Top Winter Travel Destinations in the US

Top Winter travel destinations in the US by Ari KellenMost people associate vacations with the summer, but winter travel is an awful bit of fun.  Whether it’s a ski trip or a tropical getaway, there are some phenomenal winter travel destinations in the US.  Here are a few of them:

Puerto Rico: A combination of sunshine and stellar deals have drawn visitors to Puerto Rico for years now.  It’s affordable, has great beaches, good drinking and excellent food.  Whether you want to visit a celebrity chef or head into the backcountry’s “Lechon highway” for authentic roast pork, it’s great food you can’t get anywhere else.  

Hawaii: Even before Elvis made “Rock-a-Hula”, Hawaii has been attracting Americans with its stellar beaches, great weather and fabulous outdoor activities.  And the best part is that it stays fun and happening all year round.

New Orleans: New Orleans in the summer is humid and disgusting, but in the winter the weather is actually tolerable!  There’s a lot more than just Mardi Gras: lower hotel rates, great Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and fewer tourists.  

California: The beaches and sunshine of southern California make both Los Angeles and San Diego an idea winter getaway.  The colder months are also a great time to find cheap hotel deals.  

Florida: One of America’s most well-known and timeless snowbird destinations is the Sunshine State.  Whether you want to visit the Gulf beaches of Fort Myers and Tampa, take in the vibrant nightlife of Miami or go on rides in Orlando, it’s hard to go wrong here.

Salt Lake City: If you’d rather be skiing this season, then no worries, Salt Lake City is the place for you.  You can easily stay downtown and then drive just half an hour to the slopes, a winning combination.  

Savannah: Arguably the epitome of southern charm, Savannah is one of the most romantic cities in the country.  Apart from Valentine’s Day, winter is the low season here, giving you plenty of room to check out this charming historic city.  

Santa Fe: Yes, it’s a bit off the beaten path, but Santa Fe is wonderful to visit in the winter, with mild temperatures and access to ski slopes.  

Memphis: There isn’t much to do in Memphis, but there’s certainly enough to make for a phenomenal long weekend for anybody who loves food and music.  You can listen to live music on one of the many blues bars in Beale Street, get barbecue at Central (Rendezvous isn’t that good if we’re being honest) and visit Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley first recorded.

Anchorage: Most people would prefer to visit Alaska during the warmer months, but this is the prime season to see the Northern Lights, a natural phenomena as beautiful as it is unusual.  It’s tough to get there, but hotel rates are at an all-time low this time of the year.  

Best Cold Weather Vacations in the US

Casper, Wyoming
The beautiful Casper Mountain in Wyoming.

Although winter usually leaves people yearning for warm weather and beaches, it’s a season that we should learn to embrace, and perhaps take our own vacations to.  There are many wonderful winter destinations in the United States that offer an abundance of winter activities and quaint towns to explore that look better in holiday lights and snow than they do in the blue skies of summer. So this year, instead of a tropical getaway, try a snowy, cozy one.  Here are some of the best cold weather destinations in the US:

The first wintery destination that you may have already had in mind is Anchorage, Alaska.  You can find snow in Alaska from October to late April, so there’s plenty of time for you to experience winter if your vacation schedule doesn’t fall within the cold months the rest of the country experiences. Alaska is truly the last frontier.  It’s beauty is surreal, with snow-covered mountains, glaciers, and miniature wildflowers, everything you see will look like a perfect backdrop.  Apart from the natural beauty, Anchorage is home to many cultural and historic attractions.  From the Alaska Native Heritage Center to the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, you can learn all you need to know about the last frontier – and more! Plus, there are many downhill ski areas within a 45 minute drive of Anchorage; and if you like dogs, the famous Iditarod begins right in Anchorage.

Another great winter vacation to add to your list should be Casper, Wyoming.  Casper is home to winter lodges, ice fishing, ski grounds, and other various cultural attractions.  The Casper Nordic Center includes 26 miles of ski trails, 27 miles of back-country trails, and a lit-up trail for night skiing. If you’re into history, Casper’s National Historic Trails Interpretive Center lures visitors to explore what it was like to be a settler traveling out west in the 1800s. And if you like sports, the Casper Events Center holds over 200 events per year, ranging from basketball games to snowmobiling.  You won’t run out of any activities to do in Casper, and plus – this city looks impeccable in the snow.

Bangor, Maine, is next on this list, with over a dozen downhill and Nordic ski areas surrounding the town.  Bangor truly encompasses the idea of “quaint,” as streets lined with houses built in the early 19th century light up in holiday decor.  This town is a perfect little winter getaway, especially if you are trying to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city.  There are dozens of bars and restaurants to walk to, and you can even have a fancy night out at one of the shows performed at the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the Penobscot Theatre Company.  Bangor is a great place to escape for a little rest and relaxation, and it is more than aesthetically pleasing in those cold winter months.

For more cold weather getaway ideas,  check out Livability’s article on “The 10 Best Winter Vacations” right here.  Let it snow!