Where to Ring in the New Year With Kids

Crowds Celebrating New Year On Times Square


Nicolas Schild / EyeEm/Getty Images 

The week immediately after Christmas is a popular time for families to get away. The kids are out of school, and top destinations and family resorts are still decked out with holiday finery.

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New Year's Eve Highlights in New York City

The holiday season is arguably the most exciting time to visit New York City and definitely a time with popular family appeal. November through January, the Big Apple is transformed into a festive holiday destination, from the Christmas tree and ice rink at Rockefeller Center to the beautifully decorated storefronts along Fifth Avenue to the Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. And if you're up to the crush in Times Square, you can watch the famous ball drop.

GetYourGuide provides a number of holiday-themed tours throughout the city, including Brooklyn.

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Snowland at Great Wolf Lodges

Looking for a fun place that's within driving distance? Every day's a pool day at Great Wolf Lodge—even during the holidays—as North America’s largest family of indoor water parks celebrates the season with its annual Snowland event, complete with life-size gingerbread houses, caroling, and more.

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Family-Friendly First Night Celebrations

All across the country, communities host "First Night" events on New Year's Eve with plenty of family-friendly entertainment options to please parents and kids alike. These events typically begin in the afternoon and run through midnight, including a countdown and firework displays.

Here are some of the best First Night celebrations in the USA:




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Woodloch Pines in the Poconos

Woodloch Pines Resort in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, one of America's best all-inclusive resorts, hosts a four-night New Year's Eve Celebration getaway. The package includes accommodations, meals, and activities for all ages, including live music, lots of family-friendly games (gingerbread wars, log hunt, reindeer racing), fireworks, and more.

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Yosemite's Tenaya Lodge

In Yosemite National Park, Tenaya Lodge offers an overnight New Year's Eve Package on December 31st that includes accommodations, admission to live shows, champagne, party favors and a balloon drop. Kids age 13 and older are welcome to attend the adult party, and there are also two special kids-only parties: a carnival-themed bash for children ages 4 to 8 and a "black tie" event for tweens age 9 to 12, each with its own dinner and entertainment.

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Jekyll Island Club Resort

Once an elite members-only club for millionaires, the Jekyll Island Club Resort is now a family-friendly yet still oh-so-grand hotel on Georgia's Jekyll Island. TheNew Year celebration, at Morgan Center, is fun for parents and kids alike, offering an array of activities such as biking, ice skating, horseback riding, croquet, and more. The three-night New Year's Eve package includes accommodations, daily breakfast, and a New Year's Eve dinner and party. 

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Rocking Horse Ranch

Just two hours north of New York City in the Catskill Mountains, Rocking Horse Ranch is a family-friendly resort and dude ranch that has been going strong for over half a century. The New Year's Celebration includes children's parties for different age groups, fireworks, a late-night New Year's buffet and a TV viewing party for watching the ball drop in Times Square. All-inclusive rates cover accommodations, meals, horseback riding, water park access, skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, entertainment, and more.

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Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort

Stay at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort in the Austin area, and you ring in the New Year Texas style, with an outdoor jamboree with a Ferris wheel, carousel, and mini train. The Family New Year’s Eve Celebration package includes a barbecue dinner and breakfast for four, entertainment, and champagne for the grown-ups.

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Oregon's Sunriver Resort

The New Year's Eve Family Night celebration is a big deal at this Oregon resort, where you can expect arcade games, prizes, and a champagne toast (nonalcoholic bubbly for the kids) for the East Coast countdown. The party kicks off at 7:30 and lasts until 9:30 p.m. You'll stay busy at this resort with snowmobiling, dinner buffets, arts and crafts, and sleigh rides.

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State Parks Around the U.S.

Looking for something fun to do on New Year's Day? Wherever your family happens to be celebrating the New Year, you can get outdoors and participate in a First Day Hike. This nationwide annual program takes place on New Year’s Day in all 50 states.

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Aim for Sunnier Weather

Perhaps taking your family on a sun-filled vacation, where you can enjoy pristine beaches, frozen cocktails, live entertainment, and exquisite dining experiences, is exactly what the season calls for. Take advantage of the vacation days and time off from work and school and visit the Dominican Republic's Occidental Punta Cana. Enjoy discounts when you book with the Christmas Special Offer between December 12—January 3. Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort is another great option for families, complete with two water parks in the Family Club section, a kid's club full of activities, a disco for teens, and multiple dining options.