Spreading cheer in the most enchanting winter destinations
Winter travel often means heading home for the holidays or escaping to warmer climates, but for the true aficionado of all things frosty, winter vacation getaways mean seeking the snowiest spots to ski, skate, and sled. If you aren’t obsessed with summer and feel just fine about fall, you may be a winter worshipper, and we’re right there with you. After all, what’s better than schussing down a mountain at high speeds, then getting toasty by a fire with a warm beverage in hand? Sounds like heaven to us.
We have determined the top winter destinations for people with a penchant for crisp, clean air, storybook ski chalets, frozen ponds, and homey ways to warm up. We’ve awarded these winter wonderlands ratings based on the following:
– The Snow Levels icon is based on average annual snowfall.
– The Scenery icon is given for the beauty of the town and its natural surroundings.
– The Activities icon is determined by the number of things to do, from outdoor recreation to festivals and events.
So, button up and grab your mittens; we’re taking you on a tour of the best places to travel in winter. Fans of ice and snow may already know, but these frosty fairylands can win over the most diehard sun worshipper. On your mark, get set, let it snow!
Maine in the winter, have we gone nuts? No…but you may over how beautiful this seaport town is year-round. Unlike some of its frozen-over counterparts, Camden stays active and (mostly) open throughout the winter, though it does get its fair share of weather. Snowfall averages at 58 inches, landing it in the middle of snowiest wonderlands on this list. Camden Snow Bowl is hopping with 105 acres of skiable terrain and a toboggan shoot complete with custom, locally made rides form Camden Toboggan Company. When it’s time to head indoors, The Drouthy Bear is a delightful place to warm up with a mac and cheese pie and a single malt scotch. It doesn’t get more quintessentially winter than Camden.
Conflicting reports estimate the snowfall in this region and at the ski areas is anywhere between 80 and 514 inches! Either way, you’re gonna see some snow, and the fluffy, powdery variety at that. With a motto of, “ski, rest, repeat,” Alta Ski Area is the main attraction in town. Handle the “rest” part at Alta Peruvian Lodge, which has a classic ski chalet look and an on-site lounge for après-ski relaxation. Step up your “repeat” game the next day by heli-skiing with Powderbird as they take you on a helicopter into the backcountry for skiing of new proportions. In the midst of untouched snow and mountain views in all directions, you’ll wonder why you didn’t explore this land sooner.
If you’re afraid you’ll miss snow this year, never fear: 153 inches fall here on average, and some usually sticks around Munising until March, so you’ve got some time to make a plan for Mr. Snowman. Flit and frolic in your own personal snow globe at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where the snowflakes fall in still and silent woods, coating the land in quiet beauty. Let the trees sit still—you’ve got exploring to do. Cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice climbing await! The region is rife with activities to do in the winter, especially in February during Ice Fest, when seasoned climbers explore their sport.
Stratton Mountain, Vermont
What goes better with winter than pine trees and mountain tops? At the tallest peak in southern Vermont, the skiing is grand, the town is quaint, and the snow is falling. One of the earliest destinations for snowboarding, it’s less than an hour drive from the birthplace of the modern snowboard, and boasts 97 trails that fan out from one summit. The tube park has a warming hut with crackling fire, Green Mountain Mushers will take you on a 90-minute dog sled adventure, and Scott Big Ed Fat Bike rentals provide fun for the family. Of course, you’ll want to spend time in the enchanting Village with its shops, spas and restaurants all in a row.
Spearfish Canyon Area, South Dakota
The beauty of the Black Hills National Forest cannot be overstated, and winter brings its own glitter and sheen to the enchanted land. Waterfalls freeze into impressive sculptural icicles that rival Chihuly sculptures in complexity. Snowmobiling is best for those with a need for speed, but a quieter, relaxed day of snowshoeing is a wonderful way to see and explore. Stomp snow off your boots and get cozy at Spearfish Canyon Lodge in Lead, with its giant lobby fireplace and picture windows that let you enjoy the snowy scenes in warmth. The best part? You can bring your best furry friend for a small pet fee.
More winter-wonderland destinations: https://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/17-beautiful-winter-wonderlands/