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 getting a discount at some of the nation's best ski resorts in the offseason to going whale watching in Virginia Beach, there are plenty of places you and your family can go this February.
Presidents Day takes place on the third Monday of February. While some families take their vacation from the Friday before to the following Sunday, most of the following 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 kids, for instance, there are several places that allow kids to ski and snowboard for free, and there are even ways that you can save up to 85 percent on lift tickets for all ages.
Entry to all national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges across America is free throughout Presidents Day Weekend, and many of the country's top destinations throw fantastic events all winter long.
With well over 400 properties run by the National Park Service, it's likely that you live within driving distance of several wonderful sites that offer free admission. From Pinnacles National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are plenty of places worth exploring this holiday weekend. However, if you plan to camp in warmer southern parks this weekend, you may still need to pay a camping fee at the Ranger's Station.
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, where you can 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 you can check the website for current offers, which range from the "Kids Eat Free" package to a romantic getaway package for two.
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.
If you head to the Great Lakes in February, you might even see the Northern Lights on a late-night trek through the snow. Some of the best places to skate include New York City's outdoor rinks in Central Park and outside of Rockefeller Center.
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 will be open this Presidents Day Weekend.
In the Midwest, you can head to Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, or the Great Wolf Lodges in Ohio, Kansas, or Minnesota; in the Mid-Atlantic, you can head to Camelback Lodge in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, or Sahara Sam's Oasis in West Berlin, New Jersey; in the Northeast, you can stop by Six Flags Great Escape Lodge in Lake George, New York, or the Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, Massachusetts; in the Southeast, you can stay at Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee, or the Great Wolf Lodges in Virginia and North Carolina; and in the West, you can stay at the Silver Rapids Water Park in Kellogg, Idaho, or the Great Wolf Lodges in Washington, California, and Oregon.
The birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and George Washington (February 22nd) 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.
Rent a Vacation Home in One of These Hot Spots
According to HomeAway.com, the largest online vacation rental listing site, Americans are flocking to the mountains for the three-day holiday weekend each year. With just one exception, the 10 markets driving the most inquiries for vacation home rentals over Presidents Day Weekend are mountain resort towns where scenic views and ski slopes are often the main draws.
If you're looking for an escape this Presidents Day Weekend, consider heading to the Poconos in Pennsylvania; Big Bear, Mammoth Lakes, and South Lake Tahoe in California; Killington in Vermont; Austin in Texas; Las Vegas in Nevada; Breckenridge in Colorado; Gatlinburg in Tennessee; or Orlando in Florida.
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. You can even book a Winter Wildlife cruise with local outfitter Rudee Tours, nicknamed "the Whale Whisperer," who will take you up close and personal with these majestic creatures.