Bundle up and head into the great outdoors this winter to celebrate the chill. Wearing the proper winter gear and participating in calorie burning activities like ice skating and snow-shoeing will guarantee not only warmth, but also family fun. Here are three popular winter festivals that bring out the best of winter.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Saint Paul, MN
January 23 – February 2

The city of Saint Paul held its first Winter Carnival in 1886, proving to a New York reporter who had remarked that Saint Paul was, “another Siberia” in the wintertime, that there was fun to be had despite the chilly weather. Over 100 years later, the St. Paul’s Winter Carnival invites visitors to combat cabin fever while enjoying a Royal Coronation, a Grand Day Parade, an Outdoor Beer Dabbler, a Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt, Dogsled Races, Snow Sculpting, Ice Sculpture Carving, Klondike Kate Cabarets, Historic Art Exhibits and a magical Torchlight Parade. The Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade and the King Boreus Grand Parade are not to be missed. Anyone looking to burn off some holiday calories will want to sign up for the Winter Run Half Marathon, 10K or 5K.

Stay at the kid-friendly Crowne Plaza, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Paul, where spacious suites, in-room movie and video game rentals, and a heated indoor pool promise even more family fun.

Québec Winter Carnival
Québec City, Québec
January 31 – February 16

The Carnaval de Québec has been celebrated annually, during the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, since 1894, and is recognized as the biggest winter carnival of all. Over two weeks of fun, family-centered events, including night-time and daytime parades  wind through the upper city, which is decorated with colorful lights and elaborate ice sculptures. Make sure to take a family photo with the Bonhomme Carnaval, a jolly white snowman, the official mascot of the carnival. Be a spectator or participate in outdoor sporting events galore, including snowboarding, ice canoe races, snowshoeing, hockey and dog-sledding.

Quebec City’s most iconic hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac is featuring a Winter Carnival Package which includes one night’s hotel accommodations, buffet breakfast, plus a Winter Carnival ‘Passport’ for access to the special carnival events. Rates start at $295 per night, and the winter carnival hotel package is valid from February 1-17 2013.

Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
Steamboat Springs, CO
February 5-9

Hit the streets of Ski Town USA for the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival and Night Show Extravaganza.  New winter adventures will give kids the chance to be pulled on skis behind horses right down main street and soar over the “Donkey Jump”, a mini ski-jump. Fill your thermoses with hot cocoa and watch he Saturday Night Extravaganza on Howelsen Hill: watch as athletes flip through the air off the jumps while others loop down the mountain with lanterns and lights. The festive, light wrapped Lighted Man will mark the beginning of the fireworks display by shooting out Roman candles from his snowy backpack.  

The Eagle Ridge Lodge and Townhomes in Steamboat Springs is a fantastic vacation complex for families looking for all the comforts of home, including two-bedroom/two-bathroom accommodations, in-room washers and dryers and a courtesy shuttle during the winter.