Childless revelers have a plethora of options when it comes to New Year’s Eve. Unencumbered adults can go to parties held in bars, at homes and even in the middle of Times Square. Parents, unfortunately, often have fewer destinations to choose from — and that’s if they even want to go out at all.
“Most parents are cautious about going out with kids on New Year’s Eve because, depending where you go, the crowds can be rowdy or the vibe isn’t kid-friendly,” said Amanda Norcross, senior editor of TripAdvisor’s family site, FamilyVacationCritic.com. “Many parents with young children also avoid going out since the kids — and often, the parents, too — can’t stay up until midnight anyway.”
Resorts across the New York region are giving parents and grandparents a solution to this problem, though, tempting them with offerings that let Mom and Dad get a taste of childless life without leaving the children home.
The oceanfront Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in Montauk, N.Y., is courting parents who want a few hours of grown-up New Year’s celebration with the children nearby. Parents spend the night dancing at a roaring 1920s Gatsby-inspired New Year’s Eve party ($ 150 plus tax and gratuity; room rate is additional), while children go off to their own gratis pajama party. Supervised by babysitters, children can decorate cookies, do arts and crafts, watch a showing of “The Polar Express,” and ring in the New Year independently, and then they meet up with their parents at 2 a.m. when both events are over.
Skytop Lodge in Skytop, Pa., is offering an old-fashioned party for multigenerational New Year’s celebrants (two-night lodging and meals for a family of four starts at $ 2,389). The evening’s festivities feature an ugly sweater skate, hayrides, fireworks, snow tubing and skiing as well as an orchestra and D.J. There’s also a separate party for children where they can play games and do arts and crafts while Mom and Dad relax. A life-size gingerbread house, carolers, Yule Log ceremony, cooking demonstrations and resort-wide grand march parade round out a weekend that’s focused on tradition, explains the general manager Jeffrey Rudder. “We’ve got families of 30 coming in, year after year, so their kids can experience New Year’s Eve together.”
Parents who prefer to keep the kiddies with them the entire night have options as well. Families pining for warmer weather can fake it at an indoor water park. Two nearby resorts promise water slides and indoor pools, no flight required. The Kartrite Resort in Monticello, N.Y., is hosting its first New Year’s Eve party (rates start at $ 609 per night for a family of four’s lodging and water park admission), with water park hours extended to 1 a.m. Families can slide into the pool — and 2020 — with a celebration featuring a D.J., drinks and food. On-property activities include a talent show, game night show, fire pit, and s ‘mores. Kalahari, in Pocono, Pa., is keeping its 220,000 square-foot water park open until 10 p.m., after which everyone staying for the two-night fete ($ 589 per night includes water park passes and hotel for two adults and two children) will be welcomed into an upscale gala with food, music and entertainment. Those with little ones get their own party and activities at a “Noon Year’s Eve” party earlier in the day.
Those who want a more analog party — think face painting, balloon artists and magicians for kids and dancing, buffet, and a champagne toast for those over 21 — can visit the Grand Cascades Lodge party (prices start at $ 2,061 for a two-night family of four stay) in Vernon, N.J. The resort’s indoor/outdoor pool will be open as will its basketball and tennis courts, laser tag and archery tag, and guests can choose between several parties to ring in the New Year.
Woodloch Pines (four-night packages start at $ 350 per adult per night) in Hawley, Pa., also focuses on the traditional. The venue will have activities and offerings such as game show-style events, Winter Olympics, and shows. A 6 p.m. fireworks spectacular, sit-down dinner with lobster tails and filet mignon, and two parties — one for families with children 10 and over the other for families with younger guests — round out the night. Woodloch also facilitates in-room babysitting for parents who want children to stick to a regular bedtime.
Of course, not everyone wants a raucous party destination. Frost Valley (two-night lodging starts at $ 108, plus $ 150 per person for meals and activities) in Claryville, N.Y., is catering to this cohort with its low-key party.
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“Our property is 5,500 acres so we could have 500 people here and you still feel like your family is all alone,” said Amanda Hinski, the venue’s chief brand experience officer. The Frost Valley destination, which doesn’t get cellular service, is heavy on outdoor activities such as hiking, zip lining, cross-country skiing and snow tubing. There will also be a child-friendly party in the evening with line dancing, trivia, food and music. Bring your own alcohol if you like, but know it must stay in your room or lodge.
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