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Looking for incredible winter vacations in the US? We’ve got you! This inspiring article features 33 perfect places to visit in the winter as well as the most delightful winter escapes.
As one of the most culturally and geographically diverse countries in the world, the US boasts an incredible variety of winter getaways for all tastes.
Snow, beaches, mountains, cities, national parks, you name it–great America has it all!
And, as the summer comes to an end, it’s time to plan your winter vacation in the US. Whether you prefer snowy or sunny winter vacations, this article will give you some incredible ideas for your USA bucket list.
Here’s the list of best winter vacation spots in the US.
Best Winter Destinations in the USA
These are the best places to visit in the winter in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas, is not only one of the best places to visit in the state but also one of the state’s most touristic cities.
Its moderate Southern climate and charming atmosphere make it a great destination for a winter getaway in the US.
Located midway between oil-city Houston and hip-town Austin, San Antonio preserves a unique vacation vibe unlike the mega-cities just hours away.
It also holds an interesting piece of history, as it is the first chartered civil settlement in Texas, and as such, there are numerous things to do in the city.
The Alamo, the Riverwalk, the five historic missions, and San Fernando Cathedral are just some of the attractions of this incredible place.
As the city’s temperature generally stays above 60℉ on the coldest of its days, a casual walk along the riverbank is an enticing way to spend an evening with family and friends.
San Antonio’s riverside is complete with adorable architecture, fancy restaurants, small shops, and street musicians.
During Christmas, holiday lights further accentuate its charm.
Whether you’re spending a weekend in San Antonio or a week, endless hours can be spent here enjoying the contrast between nature and modernity, chatters, and serenity. San Antonio is definitely one of the best winter destinations in Texas!
We have a complete guide on where to stay in San Antonio! Check it out!
2. Beaver Creek, Colorado
A stone’s throw west of Vail lies the postcard picture mountain village of Beaver Creek.
This is the home of the famous Beaver Creek Resort, which attracts hundreds of athletes and spectators every December for one of the world’s premier ski events.
With no less than 1800 acres of terrain that range from gentle slopes to steep bumps to thrill skiers of all skills, this picturesque village offers much more than snow-related activities.
The performing arts center, children’s museum, and the numerous hiking trails on the edge of the village ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy.
An abundance of coffee shops and restaurants provide a wide range of mouth-watering sensations to suit all tastes and budgets.
If all this is not enough for you, the unbelievable views of the Rocky Mountain from virtually every spot in Beaver Creek are something you will not forget for a while.
Click here for accommodation in Beaver Creek!
3. Yosemite National Park, California
This national treasure is famous for its all-year-round breathtaking scenery of soaring granite monoliths, spectacular waterfalls, lakes, and deep valleys with towering ancient sequoias decorating this stunning landscape.
With the first snowfall, the Yosemite National Park is transformed into a fairy-tale winter land, making it one of the best places to visit in the winter season.
No matter where you are, spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range are in every direction.
Among the must-see sights are the El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Tenaya Lake, Tunnel View, and Glacier Point. Catching the Firefall at sunset on Horsetail Falls could easily be the highlight for photographers.
The February setting sun ignites the frozen falls in a blaze of red-orange cascading fire that is a sight to behold.
Accommodation is available to suit everyone – from luxury resorts to camping. Kayaking, hiking on snowshoe trails among the giant redwoods, skiing, snow playing, ice skating, and just taking in the spectacular scenery make Yosemite one of the best winter vacations in the US for any family.
Click here for accommodation in Yosemite National Park!
4. Key West, Florida
If you’re scratching for a winter getaway in the USA that does not involve cold, snow, or rain, there is no better place than the country’s southernmost point – Key West, Florida!
This tiny island can even be reached by car from the mainland via the Overseas Highway that runs through the Florida Keys. (Top it off with a stop in Miami Beach!)
The island’s tropical climate, with winter temperatures varying between 64-80°F, makes Key West one of the best winter vacations in the US.
Without a doubt, this island paradise has everything for anyone with a passion for sandy beaches and the ocean.
Fort Zachary Taylor Park, Higgs Beach, and the offshore Dry Tortugas offer excellent snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and fishing, cruising aboard a glass-bottom boat, or just lazing in the sun. Is there a better way to escape the winter blues?
Art galleries, antique shops, theaters, and several museums, will keep the culture vultures occupied for days.
Countless eateries offer scrumptious local seafood like lobster, shrimp, and freshly caught fish, while street performers will keep you entertained.
And all this, while the rest of the country is shivering and wrapped up in blankets. Yep, Key West is not a bad place to spend a winter vacation in the US!
Click here for accommodation in Key West!
5. Kings Canyon National Park, California
If you’re scratching your head for winter vacation ideas, look no further than the other national treasure that is Kings Canyon National Park.
This park easily rivals Yosemite for natural splendor, but one entrance fee also gets you into the adjacent and equally majestic Sequoia National Park.
It’s spectacular scenery in the form of gigantic granite cliffs, deep glacier-carved valleys, the roaring Kings River, and dense forests of colossal sequoias to take your breath away.
Hike or ride on horseback through Grant Grove and view the General Grant, also known as the Nation’s Christmas Tree, the world’s second-largest tree!
More dramatic scenery can be viewed at Cedar Grove at the canyon’s bottom.
At the same time, Zumwalt Meadow, the massive stalagmites and stalactites of the marble cave at Boyden Cavern, and the 2000 ft high marble walls of Kings Gate and Windy Cliffs will leave you in awe.
Click here for accommodation in Kings Canyon National Park!
6. Vail, Colorado
If skiing is your game, then Vail just has to be a top contender for your next winter getaway.
As a perfect day trip from Denver, this dainty little town boasts of being one of the most favorite skiing destinations in the world!
Surrounded by 350,000 acres of pristine forests and over 5,000 acres of skiable slopes with breathtaking mountain scenery, Vail has everything to offer for that memorable family winter vacation.
Nestled in the foothills of the Vail Mountain range, this charming chocolate box picture town offers so much.
Apart from incredible skiing, snowboarding, skating, and all the usual snow activities for all skill levels, there are also unlimited shopping, dining, and lodging options to suit all tastes and pockets.
For the not so energetic, strolling through the heated cobblestone streets of Vail Village, Lionshead, and Golden Park, you will be awed by the stunning scenery around every corner. Photographers will not know when to stop clicking.
Spending a few days in Vail could be one of the wisest winter vacation ideas you may ever have!
7. Mount Hood, Oregon
Ascending to a height of 11,240 ft, Mt Hood stands in the center of the million-acre Mt. Hood National forest.
This dormant volcano, barely 90 minutes drive from Portland, is a major tourist attraction all year round. Still, it is the snow that turns this magnificent mountainous landscape into a magical winter playground.
Numerous family-friendly ski resorts, forest cabins, and basic camping facilities, all within proximity, offer an array of accommodation styles, winter activities, and breathtaking scenery.
Skiing, tubing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, hiking, snow playing, or taking leisurely sightseeing drives through this magical landscape during winter is something one would not forget for a while.
Trillium Lake, Burnt Lake, Tamanawas Falls, and Ramona Falls are just a few must-see places, all offering magnificent views of Mount Hood as a backdrop. It is places like this that make winter such a special time of the year.
Click here for accommodation near Mount Hood!
8. Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend National Park is located on the Southwest Border of Mexico and Texas, adjacent to the Rio Grande River, and it is an excellent winter escape.
Since the highs in the national park reach well above 100℉, which results in some sections of the park being closed, Big Bend is one of the best places to visit in winter in the USA. (Arguably, one of the best national parks in Texas during wintertime too.)
The winter weather is mild, making hiking the trails much more comfortable. Plus, the park has hot springs where you can enjoy where you can get chilly!
The best activity in Big Bend is to simply hike. Some of the most popular hikes include the Lost Mine Trail, The Window View Trail, The Grapevine trail, The Boquillas Canyon Trail, and the Santa Elena Trail.
One of my favorite trails is the Santa Elena Trail, as it takes you through the famous Santa Elena Canyon and the Rio Grande.
Another one of my favorite activities is enjoying the Hot Springs located on the Rio Grande. The trail to this hot spring is an easy 0.5 miles.
The area can get crowded, so I recommend going around sunrise to enjoy this place all to yourselves. If you ever get too hot, take a refreshing dip on the Rio Grande River.
Big Bend National Park is not one of the more famous National Parks, but it is indeed a hidden gem and a great spot to visit during the winter months.
Click here to check accommodation near Big Bend National Park!
Michelle at The Wandering Queen
9. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Whenever people think of winter vacations in the US, it would not be unusual for Mount Rainier National Park to come to mind immediately.
Peaking at 14,410 ft above sea level, Mount Rainier is the highest peak in the Cascade Range.
This active volcano is surrounded by 142 square miles of pristine wilderness terrain, decorated with ancient glaciers, blue alpine lakes, rivers, waterfalls, beautiful valleys, and picturesque meadows, teeming with wildlife.
Great places to visit would be Longmire, the park’s historic district and museum, Sunrise, for the majestic views of the mountain.
White River Campground and Ohanapecosh for the old-growth forest and stunning waterfall, Christine Falls and Reflection Lakes, where you view an almost unreal reflection of Mount Rainier on a still winter’s day.
Miles of trails cater for all fitness levels, but none more popular than the easy 1.1-mile hike at the Grove of the Patriarchs, where one can meander along the river, marveling at the ancient giant red cedars and Douglas firs.
A stunning place for any winter vacation in the US or any place else for that matter.
Click here for accommodation near Mount Rainier National Park!
10. Crested Butte, Colorado
This is another small town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where everything that can be done on snow is done here.
Crested Butte offers stunning lift-served skiing terrain, snowboarding, scenic Nordic ski routes, ice skating, snowshoe hiking, sleigh rides, and everything else you can think of…not to mention the magnificent mountain and wilderness scenery.
Lodging to suit everyone’s needs is aplenty, with the town offering more than sufficient shopping and a fantastic variety of gourmet eateries to satisfy all palates.
The beauty of this place is unparalleled, with all the amenities and recreation areas nearby. Free shuttle bus rides to the outlying ski areas are also available.
Click here for accommodation in Crested Butte!
11. Castle Rocks State Park, Idaho
If you’re looking to get away from it all, then this is the place for you!
Located at Big Cove at the base of the Albion Mountains, this state park offers numerous, incredible Nordic and snowshoe hiking trails amongst the most unusual terrain of expansive farmlands, enormous pine forests, and gigantic and dramatic rock formations sculptured by nature over millions of years.
This terrain is also the home of a variety of wildlife, such as moose, coyote, cougar, deer, and an abundance of birdlife, such as horned owls, northern shrike, and rough-legged hawk.
In winter, this landscape takes on an almost surreal look, with snow-covered rock pillars and caves forming bizarre giant icicles in all stages of freezing. A truly spectacular sight at every turn.
Lodging is available at The Lodge at Castle Rock Ranch or in yurts, Mongolian-styled domed huts. Cute and comfortable.
If you are into rock climbing, you will be back in the summer!
Click here for accommodation near Castle Rocks State Park!
12. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Listen, let’s cut to the chase here – Just go there!
Bryce Canyon is one of the most breathtaking national parks you will find anywhere!
And in the winter it becomes even more beautiful. But beware; at an elevation of over 8000 ft, the air is thin, and it gets pretty chilly. But it will be the canyon amphitheater itself that will take your breath away.
A scenic drive through the park will take you to numerous viewpoints to appreciate one of nature’s true wonders.
The Bryce Amphitheatre is enormous. It is 12 miles long, 3 miles wide, and 800 ft deep. Millions of years of headward erosion have excavated this canyon, carving out cliffs and thousands of vertical multi-colored spires up to 200 ft high, with each one having its own district shape.
The rock faces are all shades of red, orange, and white, and a dusting of snow makes them all look even more beautiful. A photographer’s paradise!
If that doesn’t do it for you, you can do cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, ice skating, sleigh riding, and snowmobiling in this 35,000-acre park, which includes forests and meadows teeming with a diverse range of wildlife. Lodging of all styles is readily available in and around the park.
Looking for vacation ideas for winter? Look no further.
Click here for accommodation near Bryce Canyon National Park!
13. Cibola National Forest, New Mexico
Less than 12 miles from Albuquerque lies another winter wonderland retreat – the Sandia Mountains in Cibola National Forest.
Deposits of potassium feldspar crystals within the outer granite layer give this mountain its distinct pink color, particularly at sunset, and thus its name – Sandia (Spanish for watermelon)
This mountain also hosts the Sandia Peak Tramway, the longest tramway in North America and the second-longest in the world.
Ascending over 4,000 ft over a distance of 2.7 miles, the tram car will take you to the crest, where you can walk around the miles of trails and take in the panoramic views of Albuquerque below and hundreds of miles beyond the New Mexico landscape.
The crest can also be reached by a scenic drive where a restaurant and gift shop waits for you.
All the usual winter sports can be done here as well as hiking along the foothills of the mountain, among prickly-pear, wild sage, cactus, and pine forests.
Numerous ski resorts and hotels provide ample lodging, and the town itself offers all the dining and shopping amenities you could ever want.
Click here for accommodation near the Cibola National Forest!
14. San Diego, California
Looking for winter vacations in the US to escape the cold and snow? San Diego, southern California, is the perfect destination to escape the winter blues.
Well, where do we start? Firstly, the sun-drenched beaches along San Diego’s 100-mile coastline will draw you like a candle to a moth.
Amongst the numerous stunning sandy beaches, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Beach, and Coronado Beach rate amongst the best in the world.
Surfing, swimming (although the water can be a little chilly), kayaking, snorkeling, or just lazing in the sun are what people come here to do.
Entertainment here is endless. Harbor cruises, speedboat, and sailing adventures, and whale watching thrill locals and visitors all year round.
For the culture vultures, museums for all tastes, art galleries, theme parks, gardens will leave you in awe. The USS Midway, and the Air and Space Museums, are truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is a great way to see all the must-see sights, while the Ghost and Graveyard Tour will scare the living daylights out of you.
The Brothels, Bite, and Booze Tour, lets you sample the area’s culinary delights while taking you through San Diego’s questionable but intriguing past.
This place has everything for a delightful warm winter vacation. Need we say more?
Click here for accommodation in San Diego!
15. Sandpoint, Idaho
If you’re ready for a true winter vacation in the US, then head north to Sandpoint, Idaho.
Situated on the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho’s largest lake, this city is encircled by the gorgeous Selkirk, Cabinet, and Bitterroot Mountain ranges, making it the perfect winter getaway destination.
Numerous ski resorts, such as the Schweitzer, offer excellent ski slopes and snow-related activities for all skill levels.
The ski lift takes you up to the ski station, where the scenery is to die for. Stunning hiking trails are too numerous to mention, with all of them catering to all fitness levels and spectacular views of the rugged countryside, the lake, and the city below.
A must-do hike is the Serenity Lee Trail, which takes you on a long bridge across the lake, from where a postcard photo can be taken with virtually every step you take.
There is even a mini Statue of Liberty on the lake, but we leave you to find it for yourself. The Annual Winter Carnival is something you do not want to miss.
Needless to say, shopping and dining can be done to your heart’s content, while there is no shortage of lodging of all types in and around this fantastic city.
Click here for accommodation in Sandpoint!
16. Whitefish, Montana
Whitefish, Montana is a wonderful winter destination, especially for those who love winter sports.
Skiing the Big Mountain is the first attraction that comes to mind.
With frequent dumps of knee-deep powder and inversions making the top of the mountain warmer than the valley, skiing the Fish offers endless on and off-piste opportunities.
If skiing isn’t fast enough for you, there is always the World “Skijoring” Championship held every January, where brave skiers are towed through an obstacle course by a horse.
If that sounds more terrifying than fun, you can go snowshoeing in nearby Glacier National Park, and there are Nordic ski trails set around the golf course in town.
A visit to Whitefish isn’t complete without trying a burger at The Bulldog Saloon, where the bathrooms are as much of a reason for visiting as the food.
That said, one of the best places to eat in Whitefish is Craggy Range, where there’s local craft beer on tap and slightly healthier options to balance out the Bulldog burger.
Click here to check accommodation in Whitefish!
17. Breckenridge, Colorado
If you’re looking for one of the best winter wonderlands in the US – Breckenridge, Colorado, has you covered.
This small city is nestled in a valley with several mountains of excellent skiing available and is a pleasant day trip from Denver.
What makes Breckenridge unique is its Victorian mining town roots. The main street is not only adorable, but it’s also very walkable and has lovely shops.
There are play areas and museums for the kids and plenty of choices for the adults. Park your car and walk almost everywhere or catch a bus.
The ski resort is probably one of the best in the world and frequently hosts international events.
Don’t like to ski or prefer other activities?
Breckenridge (or nearby resorts) has snowmobile rentals, carriage rides, snowcat tours, ice/snow sculpture contests, snowshoe hiking, indoor and outdoor ice skating, and much more.
Some favorite things to do include taking the gondola up to the base of peak eight and sipping hot chocolate while watching the ski slopes.
Warning: the hot chocolate is very good but very rich.
Also, it’s fun just exploring the town and enjoying some crepes. If you’re hungry for some hardy post-snow day meals – Eric’s is the place to go. There will be a wait, but it’s oh, so yummy.
Click here to check accommodation in Breckenridge!
From Lori at Fitz5 on the go
18. Sugarite Canyon State Park, New Mexico
Situated just 20 miles from the city of Raton lies a little gem for any outdoor and wildlife enthusiast.
Tiny compared to other state parks, this 3,600-acre park, nature has crammed in so much natural beauty, with dramatic canyons, gentle meadows, creeks, forests, scenic lakes, and abundant wildlife.
Taking all this while camping at the two campgrounds, within this truly magnificent setting, allows one to disconnect with the world and reconnect with nature totally.
Hiking through Sugarite Canyon is simply fantastic, and so is the brand new Lake-to-Lake trail, both providing breathtaking scenery from start to finish.
And when the ice is safe enough, ice fishing on Lake Alice may provide you with a unique experience and a tasty dinner too.
The visitor center will also give you a short history of this coal mining area of the 19th Century and all other intriguing information on this calm and tranquil part of the world.
Click here for hotels near Sugarite Canyon State Park!
19. Boston, Massachusetts
Founded in 1630, Boston is an incredible city filled with history, beautiful neighborhoods, and good food.
The city has lots of fascinating attractions, including the Freedom Trail, Boston Common, Fenway Park, and Newbury Street. Still, there are also lots of romantic things to do in Boston.
Beyond that, the city is also home to the world-renowned Ivy League Harvard University, and an afternoon in the vibrant Harvard Square is a must.
As winter arrives on the East Coast and Boston is covered in a blanket of snow, the city is a real treat to visit, and there’s still plenty to see and do.
Boat rides are replaced by ice skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond, and the Skywalk Observatory perfectly showcases the city’s beauty from above.
A cold craft beer is a perfect excuse to warm up, the Harpoon Brewery is our favorite, and a spot of indoor shopping at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace will provide shelter from the winter weather!
Boston is renowned for its museums, and they are a cozy escape in the winter.
We love the stained glass globe at the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library and discovering more about American history at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
Click here to check accommodation in Boston!
From Elaine at Show Them the Globe
20. Page, Arizona
Most people have no idea what or where Page is, and it’s no surprise why.
Antelope Canyon is the highlight in the area, and most people don’t give Page a second glance with the natural wonders just beyond town…
But there’s some good news and some bad news about the area…
Bad news first: It gets incredibly busy at Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.
The good news: You’re going to be visiting in winter when it’s still just as ridiculously gorgeous, but the crowds are cut in half.
Even more good news? There’s more to Antelope Canyon than Upper and Lower! There are other slot canyons just as beautiful with even fewer people visiting!
We visited in winter, and there were literally only us in the canyons!
Antelope Canyon in winter is a perfect time to visit, and don’t forget the nearby Horseshoe Bend as it’s a must-see as well.
Click here to check accommodation in Page!
From Nina at Where in the world is Nina?
21. New Orleans, Louisiana
Hearty food, chilly-but-not-freezing weather, cozy jazz clubs, and buckets of southern charm: New Orleans is one of the best winter vacations.
(And it turns out, it is also a fantastic spring break destination in the US!)
While summers are sweltering in New Orleans, winters are surprisingly mild–and offer the bonus of Christmas decor during the season!
All the famous New Orleans attractions, from Bourbon Street to beignets, are still waiting to welcome you with open arms in the winter, and the lack of humidity and crowds are a nice bonus.
Visiting the bayou, touring a plantation, indulging in a ghost tour, and exploring the famous cemeteries of New Orleans are all still tons of fun while wearing a coat.
(And honestly, sometimes winter in New Orleans doesn’t even require a coat!).
Since one of the best things to do in New Orleans is savor its delicious food, you’ll be delighted to know that gumbo, muffulettas, fried chicken, beignets, jambalaya, and more all taste even better when it’s a bit cold outside!
The best advice for winter in New Orleans applies year-round: come hungry and ready for a great time, and you’ll end up finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Click here to check accommodation in New Orleans!
From Kate at Our Escape Clause
22. Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah, is the perfect ski destination. They have four world-class ski resorts right within the city limits, so you are never more than forty minutes from Salt Lake’s famous powdery snow.
The skiing is “steep and deep” in Salt Lake, which means that you will find more snowfall than any other North American ski destination, and the terrain offers challenging runs.
Each of the four resorts caters to a different clientele, so there is something for everyone in Salt Lake. Solitude is good for people who like wide runs and open spaces.
Brighton is great for snowboarders. Snowbird has steep terrain best for upper-intermediate and experts. Alta (my favorite) is a no-frills resort that gets the most snow of any resort in Utah.
But there’s more to Salt Lake than just skiing. City Creek Canyon has pedestrian-friendly trails that are open year-round.
Millcreek Canyon closes for the winter and offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in a dog-friendly forest.
There is also a fifty-one-mile trail along the Jordan River that is open to hikers, runners, and bikes.
Contrary to cultural stereotypes, Salt Lake also has a surprisingly robust craft beer scene and great coffee shops.
So, hit the slopes, take a hike, and grab a beer in Salt Lake.
Click here to check accommodation in Salt Lake City!
From Carol at Wayfaring Views
23. Washington DC
If you’re traveling to Washington DC in the hope of experiencing a white Christmas, you’re in for a treat. Washington DC doesn’t traditionally see snow in December, although January has a perfect chance of seeing snow.
Beyond that, Washington DC is relatively cold during winter but not cold enough to stop you from seeing the incredible attractions America’s capital has to offer!
Explore the National Mall, discover the Smithsonian Museums, pay homage at the Arlington Cemetery, and photograph the White House.
The various National Museums along the National Mall provide a good escape from the cold, where you could also grab a coffee and snack before braving the cold again.
Many of the main attractions are condensed to within a close area, and the Central Business District hotels are easily within walking distance to the National Mall, which includes Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the United States Capitol Building, and various museums that would easily take a week to visit each.
Click here to check accommodation in Washington DC!
24. Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra is a wonderful winter destination in California. The area is beautiful all year round, but in the winter, it takes on a remarkable beauty.
Majestic mountains and evergreen forests surround the town, and in the winter, the landscape does look like a winter wonderland.
And towards the start of the season, when the blue lakes that dot the region have not yet frozen over, they gleam like sapphires amidst the snowy white surroundings. It’s a magical sight!
Even though this is one of the best fall vacations in the US, the Mammoth Lakes is also a very popular winter resort, and the opportunities for winter adventures and fun are endless here.
Apart from traditional skiing, you can snowboard, snowmobile, snowshoe, and cross-country ski.
Try snow tubing, build a snowman, have a snowball fight! If you just want to take the gondola to the top for hot chocolate and to take in the magnificent views, that’s fine too!
How about riding a snowcat (used to groom trails) on a tour to Minaret Vista? Or ice-skating at the local rink? You won’t run out of fun things to try, even if you spend a couple of weeks here!
There are lots of accommodation options, and at the end of each day, you can return to relax by a fire with a hot drink. That’s the perfect end to a fun winter vacation day!
Tip: Mammoth Lakes is very popular in the winter, so book early!
Click here to check accommodation in the Mammoth Lakes!
From Dhara at It’s Not About the Miles
25. St Augustine, Florida
If you are looking for a great place to visit in the Winter, then you will be surprised by the number of things to do in St. Augustine, Florida.
It not only encompasses some fantastic beaches that are great for relaxing and sandcastle making, but it also has a great history to keep almost anyone interested.
St. Augustine is nicknamed the Nation’s Oldest City with a wide variety of attractions and restaurants.
We highly recommend taking a trolley tour when you first arrive to get the lay of the land before you decide on which attractions you’d like to visit.
Our family enjoyed the reenactment of the cannon fire at the Castillo de San Marcos, the National Monument in downtown St. Augustine right on the water.
A great thing about St. Augustine, FL, is that it provides a mild winter allowing you to still enjoy the warm beaches, yet without the crowds that you may find in southern Florida areas during winter months.
When in doubt, hit the beaches and just bring a sweatshirt on a cooler day. They are a great place to find seashells and even take a bike ride on the packed sandy beaches.
Click here to check accommodation in St. Augustine!
From Jill at Lets Travel Family
26. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Lake Tahoe is great year-round, but it really shines in the winter when its famous ski resorts come to life.
Skiers and snowboarders are treated to views of Lake Tahoe’s bright blue water sparkling in the sun as they ascend chairlifts and prepare for their runs down world-class slopes.
Squaw Valley, one of the top ski destinations in the country, was the site of the 1960 Olympics and offers a museum about the games in addition to time on the slopes.
Other resorts in the area are Alpine Valley, Heavenly Mountain, Mt. Rose, Homewood, Northstar, and Diamond Peak.
After the lifts close, you can enjoy apres-ski dining and drinks at one of the resort villages.
South Lake Tahoe has great options right at the base of Heavenly Village. If you’re not too worn out from skiing, you can take a scenic drive along the shores.
Tahoe City has pathways along the lake, and the western shore offers particularly nice views of the water.
Lake Tahoe is located on the California/Nevada state line, approximately two hours east of Sacramento.
If visiting in the winter, be aware that ice and snow in the mountains can lead to dangerous driving conditions.
Pay attention to road closures and warnings, and bring snow chains in case the weather requires them.
Click here to check accommodation in Lake Tahoe!
From Kris at Nomad by trade
27. Park City, Utah
Located about 30 minutes East of Salt Lake City, Park City is the epitome of winter activities. The city has one of the biggest ski resorts in the United States.
This typical winter vacation spot and surrounding areas have many activities to offer, including skiing, snowboarding, bobsled riding, exploring the cute town, and so much more.
In 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics. The vast majority of skiing and snowboarding events were held in Park City, Utah, due to the world-class ski resorts. With that being said, skiing and/or snowboarding is a must!
If you are looking for a unique thrill, then make sure to check out the bobsledding track.
As you might expect, the track was built for the 2002 Olympics for the bobsled, skeleton, and luge events.
The track has remained in use. You can now buy tickets to experience a thrilling bobsled ride!
The city also features a fun and vibrant area called Historic Main Street that is filled with boutique stores, cafes, bookstores, and restaurants.
It is the best place in town to relax after an all-day outing at the slopes.
Park City offers an endless number of winter activities for all. The city is a fantastic destination for any kind of winter vacation you want to make it.
Ease of access and endless activities within minutes. What else could you ask for?
Click here to check accommodation in Park City!
From Michelle at The Wandering Queen
28. New York City, New York
If you’re looking for an excellent winter destination in the US, New York City is the place for you!
Although not a cheap winter vacation in the US, this touristy city is actually quiet in the winter if you don’t visit in the Christmas rush.
You can get excellent deals on hotels and accommodations during January, February, and March.
New York City has many excellent museums that are perfect for enjoying when the temperatures are cold.
It’s also quite beautiful under a layer of snow, especially when you visit scenic Central Park, which is incredibly gorgeous in winter.
Also, the Prospect Park in Brooklyn is lovely, especially the ice skating rink on the south side of the park, which is fun to enjoy in the winter and is much less crowded and expensive than ice skating at Rockefeller Center.
When you need to warm up and take a break, there are plenty of great places to eat, drink, or enjoy a coffee.
New York bars are incredibly cozy in the winter, and a lot of happy hours include delicious hot spiked beverages like mulled wine which are great to warm you up after being out in the cold.
Oh, and consider attending a Broadway show because some indoor entertainment is also welcome at this time of the year!
New York in winter is indeed cold, but there is plenty to do to warm you up, and you’ll save a bundle compared to the high season! Be sure to include it in your US winter vacation ideas.
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From Allison at Eternal Arrival
29. Chicago, Illinois
While winter is not the most popular season for tourists, I think it is one of the best times to visit Chicago.
For starters, accommodation costs are lower, and the popular attractions are less crowded.
There are so many things to do in Chicago, but you might want to focus on the indoor attractions when visiting in the winter.
Chicago has many excellent and well-known museums, including the Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Other things you can do include watching a play, sporting event, or comedy show, listen to music at a jazz club, take an architecture tour and enjoy panoramic views from tall skyscrapers.
You can also brave the cold weather and head outside to Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate, the famous mirrored sculpture known as The Bean. One of the best things to do in Chicago is to eat.
Chicago is one of the top cities in the world for food lovers, with many restaurants serving every type of cuisine.
Make sure to try deep dish pizza and a Chicago-style hot dog, two dishes that Chicago is known for.
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From Patti at The Savvy Globetrotter
30. Redmond, Oregon
Central Oregon’s dry and sunny climate makes it an ideal destination for outdoor winter activities.
Popular cities like Bend and up-and-coming towns like Redmond, Oregon, are conveniently located in the high desert, with the Deschutes River flowing through and surrounded by snowy mountains.
Mount Bachelor Ski and Snowboard Resort is just half an hour from town, with over 100 runs.
Hoodoo Ski Area is not much further, with an additional 34 ski runs. Both also have spectacular sledding parks.
Central Oregon enjoys some of the driest powder in the Pacific Northwest, ideal for cross-country skiing.
Nordic skiing can be found at Mt. Bachelor as well as the Deschutes, Ochoco, and Willamette National Forests. Many of these areas are also open to snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
In Bend and Redmond, ice-skating rinks open every winter.
You can also enjoy an abundance of tasty restaurants, local breweries, and cute cafes whether you’re visiting for a family vacation, outdoor adventure, or romantic getaway in the United States.
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From Michelle at Roam Redmond Oregon
31. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Winter in the Rocky Mountain National Park is truly unique. If you love to hike, exploring the park on snowshoes is a bucket-list must!
The mountains and lakes are transformed into a blanket of snow for the snowshoe hares, elk, and coyotes to explore.
There are several places we like to start. Bear Lake is probably the most popular trailhead for snowshoers, for a good reason!
Hike around the lake for amazing views, giant icicles, and maybe a snowball fight!
One of my favorite trails from Bear Lake is Nymph Lake (about half a mile in), and gorgeous.
Beyond it, about a half-mile, you reach Dream Lake, then another .8 miles to Emerald Lake.
Usually, it depends on the weather how far you’d like to go. It can get cold and windy out on the lakes!
Another favorite place of ours in winter is Hollowell Park. It’s a turnoff with a small parking lot a few miles before Bear Lake and much less crowded.
For kids, this is a great flat area to explore and see some wildlife.
For a longer hike, snowshoe up to Cub Lake. It’s 2.3 miles one way from a trailhead of the same name and a 540-foot elevation gain.
Before you go, it’s wise to stop into one of the local Estes Park snowshoe shops, such as the Warming House, and ask what the best trails are at the moment.
Because they rent snowshoes and know what’s going on with weather and trail conditions in the park, they often can give great recommendations. Have fun!
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Lauren at Explorer Momma
32. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
When you think of USA bucket lists, Yellowstone is an undeniable superstar. Yellowstone is nothing short of magical.
The bizarre geothermal features are otherworldly, and the wildlife viewing is some of the best you’ll find anywhere.
The Absaroka Range provides a stunning backdrop to all the adventures you’ll have here, whether they’re on Yellowstone Lake or Yellowstone River, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, or the Grand Prismatic Spring!
Yellowstone’s busiest months are July and August, so visiting outside of that window is ideal. Most folks fly into Bozeman and rent a car.
As for lodging, there are tons of options in and around Yellowstone.
The key is to book as early as humanly possible. The historic Old Faithful Lodge, where you can watch Old Faithful erupt from your room, is the most iconic place to stay.
That said, there’s plenty of other lodgings in the park or neighboring small mountain towns. I stayed in the charming Cooke City before heading into the park to snag a campsite.
You can reserve campsites in more extensive campgrounds or arrive bright and early to snag a first-come-first-served site.
There is no perfect number of days to spend in Yellowstone, but the longer, the better!
I stayed four days on my last trip, which was sufficient to see all the highlights (e.g., Grand Prismatic, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley…), plus do some hiking without feeling too rushed.
Keep in mind that regardless of the time frame, you’ll be doing a ton of driving.
The Grand Loop, the main Figure-8 drive within Yellowstone National Park, is 142 miles! I promise it’s more than worth it.
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Kaisa at Glam Granola Travel
33. Coldfoot, Alaska
A town named Coldfoot conjures images of brides running away or someone with frostbite on their feet.
Well, Coldfoot, Alaska, is just that. It is a tiny town in interior Alaska along the Dalton Highway.
Beyond that, Coldfoot’s record temperature during winter is -82℉. Mind you, the town is about 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
Not only that, but Coldfoot is home to 10-15 people, a café, a small bunkhouse, a gas station, and a pub.
This tiny town might not seem like a tourist hot spot, but it is. What it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in light shows.
Northern Lights, that is. Coldfoot sits right in the center of the Aurora Borealis belt.
Being north of the Arctic Circle means that Coldfoot experiences plenty of darkness. During the winter, Coldfoot has 67 days where the sun will not rise at all.
This means that during the winter, there are 1,608 hours that the northern lights can be seen.
Even spending a single day in Coldfoot gives one 24 hours where the lights can be seen.
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From Jennifer at National Park Obsessed
Wrapping up on the Best Winter Vacations in the US
These were the best places to visit in the winter for a magical and memorable vacation.
While some of these winter vacations in the US are perfect for chilly weather lovers, others are ideal for people who urge for warmer days–like us!
We hope you enjoyed the read and got some lovely ideas for a winter break in America.
But, before leaving this article, please tell us in the comments, do you prefer a snowy winter vacation or a winter getaway to sunny beaches? Drop your answer below! We’d love to hear from you!
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