It’s so easy to hunker down at home after the Christmas holidays pass, avoiding the winter weather and dreaming of your distant summer vacation. But don’t do it!
Whether you take quick weekend getaways or full week’s vacation over winter break, this time of year offers fun opportunities to bond with your kids in different ways than you do during summer vacation.
Winter is also off-season for destinations that don’t offer either sand or snow. if you don’t mind some grey weather you can save money on some of your bucket-list destinations.
If you want to stay closer to home and drive to your winter getaway instead of flying, make sure you have a vehicle that’s cut out to safely handle whatever rain, snow or ice the winter might bring.
Flying or driving, consider these winter travel ideas that are ideal with kids of almost any age.
5 Winter Family Getaways You Haven’t Thought Of
1. Explore a winter wonderland
Not all snowy winter getaways need to involve skiing. For either a week or a long weekend, consider family resorts like Woodloch Pines (read about our stay) or Rocking Horse Ranch. They offer winter activities like tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing as well as indoor pools.
Or save money by booking a vacation rental home in a winter destination that offers those activities, plus things like a winter festival or hot springs.
Tip: Vacation homes in winter destinations often come with extras like hot tubs, fireplaces and heated pools.
• Find your ideal rental on TripAdvisor’s Flipkey.
• Print our winter vacation packing list.
2. Relax with a staycation
A weekend or a week, staycations can be the most relaxing vacation you can have, if you’re willing to do a little planning.
For example, give the family a tech-free day, where you can play board games, read, get out of the house, even watch a movie together. Just lock away the phones, tablets and laptops.
Have a pajama day, order take-out or play tourist and check out nearby museums, parks, or other sites you’ve been meaning to visit.
3. Be locals in a new place
Yours isn’t the only family looking for an affordable winter getaway. Make this the year that you give a home exchange a shot, especially if you have toddlers or preschoolers and can escape for more than one week.
Ideally you want to do a home swap with a family about the same size as yours. They’ll likely have a home suited to your kids needs and you’ll have sleeping space for theirs.
Target cities you’ve been curious to visit, either in the U.S. or further afield. For more adventure, consider changing climates by say, trading Southern California sun for Canadian hockey and poutine.
It’s a novel and inexpensive way to try being a “local” someplace else for a bit.
4. Go to Europe
January to March is the ideal time to find discounted airfares to Europe and low off-season hotel rates, even in pricey cities like London and Paris. So Europe for a winter vacation spot, especially if you’re traveling with tweens or teens.
You won’t be admiring the greenery of Hyde Park or sipping coffee in an outdoor Paris café. But you can explore those cities’ many museums, take in some theater, find a pub with a cozy fireplace, or tuck into hearty French fare like beef bourguignon without guilt.
5. Take a city break
Whenever we need a quick and easy weekend getaway with Tween Traveler, we go to Philadelphia, only a two-hour drive away.
Check out your closest city for events to build a weekend around: maybe an ice show or musical is coming through town or a new exhibit at your family’s favorite museum.
Being close by means you can be spontaneous and grab hotel discounts when you spot them.
Winter can be a great time for family getaways and they don’t have to be snow-centric, unless that’s what you’re craving. What’s most important is spending time with family, trying new things, or discovering the new in something familiar.
Be willing to get creative and try something new. Instead of hibernating, have a winter family adventure!