The Best Christmas Hotels for Kids
Christmas is coming, and resorts from coast to coast are crafting over-the-top, unique activities to put families in the holiday spirit. Your kids can take a trolley ride to see holiday lights in Wisconsin, for example, or go ice skating by the California beach. In Florida, families can immerse themselves in the world of Buddy the Elf with an interactive experience through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, while those who head to Georgia can navigate life-size gumdrops at a mini golf course.
Ready to experience the holiday cheer yourself? Check out these nine fun and festive Christmas hotels for families around the country.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center — Kissimmee, Florida
Kids can become part of the beloved Christmas movie Elf when they step into this hotel's over-the-top interactive experience, where they can hang out with Mr. Narwhal in the candy cane forest, get into a virtual snowball fight in Central Park, and more. Continue spreading Christmas cheer throughout the resort with a Naughty or Nice Escape Room, complete with "icy antics'' from none other than Jack Frost himself.
Kids will love decorating gingerbread houses, trying their hand at Santa's Secret Service Scavenger Hunt, and watching the resort's new light show set to music. And even though the hotel is located in Florida, they can still have a white Christmas with indoor ice tubing at the Snow Factory. Don't forget to attend a meet-and-greet with the Big Man himself!
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa — Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Kids have plenty of chances to visit with St. Nick at this Wisconsin resort, including eating breakfast with Santa (pajamas welcome, of course) and dropping off letters in the elf mailbox (they'll get a response straight from the North Pole!). Soak in the magic of the season with a trolley tour of the hotel's light display or stroll through the Gingerbread House Walk. Make your stay even more festive by ordering a fully-decorated tree for the room; it includes an ornament that kids can take home to remember their vacations.
Just next to the hotel, kids will have a blast at the Timber Ridge Lodge's indoor water park. Here, they can ride 35-foot-high slides, relax on the lazy river, or splash around in the activity pool (and may even spot a vacationing Santa).
Hotel del Coronado — Coronado, California
It may be warm in Southern California, but kids who check into this hotel can trade in their bathing suits for mittens and go ice skating by the sea, surrounded by palm trees and surf. Head back to the beach later in the evening for an outdoor holiday movie under the stars (families can upgrade the experience with a private bonfire and s'mores).
Santa will swing by the resort on select days in December to take professional photos with kids, and parents can even ask his elves to deliver personalized theme bags to their room. The most discerning children will love participating in a Victorian Tea service with finger sandwiches, sweets, and special kids' plates.
The Broadmoor — Colorado Springs, Colorado
This lakeside hotel transforms into a winter wonderland during the holidays, featuring decorated trees and elaborate gingerbread creations. Families can book breakfast with Santa on certain dates, and kids on the nice list can ask for presents while they nibble on buttermilk pancakes and fresh fruit.
During the Christmas holiday, parents can drop the little ones off at The Bee Bunch for a half-day or full-day camp program (think: crafts, games, and musical storytelling), or take them on a mountain adventure with a classic ride on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Jekyll Island Club Resort — Jekyll Island, Georgia
Kids can step right into Christmas with a round on the Peppermint Land mini golf course, surrounded by life-size gumdrops, gingerbread characters, and peppermint sticks. Later, head to the North Pole Express mailbox to drop off a letter for Santa, or follow the Christmas bagpiper on a route around the hotel's grounds from December 19 to 24.
Many hotels let kids have breakfast with Santa, but at this resort, kids can also dine with the Grinch on December 11—because no one should be alone on Christmas—with a green eggs and ham-themed meal. And on December 4, kids can see a collection of emergency vehicles on display at the Great Dunes Beach Park (including Santa on his big red fire truck) and chat with first responders.
The Peninsula New York — New York, New York
Celebrate the holidays in style at this luxury New York City property. Sign the kids up for a reindeer afternoon tea and gingerbread house decorating class on December 11, where they'll read stories and sip hot cocoa (there's even a glass of champagne for the parents while they watch). Or book the Nights Before Christmas Package, which comes with an in-room gingerbread playhouse, gingerbread cookie decorating kit, a candy cane scavenger hunt, and a holiday-themed turndown service.
The hotel's central location puts visitors just steps away from some of the New York City's most festive holiday displays, including the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Swissôtel Chicago — Chicago, Illinois
This centrally located Chicago hotel offers holiday-themed packages that will put any family in a festive mood. Book an elf-decorated room with a Christmas tree and holiday trinkets, as well as a complimentary "Santa-approved" holiday amenity. Or splurge on the holiday penthouse hideaway, which comes with a build-your-own hot cocoa bar (plus some Moet & Chandon champagne for the adults), a cookie decorating station, letter to Santa packs, kid-friendly holiday crafts, and more.
Later, go for a stroll along the nearby Chicago Riverwalk or head up to the famous Magnificent Mile. You can also do some holiday shopping at the Christkindlmarket Chicago, where you'll find gifts like cozy blankets, sweet ornaments, and handcrafted decorations.
Suncadia Resort — Cle Elum, Washington
Hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a festive ride during the Winterfest celebration at this Washington hotel. Grab a gingerbread house kit or listen to stories by the fire at "Santa's Workshop." Or try your hand at one of the winter activities like axe throwing, snow bowling, or the "snow-person building competition."
Guests can also capture holiday memories with complimentary photos with Santa on select days, or order a special delivery from one of his helpers (kids will get a Christmas book, gift, and personal letter from St. Nick.) Before they check out, families should visit the Christmas tree lot to pick out a tree, a wreath, or some mistletoe to take home.
Montage Palmetto Bluff — Bluffton, South Carolina
While visiting this hotel in South Carolina's Lowcountry, kids can get creative at the Elves Workshop, where they'll make their own snow globes. The resort also offers activities like writing letters to Santa and preparing for his arrival. For even more fun, little ones can channel their inner ballerina at the holiday-themed Nutcracker Tea, with dancers performing excerpts from the beloved show. And families should head to the lobby on Friday and Saturday afternoons for complimentary hot chocolate and special holiday treats paired with festive performances.
This top-rated hotel also celebrates Hanukkah with a menorah lighting each evening from November 28 to December 6.