The New Year is finally here and with it comes a brutal Michigan January. If you’re looking to escape the cold this year, one of these top January travel spots in Michigan Florida and Hawaii might have what you’re looking for.
Each one offers wet and wild fun for the kids and opportunities for mom and dad to kick back and relax. Read up on everything else each spot has to offer and then start planning your trip.
Close to home: Zehnder’s Splash Village (Frankenmuth)
Spread out over 50,000 square feet, oversized tubes twist and turn, water propels gleeful riders through them, while a lazy river on one side – and a not-so-lazy river on the other – meanders all around. That’s a little bit what it’s like to step into Zehnder’s Splash Village in Frankenmuth.
“Year-round it’s 82 degrees and sunny here at Splash Village,” explains John Shelton, a spokesperson for Zehnder’s. “It’s an interesting dynamic to see people in their bathing suits inside with snow flurries just outside the window.”
Zehnder’s Splash Village is not one but two different splash parks, with a 30,000-square-foot atrium park added in 2014 to better accommodate kids of all ages.
“The original water park is great for toddlers through 13-year-old kids, with a body slide, a lazy river and other gentler rides,” notes Shelton. A walkway connects to the addition that has rides for older thrill-seekers, especially teens.
One of the most popular high-energy rides is what Shelton describes as “being swished down a toilet tube with your family.” In a four-person raft, you’re lunged down six stories of rushing water.
Another favorite? The drop slide that does exactly that – drops you six stories via a round, clear trap door.
“You go through this tube at about 22 miles an hour – it’s pretty intense,” says Shelton, who’s quick to point out that the park offers plenty of more relaxing rides, too.
To make the most out of your visit, stay overnight and arrive early for check in. Lodging guests can arrive as early as noon and enter the park (although rooms may not be ready until 4 p.m.).
Check out is 11 a.m. the next day, but overnight guests can stay in the park until 4 p.m.
Take a few days: Key West (Florida)
When the rest of the country gets blanketed with snow, the temps are still toasty and the beaches are warm at one of the southernmost tips of the continental U.S. – Key West, Florida.
“Key West is an ideal location for families looking to escape the cold winter weather as temperatures are fantastic year-round,” says Ashley Serrate, representative for the Florida Keys & Key West. “Additionally, there are a wide variety of activities that are perfect for the whole family. From water sports to museums to food festivals, there’s a little bit of something for every member of the family.”
A few not-to-miss spots for kids? Check out the Key West Aquarium, where kids can literally get their hands on sea stars and giant hermit crabs at the touch tank, or consider spending the day at the Dry Tortugas National Park, only accessible by ferry, boat or seaplane.
And if you’re feeling especially adventurous, your family can camp at this national park surrounded by the ocean.
Even farther away: Oahu (Hawaii)
Set an alert to watch airline fares to the island of Oahu in Hawaii gohawaii.com/islands/oahu – you might be surprised to find rates dip into reasonable range out of Detroit to Honolulu on a regular basis.
The long flight with the kids is worth the escape to the laidback paradise where there’s plenty of famed beaches, like Waikiki and the North Shore’s Sunset Beach.
And during January, your family won’t be the only ones flocking to the sun – whales migrate to the islands, too, making it a good time for whale watching!
Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau