People tend to associate travel with summer. School’s out, work tends to slow, and it’s the season of camping, road trips, and beach vacations. But lots of great destinations come alive in the colder months, when they offer unique experiences that you can’t get at other times of the year.
Need some wanderlust inspiration? Here are a few of the best wintertime travel spots in the USA.
Vermont has got to be one of the best states to visit in the winter, and Burlington is pretty much the state’s capital of culture and charm. Market Street is the heart of the town, so plan on spending some time strolling and shopping (or window-shopping) there. That’s also where you’ll find Lake Champlain Chocolates, where you can take a free tour, complete with chocolate samples. For other indoor options, check the Flynn Center for frequent performances or catch a film at Roxy Cinema, the town’s locally-owned movie theater. If you’re not afraid of the cold, get out and take a stroll along Lake Champlain, which is gorgeous in the wintertime.
When we talk about places that thrive in the winter, a mountain state like Montana certainly comes in near the top of the list. The college town of Bozeman is the closest town to Big Sky, which was, until recently, the largest ski area in the country. It’s even closer to Bridger Bowl, a popular local hill, and an easy drive to Yellowstone National Park. The park has a peaceful beauty in the winter, when it’s covered in snow and nearly devoid of tourists. In Bozeman itself, you’ll find a charming downtown area, loads of craft breweries and yoga studios, and a hip and diverse dining scene.
New York, NY
In some ways, the Big Apple might be the quintessential U.S. winter destination. The cold doesn’t keep New Yorkers inside, so bundle up and plan to do a lot of walking. Take a stroll through Central Park to enjoy the snow-dusted greenery, or just wander the streets of any of the diverse neighborhoods. While you’re in New York, ice skating is also a must. The rink at Rockefeller Center is iconic, though Wollman Rink in Central Park has a stunning backdrop of the city’s skyline.
For a once-in-a-lifetime winter adventure, consider a trip to Alaska. Its rugged beauty is truly unlike anywhere else in the U.S., and there are so many ways to enjoy it. Anchorage has too many skating rinks and ponds to count, 130 miles of paved bike paths (which are mostly groomed in the winter), and over 100 miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails. Plus, Alaska’s biggest ski area, Alyeska Resort, is only forty miles from town. And perhaps the best reason to make this trip is the Northern Lights, which are frequently visible from right in the city. As Alaska’s biggest city, Anchorage will also give you your pick of performances, museums, spas, and more.
In most places, unless you travel right around the holidays, winter is also the off-season. That means fewer people and lower prices, so you might be able to score a great deal.