From skating and skiing to a cozy city lodge and a dose of tropical sunshine, here are four of the best family winter destinations.
Winter Magic in Québec City
Québec City is enchanting year round, but when the first snowflakes fill the skies, it transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Highlights for kids include the iconic Au 1884 on the Dufferin Terrace, a 19th-century wooden toboggan slide where families can hurtle down three icy runs at speeds of up to 70 kph. Children love twirling across the Place d’Youville skating rink, tucked beside the imposing fortifications of Old Québec.
For indoor adventure, ride a spokeless Ferris wheel and take spins on a traditional carousel at the vast amusement complex, Méga Parc. After dark, head just outside the city to Wendake for an immersive experience at Onhwa’ Lumina. Dazzling light, sound and video projections along a winding forest trail showcase the culture of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
In the heart of the old city, with spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River, the landmark Fairmont Château Le Frontenac is ideally situated for your winter stay. Keep your eyes peeled for Jasper, the resident canine ambassador, who’s available for cuddles several times a week.
Snowy Delights in the Canadian Rockies
A different Jasper awaits in western Canada. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, set amid the lofty peaks and glacial lakes of its namesake national park, is the ultimate winter retreat. It’s easy to fill your days without leaving the resort. Whether your kids want to snowshoe powdery paths, whiz across the Lake Mildred skating rink or play an impromptu hockey game, the winter activity center provides complimentary gear. You can also rent cross-country skis to glide along groomed trails on the golf course, while teens can have a blast zooming beneath soaring summits on fat-tire bikes.
For kids who prefer to barrel downhill on skis, it’s a short drive to Marmot Basin. Junior shredders can master turns or hit the mini terrain park for private lessons, bookable for up to five people with your choice of instructor.
After a day of outdoor escapades, warm up beside a flickering fire in The Great Hall, an elegant and welcoming space with dramatic views of Lac Beauvert. The kids can reenergize with creamy mac ‘n’ cheese followed by sundaes smothered with sprinkles, chocolate shavings and whipped cream.
Visiting the Windy City in winter just got a whole lot cozier thanks to the opening of the chic Fairmont Lodge. Bringing the outdoors indoors, this creative transformation of the lobby at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park entices you out of the cold with warm décor and snug indoor fire pit tables. Book a spot at this sophisticated, seasonal hangout to indulge in sweet or savory fondue or chomp on decadent s’mores (not forgetting handcrafted cocktails for the parents).
When you do venture out, there’s no shortage of exciting and family-friendly things to do. Topping the list is the winding Skating Ribbon that curls around Maggie Daley Park with the city skyline as a backdrop. Another popular choice is an outing to Northerly Island. On Polar Adventure Days, held on select winter Saturdays, you can snowshoe, meet birds of prey or watch husky teams in action.
If your kids are craving more sweet stuff, look no further than JoJo’s Shake Bar, whose elaborate milkshakes are stacked high with cookies, marshmallows and candies.
Sunshine and Snorkeling in Maui
For a winter getaway with blissfully warm sunshine, phenomenal beaches and a laid-back vibe, Maui checks all the boxes. The spacious suites at Fairmont Kea Lani are perfect for family travel, whether you’re visiting with a couple of kids or all the cousins and grandparents. Set in lush tropical gardens, with unforgettable views of golden sands and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the luxury resort is the ideal place to unwind and connect with nature.
Laze in a shaded cabana, sip a cool drink at the swim-up bar, and watch the kids whoosh between pools on the 140-ft water slide. At Polo Beach, you can scan the horizon for breaching humpback whales or snorkel among vividly colored coral and tropical fish. Older kids love the chance to paddle a Hawaiian outrigger canoe with a ho’okele (navigator), while tots can peek into tide pools to spy sea creatures.
A fantastic way to connect with the island beyond the resort property is by participating in Fairmont Kea Lani’s Rooted in Aloha reforestation initiative. Families can help to restore the island’s native forests by planting trees on the slopes of Haleakalā while taking in spectacular views.
All set for a memorable winter vacation? Wherever you go, when you book with Fairmont, you’ll create family memories to last a lifetime.