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Winter ‘Wanderlands:’ Top Destinations for Family Travel

Family pulling sleds through snow
Allianz - Family pulling sleds through snow

Many families carve out some time each summer to head to their favorite beach or lake for some much needed relaxation and vitamin D. But with breaks from school and time off work for the holidays, winter can be a great option for family vacations, too.

In the winter, you’ve got two main options when it comes to a family vacation: bundle up and embrace Old Man Winter or plan an escape to a warmer alternative. Remember, in any weather, finding the right Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plan for your itinerary and budget can always be a much-needed ray of sunshine.

We’ve put together some family-friendly winter vacation options that run the gamut, proving that there truly is a winter family vacation for everyone.

Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Skiing and snowboarding are downright seasonal, so if shredding fresh powder is at the top of your winter to-do list, you’ve got to head to the slopes. Even if you’re a seasoned skier yourself, taking a family to a ski resort is a different animal. Beaver Creek, Colorado makes family vacations a breeze. The resort has runs of varying difficulty so that everyone in your family can have a good time, all without holding back or taking unnecessary risks. In addition, Beaver Creek has plenty of experts on site so that your family can take advantage of lessons or hire a private guide to show you the ropes. Bonus: the resort knows the way to most family’s hearts and serves freshly baked cookies each day at 3 p.m. to help warm you up from the inside out.1

When you’re considering lodging, remember to factor in altitude, which can cause issues ranging from dehydration and headaches to tiredness and the aptly named altitude sickness. If you’re not sure how your children handle altitude changes, try and build some time into the trip to allow them to adjust. Alternatively, you can choose to stay in Avon, which is just outside of Beaver Creek and has a slightly lower elevation. Staying in Avon means it’ll take a little longer to travel to the slopes, but it’s generally less expensive.1

Quebec, Canada.

Quebec City is affectionately known as the world’s snow capital, so if your area is short on the white stuff it can be a wonderful family vacation for snow enthusiasts.2 There’s more to Quebec than their precipitation though. The city doubles down on embracing winter with the largest winter carnival in the world! The mascot of the carnival, Bonhomme, brings the spirit of the event to life and takes the form of, you guessed it, a snowman. The activities vary a bit from year to year, but there’s always plenty to do for both kids and adults. In years past, visitors have been able to tour palaces made of ice, play life-sized foosball, catch a horse-drawn sleigh ride, watch dogsled racing and go sledding.3 

While you’re there, and once your family gets its fill of the carnival action, you can explore historic Quebec City. The walled city’s architecture harkens back to its European influences, so that you get the feel of a cultured getaway without the trip across the pond. The 66th Quebec Winter Carnival is being hosted from February 7 - 16, 2020.

Orlando, Florida.

Theme parks are sort of a rite of passage for families. Orlando’s Walt Disney World provides the quintessential theme park experience, and is a crowd-pleaser for a winter family vacation. While Disney World remains busy year-round, attendance drops once the holidays are over. That means January and February usually offer better prices, more elbow room and shorter lines. Plus, winter is usually marked by pleasantly mild temperatures in the low 70s.4 Before booking your hotel, make sure to look into any special events (such as the Disney Marathon), routine maintenance for rides on your “must try” list and shortened park days. There’s still plenty of fun to be had in the winter, even with adjusted hours or closures, but it’s always helpful to know what to expect.5

Maui, Hawaii.

If the climate in your area provides more than your fair share of snow, ice and freezing weather, you may view a winter getaway as an opportunity for a respite. Fortunately for you, Hawaii exists. And Maui, with endless options for families with kids, beckons you for your next family vacation. If you’ve got babies or toddlers, head to “Baby Beach.” It’s protected by an off-shore reef to provide shallow water that’s calm enough for little ones. If your kids are too young to snorkel, they can still admire tropical fish and sea turtles at the Maui Ocean Center. If you travel to Maui from January to March, your family can hop on a whale-watching tour to see humpback whales that breed nearby during the winter months.6 And of course, a visit to Maui wouldn’t be complete without attending a luau to see and experience the unique culture of Hawaii directly from the locals.

You hear that, summer? Move over. Winter family vacations deserve a seat at the table.

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