Best Winter Vacations to Take in 2020
This big list of only the best winter vacations with snow is perfect for anyone who wants to embrace everything winter has to offer.
Have you been deprived of powdery white snow for years and want to travel up north to experience a proper winter snow vacation?
Are you looking for the best spot for snowshoeing? Or experience something new like dog sledding?
Will you be going on a trip with your kids? Or escaping to a romantic winter getaway with your partner?
I’ve rounded up some of the best winter vacation ideas below!
Best Winter Vacations for Snow Activities
What have you been itching to try?
Are you excited to ski?
Here are some of the best snow activities you can do on a winter vacation.
1. Dog Sled
Aside from Alaska where dog sledding is actually a mode of transportation, there are other places that offers non-stop dog sledding fun.
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge (at Ely, Minnesota) isn’t called the “Sled Dog Capitol of the US” for nothing, so check this place out if you want the best of the best.
Alaska too far from you?
Check if you’re near these dog sledding tours:
- Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours (Jackson, WY)
- Dogsled Adventures Montana (Olney, Montana)
- Mountain Dog Sled Tours (Lake Placid, NY)
- Mountain Musher Dog Sled Rides (Vail Valley, CO)
- Nature’s Kennel (McMillan, MI)
If you want to enjoy snow, but you’re not a fan of adrenaline-rushing ski activities, or you don’t have much money to rent ski gear, your next bet is to go snowshoeing.
Snowshoe, the specially designed footwear that lets your hike all over snow, can still bring you a lot of fun as other snow activities. Here are the best spots to go snowshoeing:
- Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah) – Spend from 1 to 3 hours going up along the canyon rim, giving you a spectacular view of red-orange rock formations that dramatically contrasts the thick white snow. Snowshoeing trips available for beginners and experts.
- Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center (Idaho) – This all-inclusive resort is a pro when it comes snowshoeing and all other types of skiing. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap here (this is a celebrity getaway destination after all).
- Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wisconsin) – Probably my favorite snowshoeing destination of all. This mile-long Lakeshore Trail from Meyers Beach leads you to the magical winter sea caves with chandelier-like hanging icicles you won’t see anywhere else.
3. Snow Tubing
You don’t need to learn anything to go snow tubing.
As long you have proper winter clothes on and a heart open for some thrill, you can go snow tubing here:
- Camelback ski resort (Tannersville, PA) – It is the largest snow sled tube park in America with 42 lanes designated especially for snow tubing.
- Mad River Ski Resort (Zanesfield, OH) – The resort’s “Avalanche Tubing” Park has 10 ribbon-styled lanes
- Wintergreen Resort (Wintergreen, VA) – The go-to destination for night tubing, the resort’s tubing hill is known as the “scream machine” because of the speeds the tube reach (up to 30 mph and how long one ride is (three football fields long).
Perfect for kids and families, sledding lets you ride down the slopes with your loved ones and still enjoy the ride.
- Old Powderhorn (Grand Junction, CO) – Ideal for those looking for a more intense sledding experience, the resort receives an average of 250 inches of snow each year. Locals call this place the “old Mesa Creek Ski Area” and is located just off the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway.
- Arnold Arboretumof Harvard University (Boston, MA) – This is one the highest and longest slopes for sledding in all of Boston.
- Pioneers Park – (Lincoln, NE) – USA Today named this spot as one of the top 10 sledding spots in America.
For those who dream of hitting the slopes, check out this post to guide you with the best ski resorts in the US.
National Park Winter Trips
Those who have been dreaming of snowy mountain escapes, there’s no better way to experience the full intensity of nature’s winter wonderland than to visit some of the best national parks during winter.
Here are my favorite national parks that would also serve as best winter vacations with snow:
- Rocky Mountain National Park(Colorado) – It’s a national park packed with wildlife and natural attractions that attract millions of visitors each year. It’s a lot less crowded during winter, so it’s a perfect time to explore the park’s spectacular 415 square miles of alpine and other environments
- Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) – Vehicle access in some areas are limited during winter, but it’s a park ideal for any skill level. Imagine the dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful – all covered in thick snow.
- Great Smoky Mountains Park(Tennessee and North Carolina) – The park is shared by two states, so enter whichever is nearer to you. With 550 miles of hiking trails and an eerily snow-covered forest with tons of wildlife, you’re up for an adventure.
- Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah) – Snow cloaks the Grand Staircase, a series of high-desert mesas, and the park’s famous red hoodoos (largest in the planet). Expect crisp, clean air thanks to its high altitude of about 8,000 to 9,000 feet.
Romantic Winter Getaways
If you’re looking to rent a warm cozy cabin and have a romantic getaway with your partner without really needing to go out and explore too much, these destinations will surely make you happy:
- Field Guide Lodge (Stowe, VT) – Designed with a “rustic luxe” vibe, the Field Guide Lodge is young but it’s proving to be a favorite spot of couples wanting to get cozy indoors. Most of the 30 rooms (with wide-angle window views) have gas fireplace and all with big bathtubs.
- The Ranch at Rock Creek (Philipsburg, MT) – If you want to splurge for an anniversary or popping the question this resort is probably the most luxurious getaway in the West. It’s the only Forbes Travel 5-Star dude ranch offering year-round and a romantic snow vacation with copper bathtubs, and Indian blankets to cuddle up.
- Lake Placid Lodge (New York) – Enjoy a candlelit dinner for two and private wine cellar in one of Lake Placid’s super-romantic freestanding cottages. It looks phenomenal during winter, surely it could be one of the most memorable winter getaways you and your partner will share.
Best Winter Vacations for Families with Kids<
When choosing the best winter vacations for families, I considered only the destinations that would make ski and non-ski lovers happy, with plenty of things to do for young kids too.
- Omni Mount Washington Resort (Brettonwoods, NH) – At the base of the resorts, young kids have their own fun in the snow with specially-designed tiny snowmobiles. There are also spots for snow tubing, a playground, mini zip line and miles-long of snow-covered space.
- Woodloch Pines (Hawley, PA) – Home to the snowy scavenger hunt, outdoor family Olympics, winter archery tag, extreme tubing, and other snow activities beyond skiing, this resort is a fun getaway for families with older kids.
- Planet Kids at Boreal Mountain Resort (Soda Springs, CA) – Planet Kids, which is exclusive to kids, features 20-lane “Tube Town,” ski learning area, tubing carousels, and a wide stretch of play areas for non-stop snow angels and snow fights.
- Vista Verde Guest Ranch (Steamboat Springs, CO) – This snow-covered magical place is one of the best horseback riding resorts in winter months.
Urban Winter Destinations
If the best winter vacations for you involve exploring new cities, then you can skip all the national parks, mountains and ski resorts in favor of cities that are big on Christmas celebrations.
- Chicago, IL – The Winter Wonderfest, Millennium Park ice skating, Magnificent Mile Christmas shopping, a ton of glowing city lights from ZooLights to Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry.
- New York City, NY – Watch out for the fancy Christmas decorations all over the city, such as Rockefeller Center’s big Christmas tree. Stroll snowy Central Park and chill at one of the hundreds of cafes that would gladly serve you hot chocolate.
- Washington, DC – Snow covering the city is a sight to behold. Winters here isn’t as flashy as NYC or LA, but the ice skating rinks, white monuments and that specific Christmas chill will definitely make your stroll all worth it.
- Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake Christmas – When it comes to Old World Christmas Market, Elkhart Lake locals and their all-out Christmas-time celebrations surely make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
- Atlanta, Georgia – It ranks #1 on KAYAK’s cheapest places to fly during winters (usually around $100 roundtrip from major cities), plus you can enjoy many outdoor parks like the Centennial Olympic Park and the Botanical Garden.
Where are Your Best Winter Vacations Ever?
I hope you got an idea where to go for your upcoming winter trip.
You see, the best winter vacations can be a subjective topic. My favorite winter destination now, with a toddler in tow, can change after a few years when my son is ready to hit the slopes.
Care to share where your favorite cold winter destinations are?