Don’t worry about planning an elaborate vacation for your family—you don’t have to go far to experience the magic of winter together. No matter where you’re based in the U.S., there are countless opportunities for outdoor fun during the colder months of the year. Explore the winter wonderland “in your backyard” with our suggestions for exciting winter activities the whole family will love.
Top family-friendly winter activities
From holiday-themed outings to some good, old-fashioned winter fun, here’s a list of our favorite family-friendly ways to enjoy winter together.
- Find a local production of a holiday classic, like The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.
- Head to your city or town’s annual tree lighting to soak up the joy of watching a giant Christmas tree come to life. Drive around afterward to check out all the holiday light displays up all over town.
- Explore a local Christmas market to enjoy the holiday ambiance, admire the artisan wares for sale, look for presents for loved ones, and sample some tasty treats, including some hot apple cider, hot chocolate, or (for the 21+ adults) mulled wine.
- Even if it doesn’t get cold where you’re at, we bet there’s an ice skating rink set up for the holidays. No need to be a pro—you’ll get plenty of laughs scooting around the ice.
- Plan a trip to meet Santa Clause. Let the fun begin before you ever leave the house with a little arts and crafts time as the kids write and decorate a wish list to bring to Santa.
- Head to a tree farm to pick out the perfect tree to bring home for the holidays. Bonus points for warming up inside together after and decorating its boughs as a family.
If you live somewhere that gets snow, we’ve got a couple more suggestions for you, too:
- Build a snowperson in your backyard or a nearby park. Find materials around the house and outside for the eyes, nose, buttons, arms, and whatever else you’d like your creation to wear, like a hat, mittens, and/or a scarf.
- Find a hill near you where you can go sledding or snow tubing.
- Rent winter activity gear, like snowshoes or cross-country skis, from a local organization, and explore a nearby park in a whole new way.
- Head to your nearest ski hill to learn how to or practice skiing or snowboarding as a family. Try to find one with a cozy lodge for when anyone gets tired and wants to warm up with a tasty beverage.
- Is there a sled dog race near you? If so, be sure to snag a spot on the sidelines because your kids will love to see the dogs come racing by.
- Make a snow fort in your yard where you can take shelter during an epic snowball fight among family, friends, and/or neighbors.