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Man, woman, and child sitting in the snow

Check out our selection of winter vacation destinations for families who like to play in the snow. Each of these family-friendly destinations offers amenities and activities for families of all ages and sizes. A family winter vacation can be magical as your kids enjoy outdoor adventures in a new light, from snowmobiling, and hiking in the cold snow, to curling up by a cozy fire and board games competitions. So let’s dive into some of the best winter vacation ideas that GoWhee families love.

Know Before You Go: Plan Your Winter Family Vacation Without Stress

Winter vacations often come at a premium. Look for less popular places so your budget can be stretched further. To find some great family-friendly spots this winter, check out this map with snowy places validated by parents.

Don’t turn your winter family getaway into a cold weather nightmare! Check this cold weather packing list.

Ski trips may be the first thing you think of when planning winter vacations for your family. But don’t forget to diversify the activities your family will be able to enjoy during all those winter months. Look for unique winter hiking experiences, charming train rides, tubing, culinary experiences, and more…

Winter season comes with its fair share of unpredictable weather. Always include a buffer in your family travel times to be ready to change things around if a snowstorm or airport closures happen.

Make sure to get full coverage travel insurance to be ready for incidents that go along with your winter adventure, since your traditional health insurance may not cover those costs. Here is how to choose your travel insurance when you travel with kids.

Table of Content

Adventurous Winter Destinations For Outdoorsy Families

1. Take Your Kids Dog Sledding in Oregon 

When you stay at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon, your kids will learn how to mush behind a team of energetic sled dogs. This resort also offers a lot of other fun winter activities. The whole family can wind down after a day of winter adventures, since the resort has a heated indoor pool and offers some really fun activities inside the hotel like a built-your-own-bear factory kit to enjoy in-room cozy by the fire.

Basic Info: The sleigh experience can be booked for 2 kids and adults sharing a vis-a-vis sleigh. Book in advance–this opportunity sells out! – Resort rooms and cabin rentals are available – Rooms start at $123

Nearby Attractions: For families loving things a little off the beaten path, a must-see is the lava tube cave in Bend, great for kids aged 5+. If you are more into indoor activities, we recommend checking out the Sunriver Observatory and in particular their night visits.

2. Ride In The Snow at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park and Old Faithful are amazing in winter, yet not a super popular destination for winter family travel! The snow transforms the landscape into something truly magical. You can enjoy a fair share of adventure with your kids from hiking in the snow to seeing the buffalos in their winter habitat. For kids old enough, take a thrilling snowmobile ride with a guide and start the adventure.

Basic Info: The snowmobile tours are accessible for ages 8+ (as a passenger) but you can book a snow coach instead for little ones and anyone not interested in the snowmobile experience. The cost starts at $450 for the ride per person and includes the guide and visit through the national park.

Nearby Attractions: After a day in the national park your family may want to enjoy one of the best winter family vacation spots kept secret: The Astoria hot springs’ kiddie pool.

3. Visit Gorgeous Whistler in Canada

Whistler is one of Canada’s treasures and a wonderful hub for family winter vacations. It has a vibrant arts culture and access to amazing skiing and snowboarding slopes. You can take a self-guided walking tour through the charming village, spend some family time at the skating rink, and finish the day at one of the many great restaurants in town.

Basic Info: The Whistler Village visitor center also offers scavenger hunts and special activities for families with kids. You can also take e breaks during your visit to the kid zone and playgrounds.

Nearby Attractions: Kids age 8+ can get a taste of the Olympic winter sport of Luge at the Whistler Sliding Center. Families can also catch the magical alpenglow during a winter ziplining experience.

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Cheap Winter Family Vacations For Families on a Budget

4. Ride a Real-Life Polar Express in New York

Upstate New York is beautiful in the winter and home to one of the most magical experiences. During December, families can hop on board a real-life Polar Express in Utica, NY! Children and adults will enjoy the reenacted Christmas stories while staying warm with a cup of cocoa. But we recommend making this holiday season even more memorable by staying 

Basic Info: Tickets start at $47 for adults and $29 for kids 2-12. Local hotels start around $160 a night – Lots of family-friendly dining options like Georgio’s Village Café and Swifty’s Restaurant and Pub

Nearby Attractions: After riding the Polar Express, take a day trip to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Visit the Utica Zoo to see how the animals play in the snow or stop by the Val Bialas ski center.

5. Go on a Fun Winter Getaway in Minnesota

Enjoy the beautiful Minnesota winter at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake. This lakeside resort gives you access to a ton of fun winter activities and amenities on a budget. Kids can enjoy a ride on their famous pint-size snowmobile or practice their skills at ice bowling for free.

Basic Info: Rooms start at $159 with a winter special available. They also offer five restaurants onsite and all amenities for ice fishing with kids.

Nearby Attractions: You can stretch the fun with a day trip at the local water park, with tickets only $20/ per person, this is a great way to change pace for a day

6. Winter Vacation in the Mountains of Michigan

The Boyne Mountain Resort has everything you need for a great family vacation. From all the traditional winter sports, to sno-go biking ( a bike with ski), your kids will have a great time. We recommend a friendly competition on a twin-racing zip line or trying out their eco-friendly moonbikes (for kids 5 feet tall and up)

Basic Info: Rooms start at $160, and they offer full-day childcare on the weekend from 3yo to 12yo, if you need a break.

Nearby Attractions: You don’t really have to leave the resort to extend the fun. Head over to Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark. Families can reconnect around a little thrill like the “couloir”, one of the steepest slides in the industry.

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Great for Christmas and Holidays

7. Spend Time in a Life-Size Christmas Village, in Ontario Canada

Niagara-on-the-lake is one of those towns coming out of a Christmas card! During the Christmas season, you can stroll around the village, discover all the beautiful old homes completely decorated, and even enjoy an authentic Christmas carol by candlelight experience on the weekend in December. But what will make this family vacation so special is to stop time during an afternoon and enjoy a traditional high tea with kids, at the McFarland House from the 19th century.

Visit info: Niagara by the Lake, is usually set as a romantic destination and offers mostly bed and breakfast. But the South Landing Inn is welcoming families with kids of all ages with open arms and spacious bedrooms (sleeping up to 6), kitchens, and family-size dining tables.

Favorite attractions nearby: When in town you will want to visit the butterfly conservatory where kids can meet the beautiful insects up close, we also recommend adding the open-to-public ice rink at Pillar and Post.

8. Enjoy Christmas in Hershey, Pennsylvania

No proper Christmas family vacation would be complete without chocolate! Hersheypark has festive decorations, delicious foods, and holiday-themed coasters! If you visit before January 1st, the park has a special holiday candy-themed overlay with over five million twinkling lights. They also feature a special reindeer encounter (the only place in the Northeast to see all 9 reindeer) and opportunities to visit with Santa.

Basic Info: Guests at Hershey’s Great Resorts and Lodge, can enjoy a free preview 2.5 hours before closing the day before their full visit, a free shuttle, and many more perks.

Nearby Attractions: From December up to the end of the holiday breaks, you can join their Santa Breakfast Buffet event at the Chocolatier restaurant, where families enjoy a cozy breakfast with hints of chocolate, kids’ activities, and lots of holiday family fun.

Exceptional winter family vacations For Families looking for the WOW factor.

9. Visit an Ice Hotel in Quebec, Canada

The Ice Hotel in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier on the east coast of Quebec is an unforgettable experience for winter trips, that will seem like fairytale magic to your kids. You can spend the day visiting this unique structure, discover the hotel’s themed room, drink a hot drink at their bar, and enjoy the family activities throughout the resorts. If you choose to spend the night, they accommodate even the youngest visitors and offer rooms with fireplaces for families a little worried about the cold.

Basic Info: A day visit starts at 29.99 CAD and rooms for the night at $399 CAD, The price includes Arctic sleeping bags and discounts for local activities. You also get access to the Nordic spa with special family time in the morning.

Nearby Attractions: You don’t have to go far from the hotel to enjoy all snow activities, a fun family game space as well as an indoor water park. Check out their bora bora parc and other activities.

10. Hit Some of the World’s Best Slopes in Colorado

Vail, Colorado is famous for its incredible ski slopes and resorts. Places like Sonnenalp Resort are the perfect spots for family vacations. Their kid’s clubs have both indoor and outdoor seasonal activities and take your adventures’ adventures-loving kids. From photography hikes with Polaroids provided to arts and crafts, they will keep busy, while you hit the slopes.

Basic Info: The loft bedrooms are perfect for families since they give everyone space, with lots of charm and even a giant jetted tub. And while the kids have fun at the club, parents can relax at the spa with the indoor/outdoor pool and tons of treatment options.

Nearby Attractions: Take a break from the snow and enjoy the local Betty Ford Alpine Gardens or the Vail scenic gondolas.

Winter family getaways a short drive from New York City

11. Snow Vacations in a Classic Austrian Ski Resort in Vermont

Located in beautiful Stowe, Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge is a unique mountain resort featuring Austrian-inspired architecture. It has lots of amazing downhill and cross-country skiing. Plus, it’s run by the same Trapp family as featured in The Sound of Music! The hotel offers great indoor activities for kids to shelter in, in case of bad weather like rock climbing and sugar house experience. 

Basic Info: The Trapp Family Lodge offers spacious rooms, starting at $295, their family room is a great option for large families sleeping up to 6 in the same unit. 

Nearby Attractions: Stowe is the ultimate winter town with charming shops and restaurants, so you will want to spend some time there to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City. For outdoor adventure-loving families, check out the beautiful hike leading to Moss Glen Falls.

12. Winter Vacations With An Olympic Flare at Lake Placid, NY

If your family is taking snow sports seriously, add some friendly competition during your vacation and other fun winter activities on the Olympic slopes and rinks of Lake Placid Legacy Sites and White Face Mountain.
The complex also offers a great Olympic Museum with one of the world’s largest collections of Winter Olympic memorabilia.

Basic Info: Some activities kids can participate in at the complex include. 50-minute figure skating session, indoor and outdoor public skating, stick N puck individual session and Whiteface Mountain offers traditional and adaptive sessions to start skiing like pros.

Nearby Attractions: The Mirror Lake Inn resort offers some great family room layouts, it welcomes all families and receives the LGBTQ+ badge of support.

13. Twilight skiing and Furry Friends on the slopes of this ski resort in Maine

If you never thought of Maine for your family’s winter getaway, then this may change your mind! The Sunday River is one of those ski resorts that puts family fun first. They offer tons of unique experiences like their twilight skiing for all ages, Eddi the Yeti mascot can be seen going down the slopes, and they put together some great apres-ski entertainment for the kids like the fire dance show or a lighted trail.

Basic Info: Twilight skiing is available on select Friday and Saturday nights, plus a few extra holidays so check their schedule. For the lighted trail experience, plan for a half-mile-long stroll through the woods with trees wrapped in thousands of twinkling lights, and hot cocoa is provided after the visit.

Nearby Attractions: There is a free shuttle from the resort to Bethel a charming town hosting the Gem Theater. The venue has tons of events throughout the year, including movies for all ages and live performances. They also have some amazing popcorn!

Winter wonderland destinations in the West

14. Winter Family Vacations For Large Families in Southern in California

Big Bear Mountain, located near San Bernardino National Forest in southern California, is giving you a family winter getaway a couple hours’ drive from Los Angeles. The Big Bear Mountain resort is known for excellent snowboarding, skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. Big Bear has lots of family-friendly cabins for rent which makes it a great option for a winter vacation with your entire extended family.

Basic Info: Cabin rental and hotels start around $200 per night and often offer hot tubs and playrooms for kids. The free area trolley is great to get around if you travel with a large group, it has an app available to keep track of hours and stops available.

Nearby Attractions: Kids love the Alpine mountain coaster, the Big Bear Snow Play, and the Ropes Course. There are even helicopter sightseeing tours for unparalleled views of the San Bernadino National Forest and the nearby mountains.

15. Stay at this Ski Resort Made For Kids and Parents Near Denver

Keystone Resort in Colorado created a parent’s dream for the perfect winter vacation. You can split your time between fun days filled with kids’ activities like their famous  Kidtopia Snow Fort, snow tubing, and other winter activities, or catch some downtime thanks to their child care center offering options for both daytime activities and parents’ night out opportunities. 

Basic Info: The snow fort is completely free and is the largest of its kind in the country. For child care options, it is first come first serve and the parent night out option includes pizza and a dance party.

Nearby Attractions: Keystone is known for its skiing, but non-skiers can enjoy snowshoe trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, sleigh rides, and beautiful views from the gondola trip. The resort is also a quick 1hr drive from Denver if you crave some city escape.

Winter family vacation ideas for families who don't like to ski

16. Take a One-of-a-kind Winter Chocolate Tour in New Hampshire

For the past 21 years, this fun winter tradition has roamed the streets of Jackson, NH. Families can sit comfortably in a horse-drawn Austrian carriage. The sleigh rides around town and at each selected stop, a chocolatier presents a new treat. After the tour, you can visit each property again some offer tours of the ground and historic buildings.

Basic info: The sleigh can accommodate up to 10 passengers and for children under 3 seating on the parent’s lap is free. Note that there are no bathroom breaks so come prepared. Reservation is necessary and spots book fast.

Nearby Attractions:  We recommend checking out Santa’s Village within a quick road trip away from Jackson. To make this a real vacation, stay a few nights at the Mountain View Grand Resort, it offers a real family-friendly vibe, paired with affordable luxury accommodations.

17. Winter Fun in An Interactive Icy Wonderlands in Lake George, NY

Lake George is often seen as a warm weather destination, but some magical things happen there in the winter months. You can visit the  Winter Dreams experience at the Fort William Henry Historic Fortress. 

Basic info: The experience requires a ticket to enter. The winter dream experience is associated with the Fort William Henry resorts so you can easily access nearby restaurants. The resort offers a package deal with a 20% discount and a gift for their guests.

Nearby Attractions: We recommend the World Awareness Museum in Glen Falls, a great place to stay warm and learn about different cultures. Or Spend some time visiting the fort and enjoy their educational programs.

18. Enjoy A Winter Dip In A Natural Hot Spring in British Colombia, Canada

If you love snow, Canada will have it! And with that, it offers some cool experiences like a family-friendly hot spring in Radium Hot Spring, Canada. Kids of all ages are welcome and they even have a family pool to cool off (under construction). The best part, you get to enjoy a relaxing experience with views of snowy Canadian mountains.

Basic info: If you have more than one child make sure to get the family pass for only $53. It doesn’t have in-and-out privileges so make sure you schedule your thermal experience accordingly. The temperatures vary between 98F (37°) and 104F (40°).

Nearby Attractions: If you crave some outdoor non-ski fun, head over to Kootenay National Park, there are tons of snowshoeing and sightseeing opportunities. The Fairmont Hot Springs Resorts has some really cozy family villas to accommodate kids and extended families.

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