Winter Family Vacation Destinations Everyone Can Enjoy
Winter family vacations are becoming more and more popular. And year-end holiday travel, defined as traveling between December 23rd and January 1st, has increased over the years.
While some of that holiday travel is simply visiting family and friends, for families looking to stretch their dollars, winter travel allows them to take advantage of off-season prices to popular destinations. While typical getaways include ski resorts, tropical beaches, or theme parks, stretching your horizons might increase your chances of getting an even better deal. Try these winter family vacation destinations for your next winter adventure:
For Holiday Magic
If your family oohs and aahs at the twinkle of holiday lights, head to New Orleans. From the dazzling Christmas tree displays in historic hotels such as The Roosevelt, to the holiday lights festival at the Celebration in the Oaks, the city transforms into a winter wonderland — minus the snow. Many hotels offer deep discounts and holiday packages.
Holiday-themed entertainment also abounds including special concerts at St. Louis Cathedral, caroling in Jackson Square, and jazz performances at Preservation Hall.
And NOLA is more than its Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras reputation. It's also a great place for families with tweens or teens. Educational and cultural sites include the National WWII Museum and Audobon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.
For Dog Lovers
If you've always secretly wanted to mush a dogsled, head to Ely, Minnesota — the self-proclaimed "Sled Dog Capital of the United States." Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge offers several three- and four-day lodge-based dog sledding packages for families with children ages 6 and up. You'll lead your own dogsled team while guides take you on a tour that traverses scenic northland trails.
Families with children 8 and older can sign up for dogsled camping trips, which include backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Either way, it's a chance to get away from digital overload and reconnect with family and nature.
You're not limited to Minnesota for these snow adventures. Dog Sled Rides has information on mushing sites throughout the United States, Canada, and Sweden for both dog sledding and skijoring — where a pack of Alaskan malamutes or huskies pull you while you're on cross-country skis.
For Entertainment Fans
Las Vegas is another destination that's not just for adults anymore. Normally family vacations don't include a lot going on after dark. However, this isn't the case in Vegas, where you'll have several entertainment options every night of the week. Vegas.com lists the best family-friendly shows with no age restrictions, including Cirque du Soleil's acrobatic Mystere and the Mac King Comedy Magic Show. Hockey fans get a dose of theatrics and world-class play from last year's Stanley Cup finalists, the Vegas Golden Knights. Throw in some free entertainment, such as the fountain show at the Bellagio, and you have your nights covered.
When the sun is up, there's more to do than just lounging by the hotel pool. Several tour operators offer can't-miss day trips. The Hoover Dam is about 40 miles away. And for a full-day adventure, head to the Grand Canyon West Rim, which is owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe. The glass Skywalk at Eagle Point juts out over the canyon for awe-inspiring views. Daring types can even ride the zip line that soars nearly 1,000 feet above the canyon floor.
By skipping the typical December-through-February destination, your family can experience winter vacation in a whole new light.