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 Contestants reel race car sleds down an icy track at the annual Carnaval de Québec in Quebec City, Canada

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

    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 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

        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

          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


                    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


                      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


                          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.