffee, and hot cocoa all day. There is also a happy hour in the afternoon complete with complimentary drinks and a small buffet featuring chips and guacamole, meatballs, cheese, fruits, and fried mozzarella sticks.
Tip: Each night comes with 3 meals, if you do decide to leave late or come early, you can buy vouchers to pay for
We went skiing after lunch. The all-inclusive rate came with ski equipment and instruction. There were instructors ready to teach my son. They started him off on the small bunny hill which is perfect for first-timers. The small bunny hill has a rope tow. After a few runs with the instructor, my son was ready to ski on his own. He eventually moved up to the big bunny hill which had the magic carpet. The instructors were great. A great value when you consider private ski instruction is included in the room rate!
Tip: They do make snow. You should call ahead before going to see if skiing and snow tubing are available.
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
When he got tired of skiing, we went on the horse-drawn carriage ride. He loved it so much, we went twice!
We went on a stable tour which was very thorough and informative. Don’t expect to see a stable full of horses since they usually conduct the stable tours late in the day when all the horses have left the premises (the horses spend the night at a different location). During our tour, there were a few horses left and my son enjoyed seeing and petting the horses.
They had a mini-farm outside the stables complete with pigs, goats, a camel, mini-donkeys, a zebra and cattles.
We caught the evening show featuring David Darwin. My six year old was mesmerized when he ate fire and swallowed a sword. It was a show that is perfect for families. Both kids and adults were entertained and had lots of good laughs. There was a lot of audience participation which made it very engaging.
Horseback Trail Ride
The trail ride on horseback was definitely one of the highlights of my stay. What an experience to be on horseback, riding in the snow-covered woods. The view was breathtaking (this is a bad picture but trust me on this). I would go back just for the trail rides. They split the riders into 3 levels- beginners (walk), intermediate (trot) and advanced (canter).
Tip: You should make reservations for the trail rides when you arrive. You can go on standby (they do have open spots unless it is a busy weekend).
My son loved the indoor waterpark. Don’t expect a big indoor waterpark. It is really a typical hotel-size indoor pool with a splash area and a big slide. It was conveniently located, right next to the lobby.
Tip: I’d recommend staying in the main lodge instead of the Oklahoma building if you plan to use the indoor waterpark so you don’t have to walk outside in the cold after swimming.
We also spent sometime playing in the arcade and doing some mini-bowling.
There was so much to do. We didn’t get a chance to do everything. There was also a kids club which we didn’t try but they take children newborn to age 12. There was also a shooting gallery with archery and BB Guns. And there is an indoor play area with foam balls and bouncy castles. For anyone looking for a quick getaway that is close to the tri-state area, I’d recommend Rocking Horse Ranch. The food was basic but tasty and very kid-friendly. The accommodations were simple, not luxurious but clean. The room configurations were very family friendly, including some rooms with bunk beds which the kids love. Aside from skiing and horse back riding, the best part of the resort was the service. I did not expect much coming here but their service was excellent. The staff was very helpful and attentive. I’m so happy to have discovered this little gem that is so close to home. I’m already planning my next Rocking Horse Ranch mini-vacation.
Tip: It can get crowded on weekends. They host several Girl Scout weekends during the year. I suggest checking their website to make sure you are not there during Girl Scout weekends. Better yet, if you can get away during the week, that is best because you will enjoy lower rates and avoid the crowds.
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