The 12 Best Winter Vacations in the USA
While winter weather can sometimes encourage us to be lazy or unmotivated, this unique season is also a wonderful time to explore new places and take advantage of the snow with exciting activities such as skiing or snowboarding. Though cold weather is not the most appealing thing for everyone, the United States is home to several places that paint the perfect winter wonderland with scenic snowfalls and cozy accommodations.
If you’re looking to plan the perfect winter escape, here are the 12 best winter vacations in the USA according to Next Luxury.
1. Breckenridge, Colorado
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge, Colorado is a serene place that offers visitors the chance to experience powdery snow and world-class skiing at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. When strolling through the downtown area of Breckenridge, expect to see several colorful and eye-catching buildings that have been around since the late 1800s.
You’ll also find some charming restaurants and cafes along Main Street. Just keep in mind that this is a rather small ski town, so don’t expect to find Michelin-star dining during your visit. If you’re wanting to find some of the best lodgings in the area, check out Grand Timber Lodge or Beaver Run Resort.
2. Leavenworth, Washington
Having gained a lot more attention on social media in recent years, Leavenworth, Washington has become quite the hotspot for winter travel. With Bavarian-style structures and houses throughout the town, Leavenworth transports travelers to another place and era, making you feel as though you’ve traveled much further past the borders of Washington.
In addition to unique dining and specialty shops, there is also a famous Nutcracker Museum where travelers can look upon thousands of nutcrackers that date back as far as 1,800 years ago. Though there are a couple of quaint resorts in Leavenworth, we recommend going with Airbnb as they have some solid options.
3. Jackson, Wyoming
Being that it is situated super close to both Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, it should come as no surprise that Jackson, Wyoming makes for one of the most breathtaking places to spend the winter in the states. With three huge ski areas that include Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort. While Jackson is certainly home to some of the best and most popular skiing in the country, you don’t have to be a solid skier to enjoy a trip here.
If you’re more into the art scene, stop by the National Museum of Wildlife Art to see some pieces from icons like Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol.
4. Joshua Tree, California
Located less than three hours from Los Angeles is the desert oasis that is Joshua Tree. However, in the wintertime, this magical city possesses a completely different scene and setting, and it is not uncommon to experience some snow in the middle of the desert. Even if you don’t see a blanket of snow during your visit, expect some shockingly cold temperatures.
However, if you can bring yourself to bundle up and make it outside in the evenings, you might just catch some of the most stellar shooting stars that you’ve ever seen. Being that it’s a bit too cold to camp during the winter, definitely take some town to browse through all of Joshua Trees Airbnb rentals as hundreds boast a stunning setting and some great amenities like hot tubs and outdoor fire pits.
5. Anchorage, Alaska
For men seeking a more off-the-grid winter escape, Anchorage, Alaska should be at the top of your list. Though it is Alaska’s largest city, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in nature while visiting. However, keep in mind that there is a very good chance you won’t be getting much sunlight during your stay.
Nonetheless, getting to explore this unique part of the states during the winter has its own kind of charm, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see a glimpse of Northern Lights from Anchorage. For lodging, check out the hotel at the Alyeska Ski Resort and Basecamp for a convenient yet local experience.
6. Big Sky, Montana
If you’ve jumped on the Yellowstone bandwagon, you just might be itching to plan a trip to Yellowstone. While the stunning state is a great place to check out year-round, Big Sky, Montana is especially great in the winter thanks to its phenomenal skiing at Big Sky Resort. Plus, with Yellowstone National Park just a short drive away, travelers can mark some major sights off of their bucket list.
From hot springs to spewing geysers, Yellowstone in the winter is quite the sight to behold. Plus, there seriously is nothing like seeing a frozen waterfall up close and personal.
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7. New York City, New York
Between the snow-covered sidewalks and the endless number of coffee shops calling your name on every corner, there are few places in the world that curate such a specific seasonal experience as New York City does in the winter. Stay at The Peninsula New York or the Baccarat Hotel for an upscale experience before venturing out and taking a walk through snow-covered Central Park. Of course, since New York City is known for its dynamic food scene, make sure to plan to eat most of your meals out and about. A couple of spots that you can’t miss include Gramercy Tavern and Oxomoco.
8. Washington D.C
If you’re looking to experience winter on the east coast, Washington D.C. is the perfect place to get your daily dose of history all while having a great time. Though you can expect temperatures to be above freezing during the daytime, Washington D.C. gets cold, so you’ll want to pack accordingly.
If you happen to see the city in the snow, take advantage of the scene and snap some memorable photos of the White House blanketed in white. When it comes to accommodations, Washington D.C. has some insanely lavish options such as the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. and the iconic Jefferson Hotel.
9. Portland, Oregon
From gorgeous greenery and breathtaking waterfalls, there are plenty of outdoorsy things to do while visiting Portland, Oregon. However, during the winter, the often cool and wet weather sets the scene for spiked hot cocoa by the fire.
Thankfully, there are plenty of activities and places to explore that are indoors in Portland. From the famous Powell’s City of Books to the 75 plus breweries that exist throughout the city, there is no shortage of fun to be had while exploring this quirky Oregon staple. Portland also has a great music scene, making it the perfect city to catch an impromptu concert during your time there.
10. Lake Tahoe, Nevada
While Lake Tahoe is marvelous across all four seasons, winter in Lake Tahoe, Nevada is unlike anything else. One of the most special parts of Lake Tahoe in the winter is the fact that the crisp white snow contrasts so beautifully with the crystal clear and blue waters of the lake. Catch some of the most incredible lake views while skiing or snowboarding down a slope, or enjoy some low-key snowshoeing as you take in the surrounding nature.
Even though a lot of the more upscale Lake Tahoe resorts fall on the California side of the lake, you can snag a cozy room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino or the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa, and Casino.
11. Aspen, Colorado
Though Aspen is known for being a lavish town filled with fancy restaurants and five-star hotels, it also showcases the natural beauty and wonder of Colorado. Whether you’re looking to take advantage of the famous ski slopes that draw thousands of people to Aspen each year or you’d rather relax at a renowned resort such as Auberge’s Hotel Jerome or The St. Regis Aspen Resort, there is something for everyone in this scenic slice of heaven.
When it comes to dining in Aspen, you absolutely cannot miss The White House Tavern and Plato’s Restaurant. Just make sure to bring some more formal get-ups as Aspen is known for being rather upscale.
12. Salt Lake City, Utah
As the capital of Utah, Salt Lake City has the highest population in the state, though you can still experience a rather peaceful getaway if that’s what you’re looking for. With multiple world-class ski resorts just a short distance away from the city’s downtown area, a visit to Salt Lake City makes it easy to get the best of both worlds when it comes to spending time outdoors and getting to explore the ins and outs of a new city. If skiing isn’t up your alley, do some sightseeing at the Great Salt Lake or explore the budding art scene that is popping up in SLC.
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