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.
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 in Rockefeller Center and 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.
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 holiday season—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. The fun lasts until January 1, 2019.
New Year's Eve with ICE! at Gaylord Resorts
The holiday season continues at the Gaylord Resorts with ICE!, the award-winning icy attraction and holiday celebrations. With more than two million lights and enormous Christmas trees plus the wonderful ICE! exhibitions, families will feel at home for the holidays during their visit to any of the four Gaylord Resorts located in National Harbor, Maryland; Kissimmee, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Grapevine, Texas.
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:
Woodloch Pines in the Poconos
Woodloch Pines Resort in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, one of America's best all-inclusive resorts, is hosting 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.
Yosemite's Tenaya Lodge
In Yosemite National Park, Tenaya Lodge is offering an overnight New Year's Eve Package on December 31st that includes accommodations, admission to three 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.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Once an elite members-only club for millionaires, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is now a family-friendly yet still oh-so-grand hotel on Georgia's Jekyll Island. The New Year celebration 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.
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.
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.
The New Year Celebration is a big deal at this Oregon resort, where you can expect arcade games, ice cream sundaes, and sparkling cider for the East Coast countdown (at 9 p.m. on the west coast). Afterward, teens can attend their own party while grown-ups can head to the adult celebration. You'll stay busy at this resort with snowmobiling, dinner buffets, arts and crafts, sleigh rides, and a polar-bear plunge on January 1, 2019.
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.