Traveling in winter may mean enjoying off-season discounts in tourist hotspots or it may be a plunge into outdoor winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy the great outdoors, a warm destination to escape the cold, or a cozy spot to enjoy watching snow fall, America has it all. Here are some of the best places to consider for a winter getaway.
Lake Tahoe, CA and NV
Lake Tahoe is a top place to go for skiing and other winter activities. Enjoy stunning views of the lake while snowboarding or skiing. The area has several ski resorts and other accommodation options for winter visitors. When you’re not on the slopes or in the snow, take scenic drives throughout the Lake Tahoe area for more breathtaking views. You’ll also find plenty of dining and shopping options around.
For a mountain getaway that doesn’t involve tons of snow, head to Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This western North Carolina city has a wide range of accommodations available for a winter getaway, ranging from luxury hotels to rustic cabins, with bed and breakfast inns, mountain resorts, and more. Take scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway without having to worry about crowded roads during this time of year. Visit Biltmore Estate, explore the city’s art galleries, and shop for antiques.
Key West, FL
When you want to get away from the cold completely, Key West can be a great spot to pick. This area tends to have heavy crowds of tourists during summer, while the winter months are usually quieter. Enjoy mild winter temperatures in Key West while exploring local attractions, such as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and Key West Lighthouse. Choose from high-end resorts and hotels, quaint bed and breakfasts, and other accommodations for your winter getaway.
Mount Hood, OR
For a wonderful winter getaway near the site of a dormant volcano, plan a vacation in Mount Hood. This area offers tons of winter activities, including snowshoeing, tubing and skiing. You can stay in a forest cabin, a luxurious ski resort, a tiny house, or do some winter camping for a rustic experience. Take hikes through the snow to see Burnt Lake and other sites within Mount Hood National Forest, and consider a day trip to downtown Portland.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers the ideal winter vacation if you’re looking for a mix of coziness and outdoor activity. You can stay warm in luxurious yet cheap Gatlinburg cabins packed with amenities and entertainments, and go hiking to see frozen waterfalls and snowy landscapes in Cades Cove and other areas of the park. For more excitement, head into bustling Gatlinburg for live shows and other entertainment, as well as countless family-friendly attractions, shopping and dining.
Castle Rocks State Park, ID
Castle Rocks State Park provides a good place to go for winter activities and a chance to see local wildlife amid picturesque surroundings. During your stay, you can explore the area on snowshoes, do some Nordic skiing, or enjoy other outdoor activities among pine forests, rock formations, and other natural terrain. Keep an eye out for moose, hawks, and other wildlife. Castle Rocks State Park has some notable winter accommodation options, including yurts!
New Orleans, LA
Great food, cool temperatures, and tons of attractions make New Orleans a top place to go for a winter getaway. Distinctly different from hitting the slopes, take ghost tours, enjoy local cuisine, watch live jazz performances, visit historic houses and cemeteries, and relax in the Big Easy. Winter in New Orleans isn’t as crowded as summer – unless you go during Mardi Gras. This exuberant winter celebration offers an exciting experience, with its famous parade and associated festivities.
If you’re looking for a New England getaway, head to Burlington. This city offers stunning views of the Green Mountains, Adirondack Mountains, and Lake Champlain. For an exciting vacation, go ice climbing, snowboarding or snowmobiling. Other winter activities to enjoy in the area include snowshoeing, ice skating and skiing. Downtown Burlington offers coffee shops, boutique stores, restaurants, and other dining and shopping options. Accommodations in the area range from cabins and campgrounds to inns, resorts and hotels.
Vail offers a winning combination of outdoor winter activities and quaint village attractions. Go ice skating, snowboarding and downhill skiing in the snowy mountains. Other winter activities include ice bumper cars, dog sledding, sleigh rides, winter fishing, and snowmobiling. For a calmer time, visit Vail Village, which features heated streets made of cobblestone. You can also find shopping and dining options in Lionshead Village, Cascade Village, and the area’s other villages. Stay in a mountain resort, condo, hotel, or lodge during your visit.
Big Bend National Park, TX
If you’re looking for a hidden winter getaway gem, head to Big Bend National Park. This area gets crowded in summer and can be uncomfortable with temperatures soaring into the upper 90s and 100s. But winter in the park is much milder and less crowded, making it a great time to visit. Go hiking along Lost Mine Trail, Santa Elena Trail, or one of the park’s other scenic trails. Stay at a campground in your RV or tent, or do some backcountry camping for a more rustic adventure. More options include Chisos Mountains Lodge in the park and various accommodations outside the park.