When it’s been cold for months and you just want to get away from it
forever for a few days and maybe remember what your toes look like, take a warm-weather family vacation to one of these U.S. destinations.
Enjoy the desert sunshine in this city near Saguaro National Park, where you can take your family on a wildlife drive. There’s also a cave you can tour. Back in civilization, little ones will have fun at the children’s museum. There’s even a fun park and mini golf in town. Stay at the Tanque Verde Ranch, which has daily kids’ programs as well as scheduled activities for adults like horseback riding and hiking.
Palm Springs. Stay sunny in the desert. Go on an adventure Jeep tour or the aerial tramway. If you go during the holidays, check out a resident’s light display, called Robolights. Stay at Omni Rancho Las Palmas for its Splashtopia water park, pools, golf, and spa.
San Diego County. With generally even temperatures, it can still get cool here north of the Mexican border, but it will usually be sunny. Visit Balboa Park with its multiple museums, including the famous San Diego Zoo. To the north separate from the zoo is San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where you can stay the night on a “Roar and Snore Safari.” Also in the North County is Legoland. The beach with its surfers is a draw, but the water is cold. Stay at the Hotel del Coronado.
Central Florida. Theme parks decorate to the nines for the holidays, making for beautiful family photos. If you can’t get there for the holidays, check out the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Orlando from Feb. 9 to April 4. Not a theme park family? About 45 minutes north of the airport, Wekiwa Springs State Park has a natural spring for swimming, miles of trails for hiking, and a river for paddling. An hour to the east, Cocoa Beach is the place to be Christmas Eve morning to watch all the Santas and elves go surfing.
Florida Keys. The island chain is as laid back as ever after Hurricane Irma last year, and still just as fun. Take the kids to the Turtle Hospital, Theater of the Sea, and for mini golf at Boondocks. Tour Key West’s family-friendly attractions. Stay at Hawks Cay, where there is a pirate ship play area and special programs for kids.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Take in the spectacle of the strip during the day with the kids. Stay at Circus Circus and enjoy the Adventuredome rides, the Shark Reef Aquarium, and kid-friendly shows. Watch the volcano erupt at the Mirage resort, race the indoor karts, and try indoor skydiving.
South Padre Island. Play on the beach or lounge by the pool. Take a pirate cruise or a dolphin-watching tour boat. Get into nature at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. Stay at Isla Grand Beach Resort or Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort.
San Antonio. Perhaps not as warm as some other places on our list — but not freezing, either — San Antonio’s River Walk decorates with lights for the holidays. Enjoy the River Walk area, plus nearby historical sites. Take the kids to the DoSeum and the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.
Like our roundup of warm-weather family vacations? Please check out our other family travel articles.