The Perfect Family Winter Travel Bucket List

Summer gets all the attention when it comes to family vacations and fun trips, and it’s not hard to see why. With so many cold and dreary days, I just want to stay inside until it’s warm again.

One way to change your attitude about the winter is to plan a travel itinerary around fun winter activities. Here’s a winter travel bucket list to get you started and keep you from getting too stir crazy.

Winter Family Travel Ideas & Destinations


If it’s your first time experiencing snow or going down any kind of snowy hill, you’ll want to consider sledding or tubing. At Gorgoza Park in Park City, Utah, hop on the conveyor belt to get an easy lift to the top of the hill and have a fun ride all the way down. Buy a day pass and slide down until your heart is content.  

Snow tubing in the park is a great winter activity for kids

Ice Fishing

Have you ever watched the sport of ice fishing on TV and thought of giving it a go? There are many fresh water lakes in the U.S. that provide great spots for ice fishing in the winter. Upper Red Lake, in Minnesota, and Chambers Lake , about 90 minutes west of Fort Collins, Colorado, play host to some popular spots. There are also some reservoirs in Utah like the East Canyon reservoir and the Lost Creek reservoir that are home to rainbow trout, yellow perch and more.


Looking for more of a thrill? Snowmobiling is something the whole family can enjoy. Rent a snowmobile and take it out for a spin, but make sure you have an experienced driver!  Anchorage, Alaska, is home to some great snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling season in southcentral Alaska usually lasts from November through early May.

Sleigh Ride

Who doesn’t want to ride on a one-horse open sleigh ride? You can saddle up in Frisco, Colorado, at Two Below Zero for a delicious dinner sleigh ride. But if that’s not your thing, there are many places, like Central Park in New York City and Charleston, South Carolina, where you can take a winter carriage ride. Bring some hot cocoa and enjoy the holiday lights, and if you’re lucky, maybe even some beautiful light snowfall.

Best winter vacation spots Photo courtesy of Flickr

Learn to Ski or Snowboard

If you have older children, you may be ready to graduate from sleighs and tubes and take on the slopes standing up. Make sure you start with the bunny hills before jumping on to the really steep ones. Park City, Utah, is only a short drive from the Salt Lake City airport and has plenty of popular slopes for all experience levels.

Visit the Ice Castles

Midway, Utah, is about a 45-minute drive from Salt Lake City and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful ice castles that weigh about 25 million pounds. Make a day of it and stay for the princesses, slides and fire shows. They usually open in January and last until the weather starts to get warm. Other places you can find these beautiful creations in the U.S. are Lincoln, New Hampshire, Stillwater, Minnesota and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Go Ice Skating

If you’re already traveling to a winter wonderland, it shouldn’t be difficult to find someplace to ice skate. You might not even have to travel far for this winter adventure. Some cities like Austin, Texas, create their own outdoor ice skating rinks in the winter, so check your local activities listings.

Learn How to Snowshoe

If your family loves to hike, you may enjoy trying a new spin on it. Snowshoes allow you to walk in the snow without your feet sinking completely. With several moderate snowshoe trails available all winter, Lake Tahoe is a great destination for snowshoeing.

Go Winter Camping or Have a Winter Picnic

Roasted marshmallows and hot dogs are even toastier in a cold atmosphere. If you enjoy the brisk temps, get all bundled up and enjoy a picnic over a fire on a snowy, sunny day. Or grab your sleeping bags and cold-weather gear and pitch your tent at the Mammoth Hot Springs Campground in Yellowstone National Park. Visiting this iconic park in the off-season means you’ll be able to explore its many wonders without fighting the summer crowds.

Conclusion: Build Family Memories This Winter

No matter where you travel during these freezing winter months, and what you decide to do with your family when you get there, if you keep a bucket list in mind, it’s sure to create many exciting family memories.

Snow angels on winter family vacation
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About the Author

Jennifer Borget

Jennifer Borget is a domestically-challenged part-time journalist, and a full-time mom. She’s a photographer and storyteller challenging families to cherish and make the most of every day on at Cherish365.  To catch more of her motherhood journey, follow @JenniferBorget on Instagram and join her #Cherish365 community on Facebook.