While traveling this holiday season isn't for everyone, some families just really need to get away from it all. For those in search of a quick, safe holiday getaway within easy driving distance, here are five Texas destinations making the yuletide merry, even in these strange times.
A short jaunt up I-45 North will land you at the newest location from the Margaritaville resort collection, located on serene Lake Conroe.
The resort will host a socially distanced Thanksgiving Day jazz brunch on November 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in its Del Lago Ballroom with floor-to-ceiling views of the lake. $59 for adults (plus an extra $15 for a bloody mary and bubbly bar), $19 for kids 6–12, free for kids 5 and under. Here’s the menu. Reservations required, call (936) 448-3224.
The resort will also host a socially distanced Breakfast with Santa on December 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., also in the Del Lago Ballroom. $38.95 for adults (plus $15 for the bubbly bar), $19.95 for kids 6–12, and free for kids 5 and under. Reservations at (936) 448-3224.
Looking to spend the night? The resort boasts 335 guest suites and 32 lakefront cottages, pus an array of amenities over its 186-lakefront acres, including a handful of eateries, an 18-hole golf course, the full service St. Somewhere Spa, and loads of watersports on the lake. By the way, the resort is offering up to 40-percent-off room rates during its cyber sale (November 23–30) for stays through October of next year.
Hilton Anatole, Dallas
The iconic resort in the heart of downtown Dallas is hosting Christmas at the Anatole. There's a socially distanced, family-style Breakfast with Santa every weekend this holiday season. While you feast on chocolate chip pancakes and bacon, Santa will read a Texas-themed Christmas story and letters from the children in the audience mailed from the North Pole mailbox situated in the lobby. Santa’s sleigh will also be set up for photo opportunities. Dates include November 28–29 or December 5–6, 12–13, or 19–23 (each from 9–10:30 a.m.)
Because you'll want to stay the night, two holiday room packages are now available:
Breakfast with Santa Package: One standard guest room with 1 p.m. late check-out. Breakfast for two adults and two children with Santa on day of departure.
Santa Suite Package: One Santa-themed suite guest room, including holiday décor and amenities with 1 p.m. late check-out; a private meet-'n-greet event with Santa and one of his live reindeer from 6 to 7 p.m. on the day of arrival, including a family portrait; and a preferred VIP table at breakfast for two adults and two children.
And do expect a slew of holiday activities around the hotel—photo ops with live reindeer, a Christmas tree performer on stilts, s’mores for the fire pit, movies, arts and crafts, and much more. Book at christmasattheanatole.com.
The resort’s beloved annual Snowland celebration returns this holiday season November 27–January 3, but with a safe twist of course—additional health and safety protocols will be in place.
Families can still expect daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, though, as well as seasonally themed crafts, stories, and songs; a brand new Cocoa Trolley, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation; and, of course, the reason kids of all ages absolutely love this resort, the expansive waterpark (84 degrees year-round, so do pack your swimsuits). You can also save up to 30 percent on your stay with the Howlin' Holidays Sale if you book by November 22.
Gaylord Texan, Grapevine
Another of Grapevine’s festive favorites, the Gaylord resort kicks off another year of legendary holiday cheer with an I Love Christmas Movies theme—and yes, there are ticket bundles and holiday room packages to save you dough. Expect a multi-sensory, socially distanced pop-up exhibition allowing guests to experience beloved holiday movies in a completely new way (more here) and more holiday activities including snow-tubing, gingerbread decorating, ice skating, an escape room, and then some (more here).
Cinnamon Shore, Port Aransas
If escaping to the beach sounds more your style, Cinnamon Shore, the resort-style village with various beachside rentals—large beach homes, condos, cottages—and amenities including a fitness center, on site restaurants, easy beach access, and shopping, might be in order.
The Christmas season kicks off at Cinnamon Shore with a visit from Santa and his reindeer on November 28, when families can take photos in the Town Center. Port Aransas hosts its Golf Cart Parade and Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, December 5—another great weekend to book. And for holiday celebrations with family and friends before, during, or after Christmas Day itself, guests will have a gorgeous beachfront where they can bundle up for beach walks or football tossing. Many rentals have fireplaces, too.