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5 Best Warm Winter Vacations for Outdoor Families

Several kids run through the ocean waves together.

Ready for a little fun in the sun? Many families who live in snowy climates are already planning trips to escape the snow and find some sandy beaches to stick their toes in. If you’re considering warm winter vacations with your kids this season, we have some excellent ideas just for you! Warm up in sunny Tampa Bay, where you can hike, see manatees, and check out a nearby beach. Alternatively, enjoy the vibrant cultures, unique biodiversity, and sandy beaches of Puerto Rico. Maybe the rainforests of Hawaii are more your style? No matter what type of warm winter family vacation activities you’re looking for, we have five destination ideas that outdoorsy families will love. Keep reading to discover our top picks for the best sun-soaked, warm winter vacations in the United States for families.

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Best Warm Winter Vacations for Families

Want to escape the snow and hit the beach? This year, plan a fun, warm winter trip with kids! There are plenty of great places to explore, from Hawaii to Florida. Here's where to go if you’re looking for some of the best warm winter vacations for outdoorsy families in the sun and sand.

Tampa Bay, Florida

A mom and her young daughter search for manatees in Tampa Bay.

Next on our list of the best winter vacations for families, Tampa Bay, Florida, is a fantastic destination for families seeking fun in the sun. From Cuban culture and exciting theme parks (like Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay) to year-round outdoor adventures, Tampa Bay is a bucket list destination for many families. Located on the Gulf Side of Florida, families should expect warm weather and gorgeous river views. 

Start your visit by exploring Ybor City, the historic Cuban neighborhood in Tampa Bay. Here, families should plan to dine at The Columbia Restaurant (Florida’s oldest restaurant!), explore the Ybor City Museum, and stroll along 7th Avenue to get a sense of the history and charm here. Ready to explore new terrain? The area’s best hiking can be found at Hillsborough River State Park and nearby Alafia River State Park. As one of the best warm winter family vacations, don’t forget to hit the beach at neighboring Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, or Indian Rocks Beach. 

Looking for more kid-friendly activities to add to your itinerary? Spend time ZooTampa, The Florida Aquarium, or walking along the Tampa Riverwalk. Or, try one of the many museums, including Glazer Children’s Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry. Finally, time your visit right, and you can see manatees at the TECO Manatee Viewing Center. With so many outdoor adventures and other unique experiences, no wonder Tampa Bay is one of the top winter destinations for families.

Family-Friendly Hotels in Tampa Bay

Wondering where to stay in Tampa Bay with your kids? There are plenty of family-friendly options to consider, including Hilton Tampa Downtown, JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, and The Westin Tampa Waterside - all in the downtown area. Alternatively, families also enjoy staying at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Hotel Haya, and the Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown. With so many kid-friendly options here, it is no wonder that Tampa Bay is one of the best warm winter vacations for families!


Adri and her young son hike in Hawaii.

Want a warm location that offers something for everyone in your family? Look no further than Hawaii! Families flock to Hawaii for its unique blend of warm temperatures, vibrant culture, and outdoor adventures. With several fantastic islands and cities to choose from, Hawaii is undoubtedly one of the best winter destinations with kids. When looking for a Hawaiian destination with kids, most families opt for islands like Maui, Kauai, and O'ahu.


Maui showcases lush landscapes and golden beaches that kids will love! Here, families even have the chance to see humpback whales. They migrate to its warm waters during the winter season (November through May). Embark on a whale-watching excursion for an unforgettable family adventure! Then, families can also go parasailing, biking down volcanoes, hiking, and more. For hiking, consider Pipiwai Trail, Twin Falls Hike, or Wai’anapanapa Coastal Trail. Plus, you can’t miss Haleakalā National Park! For unparalleled views of the island, take the Road to Hana. This winding coastal road features waterfalls, bamboo forests, and sweeping ocean views!


In Kauai, families can explore breathtaking waterfalls, enjoy scenic hikes, and discover the stunning Napali Coast. Due to its calm waters and low-key vibe, it’s the best option for families with young kids or those looking for a laid-back experience. When you’re ready to build sand castles and enjoy the sun, head to Pali Ke Kua Beach, Shipwreck Beach, or Po’ipu Beach Park (which has a nearby playground). Snorkeling is also a fun option on the island! If you’re searching for kid-friendly hikes, check out Ho’opi Falls Hike and the Nounou Mountain Sleeping Giant Trail. Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is another great option for exploring together. Finally, don’t miss Waimea Canyon (also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”). It’s located within Waimea Canyon State Park.


Lastly, O'ahu is the heart of Hawaii. This island boasts family-friendly activities like the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Waikiki Aquarium. Additionally, O'ahu has some of the best beaches in Hawaii for families. Soak up the sun and surf on Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach, or Waimea Bay. If you’re interested in snorkeling, Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation. Here, kids will delight in seeing tons of colourful fish and other sea creatures. If your family is interested in US history, include time to visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.

Planning to visit the Big Island of Hawaii too? Here are the 7 Best Big Island Family Hikes (all done by Adrianna!). With so many fun islands and places to visit, you'll quickly see why Hawaii is one of our favorite warm winter vacations for outdoorsy families.

Family-Friendly Hotels in Hawaii

Ready to book your stay in Hawaii with kids? There are several excellent, family-friendly hotels to choose from across the islands. In Maui, families enjoy the rooms and amenities at Hyatt Residence Club Maui, Ka’anapali Beach, and The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka’anapali Beach. Alternatively, in Wailea, consider Fairmont Kea Lani - Maui, among many more options.

In Kauai, family favorites like Hanalei Bay Resort, Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection, and Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa are sure to impress. Finally, if you’re heading to O'ahu, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa is a must for Disney families. Alternatively, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, and Turtle Bay Resort are also lovely for families.

Puerto Rico

A young girl runs along a hiking trail in Puerto Rico.

Warm winter vacations with kids don’t get much better than Puerto Rico. This U.S. territory has everything outdoorsy families want in a vacation, including epic hikes, beaches, national forests, and more! While many families choose to stay in San Juan, nature enthusiasts may prefer to get out of San Juan and enjoy other parts of the island. Most notably, the western side of the island near Aguadilla or Añasco. Here, families will find quieter, less touristy natural lands, cozy cities, and friendly locals.

Before leaving San Juan, check out El Yunque National Forest. We recommend making reservations in advance of your visit. Tickets are released one month in advance. Plus, a few spots are released 24 hours before entry. After arriving, embark on one of the many family-friendly hikes, search for waterfalls, and climb the historic tower. Here, take in the scenic view of the rainforest below. Kids will also love spotting birds, insects, and small lizards! Afterward, families with older kids can take a Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour. Most tour operators are found in Fajardo and have an age minimum of 6 years old.

More to Explore in Puerto Rico with Kids

On the island's western side, you’ll find plenty of outdoor experiences to fill your itinerary and keep kids happy. When you’re ready to hit the beach, try Crash Boat Beach or Colón Beach (which features a giant tree house play area). While not ideal for swimming due to the currents, Survival Beach is lovely for a secluded picnic. Survival Beach requires a fairly intense hike to get to - but most moderately experienced hikers (even kids) will be able to make it. It’s short in terms of distance, but it will require some climbing and lots of walking over unsteady ground. Watch the tides, and wear closed-toed shoes. The trailhead is just off Surfers’ Beach (which is great for watching surfers, but another beach that’s too dangerous for swimming). 

Then, explore Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, which offers its own beaches, a lighthouse, and opportunities to learn a lot about the ecosystems and endangered species here. Finally, add Cascada Gozalandia, a waterfall near San Sebastian, to your itinerary. Or, Cueva del Viento, a cave near Isabela. With so many great outdoor exploration options, it’s no wonder Puerto Rico is one of the best winter vacations with kids!

Family-Friendly Hotels in Puerto Rico

In San Juan, families like staying at the Caribe Hilton, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, and El Conquistador Resort. On the western side, many families like Rincon Beach Resort in Añasco. Finally, Vrbo is another great option for families interested in staying on and exploring the island's west side. Many offer pools and fantastic locations for exploring.

Sedona, Arizona

A young boy enjoys a hike in Sedona.

While perhaps an unusual choice for a "warm" weather winter destination, Sedona, Arizona, is filled with fun outdoor adventures. Temperatures range between 12° Celsius (54° Fahrenheit) at the beginning of the winter season, and into the high 20s Celsius (high 60s Fahrenheit) by the end of March - making it much warmer than many snowy destinations in northern parts of the US and Canada. Known for its iconic red rock formations, Sedona's winter charm lies in its mild temperatures, creating an ideal setting for families to explore the stunning landscapes.

The area's extensive trail system offers various options for all ages, from easy treks to more challenging day hikes. If you’re ready to hit the trails, families typically like Fay Canyon Trail, Birthing Cave Trail, Cathedral Rock, West Fork, Seven Sacred Pools, and Eagle’s Nest Trail Sedona - to name just a tiny sample of the many options! For a more challenging hike, Bell Rock Pathway is a 7-mile round-trip hike with up-close views of the iconic rock formations! Of course, Devil’s Bridge Trail is an iconic option. Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock are also top experiences in Sedona with kids. 

Beyond hiking, Sedona's winter allows for other thrilling outdoor activities, such as jeep tours, hot air balloon rides, mountain biking, and stargazing under the clear desert skies. Then, you can learn about local indigenous communities at Montezuma Castle National Monument (full accessible trails here, too!) or the Palatiki National Heritage Site. Plus, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most popular things to do in Sedona. Finally, just 20 minutes from Sedona, Trail Horse Adventures offers horseback riding in Dead Horse Ranch State Park. 

Family-Friendly Hotels in Sedona

Looking for kid-friendly hotels in Sedona? Try Adobe Gran Villas for a Pueblo-style accommodation. Those needing budget hotels in Sedona will enjoy Courtyard Sedona by Marriott, Amara Resort and Spa, and Junipine Resort, among other places. Finally, Enchantment Resort and L’Auberge De Sedona both offer luxury stays with kid-friendly amenities.

The Florida Keys

A lighthouse in the Florida Keyes.

As one of the best warm winter vacations for families, the Florida Keys offers everything you need for a fun getaway with kids. Here, families are drawn to the area’s enticing blend of tropical charm and diverse outdoor adventure opportunities. From snorkeling and kayaking in crystal-clear waters to paddleboarding along picturesque coastlines, the Florida Keys offer a paradise for water enthusiasts. Not to mention, the Florida Keys is your access point to Dry Tortugas National Park!

Start your adventures in Key West, where you can take in the city’s charm as you get settled. Let Key West introduce itself to your family by taking the Old Town Trolley Tour. The tour provides 100 points of interest across the entire island! Then, home-school families, and literary enthusiasts, can visit Ernest Hemingway’s home. While the beaches here are generally manufactured, there are still opportunities for fun in the sand and surf. Families like Higgs Beach (includes a playground) and Historic Fort Zachary Taylor Park. Additionally, families can find several opportunities for cruises, water sports, glass-bottom boat tours, and more across the Florida Keys.

Other attractions in the Florida Keys for families include the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory Learning Center, the Key West Lighthouse, the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum, and the Key West Aquarium. With so many great things to do, you’ll quickly see why this is one of the best warm winter family vacations.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Then, accessible by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote park that boasts pristine coral reefs, historic Fort Jefferson, and unspoiled natural beauty. Families can explore the plethora of marine life by snorkeling together. Then, enjoy the historic architecture of the fort together while you learn about the area’s history. While the winter season (December to April) can be marked by strong winds and rough seas, it also means smaller crowds and great bird watching. Do your research while planning your winter visit to ensure you know what to expect.

Family-Friendly Hotels in the Florida Keys

As one of the best winter weekend getaways for families, plenty of hotels in the Florida Keys are ideal with kids. In Key West, families love staying at Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, Parrot Key Hotel & Villas, and Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa. Outside of Key West, consider Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo, or Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key. You can also check the family-friendly options on Vrbo!


Let's Explore!

A young boy enjoys a desert hike.

We hope you found this post on the best warm winter vacations for families helpful in planning your own sunny adventures. From sun-soaked Florida to mild temperatures in Arizona, one thing is certain - you and your kids will make unforgettable memories embarking on fun outdoor adventures this winter.

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