6 Family-Friendly Resorts for Last-Minute Getaways

You don’t have to travel far for an unforgettable family vacation. These resorts, all within a day’s drive of DC (one even just next door), offer the perfect excuse for a family road trip. Whether you’ve procrastinated planning spring break or just need a few nights out of town, these quick trips near DC offer amazing family memories without logging too many hours on the road.

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The Omni Homestead | Hot Springs, VA

Omni Hotels & Resorts

It’s hard to believe you are still in Virginia when a turn off Highway 81 leads to incredible elevation, vistas and the grand Homestead Resort. Twenty-three US presidents have visited this 2,000 acre property and you’ll feel the Presidential treatment your entire stay! The indoor pool is still heated by the hot spring water naturally flowing beneath the resort (so the temperature of the water does fluctuate). Consult the Resort Guide, printed weekly and provided at check-in, for restaurant hours and available experiences. 

Kids’ Activities
Adventure Kids programs offer hours of activities ranging from crafts to hikes for kids ages 5-12 (geared mostly towards 5-10, but 11 & 12 year olds are welcome). The program has day and evening options, reservations required. Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the spa, falconry experience, day of golf or a dinner at Jefferson’s Restaurant – the kids won’t even miss you! 

Reason to Leave the Resort
You can easily spend your entire time on property and never run out of fun, but if you want to explore the area, take a quick drive to a waterfall you can see from the road! Set your map to Falling Spring Falls which is located off Route 220 and about 15 minutes from the resort. There is a parking lot before the falls on your right. 

Where: 7696 Sam Snead Hwy, Hot Springs, VA
Distance: 4 hours (200 miles)
Online: omnihotels.com


The Greenbrier Resort | White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Robert C. via Yelp

Situated on 11,000 acres and surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier Resort is a must do for history buffs who enjoy the finer things in life. Opening in 1778, the resort is well known for hosting a variety of activities that include carriage rides, bowling and croquet, hot mineral springs and fine dining. Dig into their offerings and you’ll find unique experiences like the “Fairy and Gnome Workshop” (build your own fairy and gnome garden) or the “Bunker Tour” (tour the declassified Cold War fallout shelter located under the West Virginia Wing).  

Kids’ Activities
The Adventure Zone offers full and half day or evening options for kids while parents kayak, play pickleball or go off-road in the Jeep Driving Adventure. Kids ages 3-12 will enjoy structured activities geared towards their creativity and curiosity during the full or half day program. The evening Adventure Zone is for kids ages 6-12.

Reason to Leave the Resort
The quaint mountain town of Lewisburg, WV is just 15 minutes outside the resort. Spend a few hours taking in the local stores or embark on the Historic District Walking Tour (https://theclio.com/tour/369). Have lunch at the Stardust Cafe on Washington Street and try the “Back to the Future” Sandwich!

Where: 101 W Main St, White Sulphur Springs, WV
Distance: 4 hours (250 miles)
Online: https://www.greenbrier.com/


Mohonk Mountain House | New Paltz, NY

Mohonk Mountain House

A Victorian castle resort with an address on “Mountain Rest Road” is well worth the 5.5+ hour drive for a fall getaway! You’ll feel more relaxed just booking this all-inclusive vacation in the Hudson Valley’s most iconic resort where all meals and activities are included in your room price. Hiking trails, yoga, fitness and meditation classes, afternoon tea and an indoor pool will help melt away the stress of daily life. You’ll want to carve out time for the campfires with smores and guided nature hikes. Or just spend all day sitting on your balcony enjoying the endless views!

Kids’ Activities
No one will be bored during their stay as kids’ can hike, fish, play tennis, row a boat, and even pick up a craft kit. Their website breaks down activities by age and includes countless options. In the summer they offer a top rated Kids’ Club.

Reason to Leave the Resort
If you can drag your family away from the resort, you won’t be disappointed by a hike to see Awosting Falls located at Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The State Park is located just a few miles outside of the resort. Sheer rock cliffs, clear mountain water and fall foliage will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty. 

Where: 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY
Distance: 5 hours 30 minutes (300 miles)
Online: mohonk.com


Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa | Pigeon Forge, TN

Leslie D. via Yelp

Fall is the perfect time to explore the Great Smoky Mountains, and there could be no better Southern hostess than Dolly Parton. Your arrival will likely be greeted with warm cider and a cookie! Book a family suite with generous space and bunk beds for comfortable breaks between fun resort activities. The indoor, heated pool in the Garden House is open year round and offers views of the mountains. Don’t miss trying Dolly’s Stone Soup at the Song & Hearth buffet style Southern restaurant (you’ll need a tissue after hearing the family story of the soup!).

Kids’ Activities
Grab a copy of the weekly schedule when you arrive to see what is happening with Camp DW for the week. Activities include live entertainment, s’mores and crafts. Of course the founder of the Imagination Library has incorporated a bedtime storytime into her resort. Each evening kids can gather around the wood burning fire in The Barn and enjoy a book before bed. 

Reason to Leave the Resort
If you have a theme park loving crew then you’ll make a trip to Dollywood a priority when visiting Pigeon Forge. The 160 acre theme park features 50 rides for kids of all ages, entertainment and multiple dining options. The cool fall weather is perfect for enjoying the famous cinnamon bread sold in the park. Also, keep an eye out for “Easter Egg” signs displayed around the park paying tribute to the many hosts (employees) who have worked at the park for 30+ years. 

Distance: 8 hours (484 miles)
Online: dollywood.com

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center | National Harbor, MD

Archie A. via Yelp

Thankfully you don’t have to drive over 20 minutes to experience a memorable fall getaway just outside of DC. For a true last minute trip that requires minimal travel, book a stay for National Harbor’s Festifall. The Gaylord Resort’s grand glass atrium overlooks the shore of the Potomac River, and you never have to worry about the weather while dining and shopping within the hotel. Rooms that overlook the enclosed courtyard are a big hit with the kids. 

Kids’ Activities
Book a session at Muse Paint Bar for the family and enjoy some fresh seasonal treats like pumpkin caramel popcorn and pumpkin pie coffee for the adults. Head over to MGM National Harbor’s Conservatory where they are celebrating the Autumn Solstice thru November 8th. Reward everyone with a caramel apple from Savannah’s Candy Kitchen and don’t forget to take a trip up, up and around on the Capital Wheel.

Reason to Leave the Resort
So you’re not too far from home, but have you visited Piscataway Park’s National Colonial Farm? Keep the fall spirit alive with a guided tour of the 1770s working tobacco farm and meet the two-and four-legged residents. There are 7 nature trails that cover 3 miles. They run along the Potomac and are mostly shaded by the tree canopy. You’ll tire out the kids and earn that caramel apple! 

Where: 201 Waterfront St, National Harbor, MD
Distance: 20 minutes (10 miles)
Online: marriott.com

—Elissa Olechnovich

featured photo: iStock


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