Winter Vacations in the U S

Best 15 Winter Vacations in the U S | The US Best Winter

Best 15 Winter Vacations in the U S | The US Best Winter

It is easy to have a love/hate relationship with winter. It is inconsistent, unpredictable, and cold, yet the frigid temperatures provide the perfect backdrop for some epic winter vacations in the U S.

From unforgettable skiing in Colorado to bobsledding at the Olympic Park in Utah, or mushing through the Alaskan wilderness, winter offers vacation opportunities, unlike any other season.

Some of the best winter vacations in the United States happen by accident when you try fat biking, snowmobiling, or ice fishing for the first time, then they become a part of an annual tradition.

Winter is also a perfect time to visit places like New York City or Chicago for cheaper travel rates and fewer tourists. It is easy to bundle up and see some of America’s most iconic landmarks and cultural experiences.

For some travelers, winter vacations mean beaches and not snow, and the U.S. has those kinds of getaways, too. No matter your preference to get through the winter months, see our list of the best winter vacations in the U.S.

Best Warm Winter Destinations in USA

  • Explore the Winter Trails in Wisconsin

The North woods of Wisconsin is a winter playground for outdoor sports enthusiasts, with trails for nearly every activity you can do in the snow.

The town of Hayward in Sawyer County is home to the largest fleet of snow grooming equipment in the United States.

That is because the trails they manicure are prepped each day to accommodate the vast number of outdoor activities that draw visitors to the area throughout the winter.

More than 600 miles of snowmobile trails in this area connect to a network of other courses throughout the state.

There are 200 miles of cross-country ski trails and dozens of miles of snowshoe and hiking trails.

The neighboring town of Cable has 80 miles of fat bike trails. Even for first-time fat bikers, it is easy to work with an outfitter like Howl Adventure Center in Bayfield and learn the basics to enjoy the snowy trails in the woods.

Most outfitters in the area rent bikes, skis, and snowshoe equipment to use on the trials.

Cable is also home to North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon, the American Birkebeiner.

The pro trail is available to cross-country skiers for the rest of the winter. Winter warriors can warm up with a BBQ Bowl at the nationally renowned Old Southern BBQ, which started in Hayward; enjoy hot homemade seafood bisque at Birches Roadhouse; or try a traditional fish fry at the Landing on the Chippewa Flowage, where you can also see a replica of the world record muskie that was caught in the lake next to the restaurant.

  • Ski the Colorado Slopes

Colorado has some of the best downhill skiing slopes in the United States, with ski resorts that range from luxury to budget-friendly.

Areas like Telluride and Steamboat Springs are some of Colorado’s most popular ski destinations. Still, you can combine several skiing cities within proximity in one visit for the ultimate Colorado ski vacation.

Aspen Snowmass has regularly been rated a top skiing destination, and for a good reason, you can hit multiple slopes in two cities in one trip. The region has four mountains: Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass.

Each offers a unique experience for the skiing enthusiast and ski schools for beginners. Aspen is a Victorian mining town with 80 restaurants and cafes to enjoy after a cold day outside, and Snowmass is just nine miles from Aspen. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

Most resorts offer lift tickets that give you access to all four mountains and transportation between them. Many vacationers hit one peak per day during their getaway.

Enjoy the gondola ride 12,000 feet above the region and soak in the best vantage point to see the 2.8 million acres of wilderness adjacent to the ski areas.

Another potential Colorado ski combo is Breckenridge and Vail. Breckenridge has 187 ski trails that zig-zag across over 3,000 terrains, with nearly ideal snow conditions.

It surrounds an old Victorian-era mining town, adding a rustic flair to the breathtaking views as you ski the slopes.

Vail slopes are just 40 miles away, so you can spend the other half of your vacation on the notable peaks, skiing to the valley between the Sawatch Mountain Range and the Gore Mountain Range. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

Best Winter Vacations with Snow in USA

  • Dog sledding in Alaska

Imagine dashing through the Alaskan wilderness, being pulled by a dog sled, and experiencing one of the state’s most important traditions.

The Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race that takes place every March is a 1,150-mile race from Anchorage to Nome.

Taking a vacation to experience mushing with some of the world’s most beautiful creatures while being in the open winter elements of Alaska is something you will never forget.

Take a dog sledding class and experience what it is like to trek through the Alaskan terrain as you work with the dogs and trainers.

Many tours depart from Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Girdwood, and Seward. The genuinely hard-core can choose to go by helicopter to a glacier for their dog sledding experience. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Ski America’s First Ski Resort in Idaho

While there are plenty of great ski resorts to experience across the United States, one of the best winter ski vacations is in Sun Valley, Idaho, home of the first destination ski resort in the country.

The old mining town is surrounded by two rugged mountain peaks and more than 2,000 acres of changing terrain, which attracts skiers of all levels, from ambitious beginners to Olympic athletes.

Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain offer 3,400 feet of vertical snow-packed thrills along dozens of trails.

Though Sun Valley attracts hard-core skiers, Dollar Mountain has a variety of ways for newer skiers to get acclimated to the steep terrain. There is even an adventure trail for kids. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

Underrated Winter Destinations USA

  • Shopping in Chicago

The streets of Chicago may not initially come to mind when thinking of winter vacation, but there are plenty of reasons to consider a visit here.

Shopping along The Magnificent Mile is a fun experience in the winter, as long as you layer up for the chilly lakeshore conditions.

Take your time to peruse the luxury retailers along Michigan Avenue when there are fewer visitors to the city.

As you stroll from one store to the next and fill your bags with sale items, enjoy the elaborate window displays and admire the city’s architecture on historic buildings like the Water Tower.

Break up the outdoor experiences with indoor plans to visit some of Chicago’s museums. The Art Institute of Chicago, The Shedd Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry are top places to stay in the city and can split up the days nicely with a balance of indoor and outdoor activities.

Perhaps the best part about visiting Chicago in the winter needs no excuse to warm up with an authentic deep-dish Chicago-style pizza.

There are many top pizza houses in the city, and no one would blame you for trying several during a chilly visit.

Any winter visit to Chicago should include ice-skating at the Millennium Park ice rink, where you can take in the city skyline and frozen Lake Michigan.

You will find discounted travel deals on transportation and lodging in the winter when Chicago is the least crowded.

If you need suggestions on where to stay in Chicago or are looking for pet-friendly hotels, review our lists to search for the best deals for your winter getaway. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Bobsled Like an Olympian in Utah

The winter snow conditions in Utah are consistently fabulous for skiers and snowboarders, and you can certainly enjoy those activities during a vacation.

Still, the destination offers something no place else can – the chance to bobsled down the 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track.

The Winter Bobsled Experience at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City is an unforgettable way to step into Olympic greatness.

Experience the G-force as you rocket down the chute with a professional driver on board the Comet Bobsled, along the same track used for bobsled, luge, and skeleton events during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.

It would help if you were at least 16 years old and 100-pounds to ride. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

Address: 3419 Olympic Parkway, Park City, Utah

Winter Family Vacations on a Budget

  1. Cross-Country Ski in Vermont

Some of the best ski trails are not always downhill, which is why states like Vermont cater to vacationers looking for a top-notch cross-country skiing getaway.

A wide range of courses and guided cross-country ski opportunities are clustered in the state’s northern, central, and southern regions.

Killington, Stowe, and Burlington are some critical areas where cross-country skiing is popular.

Still, you will find hundreds of trails throughout the state crossing natural and pristine woodlands that you can explore with your skis or rentals.

Many resorts offer ski excursions, including a hot lunch or other perks to complement your day in the snow. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Hit the Slopes in Big Sky Montana

Big Sky Montana is home to some of the most spectacular downhill skiing available in the U.S. What makes it great?

The more than 30 feet of snowfall the area gets each year in southwestern Montana makes for near-perfect winter conditions.

Pick your slope from the towering mountain peak that gives vacationers more than 6,000 acres to ski and 4,300 vertical feet of snow to traverse.

There are four mountains, and about 300 ski runs to choose from, so you could spend a week in Big Sky and never hit the same trail twice.

Warm up in one of the many charming restaurants serving hearty post-ski meals in the Mountain Village. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

Best Winter Vacations in the U.S. for Families

  1. Ice Fishing on Lake Erie

Ice fishing for perch and walleye on frozen Lake Erie is one of the most exciting winter vacations you can take.

Lake Erie is one of the best ice-fishing lakes in Ohio, and while guides can take you out on the ice from the shores of Port Clinton, one of the most memorable ways to experience it.

Lake Erie ice fishing is on isolated South Bass Island, which only a few locals and anglers inhabit in the winter.

For approximately $40, you can take the Island Air Taxi from Port Clinton for a short 10-minute flight to the island and stay at a bed-and-breakfast.

A reputable guide service can set you up in a hut for one or several people for the day and monitor ice conditions.

Wrap up the day at one of the only restaurants open on the island and enjoy a fried walleye basket and cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace as you share fish stories with the locals. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park

While states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maine have ideal conditions for snowmobiling, doing it is in the heart of Yellowstone National Park in Montana.

At the same time, bison roaming around you is an epic winter experience. Traveling by snowmobile is the preferred method of transportation in the park in the winter.

This experience tops other snowmobiling vacations because it combines a visit to Yellowstone and a close-up opportunity to see the wildlife. The park has warming huts, restaurants, and restrooms for convenience.

If you are new to snowmobiling or this is a first-time visit to Yellowstone, plan on taking a guided snowmobile tour. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Ski in the Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes region in central New York offers one of the best winter vacations as you hit the slopes carved out by glaciers that make for a 9,000-square-mile area of outdoor ski adventure. Five ski mountains on the edge of the Finger Lakes region each have something unique to offer.

The largest ski resort in Central New York is the family-focused Greek Peak Mountain Resort. The resort operates 56 trails with terrain parks on-site.

The resort also has a Nordic Center, offering groomed cross-country trails, snowshoeing trails, and a 41,000-square-foot indoor water park.

Another favorite, Song Mountain, is one of the most accessible ski areas in the Finger Lakes because it is located in the village of Tully, just off I-81, with 24 trails. Bristol Mountain is ideal for novice skiers, with most 34 trails marked for skill level.

Expert skiers in the Finger Lakes head to Labrador Mountain, with some of its more than 20 trails catering specifically to advanced skiers. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Snowshoe in Southern Oregon

A trip to Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon is breathtaking any time of the year, but snowshoeing here is spectacular, as it is one of the snowiest places in the United States. The park offers one- to two-mile guided snowshoe walks every weekend through April.

Snowshoe with a ranger to Crater Lake as you learn about the wildlife and plant life within the park and how it is sustained throughout the winter months, which average 44 feet of snow each year.

If you choose to hit one of the snowshoe trails on your own, stop at the visitor center first to pick up a park map and find out about current weather conditions and warnings. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Ice Climbing in Colorado

No awe factor is more significant in winter vacations than ice climbing at the Ouray Ice Park in Ouray, Colorado. The ice fortress is an artificial climbing park within the Uncompahgre Gorge.

Over 200 ice climbs, including three miles of vertical terrain, are created every November by ice farmers spraying down the canyon walls with excess spring-fed water collected from the city.

The ice park is a winter destination for ice-climbing experts and those who want to try it once. You can set up a home base in the City of Ouray, which is only a 15-minute walk to the park entrance. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

Address: 280 7thAvenue, Ouray, Colorado

  1. Take in Iconic Sites in New York City

A winter vacation in the heart of New York City can be a magical experience and a unique way to see some of the most iconic sites in America.

Bundle up in layers and hit the New York streets to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Rockefeller Center.

Plan indoor time at New York’s top museums like the American Museum of Natural History and The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

For a panoramic view of frozen New York City, head to the top of the Empire State Building or ride to the 102nd floor of the One World Observatory in just 47 seconds.

Be sure to plan some time for ice skating on the rink in Central Park. You can warm up with some hearty and delicious cuisine in the small restaurants in New York’s ethnic neighborhoods, including Polish fare in Greenpoint and Puerto Rican dishes in the Bronx.

Planning your Big Apple vacation after the holidays when the crowds have left the city is best. You will find the best travel deals from January through March when rates will be cheaper for hotels and transportation. (Winter Vacations in the U S)

  1. Walking Waikiki Beach in Honolulu

Everyone has a different idea of what a perfect winter vacation in the U.S. looks like, and for some, that means escaping the cold weather and walking on a warm, sandy beach in Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is the perfect spot to break up the winter blues and replace them with sunshine, warm breezes, and salty tropical air.

Winter in Hawaii is an ideal time for island hopping to Maui or the Big Island, which you can easily do on the same trip.

Late December through early spring is the best time to spot humpback whales from the coast, or you can take a whale-watching tour to see them.

While you hang ten on Waikiki Beach and soak up the sun, you can also take in some of Hawaii’s best surfing competitions.

Winter months bring competition-worthy ocean swells and draw some of the top experts in the industry.

If surf and sand is your ideal getaway, be advised that it is for many other travelers, too, so expect larger crowds and higher prices for hotels and airfare.

We hope you like our article about Best 15 Winter Vacations in the U S. 

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