Are you looking for a place to spend the winter holidays or looking for a magical winter vacation? A search for the best US winter destinations won’t leave you disappointed. As one of the most culturally and geographically diverse countries in the world, the US boasts an incredible variety of winter getaways to suit all tastes.
In fact, whether it’s a fall vacation in the US or any time of year for that matter, you’ll find some stunning winter spots.
When it comes to spending the festive season in the US, this list has you covered. Winter vacations in the USA will have you over the moon and coming back for more the following year.
Best Winter Vacations, USA
It’s no secret that winter destinations in the USA can undoubtedly rival any European vacation. And while you may have many choices, it can also feel overwhelming to decide where to go.
Luckily, I’ve narrowed it down for you. These are my family’s top picks for the most magical winter wonderlands in the US.
Leavenworth is my family’s absolute favorite US destination year-round, but this town is incredibly charming during the winter months.
This village feels like it is the epitome of a small town somewhere in Germany where old-world Alpine meets Bavarian-style designs. Nestled in a narrow valley and surrounded by snow-covered mountains – you’d be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic winter setting.
Moreover, with all the makings of a magical winter vacation in the US, this picturesque village of lights will have you enamored with its unique wintertime charm.
From specialty shops, eclectic dining to spas and excellent accommodations, you’ll be in your dreamy winter element. Holiday lights glisten along snow-covered streets, creating a truly whimsical feel during evening strolls.
Watch as this captivating village transforms into a winter wonderland akin to something from a fairytale.
This little corner of the Northwest also boasts many winter activities to have the whole family jumping for joy and is one of your best bets for one of the most magical US winter destination vacations.
Things to do in Leavenworth:
- Strap on some skis and head off into the snow-covered mountains of Alpine country.
- Grab a hot chocolate and a tasty iced gingerbread man at The Gingerbread Factory.
- Head to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm for an extra special experience.
- Take postcard worthy photos at Front Street Park.
- Join Silvara Cellars for a hilltop wine tasting with the most breathtaking views if the Wenatchee River.
- Take a Bavarian E-Bike Tour of all of Leavenworth’s mountains and scenery.
- Tour the area on a snowmobile and go zipping around the trails.
- Try your hand at snowshoeing or Nordic skiing.
- To bring out your inner kid, go sledding down the hills of downtown Leavenworth.
- Visit the Nutcracker Museum to view the world’s leading collection of nutcrackers.
Magical places to stay in Leavenworth:
- Dancing Bear Cabin: A two acre river front cabin is perfect for all the winter activities. This cabin sleeps ten if you are bringing family or friends and is within minutes of Leavenworth.
- The Riverside A-Frame: Steps away from the gorgeous Wenatchee River and just minutes from downtown Leavenworth, this cozy A-frame cabin is perfect for an enchanting stay.
- Hampton Inn-Leavenworth: This affordable option is located in downtown Leavenworth and near all the major attractions and dining this cute town has to offer.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
If you’re looking for a place to visit in winter that will please the skiers as well as those less inclined to hit the slopes, then look no further than Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is hands down one of the best places to visit in winter, and the unparalleled vistas of Wyoming will amaze you.
Perfect for the whole family, there is an abundance of snow activities to get everyone excited. Whatever type of winter holiday you fancy, Jackson Hole has got you covered.
What to do in Jackson Hole:
- Enjoy the pristine Wyoming landscape and wildlife-spotting from the comfort of a heated sleigh-drawn coach. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll be squealing with delight!
- Sightsee geological wonders like Old Faithful – a geothermal cone geyser in the Yellowstone National Park.
- Take on some downhill skiing and snowboarding.
- Revel in breathtaking winter views while snowshoeing through powder-white trails.
- Go Alaskan dog-sledding for a unique experience.
- Enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural spa-like waters of the Granite Hot Springs.
- Indulge in a tram ride for panoramic views of the Teton Mountains and charming town.
- Roam The National Museum of Wildlife Art.
- Shop until you drop at the historic Town Square, with its iconic antler arches.
Where to stay in Jackson Hole for an enchanting experience:
- Fireside Resort Cozy up in a Jackson Hole cabin fit for your needs. Each private cabin has a firepit, bikes for use and coffee each morning. Just a few minutes to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole Town Square.
- Hotel Terra, A Noble House Resort Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is a noble house hotel located in the heart of Teton Village. The resort features luxury amenities and recognized as one of the best hotels in Jackson, Wyoming for its excellent service and extensive amenities.
- Flat Creek Inn This beautiful Inn with stunning mountain views is the perfect affordable hotel in Jackson Hole. A short drive to all of Jackson Hole’s attractions and across the street from the Elk Refuge.
Forested peaks mark this former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains at the base of a popular ski-and-golf resort. The town of Telluride also boasts historical landmarks, like the Sheridan Opera House built in 1913.
Telluride is one of the cutest winter villages in America and is a traveler’s dream destination is the ultimate winter escape in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. It will ensure you never want to leave.
Here, powder-white mountains and endless runs will collide with blissful solitude to create a skiers paradise. All in all, the spectacular mountain vistas and wide-open spaces will rejuvenate your spirit.
In addition, Telluride’s art scene will also add a colorful layer to your vacation. There’s something for every enthusiast, from the theater, music, and culinary delights to architecture and visual arts. The options of things to do and see here are simply endless.
What to Explore in Telluride
- Explore the gorgeous area on horseback.
- Take a helicopter ski trip to remote and riveting slopes.
- Opt for a dinner sleigh ride under a blanket of stars for the love birds seeking a romantic opportunity.
- If angling is your forte, the winter fly fishing in the Telluride region will have you reeling.
- If you fancy some casual vacation cardio, grab some fat tire bikes and explore the area.
- For a cultural experience, see a ballet at the Opera House.
- Take an informative class from one of Telluride’s artists.
Magical Stays in Telluride
- The Hotel Telluride The Hotel Telluride is a five-star hotel in the Rocky Mountains. It is described as an oasis of luxury and comfort among the natural beauty of the mountain town.
- Nestled Aspen Forest Cabin This cozy cabin is located 500 feet to the ski slopes of Telluride and at the end of the historic village. Come home from a long day on the slopes and cozy up to the fire and some hot toddy’s!
- The Inn at Lost Creek is an iconic destination for visitors. The views are spectacular and the food is incredible. When you visit this mountain paradise you will feel as though you have truly found your home away from home.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Lake Tahoe (California or Nevada) is a must US winter destination. The crystal clear waters mixed with sparkling white snow is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This blissful paradise is a popular choice for many each year. High up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe has it all this winter. Shimmering turquoise freshwaters, snow-blanketed mountains, Alpine forests of Fir and Pine trees, topped with crisp mountain air – this spot is just epic.
Furthermore, winters here are truly serene, and visitors enjoy upscale living for the festive season. This luxurious environment boasts spectacular mountain cabins, high-end homes, and swanky resorts.
If opulence and grandeur are your speed, then head to Lake Tahoe for an incredible winter getaway. Other than treating yourself to luxury living, you will have no shortage of activities to enthrall you during your stay.
What to do in Lake Tahoe
- Take a gondola ride as you stare out at the breathtaking winter wonderland scenes.
- Explore the area in a thrilling helicopter ride of the clear waters of Crystal Bay.
- Try winter skydiving.
- For beginners and seasoned skiers, carve up the slopes with top-notch cross-country skiing in unmatched conditions.
- Hit up the renowned casinos in the area. Whether you want to pull a few slots, spend time playing blackjack, roulette, or poker, this is the place to do it.
Best places to stay in Lake Tahoe
- The Resort at Squaw Creek Our family’s favorite resort in Lake Tahoe. This is the perfect family vacation resort with so many activities and near all the Lake Tahoe attractions.
- Condo on Lake Tahoe This cozy condo is steps from the Lake Tahoe and a mile from Heavenly Ski Resort.
- Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe My family had the rare opportunity to stay at this gorgeous hotel nestled at the base of a beautiful mountain. The resort is ski-in and ski-out and offers many others activities, attractions and dining.
Taos, New Mexico
Known as one of the best places to rip up the slopes, many come here with great eagerness for the ski season. But that’s not all there is to do in Taos during the winter. Taos has you covered for those who need a break from the slopes or prefer other fun winter activities.
With a rich history and culture, there’s so much to experience here. Among other things, this is a mecca for artists and art lovers alike. Art permeates nearly every aspect of life in Taos, from the living art of breathtaking sunsets to the works sold in almost every restaurant you enter.
Things to Experience in Taos
- Embark on a hike to one of the incredible hot springs in the area.
- Visit the ancient ruins of the Taos Pueblo.
- Ski or hike Kachina Peak at Taos Ski Valley.
- Take a majestic hot air balloon ride with the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop.
- Visit the most beautiful lake nestled between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Williams Lake.
- Art enthusiasts can visit one of the many museums that shine a light on the late Spanish Colonial and artistic history of the area.
- Spend an afternoon walking around the town center to visit one of the 100-plus art galleries that display a variety of disciplines.
- Test your luck at one of the casinos in town.
Best places to stay in Taos
- Dreamcatcher Bed and Breakfast This quaint and quiet property offers unique rooms and close to Taos downtown plaza. There is a firepit to enjoy a glass of wine or hot drink by and a delicious, hot breakfast is served.
- Palacio De Marquesa if you want an authentic New Mexico experience, this exquisite boutique hotel It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for something different than your average hotel or motel.
- Bavarian Chalet A one minute walk to Taos Ski Valley, this modern chalet are what winter dreams are made of. Relax on the private deck or fire up the BBQ grill. For a gourmet night out, walk to the nearby Bavarian Restaurant.
Park City, Utah
Some like to call this Utah city “winter’s favorite city.” With so much to see and do, you will not run out of options. Not only is this a top snow-sport destination but also a culturally-rich area that caters to your every whim.
Here, you’ll be treated to world-class theater, performing artists, premier film festivals, and a town full of art galleries. You might even rub elbows with a few celebrities; they have been known to travel to Park City as their go-to winter destination.
A Park City vacation won’t just invigorate your body, and it will enrich your soul.
What to do in Park City
- Grab the opportunity to try river rafting.
- Enjoy some aerobic exercise with cross-country skiing in the tranquility of the Rocky Mountains.
- Visit Woodward Park City where kids can ride miniature snowmobiles and two levels of snowtubbing.
- Take in the pastoral winter beauty from a horse-drawn sleigh.
- Strap on some snowshoes and explore all the trails that stretch for hundreds of miles.
- Go snowmobiling through sweeping bowls of powder and untouched mountain meadows.
Where to stay in Park City, Utah
- Hotel Park City This old-world ski resort meets modern luxury hotel was rated “top ski hotel” by Conde Nast Traveler. Each suite has a fireplace, jetted tubs and a balcony overlooking the 18-hole golf course and gorgeous views of Utah’s beautiful mountain ranges.
- The Chateaux Deer Valley If you’re looking for a breathtaking ski resort with luxury accommodations, this stunning property offers guests access to world-class skiing and snowboarding on more than 2,000 acres of pristine terrain, as well as comfortable lodgings and top-notch amenities.
- The Goldener Hirsch, Auberge Resorts Collection is a ski-in/ski-out hotel with an old school charm. The property offers guests the opportunity to stay in one of the historic buildings or in one of their luxurious suites.
There is nothing like a winter getaway to the coast of Maine! If you are looking for a destination covered in sparkling snow, then Kennebunkport is worth considering your winter wonderland vacation spot.
February in Kennebunkport is an excellent choice for couples wanting a romantic getaway or a unique honeymoon destination.
The town of Kennebunkport transforms its quiet seaside village into an event called Paint the Town Red. The village is turned into a romantic retreat. Cheese and wine tastings, ice bars, and igloos, ice skating parties, special candlelight dinners, and horse-drawn sleigh rides are all offered.
You will not find skiing, but you will find many winter activities, quaint shops, and exquisite dining, all in an idyllic postcard setting.
Activites and attractions in Kennebunkport:
- Ice skate at Kennebunk Waterhouse Pavilion Ice Rink, a free covered rink.
- Visit the Maine Classic Auto Museum on Route 1 to see a collector’s dream of antique automobiles
- Try nordic skiing and snowshoeing at Harris Farm Cross County Ski Center to see snow-covered fields and winter woods before heading inside for a hot chocolate or hot toddy by the fire.
- Take a serene winter walk along the rocky beaches
- Shop, stroll and dine in Kennebunkport’s Dock Square
Where to Stay in Kennebunkport, Maine
- Kennebunkport Captain’s Collection is one of those rare gems that has everything you need and more in a place to stay. From the large, spacious rooms with private balconies overlooking the ocean to the delicious hot breakfast, this hotel is perfect for any traveler looking for a seaside escape.
- The Sea Glass Charmer This is the perfect stay for a romantic getaway in Kennebunkport. This airy and light space is minutes from Dock Square and has peekaboo views of the gorgeous harbor.
- Charming Beach Cottage This cozy designer cottage has amazing marsh views and is just a short walk to beautiful Goose Rocks Beach. Perfect to come home, light the fire, and pour a glass of wine.
Breckenridge, Colorado, is one of the best mountain towns in America. This quaint town is nestled within the Rocky Mountains and offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and small-town charm.
Our family has been to Breckenridge, Colorado, countless times and loves Copper Mountain, a short drive up the road.
The natural beauty makes it an excellent place to visit during the winter season. Breckenridge offers something for people looking for a slower-paced vacation or extreme adventure. There is no shortage of winter things to do, from world-class skiing and snowboarding at Breckenridge Ski Resort to hiking and biking trails.
What to do in Breckenridge
- Our favorite thing to do in Breck, is head to Mountain Top Cookie Shop in the center of town. We, of course, get baked cookies, but we ask for a scoop of cookie dough. We find a hot chocolate around town and plunk the cookie dough in the hot cocoa…amazing.
- Do a Fat Bike Beer & Distillery Tour, you can even do this during winter months and its a blast
- Head to Breckenridge Distillery for a free tour with tastings of whiskey, wine and vodka.
- If traveling with kids or you are a kid at heart, Epic Discovery at Breck is the pace for you. Alpine Coasters, rock climbing walls, gondola rides will keep you thrilled all day.
Where to stay in Breckenridge
- Gravity Haus This resort is rugged mountain town meets modern luxury hotel with some of the best ski-in and ski-out amenities In Breck. Walk to Main Street Breckenridge and ski slopes.
- One Ski Hill Place These premier luxury condominiums are the ultimate Breckenridge stay. They are ideally located at the base of Peak 8 and access to BreckConnect gondolas, which connects you to Breckenridge Main Street and Peak 7.
- Crystal Peak Lodge is a luxurious, picturesque mountain retreat for travelers seeking the ultimate Colorado experience. The quaint lodge offers guests scenic views of the Rocky Mountains and serene surroundings to enjoy their vacation with incredible ease.
Big Sky, Montana
Tucked away in the country’s northwestern corner, Big Sky Montana is a haven for those who love nature. Whether you’re hiking, fishing, skiing, or simply taking in the views, there’s something to delight everyone in this wild and wonderfully beautiful state.
Montana offers something truly unique and unforgettable. Big Sky is a fantastic winter destination in the US with towering pristine mountains, wide-open plains, and crystal-clear rivers.
Big Sky is a hidden gem winter vacation destination. Montana loves to keep their best-kept secrets, well, secret. For a good reason, there is nothing like Montana. Untouched and pristine.
What to do in winter in Big Sky
- Visit Yellowstone National Park. A 10-minute drive from the center of Big Sky, there is plenty of winter activities- dogsled, Nordic ski, and wildlife tours. You can take a guided trip on a snow coach or snowmobile to Old Faithful geyser and the hot springs.
- Hit the slopes. Montana has the most breathtaking mountains and peaks in the United States. Big Sky receives on average over 400 inches of snow per year, making the 5900 acres of skiable and slopes for some of the best skiing and snowboarding in America.
- Celebrate the “western way of life” during The Montana Winter Fair.
- Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Montana’s winter wonderland.
- Ice climb with a guide up some of Montana’s mountains and thick walls of ice.
- Watch Skijoring. What is that, you say? Experienced skiers pulled by fast galloping horses through jumps, obstacles, and turns for an exciting, adrenaline-pumping good time.
- Enjoy your time in Big Sky just relaxing fireside with a cocktail or hot chocolate at a luxury resort.
Woodstock, Vermont, is a wonderful place to visit in any season, but the winter months are lovely. This picture-perfect town offers something for everyone: snow-covered trees, picturesque homes, and a charming downtown area.
In addition, some of New England’s best skiing is nearby at Okemo Mountain Resort. Those who prefer not to participate in outdoor activities can still enjoy all this cozy town offers with its vibrant shopping scene.
There are also several opportunities for cross-country skiers and sledding hills throughout town.
Whether you come during the warmer seasons or when there is a blanket of white on everything around you, it seems like there is always plenty going on year-round.
Must see and do attractions in Woodstock
- Have a magical 19th century Vermont Christmas at Billings Farm & Museum. This farm and museum offers many interactive exhibits, interactive dairy farm, sleigh rides, wagon rides and a beautiful 1890 Farmhouse.
- Go maple sugaring. Winter’s in Vermont go well into March and April. Maple trees fill up around the third week of March. Learn to tap maple trees and learn how sugarhouses make maple syrup and maple candies.
- Head to the Nordic Center for some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on several groomed trails. You will take Mount Peg or Tom to see stunning views of the Woodstock countryside
- Book a one or two hour snowmobile tour at Snowmobile Vermont.
- Take Instagram-worthy photos at Taftsville Bridge.
Where to stay in Woodstock for a magcial winter experience
- 506 on River Inn You will feel right at home in the cozy farmhouse resort. Located near all ski resorts and Woodstock dining and shops.
- The Bluehorse Inn Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, The Bluehorse Inn is a charming bed and breakfast in Woodstock, Vermont. This historic inn offers guests a chance to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
- Woodstock Inn and Resort This top-pick resort is located in the heart of downtown Woodstock and near the Billings Farm & Museum and many more Woodstock attractions.
Nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, just 90 minutes from Denver, Vail, Colorado, feels like you stepped into a quaint Bavarian town without flying across the ocean. Vail is one of the best winter vacations in the US.
With world-class skiing and snowboarding, Vail has the second-largest ski area in America with over 5300 acres of skiable terrain. Additionally, plenty of après ski to enjoy in this magical, charming winter village.
If you are looking for a gorgeous, luxury winter getaway, Vail should be on the top of your list.
- Taking a relaxing winter scenic gondola ride to see views of the gorgeous Gore Range
- Have uniquely crafted cocktails at Frost or a Sabastian Signature Hot Chocolate
- Head to Adventure Ridge for an epic snow tubing experience. These snow tubes are not just any snow tubes; you will get a fantastic view of the Gore Range and the Sawatch Range Mountains.
- Attend Vail Winterfest Exhibit with whimsical sculpted ice installations that meander throughout the Gore Creek Promenade.
- Ice skate in the middle of the village looks like it’s out of a Hallmark movie.
Where to stay in Vail
- The Arrabelle at Vail Square. Nestled in the heart of Vail Village, this mountain resort will take your breath away. Featuring luxurious accommodations and a wealth of on-site amenities, this RockResort is the perfect place to call home during your next visit to the Rockies.
- Austria Haus. This charming hotel that takes Austrian charm and merges it with pristine Colorado winter landscapes. If you’re looking for an escape to the European Alps without having to leave North America, this is the spot for you.
- The Sabastian. beckons guests from all corners of the world with its luxurious accommodations and picturesque surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly ski resort or an indulgent escape this alpine atmosphere will allow you to enjoy world-class skiing and dining, or simply relax by one of the fireside lounges and take in the breathtaking views.
Final Thoughts on Magical Winter Vacations, USA
These are the best winter destinations in the US for a magical and memorable winter vacation. Whether it be a solo trip, a romantic getaway, or an epic family adventure, you can’t go wrong with one of these enchanting spots.
If you fancy playing outside in the snow, staying inside to admire artworks, or indulging in some great food, you’ll have an unforgettable getaway at any of these magical winter destinations.
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