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There are two types of travelers: those who flee the cold temperatures and those who embrace them. I am definitely one of the former but as a travel agent, I do recognize the beauty and appeal of being in a winter wonderland if you are a skier or snowboarder or just love curling up by a warm fire and watching the snow fall. Sounds just like heaven to us, too even though we are warm weather people ourselves!
If you’re the latter, chances are you’re currently plotting your next vacation to make the most out of those winter months.
Well, if you’re wondering where to head to this winter, here are 7 of the destinations in the USA that can help you to embrace your inner Elsa. So why run to the beach this winter? Head to the hills (the ski hills that is) and learn to love winter again!If you’re wondering where to head to this winter, here are 7 of the destinations in the USA that can help you to embrace your inner Elsa. Click To Tweet
Vail is probably the most desired winter wonderland destination in the US because it is the quintessential of winter towns. While you can find plenty to do in this cozy mountain town in Colorado all year long, winter is without a doubt the most special time of the year to visit this alpine gem.
Tucked underneath the alluring Gore Range, Vail offers pretty much everything you could ask for from a mountain resort, including world-class winter sports, an incredible foodie scene and some of the most luxurious hotels in the country if what you’re after is to SEE the snow, but not necessarily feel the cold (staycation, anyone?).
Hiking anyone? Vail has it! From beginners to experts, you can find the hiking experience you desire in Vail.
Think world-class ski resorts and amazing winter sports (think activities like wild snowmobiling, dog sledding, and ice skating) and you’ve got Park City, Utah! If activity is on your list of perfect winter wonderland vacations, Park City will not disappoint.
Park City offers an incredible variety of things to do that should be on your bucket list. A walk through this quaint little town will make you feel as though you’re wandering inside a real-life snow-globe as you gawk at the century-old buildings and mansions that line the valleys.
Tip: January hosts the town’s annual Sundance Film Festival, which is one of the largest independent film festivals in the world and you never know! You might see some celebrities in town (or even where you’re staying).
Known for its snowy peaks and scenic beauty that will cause your jaw to drop, Telluride is one of Colorado’s most picturesque mountain towns and a must-visit if what you’re after is winter outdoor adventures galore.
While in Telluride, don’t miss out exploring a few of its hiking trails (make sure to check the weather conditions before you venture in), getting those Instagram vibes on at Hotel Madeline’s ice-skating rinks, and sledding down the San Juan Mountains.
If you’re up for some serious mountain adventure, you can try your hand at ice climbing (yes, it’s a thing!) or venture deep into the mountains in a cross-country ski adventure.
Maybe try a fat bike ride (yes, it’s a thing too!) and get that heart pumping with some great cardio!
Not the hotel kinda person? Well, try a backcountry hut!
If you’d rather spa than sweat and would prefer a much more relaxing vacay (or a combo of adventure and luxury), Telluride’s surroundings host plenty of insanely beautiful hot springs where to can relax your muscles after a day of snowy adventures (seriously…try that fat bike!!)!
As a New Englander (displaced from NY) I can tell you there’s something incredibly charming about it here in winter, and Camden is the king of winter wonderland destinations in the area. Located on the charming Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor feels as though it came straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting.
While visiting, make sure you book a unique ski adventure at Camden Snow Bowl, where you’ll be able to get your shred on with the views of the ocean backdropping your every move.
And be sure to plan a visit in the summer too for the coastline and lighthouses, the fall for the foliage and spring for the beautiful blooms because Camden offers something for all seasons.
Another beauty nestled away in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray in Colorado, known as the outdoor recreation capital of Colorado, is your go-to if you want to feel as though you’re walking around in Europe rather than the USA. Also known as the “Switzerland of America”, Ouray is the perfect place to head to for some serious winter vibes and that fairytale feeling deep in the mountains.
Aside from its endless array of mountain outdoor adventures (and hot springs galore to relax your muscles in!), Ouray knows how to make the most out of the colder months with events like the Ouray Ice Festival and San Juan Skijoring, both of which celebrate winter sports and the importance they have on this gorgeous little town in the heart of the Colorado mountains.
Yellowstone National Park is a a must-visit any time of the year, but during the winter months it is perfection for those in search of the ideal winter get-away. Think snow-capped landscapes, forests dusted in snow, frozen lakes, and steaming geysers that make the landscapes look out of this world.
Another thing that makes this national park worth the trip? Yellowstone is set right next to Jackson Hole, which means you can combine your visit to the national park with some serious après-ski scene and luxury stays to relax in after a day spent adventuring!
More popularly known for being the base to explore the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg in Tennessee has a ton more to offer for those who linger a while at this quintessential mountain town.
Aside from its classic alpine vibe and amazing food scene, Gatlinburg bursts to life with several winter festivities such as the Anakeesta Enchanted Winter Festival, where you’ll find twinkling lights every step you take and delicious food to help you beat the winter blues.
Once you’re done exploring Gatlinburg, head into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you’ll find an array of winter sports to choose from and cozy cabins and chalets to experience winter in the middle of nature. Seriously, it doesn’t get more magical than waking up and having a hot cup of cocoa in the middle of nowhere!
We hope this list of winter wonderland destinations in the USA to spend winter in gave you some inspiration to start planning your next getaway! Whichever town you wind up choosing, you’re guaranteed a true adventure. A beautiful, snow-capped adventure you won’t soon forget!