Every winter, about 15 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to CNN. Why have your family be susceptible to winter blues from the same old stay at home this Christmas Break when you can savor the festive sights and sounds of somewhere new? Whether you're hoping to feel sand between your toes or snow crunch beneath your boots, here's five terrific destinations that are bound to make sure your entire family has a happy holiday:
- Park City, Utah — For families seeking a White Christmas, Park City has an annual December snowfall of 44 inches, according to Utah.com. Only about a half hour from Salt Lake International Airport, Park City features three renowned mountain resorts and more than 100 bars and restaurants. In addition to mini snowmobiles for children between the ages of 5 and 12, other kid-friendly activities include hot air balloon rides, skiing, snowboarding and lift-served inner tubing hills
Photo by Keith L Kendrick via Flickr
- San Diego, California — If you’re hoping to soak up a little more sun during your break, there’s plenty of room to do that with the more than 70 miles of beaches in this Southern California spot. In addition to whale watching tours and several family attractions in San Diego, Balboa Park offers 1,200 acres that include 15 major museums, cultivated gardens and the world famous San Diego Zoo. The park features a carousel adjacent to the zoo and the half-mile Balboa Park Miniature Railroad trip takes families through 4 acres of the park in about 3 minutes.
Photo by flickr.com/photos/michael-seljos via Wikimedia Commons
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin — Maybe you’re torn between wanting to swim and wanting to ski. In addition to cabins, cottages and parks featuring 16 downhill runs and numerous trails for skiers, snow on the ground won’t prevent your family from learning why the Dells is referred to as “The Water Park Capital of the World.” Of the many resorts in Wisconsin Dells, there are 23 accommodations with indoor water parks of varying sizes, as well as a wide variety of Dells packages you can choose from for all of your family’s interests.
Photo by Emily TT Sullivan via Flickr
- San Juan, Puerto Rico — USA Today has called this Caribbean island “a prime vacation destination” for American families, also noting that tourists are generally safe in many of the cities here. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, you will not need to secure passports for your family. In addition to surfing and snorkeling among the many beaches, there’s many other unique activities on land for parents and kids alike, such as exploring the caves of Rio Camuy Caves Park or the natural beauty of El Yunque National Forest.
Photo by breezy421 via Flickr
- Stowe, Vermont — The “Ski Capital of the East” has an average snowfall of 22 feet and features more than 3,000 acres of conserved land including more than 100 kilometers of backcountry trails. Kids can also take horse-drawn sleigh rides and frolic on sledding hills. There’s also plenty of opportunities for everybody to satisfy their sweet tooth; fetch some hot cider and see how maple syrup is made. Less than 20 minutes south, families can also take a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory to watch the world famous ice cream get made.
Photo by cdweber via Flickr