Winter is right around the corner, and so is winter vacation. In order to keep kids from bouncing off the walls at home, many parents may opt to pack up the brood and get away during the chilly months.
If you are searching for a winter travel destination the whole family will enjoy, here are 10 of the best options.
Located near Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is a seashell lover’s paradise. The laid-back island has been ranked as one of the best winter family vacation spots with U.S. News. From shelling to shopping, there is something for every member of your family to enjoy.
Most of the top Sanibel activities involve being outdoors, and a must-see is the 6,000-acre J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Bird lovers will appreciate the array of birds live in the refuge’s mangrove estuary, and other critters such as turtles, crabs, alligators, lizards and otters can also be spotted.
Kids can learn more about the refuge at its Education Center, which features a children’s area with interactive exhibits.
2. San Diego
San Diego provides tourists with a sunny escape and offers travelers more than 70 miles of glorious coastline to enjoy. Aside from playing on the beach, shopping and dining at fantastic restaurants, one of the top things to do in San Diego with kids is to head to the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
The renowned zoo is dedicated to conservation and research, houses more than 3,700 rare or endangered animals and features 100 acres of beautiful grounds perfect for strolling.
With locations all around the United States and even a couple in Canada, the Great Wolf Lodge chain — said to be the largest family of indoor water parks with hotels — is sure to be a hit with the kiddos.
Aside from taking advantage of all the splashing good fun the water parks have to offer, during the winter months kids will enjoy visits from Santa, experience indoor “snow” showers, catch shows and have opportunities to participate in holiday crafts.
Offering five floors of fun and interactive learning, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is located minutes away from downtown (which is a positive for mom and dad if they want some adult fun too).
As an added perk, kids may get some learning in while on break from school. Exhibits showcase dinosaur fossils and other archeological finds, art sculptures, historical galleries and more.
During the museum’s winter Jolly Days, a snow castle, 47-foot Yule Slide, theatrical performance of The Elves and the Shoemaker, and a reindeer-grooming station are featured.
Minutes away from downtown Nashville and steps away from the Grand Ole Opry, parents and kids can have it all under one roof. Shopping and dining venues, live music and entertainment, indoor and outdoor pools and acres of beautiful indoor gardens make this hotel retreat a top choice for many parents.
This winter, guests to the hotel will enjoy the magical Country Christmas event featuring more than 3 million holiday lights, acres of decorations and loads of fantastic family-friendly activities. Activities will include a snow tubing hill, cookies with Mrs. Claus, breakfast with Charlie Brown and Friends, and the ICE! indoor winter wonderland walk-through attraction.
The exhibit features two million pounds of colorful ice sculptures, four two-story tall ice slides, a full Nativity carved in ice, and more.
Need to get away from it all and unwind a bit? Why not head to Mexico and chill out in Cabo with the whole family? Though it might not be the first place that comes to your mind for family-friendliness, the destination has been favored by many parents due to the fact there are plenty of kid-friendly Cabo activities available.
Additionally, many resorts in Cabo offer kids clubs with supervised activities, giving mom and dad that needed break time.
A cruise can be great fun for the family any time of year, but Disney Cruises can be extra special during the winter months. If you’re looking for a unique place to escape to during the holidays, a Very Merrytime Cruise can be an excellent choice.
This special cruise features life-sized gingerbread houses, 24-foot Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, a tropical holiday party, a Mickey Mouse tree lighting ceremony, Santa meet-and-greet, youth parties, Mrs. Claus storytime and more.
Even when it’s not the holidays, the fleet of Disney ships have plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
8. Ice Castles
Have you ever explored an ice castle? If not, here’s your chance. Ice Castles, LLC, builds giant fairytale ice castles filled with tunnels, slides, towers and thrones made of snow and ice.
The castles come complete with lights that twinkle in time to music. To learn more about locations, dates and times, visit icecastles.com.
Grand Targhee Ski Resort has been rated as one of the best family ski resorts, and for good reason. Sitting in the backside of the Tetons, the resort offers 2,000 acres of lift-accessed skiing and 1,000 acres of snowcat skiing.
As an added plus, it has been said the intimate setting makes it easy to spot your children. There are also a lot of on-site activities for kids to enjoy, including a kids-only trail map, the ski school program, dogsledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
The Dominican Republic’s family-friendly Punta Cana Club Med is an all-inclusive resort bursting with activities for young and old alike. The resort and Cirque du Soleil have recently teamed up to birth the CREACTIVE program, which is basically a circus playground for kids and adults.
The whole family can participate in activities like juggling, soaring on the flying trapeze, walking up walls, drumming, dancing, face painting and more. Additionally, on-site activities such as golfing, archery, tennis, windsurfing, sailing, pool games, snorkeling and more will keep everyone busy all day if they so wish.
Mom and dad want a break? Kids clubs for children as young as four months of age and as old as 17 are also provided.