Winter Vacation: Family Vacation, Snow Sports, and Getaways for Couples

Winter Vacation: Family Vacation, Snow Sports, and Getaways for Couples

Posted 05.30.2012 in Articles by Jess

Winter Vacation: Family Vacation, Snow Sports, and Getaways for Couples

Planning a vacation but can't decide between going during the summer or the winter? You may be dead set on getting rid of those tan lines but you should consider these hotspots for winter travel. Not only are they great places for family vacations, but they're also prime for snow sports like skiing or snowboarding, and getaways for couples. Nothing beats snuggling up in front of the fireplace with your one and only. If you're still daydreaming about finally throwing away your fake tanning lotion then don't worry, there are plenty of winter vacation destinations with warm weather too.


After the “are we there yet?”s and “I have to go to the bathroom”s (for the 27th time) you finally reach your destination and realize that unless your kids are having as much fun as you are, get ready for a lot of “I'm booooreeeddd”s. Fortunately, there are winter vacation spots known for their kid friendly atmosphere and accomodations. Smugggler's Notch, Vermont is a winter resort that gets plenty of kudos for its family and children's programs. They're hailed for being one of the few resorts that is “child-friendly” for children under the age of 3. They have programs for every age of child from 6 weeks to 17 years that include childcare and skiing and snowboarding lessons starting at age 3. Montecito Sequoia Lodge in King's Canyon National Park, CA is another kid-friendly resort. Their list of winter sports available to children between ages 5 and up is equally impressive. Your kids can cross-country ski, snowshow, snow tube, sled, ride a dog sled, snowboard, snow bike, and ice skate. Park City, Utah is praised as a winter wonderland for their hot air balloon rides, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and skiing and snowboarding galore. Children 3 and up can enjoy liftserved tubing hills in Gargoza Park and children 5 to 12 can zip around in miniature snowmobiles.


If you're looking for a little bit of sunlight to get you out of that gloomy winter mood, try Scottsdale, Arizona. Your kids will live their dreams of being a cowboy/cowgirl as they skedaddle through cactus-dotted nature trails in the Sonoran Desert. To flavor their game of pretend, they'll have plenty of Western activities from cowboy-style horseback riding to visits to ghost towns like Goldfield Ghost Town which stages gunfights (free admission) on weekends. This will be a history lesson they actually enjoy, as they examine authentic Indian artifacts or dart through the railroad park with real steam locomotives. If you're looking for more of a beach setting, try beautiful sunny San Diego, California where it's beach season almost any time of the year. You'll find loads of great kid activities and an ideal climate. Not only will your kids have miles of beach to play on but San Diego is also host to a world famous zoo. They'll also have Sea World, Legoland, and the Wild Animal Park to keep them entertained. Another hotspot for winter vacation is of course Miami, Florida. Your kids can feed parrots at Jungle Island, spot manatees from a glass-bottom boat in Biscayne National Park, or take an easy bike ride along shorline trails. It's a hub of global influence and culture and has a lot to offer anyone of any age. It's filled with endless options in accomodations, dining, and activities.


Hoping for more of an adrenaline rush? Check out Chamonix Vallee Blanche, France. With a 17-kilometer-long, 2,800-meter descent from the top at 3,812 meters, you're bound to find this mountain worthwhile. It's often called the greatest ski run on the planet. If the thought of traversing a narrow, icy ridge with just a rope to hold onto daringly while trying to balance skis or a snowboard wasn't enough to give you the chills, then this is one of the most perfect off-piste runs in the world. If skiing and snowboarding aren't for you, look into Grand Lake, Colorado. It has over 300 miles of snowmobile terrain and 150 groomed miles. You can explore the Continental Divide with or without a guide and bask in the wonderful winter scenery of the Colorado Rockies. For a more traditional approach, you can check out sledding and tobogganing at the Arboretum and the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario. They're two of the most popular snow sports and while everyone has their favorite hill, the Arboretum seems to win most people over. When you get tired of that you can go on over to the Rideau Canal for the world's largest outdoor skating rink. It runs 4.8 miles long and has the equivalent surface area of 90 Olympic hockey rinks!

If anything else, the main appeal of winter over summer is the overbearing climate of romance. There's nothing like cuddling up next to your loved one to keep warm. If you and your beloved are looking for a romantic winter vacation, there are plenty of getaways for couples. Sleep under the Northern Lights in Finland at Hotel Kakslauttanen in a domed igloo of thermal glass, designed so that they won't frost over. You'll fall asleep to the sky glowing reds, greens, and blues of the aurora borealis. The hotel also offers actual snow igloos or log cabins equipped with fireplaces. What's more romantic than a one-horse open sleigh ride? Being pulled by reindeer through the alluring snow-covered Lapland, well north of the Artic Circle. For a more secluded vacation, try Orca Island Cabins, Alaska. The cabins are situated on Humpy Cove, just south of Anchorage. There are only five cabins on the entire island so you'll have it almost all to yourself. One one side you'll have the capitivating Alaskan wilderness and on the other the bright blue sea. Your private cabin is equipped with everything you need for your stay and your deck overlooks the water. While you're there, kayak, whale watch, and check out the wildlife on the island or take a water taxi to a nearby trail for a hiking adventure in the last frontiers – Alaskan outdoors. Thinking of staying a little closer to home? Visit California's beautiful “City by the Bay” - San Francisco. Labeled as quite possibly the most romantic city in the USA for the Bay, the architecture, landscapes, and atmosphere, San Francisco is a must for romantic travel. It plays host to a tantalizing choice of romantic places to eat or have a coffee, cable car rides, wine tasting, excursions over the water, or someplace high up to just sip a cocktail and marvel at the historical city. The city has a countless amount of romantic historic or modern hotels and boutiques to meet your expectations. When you're not admiring your hotel, take a walk around Fisherman's Warf or plan ahead to take a chocolate and wine walking tour. Stroll through Chinatown or sail on a romantic dinner cruise. Go to the Golden Gate Bridge or have a picnic in the Golden Gate Park. In the park you find over 1,000 acres of rose gardens, lakes and green space. Watch the sunset at Twin Peaks and get an incredible 360 degree panoramic view of San Francisco and the Bay Area.


Traveling in the winter time has a special majestic aura about it. There's nothing like playing in the snow with your family, zooming down the slope with the cold air hitting your face, or watching the sunset bundled up with your love. Even if the cold isn't for you, there are plenty of places to visit where you can still get that tan. Sometimes there's just something about wearing your bathing suit in December or January that makes it that much better. Whether you're interested in a family vacation, snow sports, or getaways for couples, a winter vacation is prime for anyone who wants to beat the crowds and capture that special magical feeling surrounding winter time. 


Image (CC) John Hamil of Roanoke

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