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Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The 9 Best Winter Vacations In The U.S.


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Kaila Wells



When the winter season arrives, it’s the perfect time to embark on an adventurous vacation and escape into a winter wonderland. The United States offers a multitude of breathtaking destinations that cater to winter enthusiasts, from snow-covered mountains to charming small towns dressed in festive lights. Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or simply cozying up by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa, there’s a winter vacation spot in the U.S. that will fulfill your desires and provide unforgettable memories.


In this article, we have curated a list of the nine best winter vacations in the U.S., highlighting their unique features and attractions. From the iconic slopes of Aspen, Colorado, to the picturesque beauty of Bar Harbor, Maine, each destination offers its own blend of adventure, relaxation, and winter charm.


So, if you’re ready to embrace the magic of winter and create unforgettable experiences, let’s explore the top winter vacation spots in the U.S. and find the perfect getaway that suits your preferences and cravings for adventure.


Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado, is a renowned winter destination that offers an unforgettable experience for both outdoor enthusiasts and luxury seekers. With its stunning mountain scenery and world-class ski resorts, Aspen attracts visitors from all over the globe.


One of the main draws of Aspen is its exceptional ski slopes. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are runs suited to every skill level. Aspen Mountain, also known as Ajax, offers challenging trails with breathtaking views, while Snowmass provides the ultimate playground for skiers and snowboarders with its vast expanse of terrain. For those seeking a family-friendly experience, Buttermilk offers gentle slopes and a range of lessons for all ages.


Aside from skiing and snowboarding, Aspen also boasts a vibrant après-ski scene. The streets are lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and high-end restaurants, perfect for indulging in post-slope shopping and dining experiences. Be sure to explore the historic downtown area, where Victorian architecture blends seamlessly with modern design.


For a taste of Aspen’s cultural side, don’t miss the Aspen Art Museum, which features contemporary art exhibits and hosts various educational programs. The Wheeler Opera House is another must-visit, offering a diverse range of performances, including concerts, ballets, and theatrical productions.


If you’re seeking relaxation, pamper yourself at one of the luxurious spas in town or soak in the healing waters of the nearby Glenwood Springs Hot Springs.


Aspen truly comes alive during the winter season, and with its combination of world-class skiing, vibrant après-ski scene, and cultural offerings, it’s no wonder it’s a top choice for winter getaways.


Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For a truly authentic and exhilarating winter adventure, look no further than Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Nestled in the heart of the Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


The main attraction of Jackson Hole is its iconic ski resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. With over 4,000 feet of vertical drop and a vast terrain, it offers some of the most challenging and rewarding skiing and snowboarding in the country. From wide-open bowls to steep chutes, there’s something for every skill level.


But Jackson Hole is more than just a ski resort. The surrounding Grand Teton National Park provides endless opportunities for winter exploration. Strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and venture into the magical winter landscape. The park’s snowy trails lead to mesmerizing frozen lakes, snow-covered forests, and breathtaking mountain vistas.


If you’re craving a taste of the Wild West, take a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge, where you can witness hundreds of elk in their natural habitat, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. For an adrenaline rush, try snowmobiling through the vast backcountry, exploring remote areas that are inaccessible during other seasons.


After a day of adventure, head to the town of Jackson for a dose of Western charm. The historic town square is adorned with antler arches and lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy restaurants. Don’t forget to sample the local cuisine, which combines hearty flavors with a touch of Western flair.


For wildlife enthusiasts, winter in Jackson Hole offers a unique chance to spot animals in their winter habitats. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and even the elusive gray wolf.


With its stunning natural beauty, thrilling winter sports, and authentic Western spirit, Jackson Hole is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable winter getaway in the United States.


Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Located on the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a dazzling winter destination that offers a picturesque setting and a wide range of activities for all types of winter enthusiasts.


One of the biggest draws of Lake Tahoe is its world-class ski resorts. With over a dozen resorts to choose from, you’ll find slopes suitable for every skill level. The most popular resorts include Heavenly, Squaw Valley, and Northstar, which offer well-groomed runs, challenging terrain, and breathtaking views of the lake.


But skiing and snowboarding are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to winter activities in Lake Tahoe. The area is a winter playground for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Explore the scenic trails that wind through the tall pine forests and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.


For those looking for a different kind of adventure, try ice skating on one of the outdoor rinks or embark on a thrilling snow tubing session. Enjoy the adrenaline rush as you zoom down the slopes on an inflatable tube, providing fun for the whole family.


When you’re not out in the snow, take some time to explore the charming towns surrounding Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe offers a lively atmosphere with a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. In contrast, the North Shore towns, such as Tahoe City and Incline Village, provide a more relaxed and cozy ambiance.


And let’s not forget about the main attraction: the breathtaking beauty of Lake Tahoe itself. Take a scenic drive along the shoreline to witness the crystal-clear water nestled between snow-capped mountains. Capture the stunning views and enjoy peaceful moments of contemplation by the lake.


With its diverse array of winter activities, stunning natural scenery, and a range of accommodation options, Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination for a memorable winter vacation.


Stowe, Vermont

Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, Stowe, Vermont, is a charming winter destination that offers a quintessential New England experience. Known for its picturesque landscapes, historic charm, and world-class skiing, Stowe is an idyllic retreat for those seeking a winter getaway.


The highlight of Stowe is its renowned ski resort, Stowe Mountain Resort. With its diverse terrain and extensive trail network, it caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. From gentle slopes for beginners to challenging double black diamond runs for experts, there’s something for everyone.


But the appeal of Stowe extends beyond its slopes. The town itself exudes a cozy, small-town charm, with its quaint shops, charming restaurants, and historic buildings. Take a stroll through the picturesque streets lined with clapboard houses adorned with icicles, and explore the local boutiques and specialty stores.


For a unique winter experience, embark on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy countryside. Snuggle up under a warm blanket as you glide through meadows and forests, taking in the serene beauty of Vermont’s winter wonderland.


If you’re seeking a break from the cold, visit the Trapp Family Lodge, the famous von Trapp family’s former home. Explore the lodge’s expansive grounds and indulge in some cozy indoor activities, such as wine tasting or enjoying a luxurious spa treatment.


For nature enthusiasts, there are numerous opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the scenic trails that wind through Stowe’s surrounding forests. Take in breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.


And no trip to Stowe would be complete without experiencing Vermont’s renowned craft beer scene. Visit one of the local breweries to sample a wide variety of delicious craft beers and learn about the brewing process.


With its charming ambiance, world-class skiing, and a plethora of winter activities, Stowe, Vermont, offers a delightful winter escape for those seeking the charm of New England in the wintertime.


Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah, is a winter haven that combines world-class skiing, a charming historic downtown, and a lively atmosphere. Located just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City is easily accessible and offers a diverse range of winter activities.


The main attraction in Park City is the ski resorts. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort provide exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities with their wide variety of terrain, well-groomed runs, and state-of-the-art lifts. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find the perfect slopes to suit your skill level.


But Park City is not just about downhill skiing. The area offers an abundance of winter activities for all ages and interests. Take a thrilling ride on a snowmobile and explore the backcountry trails. Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing through the scenic forests surrounding the town. Or experience the thrill of dog sledding as a team of energetic huskies pulls you through the snowy landscape.


After a day on the slopes or engaging in winter activities, visit the historic Main Street in Park City. Lined with restored buildings from the silver mining era, Main Street is filled with unique shops, art galleries, and a variety of dining options. Enjoy a delicious meal at a local restaurant, explore the boutiques, or relax with a drink at one of the cozy bars.


If you’re looking for a break from the snow, explore the nearby Utah Olympic Park, which hosted events during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Take a guided tour, try your hand at the bobsled experience, or witness professional athletes training on the ski jumps and bobsled tracks.


Park City also comes alive during the winter with various festivals and events. Be sure to check the calendar for the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States, where you can catch screenings of the latest exciting films and spot celebrities.


With its combination of exceptional skiing, diverse winter activities, charming downtown area, and vibrant atmosphere, Park City is a top winter vacation destination that promises adventure, entertainment, and memories that will last a lifetime.


Vail, Colorado

Vail, Colorado, is synonymous with world-class skiing and luxurious winter vacations. Located in the iconic Rocky Mountains, Vail offers a winter wonderland that combines breathtaking alpine scenery, top-notch amenities, and a lively village atmosphere.


Vail Mountain Resort is the crown jewel of the area, boasting over 5,000 acres of skiable terrain and a reputation as one of the premier ski destinations in the world. With its wide variety of runs, ranging from groomed beginner slopes to challenging backcountry terrain, Vail caters to skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. The resort also offers exceptional terrain parks, cross-country skiing trails, and snowshoeing paths for those looking for alternative winter activities.


When you’re not on the slopes, explore the vibrant village of Vail. The pedestrian-friendly streets are lined with high-end boutiques, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants. Indulge in some retail therapy or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many acclaimed dining establishments.


For a break from skiing, take a scenic snowshoeing excursion through the picturesque White River National Forest, which surrounds Vail. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, and make sure to keep an eye out for wildlife, such as elk and deer, that inhabit the area.


If you’re in the mood for relaxation, pamper yourself at one of Vail’s world-class spas. Rejuvenate your body and mind with a soothing massage, a rejuvenating facial, or a session in a hot tub overlooking the snowy landscape.


For a truly unique experience, don’t miss the chance to embark on a horse-drawn sleigh ride under the starry sky. Snuggle up under warm blankets as you glide through snow-covered meadows, with only the sound of horse hooves and jingling bells in the crisp winter air.


With its unparalleled skiing, luxurious amenities, and charming village atmosphere, Vail is the epitome of a winter vacation destination. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures on the slopes or a relaxing getaway in a picturesque mountain setting, Vail has it all.


Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico, may not be as widely known as some of the other winter destinations on this list, but it offers a unique and captivating winter experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and natural beauty.


The highlight of Taos is the renowned Taos Ski Valley. Known for its challenging terrain and steep slopes, the resort attracts expert skiers and snowboarders from around the world. In addition to the thrilling runs, Taos Ski Valley offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a charming alpine village atmosphere.


But Taos offers more than just skiing. The area boasts an array of winter activities to suit different interests and skill levels. Explore the picturesque landscapes on snowshoes or venture out on cross-country skis along the scenic trails. Backcountry enthusiasts will find unique opportunities for heli-skiing and snowcat skiing.


For a break from outdoor adventures, visit the town of Taos. Known for its vibrant arts scene, Taos is home to numerous art galleries, studios, and museums. Discover the rich cultural heritage of the region at the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been inhabited for over a thousand years.


If you’re looking to relax and unwind, indulge in the healing waters of the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. These natural hot springs offer a tranquil respite where you can soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters amidst the serene beauty of the New Mexico landscape.


For a unique and thrilling experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the Taos Valley. Soar above the snow-covered mountains and witness breathtaking vistas as the sun rises or sets, creating a magical scenery that will take your breath away.


With its challenging slopes, natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and unique cultural experiences, Taos, New Mexico, offers a winter getaway that is as captivating as it is adventurous. Prepare to be enchanted by the enchanting charm of this hidden gem in the Southwest.


Big Sky, Montana

For those seeking a true sense of adventure and an escape into the great outdoors, Big Sky, Montana, is the perfect winter destination. Located in the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, Big Sky offers vast open spaces, world-class skiing, and a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.


The main attraction of Big Sky is its incredible skiing and snowboarding terrain. Big Sky Resort is renowned for its extensive network of runs, ranging from gentle groomers to steep chutes and bowls. With over 5,800 skiable acres and 4,350 feet of vertical drop, Big Sky offers endless opportunities to carve through fresh powder and experience the thrill of the slopes.


For those seeking a unique winter adventure, Big Sky is also a gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Embark on a guided snowmobile tour to explore the park’s winter wonders, including frozen waterfalls, geothermal features, and the possibility of spotting wildlife such as wolves, elk, and bison amidst the stunning snowy landscapes.


After a day on the slopes or exploring Yellowstone, unwind in the apres-ski scene in the village. Enjoy cozy restaurants and bars where you can cozy up next to a crackling fire and relish in hearty mountain cuisine or locally brewed craft beers.


For a taste of genuine cowboy culture, saddle up and go horseback riding through the snowy trails surrounding Big Sky. Experience the magic of winter from a different perspective as you ride through forests and over snow-covered meadows, with the majestic mountains as your backdrop.


If you’re seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, indulge in the soothing waters of the nearby natural hot springs. Immerse yourself in the warmth and serenity of these mineral-rich pools, surrounded by the rugged beauty and silence of the Montana wilderness.


With its vast winter playground, stunning mountain landscapes, and opportunities for adventure and relaxation, Big Sky, Montana, promises an unforgettable winter vacation that will leave you with lasting memories of winter’s grandeur.


Bar Harbor, Maine

While not typically thought of as a winter destination, Bar Harbor, Maine, offers a unique and enchanting winter experience that is not to be missed. Known for its stunning coastal scenery, charming small-town atmosphere, and proximity to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is a hidden gem for those seeking a peaceful winter getaway.


During the winter months, when the summer crowds have dissipated, Bar Harbor takes on a serene and tranquil ambiance. The town’s historic streets are adorned with twinkling lights, and the coastal landscape transforms into a winter wonderland.


Despite the colder temperatures, Acadia National Park remains a captivating destination during the winter season. Enjoy snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the park’s scenic trails, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of snow-covered peaks and the rugged Maine coastline. For a more leisurely experience, take a drive along the Park Loop Road to marvel at the winter beauty from the comfort of your car.


Bar Harbor itself offers a range of cozy accommodations, from boutique inns to charming bed and breakfasts. Take advantage of the quieter season to explore the town’s delightful shops and sample the local cuisine, which includes fresh seafood and hearty New England fare. Be sure to indulge in a warm cup of clam chowder to ward off the winter chill.


One of the unique attractions of Bar Harbor in the winter is the opportunity to go ice fishing. Experience the thrill of drilling through a frozen lake and dropping your line in search of the day’s catch. It’s a traditional Maine winter pastime that allows you to immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of nature.


For a more leisurely activity, embark on a scenic winter boat tour to witness the stark beauty of the coastline from a different perspective. Spot winter wildlife, such as seals and eagles, and learn about the rich maritime history of the area.


In the evenings, cozy up by the fireplace in one of the local establishments or participate in a traditional Maine lobster bake, where you can savor the fresh flavors of the sea while enjoying the warmth of good company.


Bar Harbor’s unique blend of coastal beauty, small-town charm, and winter activities makes it a captivating winter destination that promises tranquility, natural splendor, and a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.



Winter in the United States offers a bounty of adventurous and captivating experiences, and the nine destinations highlighted in this article represent the very best that winter has to offer. From the iconic slopes of Aspen, Colorado, to the coastal charm of Bar Harbor, Maine, these winter vacation spots provide a diverse range of activities and sights that cater to every type of adventurer.


Whether you’re an avid skier or snowboarder seeking the thrill of gliding down pristine slopes, a nature lover yearning to explore breathtaking winter landscapes, or a traveler in search of cozy small towns and vibrant après-ski scenes, these destinations have it all. From the majesty of the Rocky Mountains in Vail and Jackson Hole to the tranquil beauty of Maine’s coastline in Bar Harbor, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to behold.


But these winter vacations offer more than just outdoor adventures. Each destination has its own unique charm and character, with vibrant towns filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and delicious dining options. You can indulge in luxurious spa treatments, immerse yourself in the local culture and arts scenes, or simply find a cozy spot to relax by the fire and enjoy the serene winter landscape.


So bundle up, gather your gear, and embark on a winter adventure to one of these incredible destinations. Whether you choose to conquer the slopes, explore the winter wilderness, or simply unwind amidst the charm of a cozy mountain town, you’re guaranteed to create memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.


So plan your winter getaway, embrace the beauty of the season, and indulge in the excitement and tranquility that these nine best winter vacations in the U.S. have to offer.