Family camp style resorts provide endless summer fun at inexpensive rates, luring families back to New York’s Catskills Mountains.
The Catskill region of New York State, located 90 miles north of New York City, is an area rich with natural beauty, including more than 700,000 acres of preserved land. In the summer, family-camp style “resorts” in the foothills provide endless family fun at inexpensive, all-inclusive prices (prices don’t include alcohol, however, unlike the Caribbean all-inclusives).
Even though many Catskill family resorts include meals and activities in their rates, that doesn’t mean you should stay on property. The Catskills’ beautiful mountain setting allows for magnificent views from high peaks, and the varied terrain of low valleys, forests, and meadows makes for a playful environment.
If you’re not into outdoor recreation, distinctive villages and small towns with antique shops are sprinkled throughout the vast landscape. Inspired by scenic Greene County, Washington Irving wrote “Rip Van Winkle” about the famous character’s fictional snooze atop the Catskills’ highest peak.
For families, sleeping accommodations are more likely to be in a cabin or a few motel-like rooms in a small cottage. Meals are usually communal in a dining hall with each family at their own table; and most activities are on site and family-oriented.
Family Resorts in the Catskills
The Country Place Resort
Shady Glen Road
East Durham, NY 12423
800/888-3586 or 518/239-4559
This resort is great for families because with your stay, you also get free access to the Zoom Flume water park, one of the Catskills’ biggest family attractions, located right on the East Durham property. Accommodations have AC, cable TV, free wireless internet, and refrigerators. Country Place serves breakfast and dinner daily, and they offer four basic packages for each season. The week-long package, for instance, includes discounted admission to Speedway go-karts, located nearby, as well as to a choice of Howe Caverns, the Baseball Hall of Fame, horseback riding or 18 holes of golf. All activities and evening family activities at the resort are included. Evening activities include Karaoke, country line dancing with campfire, outdoor movie night and more. The Country Place has family one-bedroom suites, as well as newer two-bedroom suites. They also offer special group rates – great for family reunions.
Family Resorts in the Catskills
Crystal Brook Resort & Mountain Bauhaus
430 Winter Clove Road
Round Top, NY 12473
Located in Round Top, owned by a German family who are proud of their native culture, Crystal Brook has spacious rooms with a motel-like feel, private baths, cable TV, AC; many have balconies. Three meals are served daily. The property’s Mountain Brauhaus is especially cool, with dark wood furniture and German décor. There are a variety of German beers on tap, a jukebox entirely of German music, and they have live bands on the weekend playing traditional German and American dance music; so be prepared to learn a new jig. On site there is a tennis court, swimming pool, hot tub, swings and slides, bocce court, and various marked trails leading to the Catskill Mountain State Park. Also, the resort is open from May-February. In the winter they are known for their weekend parties; guests can go skiing nearby or drive a short while to either the Hunter or Windham ski areas. On sit, ther are are sleigh rides, tobogganing.
348 Sunside Road
East Durham, NY 12423
Blackthorne, located in East Durham, is a family owned and operated Irish resort. The property features a tennis court and swimming pool, putting green, an indoor recreation room and rooms with AC, cable TV, and little patios. Choose from one of three plans, depending on your budget and space requirements, which all feature discounted rates for children. They also have an RV and campground area with electric, waste, and water, as well as tent sites with electric and water. Family activities on the property and, as noted, daily breakfast — Irish of course — and dinner are included with your stay. The nightly activities change depending on the day of the week. Once a week, the family puts on a fireworks show. The kids can go night swimming in the pool while the adults can have a drink at the adjacent tiki bar and listen to live music. Local motorcycle races take place nearby and each September there is the Catskill Mountain Thunder Motorcycle Festival. Of the many fireworks spectacles I’ve witnessed, this was definitely one of the best. Other night activities include a haunted house tour and Karaoke.
Pollace’s Family Vacation Resort
Catskill, NY 12414
This Catskills family getaway, like many of the resorts, has its own cultural base — in this case, Italian. As is typical of Italian residences, you won’t ever starve here. Hearty meals are served three times a day, often with snacks scheduled in between. The Catskill property has 50 rooms, all with AC, cable TV, and private baths; a 66-foot-long swimming pool and jacuzzi; mini golf; paddle boating and fishing on a 3-acre pond; a playground and an indoor recreation room for rainy day. Special events include a midweek poolside barbeque and weekend Hawaiian buffet.
Sunny Hill Resort & Golf Course
352 Sunny Hill Road
Greenville, NY 12083
Sunny Hill has the advantage of having two 18-hole golf courses and driving range on its property, in addition to the typical recreation amenities at family camps. The refreshed Greenville resort in the northern Catskills has been in existence since the 1920s and continues to welcome families every year. A large variety of housing units (100 in total) includes motel-like rooms with AC, private baths and cable TV. Lodges, cabins and two-room suites are also available, with a living room, pullout couch, and a kitchenette. On site facilities include an entertainment center with ping-pong, video games, and miniature golf; a lake for paddle-boating, tennis courts, a basketball court, a swimming pool, an exercise room, aerobics, yoga and fencing, and a volleyball court. Fishing is done on Lake Loree. Three meals are served each day in the dining hall and are included in the rates. During the summer, there is a children’s camp on weekday mornings to give adults a break. Evening activities include softball, live music, paddle boat races, and “just for fun” rides in any of the resort’s famous vehicles.
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