6 family getaways that will spread cheer
With the kids home from school for the holiday break, many families decide that the window between Christmas and New Year is the perfect tme for a family getaway. Here are six spots that put the fa-la-la into a family holiday:
Nothing evokes holiday cheer like ice skating under the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center followed by a stroll past the amazing holiday window displays at Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s and Bloomingdales. Whether you see the Rockettes at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or attend the Blessing of the Children during St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s Christmas Eve service, there’s no place like the Big Apple during the holidays.
(MORE: View family-friendly hotels in New York City.)
Hotel Del Coronado
The entire National Historic Landmark hotel is wrapped in thousands of twinkling white lights, with a two-story tree towering over the lobby. It’s easy to see why it’s a favorite holiday destination of celebrities and US presidents alike. You can ice skate outside overlooking the ocean on a holiday rink set up to benefit charity or rent tandem bikes big enough for the entire family. You’re not only close to the shops and restaurants of Coronado but also to kid-friendly San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and Legoland.
If your holidays don’t feel complete without snow, Lake Tahoe offers white ski slopes alongside gorgeous waterside views. Take the family on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Visit Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, for snow tubing, ice skating and snowmobiles, carolers and a Christmas Eve Torchlight parade. You can even see Santa on skis.
Big Island of Hawaii
Christmas trees are decked with ukuleles, and holiday parades feature hula dancers. Only the glow of the Kilauea volcano’s lava outshines the holiday lights. Book a room at the kid-friendly Hilton Waikoloa, where you can ride a train or boat to your room, zoom down a giant water slide and take your holiday photo with resident dolphins. Or try the Four Seasons at Hualalai, with its complimentary Kids for All Seasons program and a Christmas Eve party featuring face painting, balloons and a visit from Santa. If you drive to the Mauna Kea volcano peak, you might even see some snow. Mele Kalikimaka!
(MORE: Browse parent-recommended attractions on the Big Island.)
Walt Disney World
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has it all—holiday fireworks, a Christmas parade and magical snow falling on Main Street in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Book a villa at Disney’s African-style Animal Kingdom Lodge overlooking a savannah filled with giraffes, zebra and wildebeest. It may be the only place you’ll ever see leopard-print Christmas ornaments. Or stay at the nearby Gaylord Palms Resort for a winter wonderland featuring two million pounds of ice carved into holiday decorations and ice slides. It is no wonder why this is one of the all-time favorite choices for a family holiday.
Spending the holidays in Colonial Williamsburg is like stepping back in time with the ghost of Christmas past. Simple white candles light the windows. Handmade wreaths of holly and fruits decorate doors, and the scent of fresh pine hangs in the air. Your kids will not just learn but live history as they walk cobblestone streets among “interpreters” playing Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the local blacksmith—all dressed in 18th century garb. Celebrations include the Grand Illumination fireworks display, a holiday parade and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The Busch Gardens theme park also has a Christmas Town featuring an ice palace with live penguins.