For the past few years my family has taken a short trip during January or February. While our destinations were not far, nor exotic, they provided memories and rejuvenation. A 2 or 3-day getaway during the winter is an affordable and fun way for families to break up the doldrums of the season, and experience something new together.
Here’s how I plan our winter getaways:
Choose Location Based on Proximity.
Because the trips are only a couple days, I don’t want to spend a long time on the road, so the locations of our trips are always 2 ½ hours or less from Richmond.
Find Free Fun.
I find free activities, including public libraries and parks for us to explore. Since these particular venues are new to my children, they’re exciting and fun. When traveling, we frequently use playgrounds to “get the wiggles out,” after being in the car, and/or while waiting for room check-in.
Discover Sites of Mutual Appreciation.
I try to choose places and activities that my entire crew will enjoy without our trip becoming completely kid-centered. For example, Williamsburg offers hands-on history that both my husband and I love; while my children are completely content to stroll the Duke of Gloucester Street, greeting the colonial reenactors. It’s a win-win!
Here are a few places I recommend when planning your family’s winter getaway:
LoveRidge Mountain Lodging
Our family loved staying in one of LoveRidge’s cozy cabins, located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Complete with a full kitchen, a children’s play space, game closet (filled with tons of board games and books), this is a picturesque venue to create family memories. It’s also incredibly economical, as we brought and cooked our own food from home. Unlike most family trips, we did not spend any money other than the lodging.
Read our full LoveRidge recap.
Would you like to win a 2-night stay at LoveRidge?! Register and attend our Summer Camp Expo!
Massanutten is one of the first places that comes to mind when I think of winter in Virginia as It offers a variety of cold-weather activities: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, an arcade, indoor swimming, and much more. While my family has little (basically none!) experience with winter sports; I find everything at Massanutten to be accommodating to all levels novice-expert. For example, the option of helmet rental at the ice skating rink allowed us newbies to try out our skills without fear of serious injury.
If you’re hesitant to try skiing or snowboarding, try snow tubing instead! It’s a blast, and if your kids are apprehensive they can ride with their tube tied to yours. We all agreed tubing was our favorite activity of the trip! If you are planning to bring food from home, consider staying at The Regal Vistas, where you’ll have a full kitchen.
A popular destination during warmer months, I like to save Williamsburg for the winter, so it will be less crowded. While you can pay for many activities, like a guided tour of Colonial Williamsburg, or tickets to Busch Gardens, there are also plenty of free things to do. For example, two unique playgrounds within 10 minutes of another: Kidsburg and Kiwanis Park are both completely free to visit. Kidsburg is an inclusive playground with two ziplines! Additionally, Williamsburg Regional Library, just off Duke of Gloucester Street has a huge children’s section with tons of hands-on toys. And of course, it is totally free to meander Duke of Gloucester Street and have a picnic in front of the Governor’s Palace.
For paid activities, consider the aforementioned Busch Gardens and tour of Colonial Williamsburg, as well as ice skating at Liberty Ice Pavilion, and treats at Blackbird Bakery.
I know–the beach in the winter doesn’t sound like much fun, but trust me when I say our February Virginia Beach trip was a blast! Although we did not swim in the water, we walked on the beach and listened to the waves. My children still loved running in the sand, despite the cold.
For indoor fun consider The Military Aviation Museum, where patrons can view over 50 aircraft from the World War I and World War II-era. Another option is Virginia Aquarium, where you’ll see zebra sharks, barracuda, and more!
A final reason to visit Virginia Beach during the winter?! Lodging is much less expensive!
Will your family take a getaway this winter?! We’d love to hear about it! Tag us @rfmtoday on social and show us where you went and what you did!