best winter adventure vacations

26 Best Winter Adventure Vacations You Can Take This Year

If you’re looking for a winter adventure vacation, there are plenty of great places to choose from. Whether you love the slopes or the coast, there are options for everyone. And off-season prices make winter vacations great for budget-minded travelers.

January, February, and December are the best months to go on a winter vacation. Utah Mountains are a great option for December and January, while the Appalachian Mountains are ideal in February.

Whatever type of winter vacation you’re looking for, there’s sure to be a place that’s perfect for you. So get out there and enjoy the cold weather!

What Are Some of the Best Activities To Do on Winter Adventure Vacations?

There are plenty of winter adventures to be had if you know where to look. There are many ways to get out and enjoy the cold weather, from skiing and snowshoeing to sledding and snowboarding.

Since we lived for 20 years in a mountain town, I can attest that there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself during the winter months. Here are some activities to consider if you’re planning a winter adventure vacation:

  • Skiing or snowboarding at a nearby resort
  • Cross-country skiing through scenic trails
  • Snowshoeing through woods or hills
  • Hiking up a snowy mountain
  • Sledding or tobogganing down a hill
  • Building a snowman or snow fort
  • Having a snowball fight
  • Going ice skating
  • Making a snow angel
  • Heading out on a snowmobile tour

No matter what you decide to do, make sure to dress warm and have fun! Winter adventure vacations are the perfect way to get out and explore the beauty of nature.

Best Snowy Winter Destinations

Without further ado, here are my picks for the best snowy winter destinations. These are all great places to go if you enjoy activities like skiing, snowboarding, or just playing in the snow.

Visit The Quaint Winter Town of Crested Butte

Crested Butte is a quaint town located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with beautiful mountain scenery. The town is known for its picturesque scenery and abundance of outdoor activities.

In the winter, Crested Butte is a popular destination for skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, and winter hiking.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding with over 1,500 acres of terrain. The resort has something for everyone, from beginners to expert skiers and snowboarders. There are also plenty of après-ski activities available, such as shopping and dining in the town of Crested Butte.

Explore The Best of The West In Montana

Montana is a great place to visit during the winter months. Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities in Montana during this time of year. There are also many scenic locations perfect for spending time alone or with friends. Some other great things to do in Montana during winter include visiting hot springs and soaking in the area’s natural beauty.

Enjoy Low Key Idaho With A Snowmobiling Adventure

Idaho is a great winter destination for outdoor adventure. Sun Valley is a small ski town in eastern Idaho 3 hours from Boise that looks like a page out of a winter wonderland storybook in December.

The skiing, hot springs, and views are plentiful in both Sun Valley and McCall.

Skiing, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, ice-skating, and horse-drawn sleigh rides are all available in Sun Valley during the winter season.

There are a number of holiday events in Sun Valley each year, including the famous Wood River Orchestra Christmas concert. Sun Valley offers a variety of events throughout the year, including a Christmas Eve ice skating show and a New Year’s Eve party.

One of our favorite things to do in Idaho during the winter is a snowmobile tour up to Burgdorf Hotsprings from McCall. If you do this tour be sure to stop in Secesh and grab a drink, and hamburger at the Stage Stop restaurant.

Be sure to check out some of our favorite mountain towns of the West here.

Take a Winter Trip To Alaska Or Travel By Train to see the Aurora Borealis

The best time to see the Aurora Borealis in Alaska is during winter when the temperatures are colder, and there’s less daylight.

To see the aurora borealis, you need to be prepared for cold weather and varying weather conditions. The Alaskan Railroad runs throughout the winter, connecting Anchorage with Fairbanks. Traveling by train to see the northern lights is a great way to experience a different winter activity.

Anchorage sees about five hours of sunlight during the winter season, which leaves room for the Aurora Borealis.

There are many winter activities you can do in Anchorage if you travel by train to see the Aurora Borealis. Some of these activities include visiting the Anchorage Museum, going on a dog sledding tour, or checking out one of the many art galleries in town.

Take a Mountain Collective Or Icon Ski Pass Road Trip

The Mountain Collective Ski Pass allows access to 25 partner ski resorts for a total of 36 days. Resorts included in the pass are located in California, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Canada.

A few notable resorts are Snowbird, Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, and Squaw Valley. The pass is a great deal for anyone hoping to hit the slopes at multiple resorts and only needs to be used at 2-3 different places to make it worth the purchase price.

However, it’s important to check on lift ticket policies before visiting as some restrictions may apply.

Enjoy A Backcountry Yurt Or Hut Trip

One of the best ways to enjoy a winter adventure vacation is by staying in a backcountry yurt or hut. These remote structures offer travelers a unique way to experience the wilderness. And they’re often located in some of the most beautiful settings.

Backcountry huts and yurts are typically located in hiking or skiing areas. And they often have amenities like fireplaces and bunk beds. Some even have solar power and running water.

If you’re interested in staying in a backcountry hut or yurt, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to be prepared for a more rustic experience. This may mean bringing your own food, bedding, and other supplies.

You’ll also need to be aware of the area’s weather and avalanche conditions. And it’s important to have the proper equipment for backcountry travel.

 Park City, Utah

Park City is one of the most popular winter vacation destinations. The city is located in the Wasatch Mountains, 40 minutes from Salt Lake City, and is home to three world-class ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, and The Canyons Resort.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Park City offers plenty of other activities, like tubing, ice skating, and snowmobiling.

Park City is also home to the annual Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in January, which means that you might just rub elbows with a celebrity or two during your visit.

Mammoth Mountain In California

Mammoth Mountain in California is a great winter destination for those who love skiing and snowboarding. Mammoth resort has over 150 trails and 28 lifts, making it one of the largest ski resorts in North America.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can enjoy sledding, tubing, cross-country skiing, and more. The town of Mammoth Lakes is also home to many shops and restaurants.

Jackson Hole Wyoming

Jackson Hole is a great winter destination for those who love skiing or snowboarding. The resort has some of the best terrain in North America and is also home to the world-famous Jackson Hole Aerial Tram.

Other great winter activities in Jackson Hole include snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, dogsledding, and cross-country skiing.

Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National park are also worth a visit while you’re in Jackson Hole. The park is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States.

Skin Up A Mountain For Some Back Country Skiing

Are you looking to earn your turns? If so back country skiing is where it’s at. Back country skiing is a type of skiing where you hike up a mountain with your skis or snowboard on your back and then ski or snowboard down. This is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the winter scenery.

Some of the best places to back country ski are in the Rockies in places like Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

Idaho also has some great back country skiing. If you want to ski in the Pacific Northwest there are also some great places like Mount Baker in Washington and Mount Hood in Oregon.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a great winter destination for those who love skiing and snowboarding. The area is home to many ski resorts, like Squaw Valley, Northstar, and Heavenly.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can enjoy sledding, tubing, cross-country skiing, and more. Lake Tahoe is also home to many shops and restaurants.

Maine Winter Vacation Adventures

Maine is a great place to spend a winter vacation. Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities in the state.

Bar Harbor is a great place to stay while visiting attractions like Thunder Hole and Sand Beach. Bangor is a great place to visit during winter, with plenty of opportunities for winter recreation. The DeMeritt Forest Trail System in Orono is open to the public and has miles of maintained trails.

Explore The Winter Wonderland of Colorado

There are many great places to visit in Colorado during the winter for a variety of different activities. For those looking to hit the slopes, Colorado is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country.

Some of Colorado’s most popular ski resorts include Vail, Breckenridge, and Aspen.

Colorado is also home to some great hot springs if you’re looking for a more mellow winter vacation. The town of Glenwood Springs is home to the world’s largest hot springs pool.

And Ouray is home to a variety of different hot springs you can relax in. Ouray is also a great place for ice climbing people from all over the world to test their skills on the town’s many ice walls.

Colorado is a great place to visit whether you’re looking for a winter adventure or a relaxing vacation.

Big Sky Montana Adventures

Montana is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some solitude during the winter months. The state’s scenic destinations are even more beautiful when blanketed in snow.

There are plenty of unique winter activities to enjoy, from skiing and ice climbing to snowshoeing and skijoring. Hot springs are also a great way to relax and warm up after a day exploring in the cold.

Big Sky Montana is another great destination for skiers and snowboarders. Big Sky Resort, known for its endless skiing and riding possibilities, is on every powder hound’s list.

Beginner to expert trails are available, with plenty of open areas to learn and discover. In addition to resort activities in the winter, visitors can go cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, and ice climbing.

Stowe Vermont Winter Vacation

Stowe Vermont is a classic New England ski town home to Stowe Mountain Resort. The resort has two mountains with 116 trails and 12 lifts.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can enjoy sledding, tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and more. The town of Stowe is also home to many shops and restaurants.

Breckenridge Ski Trip

Breckenridge is a great place to visit in the winter for its many activities and attractions.

Breckenridge has a quintessential Rocky Mountain ski town vibe and culture and is home to Colorado Adventure Guides and the Summit Huts Association, which offers new mountain huts. Gravity Haus is a great place to stay, a boutique hotel in the heart of downtown.

Breckenridge is known for its off-piste skiing and snowboarding, so be prepared for a lot of snow! 

Telluride Colorado- HeliSkiing Excursion

This is for those adrenaline junkies out there. Heliskiing is skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry that can only be accessed by helicopter.

There’s nothing better than heliskiing if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding. It’s as easy as that. There are no lift lines, and there aren’t any lifts to speak of – forget about cold chairlift rides; with the helicopter, you can travel from the bottom to the top in a matter of minutes while seeing views that cost hundreds of dollars on sightseeing flights.

The best part is the endless powder – you can ski on untouched snow for every run, rather than getting lucky to stumble upon those conditions once a year.

Pro Tip: The great thing about Telluride is the gondola at the resort operates year-round, and it is FREE. If you visit Telluride, I HIGHLY recommend taking in the mountain views from the gondola ride to the top.

Best Warm Weather Winter Destinations

I get it not everyone is interested in cold weather winter activities like skiing or snowboarding. That’s why I wanted to give a few options of great warm weather winter destinations.

These are places where you can still have an adventurous vacation without having to bundle up.

Related: Warm Winter Vacations In The US: Top 14 Places To Visit

Best Warm Weather Winter Activities

When you’re looking for adventure in warm weather destinations during the colder months there are plenty of things you can do . Here are some of my favorite things to do when escaping the cold:

Take a Hiking or Biking Trip- Taking a hiking or biking trip is a great way to see some beautiful scenery and get some exercise.

Visit a National Park- Plenty of National Parks are located in warm weather climates. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about freezing temperatures.

Head To Hawaii, Florida Or SoCal for some snorkeling- All of these locations offer great opportunities to get in the water and see some amazing marine life.

Take a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway- This is one of my favorite things to do. The drive is absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of places to stop along the way.

Go Backpacking in SoCal

If you’re looking for a winter adventure that will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world, consider backpacking in Southern California’s deserts.

The desert is a great place to explore during the winter because the temperatures are cooler than in summer. And there are plenty of amazing hiking trails to explore.

Some of the best places to go backpacking in Southern California’s deserts include Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve.

In Joshua Tree National Park, you can explore Joshua trees and other desert flora and fauna. And, in Death Valley National Park area, you can hike to the bottom of Badwater Basin – the lowest point in North America.

The Mojave National Preserve is also home to some amazing desert scenery, including the Kelso Dunes – the tallest dunes in the Mojave Desert.

Related: Don’t Miss The Best Hotsprings of Southern California. Read More Here

Newport Beach, California USA

Newport Beach is a great destination for winter weather. The average daily December temperature is a perfect 70 degrees. And, there’s plenty to do in Newport Beach.

Visitors can enjoy the many shops and restaurants on Balboa Island, go surfing at The Wedge or take a scenic kayak tour.

Newport Beach is also home to some great hiking trails for those looking for a little adventure. And the nearby Crystal Cove State Park is a great place to go tide pooling.

Head to Hawaii For Snorkeling, Hiking, and Beaches

Hawaii is a great place to visit in the winter because of its warm weather. The average temperature in Hawaii during the winter is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

This makes it a great destination for those who want to escape the cold weather. While visiting Hawaii you can snorkel, scuba dive, go on a dolphin or whale watching tour, take a helicopter ride, go hiking, or visit one of the many beaches.

If you find yourself on the Big Island of Hawaii, be sure to see Hawai’i Volcanoes, National Park. This isn’t your average park– it’s home to some of the world’s most interesting geological and biological landscapes, as well as cherished cultural landmarks.

The park, which includes the summits of two volcanoes – Kīlauea and Mauna Loa – stretches from sea level up to 13,681 feet. It has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Road Trip Down the California Coast

California is a great place to visit in the winter. The state has a long coastline with many surf spots and plenty of hiking and riding trails in the mountains. The Trans-Catalina Trail is perfect for winter backpacking. 

And, of course, California is home to many world-famous wine regions. Napa Valley and Sonoma County are just a few of the places you can visit on a winter road trip down the California coast.

The Ultimate Florida National Parks Tour

Florida is a great destination for a winter getaway, with its warm weather and beautiful National Parks. The Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Biscayne National Park are all great places to explore. People enjoy sea kayaking and canoeing in the Everglades, as well as bird watching and hiking.

Dry Tortugas is home to Fort Jefferson, which is a popular tourist destination.

If you’re looking for an amazing snorkeling experience, look no further than Biscayne National Park in Florida. The water is crystal clear, and the coral reef is healthy and teeming with color.

You can also find shipwrecks in the shallower waters. Plus, it’s the beginning of the third-largest coral reef in the world! Keep in mind that snorkeling is only allowed by boat.

Miami’s nightlife and Palm Beach’s upscale shopping are also great attractions. Planning is key to seeing all of Florida’s varied landscapes in one trip.

Enjoy A South West Road Trip in Arizona

Arizona is a great place to visit in winter because of its many outdoor activities and warmer temperatures. The state is home to several National Parks, including the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, and Saguaro National Park.

In addition to its many National Parks, Arizona is also home to great mountain biking areas, such as Sedona, Scottsdale, and Prescott. And, of course, there are plenty of places to go hiking, camping, and climbing.

Arizona is a great place to visit whether you’re looking for a winter adventure in the mountains or desert.

Hiking Adventures in Joshua Tree

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park is a great way to escape the heat in winter. The park is located just outside of the quirky, artsy village of Joshua Tree.

There are miles and miles of trails, some that meander through the desert. Hiking in Joshua Tree is a great way to get some exercise and see some amazing scenery. There are a variety of trails to choose from, with different difficulty levels.

Joshua Tree is a popular hiking destination, so be prepared for crowds.

Kayak in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is a great destination for those looking to get outdoors and explore. Kayaking and rafting are popular activities in the park thanks to the perfect temperatures in the winter.

The park is open all year round and has average winter highs of 60 degrees. There are three campgrounds in the park – Chisos Mountain Lodge, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument – each with its own attractions and benefits.

Visit Utah’s Mighty 5

delicate arch winter

Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks is a great destination for those looking to explore the great outdoors in the wintertime. The off-season is a great time to visit these iconic parks with fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.

Zion National Park in Southern Utah is a must-see for any visitors to Utah’s Mighty 5. With its soaring red cliffs and lush canyon landscapes, Zion is truly a sight to behold.

Be sure to hike The Narrows, one of Zion’s most popular trails. Bryce Canyon National Park is another must-see park in Utah.

Bryce Canyon is known for its unique Hoodoos, rock formations that were created over millions of years of erosion. Arches National Park is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, making it a photographer’s paradise. Don’t miss the opportunity to hike one of the Arches’ many trails for some incredible views.

Canyonlands National Park is perfect for those looking to get away from it all and explore some of nature’s most untouched landscapes.

With four distinct districts – Island in the Sky, The Maze, The Needles, and River District – there’s something for everyone at Canyonlands. Lastly, Capitol Reef National Park is a must-visit for history buffs. Capitol Reef is rich in human and natural history with its petroglyphs, slot canyons, and pioneer settlers’ homes.

Whether you’re looking to hike, photograph, or simply explore, Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks are a great destination for any winter adventurer.

Check out our road trip itinerary here for visiting Utah’s national parks.

Get Out and Explore

I hope this list of the best winter adventure vacations will help you to get out and explore the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature.

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