It is time to start planning ski weekends and local day trips to mountains that are within driving distance. Here’s a list of some of our favorites that have proven to be great family mountains.
Don’t forget to go early to get your kids ski rentals. The earlier, the better as inventory can become limited.
While these mountains are small, they are the perfect size to get little ones or beginners started on green runs or the magic carpet. All can easily be accessed from Fairfield County and can be done as a day trip.
Stowe, VT : The farthest on our list but well worth the drive! Stowe has an amazing ski school, great terrain, numerous lodging options and lots to do. This is a great mountain for a long weekend or school break. Stowe boasts the highest peak in VT and is now part of the Epic ski pass collection.
Eat: Harvest Market (pick up wine, cheese & other yummy treats), take the chair lift to the Cliff House and enjoy a proper lunch mid-ski day and Piecasso or The Roost for an early kids dinner
Don’t Miss: Stopping at Ben Jerry’s for a Factory Tour, Sleigh rides with Gentle Giants
Manchester, VT: This town has so much for kids and parents to do with Stratton and Bromley easily accessible. Bromley is smaller but the perfect family mountain for little ones or kids who want some independence, all trails lead to one lodge so it is easy to meet up. For the better skiers and those who want more terrain, Stratton is another great family mountain with some nice dining options at the base. Manchester has several hotel options so you have the perfect combination of nearby skiing and access to a charming New England town with a variety of shops and restaurants.
Eat: Cooper Grouse, The Perfect Wife Restaurant & Tavern, Zooey’s Deli,
Don’t Miss: Northshire Bookstore (amazing book selection and adjoining café), shopping at the outlets, a visit or cross-country skiing at Hildene
Woodstock, VT: Woodstock is quintessential VT with covered bridges and a picturesque town. Stay at The Woodstock Inn and then daytrip to Killington. Or if your kids are beginners, Suicide Six might be enough mountain for them and is very close to the Inn.
Stay: The Woodstock Inn
Eat: Simon Pearce (an all time favorite), The Red Rooster at the Woodstock Inn, The Prince & The Pauper
Don’t Miss: Dining and glass blowing at Simon Pearce down the road in Quechee, a visit to the Montshire Science Museum in Norwich or a visit to Billings Farm right in Woodstock
WEST COAST SKIING
It’s that time of year again, bring on Spring Break! It is always hard to find the perfect family vacation spot but here are our top three picks for this Spring Break.
Ski in, ski out at this slope side eco-boutique hotel with spacious rooms to accommodate families of any size. There’s an Italian restaurant at the hotel, called Il Villaggio Osteria, that is the perfect spot for dinner with the kids. And, the Mangy Moose is within walking distance for Apres ski, if you want to do a casual early dinner or catch some live music. Plus, there’s a heated pool for the kids and a little playground right outside. The sister hotel, Teton Mountain Lodge, right across from it, is also a great lodging option. The Kids Ranch Ski School at Jackson Hole is very well organized, making drop offs and picks up smooth and the kids will learn how to ski quickly on the Jackson Hole terrain. While the kids are in ski school, be sure to treat yourself to a nice lunch at the Handlebar Restaurant at the Four Seasons or Piste on the mountain. Take a day off and explore the town with breakfast at the Persephone bakery or lunch at Cafe Genevieve and a visit to the National Elk Refuge. And if you can time it right, the Rendezvous music festival is a fun weekend to be at Jackson Hole, you can enjoy the perfect combination of live music along with amazing skiing.
This is a beautiful family resort that has recently been redone in modern Jonathon Adler decor. It is a quick car ride from Palm Beach International airport and about a 15 minute drive from Worth Avenue. The room options have great configurations for families. The hotel has easy access to the beach and beautiful swimming pools with plenty of lounge chairs. There is a kids club with pirate and mermaids themed activities called AquaNuts and a teen club with the latest technology called the Coast. You can easily head to Worth Avenue for shopping and dinner at Pizza Al Fresco. Or, if you’d like a date night, head to Imoto or Saint Ambroeus for dinner and have a drink at the Brazilian Court or Buccan before or after. For shopping, be sure to visit C. Orrico, P.B. Boys Club and Aristokids. If you want a break from the beach, Lion Country Safari, the Palm Beach Zoo and renting bikes from Palm Beach Bicycle (with lunch at the counter at Green’s pharmacy) are all fun activities.
If your family is adventurous and likes to stay busy, this is the hotel for you. Located by Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, have the hotel send a driver to pick you up at the airport so you can relax and let a local who knows the roads get you there. The Club Rio outdoor center will entertain the kids with a plethora of activities — horseback riding, tubing, kayaking, wild life sanctuary, repelling, nature walks and more. The outdoor center is located right at the resort making it very easy to keep the kids busy all day long. Plus, The Springs Hotel, has natural hot mineral springs, pools and waterfalls for you to enjoy (including a water slide and swim up bar) all with a beautiful view of the volcano. The concierge provides a list of local tours and activities to get your adrenaline pumping — waterfall canyon rappel, ATV extreme tour, canopy zip line and Arenal hanging bridges (they will guide you on what’s best for your child’s age). The rooms are very spacious with layouts that are well configured for families and most have nice outdoor patios with hammocks so you can enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica.
Please check back for The Local Moms Network expanding list of favorite family friendly hotels. We are always researching and looking for recommendations that fit our criteria 1) hotel room configurations that accommodate families 2) activities that appeal to all ages 3) desirable locations that parents and kids will both enjoy (and an opportunity for parents to have some alone time too!).