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A family of four stops to play in the snow while skiing the slopes of Lake Tahoe.

Winter Vacations the Whole Family Will Love

Article by Kat Johnson 12.13.2018

Whether your family craves culture or the outdoors, discover one of these dreamy winter escapes sure to please travelers of all ages.

Natural Wonders and Theme Park Magic in Orlando, Florida

A family of four canoes down Shingle Creek in the Florida Everglades.

Orlando is one of the world’s top family destinations, but its appeal is about more than a certain mouse. Winter here is mild, making it easy to explore Orlando’s charms. Head to the top of the dizzyingly high ICON Orlando for astounding views, then try Shake Shack’s famous burgers or world-class sushi at Morimoto Asia. Tucked between the well-known theme parks and hidden gem-natural habitats, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes Kids Club offers immersive activities with a focus on nature, from outdoor explorations to science adventures. End the day with garden-to-table Southern cuisine, cocktails and kid-approved desserts from Highball and Harvest.

 

Snowy Outdoor Thrills in Lake Tahoe, California

A family of four stops to play in the snow while skiing the slopes of Lake Tahoe.

Come the first snowfall, Lake Tahoe is a winter wonderland for the active family: skiing and snowboarding, ice skating and sledding, sleigh rides and snowman building. Just 10 minutes north at Northstar California Resort is The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, where kid-friendly programs include the activity-packed Ritz Kids and an all-levels ski school. Even the littlest ones can learn to conquer the mountain; the school offers lessons for children 3 years-old and up. For snowplay, head to Tahoe Donner, where everyone will enjoy sledding, snowball-launching contests, snowman-building competitions, even night tubing for tweens and teens. The Village at Northstar boasts an ice-skating rink ringed by outdoor fire pits — perfect for s’mores and hot cocoa — and live entertainment. All this activity is sure to stoke appetites. The ski-in, ski-out patio at Backyard Bar & BBQ offers belly-warming pizzas, burgers and brats, while the comfort food at Jax at the Trax gets the stamp of approval from Food Network’s Guy Fieri.

 

Take the Road Less Traveled in Shanghai, China

A nighttime view of The Bund, Shanghai’s waterfront area.

For families who want to push the travel envelope a bit, China is an exciting destination to explore with your kids in tow. By December, Shanghai’s peak tourist season has begun to mellow, which makes it a smart time to experience the city from a more local perspective. Not that mellow is the word for Shanghai, which dazzles from all angles, especially its staggering skyline. The tallest buildings are concentrated in the financial district, Lujiazui, home to The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. Head to Flair, whose breathtaking rooftop terrace sits above the IFC tower, for a show-stopping view. Stroll along the Bund, where you can marvel at the East-meets-West architecture, or the tree-lined streets of the French Concession. Uncover rich history and interactive delights at the city’s many museums, like the family-friendly Natural History Museum. And even picky eaters will find something to savor in this food-obsessed city, from succulent soup dumplings to crispy Peking duck — as delicious in Shanghai as it is in Beijing.

 

Traditional Wintertime Celebrations in New York City

Ice skaters glide across a rink in Central Park, surrounded by autumn foliage.

A New York holiday will give your family memories for a lifetime — it may even become an annual tradition. The city is at its most enchanting in winter: Fifth Avenue’s store windows dazzle, while pop-up markets at Grand Central Terminal and Union Square offer some of the best holiday shopping on earth. From The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, it’s a hop, skip and a jump (or horse-drawn carriage ride) to the top attractions, such as Rockefeller Center ice-skating and Broadway theater — Frozen and Mean Girls are hot family tickets this season. But another rich destination lies just a little further off the beaten path. Less than an hour north of Manhattan is The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, at the gateway to the Hudson Valley. Escape the hubbub of the city while enjoying sophisticated family attractions, such as the historic manor of Legend of Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving and a winter tour of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. On property, enjoy a robust Ritz Kids program, a rooftop indoor pool and the premier steakhouse in White Plains, BLT Steak.

 

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Plan Your Stay in these Destinations


  • Orlando

    Location Orlando, Florida

    Experience A magical destination within 500 acres of natural Florida beauty.

    • Bordered by the Florida Everglades
    • 18-hole Greg Norman-signature golf course
    • Easy access to world-famous attractions
  • Lake Tahoe

    Location Truckee, California

    Experience Ski-in/ski-out luxury resort located mid-mountain on Northstar California.

    • Ski Valet and Mountain Concierge
    • Family-friendly winter activities
    • Spacious luxury suites and residences
  • Shanghai

    Location Shanghai, China

    Experience World-class shopping, cultural attractions and entertainment.

    • The first Ritz-Carlton hotel in China
    • Explore the vibrant West Nanjing Road
    • Exclusive experiences on the Club Level
  • Shanghai, Pudong

    Location Shanghai, Pudong, China

    Experience Shanghai’s commercial and financial epicenter, Pudong.

    • #1 Hotel in Asia by readers of Condé Nast
    • Highest rooftop bar in China
    • Luxurious shopping at Shanghai IFC Mall
  • New York, Central Park

    Location Midtown Manhattan

    Experience Sweeping Central Park views from your hotel room

    • Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best
    • Steps away from Central Park
    • Just one block from the famed 5th Avenue