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30 Best White Christmas Vacations for Families!

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This carefully curated selection of the best white Christmas vacations for families features snowy destinations from around the world. Recommended by travel experts in the know, these winter wonderlands offer exciting snow sports, quaint Christmas markets, and spectacular wintry scenery.

Reindeer with sled in Lapland, Finland
Reindeer with sleds in Lapland, Finland (Photo credit: erix2005, Depositphotos.com)

From meeting Santa’s reindeer in Rovaniemi, Finland and watching the Northern Lights in Svalbard, Norway, to ice skating at Rockefeller Center in New York City and seeing Japanese snow monkeys in hot springs in Nagano, Japan — let’s explore the 30 best places to go for a white Christmas!

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland
Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland (Photo credit: erix2005, Depositphotos.com)

1. Rovaniemi, Finland

By Bradley, Dream Big Travel Far

Rovaniemi in Lapland in northern Finland makes one of the very best white Christmas vacations in the world. It is the “official” home of Santa Claus and the perfect place to spend the holidays.

Rovaniemi White Christmas Family Activities

Santa Claus Village offers festivities all year long, but it’s especially magical at Christmastime. Anytime you visit, you can shop for Christmassy souvenirs, cross the border into the Arctic Circle, and attend Elf Academy. Also, plan to meet Santa’s reindeer, husky sled dogs, Mrs. Claus, and Santa himself.

Only in winter at Santa Claus Village, go ice skating, admire ice sculptures and snowman characters, and sip a frosty drink in the ice bar at Snowman Village.

Snowmobile safaris, husky sledding, and reindeer-drawn sleigh rides are offered seasonally in Rovaniemi as well.

Northern Lights season in Rovaniemi typically runs from late August to mid-April each year. The auroras are most visible around the autumn and spring equinoxes, though. For a truly memorable way to view the lights, book the Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos Rovaniemi for a night spent in a hotel made only of snow and ice.

Where to Stay in Rovaniemi in Winter

Stay in a hotel-quality apartment at Santa Claus Holiday Village, just a couple of minutes’ walk from Santa Claus Village. All cottages are equipped with a kitchenette, private sauna, and terrace. Free sleds are provided to kids, too, for sliding fun.

Holiday suites are also available and come with included breakfast. Some are decorated with different Lappish themes like Reindeer or Northern Lights.

White Christmas in Leavenworth, Washington
Bavarian-themed Leavenworth, Washington (Photo credit: Jessica Schmit, Uprooted Traveler)

2. Leavenworth, Washington

By Jessica Schmit, Uprooted Traveler

Leavenworth, Washington is a Bavarian-themed town nestled in the Cascade Mountains. It bursts with half a million Christmas lights and plenty of holiday cheer each December. 

Leavenworth White Christmas Activities

There’s so much to do during Christmas in Leavenworth. During weekends in December, expect carolers strolling the streets, chestnuts roasting over open fires, and appearances by Santa himself. Plus, all week long, peruse shops stuffed with ornaments and wooden toys.

Be sure to bring along a couple of sleds. There’s a small hill right next to the main square in town that’s perfect for families to slide down. Or, tubes are included when you buy a snow tubing day pass at Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Ski Hill.

For even more outdoor play, consider snowshoeing in the nearby Lake Wenatchee State Park. You can even go skiing or snowboarding at Stevens Pass Ski Resort.

Afterward, warm up in cozy restaurants serving up hot cocoa for the kids and mulled wine for the parents. I recommend Danish Bakery for cherry and raspberry strudel with a hot drink, or Bergdorf Cellars for Glühwein beside their outdoor fire pit.

Where to Stay in Leavenworth in Winter

If you really want to lean into the Alpine vibes while in Leavenworth, then stay at the Bavarian Lodge. After your day’s adventures, relax in the two outdoor hot tubs while enjoying views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. For a real treat, book one of the Turret Suites for jaw-dropping views of the town, festooned in all its Christmas glory.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City
The Rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City (Photo credit: pedro2009, Depositphotos.com)

3. New York City, New York

By Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

From spectacular window displays and iconic shows to one of the world’s most glamorous Christmas trees, New York City wows families at Christmastime.

New York City White Christmas Activities

Rockefeller Center is New York City’s epicenter of holiday cheer. Be sure to stop for photos in front of the world-famous Christmas tree, the breathtaking 100-foot-tall centerpiece at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. And what could be more festive than taking a spin on The Rink at Rockefeller Center?

There are plenty of things to do in Central Park all year but in winter months, this expansive park becomes a frosty fantasyland of fun. Families will find hills for sliding and snow tubing. Plus, there are miles of snow-covered grounds for snowshoeing, snowman building, snow angel making, and snowball fights.

Shopping is a must during Christmas in New York City. A few of the best holiday window displays can be found at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Tiffany & Co. At Macy’s, kids love Santaland, an elaborate indoor winter wonderland with over-the-top decorations and photos with Santa Claus.

There are also several pop-up Christmas markets throughout the city featuring art, unique gifts, and tasty treats.

Where to Stay in New York City in Winter

Hotel Giraffe by Library Hotel Collection is one of my favorite places to stay in New York City with kids. This boutique hotel includes a complimentary continental breakfast and an afternoon wine and cheese reception for guests. Book one of their suites for extra space for your brood to spread out.

Northern Lights in Svalbard, Norway
Northern Lights in Svalbard, Norway (Photo credit: bublik_polina, Depositphotos.com)

4. Svalbard, Norway

By Merry Allison, Virginia Vacation Guide

Svalbard is located just 650 miles from the North Pole, and it is home to over 10,000 reindeer! These characteristics make it an especially magical destination for celebrating a white Christmas with the family. 

Svalbard White Christmas Activities

Because it is so far north of the Arctic Circle, Svalbard is actually in 24/7 darkness during Christmas, however, there is no shortage of fun and festive activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Visiting Svalbard in winter offers many opportunities to view the spectacular Northern Lights. The best time to view these brilliant lights is from late September to mid-March.

You could also go dog sledding through the picturesque snowy hills and valleys. As a part of the tour, you often get a chance to meet and play with the energetic huskies.

Or, embark on a snowmobile adventure through the Norwegian wilderness. You may see reindeer, arctic foxes, or possibly even a polar bear.

Where to Stay in Svalbard in Winter

The Radisson Blu Polar Hotel in Longyearbyen is an excellent family-friendly hotel. Longyearbyen is the main town in Svalbard and is accessible via direct flight from Oslo, Norway.

The hotel features gorgeous panoramic windows overlooking the Svalbard mountains and a hearty buffet breakfast every morning. You can also book any day tours, including dog sledding tours, directly from the hotel. 

A child buying Lebkuchen at Munich Christmas Market
A child buying Lebkuchen at Munich Christmas Market (Photo credit: FamVeldman, Depositphotos.com)

5. Munich, Germany

By Marianne Ferrari, Pasta Pretzels & Passports

Visit Munich with kids for a wonderful white Christmas family vacation. This gorgeous Bavarian city is known for its incredible Christmas market, delicious German cuisine, and of course, its world-famous beer.

Munich White Christmas Activities

The iconic Munich Christmas Market should be at the top of your things-to-do list. It’s located in Marienplatz, the city’s central square. There are over 160 traditional stalls selling everything from clothing to locally-made handiwork and Christmas decorations. Also, enjoy regional specialties like Glühwein (mulled wine) and Lebkuchen (honey-sweetened German cookies or cakes).

If your family enjoys outdoor activities, then there are a ton of places right in Munich where you can enjoy the snow. Try cross-country skiing along the Isar River trails, go skating on the Nymphenburg Canal, and enjoy an afternoon of tobogganing at Luitpoldhügel Park. Or, take a day trip to Zugspitze Mountain for some skiing, snowboarding, or bobsledding.

Where to Stay in Munich in Winter

At the end of a long day enjoying the snow, head back to Novotel München City. It’s only a 5-minute S-Bahn ride from Marienplatz. This hotel offers family-sized rooms, an onsite restaurant, an included breakfast, and best of all for kids, an indoor pool.

Adelie penguins in Antarctica
Adelie penguins in Antarctica (Photo credit: axily, Depositphotos.com)

6. Antarctica

By Pamela Drager

One amazing snowy winter destination that is unlike anywhere else on Earth is the continent of Antarctica! This breathtaking and remote continent is home to snowy mountains, curious penguins, and playful seals. 

Antarctica White Christmas Activities

Visiting Antarctica during the Christmas season gives you 22 hours of daylight for optimum wildlife-watching. December marks the official start of summer in Antarctica. This time of year, you just may see migrating whales, seal pups, and penguin chicks.

Adventurous families can also enjoy interacting with nature safely through hiking, kayaking, or even camping on the ice. Look at Antarctica excursion options.

Where to Stay in Antarctica in Winter

Most travelers reach Antarctica by ship. Since an Antarctic vacation is usually a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s important to choose a ship that will get you on land to experience nature up close.

There are plenty of reasons to book with Hurtigruten Cruises, but the most important is their small ship size. With under 500 passengers, you’ll make plenty of stops on the continent and have more time to spend on land.

A snowy day at the Grand Canyon
A snowy day at the Grand Canyon (Photo credit: kelpfish, Depositphotos.com)

7. Northern Arizona

By Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Arizona may not spring to mind when considering the best white Christmas vacations but there are plenty of reasons it should. Northern Arizona offers snowy destinations with opportunities for snow play, special events for the holidays, and gorgeous wintry scenery.

Northern Arizona White Christmas Activities

The Grand Canyon is especially pretty when blanketed with snow. The snowy period lasts from early November to mid-April most years. The most visited area of the national park, the South Rim, averages 58 inches of annual snowfall. Expect the most snow at the North Rim, the area closest to Las Vegas.

For a 90-minute holiday experience your kids will long remember, climb aboard the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express in Williams for a trip to the “North Pole.” Santa and his reindeer will greet good boys and girls with a souvenir gift. Then enjoy cookies, hot cocoa, and a special Christmas story.

Prescott has proclaimed itself “Arizona’s Christmas City.” The Holiday Light Parade and tree lighting ceremony kick off the Christmas season. Sharlot Hall Museum hosts a Frontier Christmas Open House with hot cider and homemade cookies served beside a roaring fire. And then there’s the World’s Largest Gingerbread Village, where you can view 100+ gingerbread houses. The darling Courthouse Square is a fabulous place to build a snowman or have a snowball fight, too.

Ski bunnies will appreciate  77 skiable acres with 32 runs at Snowbowl Ski Resort in Flagstaff. Even if you’re not a skier or boarder, you can still take in Snowbowl’s beauty with a scenic gondola ride. Meanwhile, Fort Tuthill County Park offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for all ages.

Where to Stay in Northern Arizona in Winter

Flagstaff is a charming college town that makes a good launching pad for exploring the Grand Canyon and other northern Arizona attractions.

Set within a Ponderosa pine forest in Flagstaff, Little America Hotel makes a good choice for families. At Christmas time, enjoy a breakfast buffet with Santa himself at the onsite Silver Pine Restaurant & Bar.

Blue Lagoon manmade geothermal spa in winter near Reykjavik, Iceland
Blue Lagoon manmade geothermal spa near Reykjavik, Iceland (Photo credit: surangastock, Depositphotos.com)

8. Reykjavik, Iceland

By Victoria J. Yore, Iceland Trippers

Not only is it guaranteed that your holiday will be filled with beautiful white snow in Reykjavik, but also there are a variety of attractions that your kids will love. September through March is Northern Lights season in Iceland, too.

Reykjavik White Christmas Activities

Start with a visit to Yule Town at Ingólfstorg, a Christmas market in the city center. Shop for local artisanal crafts and gifts from wooden huts. Then rent skates to glide across an ice rink right in the square’s center. Be sure to sample delicious local foods like Laufabrauð, a thin fried “leaf bread” that is typically enjoyed in Iceland at Christmastime.

While enjoying the festive decorations in Reykjavik, look for the 16-foot-tall Yule Cat in Lækjartorg square. Keep your eyes open for Yule Lads throughout town, too. These Icelandic characters are among the most unusual Christmas traditions in Europe.

One hour from Reykjavik you’ll find the famous warm waters of the Blue Lagoon. This manmade geothermal spa is open year-round but it’s particularly popular during the holiday season.

Where to Stay in Reykjavik in Winter

The upscale Reykjavik Edition features rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows to take in sweeping views of the Old Harbour. The hotel is just steps from Laugavegur, the main shopping street in downtown Reykjavik, making it the perfect spot for last-minute Christmas shopping.

S'mores fire pit at Nestlenook Farm in the White Mountains in New Hampshire
S’mores fire pit at Nestlenook Farm in the White Mountains in New Hampshire (Photo from Nestlenook Farm’s Facebook page)

9. White Mountains, New Hampshire

By Samantha Hamilton, New England Wanderlust

The White Mountains region in New Hampshire makes a festive New England winter getaway on the East Coast of the U.S. for families. It is packed with activities that celebrate what the Christmas season is all about. 

White Mountains White Christmas Activities

Christmas comes to life at Santa’s Village in Jefferson. Enjoy nearly 20 adorable rides like Reindeer Carousel and Santa’s Express Train. Kids can also sit on Santa’s lap, embark on an elf-themed scavenger hunt, and meet live reindeer. 

For a night of ice skating, sleigh rides, s’mores, and hot cocoa under the stars, head to Nestlenook Farms in Jackson. The entire property is aglow with twinkle lights and makes for the most memorable Christmas evening for kids from 1 to 92. 

Looking to play in the snow? Head to one of the many snow tubing parks! Perfect for all ages, you can visit Loon Mountain, Cranmore, or Pats Peak to fly down hills in snow tubes. 

Where to Stay in the White Mountains in Winter

The Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods offers some of the best mountain views in the region. Book breakfast and story time with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the days leading up to Christmas. Also enjoy Christmas movie nights, caroling, and sleigh rides — all right at the hotel! 

A White Christmas in Woodstock, Vermont
A covered bridge in Woodstock, Vermont (Photo credit: By Paula Martinelli, Paula Pins the Planet)

10. Woodstock, Vermont

By Paula Martinelli, Paula Pins the Planet

If you are looking for a fabulous destination to enjoy a white Christmas with your family, then add Woodstock to the top of your list. Woodstock is one of the most beautiful towns to visit in the United States, especially when blanketed with snow.

Woodstock White Christmas Activities

Enjoy snow sports at the Woodstock Nordic Center. The center has 28 miles of trails groomed for skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-biking.

Meanwhile, downhill skiing and snowboarding can be had at the nearby Saskadena Six Ski Area.

A visit to Sugarbush Farm should not be missed. It’s best known for cheeses and maple syrup made on-site, and when you visit, you get to try all sorts of tasty samples!

Woodstock also makes a great gateway to touring the many covered bridges in Vermont. Vermont’s renowned covered bridges date from 1820, with most constructed during the mid and late 19th century.

Downtown Woodstock offers plenty of fun options, whether you are into draft beer, wine, family-friendly dinners, or dancing all night long. You will find something for everyone, and all within walking distance. 

Where to Stay in Woodstock in Winter

The elegant Woodstock Inn & Resort offers a wide variety of room options. Travel to the Victorian past with Christmas at the inn. Picture holiday lights, natural Christmas décor, and craft-making like candle dipping.

Skiing in French Alps in Chamonix
Skiing in French Alps in Chamonix (Photo credit: victor_palych, Depositphotos.com)

11. Chamonix, France

By Emily Concannon, Emily Embarks

Owing to its stunning Christmas market and high probability of fresh powder, Chamonix in France makes for one of the best white Christmas vacations for families! Nestled in the French Alps on the border of Italy and Switzerland, Chamonix is a perfect spot for winter sports enthusiasts.

Chamonix White Christmas Activities

Chamonix is well-equipped for the whole family this holiday season with five different ski resorts, the world-famous Grand Montets among them. Expect hundreds of ski trails suitable for all skill levels. 

Other snow activities in December include snowshoeing, ice climbing, and even paragliding (weather permitting). Warm up after your adventures with a delicious helping of cheese fondue, a local specialty.

If you prefer to keep your feet on level ground, then you can spend some time strolling the charming, cobblestone pedestrian streets of Chamonix. The town offers plenty of spa retreats, too.

Where to Stay in Chamonix in Winter

Héliopic Hotel & Spa is beautifully designed with contemporary furniture and a cozy indoor bar. It’s situated just steps from multiple chair lifts. Carve out some time during your stay for their Turkish steam bath.

Before you depart, treat yourself to a meal at Heliopic’s award-winning restaurant, L’Akashon, too. It specializes in gastronomic masterpieces like baked monkfish in sweet spices with parsnip pearl barley risotto. There’s a children’s menu for mini gourmands as well.

Loosey the Moosey on Main Street in winter in Park City, Utah
Loosey the Moosey on Main Street in Park City, Utah

11. Park City, Utah

By Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

There’s so much more to explore in Utah’s famous mountain town, on the slopes and off. Park City truly is one of the best places for a white Christmas vacation with kids.

Park City White Christmas Activities

Snow sports in Park City are the star activities of a winter vacation here. Deer Valley Resort is one of three ski-only resorts in the country. Meanwhile, Park City Mountain and Woodward Park City welcome both boarders and skiers alike.

It’s hard to find a more joyous multigenerational vacation activity than snow tubing. At Gorgoza Park, give your skiing and boarding legs a rest and use the lift to reach the top of the tubing hills. 

Historic Main Street is a walkable mecca of fun things for the whole family to explore. Many of Park City’s best restaurants are located along this darling town’s main thoroughfare. Be on the lookout for eight Main Street icons during your stroll, like Loosey the Moosey and Franz the Bear.

Where to Stay in Park City in Winter

The St. Regis Deer Valley provides high-end accommodations with an unbeatable ski-in ski-out location, with ski valet. Take a dip in their heated outdoor pool while taking in the views of the surrounding mountain slopes. Guests of all ages will appreciate free hot chocolate and hot apple cider in the lobby each day.

For the ultimate in luxury for a large family, book the 3-bedroom residence with a large family room, kitchen, marble bathroom, and fireplace.

Trees covered by fresh snow in the Tyrolian Alps
Trees covered by fresh snow in the Tyrolian Alps (Photo credit: gevision, Depositphotos.com)

12. Tyrol, Austria

By Paul D’Souza from Paulmarina.com

The Alpine region of Tyrol in Austria is known for its famous ski resorts, medieval towns, and Christmas traditions.

Tyrol White Christmas Activities

The best ski resorts in Tyrol for families, especially for small children, include the vast SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser resort in Soll, the beginner-friendly slopes in St. Johann, and the mountains of the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau in Alpbach. Children as young as 3 years can join a skiing school and the first lessons typically start on Mondays and conclude on Fridays in Austria. Many Austrian ski schools employ English-speaking instructors, too.

The beautiful capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck, should be on everyone’s bucket list. This is especially true in December when Christmas markets are in full swing. In fact, Innsbruck hosts the region’s biggest market. Find smaller, but very traditional Christmas markets in the neighboring towns of Hall in Tirol and Rattenberg.

Additionally, a visit to Swarovski Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) in Wattens is a must. It features a museum, an outdoor park complete with a black and white crystal-bedecked carousel, and of course, plenty of Swarovski crystals for sale. From November to February, the tourist attraction transforms into a wonderland with glowing fairytale animals and a 42-foot-tall Christmas tree topped with a huge crystal star.

Where to Stay in Tyrol in Winter

Most hotels in the mountains are still family run and many are very kid-oriented. Look for childcare, playgrounds, and themed activities.

The 5-star hotel and organic farm, Bio Hotel Stanglwirt, is a favorite. Enjoy a Christmas hotel package complete with a luxury breakfast featuring organic products from the farm, a multicourse gourmet dinner at the onsite restaurant, homemade Christmas cookies, and more.

Bolzano Christmas Market
Bolzano Christmas Market (Photo credit: AntonioGravante, Depositphotos.com)

13. Bolzano, Italy

By Lori Sorrentino, Travlinmad

Bolzano, Italy is a wonderful family travel destination any time of year. When it’s dressed up for the Christmas season and sprinkled with snow, there’s no place better.

Bolzano White Christmas Activities

Located in South Tyrol, the gateway to the Dolomites and Italian Alps, snow is a given during the holidays. Take the Ritten Cable Car from Bolzano to the mountain village of Renon to take in views of the snowy landscape. Plus, there are endless slopes nearby to ski, toboggan, tube, and snowshoe.

In town, the cobblestone streets offer plenty of shopping and dining. Enjoy unique cafes serving local treats and sweets influenced by the city’s German, Italian, and Austrian cultures.

The annual Bolzano Christmas market is the largest in Italy. You’ll enjoy local foods and hot mulled wine while you shop for handmade gifts and souvenirs.

Where to Stay in Bolzano in Winter

Families will appreciate Parkhotel Laurin and their generous breakfast. It’s centrally located and just steps from the Christmas market. Plus, the stately wood-paneled bar with a towering Christmas tree makes a perfect gathering place at the end of the day.

Lake Tahoe in winter
Lake Tahoe in winter (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

14. Lake Tahoe, California

By Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Lake Tahoe offers a wintry paradise for snow lovers. There are plenty of outdoorsy things to do plus lots of festive Christmas events.

Lake Tahoe White Christmas Activities

The primary reasons to visit Lake Tahoe in the winter season are Nordic skiing and snowboarding. Northstar Ski Resort boasts over 3,000 skiable acres. Beginner, intermediate and advanced ski and snowboarding lessons are available for adults as well as children. If tricks and jumps are your family’s thing, then you’ll flip for Northstar California’s terrain park.

Mid-mountain, your family can explore cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Equipment rental, trails, and lessons are available at the Cross Country, Telemark and Snowshoe Center.

Snow tubing provides the exhilaration of soaring down the mountain, without skis. Northstar Ski Resort offers lift-accessed snow tubing for riders 36″+.

There’s something so whimsical and quaint about exploring a ski village, especially one as pretty as North Star’s. An outdoor ice rink serves as the focal point at the Village at Northstar.  

At Christmastime at Lake Tahoe, expect live concerts, ice sculpture demonstrations, special holiday meals, and more.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe in Winter

The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe provides top-notch service and a ski-in, ski-out experience. Their steaming outdoor pool and hot tub are the perfect way to relax after playing on the slopes.

A daily s’mores après ski with handmade flavored marshmallows is free to hotel guests. For a glorious splurge, make reservations at their on-site upscale restaurant, Manzanita.

Horse drawn carriage in Krakow's Old Town
Horse-drawn carriages in Krakow’s Old Town (Photo credit: Patryk_Kosmider, Depositphotos.com)

15. Krakow, Poland

By Lowri Thomas, Many Other Roads

If you are looking for the ultimate winter destination in Europe, then look no further than Krakow. This Polish city comes alive with gorgeous decorations, Christmas music concerts, and traditional markets in December.

Krakow White Christmas Activities

There is something for everyone to enjoy in winter in Krakow, no matter their age. Go ice skating on a rink in front of Galeria Krakowska shopping center, with a view of the Kraków Główny, the old train station in the heart of the city. Then climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage for a ride through the snowy Old Town. Or, book a dogsledding tour in the nearby Tatra Mountains.

Warm up from your outdoor adventures with a hearty Polish feast made of specialties like cabbage rolls and pierogis (Polish dumplings).

Where to Stay in Krakow in Winter

Krakow has so many wonderful places to stay for all budgets and needs. But in terms of location and value for money, the best is PURO Kraków Stare Miasto. This is a great place for families to stay as it’s super close to the main square, Rynek Główny, and the Christmas markets. Plus, the friendly staff is always on hand to help.

Noel Eternal Boutique display window in Old-Montreal
Noel Eternal Boutique display window in Old Montreal (Photo credit: aetb, Depositphotos.com)

16. Montreal, Canada

By Lisa Garrett, Waves and Cobblestones

Enjoy fun outdoor activities in a winter wonderland with festive Christmas markets in Montreal, Canada with a French flair.  

Montreal White Christmas Activities

Wrap your hands around a steamy cup of hot chocolate while you shop for unique gifts and souvenirs from regional artisans at the Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal. The biggest Christmas market in Montreal is sure to impress all ages.

A stop at the Boutique Noel Eternel is a must. This store sells Christmas ornaments, decorations, and collectibles year-round. The window displays alone are something to behold.

Next, strap on a pair of ice skates and enjoy the views of historic Vieux Montréal while taking a spin on the Old Port Skating Rink. Then, enjoy a birds-eye view of the holiday festivities atop the tallest Ferris wheel in Canada, La Grande Roue de Montréal.

Top off your wintertime experience with a performance of the perennial holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, at the Place des Arts.

Where to Stay in Montreal in Winter

The one- or two-bedroom suites at Le Square Phillips Hôtel and Suites come complete with a full kitchen, making this hotel a great choice for families. 

This centrally located hotel offers a complimentary buffet breakfast, too. Be sure to try a Montréal-style bagel!

Lights reflected over the water of Loring Pond at the Holidazzle Festival in Minneapolis
Lights reflected over the water of Loring Pond at the Holidazzle Festival in Minneapolis (Photo credit: Erin Smith, courtesy of Holidazzle and Meet Minneapolis)

18. Twin Cities, Minnesota

By Kassidy Olson, Kassidy’s Journey

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul offer holiday festivities, snow play, and fun for the entire family. Winter in Minnesota is one of the best times to visit because although it’s cold, the scenery is beautiful, and the chances of having a white Christmas are extremely high!

Twin Cities White Christmas Activities

During the Christmas season, there are many holiday markets scattered around the city for visitors to enjoy. One of the most popular is the European Christmas Market at the Union Depot in St. Paul, offering handmade crafts and traditional German Glühwein (spiced mulled wine).

Look for holiday festivals as well. GLOW Holiday in St. Paul’s CHS Field features a 60-foot tree, a lighted Penguin Playground for kids, s’mores, and much more. Meanwhile, Holidazzle takes place in Loring Park in Minneapolis with live entertainment, a carousel, shopping, and even fireworks.

There are also plenty of outdoor activities that families can enjoy in the Twin Cities. Bundle up to enjoy ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and mellow downhill skiing.

Where to Stay in the Twin Cities in Winter

The beautiful Millenium Minneapolis is located on Nicolette Mall, a 12-block shopping and dining district perfect for finding holiday gifts. It’s also just minutes from popular attractions like US Bank Stadium, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and Loring Park. Featuring an indoor pool and amazing views of the city, this hotel is a great place for a good night’s rest.

Denver's 16th Street Mall lit up for a white Christmas
Denver’s 16th Street Mall lit up for the holidays (Photo credit: urban_light, Depositphotos.com)

19. Denver, Colorado

By Faith Hansen, 3ticketsplease.com

Christmastime in Denver is like walking into a snow globe where bustling city streets decked in festive lights are dwarfed by beautiful snow-capped peaks. While Denver is perhaps best known for the Colorado ski resorts just hours away, families who don’t ski can also enjoy a splendid Christmas vacation on the front range of the Rockies.

Denver White Christmas Activities

Denver’s Christkindlmarket is one of the best Christmas markets in the world. It’s also one of the largest outside Europe.

When visiting downtown Denver with kids in winter, ice skate at the open-air Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park. Then shop at local stores on the pedestrian-only 16th Street Mall for holiday gifts.

In the evening, experience Light the Lights, a timed music and light show at the City of Denver Building in Civic Center Park. Or, attend A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Go slightly beyond the city center for more sparkling light displays. Walk along a mile of illuminated trees and listen to synchronized music in a children’s play area at Trail of Lights in Denver Botanic Gardens. Meanwhile, over a million lights greet revelers at Denver Zoo Lights.

Where to Stay in Denver in Winter

For families seeking a truly special experience, there is no better hotel than The Brown Palace. It has been offering guests true luxury for over 130 years.

The hotel particularly shines during the holidays. With holiday teas, breakfast with Santa, and live Christmas music, it’s the perfect place for a white Christmas family getaway.

Lake Yamanaka with Mount Fuji in the background in winter
Lake Yamanaka with Mount Fuji in the background (Photo credit: 2nix, Depositphotos.com)

20. Mount Fuji, Japan

By Catrina McGrail, 24 Hours Layover

Mount Fuji makes for a fantastic snowy destination to spend the holiday season with your family. Winter is when Mount Fuji looks the most beautiful, completely covered in snow. Plus, the weather is dry and usually sunny.

Mount Fuji White Christmas Activities

There is so much to see and do on Mount Fuji, such as skiing, snow hiking, or viewing the popular winter illuminations.

In the festive season, you can see illuminations (around half a million lights!) at the Yamanakako Fantaseum outdoor museum with Mount Fuji in the background. Enjoy fireworks on weekends and on Christmas and New Year’s holidays, too.

Kids will also love Fuji-Q Highland theme park, home to seven roller coasters and lots of other fun rides. Although it’s open year-round, a visit here is especially exciting at Christmastime. The park’s Gaspard and Lisa Town (themed for French cartoon characters) gets decked out for the holidays with lights and a Christmas tree. You can also take a spin on Japan’s largest ice rink at this amusement park in winter while taking in views of Mount Fuji.

Where to Stay on Mount Fuji in Winter

For the hotel with the best views, head to Hotel Mt. Fuji. It sits at the foot of Mount Fuji overlooking the mountain and Lake Yamanaka. Stepping out onto your bedroom balcony to see Mount Fuji right in front of you is truly special — a white Christmas to remember!

White Christmas at Christkindlmarkt Chicago
Christkindlmarkt Chicago (Photo from Christkindlmarkt Chicago’s Facebook page)

21. Chicago, Illinois

By Alyssa, An Apple A Plane

From dazzling lights illuminating Chicago’s famous skyline to limitless winter activities for all ages, a snowy vacation in the Windy City is one to remember!  

Chicago White Christmas Activities

Chicago’s Christkindlmarkt at Daley Plaza ranks among the best in the U.S., attracting more than 1 million visitors every season. Another popular Christmas market is Winterland at Gallagher Way, which offers ice skating and ice bumper cars in addition to holiday shopping.

Your family will also enjoy ice skating at Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier. Kids will also get a kick out of riding the classic Ferris wheel at Navy Pier and viewing the wintry city from above. 

While exploring Chicago with kids, warm up at one of the city’s many famous museums, like the Museum of Science and Industry. Families especially love the seasonal exhibits here. 

Where to Stay in Chicago in Winter

Consider staying at the highly-rated Swissôtel Chicago. It’s close to major attractions and boasts great views of the city.

The hotel even features a Santa Suite on Saturdays and Sundays in December. Families can meet the jolly old elf, eat complimentary treats, and view 15 festively decorated trees.

Downtown Breckenridge lit up with Christmas lights
Downtown Breckenridge lit up with Christmas lights (Photo credit: sepavone, Depositphotos.com)

22. Breckenridge, Colorado

By Sierra Schmidt, Island + Alpine

For one of the best white Christmas family vacations, head to Breckenridge, Colorado. Snow is a given, the views are festive, and festive kid-friendly things to do are numerous.

Breckenridge White Christmas Activities

Easily access the beautiful Breckenridge Ski Resort from downtown via the BreckConnect Gondola. The terrain offers a variety of runs for all skill levels with an excellent lesson program for children and adults.

Non-skiers will also enjoy the stunning scenery from the gondola and can enjoy tubing down the mountain or riding the GoldRunner Alpine Coaster instead. Book a horse-drawn sleigh ride for a magical experience, especially for children.

Breckenridge is filled with short, easy hikes like the Troll Hike, which features a 15-foot-tall troll sculpture. So, strap on some snowshoes and explore the outdoors!

The charming small town will be decked out in holiday lights and décor. Be sure to pick up a souvenir ornament at The Christmas Store on Main Street.

If some time inside is needed to escape the chilly weather, then don’t miss the Mountain Top Explorium children’s museum.

Where to Stay in Breckenridge in Winter

Staying downtown will make the most of your time in Breckenridge. Centrally located Gravity Haus is an excellent choice.

This upscale, modern hotel offers ski-in/ski-out access with a free shuttle to other peaks. The onsite restaurant is delicious and the easy access to Main Street puts several other shops and places to grab a meal within a few minutes’ walk.

Classic postcard view of  Hallstatt, Austria
Classic postcard view of Hallstatt, Austria (Photo credit: proslgn, Depositphotos.com)

23. Hallstatt, Austria

By Martina Hzb, PlacesofJuma

The picturesque village of Hallstatt in Austria is definitely one of the most stunning destinations for a white Christmas. It’s located about 32 miles from Salzburg, making it an easy day trip destination.

Especially in winter, this little town shines. The snow-covered mountains together with the black Lake Hallstatt conjure up a backdrop like on a postcard.

Hallstatt White Christmas Activities

Although the town is relatively small, Hallstatt still has many attractions to offer. During a romantic walk, visit the historic marketplace with the beautiful Holy Trinity Column and view the many houses decorated with lights. In winter, a charming Christmas market with life-sized wooden nativity is held in the town square, too.

The Catholic Church of Hallstatt is especially pretty when covered with snow. Worth seeing is the Bone House, a historical collection of 600 colorful skulls in the church’s cemetery.

Outdoor lovers will be happy in Hallstatt. A highlight is the Hallstatt Skywalk, from which you can enjoy the incredible snowy scenery and set off on winter hikes. Plus, three nearby ski resorts offer plenty of runs for downhill adventures.

Where to Stay in Hallstatt in Winter

Recommendable is the Seehotel Grüner Baum, which scores with a perfect location right in the center with a beautiful lake terrace. Also, you’ll fall in love with their regional breakfasts and delicious dinners.

Snowmobiles in Kiruna, Sweden
Snowmobiles in Kiruna, Sweden (Photo credit: vichie81, Depositphotos.com)

24. Kiruna, Sweden

By Asha Bhatia, HomeTravelGuide

Kiruna offers lots of white Christmas fun for the whole family. The town is also home to one of the oldest Sámi villages, providing visitors with insight into traditional Scandinavian winter celebrations and indigenous lifestyles. 

Kiruna White Christmas Activities

Exciting wintry activities for the whole family abound. Book a dog sledding tour, a snowmobile safari on frozen lakes and rivers, or a Northern Lights tour.

One of the most popular places to visit near Kiruna in winter is the Icehotel. Located just over 12 miles from Kiruna in the village of Jukkasjärvi, this unique attraction is open from December to April. The rooms and even furniture are made of sculptured ice and snow. Onsite, you can also visit the ice bar and drink from ice glasses. If you are brave enough, then why not spend the night at the Icehotel?  

Where to Stay in Kiruna in Winter

For a warmer and comfier place to stay, consider the family-friendly Scandic Kiruna. Perched above the city, this hotel offers fantastic views of Kiruna. Best of all, kids 12 and under stay here for free.

Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming
Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming (Photo credit: eric1513, Depositphotos.com)

25. Grand Targhee, Wyoming

By Jessica Murray Averett, SkiingKids.com

If you’re looking for a ski resort where you can experience great skiing without the crowds during a white Christmas vacation, then you’ll want to head to Grand Targhee in Alta, Wyoming

Grand Targhee White Christmas Activities

Nestled right in the Teton Mountain Range, Grand Targhee is packed with world-class skiing for all ages and abilities. The ski school at Grand Targhee is outstanding, so if you need to brush up on your ski skills, this is the place! Grand Targhee Ski Resort also offers a cross-country ski trail system, fat biking, and snow tubing. 

Alta offers an array of hearty restaurants to fuel up for an active vacation. Plus, just a 10-minute drive away is Driggs, where you’ll find charming diners and restaurants for a great night out.  

Where to Stay in Grand Targhee in Winter

Plan on staying at Targhee Lodge By Grand Targhee Resort in Alta within walking distance of the lifts. This affordable option offers a mountainside pool and hot tub to enjoy after a long day on the slopes. 

Winter in Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands
Winter in Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands (Photo credit: IzelPhotography, Depositphotos.com)

26. Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

By Moumita & Sankha, Chasing the Long Road

Located in the northeastern part of the Scottish Highlands, Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the United Kingdom. Cairngorms is famous for its rugged scenery, rich Highland history, abundance of wildlife, and a range of snow sports activities. In winter, it transforms into a magical winter wonderland and offers plenty of amazing things for a family holiday.

Cairngorms National Park White Christmas Activities

For a cozy gateway, visit the small Scottish village of Braemar, one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. It’s surrounded by the beautiful Grampian Mountains, valleys, and woodlands.

Nestled in the heart of this national park, Cairngorm Ski Resort offers many family-friendly snow sports activities like skiing, snowboarding, winter climbing, and sledding. Also, the panoramic view from the top of the ski center is simply stunning.

Where to Stay in Cairngorms National Park in Winter

Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore would be a great choice to stay and explore this area. They have a restaurant onsite with locally sourced food, a coffee shop, and a lively, traditional bar.

Outdoor ice rink in winter in Zermatt, Switzerland
Outdoor ice rink in Zermatt, Switzerland (Photo credit: MySwitzerland.com)

27. Zermatt, Switzerland

By Dymphe Mensink, Dymabroad.com

One of the best white Christmas destinations for families is Zermatt in Switzerland because of the beautiful landscapes that surround the town and the many winter activities that take place here.

White Christmas Activities in Zermatt

This ski town is located at an elevation of 5310 feet. If you like skiing and snowboarding, Zermatt offers a lot of ski slopes with varying difficulty levels on the famous Matterhorn Mountain.

Look for plenty of Christmas lights along Bahnhofstrasse, the main road, and a large Christmas tree in the center of this pedestrian-only village. Lace up your skates to join the fun on the outdoor ice rink or enjoy watching locals play curling.

Where to Stay in Zermatt in Winter

A great hotel for a winter stay in Zermatt is The Omnia. This luxurious spa hotel features modern rooms and an amazing indoor/outdoor pool.

Calgary Skyline in winter
Calgary Skyline in winter (Photo credit: Alpegor6, Depositphotos.com)

28. Calgary, Canada

By Kristin Lee, Global Travel Escapades

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas in North America, then consider a Calgary family vacation. On average, the city receives about 3 inches of snow during December, which is enough to paint the city white but still allow you to partake in all the holiday festivities.

Calgary White Christmas Activities

Calgary hosts several Christmas markets. Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market is one of the largest, with over 300 vendors. Plus, kids can meet Santa’s reindeer here on Sundays.

If you’re traveling with little ones who want to partake in lots of festive games and activities, then head over to Heritage Park for their annual Once Upon a Christmas event. Think horse-drawn carriages, visits with Santa, scavenger hunts, crafts, and live music.

Adventurous families should check out Canada Olympic Park. It’s located only 25 minutes outside of downtown Calgary. Here, you can ski and snowboard down the many slopes. Snowtubing is available, too.

Where to Stay in Calgary in Winter

The four-star Hotel Fairmont Palliser provides upscale accommodations and is centrally located in downtown Calgary. They offer a delightful, kid-friendly holiday tea, too.

A white Christmas in Sierra Nevada Mountains, Spain
Sierra Nevada Mountains, Spain (Photo credit: inaquim, Depositphotos.com)

29. Sierra Nevada, Spain

By Linn Haglund, Amused by Andalucia

One of the most underrated white Christmas vacation destinations for families is the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in southern Spain. It is one of the few places in Europe where you can enjoy snow just a couple of hours from the beach, making it one of the best day trips from Granada in winter for skiing and holiday cheer.

Sierra Nevada White Christmas Activities

At the Sierra Nevada Ski Station in Pradollano, ski and snowboard slopes run down Veleta Peak. This is the most southern ski resort in Europe and Veleta is one of the highest mountains in Spain with more than 11,000 feet of altitude.

Enjoy beginner slopes for kids and more daring runs for the advanced skiers in the family. You can also rent sleds for sliding down more mellow hills.

Where to Stay in Sierra Nevada in Winter

Book a family room at Inside Plaza Sierra Nevada. At only 650 feet from the ski lift, you will be situated in the middle of the charming little village of Pradollano.

Snow monkeys in hot springs in winter in Nagano, Japan
Snow monkeys in hot springs in Nagano, Japan (Photo credit: shalamov, Depositphotos.com)

30. Nagano, Japan

By David and Intan of The World Travel Guy

The town of Nagano, Japan is surrounded by mountains and is one of the snowiest places on Earth, making it a great place for a white Christmas vacation!

Nagano White Christmas Activities

If you visit Nagano during the holidays, then you can enjoy fantastic skiing and food, plus take a dip in the natural hot springs. There’s even a famous hot spring called Jigokudani, where you can watch Japanese snow monkeys bathing in the hot springs to escape the cold!

From mid-November to early January each year, Alps Azumino Park in Nagano is illuminated with over 70,000 lights. Crafts plus warm food and drinks add to the festivities.

Like other places in Japan, the Nagano area also has several traditional shrines and temples if you want to go somewhere quiet and take pictures. Zenkoji Temple is one of the most famous and important temples in the country. Founded in the 7th century, it houses the first statues of Buddha ever brought to Japan.

Where to Stay in Nagano in Winter

THE HAPPO by Hakuba Hotel Group is a beautiful 4-star hotel in Nagano. It has a hot spring and sauna to enjoy, and you can also rent ski equipment and bikes for your explorations.

Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival mascot
Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival mascot (Photo credit: Francis Gagnon, Office du tourisme de Québec)

Explore More Winter Vacation Ideas

Read about the best things to do in Quebec City in winter with kids.

Learn what it’s like to go dog sledding in the Canadian wilderness.

Take a break from the snow with these Scottsdale Christmas activities and winter events.

Discover fun New Year’s Eve traditions from Europe.

Best White Christmas Vacations for Families

Save this List of White Christmas Vacations

For future reference, be sure to keep this list of the best white Christmas vacations for families. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Which of these white Christmas vacations would your family like most? Let us know in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Fransic verso says

    These are amazing places that for vacation. It’s a bit late to plan a family trip but will keep these in mind. Thank you for sharing!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Fransic – Maybe you could visit one of these white Christmas destinations next year?! Thanks for the comment!

  2. pooja Malkani says

    These are some great vacations spot for Christmas for families. I would love to visit some of these for Christmas

  3. It would be nice to visit some of these places over the winter break. Winter doesn’t feel the same without a blanket of snow!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Marysa – I used to feel this way growing up in Minnesota and we were all heartbroken when it didn’t snow one Christmas. Little did we know that by next Christmas we’d be living in the desert in Scottsdale, Arizona with no snow in sight! I would love to experience a white Christmas…and then head back to the warmth of the desert! 🙂

  4. Neely Moldovan says

    Maybe one day we will get a white Christmas here in Texas!

  5. Ntensibe Edgar says

    Nnnniiiicccceeeee…a Christmas holiday in Iceland would do me much good!

  6. I really want to go see the Christmas markets. Perhaps next year.

  7. Healing Oils says

    I’ll take the reindeer in Finand please. That sounds like a dream CHristmas vacation for me.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Right?! I went to Rovaniemi and Santa’s Village many years ago and while it was fun, it has expanded so much since I visited and sounds magical for a winter visit!

  8. Some lovely places are mentioned here some of which I’ve never considered visiting during Christmas. New York is amazing, I went around Christmas time years back it was magical.

  9. SONIA SEIVWRIGHT says

    This is fabulous. I cannot wait to explore these cities. I see myself there already.

  10. Wow! These are amazing places to have that dreamy white Christmas experience for the whole family to enjoy! I think will go first to Nagano, Japan. It looks like a great place and we all love Japan within the family.

  11. Those are definitely some great locations. We get stuck in snow all the time, so I always want the warm!

  12. There are so many of these that I would love to visit, I love everything you picked out for this post! I enjoyed reading through all of these destinations.

  13. Whitney Stewart says

    Because I live in a part of the USA that doesn’t get a lot of snow to begin with, this list makes me want to get away for a REAL winter wonderland! Plus I luv the idea of traveling to new places and discover the world; so You can bet I’m adding a few more places to my bucket list! Lol!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Whitney – I’m with you! I lived in Minnesota for years so definitely got a good dose of the snow then. Now I live in the desert and would like a little taste of it for the holidays…and then go back to the sunshine!

  14. I’ve never had a white Christmas before as I grew up in SW Florida and now live in SE Texas. It’s never cold enough for that. I’d love to take my kids somewhere one year for a true white Christmas, though. There are so many great options! We haven’t traveled internationally yet with them, so I’d probably stay stateside and hit Colorado or Utah.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Stephanie – Both Colorado and Utah are gorgeous in winter and offer so many wonderful activities for families!

  15. I think any of these would be pure magic. It’s so hard to choose when you see them all in one post like this.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Leanne – I love how different all of the different white Christmas destinations are from each other! Something for everyone!

  16. These are amazing spots! Call me Bing Crosby, because I always dream of a white Christmas. Unfortunately, I rarely get it!

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