Top Family Vacation Spots for the Holidays

Do you want to make the holidays extra special this year? Take a break from the norm and celebrate the holidays with your family somewhere new!

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for families to gather together and celebrate their Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions. This year, make the holidays more exciting and special by celebrating together somewhere different. 

Step out of your comfort zone and travel abroad if it’s in your budget. Alternately, go back to a favorite family vacation spot and see what it’s like in the winter. Or explore a city famous for its wintertime activities. There are so many options! 

If the idea of traveling somewhere new for the holidays sounds great but you’re not sure where to start, take a look at these five family-friendly vacation spots. 

Orlando, Florida 

Nutcrackers and Christmas tree in Orlando
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Here’s a vacation destination that’s a dream for families with young kids. The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will keep the kids entertained during the holidays, and there are a variety of special Christmastime events. 

But there’s so much more to do in the city besides Disney. Enjoy the Florida climate in the middle of winter– although you should watch out for rain and make sure that you check the forecast before you leave. Explore the arts, top-tier restaurants, water parks, and much more. There are over 100 top-rated golf courses in the area. There’s also an incredible amount of dining and shopping opportunities, with more than 900 football fields’ worth of stores and restaurants to explore.

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth Washington at Christmas
Adobe Stock

Looking for a less famous, less crowded holiday vacation spot? Head over to the Pacific Northwest and explore Leavenworth, Washington, where you can experience an almost-German Christmas without leaving the country. The festivities begin around Thanksgiving and don’t stop until Valentine’s Day weekend. 

What makes Leavenworth a cut above the rest? The town hangs over 500,000 lights for the holiday season, transforming it into a beautiful and charming village that’s earned the name Christmastown. In addition to enjoying the decorations, there’s so much more to do. Look out for the strolling Christmas carolers, test your skills in the gingerbread house competition, and take advantage of plenty of photo opportunities in the picturesque mountain town. 

Branson, Missouri

Here’s another vacation destination that does get crowded, but won’t mire you in the traffic of a big city. Branson, Missouri is a tourist town that’s known for its live entertainment and amusement parks. At Christmas, the entertainment reaches the next level. Take the kids on a North Pole Adventure or for a ride on the Polar Express. For a luxury experience, you can see the Christmas lights during your own private limousine ride.

If you’re more focused on keeping the kids entertained, then set aside time for Branson’s amusement parks. Silver Dollar City is a Branson classic that you’ll definitely want to show the kids. There are more than 40 rides, 40 daily shows, and 60 shops and restaurants. Make sure you take time to watch one of the educational demonstrations by more than 100 craftsmen.

Oahu, Hawaii

Christmas trees by the beach in Oahu Hawaii
Adobe Stock

After a busy year, are you ready to just relax on the beach? You can’t beat the island of Oahu, Hawaii, where you can appreciate Native Hawaiian culture in a warm, sunny climate. Of course, surfing is a major attraction, but it’s only one of the many options you’ll have if you choose to spend the holidays in Hawaii. You can snorkel or swim, go hiking or golfing, and all the while, appreciate the natural beauty of the island. 

During the holidays, there’s plenty more to explore. Attend a holiday luau, stroll through the Chinatown Winter Walk and see the area decorated for Christmas, and shop for presents at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Holiday Craft Fair. To truly embrace the holiday spirit, you can even go ice skating at the Hawaii Convention Center. If your trip is in early December, you can learn more about the Pearl Harbor attack during the Pearl Harbor Anniversary Events.

Whether you like lounging on the beach or shopping for unique gifts, Hawaii is a great destination for your family holiday vacation.

New York City, New York 

Christmas tree on skating rink in New York City
Adobe Stock

New York at Christmastime has its own kind of magic. So many movies celebrate the city in winter, from Home Alone 2 to Elf, and for good reason. It’s exciting and charming to see major city landmarks decorated for the holidays, and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is a sight everyone should see. 

In addition to looking for Christmas decorations, there’s so much to do. The city offers many different ice-skating rinks to get you into the holiday mood. Watch the Rockettes at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Show. You may want to do your Christmas shopping in the big city but be prepared for crowds and long lines.

Don’t forget about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, too! If you don’t want to travel for Christmas, you can take the kids up to the Big Apple to see the balloons in real life rather than on a tiny screen. 

Where Will You Go?

If you have room in your budget and you’re looking for a way to make the holidays extra-special this year, think about taking a family trip to Orlando, Leavenworth, Branson, Oahu, New York City, or to your favorite summer vacation spot in the winter. No matter what location you choose, you’ll make new memories when you travel with your family for the holidays.

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