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The Ideal Destinations For A Family Outing In December

Last update: 2023-12-07

The holiday season is the perfect time to plan a family vacation and create lifelong memories together. December offers many ideal destinations for families looking to get away and enjoy quality time during the most wonderful time of the year. From warm beaches to snowy wonderlands, there are exciting options to please every member of the family.

To help you select the perfect location for a family outing this December, here are some of the top destinations that offer memorable activities and endless entertainment for an unforgettable holiday vacation.

Phoenix, Arizona

If you're looking to escape cold weather and bask in abundant sunshine, Phoenix is one of the best places to visit in December. With an average high of 67 degrees, the Phoenix metro area offers perfect temperatures for family fun.

The desert climate allows for enjoyable outdoor activities like hiking Camelback Mountain or strolling through the Desert Botanical Garden to see beautiful cacti and desert plants. The animal exhibits at the Phoenix Zoo make for an exciting day. Children will love riding the carousel and train.

Hispanic woman standing on paddleboard in river

In the evening, take in the festive holiday lights along the Las Noches de las Luminarias pathway at the Desert Botanical Garden. Other holiday light displays around Phoenix create a festive atmosphere. The luxury JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa offers amenities families will appreciate like a lazy river pool and Kids Club with activities. The resort’s location provides easy access to Phoenix attractions.

Cancun, Mexico

For families looking for a tropical getaway this December, Cancun is an excellent option. The beaches along the Yucatan Peninsula boast lovely turquoise waters and soft white sand. Popular among spring breakers, Cancun offers plenty of kid-friendly activities beyond the lively hotel zone.

Explore Mayan cultural sites like Chichen Itza or Tulum. At Xcaret and Xel-Ha natural theme parks, you can swim with dolphins, float along a lazy river and experience Mayan traditions. Interactive aquariums like the Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) provide a unique opportunity to snorkel amongst sculptures.

Several resorts cater to multigenerational travelers. Generation-specific kids clubs, teen activities and adults-only pools keep every member of the family entertained. The Westin Resort & Spa offers villa-style suites with kitchens, making it easy to enjoy a relaxing vacation.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For families who don’t mind bundling up for chilly winter weather, Jackson Hole offers stunning snow-capped mountain views and a quintessential Christmas vibe. Snow blankets Grand Teton National Park, allowing for skiing, snowmobiling and sledding adventures. Take a sleigh ride across the elk refuge to observe wildlife in their natural winter habitat.

Hikers in Grand Teton National Park USA

At the base of the iconic Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski area, the town of Teton Village twinkles with holiday lights. You can ice skate on the village pond before warming up with hot cocoa. Downtown Jackson also shines bright for the holidays with antler arches illuminating the town square.

The Four Seasons Jackson Hole provides ski-in/ski-out access in Teton Village along with an outdoor heated pool and kids club. With Santa visits, cookie decorating and après-ski activities, it's a magical mountain escape for families.

Munich, Germany

For families who appreciate Old World charm, Munich provides the perfect backdrop for a December vacation. The Bavarian capital dazzles during the holiday season with its festive Christmas markets brimming with handmade gifts, ornamented stalls and delicious treats.

Sip hot chocolate as you browse the stalls at Marienplatz, Munich's central square. Let the kids ride the carousel before venturing to the nearby Deutsches Museum, filled with interactive science and technology exhibits. The Englischer Garten provides an urban greenspace to enjoy some outdoor time.

Munich offers many family-friendly attractions like BMW World and the Hellabrunn Zoo. Take a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle where kids can imagine themselves as royalty. When it's time to unwind, Hotel Bayerischer Hof Munich welcomes families with board games, movie nights and adjoining rooms.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago dazzles during the holiday season with festive lights along Michigan Avenue, seasonal attractions like the Christkindlmarket and the chance for frozen fun at Millennium Park. Families can come in from the cold to explore Chicago’s world-class museums including the Art Institute, Field Museum and Museum of Science and Industry. Kids of all ages will marvel at the displays.

Chicago River and cityscape

In the evening, take in a show like the Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker or a seasonal production at the Goodman Theatre. Staying downtown at Hotel Allegro Chicago or Swissotel Chicago provides proximity to all the holiday happenings.

London, England

For families who appreciate exploring historic cities, London shines during the holidays. Popular Christmas markets at Hyde Park, Leicester Square and Southbank Centre provide festive cheer. Grab a bratwurst and browse the stalls for handmade crafts and ornaments. Don’t forget to sample the mulled wine!

Take a spin on the London Eye for panoramic city views or explore exhibits like the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. Harry Potter fans will revel at the Hogwarts-themed Christmas feast at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

The grand hotels of London like The Ritz London or Corinthia London host special holiday teas and events. With its abundance of seasonal entertainment and child-friendly attractions, London offers a quintessential Christmas destination for families.

Grapevine, Texas

Everything's bigger in Texas, including Christmas festivities! The town of Grapevine embraces its designation as the Christmas Capital of Texas with over 1,400 yuletide events annually. At the Gaylord Texan Resort, Lone Star Christmas celebrations unfold on a grand scale.

Sunset in the vineyard

From mid-November through December, the Gaylord Texan's 'I Love Christmas Movies' theme turns the property into a winter wonderland. Families can walk through scene recreations from holiday classics like Elf and A Christmas Story. Seasonal activities like ice skating, gingerbread decorating and visits with Santa make it a Christmastime dream for families.

Grapevine's Historic Downtown also dazzles with holiday parades, Christmas wine tastings, festive concerts and more. After a day of Yuletide adventures, families can cozy up by the fire pits back at the Gaylord Texan.

New York City, New York

From the iconic Rockefeller Center tree to the festive storefronts along 5th Avenue, New York City becomes a magical metropolis during the holidays. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular delights audiences with high-kicking Rockettes and a Living Nativity performance.

Families can gaze at elaborate holiday window displays before bundling up for an ice skating session at Bryant Park, Central Park or Rockefeller Center. Don't miss a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park to fully embrace the seasonal spirit.

After a day exploring New York's holiday attractions, return to festive lodging like New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square or Lotte New York Palace near St. Patrick's Cathedral. With its iconic landmarks adorned for the season, New York provides the quintessential Christmas backdrop.

Maui, Hawaii

For families seeking a warm winter getaway, the Hawaiian island of Maui is a festive December destination. Idyllic beaches, lush jungles and the unique volcanic terrain of Haleakala National Park provide an awe-inspiring setting for holiday memories.

Road to Hana-Maui

Watch the locals surf at Hookipa Beach Park or tour the glacially-carved 'Iao Needle rock formation. Learn to stand-up paddleboard, enjoy a zodiac raft tour or submarine adventure. Luau shows infuse Hawaiian music, hula dancing and storytelling for cultural immersion.

Family-friendly resorts like the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa or Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea allow kids and adults to enjoy amenities at their pace. With its stunning natural scenery and Hawaiian holiday spirit, Maui offers families a one-of-a-kind December destination.


The December holidays provide the perfect opportunity to plan a special vacation with your family and loved ones. No matter what experience you’re looking for, there are fantastic destinations that make the most of the festive season.

When determining the ideal location for your family this December, think about the ages and interests of your children along with seasonal events and climate. Focus on destinations that offer varied activities and entertainment to delight every member of the family.

By carefully selecting the location, you can craft a holiday vacation that allows you to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in a new place filled with seasonal magic. Create memories together that you’ll cherish for years to come. The destinations above all promise delight and wonder for families this December.

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