Want to plan a winter getaway? Whether you’re trying to escape the cold or embrace it, there are plenty of destinations across the country that will suit your needs. Plus, winter is a great time to get great deals on hotels and tourist attractions. Read on for a few of the top winter vacation spots in the US!
Yellowstone National Park
If you’re into snowy scenery, Yellowstone National Park is a great place to enjoy it with fewer crowds than in warmer months. Take in Yellowstone’s steaming geysers, frozen lakes, frosted forests and plentiful wildlife for your winter getaway. You also can enjoy skiing and snowboarding in nearby Jackson Hole, Wyoming; where you can stay in a cozy cabin or high-end resort and enjoy the towns many shops and restaurants.
Key West, Florida
On the other end of the spectrum are the Florida Keys, where the average winter temperature is around 75 degrees. These comfortable temperatures mean that winter is a pretty busy season in Key West, however. If you’re into the party scene, though, this is the perfect time to head to the Key, where nightlife peaks in colder months. When it’s time to relax, you can enjoy deliciously fresh seafood and lounging on the beach in this southern US oasis.
Surprised? Minneapolis makes this list for it’s 10-day winter super-fest called the Great Northern, which features a loppet ski festival, US Pond Hockey championship, ice sculptures, outdoor barbecue and family-friendly carnivals. Plus, Minneapolis is a hidden mid-western gem; filled with museums, art installations, and amazing restaurants. It’s the perfect place for a winter getaway!
New Orleans, Louisiana
Everyone knows that New Orleans is a party-town, especially during the winter celebration of Mardis Gras. Every February, hundreds of people flock to the French Quarter for the mother of all street parties. If you’re looking for a good time, look no further than this colorful tradition of parades, pageantry, beads and booze. Book your hotels in advance if you’re planning to head to New Orleans around this time. If you’d like a bit of a quieter trip, visit earlier in January and enjoy the jazz and rich history of this colorful city. Temperatures are much more tolerable in winter, too!
If the cold days and long nights don’t bother you, head to Alaska for an unforgettable winter experience. In Anchorage, you can participate in glacier hikes, dog-sledding tours and wildlife watching. The Aurora Winter Train will take you through the area’s winter wonderland landscape, all the way to Fairbanks; where you can view elaborate ice sculptures at the ice museum. The best part? If you visit from September-March, you can take in the majesty of the Northern Lights!
Las Vegas, Nevada
In January and February, airfares and hotel rates in Vegas are generally much more affordable and the city itself is much less crowded. This is a great opportunity for those looking to escape frigid winter temps in the many clubs, casinos and shows packed into this desert oasis. There’s really something for everyone in Vegas, including hiking in Red Rock Canyon and snowboarding on Mount Charleston. Don’t expect to enjoy outdoor pools in winter, however, as the average temp in January and February is 50 degrees.
Is there a bad time to visit Hawaii? We don’t think so! Kauai, called the Garden Isle, is full of lush wildlife and year-round tropical temps that are perfect for a warm winter escape. Relax on Kauai’s golden sand beaches or go hiking to one of the island’s magnificent waterfalls. Drive along the Na Pali Coastline and go on a whale-watching cruise in December-March; when humpback whales head to the island’s waters to raise their young. Many people flock to the islands of the Aloha State during this time of year, though, so don’t expect cheap airfare and hotel rates.