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10 Ways to Keep Teens Engaged on a Winter Vacation

Updated: May 18, 2023

family of four

Winter months can seem dark, long, and boring to kids of all ages, especially teenagers. With time off during the school break and so little structure, unhealthy habits can take over for teens. Overeating, sleeping in, and way too much screen time can take a toll on your teenager's mental health. Family vacations are a great opportunity to beat the winter blues and show your kids what a wonderful time of the year winter can really be.

"Are we there yet?"

A family vacation to a snowy destination can be a great way to make memories and entice your teens to spend quality time with the whole family.

However, driving in the car or sitting at a hotel for hours can feel like forever and become dull and monotonous. Though this may be an issue during any vacation, you can use some techniques to help entertain your teens on a winter trip this holiday season.

Tips to Keep Kids Engaged During Winter Trips

No matter where you are traveling, there are always fun activities to be found. However, if your teens are not interested in the winter vacation destination or the area is simply too cold for outdoor activities, try some of these ideas to keep them engaged and entertained during the holiday break.

1. Build Your Itinerary Ahead Of Time

Often, older kids get bored during family vacations because they feel like there is nothing to do. Knowing where you will be going and what you will be doing can help reduce boredom.

To help them get (and stay) involved, keep them in the loop for the planning process. Ask their opinions ahead of time, and don't be afraid to let them make decisions, even if it isn't your first choice.

2. Have On-the-Go Entertainment

Remember young children and teens don't like to sit around doing nothing. For those days when you know there won't be anything planned for hours, try bringing along some activities to keep them busy.

Surprise them with a fun board game or let them bring along their favorite devices and video games. Movies and books can also entertain teens when there isn't much else to do. Why not listen to a podcast or audiobook together on a long car ride.

3. Make a Vacation Scavenger Hunt

scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to encourage teens to get out and explore. Collect items along your trip and print clues that will guide them in the right direction. This can be done when sightseeing or when passing the time in the hotel room or car. Want planning to be as easy as possible? Order a ready-made Scavenger Hunt. We love this one for the whole family that is super easy to order on Amazon.

4. Find Local Activities That Suit Your Interests

While you may not like the same things your teen likes, you can find activities that are fun for the entire family. Do a google search for fun activities in the city before you even go and ask local teens you may come across as you travel - they often know great activities to keep busy during winter vacations.

5. Include Them in the Decision Making

guy beside a car

Teenagers like to feel that their opinion matters. Don't be afraid to let your teens choose where you go on vacation - even if it's not where you would like to go. This is their vacation too, which means they should get the chance to choose the destination sometimes. This is a great chance to let them exercise some maturity and feel grown-up.

However, this doesn't mean that they will be allowed to choose where you go every time. It's important for teens (and all of us) to try new things and discover new places, so don't be afraid to choose a new destination.

If you're going on a road trip with a licensed teen, offer to let him/her show off their new driving skills by sharing the drive taking turns in the passenger seat. Remember, no one wants to be stuck in the back seat the whole way.

6. Try out New Recipes

mother and daughter

Get everyone involved in meal planning and cooking.

Vacations are a great time to try new and exciting food. Choose different kinds of restaurants than you might normally go to when at home. Make special breakfasts together. Assign each family member a meal they are responsible for. This will get your teen involved, spark some creativity and give you a break from cooking.

7. Read a New Book Together

The best way to get teens interested in reading is by doing it together. Ask them what they think about the book, and discuss the plot as you go along instead of being quiet during your time together. You can also try new genres that you would have never read on your own before - you might find that you are interested in the same type of literature!

8. Go Exploring with your Teens Winter Vacation

4 friends on top of a mountain

As I mentioned earlier, teens get bored when they feel like there is nothing to do. When you are heading to a wintry destination, there are likely a few things you can explore. Search for secret paths that are hidden to the public, cross-country ski around your hotel, or follow animal tracks in the snow. Fresh air and physical exercise is important to everyone's well-being.

9. Participate in Outdoor Winter Activities


Make some memories that will last by trying out some fun winter break activities that are unique to winter vacations! Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice fishing, and snowshoeing are only a few of the fun things you can do with children of all ages in cold weather. Get in the holiday spirit and build a snowman or have a snowball fight. Physical activities are so much fun in the winter season! Don’t forget to make smores, build gingerbread houses and drink hot cocoa during your winter holidays!

10. Stay at a Luxury Cabin

What would a winter vacation be without a truly amazing cabin stay! Spoil your family with a luxury cabin rental. No one will mind if you get snowed in! Instead of staying in a dingy hotel room, consider renting an awesome cabin for your next trip. A great cabin is not only stylish but fully stocked with everything you and your teen will want to feel at home away from home. Kitchen supplies, board games, big-screen TVs, great wi-fi, even a gaming table, and a snowman kit will be sure to keep your fussy teens from complaining.

Give Your Teen the Trip of Their Life

Winter is a time to relax and rejuvenate. There are plenty of great ways for you to bond with your teen, even if it's during your downtime. Remember these tips next time you plan a winter vacation, and you are sure to have an unforgettable time.

To find a luxury cabin rental in Big Bear Lake for your next winter vacation, visit Midnight Moon Cabins. Our team can help you plan your trip and find the perfect vacation rental! Visit us online to learn more today.


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