We’re guessing you’ve comfortably settled into winter by now. But just because the next few months might prove a little bleak weather-wise, that doesn’t mean you can’t live them up on an exquisite family vacation. From sparkling beaches to kid-friendly slopes, destinations around the globe are letting it be known that they want you to chill out — literally and figuratively — with your clan.
Even when you take away the sparkle of the Sundance Film Festival, Park City is still a wonderful place to visit. It manages to not be pretentious yet offers high-end experiences. Of course, the town has ski and snowboard options for all levels. And it’s got tasty culinary offerings that will please even the pickiest palate in your house.
The family-friendly fun starts at Gorgoza Park, which has mini snowmobiles for big kids, a snowy play area for tots and seven lanes of tubing fun — a great activity for little ones (and adults) who might not want to spend the whole day on the slopes.
If you want to give your kids a dose of history, visit the Alf Engen Ski Museum, where you can learn all about how skiing got started in the West and experience a virtual-reality ski theater.
After a day of snowy adventures with the crew, hire a babysitter and sneak off for a hearty meal and a dram of Utah whiskey at High West Distillery’s Saloon, or make a reservation at the rustic yet refined Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Riverhorse on Main.
Where to stay
With an indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs, ski-in/ski-out access, a kid’s club and quality restaurants, Westgate Park City Resort & Spa is where you should book your winter escape. The spacious property not only proves luxurious, but convenient. Suites with kitchenettes and a prime locale (just 10 minutes from both Deer Valley Resort and Park City Resort) make this a good home base for a group getaway.
While the Northern Hemisphere battles the cold-weather blues, the Land Down Under is experiencing its sensational summer season. Take advantage of the sunshine with an escape to the bustling city of Melbourne.
Explore the charming cobbled avenues that start at Flinders Street Station and go down to Degraves Street. Everyone will find something that catches his or her eye because this stroll features street art, boutiques, quaint shops and cafés. After lunch, visit one of the many nearby attractions (Heide Museum of Modern Art, the historical National Gallery of Victoria).
Plan a magical jaunt through Fairy Park, a whimsical place that comes complete with castles, dragons, princesses and, of course, fairies.
After spoiling the children with a day full of fun, make some time for a grown-up treat with the tasting menu at the lauded restaurant Attica.
Where to stay
Rest your sleepy heads at Four-Star Park Hyatt Melbourne, right by the lush Fitzroy Gardens and the stunning St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There’s a pool, babysitting services, modern Australian fare at Radii Restaurant & Bar and a picturesque high tea overlooking Trilogy Gardens.
Just seven miles from the glitz and glamour that is Aspen, Snowmass is the famous alpine city’s more laid-back, family-friendly cousin. That said, it’s still a sybaritic spot to while away a cold, snowy weekend with the kids.
Through April, take advantage of the Very Important Kid (VIK) program, which is filled with an array of pint-sized activities going on throughout Snowmass Village. Take in weekly performances at the Treehouse Kid’s Adventure Center (magic shows, interactive storytelling), learn about life in a mountain town and meet the local patrol dogs during Snowmass Heroes, and enjoy daily s’mores at the fire pits of both Base Village and the Snowmass Mall.
This powder-packed town is also a great place for children to learn to ski and snowboard while more experienced relatives practice their skills on the hills. If you have some timid tykes, you can always opt for a day of tubing down the mountain.
For a break from the slopes altogether, visit the Ice Age Discovery Center for topical history.
Where to stay
Check into Viceroy Snowmass, located on the edge of Snowmass Village. With ski-in/ski-out options, easy access to the Elk Camp Gondola and a heated pool and hot tub from which to watch others go up the lift, you may never want to leave this mountain paradise.
Splash and play along Waikiki Beach, hike Leahi (aka Diamond Head) for gorgeous views of the island and explore the 42 tropical acres that make up the
With February high temperatures averaging around 78 degrees, you can’t go wrong doing any of those activities or absolutely nothing at all.
Where to stay
While you may be more concerned with time on the beach than time in the hotel, it’s important to have a quality place to lay your little ones’ heads. Four-Star Halekulani provides a gorgeous retreat and special family rates when you book an extra room to give your entourage more space.
There are plenty of places to eat at this beachside property (try Four-Star Orchids’ lavish brunch spread), and the proximity to the ocean makes it an ideal spot for families looking to spend a lot of time building sandcastles and swimming on Waikiki Beach.