In case you haven’t been watching the news lately, winter is here. In a big way! While I’m lucky enough to live in Northern California where it never really gets that frigid, I feel for my friends in New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and in many other places where winter can really be a drag. Ready to escape shoveling snow and driving on slick roads already? Why not plan a little winter getaway with your family to a warm weather destination this year?
Here are 17 amazing destinations that offer warm weather and family-friendly activities and accommodations for a winter getaway. And while I’ve personally visited the vast majority of the destinations on this list, I haven’t written about them all. So I’ve collected and linked to the very best destination guides from several trusted fellow family travel writers so you can research these destinations in greater depth.
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Warm Weather Winter Getaways for Families
1. Las Vegas, Nevada
While it certainly lives up to its reputation as Sin City for adults, Las Vegas offers a multitude of family-friendly offerings and great weather year round. Hit a magnificent hotel pool like the one at Mandalay Bay, see a kid-friendly show like Blue Man Group, spot tigers and dolphins at the Mirage, or ride roller coasters at New York New York or Circus Circus.
More information: 10 Things to Do with Kids in Las Vegas
2. Palm Springs, California
With a world-class zoo (the Living Desert), an amazing aviation museum, and family-friendly luxury resorts, the greater Palm Springs area is an ideal destinations for families looking for winter warmth. Don’t miss the nearby Cabazon Dinosaurs (made famous in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) or Joshua Tree National Park.
More information: Palm Springs with kids
3. Disney’s Aulani (O’ahu, Hawaii)
Disney in Hawaii? It doesn’t get any more family-friendly for a tropical getaway than this. Meet Mickey and Stitch, splash in the amazing pools and waterslides, or hit the beach. Plus, you can often snag a winter discount as long as you aren’t planning to visit during the peak Christmas and New Year weeks.
More information: Complete Guide to Disney’s Aulani
More information: Top 10 Fun Must-Dos in O’ahu
4. Cancun, Mexico
Speaking of great beaches and pools, Cancun and the Riviera Maya have them too! The area is also home to a multitude of family-friendly resorts. Lots of resorts in this area also have kids clubs, so parents can get a break and a night out while still making family memories. We stayed at the Westin Lagunamar on our last trip, which had a kids club for ages 4-12 as well as kitchenettes and laundry in each unit. Consider an excursion to nearby Chichen Itza to add educational value to your tropical getaway.
More information: Visiting Chichen Itza with Kids
5. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson flies a bit under the radar as a family travel destination. It’s probably overshadowed by its big name Arizona neighbors like Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona. But it might be my favorite city in the state. Tucson offers lots of challenging and scenic desert hikes, one of the country’s best air and space museums, Saguaro National Park, and more than its fair share of family-friendly dude ranches.
More information: 10 Tips to Visit Tucson on a Budget (from DesertChica.com)
More information: 18 Things to Do in Tucson with kids (from CrazyFamilyAdventure.com)
6. Atlantis, Bahamas
Atlantis, one of the world’s largest beach resorts, is a perennial favorite of traveling families looking for a warm weather getaway. It is perfect for families with little adrenaline junkies, with lots of crazy waterslides and water sports offered. Think of it as a cruise ship on land. Atlantis is a sprawling complex with many different towers at different price points, so it works for many different budgets too.
More information: Atlantis Bahamas Review: The Good and The Bad (from We3Travel.com)
7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
As home to the new luxury Nick Resort, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is seeing a lot more family travelers of late. Punta Cana weathered this year’s hurricanes well and is completely open for business right now. Plus, it can be a really cheap flight for East Coast travelers, especially with my favorite Southwest Airlines now in the mix.
More information: Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana (from StuffedSuitcase.com)
8. Sedona, Arizona
While spring is probably Sedona’s best season, it has a lot to offer in the winter months. It is a tad chillier in December and January than a lot of the rest of the state, but the cold really only hits at night. During the day, plan a variety of hikes with the kids, enjoy a jeep tour in the red rocks, and check out some of the nearby national monuments for some educational opportunities that really engage kids.
More information: Top Things to do in Sedona with Kids
9. Miami, Florida
The Miami area offers a wide variety of things to do – from beach time to its Seaquarium to outdoor adventures in the Everglades or a road trip down to the Keys, family travelers can really squeeze in a lot. Parents will especially love the swanky hotel options and the culinary choices!
More information: 7 Things to do in Miami with Kids (from CrazyFamilyAdventure.com)
More information: Things to Do in Key West with Kids (from 365AtlantaFamily.com)
10. Cabo San Lucas
Cabo may have the reputation of spring break party town, but the Los Cabos corridor is a great place to take kids. In addition to having a number of very family friendly resorts (most of which have magnificent pools), there is a lot for kids to do, from sailing to El Arco to ATV tours. It’s has been one of the safest destinations in Mexico for tourists in recent years, so I wouldn’t let the occasional news cautioning against Mexico travel stop you either.
More information: Best Things to Do in Cabo with Kids (from KidsAreATrip.com)
11. Puerto Vallarta
Head a bit farther south from Cabo to Puerto Vallarta, another favorite with families that is quite safe for tourists as well. Many of the resorts offer impressive amenities at reasonable prices. The area has a large waterpark, lots of opportunities for ziplining, whale watching (seasonally), and plenty of Mexican food and culture to explore.
More information: 5 Favorite Kid-Friendly Activities in Puerto Vallarta with Kids (from CiaoBambino.com)
12. San Antonio
San Antonio can get a rare blast of Arctic air every few years, but it is historically pretty mild in winter. Families will enjoy visiting the Alamo and exploring the Riverwalk, as well as experiencing its rich culture and amazing Tex-Mex food. Plus, winter means more reasonable crowds and more available hotel deals!
More information: 3 Days in San Antonio with Kids (from RWeThereYetMom.com)
13. San Diego
There’s never a bad time of year to go to San Diego. It makes my top destinations in California for families nearly every season of the year. But it’s particularly great in winter when you might luck into weather in the 70s, as looks to be in the forecast for my family’s MLK weekend trip in a few days. Take your kids to Sea World, Legoland, the world class San Diego Zoo, the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado Island, and much, much more.
More information: 50 Fun Things to do in San Diego with Kids (from TheWorldIsABook.com)
More information: 16 Exciting Things to do in San Diego with Kids (from YTravelBlog.com)
14. Maui, Hawaii
The Hawaiian island of Maui is teeming with kid-friendly resorts, restaurants and beaches. The options are extensive. I’d recommend the Hyatt Maui on Ka’anapali Beach, Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, or the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. Why? All have great pools, great locations, and kids clubs.
More information: 11 Kid-Friendly Things to do in Maui
15. Turks & Caicos
Much of the Caribbean is still recovering from the devastating hurricane season of 2017, but Turks & Caicos is doing quite well all things considered. The family-friendly Beaches all-inclusive resort reopened in mid-December. Go support the area with your tourism dollars and enjoy a vacation the kids (and their parents) will at the same time. Beaches is definitely the top stop for families, although it is quite pricey. It has childcare even for babies as young as 6 months old which can well be worth the splurge.
More information: Things to do in Turks & Caicos with Kids (from FamilyTravelMagazine.com)
16. Great Wolf Lodges (Multiple)
For families looking for something a little closer to home, an indoor waterpark hotel like the ones offered by Great Wolf Lodge can be an easy last minute getaway. Even if it is frigid outside, the kids can put on their bathing suits, hit the waterslide, and pretend it isn’t! Great Wolf seems to have new locations popping up every time I check so there is one within driving distance of many Americans.
More information: Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Review (from GlobalMunchkins.com)
17. Mexico City
While the coastal cities of Mexico like Cabo and Cancun are more often visited by American family travelers, consider Mexico’s capital as well. Rich in history and culture, you might actually squeeze in some education on your warm weather getaway this winter.
More information: 50 Things to Do with Kids in Mexico City (from Globetotting.com)
Looking for more family-friendly getaways? Don’t miss the top 10 best places to take a family vacation in 2018!