Winter vacations for families

snow angels

Winter activity vacations are a big pull on the family budget, especially on the back of Christmas. Although, if you choose wisely, they can often be the most memorable escapes you will have together. Most importantly, frosty, family fun doesn’t have to mean downhill skiing. Try hiking through the snow dusted Grand Canyon, snowshoeing and jumping into thermal pools in Slovakia, or reindeer/husky sledding in Lapland. There are many carefully crafted and expertly guided winter vacations for families out there, which go way off piste and way off the tourist trail too. Leave the chair lifts queues behind and lift your snow angels’ spirits in a completely new and exciting way.

Winter activities for families

What to do with little ones

Meet Sámi in Lapland. Spending time with these indigenous people will open your children’s eyes to traditions that they won’t believe still exist. Reindeer herding, ice fishing, felt making, igloo building, husky sledding, music and storytelling. Some Sámi experiences can feel a bit fake, so travel with a local expert who understands and supports the culture in a sustainable and non cynical way.
For families who like to hike, there are plenty of snowshoeing opportunities out there, often thrown into activity vacations that include other fun snowy stuff, such as tobogganing, sleigh rides, husky sledding and so on.
But snowshoeing in Slovakia or Sweden, Lapland or the Pyrenees will show them what slow travel, in the snow travel, is all about.
Children’s adrenaline will be pumping on a winter activities vacation, but nothing will stop them in their tracks, or have their heart beating quite as hard as when they see an elk standing proud in the Finnish wilderness. Or a chamois leaping from one icy rock to another in the Alps, an Arctic hare dashing across Lappish snow or a polar bear crossing the tundra.

Winter vacations for families tips

responsible travel asks the experts

Aki Käräjäoja, founder of our supplier Routa Travel, shares his tips on winter vacations tips for families in Finland: “It’s better not to have a very strict timetable and to understand that you are doing things differently than at home because it’s not always easy to plan. Parents often have high expectations but it’s better to be open-minded and see how the kids are and how cold it is. So we can make tours shorter, and instead of a full day sledding, we can go indoors and take a few of the huskies. Thinking flexibly is good – if, after 2km, it’s cold and the kids aren’t happy then you have to work around that.”
Laura Greenman from our winter vacations supplier Magnetic North, and mum: “The outdoor life helps family life as young and old can connect in nature - perhaps working together or enjoying a stunning sight. Our guides pass on their love of the outdoors to the younger generation, partly for fear that society is becoming too sedentary! Many families comment that they have felt closer after experiencing the quiet nature in Norway and spending quality time together away from any distractions. Many trips are adapted for a wide age range such as dog-sledding, snowshoeing, reindeer sledding, camping in the wild, and ice-fishing.”
Photo credits: [Top box: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters] [Meet Sami in Lapland: Heather Sutherland] [Snowshoeing: USFWSmidwest] [Wildlife - chamois: Robert J Heath] [Laura Greenman quote: Suvodeb Banerjee]
Written by Catherine Mack
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Photo credits: [Page banner: Dino Reichmuth]
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