Christmas is clearly the favorite time in our household. My husband starts decorating on November 1st. In the past 20 years, we have found some of the best Christmas vacations for families. With kids in school, there is only a limited number of times to travel with the family, from spring break, to summer, but Christmas is my favorite time.
It is a great time to get away with the family. A time when we can reflect on the year, relax a little bit, and, of course, have fun! So, that being said with over 20 years of traveling during the holidays with kids, we are ready to break down the 15 Best Christmas vacations for families!
15 Best Christmas Vacations For Families
New York, NY
There is no better place in the world to celebrate Christmas than in the Big Apple! (besides the cold of course, but that’s part of the charm) The entire city goes through a festive transformation at the beginning of December, and there are plenty of things to do to celebrate while you are there.
You could go ice skating at the Rockefeller Center, enjoy an incredible Broadway show, take the little ones to Macy’s Santaland!, and enjoy the endless amounts of Christmas lights throughout the city. The possibilities are endless. Check out our ultimate guide to New York City with kids.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World in Florida is the ultimate kid-friendly vacation! We love Disney World (and have endless tips for planning a trip). Especially during the holidays, when the parks completely transform into a magical winter wonderland.
One of my favorite parts is going to Epcot to celebrate Christmas around the world. They ever have a beautiful candlelight processional every night.
All of the parks and resort hotels are decorated to the brim. Definitely check out Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party while you are there. It is one of our favorite events at Disney World. Plus, take a tour of some of the resorts as they have incredible gingerbread houses built inside each one.
Of course, there are plenty of great attractions to enjoy at Walt Disney World, including the new Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land!
Pro Tip – If you are looking for a quiet time to visit the parks and still enjoy the Holiday decorations and events, go in between Thanksgiving and Christmas Break. It is pretty slow.
Where to Stay at Disney World
Encore Resort is an excellent option for families looking to book a Walt Disney World vacation, especially for large families and groups. It is a luxury community located minutes from Orlando’s world-class attractions.
Staying at Encore Resort at Reunion gives you more time to enjoy each other’s company – all under one roof, in your beautiful, private curated resort residence, where safety and security are in your control. Resort residences range from 4–to 13-bedroom homes, each bedroom with its own bathroom, plus in-home amenities like private pools, backyards, game rooms, billiards, home theaters, chef’s kitchens, and more.
When you stay at Encore, you get more time to relax and have fun, with free transportation to and from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando. All are just minutes away!
If you need help planning and booking your magical Walt Disney World vacation, contact our friends at Best Day Ever Vacations. They are truly Disney Experts, and not only are their services FREE, but they will save you both time and money.
San Diego, CA
With multiple theme parks (Legoland’s Christmas is amazing), wonderful local theaters (The Grinch at The Old Globe is our fav!), plus a downtown area that is all decked out for the holidays San Diego is a wonderful choice for a warm weather Christmas vacation.
There are several amazing places to visit in San Diego for a Christmas Vacation. Here are our Favorites!
If there is one place that is all decked out for Christmas, it is the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. The resort features a 30-foot tree that is surrounded by fireside cabanas. At night families can enjoy fireside s’mores, decadent hot cocoas, and holiday cocktails for the adults, all in these amazing cabanas.
The Fairmont also has a visit from the big guy himself, live Christmas Music, we had a violinist traveling around playing for guests. It is truly a magical place to stay during the holidays.
A newly transformed waterfront resort offering the Southern California lifestyle at your fingertips – sun, sand, and so much more.
Families will enjoy waterfront dining, endless outdoor activities, luxurious spa treatments, poolside relaxation, and – best of all – proximity to everything they could want to do in San Diego including all of the fun holiday festivities.
There is no better place to spend a family Christmas than on the beautiful island of Maui. Maui, is not only one of the best Christmas vacations for families it is one of the best family vacations overall. You have amazing beaches (check out black sand beach) the beautiful road to Hana, amazing resorts, incredible snorkeling and so much more.
People don’t often think of tropical bliss when they think of Christmas. However, if you are looking to do something a bit out of the box, visiting somewhere like Maui for the festive holidays can be quite exciting.
The islands during the holidays are absolutely beautiful and the weather is perfect. There is no doubt that your frozen friends will be jealous when they see you and your family hiking through the gorgeous Haleakala National Park, eating well at a local Luau, or even taking a helicopter tour!
With plenty of festivities and family-friendly activities, Stowe, Vermont, is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas, especially if you want to have a classic New England experience.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy Stowe, including skiing at the Stowe Mountain Resort, catching the “Ultimate Christmas Show” as Spruce Peak, or checking out the variety of town Christmas events
Park City, Utah
We have visited Park City in the summer and the winter and love it year around. Ski and snowboarding trips are some of the best ways to create childhood memories.
Park City is very unique compared to most other ski locations, as it is set up for ultimate convenience and family-friendliness. Historic Main Street sits adjacent to the slopes, which is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day on the mountain.
We put Park City as one of the best Christmas Vacations for families because the town is lit up all winter long and is so family-friendly.
Plus, the lodging options are absolutely endless! We Try to head out and catch a sleigh ride if you can!
Paris has one of the most light-filled displays out of any country in Europe around the holidays. Beyond being the perfect, romantic Christmas destination, it is also a great place to visit with the whole family.
Los Angeles, California
From the illuminated pop-up storybook land that is the LA Zoo during Christmas time to the massive tree lighting party in Santa Monica, there are plenty of fun ways to celebrate a snow-less Christmas in Los Angeles!
While you’re there, make sure to visit the Grinchmas at Universal Studios and enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see its magical transformation during the special season.
Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places in the United States as it is. However, there is nothing compared to seeing the massive pine trees and rocky mountains covered in snow.
For a more natural Christmas getaway, we recommend heading out to Yosemite. You can enjoy the outdoor skating rinks in the Village, go skiing at the Badger Pass Ski Area, or take a picturesque sleigh ride!
You won’t find a more charming place to celebrate Christmas than good ol’ Branson, Missouri. If you are your family are looking for an old-timey feel, we highly recommend heading out that way.
Enjoy the Sheperd of the Hills Trail of Lights, Branson’s longest-running drive-thru light show, and make sure to check out one or more of the hundred Branson Christmas shows in one of the FIFTY theatres!
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs is an adorable Ski town. It is not as busy as other ski town so it is perfect for travelers looking for a quieter place to enjoy the slopes.
Steamboat sits on the northerly side of Colorado and is home to a beautiful little mountain town and some of the most scenic views and the softest snow you will ever experience (They call it the champagne of snow)
El Paso, TX
El Paso Texas is home to a beautiful Christmas Fair that started over 40 years ago. They also host several other exciting events including WinterFest, Luminarias (gorgeous traditional Christmas lanterns), Tamaladas where you can find the best Mexican tamales and more!
For lodging our choice is the newly renovated Hotel Paso del Norte, Autograph Collection. This luxury hotel just completed a multi-million-dollar renovation and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
You will enjoy the panoramic views of the Franklin Mountains, take a dip in the rooftop pool, and delight in the impeccable architecture.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
According to County Living magazine, Jackson Hole is among the 20 Best Small Towns for Christmas. There is plenty to do, from Santa sightings to horse-drawn sleigh rides to a wide variety of Christmas-themed shows at the Jackson Hole Playhouse.
Of course, you can’t forget about the legendary slopes at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, either.
Jackson Hole is definitely a fun place for families to visit this holiday season.
London is a lot like New York in that it is tons of fun throughout the year, though something quite extraordinary happens near Christmas time. There are a ton of things to do in London with the kids and during Christmas there is even more.
The streets are lined with Christmas decorations, the outdoor ice rinks are spread across the city, and there are plenty of great events to catch, including the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
There is nothing quite like celebrating Christmas in Frankfurt. With the amazing German Christmas Markets to the jaw-dropping Tollwood Winter Festival, the city offers an endless stream of Christmas-themed activities.
Grand Canyon, Arizona (Polar Express)
We recommend taking the Grand Canyon’s Polar express through Williams, AZ’s nighttime wilderness, for an exceptional Christmas vacation. You’ll get to experience the beauty of the “North Pole” and watch as your children get to experience their wildest dreams!
The tour is around 90 minutes long and is fantastic! Plus, you get to enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon in winter when you’re done.
Families looking to escape the cooler temperatures will delight in the warm weather found in Mexico.
Hacienda Encantada (Cabo San Lucas)
A beautiful luxury oceanfront resort in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, was named the 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor with over 5,000 4.5-star reviews raving about the resort’s amenities and service.
Velas Vallarta (Puerto Vallarta)
Velas Vallarta is an all-inclusive family resort located on 10 oceanfront acres with lush gardens in Puerto Vallarta. Situated on the emerald waters of Banderas Bay, Velas Vallarta features 345 suites, multiple swimming pools, AMET Spa along with seaside cabins, a fitness center, multiple restaurants, and live entertainment nightly.
Theme dinners and local specialties are sure to please even the most discerning palates and suite service is available around the clock. Guests can choose from an original array of activities and events, from Straw Mosaics to Mexican fiestas.
The Kids’ Club welcomes children under 13 with supervised activities like mini mariachi and sand sculpture. In addition, the resort’s commitment to environmental sustainability is certified Gold by EarthCheck.
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