Best Farm Stay: At this working farm on Lake Champlain, adults can take cheese-making classes while kids milk a cow, collect eggs, or walk a calf. Tennis, croquet, and the inn itself -- a 19th-century mansion once inhabited by William Seward Webb and Lila Vanderbilt Webb -- provide a buttoned-up counterpoint to the farm life.
Best Choose-Your-Own Adventure: This 10,000-acre working ranch can be anything you want: a spa retreat, a golfing and tennis getaway, a horseback-riding adventure, a fishing trip, or any combination of the bunch. Located near the vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley (of Sideways fame), it’s also a perfect home base for wine tasting.
Best City and Country Vacation: Set in a national park at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, this hotel (formerly a military base) allows for both an urban and rural experience. Hike the area’s most picturesque trails, or take yoga or cooking classes. If you’re with the kids, visit the epic Discovery Museum across the road. Or, of course, you can drive over the bridge to San Francisco for everything it offers.
Best Year-Round Fun: Sleigh rides, skiing, and a spectacular (and all-ages) New Year's Eve celebration in the winter give way to rock climbing, biking, and golfing in spring and summer. It's easy to see why families come to this elegant 110-year-old resort year after year -- and never leave the premises.
Best Place to Take the Waters: This Colorado Rockies hotel is a collection of former mining-town buildings restored and decorated to the rustic nines. Soak in one of the hot springs after a day of river rafting or horseback riding.