Family Vacation Ideas for the Catskills, New York | Ciao Bambino!

Family Vacation Ideas for the Catskills, New York

The Catskills is the perfect destination for a family getaway. It’s easy to get around and a good respite from busy, daily life. Nestled in the region’s mountains and valleys is a variety of affordable, fun attractions and culinary options.

If you’re thinking about going for a weekend, we’ve created an itinerary that’s sure to please everyone in the family, anytime of year. All you need is a few days, a car, a full tank of car and an adventurous spirit.

Tips for Visiting the Catskills with Kids

Things to Do

Enjoying the very child-friendly slopes at Plattekill.

Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury

In the winter, Plattekill Mountain is a ski resort that’s undeniably appropriate for families. It’s less crowded than other resorts, so the lines to the lifts and food are shorter, making for a very manageable experience with kids. It’s a relatively small mountain that’s family-owned and operated. We got very good service renting our skis before venturing onto its 38 trails. The snow was fresh, the trails top notch. We also spent the latter part of the day tubing down the mountain, a great choice for non-skiers.

Summer time at Plattekill offers equally great activities including bike rides, hiking trails, kayaking rentals, and the Catskill Scenic Rail-Trail, a converted rail bed with limited grade variation and miles of scenic views.

Shaver Hill Farm in Harpersfield

If you and your family are maple syrup fans, a trip to Shaver Hill Farm is a necessity during your Catskills trip. The farm dates back to 1912, when it started as a small dairy farm with a maple syrup operation on the side. Today it’s a full-blown maple syrup operation. On our guided tour, we learned that maple syrup isn’t something you can easily make at home. It takes 35 gallons of sap toproduce one gallon of syrup in massive machines and is a 12-hour process.

We happened to be at the farm during the Shavers’ annual Maple Weekend for a big pancake breakfast and learned first hand how the owners tap the trees for sap. We were also given a horse-drawn tour of the sugar bush. We sampled maple cream, donuts, sugar and syrup and our mouths were left permanently sweet.

Winter in the Catskills. Photo courtesy of I Love NY.

We interspersed these stops with:

>  Breakfast at Maggie’s Krooked Café in Tannersville where we had home-cooked meals and delicious fruit smoothies.

> An education tour of the Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter, whose mission is to provide educational opportunities in the arts for youth and lifelong learners. We learned about a historical piano collection that included instruments from the 1700’s, including one used by Liberace himself, and went into an art gallery filled with work by local artists.

Where to Eat

Table Ten uses fresh ingredients straight from the farm.

Table on Ten in Bloomville

Table on Ten is the most unassuming restaurant, housed in an old refurbished 1860s house off a dirt road in Bloomville. When we walked in, we felt the vibe of a hipster Brooklyn neighborhood eatery. To me, that usually means delicious foods with tastes that are out of this world, and I was right.

The owners have dedicated the menu to fresh ingredients from local farms, which grace the toppings on wood-fired pizza, salads (the faro salad is amazing) and dessert pies topped with ricotta cheese, honey, shaved dark chocolate, and sea salt. For parents, they have really good wine; for children, they have uniquely flavored sodas. Table at Ten offers a sunny dining room, a relaxed pace and pizzas that are bound to please any palette. Kids will also love their weekly pasta nights where diners are seated under linguini drying on clotheslines.

A view of the quaint exterior of the Andes Hotel.

Andes Hotel in Andes

The Andes Hotel was the perfect stop for a family-friendly meal. Its restaurant is cozy and casual and has a kid’s menu, entertainment (comedy the night we were there) and a seasonal menu. My son had traditional fish & chips and I had a nice portion of salmon. Carnivores will enjoy their wood grilled beef and chicken options. There’s also a bar attached with a pool table that kids can entertain themselves on (accompany by an adult).

Where to Stay

Outside the Fisk House.

Fisk House Bed & Breakfast in Delhi

The Fisk House is a historic stagecoach inn that has been restored to its original condition and is now a five-room bed & breakfast. It’s simple but incredibly charming and a lovely place to rest your head after a day of exploration and adventure. On the main floor, there is a full dining room where breakfast is served every morning, a cozy living room and full kitchen equipped with a Keurig coffee machine. There’s a heated outdoor pool and each room has a TV, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, comfy linens and antique furnishings. My son enjoyed the experience of staying in a bed & breakfast – it was his first time and he felt right at home.

Relevant Links:

Best family hotels and things to do in New York State with kids

The best kid-friendly restaurants in New York City

Editor’s note: Holly and her son were hosted by I Love NY. As usual, all opinions are her own.

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