There’s something magical about the crisp winter air and a blanket of snow on the ground. These are perfect conditions for making family vacation memories.
For those who've never experienced it, ski towns are more than just snowy landscapes – they’re bustling hubs of adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or someone who loves the sight of snowflakes, these places cater to all. Don’t worry if you've never skied before, as resorts have ski schools and equipment rentals.
We've handpicked some snowy family vacation destinations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Whether you’re eager to hit the slopes or just keen to build a snowman, there's a winter wonderland waiting for you.
While Vail and Aspen may be the most popular skiing destinations in Colorado, when it comes to family vacations, check out Keystone and Breckenridge, both only 90 minutes from Denver.
Keystone is well known for its family-friendly atmosphere. While centrally located to three unique mountain peaks and over 128 ski runs, there are special kid-designated areas and beginner mountains. Keystone Resort offers ski and snowboarding schools for all levels and ages. It also offers the largest night skiing in the state. Not interested in skiing? Enjoy mountaintop snow tubing, explore the world’s largest snow fort, sleigh rides, ice skating, snowmobile tours, and scenic gondola rides. You can even try the sport of curling.
Breckenridge combines a charming historic town with a variety of ski terrains suitable for families, along with plenty of off-slope activities like dog sledding and sleigh rides. The Victorian core of this former Gold Rush mining town is preserved as the Breckenridge National Historic District, running primarily along Main Street, with colorfully painted buildings from the 1880s housing shops and restaurants.
The Lake Tahoe region features multiple ski resorts around the lake, providing ample opportunities for skiing and snowboarding in a stunning natural setting. Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. With excellent ski resorts, breathtaking scenery, and a wide range of snow activities, the Lake Tahoe area is perfect for families looking to enjoy winter sports and outdoor fun.
At Heavenly Resort, you’ll find 28 chairlifts and over 3,500 acres of groomed slopes. This resort is great for families with young kids as they have a special Family Tubing Hill and Kids Adventure Zone with lessons and supervised activities.
Northstar California Resort offers ski school programs for kids, tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. You can also relax at the ice-skating rink in The Village, enjoy s’mores by one of the fire pits, or catch a movie in the theater.
Park City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, offers a range of activities and amenities that make it an ideal destination for families. Just 40 minutes from Salt Lake City, Park City has plenty of options for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels and is great for the non-skiing members of the family. Ride the Alpine Coaster, a mountain toboggan coaster, or enjoy breathtaking views flying down the Flying Eagle Zipline in tandem (two together). Go on a family snowmobile tour or dine in the Viking Yurt after a snow sleigh ride. Park City’s Main Street has a great mix of restaurants, shops, and other entertainment. Each January, the town is also home to the Sundance Film Festival.
Vermont offers some of the best snow and slopes in the northeast among its scenic landscapes. The state has several family-friendly ski resorts, like Smugglers’ Notch, America’s Family Resort, full of kid-friendly activities like ice skating, snowshoeing, tube sliding, snowcat rides, and winter fireworks shows.
Your family can also explore historic Stowe’s shops and restaurants, visit the famous Trapp Family Lodge (of "The Sound of Music" fame), enjoy Ben & Jerry's original ice cream factory, visit Vermont’s Teddy Bear Factory, and tour Cabot Creamery.
In beautiful British Columbia, Whistler is a world-renowned ski destination. With terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, it is an ideal family vacation spot. There are two mountains to explore, Whistler and Blackcomb, and plenty of winter activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and zip-lining.
The village of Whistler provides visitors with restaurants, shops, and entertainment options so that you can fill your days with adventure and your nights with fun. You can also visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, the first of its kind in Canada, to learn about the rich culture and traditions of Whistler’s Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. And, with Vancouver a 90-minute to 2-hour drive away, you could also split your family vacation between the ski slopes and the city.
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, in the southwest edge of Switzerland, on the border with Italy, Zermatt is one of the most popular international ski destinations for families thanks to its incredible views and access to the iconic Matterhorn Mountain, an extensive ski area that covers over 217 miles (350 km) of slopes, and a wide variety of ski schools.
The charming alpine village of Zermatt is car-free and features an ice rink. Families can enjoy snowshoeing, sledding, and tobogganing. Explore traditional Swiss cuisine in cozy mountain restaurants and go on a chocolate-tasting tour. The kids will love the Gornergratbahn, an uphill train ride that ascends over 3,000 feet to the summit of Gornergrat for panoramic vistas. In the winter, you can take the train to the Igloo Village, where you can have a meal, go on a guided tour, or even spend a night in an igloo.
For those looking to combine European culture and winter sports, Chamonix, France, is the perfect place for a family ski vacation. This picturesque winter wonderland, nestled in the French Alps to the east of France and sharing borders with Switzerland and Italy, is known as the birthplace of mountaineering and is a great spot to explore some of Europe’s highest peaks.
Chamonix offers a wide array of activities for families during the winter season, from ski touring and snowshoeing in the backcountry to tobogganing and snow tubing. The Chamonix Ski School provides excellent instruction for children aged five and up, and plenty of childcare options are available.
Chamonix town offers a charming atmosphere filled with shops and restaurants where you can try cheesy fondue, raclette, and tartiflette, which are hearty and delicious traditional mountain dishes.
Other activities worth checking out include the thrilling ride on the Aiguille du Midi cable car to one of the highest points in the Alps with panoramic views of Mont Blanc. And ride the historic Montenvers Railway to the Mer de Glace, one of Europe's largest glaciers, where you can explore ice caves and tunnels.
Skiing and winter fun can be great for families to bond and create unforgettable memories. Whether you're new to skiing or a seasoned pro, there's something for everyone to enjoy in one of these idyllic destinations.
Snowy Vacation Adventure Awaits!