Warm Winter Family Getaways in the USA
The Southern USA offers many opportunities for warm winter family getaways, with all kinds of fun activities from visiting theme parks, hitting the beach, taking a scenic road trip, visiting museums, experience wildlife encounters, or going for a hike. The winter months often times bring cooler weather to the normally scorching hot areas in the USA and smaller crowds, all the more reasons to choose winter as the time to visit these destinations.
In this post we will explore fifteen warm winter family getaways throughout the United States and why you should consider visiting them for your next family vacation. The average temperature ranges included are for the months of December to February for each destination. Not all destinations will have that 80 degree warm beach weather, and some many even see snow on occasion, but all offer mild temperatures, generally in the 60’s, that make exploring these destinations with kids much more tolerable.
15 Warm Winter Family Getaways in the US
Average Temperatures: 50-75° F
Orlando, Florida, home of family friendly theme parks Disney World and Universal Studios, has much to offer families any time of the year. The theme parks are one of the most well known and popular attractions in Orlando and will allow your little prince or princess to meet their favorite characters, experience animal encounters, enjoy rides of all thrill levels, and try some tasty treats. If you step over to Universal Studios you can enter in to the world of Harry Potter or Dr. Seuss.
Aside from the theme parks, families can enjoy a visit to Leu Gardens with their life size connect 4, I-Spy, scavenger hunts, and mazes, explore the exhibits at the Orlando Science Center, encounter some animals at Gatorland or Wild Florida, swim with Dolphins at Discovery Cove, or ride the 400ft. observation wheel at ICON Park.
Average Temperatures: 55-72° F
Maui is Hawaii’s second largest island known for its beaches and Haleakala Volcano. Maui, Hawaii is one of the best warm winter family getaways for those looking for an adventure filled escape. While in Maui, families can enjoy a beach day, snorkeling, a visit to the Maui Ocean Center, experience the Old Lahaina Luau, the Maui Treasure Hunt, enjoy some water sports, go on a whale watching excursion, go for a road trip on Hana Highway.
One of the best things to do in Maui with kids is to visit the Haleakala National Park, home of Maui’s dormant volcano. Aside from exploring the park, kids can enjoy a junior ranger activity booklet and games/activities throughout the park.
Key West, Florida
Average Temperatures: 68-78° F
Key West is the Southern most of the Florida Keys and the Southern Most point in the US. Key West, Florida offers plenty for families looking for warm family winter getaways. Key West offers plenty of beach access with water sports galore for kids and adults alike to enjoy along with plenty of other activities, including the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, the Key West Aquarium, Mallory Square shopping, the Southernmost Point in the US marker, and the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum.
A day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park is a great day trip that will take you 70 miles west of Key West and give you the opportunity to snorkel crystal clear water and explore a 19th century fort. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with the kids or choose a day tour that includes a buffet lunch on the boat. Kids will love running through the ruins of the fort and even if they are not up for snorkeling can enjoy an afternoon swim.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Average Temperatures: 70-80° F
San Juan is Puerto Rico’s capitol city and is well known for its historical cobblestone stones of Old San Juna and historic forts. San Juan has a great mix of family fun, history, and culture. San Juan is a perfect option for a Caribbean escape without leaving the United States, making it one of the best warm winter family getaways. Families can enjoy a beach day at one of the many beaches surrounding San Juan such as Isla Verde Beach, Condado Beach, or Balneario El Escambron. Walk the streets of Old San Juan and explore the two historic forts, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal, and stop at Pigeon Park and be flooded hundreds of hungry pigeons.
20 minutes outside of San Juan in the Carolina Children’s Museum, the perfect indoor (and outdoor) attraction for families. If you are up for a little bit of a drive (about 40 min. to 1.5 hour, depending on what area you are going to), you can enjoy some hiking in El Yunque Rainforest. A visit to the Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park is the perfect way to explore part of the rainforest in a family friendly way, with wagon rides, UTV’s, horseback riding, and go-karts.
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama
Average Temperatures: 42-66° F
Gulf Shores is a costal city in Alabama featuring white sand beaches, nature preserves, wildlife, and plenty of activities for family fun. While the nights can get chilly, days in Gulf Shores often see mild weather in the winter. The beaches remain open year round, so on the warmer days the family can enjoy some beach lounging and sand castle building. Other outdoor activities include exploring the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge for some hiking and wildlife viewing, exploring the Gulf State Park and Nature Center, have fun at Waterville USA, a water park featuring both dry and wet rides, going fishing, and enjoying a dolphin sightseeing cruise with Dolphins Down Under, a glass bottom boat ride, or Dolphin Fun Cruises, where your child can face off in a boat wide water gun fight.
Families can also enjoy some go-karting at the Family Fun Park, play Laser tag at Arena the Next Level, explore the Holmes Medical Museum in Foley (26 minute drive) where kids can enjoy a scavenger hunt, and explore the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and IMAX theater.
Santa Maria Valley, California
Average Temperatures: 40-65° F
Santa Maria Valley is well known for its many vineyards and wine trail, but there are also plenty of opportunities for family fun. Outdoor adventure in Santa Maria Valley includes a visit to Margarita Adventures for some ziplining, Sunbuggy Fun Rentals about a half hour outside of Santa Maria for some off-roading, horseback riding at the Pacific Dunes Riding Ranch, an afternoon at Waller Park, enjoy a hike to the ocean at Oso Flaco Lake and Dunes, go for a hike at the Los Flores Ranch Park and visit with some animals, and see the Monarchs at the Monarch Dunes Butterfly Grove in Nipomo.
If you are looking for indoor fun, check out the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, visit the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, go go-karting at Boomers! Santa Maria, Natural History Museum, and see a show at the Pacific Conservatory Theater.
Golden Isles, Georgia
Average Temperatures: 40-65° F
The Golden Isles of Georgia are a series of islands that lie along Georgia’s Atlantic Coast. The Isles include the city of Brunswick, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island. With day temperatures ranging in the 60’s during the winter months, the Golden Isles are the perfect warm winter family getaway to enjoy some outdoor adventures, including beach and sand time, biking along the St. Simon’s Island Trail System or the Jekyll Island Trail System, bird watching, hiking, stroll the Avenue of the Oaks, and wander the Cannon’s Point Preserve.
For some fun and a scavenger hunt of sorts take your kids on a Tree Spirit Hunt. The Tree Spirits of St. Simon’s are carved faces that can be found between branches or on the stub of vanished branches. Legends surround the Tree Spirits and include mermaids, sailors, and turtles and are believed to commemorate sailors who lost their lives at sea.
Average Temperatures: 50-65° F
Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of the US state of Texas offering a perfect combination of outdoor exploration and indoor museums, making it one of the best warm winter family getaways. Families can head to the Seawall for over 10 miles of beaches, walking, swimming, and laying in the sand, visit Pleasure Pier for some classic amusement park rides, enjoy some outdoor adventure at Galveston Island State Park, explore the pyramid exhibits at Moody Gardens, watch dolphins play on the Dolphin Sightseeing Tour with Bay Watch Dolphin Tours, learn about the pirates at the Pirates! Legends of The Gulf Coast, and do some shopping at The Strand Historic District.
For indoor fun, visit the Clay Cup Studios where kids can enjoy making their own pottery, visit the Galveston Railroad Museum, play at the Galveston Children’s Museum, and get wet at the Schlitterbahn indoor waterpark,
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Average Temperatures: 40-65° F
Okay, so the Grand Canyon may see some snow and may not be as warm as the other destinations included in this post in the winter, but the milder temperatures during the day hours and lower levels of crowds make it a great warm winter family getaway destination. Aside from viewing the Canyon, visitors can explore the Yavapai Geology Museum, grab a bite to eat at Grand Canyon Village, and enjoy a train ride through parts of the canyon. In November and December you can even enjoy the Polar Express train ride, a special treat for the kids.
The Grand Canyon can be explored via car, shuttle, and foot. The free shuttle service runs throughout the winter months, but only two of the four routes are open. The North Rim road is also closed during the winter months, but the South Rim remains open. The Grand Canyon West Skywalk, a glass platform over the canyon, is a great way to get some great views of the canyon.
Average Temperatures: 40-65° F
Savannah is a historical costal city in the US state of Georgia. Savannah brings a range of family friendly activities, including the popular winter activity of ice skating at the Savannah Civic Center, the Savannah Children’s Museum, enjoy a family friendly walking ghost tour, Trolley hop on/hop off tours of Old Savannah, enjoy a stroll along Jones Street, take a Pedicab photo tour, and visit the Wormsloe Historic Site. If you are visiting the area during the holidays you can enjoy the Holiday Trolley Tour through the city with warm cider and holiday treats or check out the holiday celebrations on the river with various vendors.
There are plenty of museums to visit as a family, including the Jepson Center for the Arts, which features an area dedicated to children, the Juliette Gordon Lew birthplace, for those of you who have a Girl Scout (founder of girl scouts), Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, and the Costal Georgia Botanical Gardens.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Average Temperatures: 45-65° F
New Orleans is a city along the Mississippi River well known for it’s culture, vibrant night-life, and Madri Gras celebrations. Despite the party scene, New Orleans has plenty to offer families, including the Louisiana Children’s Museum, learn about Mardi Gros at Mardi Gras World or Presbytère Museum, explore sea life at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, explore the Audobon Zoo, get outdoors and explore the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center or Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, take a ride on the Steamboat Natchez, and do some crafts at the Mini Art Center.
A French Quartour Kids tour may be one of the best ways to get a feel for the culture of New Orleans on a tour that the kids will love! There are multiple tour options, including tours designed towards younger kids, teens, and even a spooky tour that is family friendly with an interactive ghost hunt for the kids.
Charleston, South Carolina
Average Temperatures: 40-60° F
Charleston, SC is one of America’s oldest cities and is marked by cobblestone roads, colorful homes, and historic sites. Families can enjoy a visit to Patriot’s Point and explore retired naval warships, a day at the beach (at least for some lounging and sand castle building), play at Angel Oak Tree Park, enjoy a Nature and Wildlife Boat tour such as Costal Expeditions, and enjoy a walk along the Waterfront Park along Cooper River. You can also take a day trip to the Fort Sumter National Monument aboard a ferry from the Fort Sumter visitor center and explore the ruins of the historic Fort Sumter.
For indoor fun in Charleston, SC visit the Charleston Museum, which features programs designed specifically for younger children, the South Carolina Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of Lowcountry, catch a show at the Dock Street Theater, explore the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon and visit the North Charleston Fire Museum, perfect for kids obsessed with fire trucks, or any type of truck!
Average Temperatures: 40-65° F
Austin, the state capitol of Texas, offers plenty of family fun with more tolerable temperatures in the winter. Families can enjoy outdoor adventure in Austin with a visit to the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, try their hand at Peter Pan mini golf, enjoy a glass bottom boat tour on Spring Lake, go ice skating at the Marble Falls rink, go on a drive thru safari, experience a cavern tour about 40 min. outside of Austin, take a self guided tour of Austin’s street art, enjoy a day hiking at McKinney Falls State Park, explore the Zilker Botanical Gardens, and go waterfall hunting.
If you prefer to spend some time indoors, you can visit the CRUX Climbing Center, visit the Texas state capitol building, explore the Austin Toy Museum, go rock climbing at Austin Rock Gym, an indoor rock climbing gym, enjoy some old fashioned arcade games at Pinballz Arcade, and go roller blading at Playland Skate Center.
Death Valley National Park, California & Nevada
Average Temperatures: 40-75° F
Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the US and is also known as one of the hottest places in the world. And what better time to visit the hottest place in the Western Hemisphere than winter? The temperature range is more mild during the day and even drops into the 40’s at night. The cooler temperatures make it the perfect time to explore the park with kids. While in Death Valley you can explore abandoned ghost towns, overlook opportunities such as the well known Zabriskie Point, hiking trails, exploration of many well known points such as Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater Basin, Sidewinder Canyon, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon, and Salt Creek.
Visitors can also enjoy guided tours of Scotty’s Castle and explore the visitor centers. If you have younger kids and would prefer to skip the hiking, you can still enjoy Death Valley National Park via Death Valley Road and Badwater Basin Road, which have stops at many of the major points in the park.
Everglades National Park, Florida
Average Temperatures: 57-79° F
Everglades National Park is the 1.5 million acre wetland preserve sitting in the Southern section of Florida that is made up of mangroves, marshes, and plenty of wildlife. If you are looking for milder temperatures and less bugs than the average trip would bring, Everglades National Park in winter may be the right fit! A visit to Everglades National Park is filled with nature and family fun, including biking or hiking in Shark Valley, canoeing or kayaking, bird watching, air boat tours, animal sightings, hiking, ranger led programs, and exploring the visitor centers.
Airboat tours is one of the most popular things to do in Everglades National Park. The tour will take you through the mangrove tunnels of Everglades National Park and treat you to wildlife viewing. With Captain Jack’s Air Boat Tours you will also have access to the Animal Sanctuary where you will be able to see plenty of alligators and other wildlife species.
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Such a great list! There is so much to see and do in the US – you really don’t have to travel abroad! I’ve been dying to return to Hawaii, so perhaps that will happen soon!
This is a great list – and I’ve actually been to some of these places. However, you guys are so lucky that you can travel. In Europe, we are deprived from travelling because there is a pandemic and they don’t want us to make matters worse. It’s just terrible.
A great combination of warm trip ideas during the winter. I’ve been to most of them. I liked Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and Louisiana the most. I haven’t been in Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia yet.
Never knew that Alabama had nice beaches! Based on this list, I feel like I am overdue for a road trip through the south. Would love to check out New Orleans, Savanah and Chareleston.
I never thought of Savanah, it always slips my mind on destinations yet It looks so beautiful. Maui is definitely on my bucket list too
Another plus of seeing the Everglades in Florida during the winter is that there is less chance of mosquitos. During warmer months you can’t avoid them even with bug spray.
We just came back from Key West and it was amazing! We loved exploring in t-shirts and shorts all the historic locations and taking in the amazing views of the Gulf! I am glad you added my hometown of New Orleans to this list. We love visitors and though it can get a wee bit nippy during the winter, luckly our winters are short. So from Christmas to about Mardi Gras you may need a coat and pants but for the most part you will enjoy another warm winter getaway with your family!
I have been to 9 of these 15. I agree they are such warm winter getaways!
I’ve travelled to the United States several times and managed to visit some of the places you mention such as Hawaii (though not Maui but Honolulu), Orlando and Key West. Having said that, there is so much more to explore, the country is HUGE, and I’d love to keep going back to explore more places. It’s good to know that there are several options for those who do not particularly like very cold weather, and since I have most of my holidays during the winter season, with the best possibility to travel at that time, I’ll be bookmarking this post to list down the cities I can visit without having to layer up and face freezing temperatures.