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Mom Knows Best: 23 Winter Family Vacations to Embrace (and Escape) the Cold

We're embracing the season by connecting with our family travel experts -- moms -- to share the top 23 winter family vacations you can plan this year.

Cold weather gets a bad wrap, but anyone who lives someplace where you can get a proper winter full of snow knows that folks down south are really missing out. Face the facts — you can’t ski down a sandy beach, you never have a reason to snuggle up to a fire, and sipping hot cocoa in Florida or southern California is just plain silly.

This year, we’re embracing the season by connecting with our family travel experts — moms — to share the top winter family vacations you can plan this year.

Lake Tahoe, California

For a family ski vacation, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe in Truckee, California has no Tahoe rival. This luxury hotel is located on the slopes of Northstar California Resort with easy ski-in and ski-out access. The laid back Tahoe vibe makes the destination feel especially welcoming to travelers with kids. Service is attentive, but not pretentious. Rooms at the Ritz are more than spacious enough for an entire family to share. The hotel has several dining options on property, and children are welcome at even the signature restaurant, Manzanita.

Skiing and snowboarding with kids can sometimes be challenging, but the hotel helps make those logistics seem like no challenge at all. A ski concierge whisks skis and boards out of your hands the moment you step off the slopes. Forget long rental lines, the hotel has a full ski shop for rentals on site. Parents can even drop children off for ski school at the hotel’s back deck.

The can’t-miss highlight for families? In the winter, the hotel offers “Marshmology,” a daily afternoon s’mores tasting by the fire pits. The sugar rush is always a welcome treat after a long day on the slopes. For more adventures off the slopes, take the short hop aboard the Highlands Gondola to the Village at Northstar. The Village is home to numerous restaurants and many non-ski activities, from ice-skating to bungee trampolines and even a movie theater. — Leslie Harvey, Trips With Tykes

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (488 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Williamsburg, Virginia

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg is our family’s number one choice anytime we are looking for a vacation of any length. (My oldest has even asked us to go to Great Wolf Lodge for his birthday instead of having a birthday party!) The reason is simple; the entire resort from top to bottom is designed with kids and families in mind. As a mom, I love it because for a few days I never have to tell my kids to “behave” or “be quiet.” I can let them get all their energy out, have a blast, and never worry that we’re disturbing someone because everyone else’s kids are doing the same.

Plus, can I confess? The resort brings out the kid in me, too. Every day, we start the day out by going to the pool (if you go in the morning you beat the crowd) and then in the afternoon, we hit the arcade, play mini golf, go bowling, you name it. There are so many options. By nighttime, we’re always playing Magic Quest and I love being able to let loose and run around the resort with my kids. It’s so much fun and an amazing bonding experience.

One question I’m often asked is whether little kids will enjoy the resort too, and the answer is a resounding yes. There is a story hour, dance party, balloon animals, a stuffed animal game (like a toddler-friendly alternative to Magic Quest).

One more pro tip is to bring snacks and meals you can make in the microwave, as every room has a microwave and mini-fridge. This makes taking a break to eat in the room a great cost-saving option, but also provides an excuse to take a breather if your kids get overstimulated. — Rachel, The Analytical Mommy

Hotel Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Williamsburg, 5.2 miles to Williamsburg Amtrak Station
8.1 Very good (1614 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a worthwhile destination no matter the season. In winter, visitors can enjoy the snow-peaked mountains while enjoying unique shops and experiences. Start your family’s visit by checking into the Park Vista DoubleTree hotel. The mountain view sets the stage for a memorable family trip. Lunch at one of the onsite restaurants (my husband recommends the club sandwich at the Vista Grill) then head to the lobby where the Gatlinburg trolley picks up Park Vista guests, making transport to nearby activities is a breeze.

Make Ober Gatlinburg your first stop. Accessible by aerial tramway, this mountain is full of activities from ice skating to an alpine slide. Skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are also available. The activities at Ober Gatlinburg are so plentiful that kids of all ages are able to discover something new. For a special meal, make a reservation for The Peddler Steakhouse. With its extensive salad bar and hand-cut, top-quality steaks, this restaurant is loved by locals and visitors alike.

Finish the day with a swim in the hotel’s kid-friendly indoor swimming pool. Our kids wore a path into the built-in slide while I relaxed in the spacious poolside lounge chairs. A Gatlinburg family winter vacation will be one you’ll cherish for years to come. — Dianna Gardenhour, Savings In Seconds

The Park Vista - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel - Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, 5.8 miles to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
8.3 Very good (3912 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Gym
Indoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

North Conway, New Hampshire

No matter the season, the Red Jacket Mountain Resort is a family favorite to visit, but especially so when the winter snow comes around. The resort is close to many of the premier ski mountains in the area, but also chock full of other amenities for non-snow lovers. The Red Jacket Mountain View has daily activities for your children, like family movie night, ceramic painting, face painting, story hour with fresh baked cookies, horse-drawn carriage rides and so much more. Not to mention, kids, teenagers, and adults love the Red Jacket Mountain Resort’s indoor water park, Kahuna Laguna with its 40,000 square feet of splish-splashing fun!

The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort is in the heart of North Conway, so you’ll be surrounded by quaint restaurants, unique little gift shops, and splurge-worthy outlets so you can shop ‘til you drop. Staying here, you’ll be close to other popular family destinations like Santa’s Village, Story Land, Conway Scenic Railroad, Clark’s Trading Post, and the Ice Castles. December is a great time to stay at the Red Jacket for their “Journey To The North Pole.” Families can enjoy being snuggled up in their pajamas, sipping hot cocoa, and nibbling cookies, all while listening to the Night Before Christmas poem. — Beth, Real Life Mama Drama

Red Jacket Mountain View Resort

8.0 Very good (1212 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Hendersonville, North Carolina

During the school breaks, we like to take short little excursions into Western North Carolina which is just a couple hours drive from where we live in Charlotte. One of our favorite places to stay is the CedarWood Inn in Hendersonville because the town itself is central to a lot of fun activities, and the Inn is rather inexpensive with a homey, kitschy appeal.

Rooms come equipped with a fridge and microwave for storing and making snacks, and there are plenty of tasty restaurants in the area (Flat Rock Village Bakery and the Poe House, just to name a couple). The staff at the inn are very friendly and work hard to ensure you have a pleasant stay.

Hendersonville has two snow-tubing outfitters, places to ice skate, and is just a short 30-minute drive from Asheville. There are several places for skiing nearby and plenty of places to enjoy a winter hike. Chimney Rock (a 30-minute drive from the inn) is an awesome place to partake in a chilly tromp through the woods because the bare winter trees mean there are more places to snag a gorgeous view — a memorable cap on your school holiday break as a family. — Dara Brewton Schweitzer, Like Sara But With A ‘D

CedarWood Inn

8.4 Very good (159 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

Riverside, California

My family loves to enjoy the Festival of Lights each December in Downtown Riverside. It’s about a 30-minute drove from our home, which makes it an easy location for a quick getaway with our new baby in tow. The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa host the event and is a lovely place to stay to enjoy the festivities with beautiful accommodations. The hotel boasts charming traditional décor and winding staircases. (It even has a chapel for weddings, and catching a glimpse of a bride and groom is always a treat.)

The hotel is located right in the heart of downtown and within walking distance to the nighttime street fair. The event brings out an ice-skating rink, fresh donuts, hot cocoa vendors, and Christmas shopping. The original and award-winning Casey’s Cupcakes is also located on Main Street just outside of the Spa entrance. We love that the hotel hosts a delicious Sunday brunch and has several restaurants on-site as well.

During the holidays, the hotel is always decorated with trees, ornaments, and festive garlands and there are usually carolers that walk around at night as well. It is so nice to be able to go out for a walk and quickly return to the hotel with our baby if we need to. The hours of the event give us the flexibility to come and go as we please while still having enough time to thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the getaway. — Elise Laney, Polka Dotted Blue Jay

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (4432 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

Boone, North Carolina

When the kids are out of school for winter break, taking them to the wonderland of Boone, North Carolina provides fun, recreation, and stellar family bonding whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, tubing or just sharing a cozy mug of hot chocolate.

The Courtyard Boone is the perfect destination for winter play. It’s close to all the recreational opportunities that your family will enjoy and has super amenities, like an indoor pool if the weather doesn’t cooperate with your outdoor plans. If you’ve had enough snow, check out the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine, just a five-minute drive from the hotel. The kids will have a ball panning for gemstones and mom just might get a new piece of jewelry out of the deal.

Less than a 10-minute drive away in Blowing Rock, the Tweetsie Railroad offers a Tweetsie Christmas extravaganza on Friday and Saturday nights in November and December. Roast s’mores over an open fire, visit with Santa and step into a huge snow globe. Whether your kids are young or teenagers, the town of Boone, North Carolina a the wonderful destination for winter family fun. — Vicki Floyd, Coupondipity

Courtyard Boone - Marriott

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (718 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Intervale, New Hampshire

We love heading north to New Hampshire to our favorite spot in Intervale: the New England Inn and Lodge. The Inn offers couples-only accommodations, family lodgings (great for groups too), and if the family dog likes to accompany you on family vacations, they also offer accommodations for Fido!

Another highlight is that a number of suites feature a fireplace or jacuzzi. Our go-to favorite is the newly renovated Garden Suite, with two queen beds and a gas fireplace, along with a mini refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. It’s like a home away from home with parking right out front.

Nestled in the heart of Mount Washington Valley, the New England Inn is the ideal spot for a family winter vacation. North of North Conway and south of Jackson, there’s plenty to do, including skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, dog sledding, or snowmobiling and taking in the beautiful sites. There are plenty of tax-free outlets and specialty shops as well as the Cranmore Mountain, Attitash, Bretton Woods, Wildcat Mountain, and Waterville Valley resorts just a short ride away.

For dining, you can drive to the many ski resorts or check out North Conway, yet we love the quick walk over to Tuckerman’s Tavern for dinner, right on the New England Inn property. They have an amazing selection of food, featuring a gluten-free and kids menu, too. And if you enjoy a cold beer with your dinner, they have 20 brews on tap to choose from and a nice selection of wine and cocktails.

It’s only a short walk back to the cozy suite for a movie by the fire (they offer rentals at the front desk) and a nice early night to get up in time for the complimentary continental breakfast. Enjoy bagels, toast, pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurts, juice, tea, and coffee in the main inn and be sure to try their delicious homemade granola, which is always fully stocked. — Natalie McMenamin, Mamma Natty

New England Inn And Lodge

8.3 Very good (37 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Grapevine, Texas

When you think “Christmas in Texas,” you have to remember “Everything Is Bigger In Texas.” We do Christmas big and the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center is one of the top Christmas destinations for families for plenty of big reasons.

The Gaylord in Grapevine (Dallas), Texas hosts tons of activities for the entire family. At Gaylord’s Lonestar Christmas you will find snow tubing, ice skating, and Santa’s Snow Throw for the older kids. There’s gingerbread house decorating, photos with Santa, Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast and stories with Mrs. Claus for the little ones.

Boasting an over-the-top indoor Christmas lights show and Ruldolph’s Ice show featuring huge ice sculptures, the Gaylord is truly a place for everyone to immerse themselves in the full holiday experience. The resort’s property is expansive with accommodations for families of all sizes. Our favorites rooms are the atrium view rooms that look out onto the atrium where the Christmas tree and lights are displayed inside. The rooms are cozy and spacious, but during the holiday season, the last thing you’ll be doing is hanging out inside. Visit the Gaylord Texan from November to January to experience a one of a kind “Lonestar Christmas”! — Jessica Conner, Grace and Ford

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

8.4 Very good (3474 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Manchester, Vermont

Right after Thanksgiving, The Equinox transforms itself into a winter wonderland. The grand hotel is at the base of a mountain, and with the evergreen trees, it’s right out of a winter holiday painting.

The National Historic Landmark is right in Manchester, Vermont surrounded by fantastic downhill skiing. There are also cross-country and snowshoe trails, and venues for ice skating and tubing. After a day of outdoor activities, you can relax in the warm indoor pool and hot tub. We also took our kids on a magical sleigh ride through the snowy woods and then back to the resort to cozy up next to the fireplace.

There are several places to eat in the hotel and you can walk into town for a wider variety. When the kids get older, they might like to wander around the designer outlets or antique shops. The luxury hotel was recently renovated but still has plenty of charming rustic touches. We enjoyed a large room with two queen beds, but there are also suites available for families who need more space during their winter family vacation. — Judy Antell, Wheels and Eats

The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa, Vermont

7.9 Good (958 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Chittenden, Vermont

Our favorite picture-perfect winter getaway is the Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vermont. It holds a special place in our hearts because we got married at Mountain Top, and we put kids on our invite list, so we know it’s perfect for families!

In terms of the best activities, there’s cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and my two family favorites, ice skating, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. My kids also love the pool, hot tub, and the gift shop.

What’s really cool is that you can choose between standard hotel rooms, cabins, or even entire guest houses that you can share with other families. Once it snowed so much that we took sleds to breakfast down the hill from our house.

Our favorite place to stay is The Jewel, which has cozy fireplaces in every bedroom and is wonderfully modern. At night, curl up with a book or play some billiards. — Tamara Bowman, Tamara Camera Blog

Mountain Top Inn & Resort

Top rated
8.7 Excellent (100 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Breckenridge, Colorado

Each winter we make our way to Breckenridge, Colorado to stay at the Crystal Peak Lodge. Crystal Peak Lodge is the perfect home away from home for families. It has that upscale lodge feel that you seek when visiting Colorado, but with all the luxurious amenities of home. Large separate bedrooms for everyone to have their own space, cozy living rooms, and well-equipped kitchens — ideal for coming home to after a long day on the slopes.

The lodge is located right off the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 7, and is quite close to the BreckConnect Gondola and Independence Superchair. One of the best things about the resort is that there are so many activities within the property. The Recreation Center has a large pool with waterslides and some amazing art classes. You can also sign up for snowmobiling, Jeep tours, and more.

One of our favorite things to do is hop on the complimentary shuttle from the resort to walk around the town of Breckenridge. My kids love heading there in the evenings when it’s all lit up with twinkling lights. While we’re there we can’t seem to get by without at least one visit to Downstairs at Eric’s, a lively pizza restaurant full of fun arcade games that the whole family loves. — Jen Giambalvo & Carrie Beth Posener, The Magnolia Mamas

Crystal Peak Lodge

9.0 Excellent (663 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Gym
Indoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Big Bear, California

When wintertime travels make their way into your schedule, a great place to vacation is in Big Bear, California. You can find a beautiful home away from home tucked back in the pristine snowy mountains close to skiing, sledding, snowboarding, and endless hot cocoa.

When we go to Big Bear, we stay at the Goldmine Lodge. It’s close to the lake, it’s close to the summit, and the cabins have an authentic, rustic feel to them. The free parking and the free WiFi are an added bonus, and the guys will love getting into a competitive game of volleyball on the premises. They also have barbecues for those sunny days and a large outdoor area for building snowmen and having snowball fights.

Even though it has an isolated cabin vibe, you’re still close to the city and all amenities, so running to the store for groceries or drinks is no problem. Our family always has an amazing time when we visit Big Bear. It’s the best spot for making family memories in the winter. — Cate Rosales, Sweet and Simple Life

Goldmine Lodge

8.4 Very good (225 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
WiFi in lobby
Hotel CTA

Park City, Utah

Park City proved itself to be a marvelous winter destination for families after we spent the Christmas holidays at Hotel Park City, Autograph Collection. The room is equipped with a kitchenette, private bedroom, and a steamy hot tub on the patio.

The hotel has abundant amenities, like game boards in the lobby, a baby grand piano, and twinkling holiday decorations in every corner. From cross-country skiing right on the hotel premises to snow tubing at Gorgonza park, there is so much to do as a family in Park City. One of our favorite activities was The Viking Yurt, an event that began with a 25-minute sleigh ride up 1,800 feet with incredible views of the night sky and the mountains. You’re taken to a Yurt where you’re served a traditional Nordic dinner along with live entertainment. (They also pass around hats, horns, and mask for dress up, which the kids adored!)

We also enjoyed skiing, dining around town, and diverse entertainment on Main Street. Park City really is the ultimate family destination. — Evelyn Hernandez, Healthy Fit Couple

Park City Autograph Collection

WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Outdoor swimming pool
WiFi in lobby
Hotel CTA

Fairlee, Vermont

Photo courtesy of Jim Bock

Nestled inside a ring of mountains in Vermont sits Lake Morey, and what happens on that lake every winter is nothing short of classic, simple joy in its purest form. Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont sits next to this gorgeous lake, and as the temperatures plummet and the lake freezes over, the resort can be found abuzz with family-friendly activities.

Our family of four spent a January weekend there and had a wonderful time. Our rooms were spacious and the beds were comfortable, plus the lake view made for truly epic scenery.

Walk out of your comfy, well-appointed room and enjoy a hearty breakfast in the resort’s restaurant. (We ate breakfast and dinner at the resort and give the dining two thumbs up for both variety and quality.) After fueling up, bundle up and head outside to the skate shack to rent some ice skates or perhaps a sled. The frozen lake is your playground!

Enjoy skating (there is even a trail that, and weather/ice conditions permitting, you can skate around the entire lake) or play some ice hockey like it originally was played. Other winter activities offered include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and sleigh rides. — Devon W, Mama Cheaps

Lake Morey Resort

7.9 Good (129 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Say the words “Colorado winter” and chances are visions of powdery snow blanketing miles of ski runs throughout the state’s Rocky Mountains will come to mind. But what if your family isn’t into skiing or boarding, not to mention paying steep winter resort prices? Simply head to the legendary Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, roughly 71 miles south of Denver. A 20th-century property combining old-world European craftsmanship with Old West charm, set at the base of majestic Cheyenne Mountain, this pink-stucco enclave known as the “Grand Dame of the Rockies” has hosted the likes of dignitaries and magnates since its 1918 debut.

Families will feel as welcome here as any celebrity, particularly in winter, when room rates drop to roughly half of high-season rates. Guests can select from a variety of complimentary weekend activities and classes throughout winter, from dance and fitness classes to fly-casting instruction, cooking demonstrations and more. Swim in the indoor pool, open year-round; bowl at PLAY, the resort’s activity and dining area, complete with six bowling lanes and a variety of games including Xbox and Wii; or venture next door to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to feed the giraffes.

Brave the chilly outdoor temperatures for fat-biking, snowshoeing or geocaching, or enjoy one of the resort’s most unique experiences — falconry lessons with new female master falconer Deanna Curtis. A winter wonderland awaits in one of the Centennial State’s most scenic settings. — Heather Mundt, Momfari

The Broadmoor

Top rated
Colorado Springs, 1.3 miles to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
9.2 Excellent (1184 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Seaside, Oregon

Being a native Oregonian, a wintertime getaway means storm watching season. During the summer we have beautiful, mild weather, but winter is perfect for curling up with a blanket and a warm cup of coffee and watching the crashing waves, wind, and rain roll in. Anywhere along the Oregon coast is ideal to view this seasonal treat, but I prefer to go to Seaside, Oregon. This quaint town is great for settling in and feeling like a local.

Once you check in at the Rivertide Suites, all the food, activities, and amusement for family fun is well within a short walk. The oceanfront property is plentiful, which is particularly important for storm watching.

At the Rivertide Suites you will find full suites with a kitchen, dining room, living room, and cozy fireplace. The design and layout of the space make it feel especially spacious and comfy. We stayed in a room with a queen bed but were also able to pull the couch out for additional guests. The hotel is very clean, convenient, and a fantastic home for your little winter storm watching adventure. — Amber Brault, Dazzling Daily Deals

Rivertide Suites

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (4394 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Escape The Cold

Even the Redmond Gerards and Chloe Kims among us need a break from the cold and a weekend (or more) under the sun with a little sand and ocean-based therapy. With that in mind, we also asked our mom experts to share their favorite winter family vacations far from the snow.

Cancún, Mexico

The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach in Cancun is our go-to escape from the NYC winter weather. Not only do they have the most incredible kids club we’ve ever seen, but the staff is super friendly and the property is gorgeous. The pools go on for days and the beach is immaculate. It’s also in the heart of the hotel zone, so you’re just steps away from shopping and restaurants as well as the ferry to Isla Mujeres.

From the moment we set foot in the hotel’s lobby, we were immediately transported to vacation mode as we gazed out over the ocean and the resort’s impeccably manicured grounds. The hotel’s oversized rooms are perfectly suited for families as they contain both a sleeping area and step-down living room. On those occasions when we’ve stayed on the Grand Club level, we’ve been treated to additional amenities, such as access to a private lounge complete with VIP check-in and check-out, complimentary beverages, and culinary presentations throughout the day.

Grand Club service extends to the beach area, where you’ll find an exclusive seating section, as well as a sundeck with complimentary beverages and culinary presentations. My kids never fail to delight in exploring the sprawling pool complex that stretches nearly the entire length of the hotel. With three swim-up bars, protected shallow areas for little ones to wade and splash around, and numerous mid-pool sun loungers, the Coral Beach pool complex is truly a sight to behold. A few steps down from the pool area is a pristine beach area where kids can spend hours splashing in the ocean, bodysurfing, building sandcastles, or just relaxing under one of the shaded palapas.

Beyond the beach and pool, there’s plenty of other fun to be had at the Grand Fiesta Americana, including a well-appointed fitness center, a Gem Spa boasting a 10-step hydrotherapy ritual, a small outdoor play structure, and our greatest vacation find of all time — the Coral Kidz Club, which offers so many activities that my kids typically ask to spend the entire afternoon there and have even been known to stay on for the evening programming. From cooking classes to crafts to dramatic play to video games and more, the club really is non-stop fun. The Coral Kidz Club recently added an outdoor water park component, which was a big hit with my kids on our last visit.

The Grand Fiesta Americana isn’t all-inclusive, but they do have several on-site restaurants and kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree, so it definitely makes for an affordable vacation. My kids were particularly enamored with the hotel’s elaborate breakfast buffet, where you’ll find a whirlwind of options, including a custom omelet station, Mexican specialties, Japanese breakfast staples, a smoothie bar, and more. — Monica Storch, Macaroni Kid Manhattan East Side

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun

Top rated
Cancun, 4 miles to Aquaworld
9.4 Excellent (11823 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Who doesn’t want to build a sand castle instead of shovel snow? Located on the west coast of Florida, this area is ideal for a family getaway, and the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina is the best resort to ensure activities for every member of your family.

The resort has so much to do you that you might never want to leave the resort. Multiple times a week they offer movie nights at the pool with a selection that caters to younger kids as well as teens and adults. Want to play some games? Head to the on-site arcade or stumble upon the many games scattered throughout the resort, like life-sized connect four, checkers boards, table tennis, corn hole, and more. There are also daily activities including arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, beach volleyball, shaved ice, and bingo.

What’s a Florida winter vacation without the beach? Pink Shell sits right on the beach and offers free lounge chairs and umbrellas for guests. They also offer free water sports, such as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. For an additional fee, you can rent jet-skis, parasail, or even go on a dolphin tour.

If you prefer the pool over the beach, there a multiple to choose from, including a splash pad dedicated to the resort’s youngest guests. Outside of the resort you can visit Lover’s Key State Park to canoe through the mangroves or go for a mild hike. Take a quick drive over the bridge to Sanibel Island, rent a bike and hit the trail to the Sanibel Lighthouse. (Cool down at the beach afterward!) You can also go fishing or take part in Sanibel Island’s world famous shell collecting. — Monet Hambrick, The Traveling Child

Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (3662 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

San Diego, California

Whether you’re looking for a place for out of town guests to stay or a holiday vacation, the Rancho Bernardo Inn is a great option. We stayed during the inn’s December Days and Nights event, and immediately upon check-in, we were greeted by carolers to get us in the holiday spirit.

Guests and locals alike have made the Rancho Bernardo Inn a place to stop on their holiday list because of the life-size gingerbread house. We couldn’t believe the detail of this candy palace! After, we headed to the December Nights event, where we decorated gingerbread ornaments while grandma and grandpa took our little guy on the train.

If you need a break from the holiday festivities, the Rancho Bernardo Inn has a pool for families and one for adults. It’s also home to the 18-hole San Diego Championship Golf Course and an unforgettable spa. If your family is craving even more local fun, the inn is close to the famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, beaches, and Legoland. — Mei Ling, Family Entourage

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Top rated
San Diego, 21.2 miles to Balboa Park
8.7 Excellent (1149 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

One of the best ways to enjoy winter is by immersing yourself in nature and ancient Mayan history in a unique all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen called Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. There’s something for everyone in the family, from swimming in the clear fresh waters of the natural sinkhole in the jungle or lounging on the beach to petting the farm animals at the resort’s mini farm or spending a day at the full-size water park.

Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, this resort has attractions to keep the entire family entertained throughout their stay with eco-activities, games, and sports all day. Lunch and dinner are always something to look forward to after burning all that energy thanks to an excellent selection of bars, fine dining restaurants, and delicious buffets serving mouth-watering cuisine all day.

The fun doesn’t stop after the day ends. Evenings at the resort are filled with excitement and entertainment with nightly Maya performances set in gorgeous natural locations. Also, mom and dad can enjoy a couples pampering session at the luxurious Spa del Mar and discover a variety of relaxing treatments. — Arushi, The Snazzy Mom

Hotel Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

Playa del Carmen, 18.6 miles to Bel Air Animal Park
8.1 Very good (6487 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.5 / 10
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Koloa, Hawaii

We tried to convince ourselves to plan a white Christmas for a while, but we’ve finally embraced it. We’re just warm weather people! That’s why we love planning winter trips to places like Kauai, where the average high in December is in the 70s. The Garden Island is small, but incredibly diverse thanks in part to the varied climate.

We opted to stay in the sunny southern part of Kauai at the Koloa Landing Resort at Po’ipu, Autograph Collection. There are tons of fun activities at the resort including pools, waterslides, lawn games, and volleyball. Your kids might be begging you just to hang out at the resort!

The spacious rooms at the resort include a kitchenette, convenient for making a quick breakfast, a packed lunch for hikes, or for just having food on hand when someone needs a midnight snack. We also appreciated the washer and dryer in the unit. With muddy treks to waterfalls and sand getting everywhere, it was nice to give our clothes a quick wash right in the hotel room.

Staying at the Koloa Landing Resort in Po’ipu gives you easy access to exploring the most amazing sights in Kauai. Take the family for a hike through Waimea Canyon, dubbed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, or up through Kōkeʻe State Park where the lookouts onto the Na Pali Coast are almost too beautiful to be real.

Whether your family likes surfing, snorkeling or sunbathing, there are plenty of beautiful beaches like Po’ipu and Shipwreck’s just a few minutes away by car. Drive a bit further to Kauai’s north shore to visit Hanalei Bay, Tunnels Beach or hike the first few miles of the Kalalau trail along the Na Pali Coast. — Kelly Barcus, No Man Before

Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (328 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Hollywood, Florida

We had a wonderful winter stay at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida. They have a kids’ club, on-site ice cream parlor, spa (with kids’ treatments as well), room service, and of course, pools and the beach!

My daughter is usually pretty apprehensive about kids’ clubs or babysitting services on vacation, but she didn’t want to leave when I came to pick her up. We had a relaxing experience at the spa, and my gel manicure lasted for weeks. For dining, there were so many delicious restaurant options, you can literally eat at a new restaurant each day of your stay. Every restaurant was welcoming to kids and had diverse menus with a variety of options at different price points. (There were options for picky eaters as well if that’s something you deal with.)

Our room was spacious and the connecting window between the bathroom and bedroom allows parents to prepare in the morning or bathe one child while keeping an eye on the rest. There was additional seating for leisurely mornings and the view from the balcony was stunning. The beach was well-maintained and lounge chairs come with your resort fee. There are also cabanas for rent which is nice if you have mixed-age groups and one child needs to nap while the others want to stay in the pool.

Breakfast room service was also top-notch and great for slow mornings with kids. The Diplomat was a welcome (hot) break in the cold winter and gave our family that much-needed dose of Vitamin D. — Jennifer Tammy, Sugar, Spice and Glitter

Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton

8.3 Very good (5155 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA