Best Winter Vacations for Families, From Sand To Snow

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Are you looking to head somewhere this winter for a vacation? The great thing is that there are many winter vacation destinations for families that offer unique opportunities for everyone. You don’t have to settle for just any old vacation destination. Today we are sharing the best winter vacations for families in the United States.

road covered in snow
photo credit: Kjell Eson Snow-road via photopin (license)

Best Winter Vacations for Families

You’ll love these winter vacations for families! There are tropical destinations where your family can go snorkeling, and also colder destinations that will find you on the slopes of a snowy mountainside. 

Whichever your family is into, we’re sure that we have a place picked out that’s perfect for you. Take a look at some of the best winter vacation destinations that you can go on with your family this year.  

Walt Disney World, Orlando

Visiting Walt Disney World during winter vacation may actually be the best time to visit. That’s because the crowds are typically smaller (save the week between Christmas and New Year) and you can usually take advantage of saving more money with discounts and specials.

Cinderella Castle with Christmas lights at night at Walt Disney World
Photo: Pixabay

The temperature is nearly perfect as well, right around the lower to mid 70’s. Just don’t plan on visiting during the holiday weeks, as pricing and crowd levels can skyrocket. But if you’re looking forward to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you might have to do just that. 

Disneyland, Anaheim

You knew I couldn’t make this list without including my home away from home, Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  Much like Walt Disney World, you will enjoy lower crowds during this time, except for during school holiday breaks.

The holidays at Disneyland are full of great Christmas decorations, food, and more. The “Believe… In Holiday Magic” Fireworks show, and “World of Color Season of Light” will fill you with holiday cheer.

Sleeping Beuaty Castle with snow at Christmas

If you go to this winter vacation for families after the holidays, you can enjoy extremely low crowds, but expect some rides to be closed and the parks will have shorter hours. You can also enjoy the Lunar New Year celebrations in late January and early February.

San Diego, California

Although it’s a cooler time of year, you’ll still find visitors migrating to the beaches of San Diego. The San Diego area has pleasant and comfortable temperatures all throughout the year. Make sure that you check-in at the San Diego Zoo, America’s most popular zoo. 

Ice skating with your family, at the Hotel del Coronado, is a unique experience along the beach you won’t want to miss. And if you’re visiting between December 8th-15th, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights puts on an amazing display of colorful lights.    

Honolulu, Oahu

Looking for a warm winter break? How about a winter vacation to the tropical island paradise of Oahu? Honolulu to this day remains the most family-friendly city in all of Hawaii. The amazing Beach of Waikiki has several resorts that have all sorts of amenities and are kid-friendly. 

Disneyland Kids Ticket Deal for Early 2024

There’s also great hiking, snorkeling, and beach activities throughout Honolulu. Spend time with your kids at the Honolulu Zoo, and also learn and pay your respects at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.  

Side note: Did you know my partners at Get Away Today also book Hawaii Get Aways?

Diamond Head Oahu Hawaii

Breckinridge, Colorado

Breckinridge, Colorado has all the wintertime activities your family’s been looking for in a vacation destination. There you will find dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, tubing, sledding and of course skiing. 

Breckinridge has over 100 restaurants and 200 little shops to escape the chilly weather. Don’t miss out on the free gondola rides from Breckinridge to the skiing area. 

The Country Boy Mine is open for tours year-round, where gold, silver, zinc, and lead were once mined and used during WWI and WWII. It’s a mine that’s 1,000 feet underground and stays at a constant 45 degrees throughout the year.   

Lake Tahoe, CA, Nev.

Right between the borders of California and Nevada, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, rests Lake Tahoe. It’s a popular destination in the summer for its beach areas and also in the winter for its slopes ideal for skiing.

And yes, skiing Tahoe with Kids is a great winter vacation option for families.

The Squaw Valley Resort was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics and is still one of the largest skiing areas in the United States. Snowboarding and tubing or relaxing by a fireplace, drinking a cup of hot cocoa are also popular things to do here. Emerald Bay State Park has some remarkable views that await if you consider cross-country skiing.  

St. Petersburg, Florida

Spending your winter vacation in St. Petersburg, Florida, would also be a smart option for your family. The beach and weather will have you forgetting about the freezing weather back at home in no time. If you run into a rainy day, The Great Explorations Children’s Museum is a great option for you and your kids. 

If your family loves football, the Outback Bowl always promises a great game played here every year on January 1st. There’s also the Sunken Gardens in the middle of the city, a botanical garden with over 50,000 tropical plants.  

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Many winter sports enthusiasts love coming to Ober Gatlinburg during the winter season It’s an amusement park that has slopes perfect for skiing, tubing, and snowboarding. You will also find an indoor ice skating rink and an aerial tramway that provides stunning views of the Smoky Mountains during your descent into the town of Gatlinburg. Your kids will also love the marine life at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and wildlife in Cades Cove.  During the holidays be sure to stop by the picturesque Gaitlinburg Marketplace Mall. All this makes Gatlinburg a great winter vacation for families.

Gaitlinburg Marketplace, Photo: Pixabay

Adirondacks, New York 

The Adirondacks of New York may not help you escape the cold winter season, but they have so much to offer anyway. There’s skiing on Gore Mountain, the Lake George Winter Carnival that is a whole month long. Do you have what it takes to do the Lake George Winter Plunge on January 1st? Lastly, there’s the Lake Placid World Cup Bobsledding competition that’s neat to see.   

Bahamas

The Bahamas is a gorgeous beach destination that your whole family will love for winter vacation. That’s because it has summertime temperatures no matter when you visit. The Blue Hole, in the Exumas, is a fantastic underwater sea preserve that’s great for snorkeling. The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island is also a family-favorite with play areas, marine habitats, and video arcades. 

Fort Charlotte at Nassau, built back in 1789, is sure to spark some interest with your kids. It has a surrounding moat, 42 cannons, dungeons, and underground passageways to explore. There are tours and a live cannon firing demonstration to wow even dad. The beautiful white sandy beaches of Cat Island is a great place to build sandcastles, along with hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking.   

These are a number of winter vacations for your families. Is one of them calling your family this year? Does your family prefer the warm sandy beaches or the thrilling winter activities that you would find at a ski resort? Hopefully, you found the perfect getaway for your family this winter season. 

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