Most of us associate New Year’s Eve with Times Square in New York City, counting down the hours, then minutes, then seconds until a sparkling ball descends to ring in a new year. I don’t know about you but just the thought of dealing with the crowds in New York gives me extreme anxiety. I need an actual vacation after the crazy demands of the holidays.
You want to go somewhere to celebrate the new year (especially after the one we have had) but NYE celebrations always seem so focused on the impending clock striking midnight, and it’s not always possible for little ones to stay up that late.
Here are some of my favorite destinations for ringing in the new year as a family.
Aruba starts the celebrations days before actual New Years when they light firecrackers in the streets of Oranjestad to ward away evil spirits. Kids will love the large groups of “Dande” musicians traveling around the island bestowing blessings and best wishes for the New Year through song and dance. They have an amazing New Year’s Eve celebration with music and fireworks that starts EARLY in the evening so children can enjoy it as well. Any hotel on the beach is going to give you great views of the fireworks but the best view is from Flamingo Beach so consider a room at the Renaissance.
Why watch one ball drop when you can see 10,000 balls drop. Panama City Beach Florida knows how to celebrate New Years with not one but two ball drops. They close the streets of Pier Park to traffic and host a giant beach party with free live music, entertainment, fireworks, and good cheer. The first drop is over 10,000 inflatable beach balls released at 8pm perfect for the little ones. Those with the energy to make it until midnight can count down another ball drop, this one an 800-pound LED-lit one, also shaped like a beach ball. visitpanamacitybeach.com
For a chocolate-flavored New Year’s Eve kiss, head to this Pennsylvania town. Action starts with a bubble-wrap stomp at 11 a.m. (which would have been a dream for my younger self) and includes teen rock and pop performances during the day. The event is non-alcoholic but there are plenty of snack vendors on hand to satisfy every craving. At midnight, a dazzling 300-pound, 7-foot Hershey’s Kiss descends from the sky in Chocolatetown Square, culminating one of the best New Years celebrations for kids. Hersheypa.com
The self-proclaimed live music capital of the world hosts a huge New Year’s Eve hoe-down featuring four stages. The Thinkery also hosts two separate 3 hour long family friend events which includes three simultaneous balloon drops and bubble wrap stomps; two downstairs for young revelers of all ages and one upstairs exclusively for toddler revelers. All party-goers can enjoy music, winter crafts, engineer their own noisemakers, enter the Texas “snowball” arena, and experience special performances during each 3-hour celebration, the first starts at 11am. The town event kicks off at 3 p.m with a kids’ area with activities and food. Fireworks start at 10 p.m so you can have the kids safely tucked into bed before quietly ringing in the new year with your partner. A great resort to consider is the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa that has its own celebrations with a carnival, fireworks, and kid-friendly dance party.
Kids can toast in the new year with a glass of apple juice beginning at 11 a.m., with countdowns throughout the day at this international event. As each country rings in new years around the world you will enjoy special themed activities representing India, Russia, France and Morocco. The hourly countdowns begin with India at 11 a.m. and end with a celebration of traditions of Brazil at 5 p.m., with plenty of cultural crafts and noisemakers and juice to celebrate. thechildrensmuseum.org
Boston has long made New Year’s a family affair. At 6 p.m. you can choose from a free figure skating show on the Frog Pond ice rink on Boston Common or a People’s Procession parade down Boylston Street to the Common. Boston is such a walkable city and the events are spread out so you never seem overwhelmed by the crowds. Then there’s fireworks at 7 p.m so you can have the kids in bed at a reasonable hour. There’s also a second fireworks display over Boston Harbor at midnight. Consider staying at the Intercontinental or Boston Harbor Hotel so you can view the midnight fireworks from your room after the kids are asleep. boston-discovery-guide.com/first-night-boston.html
During World War II, bombardiers claimed to be so accurate they could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel. This gave the Mt. Olive Pickle Company the brilliant idea of hosting a New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop. A lighted green pickle is dropped at 7 p.m. (which is technically midnight Greenwich Mean Time), so it’s perfect for families who can make their way to Mt. Olive, North Carolina for New Year’s Eve with kids. Live music is provided from 5:30 until 6:15 p.m., and free refreshments, including—you guessed it—pickles, are provided.
One of my favorite family destinations for any time of the year is Hilton Head, South Carolina. The Sea Pines Resort provides an annual New Year’s Eve event for kids called Golf Ball Drop at Harbor Town. Children’s entertainers like Lollipop the Clown and Juggle Stuff, have continuing performances and there is live music throughout the night. An early ball drop for families with young kids is held at 7 p.m., with a second golf ball drop at midnight.
Hershey’s Kisses, Beach Balls, Balloons, Pickles and Golf Balls – why not add peaches to the mix. Atlanta‘s Peach Drop, one of the best New Year’s Eve events for kids. The event includes the Family Fun & Budding Peach Stage, which provides carnival-style rides, face painting, food vendors, and more. Throughout the day, live music is performed, and at night, an 800-pound peach is dropped at Woodruff Park. With many family friendly activities in this city like the zoo, aquarium, children’s museum, botanical gardens, and the World of Coca-Cola there is plenty to do with kids for a fun filled family vacation.
Another one of my favorite family destinations does not disappoint when it comes to New Year’s celebrations. In fact you can have an incredible evening without ever leaving the hotel. Adults can ring in the New Year at The World’s Greatest Legend, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration with dazzling star attractions and awe-inspiring performances at the Hotel Del Coronado. Meanwhile, the kids get a party of their own from 7:00pm until 12:30am! The night includes dinner, ice skating (ages 8+), special shows, games, s’mores roast, and a midnight toast with sparkling cider. Teens ages 13-17 can also hang out in their own teen lounge and watch movies as they mingle.
If you have always wondered what it would be like to spend NYE in New York city head to Legoland where they drop a ball 22 feet over a lego replica of Time Square with live music and fireworks. The children’s museum has a pajama jam that includes New Year’s-themed art activities, games, a dance jam, photo booth, catered dinner, and a fun countdown balloon drop.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
Showcase the World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Showcase the World also participates in other affiliate programs and may earn a commission for purchases made through links on this site.