13 Best US Winter Vacation Destinations With Snow

drone shot of the Grand Tetons mountains in Wyoming

Are you looking for the best winter vacation destinations with snow in the USA for a fun trip this year?

Most people try to plan a vacation away from the snow, but there are still so many great activities to check out in snow-filled places. From skiing to wandering through Christmas markets, and even just enjoying the views of freshly-falled snow, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

In this post, I’ll go over some of the best places that you should visit with snow around the United States this upcoming winter.

Winter Vacation Destinations With Snow

1. Duluth, Minnesota

A lot of people avoid Minnesota in winter because of the cold, but if you’re looking for an amazing place to travel with snow (and know how to dress for winter magic), then this is the spot for you!

Duluth, Minnesota is located right along the shoreline of Lake Superior, and in the winter, has some of the most magical views. Walking the Lakewalk is one of my favorite activities because you can watch as the powerful waves crash in. Plus, you can visit Canal Park, which is home to some of the best restaurants, amazing waterfront hotels, and great shopping.

You can go skiing at Spirit Mountain right in town or head just a short distance up the lake’s shore to Lutsen Mountains, which is the most popular ski resort in the state.

Other great activities in winter in Duluth include snowshoeing, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating. 

Around the holiday season, Duluth puts on one of the state’s best holiday light displays, known as Bentleyville. You can walk through the display and enjoy all of the twinkling lights. Or check out the holiday markets and Christmas City Express train rides.

2. Jackson, Wyoming

Although most popular in the summer months to visit Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming is another great winter vacation destination.

It’s one of the most popular places in the western United States for skiing, thanks to its incredible slopes that are found right in town! There are three different resorts, with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort being named one of the best in the entire country.

Jackson is also a popular destination for snowmobilers, with hundreds of miles of trails open to this thrilling sport. There are many places to either rent snowmobiles or take part in a guided tour.

There also is really nothing like seeing the Grand Teton mountain range covered in snow. While the park road is closed to vehicles in the winter, you can still access it via cross-country skis, snowshoes, or by walking. It’s so stunning and worth the effort to get in there!

3. New York City, New York

One of the most classic destinations to vacation at during Christmas and New Year is New York City. It’s a magical location with so much to do, even in the winter months.

For starters, Times Square is the perfect place to celebrate the winter season. Try ice skating at Rockefeller Center, watching a show on Broadway, seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and wandering through local Christmas markets.

As the year comes to an end, you can spend time at the most buzzing place in the entire country, as you watch the ball drop to ring in the New Year. Aside from just watching the ball drop, you can also attend one or a few of the many New Year’s Eve parties that take place in NYC.

Along with all of these great activities, you can also check out the rest of the things that make New York special like shopping in Times Square, wandering through Central Park, and the many museums that line the streets.

4. Leavenworth, Washington

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a Hallmark Christmas movie, then a visit to Leavenworth, Washington is going to be right up your alley.

This small town is a Bavarian village-inspired area of Washington and is nestled right in the North Cascade mountain range. It’s great to visit any time of year, but during winter, it’s transformed into the most magical winter wonderland.

You’ll find Christmas lights strung everywhere, horse-drawn carriages marching down the street, holiday markets lining the road, and the most beautiful mountain views.

Aside from just the holiday celebrations, you can also check out the amazing winter activities in the surrounding areas. Stevens Pass is a nearby ski resort that has some of the most beautiful skiing that I’ve ever done. The runs are great and the views are even better!

Plus, Leavenworth is a gateway to some of the best hiking trails and road trips in Washington, and you can enjoy many of the trails even in the winter,

5. Bend, Oregon

Another of the best winter vacation destinations with snow is Bend, Oregon (one of the most awesome outdoor spots near Portland!). Bend is a bit more unique than some of the others on this list because there are certain parts that have snow and others that don’t!

Bend is home to some of Oregon’s best skiing at Mount Bachelor. In fact, I’ve heard from some people that they have some of the best riding on powder days in the entire Pacific Northwest, so it’s definitely a must-see for skiers and snowboarders.

There are also tons of opportunities for hiking around Bend, including too many waterfalls. Some of the waterfalls aren’t accessible in winter, but others are, and they’re even more beautiful when surrounded by snow. Sometimes, you can even catch the waterfalls when they’re slightly frozen.

And if at any time you want to escape the snow for a little bit, you can head just slightly north to Smith Rock State Park, and you’ll be put right in the middle of the desert. This beautiful park occasionally has a dusting of snow, which is beautiful. But most of the time, it’s dry!

6. Breckenridge, Colorado

This adorable mountain town is nestled right in the middle of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It’s a haven for skiers and snowboarders in the winter and is actually one of the places where I found my love for skiing.

Of course, one of the top things to do is skiing, since the Breckenridge Ski Resort is labeled as one of the best in the state. And that’s saying a lot, with how popular the sport is in Colorado!

Breckenridge also has an adorable Main Street, where you’ll find dozens of local shops and restaurants to make a stop into. It’s the perfect place to grab some souvenirs to bring home.

Other fun activities in Breck, as it’s lovingly known by locals, include snowshoeing, dogsledding, hiking, and snowmobiling. There are so many great ways to take advantage of the snow here, and it’s a perfect destination for winter vacations!

Also read: Breckenridge in Summer

7. Lake Tahoe, California

California is probably one of the last places that you think of when you’re planning a snowy winter vacation in the US. But, Lake Tahoe is a totally different story! It has some great skiing, views, nightlife, and luxurious activities for winter.

Lake Tahoe sees an average of around 200 inches of snow per year, which may seem shocking for California. But this just makes Lake Tahoe’s multiple ski resorts a pretty epic place to hit the slopes! Plus, you’ll find some pretty great post-skiing nightlife to check out at the end of the day.

Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and cross-country skiing are all other great winter activities in Lake Tahoe.

The area is also known for its luxurious accommodations along the lakeshore, so if you want to really live it up on your vacation, book a stay at one of the many great resorts or hotels!

8. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is a haven for snow lovers and adventurous travelers looking to enjoy a snowy winter getaway.

Utah is known for having some of the best snow around for skiing and snowboarding, so checking out Salt Lake City’s best ski resorts is a must. Here you’ll find Park City and Alta Ski Area.

Besides skiing, you can snowshoe, ice skate, snowmobile, ice fish, and so many more great winter sports. Plus, there are some pretty epic natural hot springs nearby that you can soak in year-round.

In winter, Salt Lake City also hosts an event called Ice Castles where you can explore passageways, caverns, and more made of ice. It’s such a unique experience.

9. Yosemite National Park, California

As one of the most popular parks in California, Yosemite National Park should be a must-visit for everyone who loves the outdoors! But in the summer, the park is very busy and it’s hard to get around.

Visiting in winter gives you the chance to view the park without crowds and in one of the most unique ways possible- when it’s covered in snow!

The stunning park looks like a magical winter wonderland with a dusting of snow, and seeing destinations like Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Valley under a blanket of white is so special.

The roads stay open the majority of the time, although there are some times when they might close. The Yosemite Valley is at a much lower elevation than the peaks, so you can enjoy the views from below without having to trudge through snow.

Just be sure to check the road conditions before going so you don’t end up with a closed road!

10. Fairbanks, Alaska

Alaska is the ultimate winter wonderland and one of the best places for a winter vacation with snow. It’s such a magical place and is pretty unique from the rest of the places on this list.

Fairbanks, Alaska is known around the world for its stunning northern lights that peak in the winter months. On a dark clear night, you can see the bright green and purple aurora borealis dancing across the sky.

Snowmobiling is a popular activity in Alaska and is one of the easiest and best ways to get out into the snowfields and experience the magic of the state. Plus, you can even see some glaciers from the trails.

One of the most unique activities is to go dog sledding, which can be done all over Alaska. From short 30-minute rides to full-day adventures, dog sledding is something you’ll remember forever.

Also read:

11. Missoula, Montana

Located now far from the Idaho-Montana border, Missoula is another perfect place for a getaway this winter. Here you’ll find all sorts of things to do, from snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, and more.

All of the classic winter activities can also be done in Missoula. But you’ll also find other unique things to do such as relaxing in hot springs and visiting local breweries. 

Missoula is known for its natural beauty, so be sure to enjoy the views. This is done easily on a ski hill or snowmobile trail.

12. Vail, Colorado

Similar to Breckenridge, the small mountain town of Vail is one of the most popular places in Colorado for visitors, whether it be in the winter, summer, or another season.

Vail is home to a world-famous ski resort that’s known for its challenging terrain and the fact that many celebrities visit it. It’s also the second-largest single-mountain ski resort in North America, so it has plenty of terrain for everyone. Vail also has some of the best Après Ski around!

Aside from skiing, visitors to Vail can wander the Downtown streets and pop into local restaurants and boutiques around Vail Village. Vail is also a great place for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, riding the gondola, and brewery hopping.

13. Baudette, Minnesota

Looking for something a bit different than skiing, snowshoeing, or shopping on your winter vacation with snow? Check out Baudette, Minnesota.

This under-the-radar town is small and located on the border of Canada. But when winter comes around, it’s buzzing with visitors to its popular lake, Lake of the Woods.

Lake of the Woods is one of the most popular destinations for ice fishing in the state, and perhaps in the entire country. It boasts a huge population of walleye and has actually helped Baudette receive the nickname of Walleye Capitol of the World.

Aside from just fishing, Baudette is also one of the best places to go snowmobiling, with the home of Polaris snowmobiles being just down the road in the small town of Roseau.

Wrap-Up: Winter Vacation Destinations With Snow

Choosing one of these great winter vacation destinations with snow in the USA is one of the best ways to embrace the season and get out and enjoy the snow!

While many shy away from the cold and snow that come with winter weather, you might be ready for it to come so you can ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, and more.

With so many great activities to be done in the winter, there’s no reason not to visit these amazing winter wonderlands!

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Kassidy runs Kassidy’s Journey