For special needs families, choosing the right place to stay is so important to the success of their vacation. If you’re looking for a special needs friendly resort in The Poconos, Camelback Lodge and Indoor Water Park offers many accommodations for special needs families. Special Needs SheBuysTravel traveled to The Poconos with her children and shares her best tips for visiting Camelback Lodge for special needs families.
About ninety minutes drive from Newark Airport is the beautiful Poconos. The Poconos is home to majestic mountains, skiing in the winter and summer outdoor fun. And the vibrant colors of the fall are totally worth the trip. Camelback Lodge and Indoor Water Park is a perfect Poconos home base during any of these seasons.
When I visited with my kids this fall, we also found it can be a wonderful special needs friendly resort in the Poconos. My son is 7 and has ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder among other diagnoses. Here are my best tips for visiting Camelback Lodge and Indoor Water Park with special needs kids.
Special Needs Friendly Resort in The Poconos
Tips for Check-In
Camelback Lodge and Indoor Waterpark is a very in-demand resort (with good reason!) even in the off-season. This can make check-in a sensory overload for special needs kids. We arrived on a Saturday around 3 PM which is peak check-in time.
I was alone with the kids, so rather than making them stand in a very long line, we opted for lunch and to return later. The line was shorter but still fairly long on our return. I let them sit where I could see them in one of the many conversation areas in the beautiful lobby. The resort staff was very efficient with the long line and it moved quickly.
Another option if you’ve traveled with another adult would be to take the kids for a walk outside. The many activities are available to guests on the day of check-in so there are many options to avoid the sensory overload of a crowded check-in.
SheBuysTravel TIP: When possible, visit or check in during off peak times at this special needs friendly resort in The Poconos.
Tips for Rooms
As a special needs friendly resort in The Poconos, Camelback Mountain Lodge and Indoor Water Park offers a variety of rooms for families. Choose from Handicap suites with one bedroom with queen beds or a queen and bunk beds, two bedroom deluxe Handicap suites, or a three-bedroom condo with Handicap modifications.
Camelback offers lofts or condos with multiple bedroom options. Some rooms feature kitchens to meet any special dietary needs. We stayed in the King Bunk Suite which both kids loved. It was well appointed with quality bedding and finishes. It also had plenty of room with a seating area plus a small bedroom with two bunk beds. No fighting over who got the top bunk was so nice,
We stayed in the King Bunk Suite which both kids loved. It was well appointed with quality bedding and finishes. It also had plenty of room with a seating area plus a small bedroom with two bunk beds. No fighting over who got the top bunk was so nice, y’all! The kids also had their own TV, which meant they didn’t try to take over the one in the master. My special needs son loved that his bunk beds gave him a quiet area to decompress and have some quiet time after all the fun.
My special needs son loved that his bunk beds gave him a quiet area to decompress and have some quiet time after all the fun.
Tips for Dining
There are several dining options available at Camelback Mountain Lodge and Indoor Waterpark. We tried Trails End, their table service dining option; Hemispheres, the breakfast and dinner buffet; and World Bazaar Coffee Shoppe, a quick grab and go option.
We dined at Hemispheres for lunch and dinner. Both kids were able to find things they liked among the cereals, waffles, and pastries at breakfast and pizza, chicken fingers, and pasta at dinner. Hemispheres is closed at lunch so the first day we went to Trail’s End which has a lovely view of the Poconos.
Hemispheres is closed at lunch so the first day we went to Trail’s End which has a lovely view of the Poconos.
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My son is a picky eater, to put it mildly. He has been in feeding therapy for three years. We ordered the kids mac and cheese which I tasted and thought very good with a nice smokey flavor. However, it was not the “boxed” that he prefers.
The next day for lunch we stopped at World Bazaar, picked up cereal and milk and brought the receipt down to Trail’s End. They were more than accommodating getting him a bowl and milk and having no problem we brought something in. If you have any dietary needs I spoke with the staff and the chef can come out to meet with you to find a solution for your family’s meal.
Some rooms and suites have their own kitchen if you need to prepare food and each room has their own snack-size fridge.
SheBuysTravel Tip: For those with dietary needs, I spoke with the staff and the chef can come out to meet with you to find a solution for your family’s meal.
Tips for the Water Park
Aquatopia is the indoor water park at Camelback Lodge. It is open for year-round fun with a tropical constant 84-degree temperature. With seven pools and 13 slides, there is something for the littlest to the most adventurous. The park is bathed in beautiful natural light during the day and a fun light show at night. Like much of the resort, each area of the water park is fashioned after a travel adventure to explore.
We brought my son’s headphones because we knew from previous indoor water park experiences that there could be a noise buzz that could be a sensory challenge for him. As we visited during the off-season with fewer crowds, my son actually ditched his headphones pretty quickly. If you bring your special needs child at a more crowded time the noise level is something to consider.
If your child needs a break but doesn’t want to leave the water park the resort’s private cabanas are a great option. In the style of an adventure tent they offer a quiet space with seating, a TV, and a fridge for some downtime before returning for fun.
Some of the pools offer a lift chair for those needing mobility assistance which are a great option if you need a special needs friendly resort in The Poconos. My kids loved Aquatopia and are still talking about it. My daughter had a blast on the slides and I was so proud of my son for making it all the way across the kids rope course.
Other Activities at Camelback Lodge
Camelback Lodge offers a wide variety of activities most special needs friendly. There is a craft room, mini golf, daily doughnut decorating, and a climbing wall. There is also an arcade if it won’t pose a sensory challenge. For the more adventurous there is a mountain coaster, zip line, challenging indoor ropes course and more.
No matter the time of year the Poconos and Camelback Lodge and Indoor Water Park are ready for year round fun. With a little preparation, the Camelback Lodge is a great destination to add to your special needs family’s itinerary for a special needs friendly resort in The Poconos.