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Winter Family Travel Deals: Ski Weekends, Cruise Deals, Montreal, Washington DC, Disney and More

We’ve kissed the holiday season goodbye.  Whether you stayed home and are craving a getaway, or need a vacation from your vacation, the dark days of January present some bright family vacation ideas.  If your family skis, there are discounts that make this expensive sport more affordable.  New York State has some particularly attractive ski discounts, so this could be the year to give skiing a whirl. Virginia may not seem like a ski destination, but The Homestead in Hot Springs has a cut-rate family ski package. If an urban getaway better suits your family, Washington, D.C. has some steeply discounted rates and dozens of free activities.  Go farther north and spend a few budget-friendly days in Montreal for a soupçon of Gallic flair. If you’ve already had it up to here with the cold and snow, warm weather destinations in Florida and Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries are on sale.  If luck is on your side, you might just win a free trip to Disney for your family of four.

The Emerson Resort and Spa, Mount Tremper, NY
The Emerson Resort is located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, two hours from New York City. The modest-sized resort is home to an Eastern-influenced spa, a country store and excellent restaurants.  You won’t want to miss breakfast because the homemade granola is awesome.   Kids should enjoy the mesmerizing experience of seeing the largest Kaleidoscope in the world, located on the premises.  The Emerson is located right near Belleayre Mountain, a great place for skiers of all levels and sizes. They are offering a mid-week Ski and Stay promotion, valid until April 3rd.  Stay for three nights midweek starting at $53 per person, per night, based on double occupancy, kids under 18 stay free in-room.  There’s a three-night minimum stay, Sunday-Thursday, non-holiday only. Hotel guests may purchase discounted lift ticket vouchers to Belleayre for $30 per person, per day. Children under seven ski free.

Lake Placid, NY
This picture-perfect town on the shores of Mirror Lake is a storybook setting for a winter vacation.  The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is one of only six hotels in the country to garner the prestigious Audubon International’s Platinum Eco Rating, so a stay here is an opportunity to show kids an eco-conscious hotel.  It is a serene property located on the lake, in the heart of downtown.  If you want to ski at Whiteface Mountain, they have a deal for you. If you can travel midweek, take advantage of the Ski and Stay 2 nights get the 3rd night free package. You pay for two nights lodging and get the third night free, plus free lift tickets on the third day to ski at Whiteface. If you can get away on a Sunday night, the Super Sunday Package starts at $69 per person and includes overnight accommodation and lift ticket.  To redeem these offers use promo code SKI when booking, Valid through March 16, 2014.

Holiday Valley, Ellicottville, NY
This small ski area near Lake Erie is fine for novice and intermediate skiers.  Book a two-night weekend stay on February 7-8 and Feb. 28-March 1 and get the previous Thursday or following Sunday night lodging free.  You get the Thursday or Sunday lift tickets free for the entire family, a significant freebie.  Click here for more details.

3rd and 4th Graders Ski Free in New York State
The ISKINY Free for Kids Passport program is available for 3rd and 4th graders.  3rd & 4th Graders who reside anywhere are eligible. It lets them ski or ride free at the majority of New York ski resorts when accompanied by a paying adult. Fill out the ISKINY Free For Kids Passport Application and send it in with a copy of your 3rd or 4th Graders report card, progress report or letter from the school stating that your child is in 3rd or 4th grade along with the $22 processing fee. You will receive a booklet of coupons good for free lift tickets (3 coupons per ski area) when an adult purchases a lift ticket.

The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
The Grande Dame hotel is full of old-world charm coupled with modern luxuries.  The Omni Homestead Resort features Indoor and outdoor pools, a world-class spa, kid’s club, ice-skating and tons of winter activities will keep the family happy.  Located in the lovely Allegheny Mountains, many Southerners learn to ski on these gentle, snow-covered slopes.  They have 45 acres of well-maintained trails on site and are offering a fantastic rate.  The Family Learn to Ski Package starts at $310 per room, per night.  It includes, room, lift tickets, equipment rental and group ski lessons for the entire family.

Montreal
This French Canadian city shines in winter, just be prepared for a frigid nip in the air.  You can read all about a Montreal winter family vacation here. The Sweet Deal Package means a north of the border getaway can be a bargain.  Stay two nights and get the second night at 50% off. Plus, you will receive a discount booklet when you check into your hotel filled with tons of coupons valued at hundreds of dollars.  Dozens of hotels are participating, The package is valid until April 30, 2014.

Take Amtrak to Montreal
Ride the rails to Montreal for only $89 round-trip, with children ages 2-15 getting a 50% discount and infants riding free.  The nine-hour ride is scenic, with views of the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. This fare is valid for travel through April 24, Thursdays through Mondays.  Click here for information.

Washington, D.C.
You can save big when you visit Washington, D.C. this winter, and it’s easy-to-reach by bus or train.  It makes an easy weekend trip for East Coast families, with the advantage of hotel rates actually going down on weekends, when government people go home and leave hotel rooms empty. The Washington Hilton is located very near the National Zoo and walking distance from the Dupont Circle Metro stop.  Winter rates start at $99 per room, per night.  There is a very comfortable Embassy Suites in the same neighborhood.  It offers family-sized suites for $129 per night, and includes their signature hot buffet breakfast and cocktail reception each afternoon.  For more D.C. deals, click here.

Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra, Florida
The Sawgrass Marriott is located about 30 minutes from Jacksonville’s convenient airport.  The property is lush and lovely, boasting what Travel and Leisure called Florida’s #1 golf course, a superb spa and a private beach at the Cabana Beach Club.  Until February 4, you can stay in one of the newly renovated villas for a rate starting at $149 nightly.  Use promo code NEW when booking.  The villas are one and two bedroom suites with kitchenettes, so the entire family will have lots of room.  Wireless Internet access is free throughout the hotel and the entire property is smoke-free, not always the case in Florida.

Win a Free Disney Family Vacation
Is there a family out there who wouldn’t want a free vacation to a Disney Resort? You’ve got nothing to lose, so why not enter to win a free four nights Disney World Resort Orlando or Disneyland Resort Vacation? It includes airfare, entry to the theme park, hotel and a $500 Disney gift card.  Each day until January 31, one lucky family of up to four people will be chosen to win.  You may enter daily, click here for more details.  Good luck!

Cruise with Royal Caribbean
January is primetime for cruise deals. The family-friendly Royal Caribbean line is offering onboard credits for as much as $400, depending on the cabin category. The credits are valid on select itineraries departing March 1 through December 31, 2014. Royal Caribbean features a partnership with Dreamworks, so the kids can enjoy a character breakfast with Shrek, Princess Fiona and The Madagascar Penguins.  Royal Caribbean has their own Bahamian island that guests may visit, Coco Cay.  Use promo code YOURWOW when booking.