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Traveling during the holidays is an exciting, sometimes daunting event. Packing up the kids’ suitcases, playing Tetris to get everything to fit in the car—oh, and don’t forget about that oil change. You’ve probably gotten used to the journey to a family member’s home every holiday season, but what’s stopping you from planning that ultimate Christmas getaway you’ve been dreaming of?

Planning makes perfect when it comes to a family Christmas vacation. Things like destination, cost, and kid-friendly entertainment are discussions to keep in mind. If you can get past the research and reservations, you’ll soon be on your way to creating those unforgettable family memories.

If you’re looking to spend the holiday away from home, there are numerous destinations worldwide that provide all the holiday feels you’ve been yearning for. To help with your search, we’ve curated a list of the 25

best Christmas vacations and getaways for families that are sure to have you walking in a winter wonderland—be it a snowy morning on the mountains or a sunny, sand-filled day at the beach.

Best Christmas Vacations for Families

1. Yosemite National Park, California

Spending the holidays with your family in Yosemite Park will not disappoint. There’s so much to explore in this national park during winter—from sleigh riding through Curry’s village to ice skating at Yosemite’s outdoor rinks to skiing and snowboarding, and more! The park is open year-round with no reservations to enter, but be sure to check the weather before embarking on this winter getaway. No need to worry about cooking on Christmas Day, as the Wawona Hotel, Yosemite Valley Lodge, and The Ahwahnee all offer exciting dinner menus to celebrate the season.

  • Where to stay: Yosemite Valley Lodge

  • Price: $240.53 and up per night

  • Amenities: skiing, sleigh rides, ornament making, gingerbread house decorating

2. Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Let’s be honest—is there ever not a good time of year to visit Disney World? Get in the holiday spirit at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park during their very merry winter celebrations. Their newest event, Disney Very Merriest After Hours, includes a themed parade, fireworks, and more! Don’t forget to treat your tastebuds to Disney’s flavors of the season, and be sure to take in all the holiday-themed decorations throughout the park.

  • Where to stay: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Price: $731 and up per night

  • Amenities: Christmas parade, fireworks, theme park rides, dance party

3. Legoland in Winter Haven, Florida

A giant Lego Christmas tree? That’s right– you’re sure to see this kid’s toy masterpiece and more should you and your family visit Legoland during the holiday season. With jolly-themed food and drinks and Lego characters dressed up in their very merry best, the entire family is sure to enjoy this warm winter getaway. And don’t forget about Legoland’s rides and attractions!

  • Where to stay: Legoland Hotel

  • Price: $334 per night and up

  • Amenities: theme park, shopping, dining

4. Park City, Utah

What’s a winter holiday without a family skiing trip? Even if you and the kiddos have never worn a pair of skis, you’ll still enjoy the snow and incredible views at Utah’s Park City ski resort. To truly get into the holiday spirit, hop on the Polar Express train for a 90-minute ride filled with hot cocoa, live entertainment, and even a special gift from Santa. Slow things down with a free holiday showing of It’s A Wonderful Life (and don’t forget to bring tissues for all you nostalgic folks out there).

  • Where to stay: Park City Peaks Hotel 

  • Price: $393 and up per night

  • Amenities: skiing, tree lighting ceremony, Christmas dinner specials

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5. Los Angeles, California

You won’t find snow-covered trees or cold winter nights in L.A., which might be a good thing for some families. You will find plenty of Christmas and general holiday festivities even when it’s 70 degrees and sunny in December. One of the most notorious L.A. winter events, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, perfectly embodies the spirit of the season and should not be missed. The kiddos are sure to love the animal-themed light-up tradition that is the L.A. Zoo lights, but be sure to purchase your tickets in advance to void the lines.

  • Where to stay: Hotel Indigo Los Angeles 

  • Price: $175 and up per night

  • Amenities: L.A. Zoo, Hollywood Christmas parade, outdoor ice skating

6. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

If you’re a family that enjoys skiing but is looking for some extra activities to really get in the holiday spirit, Steamboat Springs offers just that. Should you choose to cook your holiday meal in Steamboat, make sure to special order your meat from Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co. or Natural Grocers. If you’d prefer not to bother with dishes, enjoy a meal in the comfort of your lodge with a Steamboat private chef. If you’re looking to dine out, however, you should definitely make reservations in advance. Alongside the fantastic dining options in Steamboat, you’ll find hot springs, fireworks shows, and even snowshoe trails! Best of all, the downtown area is perfect for a family photo shoot. 

7. El Paso, Texas

You’d be surprised to discover the many holiday traditions practiced in El Paso, TX. Support local vendors at the Christmas fair that has been kicking off the winter season for 40 years strong. Dive into the rich El Paso culture by attending a public posada, a traditional ritual party held every night for nine days leading up to Christmas Eve. If you stick around until New Years, be sure to catch the Sun Bowl Game– one of the oldest college football bowl games in the country!

  • Where to stay: The Stanton House

  • Price: $187 and up per night

  • Amenities: Christmas fair, traditional celebrations, Sun Bowl Game, ice skating

8. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Pack up the family’s ski gear and head to Jackson Hole Resort, where the most important event is definitely Santa’s “drop-in”. What’s that? Oh, it’s only Santa Claus shredding down the mountain Jackson Hole style to hang out on the slopes with the little ones. If you don’t plan on spending too much time on the slopes, no worries– you can catch Santa at the historic town square tree lighting ceremony. For a unique way to spend your winter family getaway, hop on a sleigh and head for a ride through Teton’s scenic landscapes.

  • Where to stay: Elk Country Inn

  • Price: $170 and up per night

  • Amenities: skiing, sleigh rides, arts and crafts, fireworks

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9. Frankfurt, Germany

Teach your family the rich history of Europe by traveling to Frankfurt, Germany. No description can bring justice to just how magnificent the 600+-year-old Christmas market is—and it sits only minutes away from the Frankfurt airport. Take a stroll through the market and notice the wonderful smell baked apples, gingerbread and mulled wine—and be sure not to let your nose distract you from the beautiful architecture. If you’re looking for a Christmas Day service, check out one of several medieval churches in the city. (Before you book, be sure to check out the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions).

10. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Most families might not think of spending the holidays in Arizona—which can be a good thing if you’re looking to avoid crowded areas! Enjoy the winter sunrises, low floating clouds, and cooler temps at the Grand Canyon this Christmas. The El Tovar provides a fabulous Christmas Day meal, complete with a view of the canyon in all its snow-dusted glory. If you’re an outdoorsy family, take a 7-mile trek down to South Kaibab for an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch. This is sure to be the ultimate adventurer’s Christmas! (Before you book, be sure to check out the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions).

  • Where to stay: The El Tovar

  • Price: $278 and up per night

  • Amenities: hiking, dining, train rides (Polar Express)

11. Highlands, North Carolina

Slow things down in the mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina. Santa stops by every year to light up the Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park with millions of twinkling lights, where there’s plenty of hot chocolate and cookies for the entire family. On the sunnier days, head out for a hike to one of several waterfalls scattered throughout the Highlands hills. You won’t want to miss the small-town parade full of floats, bands, and camels–yes, camels are in the parade!

  • Where to stay: Skyline Lodge 

  • Price: $282 and up per night (3-night minimum)

  • Amenities: hiking, live music, Christmas parade

12. Grapevine, Texas

Everything is merrier in Grapevine–AKA The Christmas Capital of Texas! With 40 days of unique Christmas events, you’re sure to get your fill of the holiday season. The city sparkles with millions of lights and bodacious decorations that bring the season’s magic to life. Sign up for a family-friendly 5k or step back in time to experience the Victorian Christmas Tours at Nash Farm. If you’re still needing to shop for gifts, take a stroll down the Historic grapevine and check off your holiday shopping list.

  • Where to stay: Gaylord Texan Resort 

  • Price: $675 and up per night

  • Amenities: dinner theater, carol of lights, wine tasting, Christmas market.

13. Big Bear, California

Plan your winter holiday at the snowy mountains of Big Bear. Build a giant snowman with the kiddos in front of your cabin, or mine for treasure at Gold Rush Mining Adventures.  If you’ve got any adrenaline-junky family members, book a high-speed zip-line experience or cruise through the town on a Segway. To finish off a perfect day, build a fire and roast marshmallows back at the cabin.

  • Where to stay: Big Bear Retreat

  • Price: $389 and up per night

  • Amenities: zip-lining, skiing, horseback riding, shopping

14. Destin, Florida

Take advantage of the warm weather in the Sunshine State! Come one– you can’t complain when you’re wearing a swimsuit on Christmas, right? Destin is known for its white sandy beaches, picturesque sunsets and southern seafood cuisine. Check out Destin Commons for the annual Christmas tree lighting and fireworks show, and be on the lookout for Santa’s arrival at Baytown Warf!

15. Cancun, Mexico

The Christmas season is a special time of year in Mexico–even without the snow. The sun shines over the Caribbean, shedding light on the holiday magic, very merry surprises, and festive music. A holiday buffet dinner, themed beach party, and El Grinch performing acrobatic numbers—need we say more? Cancun is the perfect winter wonderland for those warmer weather lovers.

  • Where to stay: Marriott Cancun Resort 

  • Price: $225 and up per night

  • Amenities: Christmas tree lighting, Candyland beach party, dining on Christmas Day, live music and dancing

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16. Faroe Islands, Denmark

Ever heard of it? The Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago comprising 18 rocky islands, volcanoes, and some of the most welcoming people you’ll ever meet. Each year, the residents of the island build a Christmas City filled with bright lights and decorations. During the day, you and the fam can hike to the medieval church of Kirkjubø or over the hill for a fantastic sky view of the islands. For a Faroese-inspired meal, head to Ræst and enjoy a meal of fermented lamb and fish with rye bread. If you prefer a more personal meal, try Heimablídni or “home hospitality”–where you and your family can dine in the homes of Faroese families. (Before you book, be sure to check out the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions).

  • Where to stay: 62N Guesthouse

  • Price: $86 and up per night

  • Amenities: hiking, traditional dining, Christmas City

17. Washington, D.C.

Being the capital of the United States, this city is filled to the brim with Christmas activities. D.C. is home of the National Christmas Tree—a live, evergreen tree decorated in the President’s Park near the White House. The best part? Its ornaments are decorated by artists across the country! The Washington Ballet will put on their annual and most wonderful performance of The Nutcracker that you simply cannot miss. Don’t forget to venture over to Union Station, where the halls are decked with Norwegian-style Christmas decorations, food, and ice sculptures.

  • Where to stay: Grand Hyatt Washington

  • Price: $137 and up per night

  • Amenities: Ice skating, boat parade of lights, the garden of lights

18. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Spend your family Christmas in the kitschy little German town of Gatlinburg! From the holiday lights that adorn the buildings to festive attractions, there’s magic around every corner! Their winter schedule is packed with holly, jolly events–an arts and crafts show, a Christmas lights parade, and a fireworks show to name a few. A cozy little cabin in the Smokies sounds like 10/10 way to spend the holidays if you ask us.

  • Where to stay: Parkside Cabin Rentals

  • Price: $105 and up per night

  • Amenities: Christmas parade, arts and crafts, breakfast with Santa, fireworks show

19. London, England

What can’t you do during the Christmas season in London? Ice skating, shopping, afternoon tea, visit Santa–the list goes on and on. If you happen to be a Harry Potter family, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour comes to life during the winter season. Leading up to Christmas, the attraction is transformed to include a magical Christmas tree-filled Great Hall and a festive-looking Gryffindor common room. Should you stay long enough for a weekend trip outside of London, Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Winston Churchill) goes all out during the holiday season with a Christmas market, light trail, and more.

  • Where to stay: The Tower Hotel

  • Price: $122 per night and up

  • Amenities: ice skating, shopping, bus tour, museums

20. Rovaniemi, Finland

Meet Santa Claus and cross the magic arctic circle at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. A true winter wonderland awaits with reindeer, northern lights, and cross-country skiing. Take the little ones to Elf’s Farmyard Zoo where they’ll meet alpacas and other arctic animals. After a day of wintry activities, pop by Santa’s Salmon Place for some traditional salmon cooked on a fire right in front of you.

  • Where to stay: Santa Claus Holiday Village

  • Price: $300 and up per night

  • Amenities: northern lights, skiing, petting zoo, Santa Claus Village

21. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is nothing short of magical during the holidays. With an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a presentation of The Nutcracker, and dances at the Indian Pueblos, you and your family will never run out of activities here. The annual Christmas Open House at the New Mexico Art Museum is a favorite amongst kids of all ages. Learn about historic Santa Fe traditions like Las Posadas, an important event of the city that consists of the reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for an inn in Bethlehem.

  • Where to stay: Hotel Santa Fe

  • Price: $219 and up per night

  • Amenities: art museum, Christmas lights, holiday market, tree lighting ceremony

22. Stowe, Vermont

Celebrate a traditional Christmas with your loved ones in Stowe, Vermont. As soon as you reach this magical town, you’ll notice the entire community of Stowe takes great pride in preserving the traditions of Christmas time. Houses and businesses throughout the city go all out with lights and decorations, making for a perfect evening stroll as you sip hot cocoa and pick out your favorite light setup. Take advantage of the snowy days and head out for a sled race with the family!

  • Where to stay: The Stowe Inn 

  • Price: $179 and up per night

  • Amenities: skiing, sledding, shopping, hiking

23. Fairhope, Alabama

Head on down to south Alabama for the annual Christmas boat parade! Fairhope is a picturesque little town that sits on the bay, and while it’s a sight to see all year long, the city comes to life during the holidays. Take a North Pole stroll and admire the Christmas lights, shopping, and dining of downtown Fairhope. After Santa’s grand entrance at the Magical Parade, he sticks around for a little while to hear the Christmas wishes of the kids. We can’t forget to mention the town’s “Movie In The Street”–where children and adults alike gather downtown for a holiday film.

  • Where to stay: Jubilee Suites

  • Price: $220 and up per night

  • Amenities: beaches, Christmas open house, shopping, dining

24. New York, New York

There’s a reason why there are so many songs and movies that revolve around being in New York during the holidays. The Big Apple has always been a dream Christmas destination for families around the world, and we couldn’t agree more! There’s winter wonderland magic around every corner—go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, catch The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Centre, visit the Christmas markets, and more! To top it all off, the iconic Rockettes perform a Christmas Spectacular at Radio City that is sure to have you dancing the night away.

25. Florida Keys, Florida

A tropical Christmas sounds like true paradise to us! Pack your suitcase and head for a visit with Santa at his favorite vacation spot in Key West. The best way to catch all the holiday lights across the island is via the Holiday Lights and Sights Tour–a trolley ride through town complete with cookies and cider. Admire the historically charming architecture of the Southernmost City during a guided historic inns holiday tour. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the lighted boat parade that is planned by boat owners weeks in advance.

  • Where to stay: Southernmost Point Guest House

  • Price: $399 and up per night

  • Amenities: beaches, Christmas parade, light tours, lighted boat parade

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