Looking for the perfect Christmas vacation destination for families? 🎄 Check out these top 10 festive and all-inclusive vacation ideas for the holidays! 🎅
The holiday season is a magical time of year to spend quality time with your loved ones. As the holiday spirit fills the crisp winter air, families across the country seek out charming towns and festive locales to celebrate Christmas traditions. Whether you prefer cozying up by a fireplace surrounded by snowy mountains, strolling European-style Christmas markets with a mug of mulled wine, or donning sunglasses for a warm weather escape, there are countless remarkable destinations to choose from.
These are the most delightful Christmas vacations to enjoy with your family this holiday season.
Winter Wonderlands Christmas Vacations
For many families, it’s hard to imagine Christmas without glistening snowfall and icy landscapes. Luckily, there are plenty of picture-perfect mountain towns and ski resorts to fulfill your white Christmas dreams.
Park City, Utah
Park City offers stunning mountain views and a vibrant town center brimming with twinkling lights, festive decor, holiday shopping, and family-friendly attractions. Ride the North Pole Express train, attend Christmas concerts, go ice skating, or snap photos with Santa riding the ski lift. The mountain resort town averages over 300 inches of snow per year, promising a snow-globe scene straight from your Christmas dreams.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Known for its world-class skiing and breath-taking scenery, Steamboat Springs is a winter haven for active families. Attend the colorful Steamboat Holiday Festival to watch Santa arrive on horseback, snowshoe through the pristine backcountry, go sledding, take a ride in a one-horse open sleigh, and join in the town’s festive community spirit. With holiday lights draped across downtown and fresh powder blanketing the slopes of Mount Werner, Steamboat offers an unbeatable white Christmas experience.
Snuggled amongst the rugged peaks of northwest Montana’s Flathead Valley lies the charming mountain town of Whitefish. From snowmobiling and dogsledding to sleigh rides through snow-dusted forests, Whitefish serves up adventure, stunning alpine vistas, and welcoming lodges with roaring fires and hot cocoa. Don’t miss the “Christmas Stroll” event where locals adorn historic Central Avenue with traditional wreaths and lights.
Sunny Christmas Getaways
For some families, visions of palm trees and beach chairs are more appealing than trekking through frozen tundra. Luckily, there are warm weather havens across the states primed to deliver sunny Christmas cheer without the icy temps.
Miami and the Keys host lively holiday happenings against sunny skies and ocean vistas. From Palm Beach’s dazzling holiday boat parade to beachfront holiday light displays at Delray Municipal Beach, South Florida celebrates in style. Enjoy Florida’s natural beauty while sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, or simply relaxing beachside without the burden of heavy coats and scarves.
With near endless bluebird skies and hardly any frozen precipitation, Arizona is a warm weather mecca for holiday revelers. Both Phoenix and Scottsdale sparkle with festive light displays, Christmas craft fairs, holiday music and theater performances, luminarias, and even a “surfing Santa” event along Tempe Town Lake. Grand Canyon National Park also hosts its annual “Christmas at the Canyon” event.
San Diego averages a comfortable 66 degrees Fahrenheit in December, making it one of America’s best weather destinations for Christmas. Enjoy gorgeous waterfront views while ice skating beside swaying palm trees at Hotel Del Coronado. Wander through scenic Balboa Park’s December Nights festival with live music, entertainment, and food. And experience SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration with over 5 million sparkling lights, toy soldiers, glowing trees, and faux snowfall.
European-Style Christmas Markets
From the twinkling lights of London to the breathtaking displays of Salzburg, Europe excels at cozy Christmas charm. Indulge in hearty Austrian stews, bratwursts, and spiced wines while meandering through storybook-like villages and festive holiday markets. Though the temperatures are brisk, the holiday ambience warms the soul.
Regarded as one of Europe’s most enchanting and liveliest Christmas destinations, Vienna dazzles with elegant twinkling lights, festive concerts, and cherished yuletide traditions. Savor punch and sweet treats at Christmas markets like the classic Christkindlmarkt in front of the town hall. Marvel at the musical holiday spectacle performed at the Imperial Palace. And indulge in Vienna’s famously decadent sachertorte chocolate cake.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague decks its Gothic cobblestone streets and charming Old Town Square with festive lights and decor transforming the “City of a Hundred Spires” into a fairy tale winter wonderland. Grab a cup of svařené víno (mulled wine) and soak up the holiday atmosphere while perusing goodies at the medieval-style Czech Christmas markets. Don’t miss the enchanting live nativity displays staged at various venues like Prague Castle and Old Town Square.
Munich kicks off the holiday season in grand style with mugfuls of hot Gluwhein, hearty Bavarian fare like schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle) and weisswurst (white sausages), and the telltale gingerbread aroma of lebkuchen wafting through the air. Drink in lively Christmas cheer whilst strolling through Munich’s traditional Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) where you can shop for handmade nutcrackers, ornaments, and cuckoo clocks. Don’t bypass a trip to problem-free Neuschwanstein Castle either – the fairytale structure glimpsed the winter makes for an unforgettable family photo.
Over-the-Top Theme Park Holidays Vacation Ideas
For families with kids who adore their favorite characters and thrill rides, the nation’s biggest theme parks deliver Christmas extravaganzas brimming withlights, parades, live shows, photos with Santa, and festively-decorated parks.
Walt Disney World
Already expertly versed at immersing guests in enchanting lands of make-believe, Walt Disney World shifts into overdrive for the Christmas season. Take your pick amongst the resort’s four theme parks, all decked to the halls with dazzling lights, miles of garland and bows, special holiday entertainment, delectable Christmas treats, and jolly renditions of favorite carols. Snap pics alongside Cinderella’s glistening castle, catch the Electrical Water Pageant parade with floating snowflakes and reindeer, and don’t miss Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
From November through early January, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks erupt into a winter spectacular. Shimmering with millions of lights, Universal’s Holiday tradition features aMAZING shows like the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” musical and the “Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s” with balloons and floats. Plus character meet-and-greets with The Grinch, giant Christmas trees, steaming hot Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and more.
Historical Holiday Best Places
Revel in centuries of Christmas traditions, legends, and lore by traveling back in time (and escaping modern-day chaos). Lose yourself amidst snow-covered rolling hills dotted with Gilded Age mansions, cobblestone streets that gazed upon figures like Ben Franklin and Paul Revere, or inside museum walls that protected precious artifacts spanning millennia. This Christmas, give your family the gift of witnessing living history.
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Experience what Christmas was like in 18th-century America as you stroll the decorated grounds of Colonial Williamsburg by candlelight. Historic reenactors in period clothing walk the streets while fife and drum performances fill the night air. Sample traditionally spiced holiday treats like wassail, visit shops selling time-honored handicrafts, and behold Virginia’s iconic Governor’s Palace adorned in wreaths, ribbons, and fir garland just as colonists did over 200 years ago.
Marvel at 19th century Christmas customs brought to life within a rural New England country village. Shop for handmade gifts at the Christmas by Candlelight event while costumed historians explain age-old traditions. See oxen and draft horses haul precious evergreens to adorn local homes, witness sleigh production by skilled wheelwrights, and join in as townspeople take to the streets caroling door-to-door. At the Christmas Revels performance, sing along to Victorian hymns and old English rituals celebrating the return of light during winter solstice. And sample hearty Yankee holiday cuisine like roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, cider and more.
Resplendent in miles of pom-pom laden evergreen garlands, twinkling lights, and glittering ornaments, America’s capital dazzles for Christmas. Watch the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony outside the White House then admire the iconic Georgian-style mansion from Pennsylvania Avenue. Meander through Yuletide markets and music performances at The Wharf. View Renaissance-era maps at The Library of Congress’s annual holiday exhibit. And cruise past stunning displays like the National Harbor’s ferris wheel enveloped in over 50,000 colorful bulbs.
Coastal New England
Quintessential New England awaits in historic coastal villages dotting the chilly Maine coastline and Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. Soak up sweeping ocean vistas, fresh briny air, rocky beaches, iconic lighthouses, lobster shacks, kitschy gift shops, and B&Bs bedecked in pine boughs and tartan bows. New Englanders celebrate simple holiday pleasures – sleigh rides through snowy pastures, Christmas concerts in one-room churches, cookies by a beach bonfire, and twinkling lights framing weathered clapboard homes. Revel in nostalgia strolling the same cobblestone streets that colonists did over 300 years ago.
Charming Southern Traditions
Boisterous light displays, habitual hospitality, and heaps of comfort food epitomize Deep South holiday cheer. Admire antebellum plantation homes adorned with magnolia branches, fruit laden citrus trees weighed down with lights, and sleepy Southern towns gussied up for annual Christmas parades. Bask in warm sunny skies on Alabama’s turquoise Gulf Coast shores, catch flaky whitefish straight from Louisiana’s bayous, feast on slow-cooked barbecue straight from Texas smokehouses, and sip sweet tea from South Carolina’s rolling Lowcountry. Y’all come experience Christmas feasts, parades, and performances uniquely Southern-style.
Private Island Escapes
When you’re searching for peace away from crowded holiday hubbub, nothing surpasses having an entire private island all to yourself. Imagine having staff happy to cater to your every whim while you kayak tropical waters sans crowds, sip fruity cocktails beneath swaying palms, swim without fighting for pool space, and enjoy quiet lazy days swinging in a shady hammock gazing out on vibrant turquoise seas that you don’t have to share with anyone else. Though pricey, private island resorts promise a flexible customized Christmas tailored precisely to your family – the ultimate escape from the chaotic holiday frenzy.
Historic Hotels & Cozy Lodges
Sure you could hunker down with illuminated skyscrapers as your backdrop, but why not create lifelong Christmas memories amidst spectacular mountain panoramas or inside lodges exuding pioneering history and rustic western charm? National park lodges built by powerful industrialists in the early 1900s allow everyday families to relish regal wilderness accommodations once exclusively available to an elite few. And historic hotels from the iconic Carlyle to the Grand Ol’ Opry offer holiday trimmings sure to impress even your pickiest in-laws. ‘Tis the season for snuggling up inside extraordinary lodges and legendary halls decked out for Christmas.
Who says you need to stick stateside to bask in Christmas magic? Some cities around the globe truly excel when it comes to decking streets and filling souls with seasonal joy. Revel in time-honored traditions in Old World cities like London and Salzburg. Soak up island life amidst swaying palms on tropical beaches in Montego Bay and lauded Luxe resorts. Or lose yourself wandering through elaborate theme park celebrations in Tokyo and Hong Kong Disney. This Christmas, give your family the ultimate gift – round-trip tickets to somewhere extraordinary.
Quebec City, Canada
With European ambience reminiscent of France and Christmas markets worthy of Germany, Quebec City offers all the enchantments of crossing the Atlantic without the lengthy travel time. Stroll cobblestone streets in the Old City while browsing local handicrafts and stopping to sample maple taffy, poutine, sleigh rides through icy forests, and even dogsled expeditions. Don’t miss the German Christmas market on the waterfront boardwalk. And the historic and grandiose Château Frontenac Hotel sets the backdrop for a fairy tale holiday getaway.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Trade icy sidewalks for sunkissed sands during a Caribbean Christmas celebration amid Jamaica’s endlessly scenic north coast. Families can lounge beachfront while sipping rum punch, embark on waterfall hikes through rainforests, raft river rapids, and snorkel vibrant reefs. Montego Bay and Ocho Rios feature festive resort gatherings with live bands, holiday meals and cocktails, towering Christmas trees, long table dinners on the beach, and jovial staff delighted to share their island’s Christmas traditions.
Tokyo Disneyland, Japan
While Europe and America remain engrossed in ancient folklore, Christmas in Japan tends to center around spreading sheer joy and magic, especially at Tokyo Disneyland. Park staff exuberantly call visitors into rides and attractions while elaborately costumed Disney characters fill the streets. Toss in gorgeous 30-foot tall Christmas trees, Mickey’s “Happy Holidays” musical parade, peppy dancers spreading cheer, Santa Goofy atop his Jolly Round vehicle, and more. You haven’t experienced the epitome of Christmas spectacle until you’ve done so Tokyo-style.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Combine winter sun with extravagant Christmas finery across Dubai where lavish holiday celebrations commandeer luxury shopping malls, ritzy beach resorts, and iconic attractions. Ski Dubai’s wintery Christmas forest filled with decorated trees hosts Santa meet-ups while folks hit the slopes in bikinis! Family photos overlooking the glittering Burj Khalifa remain a holiday must-do with festive projections dancing across the soaring tower. And posh resorts like the Atlantis feature special holiday brunches plus live entertainment.
Finally fulfill those North Pole dreams during a Lapland holiday amid the indigenous homeland of Santa Claus! Journey above the Arctic Circle to meet Saint Nick himself, visit his main post office sorting mountains of wish lists, and even peek into Santa’s former office space! Fun excursions like reindeer rides, sledding adventures, and nights in snow igloos or glass-roofed chalets make for once-in-a-lifetime Christmas memories. Don’t forget the hot cocoa as you scan northern skies for aurora borealis awesomeness!
Go For Christmas! The Perfect Christmas Family Vacation Awaits
As the holiday season approaches, families across the country search for that perfect Christmas vacation filled with lasting memories. Whether you prefer snow-covered historic towns with horse-drawn carriage rides, European-style markets with hot mulled wine, sunny beachfront resorts decked out for the holidays or an over-the-top theme park celebration, there are remarkable christmas vacation destinations and activities to delight family members of all ages.
From New England’s coastal villages that come alive for the annual christmas parade and nights of lights event to Arizona’s colorful holiday festivals and Cayman’s all-inclusive beachside family christmas extravaganzas, iconic locales across the states specialize in spreading seasonal cheer. Historic Charlottesville captures colonial-era Christmas magic with candlelit reenactments while Pennsylvania’s charming towns like Lititz and Jim Thorpe transport you to idyllic Christmas villages straight from the big screen.
Meanwhile families can trade icy sidewalks for Christmas poolside at South Florida’s beach resorts before catching Key West’s nightly holiday parade and sunset celebration. Or maybe you’d rather catch Tuba Christmas concerts in San Diego or festive theater performances up the California coast in San Francisco. Those craving holiday enchantment need only depart for Disney World’s winter wonderland theme parks, Universal Studio’s Grinchmas spectacular or Six Flag’s twinkling lights to end up grinched with glee.
From snowshoeing through New Mexico’s forests of fir followed by Santa Fe’s luminaria-lit Plaza to catching Boston’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular before browsing festive displays along cobblestone streets once trod by America’s founding fathers – opportunities to revel in Christmas abound stateside. But venturing farther afield between November and December opens doors to European cities famed for transformed central squares with skating rinks surrounded by ornamented booths proffering sweet treats, Christmas cocktails and aromatic mulled wines. Meanwhile wee ones can scarcely contain excitement when standing before regal evergreens and meeting Santa himself amid real-life backdrops like Finland’s Lapland or Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park all dressed for Christmas.
So when the usual holiday hustle heightens stress levels, do yourself a favor and whisk your family away somewhere extraordinary this Christmas – whether it’s snowmobiling through a frosted wonderland, sailing tropical waters far from holiday crowds, ringing in an international new year with mesmerizing fireworks overhead or snuggling up fireside in a historic lodge dressed in full holiday decor. Create lifelong memories and new traditions fleeing familiarity and fully immersing yourselves into the best this season has to offers. From festive light shows to Christmas markets, train rides with Santa to snorkeling coral reefs in Santa hats or dogsledding through remote snow-covered forests followed by nights in cozy remote chalets – a multitude of destinations stand ready to welcome you into their best bets for holiday magic sure to delight family members of all ages.
This Christmas give your loved ones the ultimate gift – joyful simplicity stepping away from seasonal stress and surrounding yourselves with the charm of the season by experiencing both new places and favorite holiday pastimes in fresh locales. You’re sure to find your perfect christmas vacation matches whatever best kindles that special holiday spirit unique to your family. So start researching remarkable best Christmas trip ideas and book those tickets without delay!