The Best Winter Vacations the Whole Family Will Love
To save you some legwork, we pulled together destinations—both domestic and international—that are begging to be explored this winter, whether you’re looking for warmer temperatures or spots to hit the slopes. Just make sure to check travel advisories for the area you plan on traveling to before making your reservations as many states and countries have restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Beaver Creek, Colorado
If hot cocoa on a chairlift and fresh-baked cookies waiting for you at the bottom of the mountain sounds like your kind of daydream, add Beaver Creek to your winter trip wish list. This mountain village is a quick 20-minute drive from Vail, if you want to destination-hop within Colorado, too. The resort offers trails for all skill levels, making it an easy spot to bring the kids. Speaking of kids, there’s also a kids-only restaurant called The Ranch with an ice cream parlor. After you’ve gotten your fill of skiing, check out the movie nights, fireside story time, and ice skating. For cozy lodging for the whole fam, consider the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. Book the James Chadwick suite—with 1,650-square-feet of space, a fireplace, and gorgeous views of Beaver Creek Mountain.
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If snow is not your idea of winter fun, head to warmer temps. There’s no better spot to soak in the sun than the Bahamas and they certainly know how to do family traveling right. Your kids will love The Cove at Atlantis, which is home to an 11-acre Dolphin Cay that’s full of marine animals. And this is only one of many resorts in the area catering to families—just one of the reasons the Bahamas is a perfect respite for the whole family. At The Cove, there’s also an adults-only pool for when you need a little break. Lounge by the pool, and be sure to book a few hours for yourself at the Mandara Spa at Atlantis and have dinner at on-site restaurant Fish by José Andrés.
Skiing is, of course, the thing to do in Stowe, but there’s so much more than the slopes. Bring the kids to learn how to dog sled, visit a cider mill, hike, or tour the Ben & Jerry’s factory, which is replete with ice cream trivia and even includes a trip to the ice cream graveyard, where flavors are retired. There are no shortage of luxe resorts in Stowe, as well, so you’ll never be sacrificing comfort for an abundance of kid-friendly activities. Try The Lodge at Spruce Peak, nestled at the base on Mount Mansfield; their family-friendly suites are outfitted with kitchens, fireplaces, and mountain-view terraces.
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The European-reminiscent architecture of Québec City dusted with snow and proximity to skiing in the Eastern Townships is enough of a reason to pay a visit up north this winter, even as the temperature drops below zero. If you’re looking for more motivation, we’ve got one word for you: poutine. A Canadian delicacy, poutine—crispy fries piled with gravy and cheese curds—is quite possibly the coziest winter food in existence. If your family is adventurous, spend a night in the city’s Hôtel de Glace, the only ice hotel you’ll find in North America.
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December is one of the best months to visit Costa Rica, since the rain has slowed and the beach weather is in full swing. The only challenge to a Costa Rican vacation is choosing your locale; the northwestern stretch of Guanacaste boasts beautiful coastlines and great surf, La Fortuna is known for their hot springs, and Monteverde has awe-inspiring hiking through the cloud forest. For a family vacation, however, we recommend venturing to Manuel Antonio to check into the Arenas del Mar, a luxury beachfront resort complete with private jacuzzis and a clifftop pool.
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If skiing is the main attraction on your family’s winter vacations, head to Breckenridge. This mountain town in Colorado has it all: snowmobile tours, dog sledding, skiing, body sledding, snowshoeing. Boredom will never be a factor here. One Ski Hill Place and Crystal Peak Lodge are two luxury hotels that will take care of you when you’re recovering from all of those winter sports.
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Park City, Utah
Snowshoeing, distillery visits, hot air balloon rides—there is so much more to Park City than skiing. The Washington Schoolhouse Hotel was once, you guessed it, a school house and is now a luxury hotel in a truly unique setting. Its location is perfect for those who want to ski on the nearby slopes, but also central to the city making it easy for day excursions for any members of the family who aren’t avid skiers.
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Yosemite National Park, California
Winter is the perfect time to explore the United States’ national parks. Yosemite National Park is home to The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, which is the perfect spot to start your winter vacation (if you’re lucky, you’ll get a room with a balcony and some insane views). During the holidays, you can catch a performance of The Bracebridge Dinner, where you’ll experience a feast that transports you back to old England—something the entire family will never forget.
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to stand inside a snow globe, head to Iceland during the wintertime. Sure, the unpredictable weather makes it hard to justify a road trip, but sticking to Reykjavik has its perks. This is especially nice if you have older kids who can appreciate a cozy night in with a good book. And there’s a good chance you’ll catch the northern lights. For a luxe stay, check out Hotel Borg, a triumph of Art Deco-style and Nordic design.
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hristmas markets are a dime a dozen in this German city. You’ll never feel as festive as you will walking along the town’s medieval castle under a blanket of snow. The kinder market in downtown Nuremberg has all kinds of rides decked out in holiday décor, which is always a crowd-pleaser for the younger ones. If you’re children have a penchant for theatrics, take them to stay at Hotel Drei Raben (Three Raven Hotel), which has 16 rooms decorated to commemorate mystical stories.
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San Antonio, Texas
Take a week out of your winter to explore a warmer destination—San Antonio never disappoints. From the Omni La Mansión del Rio to the St. Anthony, A Luxury Collection Hotel, there are plenty of luxe accommodations that celebrate southwestern architecture. Make tamales at La Gran Tamalada, see a performance of The Nutcracker, or listen to Christmas carols in the Natural Bridge Caverns 180 feet underground.