15 Winter Travel Destinations Perfect for the Whole Family

PHOTO: A sunny beach makes the perfect winter escape. (Photo courtesy of Emily Krause)
by Emily Krause
Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Thu December 13, 2018

Choosing a Winter Travel Destination.

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, parents and kids alike start to get restless for a change of scenery. For some families that means escaping the cold for a sun-soaked beach, while other families love the thrill of outdoor winter sports followed by warm drinks around the fireplace. Whatever your family's preference, there are so many wonderful options for winter getaways for every travel style and budget. We've got you covered with 15 winter travel destinations your whole family will love.

St. Augustine, Florida

If you want to avoid the snowbird crowds of South Florida, St. Augustine is an incredible alternative for families. Steeped in rich history as the oldest city in the United States, you could spend days touring and exploring historical sites and museums. There's plenty to do outside, too, if you want to enjoy the mild winter weather. St. Augustine has great beaches, a state park for hiking and plenty of parks and splash pads for kids. Stroll the pedestrian-only St. George Street downtown for unique shops and restaurants.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is an underrated gem of a city whose residents don't just survive the cold; they embrace it! A series of interconnected skywalks make the downtown area a great place to visit on a frigid winter day with kids. With multiple professional sports teams, museums, theater and scenic lakes to walk around when the weather permits, your family will never run out of things to do on a winter getaway.

The Bahamas

When you live in a frigid climate, sometimes all you want to do is escape to the sunshine and lay on the beach. The Bahamas have plenty of kid-friendly resorts where you'll find an activity everyone will love. Beat the mid-winter blues with snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, hiking or up-close encounters with marine life.

Key West, Florida

Key West is the perfect destination to make you feel like you're on a tropical island without having to get a passport. Despite its reputation for revelry, there are actually so many family-friendly things to do. If you fly into Miami, the road trip through the Keys is half the fun. Kids will love swimming, snorkeling, the Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square each night and exploring Fort Zachary Taylor Park's fort and beach.

Santa Barbara, California

This California destination has everything you could want for a relaxing winter vacation. Near-perfect weather year-round means you can enjoy the zoo, the missions, the historic courthouse, Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Harbor. Don't miss MOXI Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation-your kids will want to stay and play for hours. An added bonus of visiting Santa Barbara in winter is the chance to see the grey whale migration. With sunshine, mountains, ocean and rich history, there's something for everyone in Santa Barbara.

Savannah, Georgia

Winter is Savannah's low season, which means fewer crowds and lower prices, but the weather is still pretty mild compared with many northern cities. With all the city squares, parks and historical attractions to visit, Savannah is an incredibly family-friendly destination. If you visit during the holiday season you can enjoy quaint seasonal décor and the annual Gingerbread Village display and competition at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa.

Samara, Costa Rica

Though there are countless beautiful spots in Costa Rica, Samara is the perfect winter escape for families. It's a small town along the southern Pacific coast with quiet, safe beaches and affordable accommodations. Dry season is December through April, so you should enjoy perfectly sunny weather for relaxation or outdoor adventure. Do some ocean kayaking, ride bikes on the beach, go snorkeling, try zip lining or visit nearby national parks for a taste of the local flora and fauna. This tranquil beach town will have you living the Pura Vida lifestyle in no time.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

If you're looking for a winter wonderland with mild enough weather to enjoy the outdoors, look no further than Colorado Springs. Enjoy snow-covered views from the top of Pike's Peak, hike through Garden of the Gods, tour the Air Force Academy or do some shopping in Manitou Springs. If your family enjoys hitting the slopes, there are several ski resorts and destinations, like Breckenridge for example, located just a few hours away.

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Banff, a resort town inside Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, has the most stunning winter views of Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies. If relaxing on the beach isn't your thing, head to Banff for myriad outdoor activities, sipping hot chocolate in front of a fire and soaking in natural hot springs. There's nothing more magical than enjoying the views while riding the Banff gondola, and kids will love snacking on Beavertail pastries from the shop on Main Street. Though Canada is often overlooked as a winter destination, it has so much to offer those families who want to explore the great outdoors.

Page, Arizona

In recent years, Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona has gained popularity for the stunning and photogenic slot canyons. You can avoid the crowds and enjoy the beauty in peace by visiting during the winter season. The weather may be chilly, but the views more than make up for it. Book a tour with a Navajo guide to hike through the canyon and get some unforgettable photographs. You can also drive your family to Horseshoe Bend and hike to the viewpoint for more jaw-dropping vistas.

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Brush up on your French and pack a warm jacket if you're heading to this picturesque Canadian city. With activities like ice skating, visiting the annual Winter Carnival and checking out the Ice Hotel, which is only open three months out of the year, Quebec City makes the perfect winter destination. The giant toboggan slide in the middle of the city is a unique experience for the whole family and you'll enjoy incredible views from the top.

Guanajuato, Mexico

When most people imagine a winter vacation in Mexico, they picture lounging at an all-inclusive resort on the beach. Consider instead the city of Guanajuato, a UNESCO World Heritage City where colorful buildings cascade down sloping hills. You can wander the cobblestone streets, do plenty of shopping, visit the home of Diego Rivera and ride up the funicular for spectacular views.

San Antonio, Texas


While the weather in San Antonio, Texas can get uncomfortably hot and humid during the summer months, winter tends to be sunny and mild. Soak in the culture and history of this beautiful city by visiting the Alamo and enjoying some Tex-Mex on the Riverwalk. Try a narrated boat tour, the DoSeum, SeaWorld or the San Antonio Zoo for more family-friendly activities.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

This Puerto Rican city is a welcome respite from frigid weather with average temperatures in the low 80s during the winter months. The whole family will love hitting the beach by day and marveling at the bioluminescent bay by night. You'll also get a taste of history when you explore the forts and Old Town San Juan. Just outside of San Juan you can discover the wonders of the El Yunque National Forest. This is an ideal destination for families in the U.S. since it's affordable and you don't need a passport to visit.

New Orleans, Louisiana

If you've been dying to visit New Orleans but want to avoid the crowds, the winter season between Christmas and Mardi Gras is the perfect time to go. Despite its location in the south, the Big Easy can get a little chilly during this time of year, so be sure to pack layers. Besides strolling the French Quarter, you can ride the streetcars, snack on beignets at Cafe du Monde and take in some jazz music at a kid-friendly spot like Preservation Hall.

Escape the winter blues and plan a trip somewhere exciting for the whole family! From sunny beaches to winter wonderland cities, there's a destination for everyone.

Topics From This Media to Explore

Get To Know Us Better

Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me
Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me