Try Some Winter Family Getaways This Season

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I like winter. I like the bracing cold. I like the snow, although I don’t like the ice so much. I like seeing my breath and feeling little icicles form on my mustache. I love walking outside during the first snowfall when everything is so quiet because the snow has absorbed the sound.

Of course, I don’t get that here in Central Florida. We barely cracked the low 40s this past winter, and I miss it. Mostly.

So if I want a winter getaway, I’ve got a few places I would like to go in December or even January to get my snow fix for the year. Maybe you can check one of them out this coming winter and tell me how it goes.

Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine
I once spent a couple summer days at The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Hollow, New Hampshire. It was gorgeous, and I nearly got to spend the summer there. I also remember wishing I could come back for the winter, because they had some great winter activities as well: horseback riding, winter hikes, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, bonfires, and sitting inside by the fire with a book laughing at the weirdos out in the cold.

Northern New England is a veritable winter wonderland for anyone who’s a fan of cold and snow. A New England fall is a beauty to behold, but the winters are amazing, and they last well into July (well, early May. But, still. . . ). All three states have plenty of resorts, parks, slopes, and inns to visit. Check with a few local visitors bureaus and find some of the activities and areas you’d like to try.

Mackinac Island/Mackinaw City

Mackinac Island in winter makes for a beautiful winter family getaway

Main Street in Mackinac Island

Another fun winter locale is Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw), which has a lot of the same activities as New England: plenty of outdoor winter sports, hiking, and just enjoying the scenery. Unlike the summer and early fall, winter is not a major tourism season, so there’s plenty of room and very few people. Just remember this is the time for many of the islanders to take a break, so many of the businesses will be shut down or on reduced hours, so be sure to do your research. But there’s still plenty to do if you know where to look.

Mackinaw City is the mainland port to Mackinac Island, and they have a lot going on in town as well. Plus, if the lake hasn’t iced over yet, you can take a ferry ride over to the island for the day and do some exploring, but still make it back to the mainland in time for dinner and a warm night in your hotel room.

Chicago or New York
As much fun as the great outdoors is, there’s something magical about the big city in winter. While I’ve never been to New York in the winter, I’ve been to Chicago plenty of times. And being there in December is a sight to behold: everything is brightly lit and decorated, and there’s a buzz in the atmosphere as everyone is rushing around for last minute holiday shopping.

I like to get my gift shopping done early anyway, so it’s always extra relaxing for me to hang out at a coffee shop and watch people race around in a panic. And being in Chicago while all this is going on is the best feeling ever. There’s always something to do, sights to see, places to visit, great food and entertainment, and of course, plenty of shopping.

Rocky Mountains (Denver, Boulder, Aspen)
I can’t mention winter getaways without the American face of winter getaways: Colorado, specifically Denver, Boulder, and Aspen. Long known for their winter activities, there’s plenty of downhill skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, ice climbing, and anything else you can think of. Being in the mountains though, everything is about downhill skiing.

But if you’re not a skier, the Aspen Chamber of Commerce has a whole list of other things you can do while the rest of your family is hitting the slopes: snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, paragliding, and of course, yoga. You can’t shake a ski pole without finding yoga.

Of course, not everyone feels about winter the way I do. My wife doesn’t, for example, which is why I live here now, and not Indiana. And I have to admit that while I always enjoyed December in Indiana, I was just sick to the teeth of it all by March. So we started vacationing down in Orlando every February, and found that warm weather recharge helped us hang on for the last few weeks of Indiana’s slush and mush.

So if you’re not a fan of below-zero wind chill, sliding off into ditches, or having your boogers freeze the second you step outside, head down to Orlando for a week or two. Plus, if you come in late January and early February, the crowds are a lot smaller than the summer, and there’s still a lot going on. (And let me know you’re coming; I can make a few non-Disney recommendations!)

Wherever you go, just remember to allow some extra travel time on either end of your trip. You could get caught in a snowstorm coming or going, and you’ll need an extra day to get to where you’re going. Check out the road trip feature of The Weather Channel app to see the weather report along your travel route so you don’t get caught in a surprise storm.

Where do you go for your winter vacations? Do you hunker down at home, visit family over the holidays, or do you have fun in the snow (or with Mickey)? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Mary McGuire (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)


Erik Deckers is a travel writer, as well as a content marketer and book author. He is the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and has been a newspaper humor columnist for over 20 years

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