Your Winter Travel Guide - 7 Family Destinations You Can't Miss

family standing together in the snow

There are numerous ways to spend the winter season with your family — some like to stay home and play board games while others enjoy time in their backyard having snowball fights. However, most families across the United States all have one thing in common when it comes to how to spend time during colder weather: family vacation! You don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money, but the benefits of taking a trip during winter are numerous. It’s been discovered that traveling is actually good for both your body and mind and it encourages your family members to bond with one another in a new and different way. There’s nothing like having to overcome the challenges of cold weather or lost luggage to help you appreciate the little things in life, and if you do plan a trip far away, it’s a great way to impart a global education upon your children. Keep in mind that just because it’s snowing outside doesn’t mean you can’t plan the vacation of a lifetime, so on that note, let’s explore 7 family winter destinations that you can’t miss!

Lake Tahoe, CA.

A long-time destination for families all year long, Lake Tahoe is a sight to behold. Sitting along the border of California and Nevada, the lake itself is just one of many attractions. Beautiful forests are full of family-friendly hikes but if you’d rather spend your time around others, there’s world-class shopping and dining to partake in as well. Families with children traveling to Lake Tahoe will find a wealth of options available to them — and you don’t even have to like snow to visit! A popular option is the Kidzone Museum with attractions for little ones of all ages. If you’re open to braving the crisp winter air, consider taking a 30-minute sleigh ride while you nestle under some blankets or take older kids on the adventure of a lifetime with dog sledding. Lake tours are also available when the weather is permitting. All in all, Lake Tahoe offers a mixture of amazing attractions for each and every member of the family and is an absolute must this winter!

Breckenridge, CO.

snowy street in Breckenridge Colorado

Colorado is a popular winter destination for families, but many don’t know about the gem that is Breckenridge. Settled in the 1800s, this town features a Victorian charm that’s even more lovely under a fresh blanket of snow. While it can be an expensive trip, visiting Breckenridge during the week is the most affordable option. Families who tend to enjoy sports will certainly want to sign up for private ski lessons at Breckenridge Ski Resort, allowing you to watch your kids as they advance their skills and maybe even learn some new techniques of your own! Ice skating is also available at the Steven C West Ice Arena. Families on a budget can still enjoy all that this quaint town has to offer as the Main Street Trolley is free of charge and can help you to explore all of the shops and restaurants in the area. A 20-minute gondola ride is also available for free if you want to get an amazing view of Cucumber Gulch. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot some moose in the wild!

Gatlinburg, TN.

Many people don’t necessarily think of Tennesse as a winter destination, but the town of Gatlinburg offers more than you’d imagine. Over 40,000 people visit each winter as the area offers a great mixture of nature activities and indoor fun. If you love to spend time in the snow, you’ll want to make sure to bring your Meriwool garments with you as temperatures here can get quite cold. Once you’ve donned your base layers, head over to Ober Gatlinburg to enjoy skiing or snow tubing at a variety of skill levels. Younger kids can hang out in the Cubbies Snow Zone too! Anakeesta is another great place to visit if you just can’t get enough snowy weather, plus you’ll be able to partake in ziplining, shopping, and a walk-in snow globe. Families who would rather spend their time relaxing will find a multitude of cabins to stay in that encourage you to sit by the fire, read a good book, or play a game of cards. You can even have everyone turn off their phones for a while and really spend quality time together.

Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Families looking for fun activities that don’t involve snow will find everything they’re after in Wisconsin Dells, WI. It’s been named “Water Park Capital of the World” and boasts an immense amount of indoor water slides, wave pools, and more. Remember, just because it’s winter outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fun in your swimsuit inside! Once you’ve gotten to swim to your heart’s content, consider heading to downtown Wisconsin Dells for a bit of an unusual activity. Designed for slightly older kiddos, Wizard Quest gives families the chance to follow clues and solve puzzles in an attempt to rescue imprisoned Wizards. If you still have the energy for more fun, Wisconsin Dells is home to Knuckleheads, an exceptionally fun bowling alley with over 50 HDTV’s to enjoy. It’s surrounded by a full bar and an amusement park, allowing each member of the family to find something they truly enjoy.

Big Bear Lake, CA.

snowy lake view of big bear lake california

We’re heading back to the West Coast as we continue on this destination list, but this time Southern California is on our radar. Big Bear Lake is perfectly situated to give families a range of fun activities during colder weather and also allows you to head to the coast for some fun in the sun. Similarly to Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake provides some of the most beautiful views in the country and lets you hike, ski, zip line, and more. As a nod to California’s heritage, you can also embark upon a Gold Rush Mining Adventure and test your luck to see what you can find! Families with slightly older children can enjoy a bit of adrenaline too with a helicopter tour of the area or can choose to see the sights during a Jeep tour. No matter where you live in the United States, Big Bear Lake should certainly be on your must-visit list.

Adirondacks, NY.

Those who live on or near the East Coast have likely heard of the Adirondacks, but did you know that this wintertime wonderland offers families more than just adventure in the snow? This part of New York is well-known for its focus on carnivals, so whether you’re in the mood for making s’mores or want to watch how ice carvings are made, this town has you covered. The Adirondacks is a great vacation destination as it blends family fun with the chance to learn. Nature centers, museums, railroads, and a host of hiking, skiing, and exploration opportunities await, but make sure you’ve packed your Meriwool merino wool clothing first! This region of the country can get chilly and if you plan on spending an entire day in the snow, you’ll want Merino wool base layers like merino wool leggings to keep you warm. Just like other places we’ve mentioned on our list, the Adirondacks also features a number of beautiful cabins to stay in on the days when you don’t want to be adventurous. Consider assembling a puzzle as a family by the fireplace and enjoy a gorgeous snowy view.

Park City, UT.

If you can only plan one winter vacation this year, Park City, located 30 minutes from Salt Lake City in Utah, might be the place you need to pick. Known as the state’s best mountain town, Park City combines the best of all winter destinations into one place. Family members who have a love for skiing will enjoy Deer Valley Resort while those who are just learning can take a class at the ski school. Ice skating is another popular activity for families with slightly older children, while those with infants and toddlers like to bundle up and see the sights while dog sledding. Keep in mind that reservations book up quickly, so you’ll want to plan this adventure in advance. While it seems like a snowy town in Utah wouldn’t be much of a place to go swimming, a geothermal crater in the area tells a different story. Kids who love to spend time in water will have their minds blown once they see this impressive sight. After a day of fun, take a stroll down Main Street and explore restaurants and shopping and see if you can find a few souvenirs to take home with you!

Make This Winter the Best One Yet

Family vacations don’t have to be expensive as we’ve discovered locations all across the nation that provide an array of adventures during the colder winter months. Whether your family is daring and wants to try every outdoor activity imaginable or you’d rather stay inside with your little ones, there won’t be any shortage of fun to be had. No matter where you go this winter, make sure to bring your Meriwool garments with you and remember — it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing as long as you’re spending quality time with those you love.