Your options include a train caboose, a jungle room, a lighthouse, and even a helicopter
Looking for a way to take your next family vacation to the next level? We suggest booking a stay in a hotel that’s extra special. We found unique and fun hotels near NYC with themed rooms (forest, treehouse, jungle); hotels in trains, boats, and a helicopter, and even a hotel created by one of the members of the B-52s. Plus: cool hotels right here in NYC for your next staycation. For more ideas on where to stay, check out our favorite babymoon ideas, our picks for airbnbs for large groups, and where we go when we want to do some glamping near NYC.
Fun Hotels In NYC
MOXY Times Square
If you’re looking to be right in the middle of the Times Square action, this is the hotel we recommend. It has an upscale boutique hotel + hostel vibes with well-executed bedrooms and expansive lounge spaces where you can order food and watch the city pass by. Kids will love the ice cream vending machine and the quad bunk room. Be sure you dial the rotary phone in your room for bedtime stories!
The onsite restaurant Legasea Bar & Grill is a lovely option for dinner and you can visit the Cafe d’Avignon pop-up for coffee and pastries in the morning. Other helpful amenities included laundry facilities, a fitness center, and a festive rooftop bar. The hotel is an easy walk from Penn Station.
485 7th Ave.
Eloise Suite at the Plaza Hotel
What would it be like to live in a hotel? Eloise is one special hotel-dweller who’s captured the hearts of young children since the books were released in the 1950s. Eloise lived at the top of the Plaza Hotel in NYC, and your little ones can experience life through her pink-frilled shoes at the special Eloise Suite, decorated to look like the girl’s room.
A stay in this whimsical suite will grant your child access to Eloise books, dolls, and clothes for the duration of your stay. Kids will be greeted with a letter and some hand-picked treats from Eloise, enjoy tea for four at The Palm Court and take home a gift bag that includes a tote, a robe, and other Eloise-themed gifts. If you need more room, visitors are also given the option to book the adjoining Edwardian Suite (and net some champagne and chocolate truffles in the process).
5th Avenue at Central Park S.
Located in the heart of JFK airport, the TWA hotel takes you back to the 1950s in style and decor — the rooms even have vintage rotary phones so you can feel old explaining what they are to the kids. Take a dip in the rooftop pool and plane watch, roller skate at the hotel’s Roll-A-Rama, or check out the museum, which houses airplane and airport memorabilia from the 50s and 60s. And both kids and adults will get a thrill from Connie, the 1958 Constellation airplane that’s been converted into a cocktail lounge.
And when you turn in for the night, you can choose a TWA view or ope for a runway view where kids can watch planes taking off and landing. But don’t worry—none of the noise will make it through the rooms’ extra-thick windows.
John F. Kennedy International Airport
One, JFK Access Road, Idlewild Dr.
Crowne Plaza HY36
Urban vibes, city views, and an easy walk to the theaters or Penn Station make this hotel a great option for families when visiting NYC. We found the rooms to be quite spacious for NYC standards and the lobby restaurant Burgerology to be the perfect spot for a meal after a day spent walking around the city. Request a higher floor room so you can take advantage of the city views.
320 W 36th St.
The Peninsula Hotel
Who says that camping is only for the outdoors? The Peninsula Hotel brings turns your hotel room into a cozy faux outdoor retreat for young adventurers. Purchase the Camp Peninsula add-on for an additional fee and the hotel will provide an adorable tent with a fake campfire kit. Kids will also be greeted with a personalized welcome card, a welcome kit that includes s’mores, and a hotel-wide scavenger hunt (note that an adult has to accompany the kids at all times during this activity).
700 Fifth Avenue at 55th St.
The Jane Hotel
It’s all hands on deck at the historic Jane Hotel, where every room is styled after ship cabins. This hotel was home to the Titanic survivors in 1912 as well as a memorial service to those lost, so it’s full of history — and, some say, ghosts! You’ll feel like you’re setting sail to adventure in these nautical nooks. There are small standard rooms and rooms with bunk beds, though it’s important to note that these use shared bathrooms. For a more private residence, book one of the hotel’s 30 Captain’s Cabins, which comes with an en-suite restroom. This is a good option for a smaller family or if you have the means to book more than one room, since these rooms aren’t really meant for large groups.
113 Jane St.
Mr. C Hotel
This luxury hotel in downtown Manhattan knows how to welcome kids in style. Let the hotel know that you’re traveling with kids to receive the complimentary “Little C” treat. This cute welcome package includes a Mr. C teddy bear, homemade cookies with Nutella spread and sprinkles, some milk to wash that treat down, a coloring book, and an Honest Company Discovery bath set. Further perks include exclusive discounts to nearby family attractions and a Little C menu if you want to get something kid-friendly to nosh on. Good to know: Cribs are also available at no additional charge on request.
33 Peck Slip
Collective Retreats at Governors Island
Want to get down and dirty in the great outdoors but don’t want to go too far out or get too dirty? Governors Island now has the solution for you. Introduced in 2018, the Collective Retreats glamping package is a great introduction to camping — except you don’t need a car and still get all your creature comforts. It can be an excellent entry point for little kids into actual camping!
You can choose to stay in a Summit Tent or an Outlook Shelter, both of which are slick and comfortable, have access to a bathroom with hot running water (en-suite in the Summit Tent, communal in the Outlook Shelter), a queen or two double beds, plush linens and towels and any other amenity you’d expect to find in a boutique hotel. While the tents have a maximum adult occupancy of two, a rollaway bed for a child under 12 can be added for an additional fee. Children under 6 can share a bed with an adult at no extra charge.
The experience places you right across the water from NYC, with views of the Statue of Liberty and glamorous night skyline views of the city. Partake in s’more making—expertly curated by Collective Retreats pastry chef, Aura Danton—and live music in the evening, and yoga and island walks in the morning. A five-star dining experience is also available for visitors to purchase.
Fun Hotels in New York State
LEGOLAND New York Resort
Calling all Master Builders! The LEGOLAND hotel gives little builders the chance to stay in a life-sized version of their favorite LEGO kit: Pirate, Ninjago, LEGO Friends or Kingdom. All visitors can access a free breakfast buffet, character meet-and-greets, a kids’ sleeping area with bunk bed and LEGOs in the room so you can build to your heart’s content during your stay.
The hotel also has a heated pool, the chance to workshop with a real LEGO Master Builder, a display wall featuring over 5,000 LEGO Minifigures, a disco elevator, nightly children’s entertainment, and more.Plus, the hotel is located at the main entrance to LEGOLAND, so you can step out of your LEGO room and right into your LEGO adventure!
Distance from NYC: 1h 10m
One LEGOLAND Blvd.
The Roxbury Motel
The Roxbury Motel has the most magical, whimsical rooms you’ll ever see. Step into any of their intricate spaces — whether that’s one of their regular rooms and suites, mansion rooms or the gorgeous tower cottages — and you’re transported to a different world. Stay in a fairy forest and sleep surrounded by trees and foliage, spend a night in Dracula’s castle with its gothic furnishings and beautiful red and white chandelier, sleep inside Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage in a room inspired by the fairy tale, and that’s naming only a few. There are rooms in this motel inspired by everything from disco parties and modern art to caves and… pie? No matter which room you decide to stay in, it’ll definitely be a unique experience.
Distance from NYC: 2h 30m
2258 County Highway 41
What’s it like to live in a lighthouse? Find out at the Saugerties Lighthouse, where visitors can stay overnight in a room facing Esopus Creek. There are only two rooms available to stay in, and families are encouraged to book both for their comfort. One bathroom is shared by all guests, and it uses a compost toilet (instructions are provided). Kids are always welcome but must be mindful of the space, since the lighthouse is a living museum. Enjoy a hearty breakfast, explore the nearby nature trail, and stop by the small village of Saugerties.
If this gets you itching for more lighthouse stays, there’s another at Goose Rocks Lighthouse, North Haven, Maine and one more at 1 Washington Street, Newport, Rhode Island, that lets you stay in the lighthouse keeper’s apartment.
Distance from NYC: 1h 40m
168 Lighthouse Dr.
Train Depot airbnb
All aboard! This revamped caboose and train depot are the perfect getaway spot for anyone who’s loco for locomotives. Now a two-bedroom home in Accord, the depot was built in 1902 and comes from the New York, Ontario & Western Railway. The space is bright and colorful with gorgeous views through floor-to-ceiling windows. The airbnb does retain many of its original fixtures, like the ticket window and waiting room benches. Families can delight in the 1940 caboose that sits on 100 feet of train track out back.
Though the fixtures are old, the accommodations themselves are very 21st century, featuring a modern kitchen, complete with a popcorn machine. While the kids run around exploring, you can relax at the fire pit or sit back with a book on the hammock or in the reading nook.
Distance from NYC: About 2h
Kate’s Lazy Meadow
The city is great but you may sometimes dream of escaping to a cabin in the woods. At Kate’s Lazy Meadow, it doesn’t get any more “cabin-esque” than this little spot. Created by Kate Pierson of the 70s band the B-52 and Monica Coleman, Kate’s has several locations, including a spot in Woodstock.
When you stay here, you get the cabin, dubbed the Lazy Cabin, this cozy black cabin with red trimmings is decked out in a rustic style with all the trimmings, including an outdoor patio, charming wood carvings, three private acres as your backyard and a hiking trail. It’s a good chance to unwind and disconnect from technology and you can bring the dog, too — dogs over a year old are allowed, at an additional lodging fee.
Know before you book: There’s a minimum stay of three nights in the winter and spring and four nights in summer and fall.
Distance from NYC: 2h
Mink Hollow Rd.
Ultra Luxury Treehouse Airbnb
Step out of your car and cross the bridge through the trees to the beautiful treehouse at this airbnb property. Enjoy the views through the floor-to-ceiling windows, where you can see a waterfall just outside the house or watch deer frolicking. The bedroom can accommodate a family of four with a king-sized bed and bunk beds for the little ones. And thanks to the full kitchen, coffee maker, and plenty of board games, it’ll be easy to get cozy and comfy in this woodland getaway.
Distance from NYC: About 4h
Adirondack, Remsen, NY
Fun Hotels in Connecticut
Ever wanted to spend the night in a helicopter? Is your dream home a library? Winvian Farm specializes in super special cabin retreats that will make a lasting impression. In addition to the aforementioned library cabin and the refurbished 1968 Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican helicopter, you can also stay in a rustic treehouse (which looks, adorably, like a house on stilts), a woodland cottage, an indoor woodlands setup and a stone hut that feels like you’re walking into a cave.
And that’s in addition to the more “normal” but equally charming fare like the wood and log cabins, the arts and crafts bungalow, the maritime lighthouse-themed cottage, and still others. While you’re there, you’ll be able to roam freely around the 113 acres of Winvian Farm, borrow a bike for a ride around the farm or town, pamper yourself in the spa, hike, fish, or even take a hot air balloon ride.
Distance from NYC: 2h
155 Alain White Rd
Lake Compounce Campground
The Lake Compounce Campground is the camping ground for the Lake Compounce amusement and water park, so you can have a fun day at the park, then continue the adventure with this family-friendly camping experience. Stay in a teepee or Cub Hut, or, if you’re staying longer than two nights, book a 1- or 2-bedroom cabin. All accommodations have electricity, a mini-fridge, access to public or private bathrooms and showers and a solid floor under your feet. (If your family prefers to rough it, you can also book a space and set up your own tent, instead.)
The campground holds special themed activities almost every weekend that often include breakfast and a children’s activity, and there’s a playground and various sports courts available for visitors to use at their leisure.
185 Enterprise Dr
Distance from NYC: 2h 20m
Fun Hotels in Pennsylvania
Red Caboose Motel
Chug along to the Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant, where you can dine and rest in one of 38 cabooses, a baggage car, or a mail car. Family cabooses have bunk beds (four in the biggest option!) and a cozy, nostalgic vibe. Due to the constraints (ie, them being train cars!), the spaces aren’t very large, but the atmosphere makes up for the lack of space.
While you’re here, don’t miss the Red Caboose Express — a trackless train that’ll take you on a tour around the property — a playground for the little ones, Amish buggy rides, a petting zoo, and some antique nickelodeon pianos, the kind that you imagine when you think of an old-timey saloon.
And, of course, eating at Casey Jones’ restaurant is another experience altogether. There’s a Little Engineers section on the menu for kids and some challenges for the brave (or foolish) adults who think they can take on one of their challenges. For instance, eat two half-pound burgers, two servings of pulled pork, bacon, cheese, and two eggs on a brioche bun surrounded by two lbs of fries in 30 minutes and get the meal free and your name on the wall of fame.
Distance from NYC: 2h 30m
312 Paradise Ln.
Great Wolf Lodge
There’s plenty for your wolf pack to do at the Great Wold Lodge resort and water park, and the lodging is a huge part of the adventure. When you book the Kid Cabin, Wolf Den, or KidKamp suite, your family stays in a themed room with kid sleeping accommodations crafted to look like a log cabin, a wild cave, or a camping tent (respectively). All three also have bunk beds, and water park passes and children’s events are included with an overnight stay.
Enjoy various additional events at no extra charge, including yoga, arts and crafts (both take-home kits and in-resort workshops), sing-alongs and character appearances, dance paries, storytimes, and even more!
Distance from NYC: 1h 30m
1 Great Wolf Dr.
Cartoon Network Hotel
Embark on a quest with your kids’ (and, let’s be honest, your) favorite Cartoon Network characters! This hotel in Pennsylvania is fun, colorful, and full of personality. Each room has decor adorned by the network’s titles, so you can hang in a room with Powerpuff Girls walls, snuggling under your Adventures of Gumball covers. The whole hotel is themed around Cartoon Network, from the We Bear Bears Bearista Cafe to the Adventure Time and Powerpuff Girls pools. There’s also a Toon Room full of activities to keep your little ones engaged and a Ben-10 Omnicade with arcade games and virtual reality pods. And if you need even more entertainment, the hotel gives out free arts and crafts kits on request.
Note that there’s no guarantee which show you’ll get, as themes vary by room — though you can call the hotel and try requesting a specific character theme and the hotel will do their best. Parents will be happy to hear that pillows are hypoallergenic and the entire hotel is smoke-free. If you’re looking for something to do, the hotel offers special low rates to the Dutch Wonderland amusement park located right next to the hotel.
Distance from NYC: 2h 30m
2285 E Lincoln Hwy
Fun Hotels In Massachusetts
The Kendall Hotel
Located in a renovated fire station, the Kendall is such a key piece of history that it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was opened in 1895 as the Engine 7 Firehouse as a new, single-purpose fire station (previously, firemen shared a space with police stations and government offices). It still stands out among its neighboring homes as one of the last 19th-century buildings.
A daily fireman’s breakfast buffet and an evening wine tasting for the adults in the family are included with the experience. Keep an eye out for unique art pieces scattered around the hotel, made by local artists. Kids might also enjoy looking for all the hand-picked antiques, period antiques, and firefighter-related objects placed around the space.
Distance from NYC: 3h, 50m
350 Main St.
Bed and Breakfast Afloat
Some of the hotels on this list have you staying in some interesting places, but the Bed and Breakfast Afloat is a chance to leave solid ground in favor of the rolling seas — or, at least, the Boston Harbor. Stay on a sailboat or a yacht, with panoramic views of the harbor and Boston skyline. Each bed and breakfast vessel comes has space to sleep, eat, and relax, and includes amenities like a microwave, fridge, coffeemaker, and a TV — basically, everything you’d expect from a regular hotel room. When you stay at this hotel, you can also use the grill, pool, laundry room, and shower and bath in the Marina.
Some vessels aren’t great for kids under 12, so keep an eye out for this disclaimer if you have very little ones.
Distance from NYC: 4h
28 Constitution Road
Fun Hotels in New Hampshire
This final entry on the list is pretty far out there, but it would be a shame not to include it. If you’re making a longer trip out to New Hampshire, Adventure Suites is a must-visit. Each room is intricately designed to fit a certain theme. There’s a deserted island, a dragon’s lair (that has a floating bed being carried away by a dragon prop!), a Roman bathhouse, a motorcycle bar, a cave, a club, a sky captain lounge, a jungle… and more! Each room has hand-picked and often imported artwork, set pieces, furniture, and tons of details.
Kids will particularly enjoy the treehouse suite, a duplex where you can go above or inside a wise-looking tree, and the jungle with its whimsical animal-butt chairs. Or, you could be ironic and stay in the New York penthouse (hey, that’s the only way some of us would ever be able to afford it).
There’s also a farm at a different location where you can stay and hang out with horses, chickens, pigs, goats, and other friendly animals.
Distance from NYC: 6h 20m
3440 White Mountain Hwy.
North Conway, NH