The Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks are supposed to be a time for getting together with friends and family.
But with the stress of cooking, shopping, getting yet another sweater from an aunt who thinks you are 2 sizes bigger than you are, really we sometimes just want to get away from it all instead.
We’ve never managed a holiday-break getaway alone. Instead we usually delay that gratification for the winter break that comes a very short seven or eight weeks after Tiny Traveler was home in December.
Regardless of which week you choose, a winter break can be a way to make the most of the winter cold and snow or to get the heck away from it for a few days in the sun.
Here are three U.S. destinations you might not think of for a winter family vacation, but that deliver some of the best family holidays at this time of year.
A Winter Break Getaway For Every Family
Soak up the Sun Around San Diego
There’s probably no better place to soak up the winter sunshine than San Diego. Daytime highs average in the mid to upper 60’s; not quite swimming weather but still a break from winter cold and perfect for sightseeing. So where to go?
The San Diego Zoo is probably your first stop. The cool winter temperatures keep away the crowds, so getting around the zoo and closer to the exhibits is far easier than in summer. And animals tend to be friskier when it’s not hot.
The Beach! Walk on the sand, kick a soccer ball, maybe dip a toe in the water. If you want to swim, rent wetsuits for your family and grab a boogie board (or take surfing lessons!).
San Diego has a trove of local microbrews and regional wines to try at its many family friendly local restaurants.
Read More: San Diego: Beyond the Zoo
Find Texas-Sized Fun and Value in Dallas
Families who want the most value for their vacation budget (in time as well as money) should consider Dallas, Texas.
Its south-central US location means that flights from most spots in the continental US are under four hours.
Plus Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is one of the world’s largest and serves as a hub for several airlines. This means there is a good chance of a direct flight and reasonable fares.
Did you know that you can go horseback riding through one of the nation’s largest urban forests or give your adrenaline-craving kids a thrill at Zero Gravity Thrill Park.
Revel in Colorado Snow
If you want to see some real snow and hit the slopes over one of your winter holidays try Winter Park, Colorado.
Its location, less than 90 minutes northwest of Denver, makes Winter Park is easier and less expensive to get to than some other Colorado ski towns; you can even get there from Denver by train! And it still manages to combine small-town western charm with big-time winter fun.
The ski resort trails for new and advanced skiers alike. Families can also try activities like snow-tubing, ski-biking or dogsled riding. Non-skiers in your family can explore several museums and art galleries, and take local tours.
After a long day outdoors families have an easy dinner in a local brewpub or go for a more upscale meal.
You can’t go wrong with any of these winter vacation destinations. Which would you choose, sun, city or snow?