Skiing in Colorado
Why not learn to ski in a beautiful location?
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7 Winter Getaway Destinations for Family Fun in Snow or Sun

Do You Want to Build Sandcastles or Snowmen?

If you’re like me, there’s nothing like winter clouds and gloom to get you thinking about a family vacation. Whether you are looking for a getaway with lots of snow play and winter fun, or are hoping to escape the cool temperatures for a warm-weather getaway, there are plenty of options to choose from.

We’ve rounded up some of the best winter vacations for families for your travel inspiration.

Learn to Ski in Colorado

Colorado is certainly known for being a world-class ski destination but the state also has plenty of kid-friendly ski resorts that are perfect for little ones who are snow-ploughing down runs for the first time.

While Winter Park is our favorite place to teach little ones to ski, Aspen’s Buttermilk and Snowmass resorts are also great. Once you’re finished on the slopes, you can take a horse and carriage ride around downtown, or warm up at the Aspen Rec Center’s indoor pool and rock climbing wall.

If you happen to visit in late January, try to time your visit to include a stop at the International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge.

Ferris Wheel at Disney World OrlandoYou'll never be bored when visiting Orlando.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Warm Weather and Theme Parks in Orlando

Orlando’s theme parks, most notably Walt Disney World, are a dream vacation for many families around the world. During winter, Orlando has ideal weather and a long list of family vacation draws which make it a great destination for families who are looking to escape the cold.

Consider packing a light sweater as the evenings can get chilly, but you’ll find more reasonably priced airfare and lodging, and shorter lines at the parks and other big-name attractions around town.

Many families come back to Orlando again and again due to the long list of family-friendly attractions available including LEGOLAND Florida, the Kennedy Space Center, the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and of course all of the well-known Disney Parks.

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Bird's-eye view of Gatlinburg, TNVisit the cozy town of Gatlinburg for all kinds of family fun.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Winter-Themed Fun in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is a unique destination in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Wintertime is an especially interesting time to visit as the town is decked out in Christmas lights and hosts tons of fun events. In fact, winter is one of the most exciting times to visit Gatlinburg as Winterfest is happening as well as Dollywood’s Christmas Festival.

Many of the theaters and shows in Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge will offer exciting winter or Christmas themed shows. Ober Gatlinburg is in the middle of town and is the state’s only ski resort. It offers nine runs, an ice skating rink, tubing hills and two alpine coasters.

If you enjoy shopping, the city offers no shortage of fun and interesting shops to explore. One of the largest Christmas stores in the south, The Incredible Christmas Place, will fulfill all of your holiday decor needs.

If you need a break from the cool weather, there are loads of family-oriented indoor attractions such as the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Family on the beach in HonoluluSeek out the sun in Honolulu this winter.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sun, Sand and Family-Friendly Attractions in Honolulu, Hawaii

While a bit longer travel time and a larger budget may be required than many destinations on our list, Honolulu is a fantastic winter family vacation destination. The area has tons of family resorts and attractions that cater to kids.

Spend your days at the Honolulu Zoo, Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii or the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center. You could even spend your whole trip at Aulani, Hawaii’s unique version of a Disney resort, located just 30 minutes from Honolulu.

The weather is warm, with temperatures hovering around the low 80’s. However, with such ideal temperatures and plethora of family-friendly things to do, you’ll need to hit the beach early to find a place on the sand to spread out your beach towel — it’s a very popular time of year to visit.

Carnaval de QuebecJoin in some unique carnival fun for the whole family in Quebec.Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada

Planning a trip in February? Each year during this time, Quebec City boasts a fun, family-friendly Winter Carnival with lots of winter themed activities such as canoe races across the city’s frozen river, an ice palace, and a night parade.

There’s also a fun indoor aquarium if you need a break from taking toboggan rides down the Terrasse Dufferin. Other highlights for kids include a chance to drive a dog sled, taking sleigh rides, looking at the impressive snow sculptures and enjoying innovative games like human table football or human bowling.

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View of the Town Square - WhistlerWhether you're interested in skiing or not, Whistler has plenty of snowy activities for the whole family to enjoy.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fun in the Snow for the Whole Family in Whistler, Canada

Whistler is great for skiing, but there’s so much more for families to do, especially those that may not be ready to strap on a pair of skis just yet. There’s snowmobiling, snow tubing and snowshoeing, as well as cultural activities like an art museum.

Enjoy Nintendo gaming lounges and ride the peak-to-peak gondola for all of the views and none of the falls that come with skiing! Mom and dad can chill in the outdoor hot springs while the kiddos enjoy some time exploring the Magic Castle and Tree Fort.

Afterwards, check out mementos from the 2010 Olympics at Olympic Plaza. Because Whistler is one of the best former Olympic host cities, you can enjoy bobsled rides as well at the Sliding Centre. If you do want to try out skiing, Whistler Blackcomb offers plenty of trails for beginners and fireplaces to warm your toes while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate between runs.

Family running on the beach in Costa RicaCosta Rica is a great place to escape the winter blues!Photo Credit: Getty Images

Beaches, Rainforests and Volcanoes in Costa Rica

Another one for those looking to escape the chill this winter, Costa Rica is a fantastic international destination within easy reach of the United States. Even though winter is high season, you can frequently find affordable plane tickets from major US cities, making it a destination that won’t necessarily leave you feeling broke.

Here, you’ll find one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Arenal, along with plenty of activities that are suitable for adventure-seeking kids such as zip-lining, exploring the rainforest, learning to surf, whitewater rafting and much more.

Of course, there are also those gorgeous beaches that keep us going back again and again.

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