For families all across the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday offers an opportunity for a long weekend getaway for both kids and adults since schools and most workplaces close for this federal holiday.
If you're looking to take your kids on vacation in January this year to enjoy your extra day off, there are plenty of great destinations across the country that offer indoor and outdoor adventures that are perfect for the whole family. Whether you want to teach your kids about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. or you want to relax at a coastal beach resort, there's no shortage of great escapes in the U.S.
The birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a public holiday and long three-day weekend in mid-January, but it's also a great opportunity to take time to learn more about the man and his role in the civil rights movement. You can even plan a family getaway to one of the destinations steeped in his legacy.
Washington, D.C. is a great place to go to celebrate the MLK's legacy; you can attend the annual peace parade or numerous commemorative events across the city or visit the MLK Memorial on the National Mall.
Atlanta, Georgia, is also another great destination for remembering MLK because it was both the city where he was born and where he was laid to rest. If you're visiting Atlanta, be sure to stop by the 22-acre Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which includes his boyhood home, the Baptist church where King pastored, and the "I Have a Dream" World Peace Rose Garden as well as Dr. King's gravesite.
If your family loves spending time on the slopes, the long winter weekend is a terrific opportunity to take a trip to a ski resort, many of which offer family ski vacation deals and few even allow kids to ski and snowboard for free.
The largest ski and snowboard destination in the United States is the Park City Mountain in Utah, and the Sundial Lodge at Canyons Village is one of the best resorts in the area for families. On the East Coast, you can also visit Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire's Bretton Woods ski area, and if you're on the West Coast, don't miss out on the Aston Lakeland Village Beach and Mountain Resort, located on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada on Heavenly Mountain in Lake Tahoe.
As with most federal holidays, national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges across the country offer free admission on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
With well over 400 properties run by the National Park Service, it's likely that you live within driving distance of several wonderful sites offering free admission, which each provides a unique opportunity for your family to explore the natural landscape of America.
The best national parks to visit in January for snow-covered views are Olympic National Park in Washington, Yosemite National Park in California, and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, but you can also escape to warmer weather at the Biscayne National Park in Florida.
No matter if the weather outside is frightful, every day's a pool day at an indoor water park. If you'd rather not endure the winter weather during the long holiday weekend, there are plenty of places to enjoy water fun indoors across the country.
In the Midwest, Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells includes four separate indoor water park buildings while the African-themed Kalahari Sandusky in Ohio is a family-friendly indoor attraction known for being one of the best water park resorts in the region.
In the Northeast, you can escape to the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury, New York, which features a Boogie Bear Surf and a wave simulator, or you can head to the Jay Peak Water Park in Jay, Vermont, which is part of one of the country's most popular ski resorts.
Lacing up skates for a smooth glide around an ice rink is a quintessential winter pastime, and it's likely that you'll find an outdoor rink in your community if you live anywhere the temperatures stay below freezing for most of the winter. However, there are also plenty of really cool places you can take your kids to enjoy a day of ice skating.
Among the best places for a truly magical ice skating adventure is Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida, which has an indoor rink set up for Mickey's Magical Christmas. Other popular destinations include the Sun Valley Ice Rink in Idaho, the Rockefeller Center rink in New York City, and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink in Washington, D.C.
For an entirely different Martin Luther King, Jr. Day adventure, you can spend the weekend with a mix of horseback riding, snow tubing, ice skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and swimming in an indoor pool at the Rocking Horse Ranch in New York's Catskill Mountains.
During the holiday weekend, the Ranch typically offers discounts on accommodations and activities, which include a variety of individual and group outings in the Catskill Mountains.
Get an MLK Special at Mount Snow, Vermont
The lodging-plus-lift tickets Holiday Getaway Package at Mount Snow in Vermont gives you three nights and three days, starts at $248 per person, per night and lets you save on lift tickets. On Sunday night you won't want to miss the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks in the Main Base Area, which celebrates the season and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Also, if you don't want to stay at Mount Snow, there are also plenty of other resorts and hotels in Snow Valley to choose from, so be sure to shop around before you book your vacation.
If you're looking for a warmer way to celebrate the holiday, you can head out to the coast of South Carolina to spend the long weekend on Hilton Head Island. Here, you'll find miles of beaches as well as a number of family-friendly resorts.
Another warm way to celebrate MLK Day is to head to southern California for a day at Legoland. You can book three nights with the Winter Escape package at West Inn & Suites in sunny Carlsbad, California and you'll save 15 percent on your long holiday weekend stay.
In nearby San Diego, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on Sunday is one of the largest celebrations of MLK in the United States, which means you can combine your fun with a bit of education and remembrance.
To really embrace the winter weather, head to Ogunquit, Maine for a special deal over the holiday weekend at the Meadowmere Resort. You can save $100 on a three-day getaway package including breakfast and dinner at this kid-friendly resort, which features an indoor pool, a games room, an on-site movie theater, and a spa.