Winter vacations don’t always mean freezing and trudging through snow and ice. Taking a trip in winter can be a simple and stress-free experience when you choose the right destination. Consider visiting one or more of the following vacation spots for vacation this winter.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park offers a chance to enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing without crowds. Take a scenic drive through the park, hike through snowy terrain, go skiing or snowboarding at Badger Pass, or explore the area on snowshoes. You can also go cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding or snow tubing. While camping is available in winter, the park offers other accommodations, including a luxury hotel, traditional lodge and historic lodge.
For a ski vacation this winter, head to Stowe. This northeastern city doesn’t get quite as crowded as ski towns out west, so you might not have to wait as long in lift lines. Whether you like downhill skiing or cross-country skiing, the slopes in and around Stowe offer the perfect terrain. Warm up in a local lodge or cabin with some hot cocoa, or stay in a luxury ski resort with spas and other amenities. Catch a live performance from the Stowe Theater Guild, go ice skating at Spruce Peak Village, or visit the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum to learn more about these winter activities.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
When you’re looking for a snowy winter destination out west, visit Crater Lake National Park. During your stay, you can go snowmobiling, take a free guided snowshoe tour, go sledding or do some snowboarding. If you’re a skier, hit the slopes for downhill skiing or cross-country skiing in a scenic winter wonderland. Stay cozy in the historic Crater Lake Lodge, or spend your nights in the Cabins at Mazama Village surrounded by old growth forest.
The City of Gatlinburg provides comfortable lodging options with high-end amenities, including hot tubs on cabin decks and fireplaces to keep warm. You’ll also find cheap Gatlinburg cabins that still offer full amenities such as kitchens that can easily accommodate family feasts, as well as indoor entertainment options in the area if it’s too cold or snowy to spend time outside. The surrounding Great Smoky Mountains offer scenic winter views when the weather is good for hiking. Keep in mind that Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open year round with free admission.
Big Sky, Montana
For avid skiers, Big Sky is a great winter vacation destination. The area includes more than 4,000 feet of vertical elevation for downhill skiing with 300 runs available. Big Sky also has many other winter activities to enjoy, including zipline tours, snowshoe tours, headlamp night skiing, sleigh rides, snowmobile tours and more. You can also explore the area at night in the Enchanted Forest, which features lighted pathways along the trail. Book a stay at a local hotel or lodge that offers easy access to the slopes and trails.
Explore the beauty that Sedona has to offer without having to make your way through summer crowds. During winter, Sedona provides a quieter setting for hikes through Verde Valley, the Arizona Desert, and other outdoor areas. Take photos of mountaintops covered with a bit of snow and visit the Sedona Desert Botanical Garden and other attractions in mild weather rather than heat. You’ll also be able to check out multiple art galleries, shops, and museums in downtown Sedona in a serene winter environment.
Catskills, New York
The Catskills Region in southeastern New York provides an ideal destination for those who enjoy outdoor activities, as well as arts and culture. Visit local art galleries, watch live shows at local theaters, or explore Hanford Hills Museum. Head outdoors to go hiking in the Catskill Mountains, take scenic drives, or go snowboarding and skiing. The area also has spas where you can unwind after a day of outdoor fun or sightseeing.
For a big city winter vacation, plan a trip to Chicago. You’ll find a wide range of accommodations available to fit your budget and preferences, along with easy access to shopping and dining, and tons of excitement. Head to Millennium Park to go ice skating while taking in views of the city skyline, attend the Winter Wonderfest carnival that features food, art and more. You might need to bundle up, depending on the weather forecast, but the Windy City has plenty of indoor sights and attractions where you can escape the cold.
Charleston, South Carolina
For mild weather, gorgeous views and historic sights, visit Charleston this winter. This South Carolina city gives you a chance to see impressive and colorful mansions on Rainbow Row, take a historic carriage tour, visit Cypress Gardens, and see works of art at Gibbes Museum of Art. Downtown Charleston is also filled with quaint shops, dining establishments, and more. From historic inns and hotels to beach resorts, the city has plenty of accommodations to choose from.
San Antonio, Texas
When you want to avoid the cold, head to San Antonio for your winter vacation. This city in south-central Texas offers a chance to visit the Alamo to learn more about history, take a stroll along the riverfront pathway for scenic views, or go on thrill rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. San Antonio has many other attractions available for your winter vacation, including shows at the Majestic Theatre, or a dinner cruise on the San Antonio River.