Photo Credit: Liza Summer
7 Winter Destinations To Consider For The Perfect Cold Weather Trip
With August in its last act, winter is indeed coming, much to the dismay of those who thrive when the sun is shining and the temperature is high. But c’est la vie. This just means it’s time to start looking ahead at winter destinations.
The fun doesn’t have to stop as we transition to the cooler months, and there are plenty of great destinations for that special winter getaway with family and friends. The United States alone has many, not to be outdone by Canada and Europe.
Here are seven of our favorite winter destinations.
When most people think of Switzerland, skiing is one of the first things that come to mind. But for all its popularity as a winter destination, it can be enjoyed in any season.
If you’re staying in a chalet or penthouse, there is likely to be some sort of outdoor area, allowing you to gaze at the snow-capped mountains, peppered by colorful little Alpine houses. Nothing like some fresh air from your very own terrace!
Keep warm with some hot chocolate with marshmallows. Maybe even a Hot Toddy.
Switzerland hosts many festivals throughout the year, so there will be plenty to keep you occupied. Research them before your trip.
When it comes to winter fun, Utah has plenty for everybody, from couples seeking a romantic getaway, to families with active children.
The snow alone has so many possibilities. Snow-shoeing, snowboarding, tubing, and of course, skiing. If that’s a little too much thrill, tap into your inner child with a snow ball fight.
For a break from the cold, Visit Utah recommends Homestead Crater, “a 55-foot tall crater with a warm pool of geothermal waters.” You can safely swim here, and it’s the only warm scuba-diving spot in the continental United States.
It’s only right that Colorado made the list. Denver is lovely, but if you’re a hardcore winter enthusiast, Aspen, Telluride, Vail, and Breckenridge might be more your speed.
Are there any dog lovers in your group? Alpine Adventures Dogsledding is highly recommended for dog sledding. When the tour is over (it lasts about an hour), you’re allowed to play with the huskies.
And of course, we’ve got to give a shout-out to some fantastic Black owned eateries in Colorado.
Craving a taste of Bourbon Street while in The Centennial State? Check out Jessie’s Smokin’ Nola, with Jambalaya, gumbo and all in between.
There’s also Ras Kassa’s Restaurant, for delicious Ethiopian fare.
4. French Alps
There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush that comes with ice climbing in the French Alps. Of course, this isn’t something you can just up and do alone. Get in touch with a licensed professional.
As Wired For Adventure indicates, you can traverse frozen waterfalls (or other large ice formations) “armed with an ice axe and crampons,” while being secured by a harness. All the huffing and puffing it takes to get to the top will be worth it once you’re treated to the views.
Did you know it’s possible to zip line in the winter? Does flying over the French Alps at nearly 80 miles per hour with nothing around you but open air sound appealing? Then head to the resort town of Orciéres, home of one of the fastest zip lines in Europe.
Our northern neighbors know how to bring it when it comes to winter activity. And our idea of freezing is probably a walk in the park for Canadians.
For unusual accommodations, head to the Québec Ice Hotel, which resembles a cathedral. If you don’t want to spend a night, at least grab a drink at the bar (also made of ice) just to say you did it.
You might like the Québec Winter Festival. Some attendants run out in the cold in a bathing suit (or less, if they can get away with it), roll around in the snow, and get a kick out of the absurdity of it all.
But if you’re the kind of person who would rather sit on the sidelines with your clothes on, there’s always that option, as well as a number of less “out there” activities offered at the festival.
Check out the regal Canadian Rockies via the Rocky Mountaineer, train lines that take you from Calgary to Vancouver, or the other way around.
6. New York
New York City always has something going on in the fall and winter. The Thanksgiving Day Parade, the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center, the winter markets at Union Square and Bryant Park. All of those are tourist traps- locals tend to steer clear and get their kicks elsewhere.
Why not take a bus or train to The Catskills, just 2-3 hours north of New York City? There are some beautiful nature trails to check out, but be mindful of snow, ice, and wildlife.
Peruse the downtown areas of Andes and Tannersville, which offer decent shopping, hit up a local brewery, or go to the spa.
7. Italian Alps
Most people associate sun and beaches with Italy, but the Italian Alps are incredible, and rival those of Switzerland and France.
Famous natural features include Adamello, The Dolomites, Monte Bianco, and the Aosta Valley.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, some of these (especially the Aosta Valley, seen above) are good for hiking.
You’ll know the majestic Matterhorn when you see it. It’s a jagged mountain on the frontier between Italy and Switzerland.