Great Wolf Lodge Wins 'Best Family Resort'

Vista Verde Guest Ranch, Mohonk Mountain House, Smugglers' Notch Resort and Tyler Place Family Resort also win

USA TODAY 10Best enlisted the help of a panel of family travel experts to nominate 20 hotels and resorts from coast to coast for the title of Best Family Resort. The polls have closed and the results are in.

  • Great Wolf Lodge
    Various Locations

    These family resorts are located throughout the United States and known for their massive indoor water parks that cater to all ages, quality accommodations and excellent service. The resorts constantly evolve the guest experiences with new attractions and experiences, earning one of the highest repeat and referral rates in the industry. Many of the resorts feature family suites including bunk beds and faux indoor cabins for kids.
    Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dells

  • Vista Verde Guest Ranch
    Steamboat Springs, Colo.

    Dude ranch vacations are popular choices for family bonding, but Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colo. takes it to a new level of luxury. The all-inclusive guest ranch offers gourmet dining, spa treatments, top notch service, luxurious accommodation (cabins range from 1-3 bedrooms with daily maid service) and a wide variety of activities during summer and winter seasons.
    Photo courtesy of Vista Verde Guest Ranch

  • Mohonk Mountain House
    New Paltz, N.Y.

    This historic resort (family owned and operated since 1869) near the Catskill Mountains in Shawangunk Ridge, N.Y. is reminiscent of a Victorian castle and loved by families for its wide range of year-round outdoor activities, ranging from cross-country skiing in winter to horseback riding and canoeing in summer. Parents can relax in the award-winning spa while kids experience nature through the supervised Kids’ Club.
    Photo courtesy of Jim Smith Photography

  • Smugglers' Notch Resort
    Smugglers' Notch, Vt.

    Non-stop activities at Smugglers’ Notch Vermont are diverse so plan to stay awhile in one of their spacious, full-service condos. The resort is famous for being one of the best skiing venues for families. However, other outdoor fun includes llama treks, geocaching, mountain biking, ziplining, tennis and more. Young kids can enjoy the million-dollar child center, while older kids can participate in special interest camps that take advantage of the resort’s natural setting. Teens have their own programming, too.
    Photo courtesy of Smugglers' Notch Resort

  • Tyler Place Family Resort
    Highgate Springs, Vt.

    With a history of catering exclusively to families for over 80 years, it’s no wonder this all-inclusive resort includes programming for babies, toddlers, children and teens that allows parents to reconnect over some alone time amid the area’s natural beauty. All cottages are designed for families large and small, with separate bedrooms for parents and 1-4 bedrooms for children. Find this unique experience in northern Vermont along a private mile of lakeshore.
    Photo courtesy of Tyler Place Family Resort

  • Keystone Resort
    Keystone, Colo.

    Keystone is a ski resort in Keystone, Colo. that encompasses three mountains called Dercum Mountain, North Peak, the Outback, as well as five Bowls that enable skiing at every level. In addition to shredding the slopes, Keystone offers award-winning dining and family entertainment such as ice skating and sleigh rides in winter with plenty of outdoor hiking and biking in warm weather. The Kidtopia program entertains kids while parents enjoy alone time. There are over 3000 condos to choose from here that are either within a short walk or shuttle ride to the lifts. Night skiing is also popular.
    Photo courtesy of Keystone Resort

  • Kingsmill Resort
    Williamsburg, Va.

    Located on part of the 17th century Kingsmill Plantation in Virginia, the Kingsmill Resort overlooks the historic James River and provides guests the opportunity to enjoy water sports at its full-service marina. A championship golf course, full service spa, excellent and abundance of children’s activities draw families to the luxury hotel. Shuttles run between Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens and Water Country. Options for condos with up to three bedrooms give families enough space to spread out.
    Photo courtesy of Preferred Hotels & Resorts

  • Skytop Lodge
    Skytop, Penn.

    This all-inclusive family-friendly resort is located in the Poconos Mountains about 2 hours from New York City. It’s a perfect getaway for families looking for a refined experience during any season. Guests may look forward to skiing, ice skating and hot cocoa stands in the woods during winter as well as golf, swimming, lawn games and kayaking in warm weather. Accommodations now also include full-service condos.
    Photo courtesy of John Wadsworth / Skytop Lodge

  • Club Med Sandpiper Bay
    Port St. Lucie, Fla.

    One of the country’s only truly all-inclusive resorts, Club Med Sandpiper Bay caters to active families. It’s located in between Miami and Orlando along the St. Lucie River where beach and swimming activities are available. Expert pros in the resort’s multi-sport Club Med Academy are on hand to coach beach volleyball, tennis, golf and fitness for those who want to improve techniques. Parents may also take advantage of the age-appropriate child care and supervised activities.
    Photo courtesy of Club Med Sandpiper Bay

  • Cowboy Village
    Jackson Hole, Wy.

    Conveniently-located Cowboy Village Resort places guests just 15 minutes from Grand Teton National Park and an even shorter distance to the Jackson Hole airport. The quaint resort is comprised of 82 well-appointed cabins with kitchenettes plus two lodge rooms, a pool and fitness center. It’s within walking distance to the Town Square with easy access to skiing (including the Kids Ranch ski school) via a complimentary winter shuttle. Summer activities range from whitewater rafting to mountain biking.
    Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages / iStock Photo

Taking home the title of Best Family Resort is the multi-destination Great Wolf Lodge, famous for their massive indoor water parks that appeal to kids of all ages.

Vista Verde Guest Range in Steamboat Springs, Colo. snagged the runner-up spot thanks to its luxurious accommodations paired with family-friendly seasonal activities.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Family Resort are as follows:

  1. Great Wolf Lodge - Various Locations
  2. Vista Verde Guest Ranch - Steamboat Springs, Colo.
  3. Mohonk Mountain House - New Paltz, N.Y.
  4. Smugglers' Notch Resort - Smugglers' Notch, Vt.
  5. Tyler Place Family Resort - Highgate Springs, Vt.
  6. Keystone Resort - Keystone, Colo.
  7. Kingsmill Resort - Williamsburg, Va.
  8. Skytop Lodge - Skytop, Penn.
  9. Club Med Sandpiper Bay - Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  10. Cowboy Village - Jackson Hole, Wy.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Katie Dillon (La Jolla Mom), Kyle McCarthy (, Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) and Dave Parfitt (Adventures by Daddy) were chosen for their expertise in the family travel industry.

Other nominees included Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.; Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando; Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, Calif.; Sea Island Resort in Sea Island, Ga.; The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.; The Sanctuary in Kiawah Island, S.C.; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii; Disney's Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Maui, Hawaii.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.

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Dave Parfitt

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