All Ages

10 Best Winter Family Vacation Ideas 2019

Family learning ski; Courtesy of Tomsickova Tatyana /Shutterstock

When the cold weather sets in, so does cabin fever. Looking for a reason to get out of the house? We’ve got some great winter family vacation ideas, from warm-weather escapes in the Caribbean to indoor amusements closer to home. These are the best winter family vacations for 2019.

1. Splash Around at an Indoor Water Park Resort

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t head to the pool! Plenty of indoor water park resorts offer lazy rivers, waterslides, wave pools, spray grounds and more indoor fun year-round. Great Wolf Lodge is a great choice for families, and because there are 18-plus locations, Great Wolf Lodge is easy for many families to reach. If you have extra time, consider a trip to Wisconsin Dells, known as the Water Park Capital of the World.

The Magic of Art show at Sesame Place in Langhorne; Courtesy of Ritu Manoj Jethani

2. Plan a Theme Park Vacation 

While many people associate them with summer, theme parks are perfect for winter family vacations, too! Whether you’re headed for Disney World or Sesame Place, you’ll get to enjoy your favorite rides with the added bonus of holiday-themed events and treats. For example, Sesame Place offers A Very Furry Christmas, complete with holiday lights, music, and visits with Santa (and other characters, of course).

Young Kids on Ride at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America

3. Go to an Indoor Amusement Park

You can also head to an indoor amusement park such as Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. These are the some of the best indoor amusement parks in the U.S.

Dreams Punta Cana; Courtesy of Dreams Punta Cana

4. Book an All-Inclusive Vacation in the Caribbean or Mexico

Although the snow is pretty to look at, it can get old quickly (especially if you have to shovel). That’s when it’s time to escape to a warm-weather destination in the Caribbean or Mexico; in fact, winter is the best time to visit in terms of weather. Many all-inclusive resorts and resort chains, such as Dreams Resorts and Spas and Divi Resorts, often offer kids-stay-and-eat-free deals, too. Check out the 10 Best Tropical Winter Vacations for Families for our recommendations.

Paddle boarding in Club Med Sandpiper Bay; Courtesy of Club Med Sandpiper Bay

5. Relax at a Florida Beach Resort

Don’t have your passports (yet) and/or don’t want to leave the U.S.? Book an escape at a dreamy beach resort in Florida, or even an all-inclusive beach resort in Florida!

Family with infant visit Sequoia national park in California; Courtesy My Good Images/Shutterstock

6. Visit a National Park

It may be cold, but the national parks are strikingly beautiful come winter (and far less congested). You’ll also be able to enjoy winter activities you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of during the summer: think snowmobiling through Yellowstone, skiing in Yosemite, and snowshoeing in Glacier National Park. These are some of our favorite national parks that are actually better in the winter.

mom and daughter in barcelona; Courtesy of Alliance Images /Shutterstock

7. Travel to Europe for Less

Did you know it’s often cheaper to fly to Europe in the winter? Take advantage of airfare deals to cities such as Paris and Barcelona (so you can spend more money on the actual trip!). Bundle up for sightseeing and/or winter sports, and head to a museum, cafe, or the hotel hot tub when you need to warm up.

Okemo Mountain Resort; Courtesy of Okemo Mountain Resort

8. Learn to Ski

For families who live in warmer climates year-round (or want to hit the slopes in a new location), a winter family vacation to a ski resort is always a good idea. You’ll find a high concentration of ski resorts in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania on the East Coast, and Colorado, Utah and California on the West Coast. You’ll also find great resorts in the Midwest.

Many resorts offer ski, stay and play packages that work with any budget and time frame. And it’s okay if you or your children have never tackled the slopes before—almost all ski resorts offer ski schools. At the end of a long day, warm up by the ski resort fireplace with your family and some hot cocoa. Not sure which ski resort to visit? These are our picks for the 10 Best Ski Resorts for Families.

Snow Tubing at Camelback Mountain Resort; Courtesy of Camelback Mountain Resort

9. Go Snow Tubing

Not interested in skiing? Go snow tubing! Most ski resorts offer snow tubing, with some of them even offering glow-in-the-dark tubes and other unique amenities. These are some of our favorite places to go snow tubing in the U.S.

Chicago Skydeck, Courtesy of Choose Chicago

10. Explore a New City

Cities are ideal for winter family vacations since you can find so much to do indoors! In Washington, D.C., you can explore 17 Smithsonian Museums for free; in New York City, see a Broadway show or experience a real-life Night at the Museum at the American Museum of Natural History; in Chicago, get a bird’s eye view from Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower before sinking your teeth into some crispy deep-dish pizza. Want to avoid the cold weather altogether? Visit a city such as San Diego or Scottsdale, where it’s warm year-round.

What to Pack on Your Trip

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