14 Best Christmas Vacations for Families That Are Off the Beaten Path

If you’re looking to step away from the family Christmas Tree this year and onto the Polar Express for a Christmas getaway with kids in tow, look no further than this GoWhee-approved list of vacation destinations your whole family will love—full of sleigh riding, ice rinks, winter wonderlands, and holiday cheer.

14 Best Christmas Vacations for Families That Are Off the Beaten Path

There’s something truly magical about a Christmas vacation with your family. This special time of year is perfect for going somewhere special, sharing traditions and holiday cheer, and taking time to be together. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you can still take a family vacation together. 

1. Spend Christmas at a Winter Wonderland in Nashville

The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN, is a magical winter wonderland that’s filled with wonder and magic for the whole family. From their Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer themed ice attraction to their concerts and family snow tubing, you’ll be enthused by the holiday spirit.

Key Information: Rooms start at $360 – You must have a ticket or be a resort guest to access the holiday attractions – Stroller-friendly, but wagons may not be brought into the ice attraction.

Good To Know: There are so many Christmas attractions that you definitely want to plan in advance and take advantage of the ticket bundling options.

⭐⭐ Goo Goo Chocloate

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⭐⭐ Fannie Mae Dees Park

⭐⭐ Adventure Science Center

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2. Take the Polar Express Through the Grand Canyon

Experience the magic of Christmas this holiday season when you ride the Polar Express together. You’ll get to drink hot chocolate, hear the classic holiday story, meet Santa, and receive your first gift of the Christmas season during this wonderful family festive experience.

Key Information: Tickets start at $57.00 – Complete vacation package starts at $357 for 2 adults and 1 child – Train ride lasts 90 minutes

Good To Know: The Ultimate Polar Express Package lets you stay at the hotel, provides breakfast and dinner, and a ticket to the train experience—it’s the best way to book this holiday experience.

⭐⭐Wildflower Restaurant

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⭐⭐ Montezuma Castle National Monument

Out Of Africa Wildlife Park

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3. Go Dogsledding in Montana

Santa has his reindeer, but if you want to fly through the snow this Christmas, there’s no better way than on a dogsled! Spend your family vacation at the Resort at Paws Up, where you can experience the majesty of the American west and the exhilarating thrill of being pulled behind a team of happy huskies as they dash through snow drifts.

Key Information: Booking starts at $2,182 for 2 adults and 1 child – Minimum two night stay – Booking is all inclusive

Good To Know: In addition to dogsledding, you can also ride horses and snowmobiles over the hundred of miles of trails on the resort property.

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4.Enjoy All the Winter Sports in Colorado

There’s a reason that travel writers love talking about Colorado– it’s one of the best places for winter sports in the world! If you have an active, outdoorsy family, you will absolutely love the no frill, local’s favorite Ski Cooper Mountain. There, kids of all ages and adults can enjoy the famous Colorado natural snow, without the crowds.

Key Information: Food Onsite – Budget Friendly – Great for all ages – Changing table onsite

Good to know: Head to the nearby town Leadville, CO, for great food and more outdoor activities like the local Ice Rink.

⭐⭐Silver Lama Market & Eatery

⭐⭐Beau Jo's Pizza

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⭐⭐ Keystone Resort Playground

⭐⭐ Brekenridge Escape Rooms

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5. Eat Christmas Dinner in a Life-Size Gingerbread House in the Wisconsin Dells

Enjoy the best of both worlds when you stay at Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells. It’s summer year-round in the waterpark, but during the winter, the lodge is transformed into a winter wonderland where you can play in the snow and eat inside one of the world’s largest gingerbread houses… made from REAL gingerbread!

Key Information: Rooms start at $229.99 – Santa visits on the weekends – Free use of cribs and rollaway beds

Good To Know: The indoor water park has slides and play areas for young children, so the whole family can participate.

6. Wander Through Millions of Christmas Lights at Hersheypark

Christmas is the perfect time to visit the Hersheypark theme park. Each year the park is decked out with over five million Christmas lights. If that isn’t enough, you can also visit with Santa and meet and pet his sweet, gentle reindeer.

Key Information: Stay at the Hershey Lodge for early park access – Rooms start at $199 – Lots of dining options

Good To Know: Hersheypark’s 13 roller coasters each receive a themed overlay for the holiday season. However, most of the park’s rides are kid friendly and gentler than the coasters!

⭐⭐EVO Cafe

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⭐⭐ Twisted Easel

⭐⭐ Harrisburg City Island

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7. Take an 8-Day Tour of Germany’s Best Christmas Markets

 

Germany’s Christmas market tradition has created many similar traditions in the United States, but nothing compares to the grand Bavarian traditional markets. Enjoy a whirlwind Christmas vacation that takes you through the Black Forest to celebrate Christmas with twinkling lights, Glühwein, and the magical Christmas traditions of Germany. 

Key Information: Tour starts at $1,778 per person – 11 meals included – Itinerary includes 9 cities

Good To Know: All travelers must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

8. See the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska

The dancing, shimmering Northern Lights are a magical experience that many will go their whole lives without seeing. This Christmas, travel to Pike’s Lodge in Alaska for a family vacation to see the magic of nature together.

Key Information: Holiday package starts at $129 a night – Package includes room, breakfast, and a gift from Santa – Minutes away from the Fairbanks International Airport

Good To Know: Every evening, the lodge holds an ice cream social from 6-8 PM. Even in winter, kids love ice cream!

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9. Spend Christmas in Canada at Chateau Whistler

Whistler is one of Canada’s favorite destinations for the best Christmas vacations for families. Spend your Christmas in luxury at the Chateau Whistler, where you can enjoy amazing skiing and resort activities. You can even have a real Christmas tree set up in your room– the resort will provide all the ornaments and decorations you need.

Key Information: Rooms start at $486 for double occupancy – Access to Whistler Blackcomb, the number 1 ski resort in Canada – Daily fire and hot chocolate in the evenings

Good To Know: The resort puts out a holiday activity guide to make planning easier.

⭐⭐Glenburn Soda Fountain

⭐⭐Ball Breakers

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⭐⭐ Galloway Park

⭐⭐Riley Park

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10. Have a Cowboy Christmas in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Celebrate winter cowboy-style in Jackson Hole. Your experience can include sleigh riding, snowshoeing, winter wildlife safaris, nightly campfires, dogsledding, and more. 

Key Information: Room rates vary widely based on lodging type – Lodging types range from hotel rooms to 3 bedroom condos and townhouses – Complementary to-go breakfast

Good To Know: Spring Creek Ranch offers special in-room dining options if you’re visiting on Christmas.

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11. Explore Park City, Utah’s Christmas Cheer

The Utah ski town of Park City is home to family fun throughout the holiday season. Keep your eyes peeled for Santa on the ski lifts, and get ready for snowy fun throughout the month of December. Whether you’re staying in a lodge or at one of the many vacation homes available for rental in Park City, you and your family can enjoy being together and playing in the snow on your Christmas vacation.

Key Information: Rates vary widely by rental type – 1-day all access lift tickets start at $119 – Equipment rental available

Good To Know: Many of the local resorts offer ski schools so even the littlest kids can join in the fun.

⭐⭐ Ice Castles

⭐⭐ Dear Valley Resort Ski School

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⭐⭐ Park City Peaks

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12. Forget the Snow, Make 2022 a Beachy Christmas in the Florida Keys

If you think that the weather outside is frightful, then you’ll find the beautiful sandy beaches and warm gulf breezes of Hawk’s Cay delightful! You can experience all the fun of Christmas, including visits with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, and much more

Key Information: Holiday package rooms start at $288 – Six restaurants on site with lots of kid friendly dining options – Childcare available

Good To Know: For an extra special Florida experience, Hawk’s Cay has a dolphin encounter program—the only one of its kind at any resort in the mainland United States.

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13. Stroll Through Nantucket Looking for Santa

Bring your family to take part in Nantucket’s 48th annual Christmas Stroll and look for Santa as he comes in on a Coast Guard vessel and rides up Main Street in a vintage fire truck! The island has lots of shopping and dining opportunities that the whole family will enjoy, and the White Elephant will welcome you and make your holidays incredible.

Key Information: Rooms start at $425 – The stroll weekend is December 2-4, 2022 – Stroller and wagon-friendly

Good To Know: Find the perfect Christmas gifts at the Santa’s Village Marketplace, held downtown during the stroll weekend.

14. Spend Christmas in the Peach State

Georgia’s Sea Island Resort is home to a Christmas party like none other. There are festive feasts, family activities, and much more. The special Christmas events run from the 24th to the 26th of December, making it the perfect place to celebrate the whole holiday as a family.

Key Information: Rooms start at $699 – Minimum 3 night stay – Resort access included in room rate

Good To Know: The Sea Island Resort has multiple properties, but the Lodge and the Cloisters are the two that offer the Christmas party experience.

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All inclusive sailing cruise with private chef, beautiful sceneries and water fun everyday! Rene and his wife are making you feel so welcomed & share their love for the Turkey coast. Kids have their own cabin and menus can be adapted to them. You can be matched with another family to ofset the cost.