The Top 23 Family Winter Getaways And Travel Deals
Sun or snow for your family winter getaway? Maybe you want to take that long-delayed trip to Orlando, go on a cruise with extended family or explore Paris through Emily’s eyes. You have plenty of affordable options after the holidays this winter, whether traveling in the U.S. or abroad.
You may be surprised by the crowds. According to the US Family Travel Survey 2023, the vast majority of families — 81% — say they intend to travel in the coming year. About 55% of families are planning to take a multigenerational trip. Others plan a trip with extended family members (siblings, cousins, etc.) or with other families that they are not related to.
The Virtuoso Luxe Report says that luxury experiences, despite rising costs, and family travel with immediate family are top travel trends for 2024. A new survey of 1,000 Allianz Travel Insurance customers who included a tour in their 2023 travel itinerary found that Europe is the most popular destination for travelers booking tours.
The majority (52%) of surveyed travelers included at least one tour during their trip, often themed to history or archeology. 71% of survey respondents said having travel insurance increased their confidence to go on their tour. “Travel insurance is the perfect complement to any trip, with or without a guide,” Daniel Durazo, director of external affairs at Allianz Partners USA, said, “thanks to the reliable travel protection it offers for covered travel delays, trip interruptions and cancellations plus available ‘round-the-clock travel assistance and important emergency medical coverage.”
Whether you’re concerned about weather, the current economy, or increasing global tensions (see the U.S. State Department Worldwide Caution), check out which situations are covered by your insurance policy. Buy from a company like Allianz, where you have two weeks to exchange or cancel the policy if it doesn’t meet your needs and get a full refund.
Once you’ve recovered from the holidays, join us in exploring the very best, affordable, fun and safe family winter vacation ideas with our partners at The Family Travel Forum and Little Family Adventure.
BAJA CALIFORNIA AND THE LOS CABOS PENINSULA
When the jetset buzz builds about resort destinations nicknamed “Baja” or “Cabo,” it’s easy for family winter vacation planners to be confused. The Baja California peninsula is 55,000 square miles with 1,900 miles of coastline split between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez (also known as Gulf of California).
The most popular resort areas of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and Todos Santos are in the south (cabo is Spanish for cape). While the beaches and glittering sea are equally beautiful, the vibe in each town will appeal to different travelers.
Our guide to Los Cabos and where to stay, dine and play should help you decide where to go. And with hotels from under $200/night in the winter high season, smart shoppers can still find a bargain.
BLACK AMERICANS AND OUR SHARED HISTORY
Black History Month, which is celebrated each year during February, is a chance for Americans to learn details of their nation’s history that, unfortunately, are far too often neglected. Fortunately, there are more and more opportunities to do that, and most are available year round.
Start, if you can, at the terrific Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. The sweeping panorama of Black history provides a rich overview. Other museums, such as the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, are more specialized. The huge archive of rare documents telling the story of Patriots of Color — Black and Indigenous Soldiers in the Revolutionary War – is only one reason to visit this city on Lonely Planet’s “Places to Go in 2024” list Site of the favorite film, “National Treasure” and free treasures like the Liberty Bell, Philly also boasts many of top value hotels in the Northeast. The center city Hilton Garden Inn, for example, where a room sleeping four starts at $128/night, also guarantees family connecting rooms.
Meaningful travel has taken on a new urgency. As issues of economic injustice, racism and environmental harm are debated in schools, online and on social media, children are drawn into the conversation. Choose a theme such as Civil Rights and chart your course for the NPS African American Civil Rights Network. Look deeper into the Underground Railroad as you bike in stages up to 1,997 miles of the Adventure Cycling Association’s Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. Five itineraries follow freedom seekers from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario. Minority stories are now highlighted at sites of national significance. Road trip along Route 66 or across Wyoming and learn how the indigenous peoples who lived there reacted when white settlers moved in.
CARIBBEAN RESORTS ATTRACT EVERYONE ALL WINTER
The ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, are part of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. It’s tough to find winter deals in the Caribbean, but the new, super family-welcoming Embassy Suites By Hilton Aruba has 1BR suites including sofabed, balcony, full breakfast, nightly cocktail reception, WiFi, and kids’ activities at rates from $448/N. Plus, the beaches are gorgeous.
Curacao, just 40 miles from the Venezuela coast, is a true gem. We loved the European vibe and less-touristy feel of the island. In fact, most of those staying at our beachfront 137-unit Lions Dive Beach Resort were Dutch families. (There are daily flights from Amsterdam and family beachfront cabanas are $469/night in January). We watched the sunset, eating ribs and shrimp skewers with our feet in the sand at the resort’s Chill Beach Bar. Even better, we were just 10 miles from the airport and a short drive to Willemstad, the historic island capital. (Kids will love racing across the floating Queen Emma pedestrian bridge.) Don’t miss the Barrio Urban Street Food patio that serves up dishes from six different street food stands. They include Lionfish Mango where Chef Heinrich Hortencia makes Lionfish fish and chips and Lionfish ceviche. Lionfish is an invasive species and eating them helps the reefs, he explained.
An elegant yet affordable, all-inclusive resort in Dominican Republic is The Finest Punta Cana. Your group can split up into the separate adults-only wing, The Excellence, or opt for The Finest (family) wing. Expect extensive and spacious kids’ facilities including a kids’ spa, well-spaced loungers and cabanas, and gourmet dining.
Savings tip: Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are also excellent bets for midweek, non-holiday vacationers. These islands are served by low-cost carriers Sun Country, Frontier and Spirit; have myriad vacation rentals and don’t require passports from US citizens.
Colorado Gems are 11 smaller Colorado snow resorts that are less expensive and less crowded than the big resorts and, for younger families, easier to navigate. They include the famous-for-its-long-season Arapahoe Basin and Cooper (Eileen Ogintz said this about a visit.) Echo Mountain is Denver’s closest ski area less than an hour away. Granby Ranch is very scenic as is Hesperus, 11 miles west of Durango. Choose from Monarch Mountain, near Salida; Kendall Mountain Ski Area, within walking distance from historic downtown Silverton; Loveland Powderhorn in the heart of the Grand Mesa or Purgatory. Sunlight in Glenwood Springs is where you can enjoy the world’s biggest hot springs pool.
For just $48, the GEMS Card provides your choice of either two 2-for-1 lift tickets or two 30% off lift tickets. It can be used twice at each ski area for 22 total uses and pays for itself after one use. There is a new Gems Teen Pass (2 full day tickets to 11 different resorts for $199) and a Gems parent pass (one per household with a purchase of a Kids Ski Passport or Gems Teen Pass) that give you two days each at 11 Gems ski areas for $299. It’s not just the savings on lift tickets. These fun mountain town resorts keep you on budget when it comes to any winter recreation, good dining and family lodging too.
COSTA RICA FOR A WARM AND SUSTAINABLE WINTER FAMILY GETAWAY
Embark on a tropical winter escape with your family in the vibrant paradise of La Fortuna, Costa Rica Families in search of a warm and adventurous winter getaway will discover a haven of delights in this Central American gem. From thrilling excursions to the iconic Arenal Volcano to luxuriating in natural hot springs surrounded by lush rainforests, La Fortuna promises an array of captivating activities for all ages, making it the perfect tropical retreat during the winter months.
Explore the enchanting landscapes of Costa Rica, where winter takes on a different, sun-kissed meaning. This article will guide readers through the family-friendly wonders of La Fortuna, from exhilarating zip-lining adventures through the canopy to wildlife encounters in the lush jungles. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or serene relaxation on pristine beaches, create unforgettable memories in the heart of Costa Rica’s natural beauty.
COZY UP WITH WILDLIFE AT ZOOS, AQUARIUMS AND INDOOR ATTRACTIONS
The famous Pandas may be gone at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, but there is plenty else to see and do. Meet animal keepers and see demonstrations throughout the day. Don’t miss the bird house where you can learn about the journeys of migratory songbirds. Visit the Great Ape House and the Reptile Discovery Center. Laugh at the orangutans….
You may not think winter is the time to visit a zoo or aquarium but think again. Immerse yourselves in an animal habitat for a low cost, enriching escape from the ordinary. Animal and marine life conservancies in colder climates must provide warm habitats for the species (and visitors) that need them. That means you go indoors to visit chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Discover 50+ species of exotic animals and birds in the balmy 72-degree warmth of the Tropical Forest at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. Pet stingrays in their comfy touch tank at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. Enter Giraffe Tower at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to watch these very tall animals work with their trainers. The adaptable giraffe is usually outdoors in Colorado Springs’ sunny mountain climate, but on below-40-degree days, they are susceptible to frost-bitten ears. We get it!
DOOR COUNTY, UNEXPECTED SIDE OF WISCONSIN
Door County, Wisconsin offers a variety of fun and exciting winter family activities. From skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing to snowshoeing, sledding and tubing, Door County has something for everyone. You can enjoy the cozy warmth of a fire in a wood stove and the breathtaking beauty of sparkling snow-covered trees while drinking hot cocoa by an outdoor bonfire. Explore the unique shops in Fish Creek or take an exciting sleigh ride through winding wooded trails. Whatever your family desires, you will find it in Door County this winter.
For those wanting to explore beyond the snowy terrain, visit any of Door County’s state parks for hiking, guided tours or educational programs. The county also has several museums with fascinating exhibits. Learn more at the Maritime Museum which offers insight into the history of the Great Lakes. There are plenty of indoor activities as well including bowling or curling at Sister Bay Bowl. Stay warm visiting one of their many art galleries where you can purchase handmade souvenirs to remember your winter adventure in Door County.
CRUISE TO WARM UP THE WINTER
CroisiEurope, the family owned and operated European river cruising pioneer, goes beyond the rivers for the winter months.
If you’re seeking “eternal Spring,” look no further than eight days exploring the Canary Islands. The beauty of national parks, rugged coastlines and breathtaking shorelines mixed with cities, culture and new culinary discoveries makes this a perfect active winter getaway.
Rich culture, mythology, and legendary ruins can be found on CroisiEurope’s newest offering, a week-long journey to the heart of Ancient Greece. Two more cruise programs this winter will bring you to the beautiful coastlines of Italy to be awed by Mt. Etna, Calabria and the Amalfi coast, or cruise to Malta and Sicily. And popular year-round destinations with CrosiEurope include Vietnam and Cambodia, and Southern Africa.
Pricing includes all meals, drinks onboard, excursions and where available, WiFi too. Check out their Special Offers for these and other cruise destinations.
FLORIDA BEACH TOWNS NO MATTER YOUR STYLE
Florida is a Mecca for snowbirds in winter, but that doesn’t mean shorter term visitors can’t find a deal. Even in pricey towns like Key West, chain hotels like Hilton Garden Inn and Fairfield Inn have beautiful pools, fitness facilities, easy access to local attractions, outdoor dining and good rates all winter. While exploring the Florida Keys, don’t miss the famous Old Seven Mile Bridge. It’s been partially restored as an urban park and you can hop on a 60-passenger tram to explore it.
If you’re thinking about blowing the budget on a family winter getaway, we love the towns of Panama City, Clearwater and South Walton for a real Florida family-style New Year’s celebration.
Just south of Orlando, Kissimmee is a great bet for those seeking affordable vacation rentals inland, many with their own pools. Local real estate management companies often have better rates than places listed on Airbnb. There are also 22 18-hole golf courses to keep your golfers busy when the theme park wear you out.
GRANBY LAKE PRESENTS ROCKY MOUNTAIN WINTER AT ITS FINEST
Escape to the snow-covered wonderland of Granby Lake, Colorado, with your family for an unforgettable winter adventure. Journey through stunning landscapes where very snowy escapades are accompanied by breathtaking vistas of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re looking for top value rustic cabins or free and bustling winter festivals, families can create cherished memories on this winter family getaway.
Activites range from those that cater to adventure-seekers, outdoors lovers or couch potatoes in search of cozy relaxation. Active families with older kids seeking a diverse array of winter activities will discover several that showcase the magic of this high-altitude haven. From thrilling snowmobiling excursions to tranquil ice fishing on the glistening lake, this winter-themed exploration promises an array of delightful experiences for all ages.
HAWAII IS BACK AND VERY OPEN
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green is urging travelers to come to Hawaii and support locals after the horrific Maui wildfires. As of Nov. 1, West Maui– except Lahaina – will be open. Other areas on Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pā‘ia, and Hāna) and the islands of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Lāna‘i, and Hawai‘i Island remain unaffected. Visit mauinuifirst.com for suggestions on how you can support local business when you visit. Here are a multitude of regenerative and voluntourism experiences to participate in during your stay on Maui to give back to the community while on-island.
Sustainable travel is in everywhere, especially in Hawaii, although rates remain high. Many Hawaii resorts ar upping their cultural programs and environmental initiatives. Hanalei Colony Resort, literally at the end of the road on the North Shore of Kauai, is as unspoiled as it gets. Visit the farm at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore where you might kayak with giant sea turtles. At the Four Seasons Oahu Ko Olina, about a half hour north of Honolulu, The Kids for All Seasons program, unlike at many luxury hotels, is complimentary for kids 5-12. Activities focused on sustainability and local culture are listed by the time offered so kids may come for what they like. Think fish feeding around the resort, lei making, Hawaiian stories and legends, working with artisans. Seasonally, enroll teens in exclusive activities — a sail and snorkel around the resort, for example or a guided hike.
Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach on Oahu announced recently that it is on track to become the first carbon neutral hotel in the state of Hawaii. The resort is now powered by 100% renewable electricity, has pledged to plant 100,000 indigenous trees with the Hawaii Legacy Reforestation Initiative and has introduced a sustainable food and cocktail happy hour series centered on locally sourced products.
ICE ALERT: BUNDLE UP FOR A BIG WINTER FESTIVAL
AAA forecast more than 104 million people would drive to their holiday destinations over the 10-day year-end holiday, so there’s no doubt that road trips are still very popular. In cold winter weather, however, weekend trips with shorter drive times may work best for your family.
Make your goal a winter festival and turn it into a long weekend adventure. Winterfest, for example, runs through February 2024 in the Smoky Mountains. Tour Tennessee to explore the Dollywood theme park, drive the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights along Pigeon Forge Parkway or fly over it with Scenic Helicopter Tours in Sevierville. Explore Gatlinburg and beyond.
In Colorado, Aspen’s Winterskol runs Jan. 12-15, 2024. This celebration dates to 1951 with broomball and fat biking competitions, on mountain activities and more. Teams from around the world convene in Breckinridge Jan. 22-31, 2024 for the International Snow Sculpting Championships. Hardy winter lovers should travel north to Minnesota for the St. Paul Winter Carnival (Jan. 25-Feb. 3) or to the Adirondacks in upstate New York for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (Feb. 2-Feb. 11.)
The Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival takes place Feb. 7-11, celebrating more than a century of winter tradition. At SNOWFEST in Tahoe City, Nevada, catch 20 chilly events over the 10-day period Feb. 29-Mar. 10.
And here’s a non-drive-to idea: the Harbin International Ice Festival, one of the most adventurous and one of the most impressive winter festivals in the world. Knock this one off your bucket list between Dec. 20, 2023 to early March, 2024 and explore more of China while there.
MELLOW OUT OR THE CHILL IN HOT SPRINGS, SOUTH DAKOTA
Step into the winter wonderland of Hot Springs, South Dakota with your family for an extraordinary cold-weather adventure. Choose from an unusual variety of winter experiences that highlight the charm and uniqueness of this historic town. Hot Springs is the southern gateway to South Dakota’s Black Hills.
Many visitors come to see the iconic Mount Rushmore and you can certainly enjoy the presidents’ profiles sprinkled with snow. But there’s also soaking in natural hot springs surrounded by snow, and exploring the mysteries of Wind Cave National Park. Different than in summer, this winter-themed journey promises an array of memorable activities for all ages at bargain prices.
Explore the enchanting landscapes of Hot Springs, best seen on the hiking trails. Local museums feature the region’s history, including information on the famous wooly mammoth who once embraced winter with open arms. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or excitement, there’s an affordable family winter getaway the heart of the Black Hills, South Dakota.
MONTREAL, THE ULTIMATE WINTER AND SPRING BREAK DESTINATION
From Feb. 29 to Mar. 10, 2024, celebrate 25 years of lighting up winter! For the past quarter century, the legendary Montréal en Lumière festival has welcomed nearly 600,000 visitors yearly to experience Montreal’s winter to the fullest through a unique program combining performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor family activities, and a whole night of original surprises.
Skating is at the center of the festival. The Skating Loop overlooking the Place des Festivals allows festivalgoers to enjoy an extraordinary sound and light experience on the ice. Nearly 150 free activities are also offered to entertain the whole family, no matter the age or snow sports skills. Bundle up to experience the Ferris wheel, DJ Booth, animations, illuminated art and much more, not to mention free access to the skating rink of the esplanade Tranquille.
Discover the festival’s lodging partners and package details, such as a 20% discount or free breakfast at the city’s top hotels, at montrealenlumiere.com
MUSEUMS WARM UP THE WINTER AND INSPIRE US ALL
Wherever you go, winter is a great time to hit a museum exhibit or two –especially when the weather drives you indoors. These days, you’ll also find many hotel packages and dining offers noted on museum websites, as they try to remain inclusive and affordable to all who want to visit. In Washington, DC, of course, most museums are free. This season, The National Gallery’s show “Van Gogh: Poets and Lovers” will highlight the artist who would have turned 200 with a birthday celebration.
In New Orleans, The National WWII Museum’s final permanent exhibit hall, “Liberation Pavilion” is open. The striking addition explores the ongoing relevance of the war and encourages visitors to contemplate the joys, costs, and meaning of liberation and freedom.
In Denver, The Denver Art Museum (DAM)is featuring the exhibition “All Stars: American Artists from The Phillips Collection,” on view through March 3, 2024. This exhibition features key works from Washington, D.C.-based The Phillips Collection, one of the most celebrated collections of American art in the U.S.
In New York, the “TheSecret World of Elephants” at the American Museum of Natural History explores the 60-million-year evolution of the elephant family,
their astounding minds and bodies, interactions with humans and the environment, and what we can do to ensure their survival in the world.
PARK CITY, OUR FAVORITE MOUNTAIN TOWN AT ITS BEST IN WINTER
Park City, Utah is one of the easiest-to-reach and best Western ski areas with several mountain resorts in close proximity. Since Vail Resorts opened the 7,300-skiable-acre wonderland, Park City Mountain, it’s got all of the terrain features — including a mountain coaster — your riders and free skiers could want. Parents love the new dedicated beginner learning area at the Canyons Village and the family-friendly Red Tail Grill at the Canyons base area. Deer Valley is a ski-only resort that has been named #1 in the U.S. for 10 straight years in the World Ski Awards. And Woodward Park City is a new Woodward location, the first in Utah that offers all ages (especially adults) a place to enhance or learn skills in a range of sports including skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and BMX among others. Go snow tubing or try an authentic Olympic bobsled run at the Utah Olympic Park. Those with special challenges will find adaptive recreation programming at the National Ability Center in every season.
The fun Western town of Park City is filled with chic shops and restaurants, plus condos, hotels and B&Bs where you might snag a lodging bargain. And annual Sundance Film Festival in mid-January is a winter highlight. Many places issue a $300 Delta Gift Card if you book select nights through April, 2023. Stroll Main Street between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to pose with a life-sized snow globe installation. Located only 25 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, the town offers the chance for a car-free getaway with free public buses, shuttles, taxis and ride sharing. Young families will find Park City a fun and romantic destination. Read about our visit here in 2022.
SAVE ON SKIING, BOARDING, SNOWSHOE ACTIVITIES BY THINKING SMALL
Smaller mountain resorts typically attract families who prefer to stay closer to home. However, thinking small can also mean big savings. It’s just more economical to opt for a smaller ski resort your first time out. Extend your budget by driving rather than flying to your destination. Pay less for lodging near the slopes instead of on them. Save on lift tickets and ski school classes with regional passes.
Holiday Valley provides one of the best value family ski and snowsports vacations in tiny Ellicottville, New York. Plus, it’s almost equidistant to Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Hoodoo Ski Areais one of only two resorts in Oregon that participate in the money-saving Indy Pass program. Mount Sunapee will celebrate 75 years being one of Boston’s closest and most accessible mountains, and a New Hampshire family favorite for generations. Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, just a short drive away from Chicago and Milwaukee, also offers affordability, less vertical and a smaller footprint to quickly build confidence.
Read more other small resorts we are highlighting in the annual Family Ski and Snowsports Directory. [Change to match your link. Eileen link to here; Check out the new Taking the Kids Fun in the Snow section.]
Many states such as Idaho, Michigan, New York, Utah and Vermont have kids’ ski free deals for certain grades, often starting for third graders, even for non-residents. An app called WinterKids offers deals in Maine and New Hampshire. Besides free lift tickets — a significant savings that can add up to hundreds of dollars – many Kids Ski Free passes encourage lifelong learning with discounts on rental gear, outerwear and more.
SCOTTSDALE TO GRAND CANYON ROAD TRIP SHOWCASES WINTER
Embark on an unforgettable winter road trip with your family from Scottsdale to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon,. From admiring the striking red rock formations of Sedona to the breathtaking vistas of the Grand Canyon itself, this winter-themed excursion offers an array of activities for all ages.
One of the best parts is finding so much less traffic than you would during the busy summer season. That makes it easy to explore the enchanting landscapes of Arizona, and pull off to hike trails or appreciate scenic vistas whenever you want. Once you reach Flagstaff and higher elevations, hints of snow in the high desert remind you of the winter season’s unique and serene beauty.
Sedona’s spiritual attractions such as the Native American vortices, Flagstaff’s buzzy brew pubs and the small, charming Western towns with cozy boutiques are well worth spending a night. Of course, you’ll want to spend a few days bundled up for the scenic hikes through the Grand Canyon’s stunning natural wonders. The lack of crowds, bargain-priced accommodations and wonder of seeing cactus and ice co-exist make it a memorable family winter getaway.
TAKING THE GROWN KIDS ON A WINTER FAMILY ADVENTURE
More grown and nearly grown kids are continuing to travel with their families whether to Antarctica or snow resorts. Other favorite adult kids winter getaways include Disney (come for an adult-oriented festival), cruises and tropical, all-inclusive resorts.
A tip: If you are spending time with your grown or nearly grown kids, you don’t want to be surrounded by young children. Consider Virgin Voyages where we met many families. The minimum age is 18 on these cruises. Sandals resorts are designed for those 18 and up so small weddings have been very popular.
Demand for adult family winter getaways has been so high that the adventure company Backroads now has trips designed specifically for these families who have outgrown traditional family trips. They also feature women-only trips popular with moms and grown daughters.
TEST-DRIVE THE SIMPLE LIFE ON VACATION
Families who choose to live simpler lives with less, and preserve the natural environment, will be thrilled at a trial run of tiny houses. Brands such as Escape Vacations feature tiny houses for rent or sale in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Washington State and Wisconsin.
The easy-to-book site, Recreation.gov, sorts rustic accommodations (often $50 or less per night) on Federal lands and waterways by location. Choose a warm weather destination during winter or plan now for a spring getaway; these book quickly.
Another option is an Airstream resort. CampV, located about 90 minutes from Moab in Naturita, Colorado rents restored, parked Airstreams with amenities including scent diffusers and robes. Other glamping places with parked RVs include the brightly colored trailers at El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas or AutoCamp resorts in several states.
THEME PARK DEALS & STEALS
There are plenty of admission and dining deals to tempt you at the major theme parks. Typically, you can save if you buy tickets online in advance of arrival. Other savings tips: Spend some downtime researching credit card and other membership group offers. Save up to 30% on theme park tickets, for example, with AAA discounts. GOCITY.COM passes include discounted admission to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Take advantage of the 40% off sale to enjoy two days at any combination of these Florida theme parks: SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island. Ages 3 and older pay $122.99 and tickets must be used within 6 months and within 14 days of each other. If you’re a regular, stick with an annual pass (almost the same price) and experience Christmastown now and return all of 2024.
Or, spend 5 days at Universal Orlando Resort with the “Get 2 Days Free with a 2-Park, 3-Day Ticket” offer (from $325.99 for ages 3-9 or about $64/day) to celebrate the holidays. Upgrade and save 20% on a four-night stay in 2BR suites at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites & Surfside Inn and Suites or in family suites at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Savings tip: Theme park-rich destinations like Orlando are also promoting plenty of free and low-cost things to do after the holidays.
Look for hotel deals, especially midweek, for longer stays. Southern California stays sunny all winter. Knott’s Berry Farm is offering a Winter Family Vacation Classic Package which combines park admission tickets, guestroom, breakfast buffet and parking for $390 for a family of four. Over at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, the winter season brings more festivals than ever before. Expect Chinese food, gorgeous silk outfits for your favorite characters and more Asian traditions at the Lunar New Year celebration included in admission.
UNFORGETTABLE ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN IRELAND
Families seeking a unique winter experience will be enchanted by the lively festivities in Dublin during February, leading up to the iconic St. Patrick’s Day parade. It takes place this year on Sunday, March 17. Immerse yourselves in the vibrant culture of the city, adorned in green, with traditional music, dance, and a sea of smiling faces creating an atmosphere of warmth and celebration against the winter chill.
Beyond the city lights, visitors to the Emerald Isle can travel through the winter wonders of Ireland’s countryside, showcasing a myriad of outdoor activities suitable for the whole family. Watch Ireland’s winter charm unfold from the majestic Slieve Guillon to the mystical landscapes of the Wild Atlantic Way Whether your family is drawn to the lively city festivities or the tranquility of the countryside, this 7 Days Ireland itinerary will inspire them to create cherished winter memories in the heart of the Emerald Isle.
VACATION RENTALS WITH BELLS AND WHISTLES
According to a new survey from Expedia, outdoor amenities like pickleball courts and cold plunges are dictating what homes families book this season. About four in ten surveyed said they book vacation homes with amenities they don’t have at home or want to try before they purchase them.
Are you surprised that 30% say they would choose a vacation home with outdoor amenities so they don’t have to leave the property? Surveys like this have an enormous influence on the hospitality industry, so be ready to find everything from hot tubs, fire pits, BBQ grills and outdoor kitchens, to ping pong tables, paddle tennis, lawn games and more at your next rental.
Also be ready to hear a timeshare sales pitch, as Family Travel Forum recently discovered on a family vacation in Mexico. Sitting through a legitimate sales presentation is one way you can “earn” money during your winter getaways. You can also save money on your next vacation rental by shopping a variety of websites that rent vacation homes. DVCRentals, which features value rentals in Orlando, Anaheim, Hilton Head, Vero Beach FL and Oahu by Disney Vacation Club owners, is one of them. Note that many sites carry the same listings yet owners may change rates for competitive reasons. Let us know your favorite vacation rental booking hacks in the Comments section below.
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