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Fulton Steamboat Inn 3.5

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States

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Review Summary

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  • Great location for visiting Amish country and Lancaster
  • Themed rooms with family friendly bunk-bed rooms
  • Kid-friendly game room and outdoor playground
  • Attractive indoor pool that gets lots of natural light
  • Restaurant serves comfort fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Tavern is a cozy place to grab a beer in the evening
  • Fitness center with cardio- and weight-training equipment
  • Meeting and event rooms
  • Third floor reserved exclusively for adults
  • Authentic local souvenirs in gift shop
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout and free parking


  • Can get crowded when bus tours roll through
  • Breakfast not included in standard rood rates
  • Homey, themed decor won't suit everyone

Bottom Line

The three-pearl Fulton Steamboat Inn, located near historic Lancaster is a cozy option with more personality than many of its neighboring competitors. Full of homey character, its rooms feature nautical or Victorian themes and include family friendly rooms with features like bunk beds. Its delightful restaurant serves comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the hotel also has an indoor pool, fitness center, game room, and banquet area. Downtown Lancaster is a 15-minute drive from the hotel, and the Rockvale Outlets are just across the road. Travelers seeking lower rates might want to check out the Days Inn, though it lacks this hotel's charms.

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Homey, charming hotel with quaint antique accents

Built to honor local resident Robert Fulton, the American engineer and inventor who is credited with inventing the steamboat, this one-of-a-kind hotel was designed to resemble an actual steamboat, and it sits on its own little pond. The property features several striped awnings, a wooden sundeck with rocking chairs, a brick patio and fire pit overlooking the pond as well as a green lawn with a white gazebo. In the summer, guests can feed ducks in the pond and picnic in the gazebo -- it's all about wholesome fun here, and the vibe is decidedly family friendly and relaxed. The look is Americana throughout the hotel, with handsome antique pieces set throughout the hotel's common areas. The lobby features a few off-white love seats with hardwood frames and ornate tables, and the hotel's restaurant has solid oak chairs and tables, along with wooden fans and brass-plated lights hanging overhead. Families are the key clientele, here, although large tour bus groups pass through as well, which can make things a bit crowded. 


A 15-minute drive from downtown Lancaster, near outlets and fast food

Situated off of the busy Lincoln Highway, the hotel is within a built-up, suburban stretch of Amish country -- don't expect to see quaint covered bridges out any of the hotel's windows. The area is decidedly suburban and filled with several chain restaurants like Waffle House. Dozens of national chain stores lie just across the street at the Rockvale Outlets, and Lost Treasure Golf is on the other side of Lincoln Highway. Downtown Lancaster takes 15 minutes to reach by car and is home to historic sights like the Fulton Opera House and Central Market. Dutch Wonderland theme park takes just five minutes to reach by car, and it's a 40-minute drive to Hershey Park for an even better selection of rides and attractions. Harrisburg and its airport are about 45 minutes away by car, while Philadelphia and the Philadelphia International Airport are a 90-minute drive from the hotel.


Nautical or Victorian-themed; some with bunk beds for children

Rooms at the Fulton Steamboat Inn vary in size, decor, and amenities, but all have either a nautical or Victorian theme. A yellow and navy blue motif dominates the nautical rooms, where wooden ship steering wheels and wood-framed mirrors are given prime real estate on the walls. Victorian rooms include floral bed coverings and curtains alongside antique lamps, chairs, and side tables. To be sure, the look is homey, and maybe even a bit dated by some standards, but overall the impression is cozy and everything is well kept. Some rooms offer king-size beds with separate living areas, while others have gas fireplaces, private indoor hot tubs, and balconies. There are also rooms that are ideal for families with children and include bunk beds situated in a corner down a narrow hallway. All rooms come with free Wi-Fi, at least one large flat-screen TV, mini-fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers. Bathrooms are bright, with lots of granite counter space, tile floors, patterned wallpaper in soft hues, shower/tub combos, and toiletries. The hotel has an adult-only floor that's reserved for guests 16 and over, ensuring a quiet escape for those concerned about noise from children.


Pond and pool, fitness center, a great comfort food restaurant, and kid-friendly activities

There are a number of features at the Fulton Steamboat Inn that place it above many of the budget and mid-range properties lining Liberty Highway. Activities, like feeding ducks on the small pond that's adjacent to the hotel, are a rarity in the area, and the indoor pool is a big plus. The pool is housed in a glass room with colorful banners hanging from the high ceiling. There are a few lounge chairs and pair of patio tables lying between the pool and hot tub. A fitness center with a small selection of cardio and weight machines is also available.

The hotel has a popular restaurant serving rich comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Tavern resembles a saloon, with all-wood floors, tables, chairs, and shelves above the bar -- cocktails and beer are served, though it closes fairly early. Kid-friendly features include an outdoor playground and a game room. The hotel has a gift shop selling handmade souvenirs, and there's also a large banquet room available for groups of up to 40. Catering is available. Wi-Fi and parking are both free. 

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Routes 30 and 896, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602, United States

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