Start out the New Year making lasting memories with a fun family vacation! These family vacation ideas are perfect for keeping kids entertained when the holidays are over and kick off the new year with excitement and adventure!
To inspire your next family vacation, look for ideas in a book such as the personalized storybook My U.S.A Road Trip! Customized with your child’s name, photo, skin tone, home state and more, this book teaches kids about all fifty states and just might spark the idea for your future travels.
Best Family Vacations in the New Year
Disney World, Florida
Disney World is a perfect family vacation in the New Year for families seeking a more rigorous, activity-filled trip. January and early spring are perfect times to visit Disney World due to low crowd levels and mild temperatures. This time frame also offers a more affordable family vacation, with prices being lower in January for family resorts.
Make sure to purchase park-hopper tickets, so your family can visit multiple parks each day and take advantage of Fastpass+, which lets you skip the regular line and take the fast lane for three rides per day. To make waiting in line easier, bring games, toys, or a personalized Disney storybook and keep kids entertained.
Disney World also offers fun special events for kids, such as the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Take in the stage shows, parades, specialty snacks, and dine at kid-friendly restaurants like Be Our Guest. Kids will also love character meet-and-greets at all the parks. A Disney World family vacation is the perfect place to make lasting memories and take fun family photos!
Aulani is a Disney Hawaii family resort in Ko Olina and offers endless activities for kids, plus relaxing moments for mom and dad. Kids can meet and take photos with Mickey Mouse, swim in the pools—including a splash zone ideal for younger kids, participate in pool party activities, and play on the Ko Olina Lagoon beach making sand castles.
As a family, you can also purchase tickets for the special resort lu’au, embark on a scavenger hunt to solve riddles and find surprises, listen to stories around the fire pit, and sign up for a guided tour of the island by catamaran, horseback, or on foot.
For mom and dad, the resort offers a family spa and a Ko Olina Golf Club to play 18 holes—kids play free after 3:00PM! The Aulani Disney Resort & Spa offers an array of family activities, so you can tailor your family vacation according to your needs and preferences.
New York City
Spend a fun New Year’s family vacation in the vibrant and busting city of New York! Visit the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and the American Museum of Natural History. Take a long walk through Central Park. Shop in Times Square and see a Broadway musical that’s kid-friendly such as The Lion King, Wicked, Frozen, or School of Rock.
With so many things to do and so many places to go, you’ll barely be out in the cold between excursions. The subway system provides an easy and affordable method of transportation for families to travel across New York City. And if you need a quick snack break, the Serendipity 3 Ice Cream Parlor is famous for its frozen hot chocolate.
Sedona is a beautiful and relaxing family vacation destination where kids can climb and explore among the red rocks. Learn about your surroundings and take a guided jeep tour. Visit popular sites such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock, the Palatki Heritage Site– ancient cliff dwellings built from 1100 to 1400 CE, and the Sedona Heritage Museum. Sedona is also a perfect place to take a scenic drive or go hiking at Slide Rock State Park and the West Fork Trail.
Sedona also offers some of the best spas and wellness centers, perfect for parents seeking relaxation after a day of activities. Watch the sun set across the red rocks and take in spectacular views in Sedona, Arizona.
Solvang is a unique family getaway spot, known for Danish style architecture and located in the Santa Ynez Valley. Enjoy shopping through the village and pick up some old-fashioned candy or have ice cream at the Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor! Families can take a ride on the Solvang trolley—a historic, wooden, horse-drawn street car and part of Solvang’s cultural heritage. Go on a picnic at Hans Christian Andersen park or venture on a scavenger hunt at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art.
Solvang is a perfect destination for families who love animals and the outdoors. At Ostrich Land, kids can see and feed more than 100 ostriches and emus. If your children love horses, the Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch is a breeding facility with free viewing from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Cachuma Lake Recreation Area offers year-round guided wildlife cruises on a pontoon, a Junior Ranger program, hiking, fishing, and camping. There are also more than 120 wineries to explore around Solvang. Experience the beauty of nature in this quaint Danish village for a unique family vacation with kids.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite is the perfect place for an exciting family adventure! There are miles of valley to explore with numerous hiking trails and camping spots. Visit the Happy Isles Art and Nature Center or the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center for interactive exhibits for kids and become a junior ranger or little cub!
Yosemite offers spectacular views and sights everywhere. See the enormous and majestic sequoia trees at the Mariposa Grove. You can also visit epic waterfalls, such as Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls tumbles over 2,000 feet to the valley floor and is the most iconic waterfall in the valley.
In the winter, Yosemite is the perfect place to go snowshoeing and skiing. Take your family on a unforgettable New Year vacation that encourages kids to explore in nature.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Escape the cold weather to the mild, warm climate of Sanibel Island. Kids can collect seashells, swim, eat delicious and fresh seafood, and star gaze at night. Stay at a hotel with a heated pool, so kids can swim at all hours—even on chilly January nights. Take a sea life cruise around Tarpon Bay that includes touch tank aquariums, so kids can touch and explore different kinds of sea life! Sanibel Island is a perfect family destination for parents seeking a more relaxing trip, and for kids who love the beach.
Family Vacation Packing List
Once you decide on your best family vacation in the new year, you’ll want to make sure you pack all the essentials. Check out the family travel packing list below to stay organized for your next trip!
- Clothes for the family (and don’t forget pajamas!)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Bathroom essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, soap, deodorant
- Diapers and baby wipes (including swim diapers)
- Diaper rash cream
- Baby powder
- Car Seat
- Stroller and stroller fan
- Changing pad
- Sunscreen and sun hats
- Bathing suites
- Medicine: Kid’s Benadryl, Tylenol, kid’s cold medicine
- Clorox wipes
- Water bottle
- Snacks for the kids
- Toys and games
- Personalized children’s storybooks to read while traveling
- Electronic gadgets, including iPads, phones, chargers, etc.