40 Warm and Sunny Family Vacation Spots: Winter Vacation Ideas in the US and Abroad

Make memories to last a lifetime at the all-inclusive Beaches Turks and Caicos.
Make memories to last a lifetime at the all-inclusive Beaches Turks and Caicos.
11/25/23 - By Allison Tibaldi

From perpetually wet feet to relentlessly bundling (and unbundling) your kids with layer upon layer, the need to escape grows for many parents as the winter season drags on. Even those families who don't live with the finicky four-season cycle might prefer their family vacation with a side of palm trees, rather than fur-trimmed snow boots. So whether you're seeking to escape the cold or just don't want to vacation in it, we've rounded up 40 of the best winter vacation ideas in the US and abroad filled with sun, fun, and warmth.

Read on to find great all-inclusive resorts, beaches, and charming cities teeming with culture that will give you a family vacation that’s sunny, not snowy. For even more winter vacation ideas, be sure to check out our Family Travel Guide.


Winter Vacation Ideas: Atlantis Resort
Strolling through the incredible aquarium is just one of the many activities a family can enjoy at Atlantis Resort.

Warm and Sunny Winter Vacation Ideas in the Bahamas

1. Atlantis Paradise Island

This Bahamas resort and island are a fantasy destination for many, not just the kids. The Atlantis offers an out-of-this-world water park with nearly a dozen pools, all manner of activities, a kids club, a beautiful beach, and countless room options in five on-site hotels. Book your stay now at The Royal, The Reef, The Coral, The Cove, or Harborside Resort

Also consider the nearby, budget-minded Comfort Suites Paradise Island, which provides free admission to Atlantis, so you can slip and slide the day away but return to your clean and simple room in the evening for a fraction of the price.

2. Baha Mar

Baha Bay, the $200-million water park at the fabulous Baha Mar resort in Nassau Bahamas, just might be the most beautiful water park in the world—and we don’t say this lightly. Sitting on 15 acres, the park features 24 slides, a 500,000-gallon wave pool, and a 1,400-foot "action" river that will keep the whole family active from the minute the sun rises. When not at the water park or floating in the resort’s six pools, your family might even find time to make it to the beach.

Baha Mar is home to several family-friendly hotels. Book your stay at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, SLS Baha Mar, or Rosewood Baha Mar now. 

3. Great Exuma

The Exumas are a string of islands and cays with white-sand beaches and turquoise-blue waters. This area of the Bahamas is much less developed than Nassau and Paradise Island, with fewer crowds and more natural shorelines.

Ask any local and they'll tell you Grand Isle Resort & Residences is the best resort in Exuma for families. The all-villa resort offers large accommodations that are perfect for multigenerational travel or groups. The property is upscale but unpretentious, and the vibe is friendly and casual while offering top-notch amenities, like supervised activities for little ones, a children’s spa menu, and an 18-hole golf course. Book your family vacation at Grand Isle Resort now. 

RELATED: Our 100 Best Family Vacation Destinations

Winter Vacation Ideas: Grand Solmar Land's End Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Soak up the sun, pools, and family fun in Cabo at Grand Solmar Land's End Resort.

Warm and Sunny Winter Vacation Ideas in Mexico

4. Cabo San Lucas

There's so much for families to do in Cabo San Lucas on Mexico's Baja California peninsula. During the winter, get up close and personal with whales migrating from the Arctic to the warm, calm waters surrounding the peninsula. You can also go zip lining, rock climbing, swimming with dolphins, and even camel riding in the desert.

We were thoroughly spoiled at the all-inclusive Grand Velas Los Cabos with its spa, pools, and attention to detail. You can be, too, when you book your family's stay at Grand Velas.

5. Puerto Morelos and Cancun

You may never want to leave the silky sand and the Caribbean Sea at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, which one Mommy Poppins writer loved during a 2023 visit. Located in Puerto Morelos (about a 45-minute car ride outside Cancun), it boasts suites that sleep up to 13 people, two pools, a fantastic kids club, and lots of activities to keep families busy. But be sure to leave the resort and take excursions to places like the Mayan ruins in Tulum and many other unforgettable destinations nearby.

Book your family vacation at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun now.

6. Riviera Maya

Along Mexico's Caribbean coast lies the Riviera Maya region with stunning beachside towns like Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Myriad outdoor family-friendly activities abound, including underwater tours, snorkeling, animal interactions, a natural outdoor water park, zip lines, and Mayan ruins. You'll quickly forget all about mittens and hats.

We highly recommend booking a stay at the Hotel Xcaret Mexico. Find out why in our review of this fabulous all-inclusive resort.

7. Puerto Vallarta

Check out our list of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids to see why it's such a popular family vacation destination (as if the warm and sunny weather, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and family-friendly all-inclusive resorts aren't enough). Mommy Poppins founder Anna Fader raves about the Earth-friendly initiatives and family-friendly activities in her review of the all-inclusive Velas Vallarta, where you can book a stay now.

RELATED: Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the US, Caribbean, and Mexico for Kids

Winter Vacation Ideas: Beaches Turks and Caicos
Stunningly blue water surrounds you at Beaches Turks & Caicos.

More Warm and Sunny Winter Vacation Ideas in the Caribbean

8. Turks & Caicos

It’s hard to beat Beaches Resorts for an all-inclusive family vacation. Beaches Turks & Caicos is a jewel in the Beaches family crown with stunningly blue waters, a long coral reef with amazing aquatic life, a fantastic water park, a top-notch kids club, Sesame Street characters, and more. Don't wait to plan your winter escape to Beaches Turks & Caicos.

Another great option in Turks & Caicos is Ocean Club Resort, where our editor and her family enjoyed the pristine beach and pools, the resort's scavenger hunt, and a variety of other family activities. Book your warm and sunny stay at Ocean Club Resort now.

9. Bermuda

With its famous pink-sand beaches, unrivaled natural beauty, and unhurried atmosphere, the island of Bermuda is perfect for family getaways. But even with its slower pace, there are still so many things to do in Bermuda, including sailing and boating, beaches and nature reserves, cultural sites, shopping, and more. Plus, Bermuda is small and easy to navigate, and its pink buses and gorgeous ferry rides make getting around lots of fun. Check out our list of 25 things to do in Bermuda with kids.

10. Aruba

Treat the kids to a Caribbean getaway on the friendly and gorgeous island of Aruba. Relax at the pool or on one of the many stunning beaches. If you have older kids, don't miss exploring the rugged eastern shore of the island with its national parks and sea caves. We also indulged at the many beach shacks and enjoyed befriending the donkeys and other creatures at several animal sanctuaries. See our list of the best things to do in Aruba with kids.

RELATED: Best Family Resorts with Water Parks: All-Inclusive Family Resorts and More

Winter Vacation Ideas: Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana
Get slimed at Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

11. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is easy to reach thanks to numerous nonstop flights from many East Coast cities, and we've enjoyed several of the island's top beachfront, all-inclusive resorts.

Our travel editor went wild over her stay at the luxurious Finest Punta Cana, which features spacious family suites, a fantastic kids club, and loads of entertainment. Club Med Punta Cana offers cool activities from Circus School by Club Med, boutique-hotel styling, and a full kids program. And the Nickelodeon Resort has a fabulous water park, character visits, a kids club, and stunning beachside pools.

For your own winter family vacation in Punta Cana, book a stay at Finest Punta Cana, Club Med Punta Cana, or Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana.

12. St. Thomas

If you want the exotic feel of a foreign country without leaving the US, consider visiting St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The US territory has its own unique charm with breathtaking beaches, crystal-blue water, friendly locals, and gorgeous red roofs climbing the hills outside its capital city, Charlotte Amalie. And the best part? No passports are needed to enter! Here are the 25 best things to do in St. Thomas with kids.

13. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is another gorgeous US territory in the Caribbean, so families don't need passports to travel there. Our writer wrote a glowing review of the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve, which features gorgeous lagoon pools, a fantastic spa, and a kids club that will keep little ones entertained. If you want to kick back at a resort with the motto "doing nothing means everything," book a stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve now.

14. Jamaica

Jamaica is a popular Caribbean destination for families due to its plethora of all-inclusive resorts, beautiful beaches, and laid back, "no problem, Mon" vibe. We have reviews of several fantastic resorts—including the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril and the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in Montego Bay—in our Jamaica Family Travel Guide. If you like what you read, book your stay at the Hotel Riu or the Grand Palladium today.

Warm and Sunny Winter Vacation Ideas in the Western US

15. Las Vegas, Nevada

Love it or hate it, Vegas has succeeded in becoming a family town with pools aplenty, a children's museum, an aquarium, and even babysitting options for parents looking for a night out. Stay on the Las Vegas Strip where there are dozens of hotels and you'll be right in the thick of the action.

Our top three Las Vegas hotels for kids are Mandalay Bay, with its water park and real sand beach; The Excalibur, with its treasure hunts, knight-themed dinners, and on-site arcade; and the MGM Grand, which has some of the best pools on the Strip and a ton of family events and shows.

16. Los Angeles, California

Trade your snowy city for palm trees and SoCal sunshine in Los Angeles, a sprawling family playground filled with great museums, top-notch eats, and magical nearby theme parks including Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood (home to Super Nintendo World). Relax after a day of exploring with a stay at one of several kid-friendly LA hotels. And no matter the season, check out these kid-friendly LA-area beaches—because in Los Angeles you can always hit the beach.

RELATED: 25 Road Trips From Los Angeles for a Weekend Family Getaway

Winter Vacation Ideas: Saguaro in Palm Springs, California
The Saguaro in Palm Springs is known for its hipster-meets-diaper poolside scene.

17. Palm Springs, California

Welcoming Palm Springs is a popular destination for LGBTQ families, design and architecture buffs, or anyone who enjoys stylish mid-century hotels with giant swimming pools shaded by palm trees. Family favorites include The Saguaro and the Ace Hotel, which are both popular for their hipster-meets-diaper poolside scenes, but the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa offers a family-friendly water park that's hard to beat. Beyond the pool, there's hiking galore, dinosaur fun, and museums. Leave time for hiking in Joshua Tree, which offers otherworldly landscapes.

18. Santa Barbara, California

The picturesque seaside community of Santa Barbara offers glorious ocean and mountain views in every direction, botanic gardens, sailing, and more family-friendly pursuits that will put everyone in that laid-back California state of mind. It's also home to a great little zoo, enticing museums, and fun playgrounds. See our list of nearly 40 great things to do with kids in Santa Barbara if you need more convincing.

19. San Diego, California

With its near-perfect year-round climate, a world-class zoo, miles of beach, and cute Old Town, San Diego is loaded with personality. Take a scenic cruise around San Diego Bay before enjoying some fresh Pacific seafood for dinner. The Hotel Del Coronado is an iconic resort that caters to kids, but we've also rounded up several other kid-friendly hotels in this coastal California town. Don't miss our list of 60 things to do in San Diego with kids.

20. Warm-Weather Dude Ranches

Saddle up, pardner! While you can mosey your way across the whole country sampling dude ranch vacations for families in almost every state, in the winter months you may want to confine yourself to the warm ones. Luckily, there are several. Spend your days trekking through the rugged landscape on horseback before indulging in a five-star meal under the stars at Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona or Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in California.

21. Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona is a golf, tennis, and spa mecca that welcomes families with open arms. The dry desert air works magic on winter-weary bones of all ages. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa offers tweens and teens nonstop fun with the FlowRider, a machine that lets you pseudo surf in the desert. Giant swimming pools and numerous children’s programs are also on the menu.

More kid-friendly attractions are available in nearby Phoenix, including the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center, the Desert Botanical Garden, and more on our list of 45 things to do in Phoenix with kids.

RELATED: 30 Things To Do with Orlando Babies Before They Turn 1

Winter Vacation Ideas: Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a kid's paradise—and not just at the theme parks. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

Warm and Sunny Winter Vacation Ideas in Florida

22. Orlando

With mild to hot temperatures year-round, plenty of family-friendly hotels, and of course Disney World and Universal Orlando, it's no surprise that Orlando tops any list of family vacations. But step outside of theme-park mania for a moment and you'll discover that Orlando has tons of family-friendly attractions, from a science center and museums to balloon rides and boating. There are even Orlando activities to tempt your teens into smiles.

Warning: If you stay at the Orlando World Center Marriott with its amazing water park, your kids may not want to leave the hotel! Book a stay now.

23. Miami

It's hard to go wrong with a getaway to Miami. Swim, soak up the sun, and enjoy fruity drinks at outdoor restaurants and you'll forget winter ever existed. Kids might enjoy a visit to Jungle Island or a dip in the stunning public Venetian Pool. There are also fabulous children's museums and a science center. Our list of 55 things to do in Miami with kids has even more fun ideas beyond the beach.

24. Jacksonville and Amelia Island

Located in the northeastern corner of Florida, Jacksonville doesn't get as hot as other Florida cities in the winter. But, its mild and pleasant winter weather is perfect for exploring the city's historical sites and museums, strolling its pristine beaches, and enjoying some fun animal encounters. You can also spend time in nearby Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, where you can explore destination-worthy state parks, play mini golf, bike, and enjoy miles of beautiful beaches.

25. St. Augustine

About an hour south of Jacksonville sits America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers. To visit St. Augustine’s charming cobblestone streets and seemingly ancient architecture is to be reminded of Florida’s multicultural history. These days, St. Augustine is a seaside haven for kids and families, particularly those eager to mix a little education with all that Florida sunshine. Check out our list of the 30 best things to do in St. Augustine with kids.

26. West Palm Beach

Tourists might think of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County as a preppy playground for America’s elite, but it is actually a family-friendly hub, with an array of fun activities. People come here to frolic in the miles of gorgeous Atlantic surf, but Greater West Palm Beach also has a lot of fun things to do off the sand, including animal adventures, interactive museums, sporty activities, and water parks. Here are a whopping 40 things to do in West Palm Beach with kids.

RELATED: Best Florida Beach Vacations for Families

Winter Vacation Ideas: Sunset Key cottages, Florida Keys
The luxurious Sunset Key cottages reside on a private island in the Florida Keys.

27. The Florida Keys

The laid-back beach vibe and sparkling, turquoise water that surrounds the towns making up the Florida Keys are sure to charm all ages. Myriad family-friendly outdoor activities abound in this South Florida charmer of a region, from dolphins to boating to snorkeling. There's also a stunning marine sanctuary, state parks, a lighthouse, and more. As for where to stay, we've put together a list of a dozen Florida Keys resorts that we think are just right for families.

28. Clearwater Beach

Known for its white-sand beaches, gentle waves, and breathtaking sunsets, Clearwater Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast is one of the top beaches in the US. Families will also love the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, fun water sports, gorgeous state parks, and more of the fun activities on our list of 30 top things to do in Clearwater Beach with kids.

More Winter Vacation Ideas in the Sunny South

While winter is not usually swimsuit season in this southern cities, temperatures typically reach into the mid 60s—a welcome reprieve from the bitter cold in other parts of the US.

29. San Antonio, Texas

This charming Texas town is loaded with family appeal, as you'll see from our list of fun things to do in San Antonio with kids. Take a narrated cruise, stroll the River Walk, visit the Alamo, eat delicious Mexican food, and explore the San Antonio children’s museum, The DoSeum. Embassy Suites Riverwalk and the Mokara Hotel & Spa are fine hotel options on the River Walk.

30. Galveston, Texas

Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are home to some of the best family-friendly beaches in Texas, but the island of Galveston offers plenty of other family fun as well. From Schlitterbahn Water Park to the Galveston Children's Museum, they're all on our list of fun things to do in Galveston with kids.

31. New Orleans, Louisiana

You may not think of New Orleans when brainstorming winter vacation ideas for families, but there are plenty of kid-friendly activities, including swamp tours and a children's museum. Our list of 45 fun things to do in New Orleans with kids will make you forget about that image of a 24/7 Mardi Gras drinking fest and make your way to the French Quarter for live jazz and outdoor family brunches. Temperatures typically reach the 60s in winter.

32. Savannah, Georgia

Cobblestone streets, live jazz music, oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, the smells of southern cuisine floating on the breeze... while this quintessential picture of Savannah is accurate, the city is also full of fun activities for kids and families, from museums and historic sites to island excursions and dolphin watching. Daytime temperatures in the 60s make for a comfortable stay in winter.

33. Charleston, South Carolina

The charm of this low-country hot spot is not to be missed in any season. The southern foodie city offers a bit of everything, from beaches to a historic French Quarter to an aquarium popular with families. Charleston is also renowned for its hospitality, another surefire way to melt away those winter blues. See our list of the 30 best things to do in Charleston with kids.

34. Hilton Head, South Carolina

Enjoy gorgeous beaches and golf courses, take a day cruise, explore kid-friendly museums like the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Sandbox Children's Museum, and soak up the southern vibe of on a Hilton Head family vacation. But first, see our list of the best things to do in Hilton Head with kids.

35. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Nestled along Alabama's Gulf Coast, this family destination is home to beaches with pristine sand, can't-miss attractions, tasty treats, fishing, kayaking, coastal wildlife, and other outdoor adventures in the back bays. The Lodge at Gulf State Park combines hotel amenities with a 360-degree view of the gorgeous park. Check out our list of 25 things to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach with kids.

36. Sea Island, Georgia

Located on the stunning southeast Georgia coast, Sea Island Resort is brimming with southern charm and world-class hospitality. Families can relax and play on Sea Island's five miles of private beach, go biking, and enjoy the resort's plethora of family and children's activities including a free arcade, a bowling alley, arts and crafts, and so much more. Read our writer's review of Sea Island Resort, then book your stay at The Cloister, The Lodge, or one of several other resort accommodations. 

37. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Unwind and enjoy nature at this barrier island, which has 10 miles of natural shoreline dotted with gorgeous and unique beaches. There's also a water park, outdoor activities like biking and horseback riding, a nature center, historic sites, and a sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility. Find them all in our list of the top things to do on Jekyll Island with kids.

RELATED: Best All-Inclusive Resorts with Incredible Kids Clubs (Plus More Resorts with Great Free Kids Clubs

Winter Vacation Ideas: Aulani, a Disney Resort in Hawaii
Hang out in the water park at Disney's Aulani Resort.

More Warm and Sunny Winter Vacation Ideas

38. Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii is on many people's bucket lists of winter vacation ideas, and the breathtaking island of Oahu is a great choice for families. Our list of 30 things to do in Oahu with kids shows why. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is a fantastic hotel pick that has garnered numerous accolades, including from our own reviewer who called it "an absolutely luxurious resort vacation...that parents can enjoy without feeling like they are vacationing in Romper Room." Hurry and book your Hawaiian family getaway to Aulani.

39. Disney Cruise

If running around a theme park isn’t your idea of fun, taking a Disney Cruise can be a great way to get your Disney on. The magic makers pull out all the stops, including impressive theme restaurants, magical entertainment, and one-on-one time with your favorite characters. There are also lots of adults-only areas to enjoy while your kids are busy at the incredible kids clubs. We've tried several different cruises and loved them all, including a tour of Europe and a cruise to Alaska.

Current cruises depart from several Florida ports; Galveston, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii; New Orleans; New York City; and San Diego. They travel to the Caribbean, the South Pacific, the Panama Canal, and more. There are options to stay within the US, too.

Belize Warm and Sunny Family Vacation Spots:
Belize is the perfect tropical vacation destination for families. Photo by Mommy Poppins

40. Belize

The Central American country of Belize is a fascinating place for families looking for a bit of everything, from beaches and reefs to jungles and ancient Mayan ruins.The fact that English is the official language makes Belize a particularly convenient destination for English-speaking travelers, without sacrificing its exotic allure. Check out our Belize Family Travel Guide for what to do and where to stay in Belize, approved by a native Belizean (and dad).

This article was first published in November 2015 but is updated and revised annually. Additional reporting by Rose Gordon Sala and Jennifer Marino Walters

Unless noted, photos are courtesy of the resorts and hotels

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