Are you trying to plan the ultimate winter getaway during this holiday season? With all the possibilities to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where you want to go. Maybe you want to walk along white sand beaches during Christmas or countdown the new year in a cozy mountain resort. Maybe take the kids to a world-class theme park or go on a romantic hideaway visiting a gorgeous hot springs. But whatever you may be in the mood for this time of year, the best winter vacations in the US have something to offer for everyone.
Best Winter Beach Vacations in the U.S.
If you're looking to escape the cold weather, check out these winter destinations that boast warm weather all year round. Replace your Christmas tree with palm trees that line the most beautiful beaches and soak up the sun by spending your holidays outside.
Key West, Florida
This island paradise is the ultimate winter escape and probably the most southern point in the country, so you'll be as far away from the cold as possible. The weather allows for fun activities you wouldn't normally get to to participate in during the winter such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and more. If you're making a road trip along the East Coast, you can also stop by Miami Beach while on the Overseas Highway.
If a Hawaiian vacation has always been on your bucket list, then consider this as the perfect time to go island hopping. Go from Oahu to Maui, or head to the Big Island all in one big trip. Go on a whale-watching tour in Waikiki Beach, where the best time to see the humpback whales is from late December through early spring.
San Diego, California
Explore the beautiful beaches of Southern California by visiting San Diego. You have plenty of options to choose from such as Pacific Beach, La Jolla Beach, and Coronado Beach, along with many museums, art galleries, and theme parks to enjoy. Although the water might be a little more chilly, you can still go surfing, swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Best Ski Resort Vacations
If you would rather dive into what the winter weather has to offer instead of running away from it, these winter vacation ideas are perfect for you. If you enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, then these destinations are places you should consider for your holiday getaway.
An easy day trip from Denver, Breckenridge is a beautiful city sitting in the valley of several mountains, making for the perfect ski area. The town is known for its Victorian mining roots and holds plenty of cultural places to explore. Even if you don't like to ski, you have other options for activities including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating, and more. And if you want to up your ski game, head to Vail just less than an hour away.
Head up north for the ultimate frontier getaway by spending the holidays in Wyoming's ruggedly beautiful scenery. You'll be near three well-known ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort. You'll have plenty of western-style fun with plenty of winter activities to participate in, and if you need more outdoor adventures, you can head to the nearby Grand Teton National Park.
Lake Tahoe, California
During the holidays, winter at the California-Nevada border is known to bring in plenty of snow, making the Lake Tahoe area the perfect place to go skiing. The lake's crystal blue water sparkles against the snow that surrounds it, and skiers and snowboarders can behold the incredible views while ascending to the mountaintops in chairlifts. The area holds some of the most renowned ski slopes and boasts some of the coziest cabins and lodges to relax in after a full day of activities.
Best Winter Vacations for Outdoor Activities
If you like to submerge yourself in the nature's most gorgeous winter wonderlands, then consider hiking trails in these national and state parks. These places offer trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, where you can intake the views while adventuring through the area.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Most wouldn't think about observing the beautiful red rock formations in Southern Utah. But Bryce Canyon National Park is gorgeous place to visit during the winter. While cross-country skiing or snowmobiling, you'll get to witness how the snow compliments the pieces of bright reds and oranges that peek out from underneath the entire park.
Castle Rocks State Park
In Idaho at the base of the Albion Mountains lies Castle Rocks State Park and it's quite the place to wander around in the winter. Go snowshoeing across the hiking trails that take you through lush pine forests, incredible rock formations, and vast farmlands covered in snow and icicles. The Lodge at Castle Rock Ranch is a popular place for accommodations, where visitors can stay in yurts (Mongolian-styled domed huts!).
In Page, Arizona, the breath-taking Antelope Canyon get pretty busy during spring and summer. But during the winter, the hiking trails in the area clear up making the colder seasons some of the best times to visit the beautiful, natural attractions. Consider exploring other slot canyons besides the Upper and Lower Canyons, and don't forget to stop by the famous Horseshoe Bend.
Best Urban Winter Vacations
?If you want to submerge yourself in the busyness of a bustling city's atmosphere, then these cities are worth a visit. From the most stylish cafes to the most energetic nightlife, you'll spend wintertime learning more about city culture and the people within.
If you love live music, then head on down south to Austin, Texas, also known as "the Live Music Capital of the World." The city is always booming with life with shows of all kinds around every corner. Have a night out on the famed 6th street, where you'll find all kinds of bars and venues to hop around to.
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you're looking for a more unique urban experience, then New Orleans is the place to visit during the winter. Embrace all the Christmas decor that lines the streets, as you enjoy walking in mild weather that is normally humid during the summer months. Gorge in hearty Southern food and pop into one of the many jazz clubs that lies on every corner.
New York City, New York
Although many advise against visiting the Big Apple during Christmas and New Years, it's actually a great place to visit during the winter as long as you avoid those holidays specifically. Central Park is the ultimate winter wonderland as it sits under a layer of snow, and there are plenty of other things to do besides spending a hefty amount on the popular ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. If you still want to go ice skating in New York, consider heading to Prospect Park in Brooklyn instead.
Have you ever gone on a great winter vacation in the US? Share your experience with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!