25 Best Destinations for Winter Fun from 25 Best Destinations for Winter Fun

25 Best Destinations for Winter Fun

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25 Best Destinations for Winter Fun

Winter comes in many façades – polar, rainy, cold, snowy or comfortably warm. It’s an exciting time to visit impressive metropolises and fascinating villages. The outdoor vibe of mountain towns – popular or lesser-known – gives you energy like nothing else. Winter sport enthusiasts will enjoy skiing down incredible slopes, dogsledding in the midst of the northern lights, touring the wild on snowmobiles, and hiking on spectacular trails. For those of you who would rather escape the cold, consider visiting Key West and relaxing on one of Florida’s best beaches, snorkeling in Bermuda, cycling in Gran Canaria, and soaking in the steamy waters of one of the planets best hot springs.

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Big Sky, Montana

Renting a ski-accessible home at the Moonlight Basin community in Big Sky is about as fun as it gets for winter (comes with club member benefits). Ski the European-style terrain at Big Sky Resort – above tree line, steep, 5,800 acres with 4,350 feet of vertical. For a more private experience, ski the famed North Summit Snowfield with a guide and then continue on terrain not open to the public. There’s plenty to do off the downhill runs, too – cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking on winter bike trails, a lift-served sledding hill for kids. Off-site, take a day for a snowmobile tour into Yellowstone National Park, a one-hour drive away. When the day’s done, après-ski at the Moonlight Tavern with tasty appetizers, fancy cocktails, cold craft brews, hot drinks and live music.

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Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park gets plenty of snow. It is a very popular cross-country ski area. Put on your winter clothes and go on a snowshoe hike or take a winter astronomy session. Stay at the Bryce Trails Bed and Breakfast, wake up and go outside on your sun deck to admire the view of the Bryce Canyon. Included in hotel fee of $145 a night are Wi-Fi, cable, and complimentary breakfast.

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Fairbanks, Alaska

Outside Fairbanks Gondwana EcoTours has a northern lights adventure with fun during the day, too. After staying up to photograph the Aurora Borealis, you can go dogsledding, take a curling lesson, soak in the geothermal waters of Chena Hot Springs, walk among reindeer at the Running Reindeer Ranch, and observe intricate works at the Ice Sculpture Museum.

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Maui, Hawaii

Escape the cold and head to Hawaii, Maui specifically for some adrenaline pumping fun. Head to the ocean and enjoy surfing Maui’s awesome breaks and waves, descend down steep terrain on a rappelling excursion, soar through the trees on a zip lining adventure, view Maui from above on a helicopter tour, or take a road trip and drive the Road to Hana.

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Whistler, Canada

If you’re a winter sport enthusiast, who is looking for world-class skiing and incredible mountains, look no further than Whistler. It has been voted America’s No. 1 ski resort, and we can definitely see why. It’s surrounded by high mountains, powder-filled bowls, and smooth corduroy. Adults, teens and kids have the opportunity to take ski and snowboard lessons with professional instructors. When you’re done having fun on the slopes, head to the village. There are about 134 bars and restaurants to choose from.

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Lake Baikal, Siberia

Embark on a winter tour of Siberia’s wild, and explore the wooded and frozen solid Lake Baikal for plenty of adventure. On a tour with Mir Corporation, you’ll race teams of sled dogs, ride snowmobiles and a hovercraft, fish through the ice, steam in a traditional Russian banya and warm your insides with shots of vodka served in ice glasses.

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Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park is the home of active volcano Mount Rainier. It is full of beautiful landscapes and a vast amount of wildlife. Take a scenic drive or a climb up the mountain. Some winter activities you can participate in are sliding, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing and camping. Make sure you check out the Paradise Loop, visit the Sunrise Visitor Center and hike the Skyline Trail.

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Aspen, Colorado

Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy sliding down the slopes of the four main ski areas in Aspen. Ski down the same runs that hosted World Cup races, embark on powder and snowshoe tours and take private lessons. When you’re hungry head to the Sundeck at the top of the Silver Queen Gondola for lunch and après ski, enjoy a bistro-inspired dinner at the Ajax Tavern, and grab a drink at Aspen’s “finest spot to wine, dine and unwind” – Element 47.

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Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

So if winter sports just aren’t your thing, there is no need to worry. You can still enjoy the winter months by participating in other recreational activities. Head to Gran Canaria with Ciclismo Classico for some cycling fun in the sun. The Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean has an excellent road network and a diverse landscape, with soaring views of the sea, lush forests, deserts, canyons, vast beaches, sand dunes and volcanic mountains.

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Banff National Park, Canada

Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park. It is home to valleys, mountains, glaciers, meadows, rivers and forests. Go camping, hiking, and view incredible wildlife. It is also home to one of The Planets Best Hotsprings.

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Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley is a historic resort. Locals are proud of it for being the first to offer a chairlift and the first “modern” ski destination in the country. The Bald Mountain, which has a lot of challenging bowls and glades off the peak, is where most visitors go. The Dollar Mountain has a 22-foot superpipe. It is more beginner-friendly because the trails have no trees. People love the fact that the resort has some very, very long runs. You get to enjoy the ride down for a while before you have to head back to the lift. There are a lot of opportunities for off-piste skiing, and the snow is always perfect.

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Stowe, Vermont

Stowe is known for its high-end vibe, its variety of après ski activities, and vast amount of terrain. It receives on average 300 inches of snow every ski season, which makes it a winter sport enthusiast’s paradise. Visitors are welcome to go ice skating in the Stowe Arena, enjoy a pampering session at the Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge, and embark on a tasting tour with Boyden Valley Winery.

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Chamonix, France

The ski season in this French resort lasts for six months. It usually gets about 32 feet of snow. January is usually when the commune gets the most powder. The ice climbing season is in full swing and the cross-country ski tracks open. With more vertical than Revelstoke and Whiteface stacked on top of each other, Chamonix is the world’s tallest (9,085 feet). Walking in the winter here feels like you’re in paradise. Other popular activates include fat biking, biathlon, heli-skiing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and hot air ballooning (yes, above the snow).

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Vilnius, Lithuania

Travel back to medieval times to see the baroque cityscape, walk on cobblestone streets and enjoy the holiday spirit in this beautiful town. Imagine the splendor of century-old castles, red-tile roofs and historic sites covered in snow – Vilnius is a true winter wonderland. Go on a winter safari or snowmobile tour through the surrounding forest or ice-skate across frozen lakes. Hike to the Hill of Three Crosses or go sledding down the slopes of Vingis Park. Go to holiday markets for unique souvenirs and gifts.

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Keystone, Colorado

This charming small town in the foot of a mountain has one of the best ski resorts in the world. It is offering you a chance to ski on the largest mountain in Summit County. There are 3,148 skiable acres, 20 lifts and the largest night skiing operation in all of Colorado. Kids ski for free, so you can save lots of money on lifts. Non-skiers will love the 10,000-square-foot luxury spa, the largest maintained outdoor skating rink in the country, yoga classes, and snow bike rides. Try ice skating on the rink at Keystone Lake; enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride to a cabin in the woods; and take a gondola ride by night.

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Dublin, Ireland

Days may be shorter, but locals have plenty of ways to make the most of them in the winter (when the weather is mild compared to the rest of Europe). A lot of music events are organized – don’t miss some great venues such as the Twisted Pepper, Whelan’s and The Button Factory. Don’t miss the award-winning New Year’s Festival Dublin. Walk the Great South Wall, a sea wall built around 1750 about a mile out into Dublin Bay. Dublin’s well-known pub culture is equally enjoyable year-round, but cozying up in pubs is even more welcoming in the colder months. Also, this is the off season in Ireland, which means great package deals and no crowds. Christmas markets bring a lot of joyful spirit to the city. Major attractions are still open.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, a city rich in culture, arts and delicious food, is also a secret ski spot. Most people have no idea that they can ski and board in New Mexico, and they would be surprised to learn about the quality of the terrain, too. Located a few miles from the city center, the mountain is one of the highest ski areas in the continental U.S. With a vertical drop of 1,725 feet and gorgeous sunny days, Santa Fe is the perfect ski getaway. Ski Santa Fe has a base elevation of 10,350 feet and is located only 16 miles from the heart of the city.

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Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, South Africa

Go on a safari to see the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and Cape buffaloes. This is Africa’s oldest game reserve, founded in 1895. December through March is the summer season there, which means better weather conditions (and better chance of seeing more wild animals such as zebras, giraffes and cheetahs).  The park is just about three hours away from Durban, so you can always head to the city for a lively night out. Go on self-guided safari and enjoy a picnic at various areas situated at incredible vantage points offering some glorious scenes and sights.

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Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid, which is set in the Adirondacks, has a rich winter sports history. On top of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, visitors can actually try out Olympic sports like biathlon, bobsled and skeleton with the help of trained professionals. If you’d rather try a winter sport that’s a bit less adrenaline pumping, Whiteface Resort offers snow tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, too. Pair those sports with great lodging, dining and shopping options and even non-skiers will be happy with this vacation. Ice-covered cliffs and frozen waterfalls are popular Adirondack ice climbing hangouts

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Hokkaido, Japan

Heavy snowfalls there are so common with an average of about 50 feet a year. The city of Sapporo has by now become known for its Sapporo Snow Festival and its snow sculpture. Hokkaido is dream heli-skiing destination, and Japan’s most popular ski area. Imagine the places you can access with a helicopter – dormant volcanoes, deep snow, steep runs, and tight turns. If you’d like to do some night skiing, head to the Niseko resort. Visit Farm Tomita, the Asahiyama Zoo and Mount Hakodate. Hokkaido is known for their seafood, so make sure you go to some of its delicious markets.

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Glacier National Park, Montana

This is definitely a park you should consider visiting in the winter instead of the summer. Its alpine meadows and rugged mountains are what make it perfect to visit in this time of year. Go on one of the guided snowshoe walks or watch the sunset at Lake McDonald. You can also go camping – auto camping is available at the Apgar Picnic Area and St. Mary Campground. There is no charge for camping in the winter but you need to get a backcountry permit. Popular activities include skiing and snowshoeing trails because some of the most spectacular scenery can be seen by going on these trails. About 11.5 feet of snow falls in this national park. The only roads maintained during the winter are Apgar Village, 11 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the west side, and a mile and a half on the east side.

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Abisko, Sweden

This small village is an ideal place to visit to see the magnificent Northern Lights. Getting train by train is also an unforgettable experience. Sometimes in December and January it’s dark for days or even weeks at a time. That makes cross-country skiing, hiking in the national park nearby and husky mushing all the more exciting. Don’t miss the Icehotel in Kiruna, which is not far away. You may also find an ice-climbing trip to a frozen waterfall in the Abisko Canyon exhilarating.

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Jackson, Wyoming

This is a great town for relaxation during the winter. Aside from the popular activities such as skiing, you can try dogsledding. Visit the National Elk Refuge where thousands of migratory elk come every November when mating season starts. You can try snowmobiling and wildlife safaris. For another incredible way to see the landscape, go on a 6-hour hiking experienceJackson Hole Resort touts itself as the last of the old west; it offers some pretty rugged adventures. Plow through untamed backcountry terrain on skis or a snowmobile; discover Grand Teton National Park on two fat wheels or paraglide from the mountain over Teton Village.

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Bermuda

Winter in Bermuda is normally between November and February. There are no cruise ships on port, hardly any tourists around and the island looks so much of its own, which is why people who want to see the real Bermuda should go in the winter, according to Bermuda Attractions. See the Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts; participate in the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, the 10k and the Half Marathon events; you can still go swimming, snorkeling and diving but you need a wet suit; and make sure you visit Crystal Caves, one of the largest and famous caves on the island.

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The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have a moderate year-round temperature, it’s the perfect destination for outdoor recreation, especially if you are trying to escape the cold winter months. Adrenaline seekers will find plenty of exciting water adventures to embark on – scuba diving with living coral, snorkeling among vibrant marine species and kayaking on calm waters, to name a few. Visit some of the best beaches in Florida, venture through Dry Tortugas National Park, go on a bike tour and even view the spectacular Florida Keys from above on a skydiving excursion.

25 Best Destinations for Winter Fun