For many families in the United States, the long Presidents Day weekend is extended even further into a week-long break in the winter school calendar, which makes it the perfect opportunity to plan a vacation somewhere in the United States.
Fortunately, the U.S. is full of fantastic mid-winter getaway destinations where you can make the most of your family vacation time. From grabbing some slope time at the nation's best ski resorts to going whale watching in Virginia Beach, there are plenty of places you and your family can visit this February.
Presidents Day is the third Monday of February, and while some families take their vacation from the Friday before to the following Sunday, many events and destinations will be busier over the long holiday weekend.
If your family loves spending time on the slopes, the long holiday week is a terrific opportunity to get out on the snow. The Sundial Lodge at Canyons Village in Park City, Utah, is one of the best overall resorts in the country while the Ramada Inn by Wyndham in Bozeman, Montana, offers a budget-friendly way to access the slopes of the nearby Bridger Bowl Mountain.
If you don't know where to go, though, picking a ski resort can be quite challenging, especially if you want to save money. Fortunately, if you're traveling with children, there are many ways to save money on your next family ski trip, including choosing a resort that allows kids to ski and snowboard for free, booking a package, and renting equipment the right way.
If you're located in or traveling to the northeast this holiday weekend, you can take a two-hour drive north of New York City to the city of New Paltz, New York, to stay in a Victorian-style castle where kids get their meals for free.
The Mohonk Mountain House is one of America's best all-inclusive resorts for families, and offers special packages and discounts that range from the "Kids Eat Free" package to a romantic getaway package for two. Be sure to call ahead to request the package, because availability is limited.
Although the weather may be cold in upstate New York this time of year, there will be plenty of warmth inside the castle provided by burning fireplaces in guest and common rooms throughout the premises.
If you're a fan of the cold weather, there are plenty of places across the United States where you can take your kids this Presidents Day Weekend for outdoor adventures. You can plan an entire getaway around a cold-weather activity that gets the whole family outside having fun like ice skating or dogsled tours.
Whether you choose to go ice skating in New York City or head to the most remote parts of the Great Lakes for the chance to see the Northern Lights, there's plenty of winter excursion options across the entire country. For a truly unique seasonal activity, visit the Ice Castle in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, an elaborately designed palace constructed completely out of snow and ice.
No matter if the weather outside is frightful, every day's a pool day at an indoor water park. From the Northwest to the Southeast and everywhere in between, there are many great indoor water parks across the United States that are open on Presidents Day Weekend.
Most indoor water parks are concentrated in the Midwest, which makes sense considering the region experiences some of the lowest temperatures in the country. Great Wolf Lodges are located across the U.S., but the original location is in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (several other indoor water parks are also in Wisconsin Dells, the "water park capital of the world").
Further east, the Poconos Mountains region of Pennsylvania is also known for its indoor water parks, such as the massive Kalahari Resort Poconos. If you want to mix your seasonal activities, play in your bathing suit at Jay Peak Water Park in Vermont before hitting the slopes at the adjacent mountain.
The birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22) are a great opportunity to take time to learn more about the men and their legacies, and there are plenty of places across the northeastern United States where you can retrace their footsteps.
In Colonial Williamsburg, for instance, Presidents Day Weekend will be full of events where your family can "meet" founding-father presidents such as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, and hear them deliver some of their most momentous speeches.
Nearby, you can also explore the home of George Washington at Mount Vernon. Admission is free on Presidents Day and on George Washington's Birthday, and special events are always planned around the estate for both holidays.
Of course, don't overlook the obvious choice for a Presidents Day trip to Washington, D.C. Nowhere has as much presidential history as the nation's capital, which you can accompany with a visit to the local monuments, the National Portrait Gallery, or even the White House.
Go Whale Watching in Virginia Beach
February is the prime of whale-watching season in Virginia Beach, which is when the Chesapeake Bay provides a comfortable wintering home for hundreds of humpback and fin whales. In addition to the whales, visitors often see bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, pelicans, and much more.
Stop by the Virginia Aquarium to learn all about these majestic creatures before joining museum researchers on a boat tour into the bay. They'll be able to bring guests to the best viewing spots while also filling in the tour with educational and conservation information. Another option is to book a Winter Wildlife cruise with local outfitter Rudee Tours, nicknamed "the Whale Whisperer," who will take you up close and personal with these gentle giants.
Between national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges, there are over 400 different sites across all 50 states that are overseen by the National Park Service, so chances are good that there's something within driving distance from where you live. The sites that are deemed National Parks are the most well-known and, in general, the most impressive. They're great to visit in any season of the year, but some of them offer some extra magic in the winter—it just depends on what you're looking for.
For a winter wonderland, consider Yosemite National Park in California, Olympic National Park in Washington, or Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. If you're looking to escape the cold, then look no further than Biscayne National Park in Florida. Winter is also one of the best times of the year to visit Death Valley National Park in California, which is unbearably hot once summer arrives.