We’re back with part II of our 10 most epic winter getaways. Last time, we explored the northern lights in Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, and more. This time around, we’ll travel from Upstate New York all the way to beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona to experience some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the USA.
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are a unique and gorgeous winter wonderland for people from all over the world. Epic ski towns like Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, and Snowmass are dotted throughout the mountains, providing excelling skiing, snowboarding, resorts, spas, and more. In fact, the Rockies are considered to be one of the best ski locations on the entire planet.
For those looking to get out into the wild, Rocky Mountain National Park has lots of excellent winter activities. Bring your sled to zoom down hills, go on a ranger-led snowshoe hike, or traverse the miles of trails that remain open year-round. Because of the smaller number of visitors in winter, it’s also a great time for wildlife viewing. Moose can be seen congregating by the Colorado River, mule deer will sometimes walk out right in front of your car, and bighorn sheep spend the winter months on the eastern side of the park.
Not every winter escape needs to be a high octane adventure. Sometimes, the best thing to do during the cold winter months is simply relax and take it easy.
The Burlington area is a winter lovers dream come true. It receives regular snowfall during the season, making it a scene straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Start your journey with a stroll through downtown Burlington. The stores and cafes are a mix of hip brand names like LUSH, to locally-owned favorites like Lake Champlain Chocolates. During your walk, stop by the popular coffeeshop, Oynx Tonics, and pick up a freshly-made hot cocoa, or maple milk, which is made from combining local milk with local maple syrup and frothing the concoction into a warm marshmallowy drink sure to keep you going during a cold afternoon.
From there, the options are endless. Ice fishing on the frozen Lake Champlain, snowmobiling through the various trails near town, or even reading a cozy book by the fire.
Big Sky, Montana
For a western journey, a visit to Big Sky, Montana is an absolute must. Located in the southeastern corner of the state, just north of Yellowstone, Big Sky is a land of towering mountains, vast expanses of wilderness, and an undeniable feeling of adventure.
Aside from the numerous skiing and snowboarding opportunities, places like Lone Mountain Ranch offer exciting winter activities like winter fly fishing lessons, where you can learn to catch gigantic trout in rivers and creeks, as well as dog sledding, and more. Or, why not warm up on a cold winter’s day in a natural hot spring, heated by the Earth itself? Or, for the perfect photo-op, hike to Ousel Falls where you’ll be surrounded by snow-covered pine trees, a gorgeous wooden bridge, and the iced-over waterfall that look like a scene straight out of Narnia.
For anyone needing a dose of city life, the college town of Bozeman is a liberal haven in Big Sky filled with art, culture, and a young vibe thanks to Montana State University.
Enjoy the best of the winter season in Flagstaff, Arizona, lacated at the base of the San Fransisco Mountains that rise more than 12,000 ft into the sky.
For those wanting a full-service ski resort, the Arizona Snowbowl is the state’s prime location for skiing and snowboarding. But that’s only one location in the sprawling area around the San Fransisco Mountains. There are various other spots made for different activities. The Nordic Village maintains cross-country skiing trails, and numerous other sites allow everything from sledding and tubing to snowman building. Buffalo Park, just outside of town, is a favorite for birders looking to spot rare and endemic species that are easy to spot against the snowy backdrop. Check out the region’s winter map for an easy reference to all the happenings in and around Flagstaff.
Adirondacks, New York
The Adirondacks is one of the most famed winter destinations on the planet. The region not only shines with a glorious winter beauty, but it’s steeped in a rich history of winter sports. it was here in Lake Placid that the Winter Olympics was held twice, in 1932 and again in 1980. The ’80 Winter Olympics are also known for the historic “miracle on ice” where the US hockey team defeated the four-time gold medal Russian team.
That history lives on, and the Lake Place Olympic Sites are still in use and open to visitors. Furthermore, the Empire State Winter Games take place during the snowy months, showcasing winter sports like bobsledding, figure skating, and hockey. And on top of that, the region is loaded with icy activities like the Funky Ice Fest, where everything is carved of ice. There’s also tons of seasonal ice bars and outdoor attractions. And for those looking for traditional winter fun, ski resorts like Whiteface Mountain offer the best skiing and snowboarding in the state.
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