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The holiday season is generally known as the most wonderful time of year. Christmas time is also one of the most fun seasons to travel with the family.

Maybe you’re looking for a magical winter wonderland, or maybe you’re seeking the opposite: a temporary escape from the cold weather. Perhaps you have little ones who want to check in with Santa at the North Pole, or maybe your family members are a bit more independent and looking for some snowy adventures, like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.

Key Points

  • Explore ideas for Christmas getaways that will get the whole family excited this holiday season.
  • From coast to coast, we’ll walk you through some of the best Christmas vacations for your family in the United States.
  • Whether you’re interested in touring festive lights and meeting Santa Claus or more active attractions like ice skating or skiing, there are plenty of vacation ideas that will get your family in the holiday spirit.

No matter where your family’s interests lie, there are plenty of fun getaways to choose from as you get in the Christmas spirit during the holiday season.

13 Best Christmas Vacations

If you’re thinking about where to go for your family’s holiday trip, here are some of the top Christmas vacation ideas in the USA — whether you’re looking for a white Christmas or a warmer holiday experience.

Take a Sleigh Ride in Vermont

Aside from its breathtaking fall foliage, Vermont is also known as a winter wonderland. What better way to take in the scenic, snowy landscape than a horse-drawn sleigh ride with your family? Many farms and ski lodges offer sleigh rides and plenty of other activities to those looking to build holiday memories.

Hit the Slopes in Colorado

If you want to hit the slopes this holiday season, Colorado boasts some of the best ski resorts. Many of the resorts offer special packages for the Christmas holiday. In addition to exhilarating outdoor activities, your family can get cozy at night around a fire, roasting s’mores, building a gingerbread house, and watching classic Christmas movies.

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Celebrate the Holiday Season in Disneyland

If you’ve never celebrated Christmas at a theme park, the holiday season at Walt Disney World in Orlando is a magical time of the year. There are numerous holiday-themed activities and events planned across the parks, including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. And while you’re in Florida, be sure to hit up one of its amazing beaches, which are just a short drive from Orlando.

Lace Up Some Skates at Rockefeller Center

There’s nothing like Christmas in New York City. Somehow, this bustling city seems to come alive even more during the holiday season. Nothing screams the holidays in the Big Apple like an outing to Rockefeller Center with the family! You won’t want to miss the landmark’s famous Christmas tree or a whirl around its iconic ice skating rink. Other attractions not to miss during your Christmas trip to NYC include catching the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, seeing holiday lights at the Bronx Zoo, taking a carriage ride through Central Park, and visiting the holiday window displays of the city’s department stores and other spaces.

Visit a Holiday Market in Chicago

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is the most authentic German Christmas market of its kind outside of Europe. This popular outdoor market, which features more than 40 holiday-themed vendors and hosts numerous special events — including live music and other entertainment — each holiday season, draws more than one million guests each year. 

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While you’re in town for the holidays, make sure to stop by the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights exhibits, which feature more than 40 uniquely decorated Christmas trees representing numerous cultures and gorgeous light displays.

Soak Up the Sun in Hawaii

A white Christmas isn’t for everyone. If that sounds like you and your family, why not forget the snow and head to the beaches of Hawaii for the holidays? Trade in the hot chocolate, snowball fights, and sledding for fruity cocktails, sandcastles, and snorkeling off the beaches of Oahu. You’ll still find plenty of classic Christmas traditions, though, such as Honolulu City Lights, a joyful month-long celebration every December.

Visit the Home From “A Christmas Story”

In Cleveland, Ohio, the iconic home from the movie “A Christmas Story” has been restored and is available to book for overnight stays. It’s also located across the street from “A Christmas Story” Museum, which features props, costumes — including Randy’s snowsuit — and other memorabilia from this classic holiday film.

Explore the Outdoors at Yellowstone National Park

If you’re looking for a truly unique Christmas experience, pack up the family for a road trip to one of the most beloved national parks in the country. The Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful both remain open during the holiday season. The park also offers a special holiday dinner, a retreat at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, as well as an annual tree lighting and candlelight event. While campsites and lodges shut down during the winter, you can find some cozy accommodations in the nearby city of Jackson Hole.

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Deck the Halls in Branson, Missouri

Branson might be a small town, but it’s big on Christmas spirit. In fact, it’s known as America’s Christmas Tree City, as area businesses and residents display more than 700 interesting and creative trees. Families can also enjoy Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” festival, which boasts more than 6.5 million dazzling lights and more than 30 live shows on outdoor stages. And don’t forget to take a Polar Express train ride!

Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco

If you’re looking to make new holiday traditions, head to California for the San Francisco Bay area’s annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party. This creative event celebrates the literary world of great English author Charles Dickens. Start planning your Victorian costumes and practicing your caroling now!

Visit the National Christmas Tree in D.C. 

For nearly 100 years, the National Park Foundation has decorated and lit the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. Each year, as part of this timeless tradition, the tree is adorned with one-of-a-kind ornaments created by Americans that capture the spirit of all U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia. While the tree lighting ceremony is streamed online annually, there’s nothing like seeing this impressive tree in person with your family.

Chop Your Own Christmas Tree in Pennsylvania

If you’ve never picked and cut down your own Christmas tree, you’ll want to head to the wintry woods of Pennsylvania to enjoy the holiday season. In addition to a bevy of choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy with your family, like sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, and building snowmen. 

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You also won’t want to miss Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, which features more than five million Christmas lights and other festive experiences for chocolate lovers.

Experience the Bull Run Festival of Lights

This dazzling light display is a family favorite in Virginia. “Ooh” and “ahh” with friends and family as you drive through the two-and-a-half-mile-long stretch of illuminated holiday scenes. In the holiday village, you’ll also have the opportunity to warm up from the crisp winter weather around a fire pit, check out local crafts, enjoy a winter carnival, and visit with Santa Claus.

Get Into the Holiday Spirit With VacationRenter

Christmas season getaways are a great way to build holiday memories with your family. As you plan your family vacation for this upcoming holiday season, turn to VacationRenter to find the ideal accommodations for your family.

Our platform scours the internet, searching numerous rental options, to bring you the most relevant listings in one place and help you book the trip of a lifetime. That means less time travel-planning and more time enjoying the holidays with your family!

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