We're In!
15 Family-Friendly Hotels In The U.S. That Aren’t Disney

A mom needs options.

One of the many whimsical, kid-friendly rooms at The Roxbury Experience hotel in New York.
The Roxbury Experience

Any parent who plans a family vacation — let alone actually travels with kids — deserves a post-trip vacation on their own… or at least a few hours alone to truly destress and decompress.

As a child-free adult Disney fan (go ahead and roll your eyes, reader!), I’m well aware of the many pros and cons of planning a theme park vacation. Packed days running from ride to ride ensures your kiddos will never be bored, but record-high crowds year-round, price increases at every turn, and the need to plan out every precious moment ahead of time, and it’s understandable why you might want to throw in the towel before you even book a single ticket.

So, if popular theme parks and attractions are cost-prohibitive or the thought of making a spreadsheet to plan a vacation simply makes you want to cry, don’t fret. There are plenty of family-friendly hotels and resorts in the U.S. with amenities and attractions that kids of all ages will love so much that they won’t even miss the characters, churros, or coasters.


Kingsmill Resort | Williamsburg, Virginia

Kingsmill Resort

If you’re looking for a place where your family can rest their weary bones after taking in the many famous Williamsburg attractions (including Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and, of course, Busch Gardens Williamsburg), you’ll find equal parts fun and relaxation at Kingsmill Resort.

A lush golf and spa resort situated on 2,900 acres along the James River, there are plenty of options to keep kids busy, including hiking, biking, watersports, and a game room. Of course, we don’t blame you if you instead choose to spend hours in the serene lazy river pool, which you can enter by way of waterslide or simply hopping onto a float. Your choice.


Big Cypress Lodge | Memphis, Tennessee

Big Cypress Lodge

You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel as unique as Big Cypress Lodge, which is situated in a massive glass pyramid within the world’s largest Bass Pro Shops. Billed as a “rustic nature retreat,” you can stay in one of more than 100 rooms with either a treehouse or duck-hunting cabin theme.

Kids of all ages will love the glass elevator ride to the observation deck at the tippy top of the pyramid, the indoor aquarium, and the ocean-themed bowling alley, while adults will love the world-class dining options and luxe spa amenities.


The Plaza New York | New York City

The Plaza Hotel

Sure, The Plaza is a splurge. But on a trip to the Big Apple, it’s so worth spending a night or two tucked away in this classic New York stomping ground that prominently features the playful Eloise. You and your princes and princesses can stay in the iconic Eloise Suite (which does cost a pretty penny) or simply visit the hotel's Eloise Shop and Palm Court and Eloise Shop. At the former, you’ll find all kinds of special-themed goodies to shop, and at the latter, you can enjoy an Eloise-themed afternoon tea service with treats like cake pops, cotton candy, and cupcakes.

The Plaza also has a Home Alone 2 experience, complete with the requisite ice cream sundae!


Hawks Cay Resort | Duck Key, Florida

Hawks Cay Resort

There’s so much to see in Florida beyond the Orlando theme parks, and Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys (located directly between Miami and Key West) is a shining example of that. Oversized family suites overlooking the ocean and multi-bedroom villas provide enough wiggle room for everyone, and the family will love swimming, enjoying the resort’s private marina, deep-sea fishing, dolphin spotting, saltwater lagoon, stand-up paddle boarding, and snorkeling. Animal lovers can even learn a thing or two about aquatic life as part of the in-depth environmental educational programs provided on-site.


Dog Bark Park Inn | Cottonwood, Idaho

Dog Bark Park Inn

Welcome to the Dog Bark Park Inn! This charming roadside attraction is for the dogs… and anyone who loves them, of course. Nestled inside the world’s largest Beagle named Sweet Willy (so cute) is a four-person guesthouse with everything you need to get a solid night’s snooze, including a sleeping loft and a private bathroom, plus a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a coffee maker. Naturally, this one-room hotel is dog-friendly, and you’ll find all kinds of canine-themed creature comforts, such as dog-shaped cookies and treats and a gift shop with all kinds of quirky finds.


The Roxbury Experience | Roxbury, New York

The Roxbury Experience

I’ve stayed in hotels from Shanghai to San Francisco, but none have charmed my heart quite like The Roxbury. Nestled in the Catskills, each of the sister resorts’ rooms is impeccably themed, and you can choose between a bevy of tower cottages, mansion rooms, and standard rooms and suites. But trust me: There’s nothing standard about this whimsical masterpiece of a motel, which features intricate detailing in every corner and so much for kids to explore on-site.

Whether your family wants to stay in a lush, fairytale-themed tower cottage or you’re eyeing the colorful two-bedroom genie’s bottle suite, as soon as you arrive at the Roxbury, you’ll be on the website planning a return visit. The owners pour love into every single square inch of these properties, and it’s a magical place whether you’ve got winter sports lovers on hand or you want a quiet warm weather escape to the mountains.

Pro tip: Visit on a weekend, as nearby dining options during the week can be limited.


Capitol Reef Resort | Torrey, Utah

Capitol Reef Resort

Experience a slice of pioneer life in the unique accommodations of Capitol Reef Resort, where the whole family can stay in an actual Conestoga wagon, teepee, or cabin. Each pick is chock-full of luxe amenities (don’t worry, there’s air conditioning!), but you can also stay in the onsite guestrooms, which are a bit more modern than their 19th-century-inspired counterparts.

The entire resort overlooks the stunning Red Rock Cliffs, and you’ll make priceless family memories as you gaze at the stars in front of the resort’s cozy fire pits.


Topnotch Resort | Stowe, Vermont

Topnotch Resort

Few places are as perfect to rest and recharge after exploring all that Stowe has to offer as the idyllic, luxurious Topnotch Resort with picturesque mountain views. There’s truly something for everyone here, including indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool Jacuzzis, tennis courts, and a full spa. Kids especially will love the onsite Equestrian Center for horseback riding and carriage or sleigh rides, as well as the outdoor fire pits with s’mores kits, hot cocoa, and afternoon tea. When they need to run around a bit, the wide expansive lawn overlooking Mount Mansfield also has badminton and volleyball courts.

You don’t even need to leave Fluffy or Fido behind — the resort is pet-friendly, offering in-room dog beds, water and food bowls, endless treats, and special canine-friendly turndown service and spa treatments (including an in-room Rover Reiki and Massage session). Nothing but the best for our human and furry family members, right?


The Curtis | Denver, Colorado

The Curtis

The irresistibly kitschy Curtis is located right in the center of Denver’s theater district, and the toughest part will be choosing which hyper-themed room to stay in. From an out-of-this-world Star Trek theme room to the famed video game suite that includes a Donkey Kong arcade and board games, it’s the quirky escape that lets you live out your childhood fantasies — but even better, because you can bring your own kids along for the fun.


Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge | Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge/Alaska Collection

The unbeatable panoramic views of the unforgettable Alaska Range are merely the tip of the iceberg (pun absolutely intended) at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, as this gorgeous getaway destination provides memorable experiences for all ages and vacation styles. Enjoy onsite activities like jet boat tours, fishing, hiking, biking, zip lining, and even sightseeing flights — all of which offer a unique chance to soak up the true beauty of Alaska on a trip your crew will never forget.


JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa | San Antonio, Texas

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

A dreamy, idyllic resort oasis located smack in the middle of Alamo City? You betcha. Take advantage of everything San Antonio has to offer, and then rest your bones at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. The lush, 600-acre property includes multiple pools that are heated year-round, an expansive lazy river, and water slides to suit adventure seekers of all ages.


Big Cedar Lodge | Ridgedale, Missouri

Big Cedar Lodge

The lakeside Big Cedar Lodge is massive, and every square inch is packed with outdoor fun for adventurous families. In fact, you can leave the fear of dull moments at the door here, because there’s a dizzying list of onsite activities to try, including paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks. You can dip your toes in your choice of five different swimming pools, a lazy river, or a white sandy beach, keeping warm by the onsite bonfires. There are also plenty of boredom-busters on dry land, including mini golf, go-karts, a ropes course, an underwater-themed bowling alley, and laser tag.


Adventure Suites | North Conway, New Hampshire

Adventure Suites

All-ages fun abounds at the boutique Adventure Suites. Each room is expertly themed, which means you can bring up to 18 guests and splurge on the spooky five-floor haunted castle or cozy up with the fam in the intricate treehouse suite. It makes for the perfect getaway to the mountains, and kids will love the arcade games and billiards in the saloon, as well as the hammock, swing, yard games, playground, and cozy outdoor fire patio that’s open year-round.


Grand Hotel | Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel

The charming Grand Hotel is known for having the world’s longest front porch, and the entire family will love strolling around the grounds, playing lawn games, biking, and enjoying horseback rides and carriage tours at the hotel’s stables. You won’t want to miss the incredible pool, which features a zero-depth beach entry, a water jet play area, and a water slide. You can even enjoy onsite live music and dancing — there’s truly never a dull moment at this lively hotel.


Tanque Verde Ranch | Tucson, Arizona

Tanque Verde Ranch

If an all-inclusive family resort tucked in Tucson’s most gorgeous desert landscape sounds like your idea of an incredible getaway, you’re officially in luck. Tanque Verde Ranch outpost provides plenty of opportunities to relax and recharge the batteries. Bonus? The kids will have the opportunity for fun at every turn thanks to a jam-packed daily activities schedule that you can purchase for the day or a la carte. Activities include archery, horseback riding, slime making, clay modeling, and so much more, and parents can rest easy knowing their kids are having an absolute blast the entire time.