Heading north for the winter may seem like the last thing you want to do. From packing all the down-feather coats and warm boots to loading the kids up in the cold, it can seem a lot less like a vacation and more like work, but, for snow bunnies and winter-loving families, it’s all worth the effort.
‘Tis the season for cold snow, warm fires, holiday markets and comfort food and drinks.
First and foremost, Maine is a winter scene in December. With snow-covered rooftops and inches of fresh powder on the ground, if a white winter season is what your family is looking for, Maine is the place.
Beloved family activities, like cross-country skiing, are plentiful in Maine. Head to the northern regions of the state for otherworldly views of snowy forests and serene white landscapes. You’ll find plenty of winter-ready destinations all over the state, including resorts like Sugarloaf and Sunday River.
Between all the snowmobiling and downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, dogsledding, hiking and toboggan runs at the Camden Snow Bowl, there’s a winter activity for everyone in the family.
Over in Freeport, Maine, visitors find winter-ready shops, cafés and various attractions. It’s definitely not the off-season in towns like Portland, Bar Harbor and Augusta, but Maine has far more locations, boasting a wide variety of fun and relaxation, worth a visit in the winter. Check out the list of shops and local artisans scattered all over Maine. Narrow down your stay by choosing a locale lending to your ski, shop and dining needs based on proximity to your must-visit shopping list.
Maybe the lesser-known city of the same name in the travel world, Portland, Maine, continues to impress in the dining world. With more restaurants opening, including The Maine Oyster Company, Lio and Crunchy Poké, foodie families can find a slew of fresh seafood and inspired cuisine
Know a family visiting Maine after the holidays? You can gift them with an experience through the state’s tourism site. Shop by rock-climbing experiences and tasting tours, or send them down the Kennebec River on a whitewater rafting excursion.
Pro Tip: Don’t feel pressured to overdue and over-plan your winter trip. Depending on the activity level of your family and friends, you can easily discuss with your hotel or resort and find something for the little ones or the less-athletically inclined can do too.
Don’t expect Turin to fit your image of Italy. It’s Italian, all right — the evening passeggiata and a love of good food and wine are alive and well. But you’ll look in vain for medieval cobbled streets, crumbling castles and works by Michelangelo (who never set foot here). Instead, although you’ll find some Roman ruins, you’ll also find a faux medieval village, a world-class film museum and a café life that rivals Vienna’s. You and your family will have fun here.
Time is running out if you’re gift gathering for the travelers on your holiday shopping list. If you still have stockings to fill, here are some fun picks:
Are your kids astronaut wannabes? Or maybe a holiday tradition in your family is to re-watch Macauley Culkin’s Home Alone every year. Either way, the brand new, dual-branded 342-room Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown South Loop and the historic 1928 Whitehall Hotel have packages designed for the little ones in your family.
Traveling the countryside without adding miles to your car may sound like a riddle, but it’s really just a clever family travel plan offering the best of both worlds. Enjoy quality time with the family and view rolling scenery without having eyes on the road with train travel.