Best Winter Vacations in the US

If you plan to take just one vacation a year, consider the middle of winter. While some people might think only of beach, sand and sun during winter, many see winter as the time to experience the best of what the weather has to offer. When you just can’t stand staying indoors any longer, pack up and experience one of the best winter vacations in the US.

best winter vacations in the US

Ski in Lake Tahoe, California

If you’re on the west coast, it's hard to pass up Lake Tahoe, which effortlessly offers up one of the best winter vacations in the US. With a dozen ski resorts, shopping, casinos and night clubs, Lake Tahoe is a winter vacation paradise. Some vacationers choose Tahoe every year and after you come once, you’ll see why. The most notable ski resorts are Heavenly Mountain with 30 lifts, world class Squaw Valley with 34 lifts and Donner Ski Ranch, with less crowds and 6 lifts.

Outdoor Fun in Leavenworth, Washington

Some of the best winter vacations in the US are surprising. Leavenworth is a Bavarian style village full of shops, accommodations and festivals, music and live theater. The village is especially delightful during the holidays with the whole town decked out in lights and decorations and experiencing the excitement of the annual ice festival. Every year crowds of visitors head to Leavenworth for a great winter vacation packed with exciting and unique activities. Take a shuttle to skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling sites, visit mountain springs, rent ski equipment, or take a ride to view the countryside from a sleigh pulled by horses.

Snowy Trails at Yellowstone National Park, Montana

Many people visit Yellowstone Park in the summer, but for a different vacation experience, give it a try during the winter. For those who love being in the great outdoors during the winter, Yellowstone offers guided snowmobiling tours to all three of the forests surrounding the park, visits to Old Faithful and something different—snowcoaches. Snowcoaches are a van on skis and can hold you and your family while you enjoy a warm tour of Yellowstone to view wildlife, deep forests, waterfalls and many snow bound trails in the park.

Winter Carnival in McCall, Idaho

The winter carnival in McCall has become nationally known for its winter sports contests and fantastic winter ice carving contest. Since 1924, the festival has entertained winter vacationers with dog sled races, ski races, and ski joring -- skiing while pulled by a horse. There are also contests for snow shoveling, snowshoe racing and snow jumping. After the sports contests, there are fireworks, a children's parade, vendor court, carnival rides, and even a polar plunge for the hearty. Be sure to visit the Pancake and Christmas house to satisfy the appetite you will get from all the winter fun.

dog sledding

Dog Sledding in Ely, Minnesota

If you’ve ever wanted to give dog sledding a try, a vacation to Minnesota will give you the chance. With all gear available to rent, even without prior experience anyone can try mushing a team of Eskimo dogs on the snowy trails with a guide. Other fun activities in the area include canoe trips, hiking, kayaking and paddle boating. The best winter vacations in the US are the ones that are customized for your specific interests and budget, so stay open-minded as you make plans.

Winter Carnival in Stowe, Vermont

With fine dining, lots of shopping, cultural activities and an arts community, Stowe is a great vacation spot any time of the year, but is especially exciting during its Winter Carnival. Lasting ten days, the festival has been charming visitors since 1921. Activities include music and dancing on opening night, an all day snow volleyball game, an ice carving competition staged by carving artists, a snow gold tournament and what is billed as the world's coldest parade down main street.

We hope you've found our list of the Best Winter Vacations in the US helpful!