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10 Family Vacation Destinations to Beat the Cold of Winter

With winter on its way, it’s time to start planning a sunny family getaway. But don’t limit your escape to a familiar resort or theme park, says Jennifer Miner, one of the three founders of blog. “The surprise of a new place on vacation is something that’s so wonderful,” she says. Miner and her two partners, Kara Williams and Beth Blair, share tips for seasonal getaways with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Palm Springs, Calif.

This desert getaway appeals to all ages, Williams says. For adults, there are spas, golf, shopping and restaurants, while kids will love the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the hands-on Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, or a family hike to 49 Palms Oasis at nearby Joshua Tree National Park. 800-347-7746;

Puerto Rico

You may not need a passport, but this Caribbean island offers an exotic international getaway close to home for families, couples or singles. There’s plenty of natural appeal from kayaking in a bioluminescent bay where microscopic algae glow in the dark, to jungle hiking in El Yunque National Forest, Williams says. Or soak in history wandering the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. Visit on a Sunday and watch kite fliers at Fort San Felipe del Morro, a stone citadel. 800-866-7827;

Lake Charles, La.

Celebrate Mardi Gras family-style at this southwestern Louisiana city, where the parades and festivities play up tradition more than titillation. There’s also opportunity for beaches, biking, and exploring marshland along the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, says Blair. “The food is so good, and the scenery is just pretty with Spanish moss and big oak trees and swamp land.” 800-456-7952;

Island of Hawaii

It’s volcanoes that draw Miner to the Big Island of Hawaii. “You can go and see the lava flowing into the ocean and the island getting bigger.” One of her favorite excursions is hiking through Thurston Lava Tube at Volcanoes National Park. “For kids who have a little bit of Indiana Jones in them, it’s an incredible place.” And for beaches, the island’s Kohala coast can’t be beat. 800-464-2924,

Carlsbad, Calif.

This northern San Diego County town attracts families to its Legoland theme park, but for Miner the appeal goes further. “This is a beachy community,” she says. “It has a nice small-town feel.” You can watch surfers tackle the waves, and even sign up for surfing school to try it yourself. 800-227-5722;


Lots of folks switch planes in Atlanta, but Williams says it’s a great place to spend some time. Family favorites include the massive Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca Cola Museum, which has a giant tasting room where visitors can try scores of the company’s beverages sold around the world. Tip: Watch out for Beverly, the bitter Italian soda that’s so bad, it’s good…

Read more: USA Today


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