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“Far exceeded expectations” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

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Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
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600 State Route 44/55, Highland, NY 12528   |  
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Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Highland
Englewood, New Jersey, USA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Far exceeded expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

We were there with our grandchildren. It was fantastic. There was something for them to do every minute of the day. The activities were very diverse. Something for everyone including the grandparents. The staff were marvelous. They could not have done more for us and with the best attitude. The hotel and grounds were immaculate. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: We were in the main lodge facing the pool.and it was very convenient to everything and we all slept...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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684 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (209)
Date | Rating
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English first
Lake Ronkonkoma, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

All together I have been going there for over 35 years and now I bring my daughter. I have to say the first year I was not impressed BUT when I went back the next year to give it another chance I was so pleased with the service,food,staff and the best part is They actually read what we write which made everything perfect. It showed me they care so from this point we will be there every year in October to celebrate my daughters Birthday . Thank You to the staff for keeping my tradition going.
Bobby Sidito

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, Texas
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

Chaperoned on June 3rd as part of a 7th/8th grade class day trip. I have been to the ranch 4 other times before with my son and we love it but I wasn't sure how it would be for a class trip. The kids absolutely loved it and so did the chaperones. Everyone loved the fact that RHR has so many activities to offer offer in one place. They played volleyball/basketball/tennis/baseball, did archery range, rode a horse, swimming indoors and outdoors, paddle boats, kayaking etc etc.... Thanks to Robyn @ group sales for all her help. Everything was well organized and ran smoothly. The BBQ picnic lunch and dinner buffet was very good. The only 2 minor gripes I heard was about the apple pie at dinner (kids said they prefer choc or van cake or ice cream instead of pie) and the archery range should be bigger with more than 1 target. Other than that, it was all positive remarks on the bus ride home with the 7th graders saying they would love for it to be the 8th grade class trip next year. I hope to return to RHR soon.. By the way: thanks for mailing me the hat back I lost :)

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Wading River
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

WOW! Just returned from a wonderful 2 night trip with our Girl Scout troop. The resort is spotlessly clean, beautifully landscaped, and extremely well-staffed. The girls took advantage of so many activities: 2 hour-long trail rides, water skiing, bungee jumping, badge lecture, swaps meet, indoor/outdoor pools and waterslides, banana boat, pedal boats, kayaks, shows, playground, bonfire.... the list goes on and on! And there were still MORE activities we just couldn't get to: fishing, mini golf, mining.... Cannot overstate the value - the Girl Scout rate was AWESOME when considering all of the food and activities were included (excluding $10 fee per girl for waterskiing - but, still!).

Rooms were spacious and clean. Nothing fancy, but we were in them so infrequently frankly the decor didn't really matter.

Food was plentiful and surprisingly good. Tons of fresh fruits and salads, buffet was attended and refreshed often, and made-to-order items were available at all meals. An allergy in our party was handled in a friendly and professional manner by wait staff and kitchen staff alike.

All adults in our party said they would return. And the girls asked when we would come back before we even left the parking lot upon check out!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deer Park, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Just got back from a long weekend at the Ranch over the long Memorial Day weekend..

I've been a regular guest to the Rocking Horse ranch for the better part of 50 years, first as a young child, and then with my own children, and more recently, my grandchild. I've seen the place evolve from a basic no frills dude ranch in 1968 to a small resort, following a few fires in the early years purportedly set by a disgruntled mentally unstable ex-employee. It's probably safe to say that after dozens of visits to the ranch over 5 decades I know it fairly well.

It's one of my favorite vacation spots because, well it's got the memories, and I love to ride horses, but it's also very convenient in terms of distance from Long Island, a bit under 2 1/2 hours drive from western Suffolk county if the traffic is light. It's all inclusive with 3 meals a day. Be aware that unless you want to run up a bar tab or sneak into the dining room and hit the soda machines; between meals, only coffee, hot chocolate, ice water, and cake and/or cookies are available (24 hours a day).

Nowadays, I go primarily to ride horses. The Rocking Horse ranch is one of the few places in the area where you can be assured of getting out in the woods and cantering on a horse, and the riding program is well structured with plenty of opportunities to get out on the trails. Although you're only guaranteed one trail ride per day, usually you can ride at least 3 times and I've sometimes ridden as many as 6x a day!

If they run the early ride at about 8 am, it's an open ride, no one has reservations, and because most people aren't looking to ride that early, it's never very full, then you've also got your regularly scheduled ride at whatever time you signed up for when you first arrived, and the odds are good you'll get on at least one more ride, especially one of the two afternoon rides which are not as popular for whatever reasons. If you go on "standby" and don't make it onto the ride, you're given a "priority standby ticket" which almost guarantees you'll get on the next unreserved trail ride.

The only complaint I have about the horseback riding is that they accommodate so many people, sometimes up to 120 riders at once- that there is lots of time wasted getting everyone saddled up, and divided into one of 3 trail rides, the slow ride (walking), the medium ride (slow trotting) and the fast ride (cantering). There have been times that the trail ride is only a bit more than a half hour, and we only canter a few times. Some ride leaders are more aggressive, and on the advanced ride we do a lot of running at a very fast canter approaching a gallop. Other wranglers keep the runs short and slow under the very same trail and weather conditions. Those short/slow rides leave me rather unsatisfied, luckily they're atypical. Since the last ride is over by around 4 pm, I don't understand why they can't space the rides out a bit more to allow for more time getting the guests on and off the horses and split up into the proper ride category. Some wranglers are very friendly and accommodating and take the time to explain proper riding technique and give pointers when you're doing something wrong. Others can also be very bossy, I used to take it personally when they'd bark at me to change something about my riding style, but I get that they deal with lots of people who don't have a clue about horses and they need to maintain order and safety and protect their horses, that much being said we're here to have fun, and yes, to be safe, but no need to yell at us like we're morons.

The buildings and interiors are kept in great shape, you won't find peeling paint, or broken sports equipment, the lawns and gardens and activity areas are meticulously maintained. I was sorry to see the old rifle range (real bullets you'd buy 10 in a package at the front desk) replaced with.. seriously..BB guns?? It can get a bit crowded in there at times, but word has it that they'll be expanding the rifle range and archery building in the near future.

The ranch has many family activities, including watersports, minature golf, tennis, shuffleboard, and a bunch of indoor activities and scheduled activities geared towards kids. Board games are available at the front desk, and there's an indoor and outdoor pool. The indoor pool has been totally revamped to include a large water slide. It used to have a diving board and a deep end, now it's shallow with no diving board, and to me that's not an improvement, but that's likely due to insurance liabilities so I get it. Waterskiing can be a bit difficult to get scheduled- it's a favorite activity and they really should expand the available hours. They have paddleboats for the lake but you're limited to an area less than half of the size of that large beautiful lake pictured in their brochure and website, because most of it is "private property", although they use the entire lake for water skiing- go figure.

The main lodge used to have a bit of a damp odor but in recent visits to the ranch I haven't noticed that at all, it appears all the carpets have been replaced. The food is somewhat less than restaurant quality. If you order any sort of steak, order it at least one step more towards the pink side than you normally would, every time I ordered a steak this past weekend it was overcooked, dry, and chewy. I am not picky when it comes to food and never noticed a problem before, but in the past, people who have traveled with me and been to the ranch for the first time didn't find it to be overly impressive. Breakfast can't be beat, it's served buffet style as is lunch, and you can special order eggs if you don't want the scrambled eggs from the buffet. The rooms were getting a bit rundown several years ago but they've all been updated.

The resort staff is very friendly and accommodating and will take care of just about anything you need. I have not experienced any employee to be rude or unresponsive to my requests, with two minor exceptions over the years: Once was a few years back, when a guest in the next door room was smoking (against the rules of course) and the odor was filering into our room. The staff made an effort to resolve the problem but it was ineffective- seems like they knocked on the door, maybe gave the person a warning, and that was it.

The smoking continued, I even knocked on the door myself, and the person who opened the door denied they were smoking, even though the smoke was pouring out into the hallway. I get that the resort doesn't want to anger their guests who are paying thousands to be there but hey, rules are rules, ya know? From some reviews on here it seems like they don't know how to handle problem guests. This past weekend the lock broke on the door and the maintenance guy was repairing it, and he had a bit of an attitude..."I can't fix this lock now if people keep walking in and out of the room". Excuse us for wanting to go in and out of the room! But again, he's a low paid maintenance guy of probably marginal intelligence and poor people skills- what can you expect..people like that don't bother me, I fired right back with "If we're in your way, come back later, I don't care". But other people might be put off by it.

Pros: Great family resort with plenty of activities for kids, the buildings, the interiors, and the grounds are kept very nicely. You be rather challenged to find a better managed horseback riding program anywhere on the face of this planet. Very convenient to get to from Long Island and most parts of the tristate area.

Cons: It can be costly. I get that it's an expensive place to run, with the high numbers of staff, the horses, insurance, costs to maintain the grounds, it's a lot more overhead than your typical hotel, but there have been times that I chose to go fly to a tropical island or take a short cruise, rather than a long weekend at the ranch- the costs can be surprisingly similar. The indoor pool area always has a strong chlorine smell, moreso than other indoor pools. It's bad enough that even though I like to swim, I prefer to stay away from the pool, I stuck my head in there briefly this past weekend and it was just as strong as it's always been. The walls between the guest rooms are not heavily insulated and it's possible to hear semi-loud conversations in the next room even if there is no doorway connecting them.

Possible improvements: The Rocking Horse ranch advertises "full use of facilities on the day of arrival and departure" but on weeks that the Ranch isn't open prior to your visit, you will probably only find one scheduled trail ride on the day of your arrival and everything shuts down in the afternoon on the last day of your stay (if the ranch is closed the following day). That blows, and frankly, is unnecessary in my opinion. Especially this past holiday weekend, since the weather was lousy for the first part of the weekend and only got really nice during the last day. Would it have been that big a deal to extend the hours a bit due to the bad weather? I noticed that most people stuck around a lot longer than they usually do, I'm sure it's because of the great weather, and they were kicking people out of the pool. Why is checkout time at 12 noon with a possible extension to 1 pm upon request, especially if the resort is closed the next day? It's rather inconvenient to go riding and swimming after all your clothing is packed in the car. Maybe add a paid option to have a private trail ride just for your own friends and family. Or acknowledge your long term guests by offering them a free private trail ride to thank them for their devotion and patronage and spending lots of hard earned cash over the years. There was a jacuzzi there at one time, they removed it, and nothing beats jumping into a hot tub after a day on horses.

With the recent demise of Roseland ranch, the only other ranch in the area is Pinegrove. I tried that one several years ago and wasn't all that impressed, I compared prices recently and I noticed that the posted rates are about $100 less per nite than Rocking horse- but upon further reading I see that for the posted rates you're only allowed one ride per day unless you pay an additional $99 per day for 3 more rides, which makes it about the same cost as RHR- and the facilities don't come close to comparison. Recent online reviews of Pinegrove are overwhelmingly negative. I'm thinking about making a day trip there just to see if it's REALLY that bad. That's one thing the RHR does not have for regular guests- they discourage single day trips and single night stays unless you're booking as part of a large group- although it's not out of the question especially if you're ok with booking last minute if there's any vacancies.

Tips: If you like to ride, get up and out of your room and on that early morning ride, it's usually the best one of the day because it's not crowded and usually full of riders that know what they're doing, and the ride is more smooth and efficient. When you sign up for riding, reserve one of the two morning rides since the afternoon rides are usually not full so you can often get on them by going standby. Lots of board games at the front desk, just ask them what they've got available. Or bring your own. There's always some downtime where you can relax in the main lobby. Bring good quality rain gair including rain pants if you don't mind riding in the rain. Don't even think about riding in anything less than footwear that covers your lower ankle. I've seen numbnuts walk up to the stable wearing sandals. WTF are they thinking..? There are saunas in the lower level bathrooms of the pool area, it's easy to completely overlook them if you don't know they're down there. Go to the evening shows even if you're tired, they're always very entertaining. If you're traveling from LI, disregard the posted directions, and take the Throgs Neck to 95 to Hutchinson Pkwy to Cross County Pkwy to the Taconic to 55/44, over the Mid-Hudson bridge. This keeps you clear of the Thruway and NYC. We hit no traffic in either direction this past Memorial Day weekend.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Highland, New York, United States
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

I recently got married here and I cant begin to thank you. Everyone did an absolutely amazing job, they went above and beyond to make our day perfect.
I want to send a special thanks to chief Paul..Everything from cocktail hour, dinner and dessert was outstanding.
Robyn at the front desk was amazing and was the biggest help ever.
and last but not least Steve and Shelly Turk for allowing me make my dream come true!!
Thank you so much Rocking Horse Ranch for everything!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, New Jersey, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

Just got back from RR with our Girl Scout troop and had an Awesome weekend! This place is 5 star all the way. The employees treat you as if you are at Disney,the food is delicious,the accomodations clean & spacious,the common areas comfy & plentiful(& very true to theme)-this place has it all! The girls loved the pool & water park,horseback riding(especially Wrangler Christine!),paddle boating & canoes,shooting range & archery,and OMG the hot chocolate was such a hit! The comedians & dance nights were terrific-I honestly cannot think of one thing we did not like. I would recommend this place HIGHLY-would love to bring my family there,just have to save up since it's not cheap.(it is all-inclusive,though)

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

Address: 600 State Route 44/55, Highland, NY 12528
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New York > Highland
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Highland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 120
Also Known As:
Rocking Horse Ranch Hotel Highland
Rocking Horse Hotel
Rocking Horse Resort

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