12 Fun Winter Festivals for Families

Take advantage of cold weather and snow with these kid-friendly winter festivals

They've Got Fun Down Cold!

Quebec

Why complain about the weather when you can revel in it? From the mountains of North Carolina to the streets of Quebec, winter festivals offer a feast of frozen delights: snow sculptures, ice palaces, winter -- and winterized -- sports (think: snow golf and snowshoe softball), along with light shows, fireworks, torchlight parades, and seasonal treats like maple taffy on snow. Sound cool? Check out the 12 festivals that follow to find your personal cure for cabin fever.

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake, NY
Jan. 31 - Feb. 9
Try snowshoe racing or cross-country skiing; enjoy concerts, dances, and parades; and watch the fireworks over the awesome Ice Palace at this 117-year-old festival. saranaclakewintercarnival.com

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

St. Paul

Saint Paul, MN
Jan. 23 - Feb. 2
Go geocaching and thrill to fireworks, parades, hot-air balloon races, sled dog competitions, and the bouncing team's aerial acrobatics. winter-carnival.com

Fur Rendezvous

Anchorage

Anchorage, AK
Feb. 21 - March 2
Celebrate Alaska's heritage with the Rondy World Champion Sled Dog Race, the Running of the Reindeer, the blanket toss, outhouse races, and the native arts market. furrondy.net

Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival

Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs, CO
February 5-9
Watch ski jumping, cross-country obstacle-racing, and the Dog Dash; compete in shovel and three-legged races; and cheer on the Lighted Man as he sets off fire-works down the slope. steamboat-chamber.com

Lake George Winter Carnival

Lake George, NY
February weekends
This lakeside celebration features beach bonfires, ice-diving demos, hot-air balloon rides, a giant snow slide, kite flying, and chili and chowder cook-offs. lakegeorgewintercarnival.com

Stowe Winter Carnival

Stowe, VT
Jan. 18 - Feb. 2
Vermont's best-known ski town goes all out with snow volleyball and golf, youth hockey and snowboard half-pipe competitions, ski racing, fireworks, and a kids' carnival. stowewintercarnival.com

Montreal en Lumiere

Montreal, Quebec
Feb. 20 - March 2
This sprawling urban festival features light shows, guest gourmet chefs, life-size board games, a Ferris wheel, and a massive sled slide plus music, theater, dance, and circus performances. montrealenlumiere.com

Carnaval de Quebec

Quebec City, Quebec
Jan. 31 - Feb. 16
The world's largest winter carnival boasts sleigh rides, snow slides, nighttime parades, an extreme canoe race, an ice palace, and more. carnaval.qc.ca/en

Winterlude

Ottawa, Ontario
Jan. 31 - Feb. 17
Skate through downtown on a frozen canal, then check out the illuminated ice sculptures, annual bed race, the hockey classic, and the world's largest snow playground. ottawafestivals.ca/events/winterlude

Snowdown

Durango, CO
Jan. 29 - Feb. 2
Activities all over town mark this annual winter blowout, including a parade, costume party, doggie Olympics, waiter/waitress race, and music. snowdown.org

Whitefish Winter Carnival

Whitefish, MT
February 7-9
A lake plunge, torchlit parade, horse-towed skiing (ski joring), battle of the bands, and pie social are all part of this kid-friendly fest. whitefishwintercarnival.com

Winterfest

Blowing Rock, NC
January 23-26
Family-friendly activities abound, including ski and snowboarding lessons, ice carving demos, hayrides, bonfires, kids' games and crafts, and the Polar Plunge. blowingrockwinterfest.com

Originally published in the December/January 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and availabilities are subject to change. Please contact each hotel and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before taking your trip.

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