Rocking Horse Ranch in the Fall; Courtesy of Rocking Horse Ranch
All Ages

The Ultimate All-Inclusive Escape for Families This Fall

See recent posts by Amanda Norcross

Looking to get away with the kids for a weekend (or longer) this fall? We’ve discovered the perfect place to escape: Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, New York. We recently visited this truly unique all-inclusive resort and were able to experience the service and amenities first-hand; here’s what you can expect when you visit with your family.

Boutique Hospitality

What truly sets Rocking Horse Ranch apart from other all-inclusive family resorts is its exceptional hospitality. While the resort is situated on 300-plus sprawling acres of land (500-plus if you count the horsepastures!), it maintains a warm, inviting atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home. (We instantly felt like we were part of the resort family rather than strangers at a hotel.) This boutique family resort goes above and beyond to ensure families have a memorable experience they’ll never forget—and it shows. Rocking Horse Ranch has been named TripAdvisor’s #2 Family Hotel in the U.S. for the past two years, and was rated top 10 worldwide in 2018. It’s also a 2019 Family Vacation Critic Favorite Hotel.

Unique Activities and Events to Enjoy With Family

Rocking Horse Ranch caters to kids (and kids at heart)—especially those between age 2 and 14—offering what seems like an endless variety of activities. And because most of the boutique resort’s activities and events change each season, there’s always a reason to go back and experience something new.

One of the biggest highlights for kids is the unlimited horseback riding. The resort is home to “The Greatest Herd In The World.” With over 100 horses on property, guests can ride based on their comfort and skill levels. Even if you have kids who aren’t up for trail rides, there are plenty of related activities that’ll get them up close with the resident horses: pony rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, horse shoeing demonstrations, barn tours, and more!

Other family activities you’ll love are paddle boating, kayaking and banana boat rides; mountain tubing; super bungee jumping; rock wall climbing; arcade games; mini bowling; live shows, and an all-time kid favorite, Big Splash Indoor Waterpark. The resort also has an Outdoor Aquatic Adventure with two outdoor pools and waterslides (and a new waterslide tower, mineral springs and more opening in summer 2020). The best part—it’s all included!

 If you visit in Fall 2019, you’re in for a special treat: Rocking Horse Ranch is offering Fall Fest, with complimentary apple picking, chef’s tasting stations, wine tasting, and artisanal cheese and fruit samples from local farms. Guests can also visit the nearby Walkway Over TheHudsonfor views of the gorgeous fall foliage; ask the resort for complimentary transportation and to pack you a picnic lunch for your adventure! Another fall favorite, Ghost Town (and Ghost Town “Behind the Scenes” for younger kids), the Ranch’s very own haunted attraction is a must-visit. The fun includes a spooky tractor ride to the top of Rocking Horse Ranch Mountain, where a haunted house awaits guests in search of a good fright (as do heavenly apple cider donuts and hot chocolate). Fall exclusive activities are available on selectdates.

In the Winter, you can expect to go ice skating, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, and go night tubing.Rocking Horse Ranch is also a great place for first time skiers of all ages—the resortoffers a Learn to Ski Guarantee program that’s included in your rate! It’s so much easier (and less intimidating) for kids to learn to ski here versus a mega ski resort; it’s also more affordable with equipment and instruction included in rates.

Family-Friendly Accommodations

Rocking Horse Ranch offers rustic, yet luxurious accommodations that meet the needs of all families, with guestrooms and suites situated in two buildings: the Main Lodge and Oklahoma Building. Families of three or four should consider the Main Lodge A or Oklahoma AA rooms (the latter of which have a set of bunk beds the kids will love!). The Main AA and Oklahoma AA units, as well as the Oklahoma Suites, are best suited for groups of up to six people. The Oklahoma Suites are especially ideal for multigenerational groups, with privacy between rooms (as well as in-room mini-fridges). Insider Tip: Book a room in the Main Lodge if you want to be close to the Big Splash Indoor Water Park!

Delicious Dining

Some all-inclusive resorts offer bland buffets with little variety or not enough healthy options. That’s not the case at Rocking Horse Ranch. We were seriously impressed with the resort’s culinary team during our visit. The talented team prepares fresh, delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets daily, and happily caters to guests with special dietary restrictions or requests. The resort also offers interactive character lunches and nightly entertainment in the Silverado Saloon (where kids can enjoy unlimited Shirley Temples and popcorn—score!).

All-Inclusive Experience

Of course, a major highlight for families is the all-inclusive rates. Rates at Rocking Horse Ranch include accommodations, all meals, and activities in one easy price. There’s no need to pull out your wallet on this vacation!

Other Reasons to Visit Right Now 

Rocking Horse Ranch is easily accessible for many families, making it convenient for a restful weekend escape. The resort’s location is especially ideal for families who live in New England, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and of course, New York State. Rocking Horse Ranch is just 90 minutes from New York City, and families even have the option to receive complimentary transportation to and from the train station in Poughkeepsie, making it the perfect option for New York City residents.

Another reason to visit now? Guests get a front-row view of the Hudson River Valley and its Instagram-worthy fall foliage.

Ready to start a new tradition with your family? Book a stay at Rocking Horse Ranch.

Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.