Help us plan a Southwestern family Christmas
October 7, 2015 1:28 PM   Subscribe

We would like to rent a place for a week-long family Christmas and are trying to decide on a location. We have three groups of people: two adults in Oakland, California; two adults and four children near Salt Lake City; and one adult in Michigan. The children range in age from two to eleven, and the place has to be driving distance from Salt Lake, as the Salt Lake group can't afford to fly six people. Plus we want to keep costs down as much as possible. Other considerations inside.

The Oakland people would prefer to drive, but can fly if necessary. I'm the Michigan adult, and I can fly in anywhere, but we need to be able to make arrangements for one of the other groups to pick me up and drop me off at the airport because I'm an anxious driver who doesn't see well at night. We need a minimum of three bedrooms for the adults, a living room type space, and a kitchen so we can cook a lot of our meals. We need some activities for the kids, preferably some stuff we can do outdoors. Hiking would be awesome. Last year, the Salt Lake group rented a condo in St. George, Utah, but that's a long drive for our Oakland people , so we're wondering if there are other options.
posted by FencingGal to Travel & Transportation around Manvel, TX (7 answers total)
My family had a wonderful time spending Christmas in New Mexico. We did some hiking to see some cave dwellings, and really loved exploring Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Even though my family aren't huge art people, we really loved the Contemporary Art museum in Albuquerque and the Georgia O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe. We skied in Sipapu and Taos which were both excellent. The best part though was just holing up in our Taos Airbnb at night and eating homemade pie and enjoying leisurely breakfasts while admiring the beauty of snow blanketing the desert landscape, so booking an Airbnb that have cozy living and kitchen spaces (that meet your standards) is definitely the way to go. New Mexico has some pretty awesome looking Airbnbs, especially with all the Earthship and Pueblo architecture influences.

Also, Taos Pueblo does a really amazing Christmas Eve celebration where they light multiple HUGE bonfires in their plaza. It was a beautiful place to spend our Christmas.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 2:20 PM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

What is driving distance? I mean, I've driven from Oakland to Michigan so.... A half day? A day?

Snow or no snow?

I love New Mexico. Truckee, Ca is also a cute snowy place to spend the holidays.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:29 PM on October 7, 2015

Response by poster: We'd probably consider driving distance to be no more than about ten hours, but shorter would be better. I think we'd prefer no snow, but we'd be open to snow.
posted by FencingGal at 2:52 PM on October 7, 2015

Phoenix is the obvious choice - 10 hours, 15 minutes drive from SLC. Amazing weather this time of year, plenty of airbnbs, nice hikes nearby in the winter just outside Phoenix, easy easy flights from Oakland on AA I believe. If you'd be willing to go two extra hours to Tucson I'd probably even be willing to rent you a 3 bedroom house for the week.
posted by permiechickie at 3:44 PM on October 7, 2015

Arches National Park? Jackson Hole and Grand Teton? Snowy for sure. The kids can rent snow shoes for a 5 dollar donation and take the ranger led tour
posted by 26.2 at 5:36 PM on October 7, 2015

It's not a place I enjoy at all, but staring at a map it does look to me like Vegas is an option. No snow, 6 hours from SLC, 9 hours from Oakland. Presumably you can get a cheap condo deal if you stay far away from the Strip.

Or perhaps LA? Still no snow, 10 hours from SLC, 6 from Oakland. Lots of activities and lots of hiking possibilities.

The real problem here is that if you want both the Oakland and SLC people to drive, either you choose someplace on I-80 -- with all the snow and unpleasantness that that involves in December -- or you're talking about long trips for both parties.
posted by crazy with stars at 5:48 PM on October 7, 2015

I mean, SLC to Oakland is 11 hours, so if you add one hour to your max driving time you could theoretically just do something in the Bay Area. Lots of nice vacation homes in Marin and points south. Or Sacramento would be 9.5 hours for the SLC people.
posted by crazy with stars at 5:51 PM on October 7, 2015

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