Smart travelers plan ahead, and now’s the time to book a resort for your family’s annual winter escape. Whether you’re looking to build castles in the sand, ski the slopes, or just sip pina coladas poolside, there’s a resort to match your mood. Here are five family vacation resorts you’ll want to book now so you can easily make your escape this upcoming winter.
1. Disney’s Aulani
Ko Olina, O‘ahu
If you’re family loves Disney but is looking for a more relaxing vacation, skip Disney World and head to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa for a taste of paradise with a little Disney magic in the mix. The resort immerses guests in the natural wonders and rich traditions of Hawai‘i. It has a picture perfect location on the beautiful beaches of Ko Olina and offers a wide range of Hawaiian cultural programming, including world-class entertainment, activities and crafts including hula and lei-making classes. It also provides island excursions, from surf lessons to hiking and more. The onsite Laniwai – A Disney Spa and Aunty’s Beach House kids’ club give moms and dads a chance to relax together while the kids have a blast. The biggest draw is the gorgeous weather, best enjoyed by making a splash at Aulani’s many pools and waterslides.
2. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
If you’re looking for a winter escape to Europe but can’t quite stomach the long flight, celebrate the joys of winter in charming Quebec City. The grand Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac stands tall, at an elevation of 177 ft, as the grandest resort in Quebec City. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada and located inside the walls of Old Quebec, its history and charm can’t be beat. Beyond the breathtaking views and unparalleled location, all the luxuries are in place in this the most photographed hotel in the world. 611 guest rooms feature all the modern luxuries you need, the spa offers a full range of services, onsite restaurants makes the most of the local harvest, and your kids will feel like they’re staying in a castle straight out of a fairy tale. Best of all, Quebec City with its charming boutiques and bistros is right outside the elegant lobby, ready to be explored. In the wintertime, Quebec City sparkles with festivals and lights—try to arrange your visit during one of the many magical winter festivals. Check out our full guide to Quebec City with kids to get started!
3. Hawks Cay Resort
Duck Key, Florida Keys
Hawks Cay Resort, Villas and Marina, located in the Middle Florida Keys, is a resort where you can find both relaxation and adventure. If your kids look forward to splashing around in the hotel pool more than anything, Hawks Cay has you covered: a whopping six pools feature spectacular views and lush tropical settings. A one-of-a-kind Pirate Ship Pool features slides, water cannons, raining palm trees, and shallow areas that are perfect for new swimmers. The enclosed Saltwater Lagoon means you can snorkel and search for small tropical fish, soak up some rays on your sandy Keys beach, paddle around in tiki boats, watch dolphins play at the neighboring Dolphin Connection and keep a look out for sea turtles swimming by in the clear waters of the harbor…all steps away from your hotel room. A full range of activities, special events and unique programs—yoga, trivia, movie nights, tennis tournaments, cooking demos, paddleboard races, fish feedings, scavenger hunts—are on offer every single day. Hawks Cay is the perfect resort for families looking to stay on site and keep vacation time easy and relaxed.
4. Smugglers’ Notch
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Smugglers’ Notch guarantees “the best value for family fun…anywhere,” and stays include plenty of perks for fun loving, budget-conscious families. Located in the snowy mountains of Vermont, Smugglers’ has 78 skiing and snowboarding trails spread out over 300 acres of marked and patrolled acreage on three interconnected mountains. There are an additional 700 acres of unmarked and unpatrolled terrain, for a total of 1,000 acres. Families visiting the resort on a Club Smugglers’ package enjoy the choice of a daily morning family activity included in their package; activities include arts & crafts, sock puppet making, pool games, snow art, and a creature feature session. In the evening, a new snowshoe trek for families explores a forest trail, ending at a bonfire for s’mores. If you or your kids want to brush up on ski skills, Smugglers’ Snow Sport University offers group and private instruction for all ages and ability levels. All-day ski and snowboard camps include Discovery Dynamos (ages 3-4), Trail Blazers (ages 5-6), Adventure Rangers (ages 7-10), and the Notch Squad (ages 11-15). Mountain Explorers for ages 16-17 features two hours of on-slope instruction. New this winter, Smugglers’ will be unveiling its new FunZone 2.0, a one-of-a-kind $4.1 million indoor play space for families that will offer two levels of high-energy fun with activities such as a ninja warrior obstacle course, dual climbing wall, inflatables and bouncy houses, laser tag, slot car racing, an arcade and redemption center, and more.
5. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Known for their sandy beaches, crystal clear Caribbean waters and sunshine, the U.S. Virgin Islands make for a fun, kid-friendly, relaxing yet excitement-filled destination—and since they’re officially a U.S. territory, you won’t even need a passport! Kid-friendly Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is nestled in a calm cove in stunning Bolongo Bay. Casual, comfortable, and best of all, directly on the beach, this family friendly hotel offers affordable, all inclusive packages. Fun in the sun is always included in your daily room rate, and there is a wealth of water and land activities with free equipment rentals available. Play on paddle boards, Hobie Cats, kayaks, wind surfboards, aqua tricycles, swim mats, snorkel gear, and more. For lunch, dinner, or late-night entertainment, walk on over to the onsite Iggies Beach Bar & Grill, located just a few sandy steps off the ocean. Voted “Best Beach Bar” by Caribbean Travel & Life, you’ll want to give the West Indian Killer Conch Fritters a try. Bring some sand toys so the kids can build sandcastles while you enjoy a rum cocktail.