Many places that my family and I visit claim to be top-notch family resorts. But only a few truly can defend that title. Smugglers’ Notch Resort is considered the number one Family Resort in the USA. And after visiting there and testing it out for ourselves, I can definitely tell you – IT’S TRUE! So, If you want to learn more about it, keep reading for my honest Smugglers Notch review.
Judging from their website, you can kind of expect to see a place with tons of activities and plenty of things. You can do them either on the property or in very proximity. However, the site definitely doesn’t prepare you for ALL the things to do and see once you get to the hotel.
Related Read: Winter Activities at Smuggler Notch Resort
Why Smugglers Notch Resort is So Family Friendly
Smugglers Notch is actually a village, with the main area that has all the restaurants, info, and during the winter years – the ski center as well.
To begin with, the village is not your typical styled resort. It is not a hotel with different styled rooms. Instead, it is spread out over acres and acres of land with houses, townhouses, and condominiums. The staff at Smugglers Notch even goes as far as to call the different parts of the resort neighborhoods. And after you drive around, you understand why that is.
Smugglers Notch Water Park
Each ‘neighborhood’ has its own pool area. But some of the pools are full-on water parks with multi-levels and obstacle courses and slides.
Smuggler’s Notch is not only popular with the guests staying at the resort, but with the local area and camps.
It has one of the top child care programs where they have daycare starting from 6 weeks It goes all the way up to teens with structured programs for all ages.
The daycare is better than any I have ever seen period.
Special Needs Program
This is one of the few resorts that has a program for special needs children and adults. They have specialists working with special needs people. This way parents can enjoy their time independently knowing that they are in the best hands possible.
This is a new addition to the property and is located inside the old inner tennis court. And it’s literally just that – a FunZone. And it’s not only for kids. Plenty of adults were enjoying it as well.
Outdoor Group Activities
Being in Vermont, practically everything is outdoors. However, it’s the structured activities that make all the difference.
Besides great kids programs, they also specialize in family-oriented activities where you get to explore and play with your kids.
Recommended Read: Camping in Vermont at Brewster River Campground, Smugglers’ Notch
To me, the whole point of travel is to bond with my family. And luckily my kids don’t want to go to the different kid’s programs but prefer to spend time with us. So when it is structured in a fun way that captivates the kids and keeps adults interested in me, this is the best of all worlds.
Make sure to inquire about all they offer. They literally have an entire book on the type of activities and programs for everyone. Great reading before and during your trip.
Below I have listed a few of the activities and centers you can find here.
Dining at Smugglers Notch Restaurants
How can a resort that has been named the most family-oriented place to stay not have a bunch of kid-friendly restaurants to choose from?
Smugglers’ features café-style eateries and full-service restaurants with award-winning children’s menus.
We had lunch at Morse Mountain Grill. What I loved most about this restaurant, is all the local-styled food options.
Here’s a little taste to whet your appetite:
Vermont Flatbread – Local Cheeses from Nearby Farms
Vermont Sustain – a- burger – 100% local from the cheese to the grass-fed beef, with maple baked beans
Three Cheese Artichoke Dip – best dip ever!
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Information for Visiting Smuggler Notch Hotel, Resort and Village
Staying at the resort in one of the homes as a vacation rental is definitely the best option. However, if you are staying in a nearby hotel or resort, they offer a day pass, so you can enjoy all the activities they offer.
Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the things going on. Make sure to get the book for the full run down and up to date info:
- The Clubhouse – Daily 9:00 am – 9:00 pm – Ping-pong, pool, and video games.
- Nature Center – Daily 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Live animals and plants, hands-on displays, educational exhibits, and loads of nature games and books.
- Morse MiningSmuggs Mining Company – Daily 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, weather permitting – A educational and fun mining operation where you’ll shift and shake your panning tray as the water from our sluice box rinses away sediment and reveals nature’s treasures.
- Smuggs Eurobungy – Sunday – Friday, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm and Saturday, 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm – A giant trampoline with bungee cords and a harness that helps you fly and do tricks.
- Farmer’s Market – Monday, 8:30 am – 11:30 am
- Giant Swing – Monday – Thursday 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, & Saturday 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm – There is a 100-foot swing located at Notchville Park. Included with the Adventure Connection Package.
- Survival Basics 101 – Tuesday, 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm – A wike into the Smuggs wilderness where you will learn basic survival techniques.
- Gold Panning – Wednesday, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Learn how to pan for placer gold with the guides from Green Mountain Gold.
- Smuggs-a-thon Family Challenge – Friday, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm – Obstacle challenge race around and through the village.
- Creative Sock Puppets – Sunday 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Build your own Sock Puppet.
- Village Scavenger Hunt – Sunday & Thursday 10:00 am – 11:30 am – A journey around the village following clues.
- Bigger is Better… Lifesize Games – Sunday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Check out Sticks & Stones, Giant Tic Tac Toe, Square Peg in a Round Hole, 5-n-2 Puzzle, or the Snappin’ Alligator.
- Kickball for families – Sunday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
- Tennis Social for families – Sunday & Thursday 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – A social introduction to tennis.
- Foosball Game for families – Monday 10:00 am – 11:00 am & Saturday 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Play in a life size Foosball game?
- Sand Daze – Monday 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Let your creativity take over while you build your own sand castle.
- Family Soccer – Monday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
- Smuggs I-Did-A-Cart – Monday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Join the Big Air Dummy Derby using an assortment of supplies such as duct tape, balloons, paints, and cardboard – all supplemented by your imagination – to build your derby dummy and then take it to the Morse I-Did-A-Cart ramp
- Family Stand Up Paddleboard Intro – Monday & Friday 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm – Join a guide for an intro class on stand up paddleboarding.
- Pool Games at Notchville Park – Tuesday 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Join them at Notchville Park in the lower pool and splash pad for some water based fun. Games, contests and more.
- Tie-dyeTie Dye Smuggs Style – Tuesday & Friday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm –
- Liquid Fun – Tuesday & Saturday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Soak each other with some water balloon battles, challenge your family with our new hydro blaster or simply soak your mom and dad with the splash blaster dunk machine.
- Friendly Pirate Family Sing-Along – Tuesday 4:30 pm – 5:15 pm & Friday 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm – Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate presents pirate songs and lore for ALL ages. History, geography, nautical themes, and boatloads of word play.
- Awesome Arts and Crafts – Wednesday & Saturday 10:00 am – 11:30 am
- Story Time – Wednesday 10:00 am – 11:00 am
- The Friendly Pirate’s Raingutter Regatta – Wednesday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Create your own ship from materials provided by the Activities Crew. See who has the fastest seafarin’ ship to sail down the raingutters.
- In it to Win It – Wednesday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm & Saturday 10:00 am – 11:30 am – Challenge the whole family to some fun and exciting games of skill and chance.
- 802 Disc Dogs – Wednesday 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Show of high flying discs and dogs by 802 Disc Dogs.
- The Great Reservoir Adventure – Thursday 10:00 am – 11:30 am – Learn some fun facts from the guides about the local ecosystem, then hike to the Village Reservoir to hopefully see frogs and tadpoles up close.
- Ancient Forest Investigation – Thursday 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Hike with your guides to a nearby ancient forest. Along the way you will learn about the natural habitat around you and what creatures might call this area home.
- Family Volleyball – Thursday & Saturday 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
- Family Creature Feature – Friday 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Their resident professor brings an exotic animal to visit for a unique learning experience.
Website – www.smuggs.com