The Best Winter Vacation Destinations
A Winter Wonderland
When the word vacation comes to mind, what do you think of? For many, beachy scenes will come into play with white sands, palm trees, and maybe even some fruity cocktails while laying in the sun. But for some, it is scenes of a beautiful, wintry mix, maybe in the mountains somewhere. Or maybe you would like a family ski trip, or a romantic getaway snuggled up by a warm fire in a beautiful cabin or chalet. I personally enjoy both, but for those of you who thrive on winter, I have found some of the most serene winter vacation spots just for you!
Ready to ski? Aspen, Colorado is perfect if that is what you are seeking. Named for its abundance of aspen tree's, this popular city is an elite ski resort and huge tourist center. It sits along the southeast end of the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounded by breathtaking views of mountains and wilderness. The city has also seen its share of famous residents from John Denver to the Beckhams.
Though it is a rather pricey place to visit, there are plenty of recommended hotels with welcoming accommodations, such as the St. Regis Hotel (pictured above right.) If skiing is not quite your thing, not to worry because there are plenty of other activities to check out. If you have an RV, there are tons of campsites, along with plenty of places to hunt and fish. There is golf and tennis, as well as plenty of spa's and gym's. If you are an outdoorsy kind of person there is horseback riding, ice skating, and even Jeep tours. For all you thrill seekers, there is even paragliding, tubing, and hot air ballooning.
Winter In The Big Apple!Click thumbnail to view full-size
New York City
Please do not picture Day After Tomorrow when thinking of the Big Apple during the winter. It is nothing like that. New York City is beautiful, and especially so during the holiday season. I think it is safe to say you could never get bored in this gigantic city during anytime of the year, but here are just some fun ideas you could look up during the winter season.
How about perhaps checking out a tree lighting? At Lincoln Square, Winter's Eve turns on a 25-foot-tall Balsam fir tree that is absolutley amazing to see. It is all surrounded by the annual Winter's Eve festival which has tons of festivities including local resturaunt tastings and great music. If you are looking for a fun night out, heating up the dance floor at one of the many clubs is always a fun option. If you like antiques, check out the Winter Antiques Show. All the proceeds from this annual benefit goes to the Bronx's East Side House Settlement.
Theatre is also a huge part of New York City's many things to see. Maybe catch The Nutcracker if you are in a holiday mood. You could also take the post Thanksgiving walk, where you are nothing but dedicated to walking off all that turkey! Hitting all the Holiday markets is also a popular option, where there is up to 76 vendors selling anything from jewelry, ornaments, and fine arts.
At last, grab some delicious hot cocoa from many of delicious cafe's around and go sightseeing at some of New York City's famous grand places. Enjoy a walk through Central Park, stroll on over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, take a yellow cab over to The Empire State Building, sail on over to Ellis Island, hop the metro to Roosevelt Center. The possibilities are endless. But I know I would not want to go home with out paying tribute at the Ground Zero sight!
Breckenridge is another amazing ski resort town located in Colorado in the high Rocky Mountain valley. This high-alpine climate town gets an annual average snowfall of 300 inches! The beautiful town has some pretty harsh winter conditions with an average temp. of 28 degrees and only 30 frost-free days a year. How extreme is that!?
For all you ski lovers, Breckenridge is the second most-visited ski area in the United States. Hiking, bicycling, fishing, snowshoeing, and golfing are all popular activities to enjoy in the area. Take the family and go 1,000 feet underground on a tour of the Country Boy Mine. Enjoy mountain biking along 100 miles of sightseeing trails.
Some of the more exciting, original things to explore is Dinner Sleigh Rides, where you can enjoy a delicious dinner cooked on a camp stove while riding into the pines. Or if snowmobiling is your thing, you can hop on one these machines and tour around the ghost towns and mining sites. During the holiday season, you can enjoy The Lighting of Breckenridge, a truly old-fashioned celebration with hot cocoa, lighting the town tree, singing, visits from Santa, and complete with fireworks at the end. This is definitely a unique ski town to visit!
New Zealand located in the pacific southeast of Australia thrives in winter during their snowy season. Their ski season runs from June to August, and their amazing scenery and vibrant festivals enlivens all who visit. Coronet Peak, in Queenstown, is their most popular ski field. Their Winter Games is a major international sporting event.
If skiing and snowboarding at world-class ski fields are your thing, this is the place for you. They are equipped with tons of them with breathtaking scenery. But there is also a wide-variety of other activities to explore and see. Bungee jumping, white-water rafting, climbing, jet-boating, helicopter rides, hot pools, and canyoning are some of the popular.
There are luxury mountain lodges and hotels to reside in along with a number of bed and breakfasts, campsites, and backpacker hostels. All with exceptional views to enjoy the surrounding country side. And don't forget to visit at least one of the dozens active volcanoes there!
How could Alaska not make it onto the list? We all know what this below freezing temperature state is known for...no, not Sarah Palin. I am talking about the wintry Alaskan weather, and those tough as nails Alaskans. Depending on where you are, their winter brings about 6-13 hours of daylight. Where winter is embraced, there are dozens of festivals and events taking place all throughout their "winter season." There are boundless outdoor adventures to experience and plenty of cultural events that showcase the community.
Popular events include dog mushing, the northern lights viewing, snowboarding and skiing of course, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Add some fine restaurants, museums, shopping, and locally owned beer, and you've got a recipe for a great winter vacation.
There is also plenty of sightseeing adventure to do such as wildlife viewings, ice glaciers, day cruises, fishing, rafting, and hiking. You can even surf the bore tide! Visiting the Native Heritage Center in Anchorage will give you a great sense of the culture. A train ride is also a comfortable way to see and take in all the scenery of Alaska.
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Range, this is where Nevada and California meet. This large freshwater lake just west of Carson City and is the largest and second deepest lake in the United States. Being a major tourist attraction, there are plenty of events to enjoy all year long. But what about the winter season? Well, it is home to a number of ski resorts and has plenty to offer when the snow hits.
With 15 alpine and 13 cross-country ski areas, take your pick at snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiling. There is also Lake Tahoe sleigh rides! Considered a snow paradise, there are so many exhilarating ways to enjoy their winter season. You can go dog sled riding while being pulled by a team of huskies, go snow tubing as fast as you want, hike around, or glide across the ice while ice-skating. Then of course when you are all worn out, cozy up by the fire and gaze at the beautiful snow by the window.
If you vacation to Lake Tahoe in March, you can hit up their annual Snowfest! It is considered the Mardi Gras of snow, and the place comes alive with ten fun-filled days equipped with events and activities for all ages. There is parades, races, parties, concerts, and plenty of frolicking in the snow to do!
Let Me Know
Which Season Is Your Favorite For Traveling?
A Winter Destination Awaits You!
A winter vacation is never too far away. All of these places have plenty for you as a family or a couple to enjoy. Whether you are looking for a thrill, skiing, or just a romantic getaway, these destinations await you. Let me know in the comments below if you have visited any of these beautiful locations, no matter what the season!
© 2011 Brianna W