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Wrap up the gift of warmth: Sunny holiday vacations for the family

Chase the sun at warm-weather holiday destinations, staying at spacious villas and suites that are perfect for your family getaway. | By Paul Oswell | November 5, 2021

Still planning a family vacation for the holidays? Take a last-minute trip to a beach town blessed with natural splendor, a serene island hideaway or a cosmopolitan city brimming with activities. If you’re looking for holiday destinations that deliver a healthy slice of sunny weather, these locales are for you. Plus they boast spectacular hotels with suites and villas in which your family group can luxuriate and relax in each other's company.

Make memories with your family by experiencing:

  • Los Cabos’ natural wonders: Watch whales or meet sea lions and sharks in their natural habitat

  • Anguilla’s tranquility and bliss: Sunbathe, snorkel and swim in some of the clearest, calmest waters you’ll find in the Caribbean

  • Phoenix’s plethora of activities: Treat the family to private zoo tours or a soaring hot air balloon ride

Los Cabos, Mexico

This resort city on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula is a prime family destination. Sure, Los Cabos is mainly known for its romantic allure, but it's complemented by its safe beaches, welcoming culture and beautiful wildlife.

If you haven’t seen whales in the wild before, this is the perfect spot. From mid-December to mid-April, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 whales migrate south. You and your group will see them up close by booking a private speedboat tour through your personal concierge at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal. If you want to get to the best snorkeling spots quickly, book a helicopter tour that can take you there directly. The bonus? You'll get even more enviable pictures as you take a private aerial tour of the island.

If your family prefers a different kind of splendor, the Baja California region hosts the Baja 1000, the most famous off-roading race in the world. For a family-friendly adrenaline rush, you can book a tour in an ATV, with kids (for ages 6 and older, or 16 and older to drive). They'll experience the thrills and spills as everyone takes in the spectacular Pacific Ocean views.

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal has adventures for guests of all ages. Your youngest can enjoy curated treasure hunts or arts and crafts classes. Your older children will love the private paddle boarding and surfing lessons. You can take the whole crew on a family snorkeling excursion, with on-site instructors pointing out sea lions and whale sharks.

After a day spent exploring, spend relaxing family time at your spacious villa. Your ocean views await, with your butler serving cocktails as you relax in your private plunge pool. Your family will have plenty of watery ways to unwind in two beachfront infinity pools, the full spa and four alluring dining rooms.


The calm, clear waters that surround Anguilla are just a part of why the destination is perfect for a family getaway. Anguilla is a quiet vacation spot that will allow your family to slow down, spend quality time with each other and really reconnect.

Take a private boat tour of some of the island’s best coves and hidden beaches. The perfect day out might be spent snorkeling with your kids at Small Bay or taking the boat out to Sandy Beach Island. If you have time for scuba lessons (or are already qualified), then you can see eagle rays and giant crabs.

If your kids are over the age of 5, then your whole family can enjoy one of the most memorable activities on the island: horseback riding on the gentle and graceful Paso Fino horses. If you’re a golfer, you can let the children practice their skills at the wonderful Anchor Miniature Golf course. There's only one way to end the day: book a private ice cream party after playing the perfectly manicured holes surrounded by colorful wildflowers and tropical plants.

For peace of mind while on vacation, Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts has a complimentary all-day kids’ club. The resort can arrange outings for your family on glass-bottom boats or fishing trips, and the Beach Concierge can outfit you out with complimentary snorkeling gear.

Your family can enjoy harmonious living in stylish three-bedroom suites. Enjoy the gorgeous ocean views from your private plunge pool and lounge on beautifully furnished terraces. Spend quality time with each other at any of the five dining options, from sea-to-table fine dining for special occasions to casual beachside snacks and even a private rum tasting room.

Phoenix, Arizona

Sunny destinations for families don’t always have to be to beach resorts, with cities like Phoenix offering family-friendly activities year-round.

The Phoenix Zoo is well regarded for its conservation programs. It offers delightful experiences that will have children loving their animal encounters. These range from guided Discovery Tours on private eco-shuttles through the zoo to Backstage Adventures giving you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the animal habitats. You can plan to customize your adventures to cater to your kids’ favorite animal residents. SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona also has behind-the-scenes access, including special “Meet-a-Mermaid" costumed experiences for kids 12 and younger in the spring. Right next door is LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona, which makes for a perfect day out for multi-generational groups.

There’s space for the family to stay together in one of the cottages at Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. You can enjoy relaxing on patios and around fire pits, all enclosed by private green spaces. With seven swimming pools to choose from, including the triple waterslides of Paradise Pool, you are set for a day of fun in the sun. Your family will love the adventurous options at the resort, and everyone will be transfixed by the stargazing and night vision tours, where you can see the majesty of the Milky Way.

If this inspires you to head for the heights, then your family can also take to the air in a private balloon tour, which can be arranged by your personal concierge. You can take in the region’s natural beauty from 3,000 feet up and then celebrate with a post-flight picnic.

Make your next family vacation memory

Whether your family loves lively beaches, quiet islands or exploring new cities, there are a host of warm-weather destinations that will provide you and yours with lifelong memories. With experiences from snorkeling or scuba diving to balloon or helicopter flights, you’ll enjoy family-focused experiences that will help you reconnect, and have vacation tales to tell around the dinner table for years to come.

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Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer, and has been reporting from all seven continents for over twenty years. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small.”

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