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“Better than Disney!!!!” 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
Rocky Hill, Connecticut
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Better than Disney!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

This is the 2nd year our family has gone to Rocking Horse Ranch for a family getaway and we already are talking about our trip there next year. We LOVE every minute of it. There is something for every one.....and every mood. You can sit by the fire, go out in nature, ride horses, play in the fun barn, swim in the indoor water park, work out, or eat amazing food. No matter what, there is something perfect for you to do. The staff there are polite and attentive. The horses are well taken care of and loved. The wranglers are amazing!!!!!! This place is better than Disney!!!!

  • Stayed November 2013, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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686 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
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Maspeth, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2013

I took my son here a year ago for Labor Day weekend and it was wonderful! The fireworks were really great, the shows are fabulous and there is no shortage of things to do - even if you don't ride horses! So much fun! During that trip, I would say the down-side was the food and the dining arrangements. My son did not like sitting with other families at the same table. It was awkward. One night we had to sit with a family that was just miserable. They never made eye contact with us and they were arguing the whole time. BUT, this year they changed everything in the dining room and you can eat at your own table. Much better! The food is also much, much better. A huge improvement! I had a few minor incidents this year and management really tried to make me feel better. Steve, the owner, even came out to talk to me and promised that my next visit would be extra special. A nice touch! We really enjoyed this trip. I can't say enough about this place. It is super clean! The grounds are beautiful, there is so much to do, the pools are great, the shows, the food, the staff - all of it is really fabulous. My son and I are both picky - in many ways - and we love it here! We start planning our next trip before we even leave. It really is a gem of a find. I plan on coming back back here for many years to come. We visited in summer and fall and now we are planning a winter trip to enjoy all of the activities available for winter-fun! I highly recommend. You just can't go wrong with Rocking Horse Ranch - my son and I wish we could live there!

Room Tip: Main Lodge is the way to go
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  • Stayed October 2013, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJ
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

We went to the Ranch over NJ week and we had a blast. My 4 & 6 year old just were always busy with outdoor and indoor activities!! There is bungee bouncing, indoor pools and water slides and just lots of outdoor games. My boys loved shuffle board and ping pong and would have played for hours
The food was amazing mostly buffets, and the staff was just accommodating for our picky eating child.
There was the tastings hour which was a little sampling of Hudson valley best wineries which was complimentary.
We especially enjoyed the kid themes dance parties at night and all the entertainment geared around kids. It was fun fun fun!!!
The decor was cozy and rustic and the smell of the fireplace was unforgettable
I wish it wasn't that pricey though bc I'd go every season :)
I hope to return again probably during a different season to see the decor of the ranch.

Stayed November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middletown, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

Last year at this time (NJ week), my family and I spent a short break at Woodloch Pines and decided this year to try something new. Since the both are family orientated and all inclusive, I thought a comparison would help. Just some things to keep in mind, being that it is in November you can't take advantage of all the summer and winter activities both resorts offer. What sets RHR apart is that it is a horse ranch and you can ride at all levels as long as you are over the age of 7 and pony rides are available for the little ones. WP has horse riding but it is off the premises. RHR is extremely clean and updated. We stayed in the main hotel in a one bedroom with 2 queen beds and 1 bunk bed. The rooms were spacious. Bathrooms are clean and updated. We blew a fuse and maintenance fixed it right away, the phone was not working and again within minutes the problem was resolved. RHR service was excellent and every staff member that we encountered was extremely nice. We found the staff much more inviting and more friendly than the staff at WP. We stayed at the Springbrook section in an Edgewater suite at WP and the room was much bigger than RHR (2 queen beds, 2 bathrooms, a separate living area with pull out sofa, 2 T.V.s etc.) There was however a musty, damp smell which wasn't too awful because they do provide a dehumidifier. The suite was not in the main hotel but was close to the indoor pool(See my review on WP). One problem we encountered at RHR was noise. We were on the first floor and the room above us was noisy at all hours of the night...kids jumping on the beds...running back and forth...and I get it...its a hotel filled with children, I have three of my own...the noise was unbearable. We did complain and the hotel tried to help the situation, they place signs in the halls and mostly this is where parents are at fault. But the noise went on all night, we were woken up at 12 and then again at 3 AM it sounded like the horses were kept in the room above us. The hotel did comp us some drinks when we were checking out. Although its convenient when you have little ones to be on the first floor, I don't advise it because you can hear everything above you including conversations. Also, the television in the rooms at RHR was small and the kids could not view it from their bunk beds. Indoor pool at RHR was awesome for the kids. They have little slides, a huge winding slide, little spray ground, a climbing contraption and the pool starts at 2 ft. and goes up to 4 ft. Perfect for kids! The lifeguards were excellent. I am a helicopter mom and those guys and gals watched those kids like hawks! We were thoroughly impressed. The pool was immaculate and we thought it was much better than WP indoor pool. Now, WP does have a separate indoor adult pool and hot tub which RHR does not, they are both good but as far as entertaining the kids we like RHR indoor pool better. Food: Popcorn, tea, coffee, hot cocoa is offered all the time as much as you want at RHR. Both resorts have certain dining hours(5:15 and 6:30), RHR does have an earlier one than WP(started at 6)which was a problem for us last year because our kids are young. Breakfast and Lunch are buffet style and Dinner had table service. The food was okay, much better than WP, which was inedible for us. The kids loved the dessert especially the chocolate fountain. There are options for vegetarians and they will cater to any special dietary need. The meat was inedible at RHR, the waitress asked us what temperature we would like the steak...temperature? It was like rubber. The food is okay, breakfast is probably the best. The wait staff is friendly but long, pointy fingernails should not be allowed they get into people's plates when serving and it is unsanitary and unappetizing. One night we had a cocktail waitress and the next night we did not, so consistency was a little off. But overall dining, the food and the staff was a much better experience than WP. They also had a fall festival tasting with local wines and cheeses and we enjoyed it. Activities for kids: There is rock climbing, bungy jumping, pony rides, horse riding, petting zoo( the kids loved this), arts and crafts,fishing, paddle boats, archery, shooting and a fun farm. Fun farm has a bounce house and indoor gym with shooting foam ball guns, ping pong tables, volley ball net etc. The only thing this fun farm was missing was a bathroom, having to walk back to the hotel was a nuisance. It was much cleaner than WP indoor gym, WP gym may have been larger but they didn't have a bounce house and RHR was more updated and clean. There is also an indoor arcade and wii room located in the main hotel. WP does have bumper cars, bumper boats, and go carts, RHR does not have this. WP definitely entertains the kids, they constantly have something to do for the kids. If it rains they have people providing loads of indoor fun. People come to RHR for the riding mainly that is the difference. Horse riding: we were told our kids were too young, my oldest is 7 and he is 4ft. tall and was not allowed to ride but when we took the horse drawn carriage ride, the wrangler was giving us info on the hotel and said that their youngest riders start at 7, we saw some kids on horses that were smaller than my son, so we were a bit bummed. Our kids had a blast anyway. Both resorts have spas. WP has an actual spa with pools and tubs and RHR does not. They have saunas down by the gym. I booked a massage because I injured my back while I was there. RHR has three rooms set up and offer facials and massage. My massage was fantastic! I think her name was Lee Anne, well she really helped me, my back pain was gone. What RHR has to offer as far as massage and facials is absolutely fine but if you are looking for that true spa experience then WP is your place. Entertainment: we saw Anthony Salazar(illusionist) and he really got the kids involved. He was so much fun to watch, we really enjoyed his show and so did the kids Overall, the trip was fun, the grounds were nice, staff was great, hotel is super clean and the pool is a blast for the kids. WP is fun too! I think WP has more stuff for the kids to do but like I said most people come to RHR for the horses and if that's what you like then RHR is your place. RHR seemed a bit more upscale, definitely nicer on the inside, food is better, and it is maintained. We would definitely come back. We would go back to WP too but they need to fix their food, I am a NYC girl at heart, may reside in NJ now, and I am picky about food. Good cuisine is part of a good vacation. RHR makes the effort, WP does not and any reviews that you read that say the food is better than some cruises...well I absolutely do not agree.

Room Tip: Go for the second floor in the main hotel,noise is an issue if you have a ton of kids above you.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

Just got back from 2 days 1 night at Rocking Horse Ranch with my kids 13 and 11 and my friend and her two kids same age. This is a great place for kids. My kids could go off on their own with their friend, and I didn't have to worry about them. Even though it's "pricey", it's worth it. They let you use the facilities before check-in and after check-out so you can really get your money's worth. It's nice not having to stick your hand in your pocket every minute. The horseback riding is awesome. Even though you are only guaranteed one ride for each night you stay, our kids were able to easily ride two extra times. The food is not great, but there are enough options that makes it ok. The kids love the buffet experience and of course the desserts. There are plenty of free snacks in between meals as well. The place is very well run, very clean and the staff is very friendly and accommodating. I had a room with 2 queen beds and a bunk bed. Theoretically, we didn't have to share (which is very rare to find in a hotel) but the bunk beds are uncomfortable. The bathroom is perfectly adequate and we even had an extra sink.

Room Tip: Main lodge is the place to be.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manahawkin, New Jersey
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

Just returned from our 7th trip to the Ranch. This trip included a three night say. My kids (age 16 and 13) Love the ranch. They ended up having 15 rides this trip with the last ride including my oldest being given Scott's horse Trigger (Thanks Scott) My youngest also became the defender of Roy (A smaller horse who some were making fun of) by riding him 3 of the rides. Steve (the owner) through the entire resort staff make you feel like family and are so accommodating. Steve is always willing to listen (really listen) to any ideas you have to make the ranch a better place to visit (How many owners do that???). As always, Scott, TJ (I know, heels down, toes up), Danielle, Abby, Mary, Patti, Shannon, Sarah and all the rest of the Wrangler always make you feel special. Thanks for one great advanced ride after the next. Not that it was ever an issue in prior visits but the quality of food was dramatically improved as well. As with every visit, we saw folks we had met in the past as well as made some new friends. Thanks again to the entire staff. Already looking forward to our next visit which thanks to Abby conspiring with my daughters apears to be sometime this coming spring.

Room Tip: Recommend staying in the main lodge especially if you plan on using the indoor pool

Room Tip: Try and have a room in the main lodge (especially if you plan on using the indoor pool)
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  • Stayed November 2013, 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.
Cliffwood, New Jersey
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

This is our 7th year coming to the Ranch during NJ School week and it has only gotten better since year one.
Let’s start with the basics...it is a Dude Ranch and the main attraction is the horseback riding. The day we arrived this year, there was a group from a Riding School and they kept coming back for ride after ride after ride. You have options to go on a walk only ride (beginner), a walk/trot ride (intermediate) and a walk/trot/canter ride (advanced). The advanced ride does require a short test ride to ensure you are capable of handling the horse. On the intermediate and advanced rides, you will get an average of 6 to 9 “rides”. My advice, take the time while walking on your horse to enjoy being outside and unplugged. I have read a few reviews that talk about the horses being on auto-pilot but the truth is that it is a 1200 lb animal that does require control. There are also riding lesson demonstrations available to anyone that has never ridden a horse before. You will sign up for one guaranteed ride a day (depending on the ride schedule for your stay) and you can go on stand-by for the other scheduled rides. The wranglers are knowledgeable (many have experience as exercise riders for thoroughbreds, been barrel racers or as true to life cowboys), helpful, constantly making sure you are comfortable on your horse and will help you anyway they can. The head wranglers - Scott, TJ and Lisa are excellent and will accommodate you as best as possible. The horses are very well cared for, not over-worked and are trained excellently. My two girls went on 16 rides during a 4 day stay and loved every second of it. If you have the chance, make sure you watch the horses either coming from the pasture to the barn in the early morning or watch them going “home” for the evening to the pasture.
Food: I will be the first to agree, the first few years we stayed at the Ranch, the food was just ok. It also was silly that adults had to pay for lunch and there was only fruit punch or lemonade as a drink selection during meals. The owners have listened and that is all changed. Breakfast is a full buffet with all the food you expect for breakfast, fresh scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, French Toast (thick, Texas style) pancakes, assortment of cereals, farina, oatmeal, pastries, milk or chocolate milk, apple & orange juice, bread and English muffins. You can also ask for eggs made any style and it will be made promptly. You will definitely get fueled up for the day ahead. Lunch is also buffet style, standard fare, burgers, hot dogs, sausage and peppers, french fries, etc…but made well. There is also a soup of the day and a food station with a daily specialty (during our stay it was pulled pork sliders and a pasta dish). Dinner is where the ranch has stepped up a notch. Executive Chef Paul Kelly has really made an effort to make the food as much of a star as the horses are. Choice of two different appetizers (have both if you like), soup, I counted at least 7 different choices for entrée (with usually at least two choices being very kid friendly) and enough dessert choices to make you lose your sweet tooth, including a chocolate fountain and soft serve ice cream. Word of note: The Executive Chef is very accessible and will listen to you. I was pleasantly surprised about the quality and the quantity of the dinner, definite improvement. And parents….ALL the soda your kids can drink! Every day there was a Chef’s tasting event in the late afternoon and it has a cocktail (included), some appetizers and a wide assortment of cheese and fruit. One afternoon was a tasting outside which included a food station, cheese and fruit and a nice selection of local wines (Upstate NY has some nice vineyards), again, all included. 24/7 coffee, tea and hot chocolate and cake is always nice to have on a cool, crisp fall day and while the upstairs bar is open, there is always popcorn available.

Activities: The Ranch is geared for children with various games being played during the day, There is an indoor archery range as well as a bb gun shooting range that is always under supervision. Rock climbing, a fun barn with a bouncy castle and ping pong, shuffleboard, trapeze ropes and a rock climbing wall. As we usually go during late fall, I cannot speak of the lake activities, but if you like to fish, rumor has it there are a few trophy sized largemouth bass lurking in the water. There is also a mini-golf course on the grounds. The pool has always been clean and warm and when my girls were younger, they loved the new indoor slide. The nighttime entertainment is definitely geared for young kids and I do have to say that some adult only entertainment would be very welcome. There is a Wii room (free) which always looks crowded and a small arcade with air hockey and small pool table (quarters are needed). Some nights they have a campfire which you get to by a tractor ride through the woods. They supply the marshmallows, you supply the chocolate and graham crackers for the Smores!! There is also a small baseball/softball field and the Ranch will supply the gloves, bats and balls. I agree the gym is small, but it has the basic necessities to get a workout in if you desire. My advice, go on a 4-5 mile hike on the marked hiking trails through up and down terrain, over a few small streams and a chance to get some exercise and relax at the same time.

Rooms: The Main lodge rooms have been updated since I first came here. Two queen sized beds with comfortable mattresses and clean sheets. Bunk beds for the kids. Bring a power strip as outlets are not that plentiful. My room had a small fridge, flat screen LCD TV, small sitting area. Bath area is smallish but serves its need nicely. Bathrooms have recently been re-done and look good and are clean. Plenty of towels are given and if you need more, you will be given as many as you need with a smile (that also goes for extra plastic bags for horse ridden clothes!). Showers always have plenty of hot water for long showers to soothe aching muscles after a few horseback rides. My opinion has always been that I go to the Ranch to participate so as long as it has a comfortable bed and hot shower, I am good. If you are looking for the equivalent of a Hilton then this is NOT the place for you. The Wifi has been upgraded so that three phones and three laptops all connected to the free WiFi without any issues. It also looks like they are upgrading the cooling/heating. I had a unit that had temperature control as opposed to choosing cooling or heating and the room was comfortable during our stay. There is not a lot of drawer space and I hope they upgrade that in the near future.

Overall: The staff has always been very attentive to our needs, the grounds are beautiful and rustic. The lobby has seating areas available to either sit by the fire or just sit and relax from the days activities while waiting for dinner. The owner is also accessible and will stop and chat (he met me once for 5 minutes and remembered my name for the rest of my stay which is very nice). Bottom line is that this is an active vacation spot and it fits that billing wonderfully. Yes there will be plenty of little ones running about because they are excited and full of energy because of all that is available, but their behavior is not the responsibility of the Ranch. If you are looking to spend a few days away from a computer and enjoy time doing things with your kids, this is the perfect place.
One final word about the cost as I have seen many reviews mentioning that. A horseback ride is on average $35 to $50 a ride. My kids went on 31 rides and I went on 3…you can do the math…for the horseback riding alone it is well he worth the price. Throw in the fact that if you don’t want to, you won’t have to spend another penny and still be well fed, sleep comfortably and enjoy the experience, it will be money well spent.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 6
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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