11 Best Places To Visit In Winter In USA (2022)

Best winter vacations, USA with snow

Table of Contents

It’s that time of year again. Where dreams of snow and winter wonderlands dance through our heads. Whether it’s looking for a magical experience over the holidays, or a family ski vacation, there are a plenty of fabulous places to vacation in winter, in the USA.

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Leavenworth, WA

Christmas lights Downtown Leavenworth, Washington
Downtown Leavenworth, WA in winter
Photo: “Joecho-16 via canva.com”

If you are looking for a winter wonderland, remiscent of a Hallmark Christmas movie, Leavenworth, WA is our number one choice. They even have a real life Reindeer Farm!

Experience the magical feeling of thousands of lights, in this Bavarian inspired village. Holiday events and lights are a big deal here, and something you won’t want to miss.

Leavenworth hangs over 500,00 lights, which will come on everyday at dusk.

Wander the downtown in twinkling lights, Christmas tree smell wafting in the air, while sipping a hot chocolate. Browse in one of the many iconic stores including handmade chocolates, a year round Christmas store, art and gift stores.

what to do in Leavenworth in winter

  • Fun Festhalle Activities – Photos with Santa, Gingerbread Houses, Crafts & Story Corner for Kids, Santa’s from Around the World, & Letters to Santa.
  • Gazebo Entertainment – Choirs, Band, Carolers and More!

Leavenworth Sleigh Rides

Imagine yourself on a two horse sleigh, breathing in clean crisp winter air, while listening to the crunch of fresh snow, sleigh bells and the carol of your choice. Warm up with a hot spiced cider by the open fire afterwards.

A sleigh ride in Leavenworth, WA is a magical experience not to be missed.

Leavenworth Sledding, Snow Tubing & Skiing

Kids and kids at heart will enjoy a true Leavenworth sledding experience on the hill next to the gazebo. Or hit the 50’ groomed sled hill at Lake Wenatchee State Park.

For snow sports, take a Nordic Ski on one of their three trail systems at the Leavenworth Ski Hill, or try Stevens Pass a half hour west of Leavenworth, a popular place to ski. 

The local Ski hill, only 10 minutes away from town, is perfect for families and beginners. With a 100 foot tubing hill with rope tow and tubes on site, plus hot cocoa to warm up with afterwards,it’s a delight for families.

Leavenworth Reindeer Farm

To get in the holiday spirit, a visit to Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is a must. I mean, petting a real life reindeer, that is the stuff dreams are made of. While open year round, the reindeer farm is a fantastic place to visit at Christmas. Pet a cute reindeer, take a selfie and learn some cool reindeer facts.

It’s a very popular attraction,and you must buy your tickets in advance. Learn more here.

Activities: Skiing & snowboarding, sleigh rides, dog sledding, nordic skiing, sledding & tubing, ice skating, birding, snowmobiling, Christmas activities, Reindeer Farm.

Where to Stay in Leavenworth, WA

The unique Blue Elk Inn or the Icicle Village Resort, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Cascades, within walking distance of downtown Leavenworth are highly rated family friendly places to stay.

For a more homey, spacious experience the Mountain Home Base has a great location, only 1 mile from dowtown, is across from the Wenatchee River, plus they offer free use of bikes and a hot tub. It has 3 bedrooms so is perfect for families.

Winter Wonderland USA ideas  infographic, with snowy mountain photos. Yosemite, Jackson Hole, Keystone, Park City, Leavenworth & Chicago.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Snowy mountain reflected in Crater Lake, National Park, USA
Southeast end of Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, USA
Photo: “deebrowning via canva.com”

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is one of the snowiest places in the United States, averaging 43 feet (13 meters) of snow per year. From sledding to back country skiing/snowboarding this is a winter lovers delight.

Try out their popular one- to two-mile ranger guided snowshoe walk. It happens every weekend December through April. The walks usually begin at Rim Village and continue through the sub-alpine forests and meadows along the edge of the lake.

While there are no official sledding hills, head down to the meadow south of Crater Lake Lodge, a popular place to enjoy a ride down, down, down.

Make sure to grab a park map and check out any warnings or weather updates before you go, as the visitors centres are currently closed, and cell phone reception is spotty.

Where to Stay Near Crater Lake, OR

As there are no lodges, campgrounds, or gas stations open in the park from mid-October to late May, you will need to stay in the surrounding communities or backcountry camping (permit needed).

This cozy private home-away-from-home cabin is only an hour from the park, sleeps 4 and really has amazing views sitting right on the banks of the Rogue River, and on the property of Rogue River Lodge. Plus after a long day snowmobiling, skiing, or snowshoeiing right from the cabin, you can relax in the sauna and hot tub.

Or try the more spacious family friendly chalet at Running Y Ranch Resort. It sleeps 6, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, deck, BBQ and hot tub. Plus you get access to the ranches outdoor playground, tennis courts, swimming pool, jacuzzi, Sauna, and volleyball courts and 2 restuarants and deli.

Activities: Snowshoeing, Ranger Guided Snowshoe walks, Nordic Skiing, sledding, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling.

Yosemite National Park, CA

 Snow on ground, in back of  a red church. Yosemite Falls, USA in background
Yosemite Falls off El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA
Photo: “LaurieMatsuoko via canva.com”

Yosemite National Park in California is one of most well known parks in the USA. Winter is the least busy season, so when the crowds go home, wildlife comes out. Imagine taking a photo of Half Dome and El Capitan, dusted in snow.

Hike one of the year round trails at Yosemite.

Here are a few Yosemite winter hikes to consider:

  • Easy: Bridalveil Falls Trail – 0.5 mi (0.8 km) round trip
  • Easy: Lower Yosemite Falls Trail – 1 mile (1.6 km) loop
  • Easy: Cook’s Meadow Loop – 1 mile (1.6 km) loop
  • Easy to Moderate: Mirror Lake Trail – 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip to lake and back; 5 miles (8 km) loop around lake
  • Moderate: Yosemite Falls Trail – 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip to Columbia Rock (spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Sentinel Rock)

fun single day and multi-day tours

If you prefer a more guided experience, here are some fun day trips:

Yosemite Snow Tubing, skiing

Badger Pass Ski Area has all your favourite snow activities; a terrain park for snowboarders, beginner and intermediate slopes, and my favourite, tubing.

Snow tubing in Yosemite is a family friendly activity for all ages ( kids must be 4 years+). No advanced reservations, i’s first come, first down the hill, so go early on weekends and holidays.

Note: The Ski area will be open Mid December 2022(conditions permitting) for the 2022-2023 season

Winter Events in Yosemite

Try out ice skating in Yosemite, at the outdoor rink at Curry Village from mid-November through March. The views of Half Dome and Glacier Point will take your breath away.

If you are travelling over the Christmas season, many of the hotels and lodges in the area also offer a variety of seasonal & Christmas activities, big suppers and the like.

  • Yosemite Conservancy offers winter programs, such as full moon hikes and star gazing tours.
  • Bracebridge Dinner & Pageant a tradition since 1927. A four hour pageant of performances and seven course Christmas feast, which equals one unforgettable experience. (Celebrate again in December 2023 as there is a refurbishment happening this winter at the Awahnee Hotel)
  • Winter Firefall – In mid February when the conditions are right, and the sun hits the water at a certain angle at sunset, the Horsetail Falls glows like it is on fire.

Activities: skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, tubing, cross country skiing, skating, star gazing, winter hikes.

Where to Stay in Yosemite

Open year round, the Yosemite Valley Lodge in the park, is considered one of the best choices for families and groups of travelers and a great place to stay for exploring the area. Views of Yosemite Falls beckon. It’s also an easy mile and a half hile to the Firefall event.

The Yosemite Hilltop Cabins are another fun choice for families, within the gates of the park and only 15 minutes to the valley floor. There is a full kitchen and bath, gas BBQ on the deck, and fully heated in the winter months. It sleeps 4 comfortably.

Yosemite Valley View is a more spacious and upscale home with stunning views of El Capitan and Half Dome from the deck. It has 3 bedrooms and easily sleeps 6. You will be inside the park and only 10 minutes from the valley floor. Perfect place to avoid the crowds, and soak in some views, with easy park access.


There are so many wonderful winter wonderlands in the USA to explore. But Mountain Resorts and all the accompanying winter activities in one place, really draw those seeking easy access to winter sports.

Star Valley, Wyoming

Man on snowmobile at top of snowy hill, trees in background
Snowmobiling winter fun
photo: “Mooneydriver via canva.com”

For a low key winter vacation, check out Star Valley, Wyoming.

Star Valley is a community made up of a number of small towns, including Afton, Thayne, Star Valley Ranch and Alpine. They are located along the Wyoming-Idaho border, along the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

It’s a quieter place to get-away from the crowds. Star Valley area is also only about a 1 hour drive to Jackson Hole and a 3 hour drive from Salt Lake City, Utah, so you can get the best of all worlds.

Star Valley Skiing, & snowmobiling

The main winter attractions in the area snow sports. The nearby Pine Creek Ski Resort has affordable skiing and minimal crowds.

Try out cross country skiing or snowmobile on one of the hundreds of groomed forest service trails in the nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest including access to the Continental Divide snowmobile trail system.

Alpine has some of the best snowmobiling in the west including access to Greys River into the Wyoming range and McCoy Creek into the Caribou National forest from this trail system.

Winter Activities in Star Valley, WY

For a unique attraction, check out the world’s largest Elkhorn Antler Arch, in Afton, WY. Just outside Afton is the Wyoming Elk Winter Refuge where around 1000 elk spend the winter.

Drive the Star Valley Scenic Byway as it winds north to Alpine, over the summit of Salt River Pass, and passing through several Star Valley towns. Continue 40 miles north of Alpine to Grand Teton National Park. Take a fun Wildlife Safari Tour in Grand Teton for a chance to see moose, bison, grizzly and black bears, wolves, elks, and eagles.

Activities: Snowshoeiing, skiing, ice skating, playing in the snow, day trips to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park

Where to Stay in Star Valley, WY

Kodiak Mountain Resort in Afton, WY is a laid back resort with cozy cabins, including family adventure cabin that sleeps 6, at the foothills of the Salt RIver Mountains. Continental breakfast included. Excellent location to access all Star Valley has to offer.

Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Afton is a lovely more budget friendly choice, with river and mountain views, access to their swimming pool, and breakfast is included. A clean chain hotel that is a comfortable place to lay your head after a long day out exploring, that people love.

The location and price of Spotted Moon Ranch can’t be beat, right on the river with mountain views surrounding you. They sit only 50 miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Parks and Jackson Hole.

If you like boating and fishing (maybe not in winter though), there is National Forest access close by where you can snowmobile, boat and fish on Palisades Reservoir. Enjoy their full kitchen, washer and dryer, and beautiful mountain views. They are pet friendly and you can even bring your horse!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Skis on racks at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort , WY in winter
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Photo: “istock.com / sboice”

For another unforgettable place to visit in winter in the US, check out Jackson Hole, Wyoming. With an average of 500 inches of snowfall each year, the Jackson Hole area is a popular place to visit in winter for a little skiing and snowboarding.

Jackson Hole is a 48-mile long valley that includes the towns of Jackson, Kelly, Moose, Moran, Wilson, and Teton Village.

plenty of options to hit the slopes in and around Jackson Hole.

  • Snow King, the “Town Hill” in Jackson, WY is popular with locals and has night skiing under lights.
  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, in Teton Village, WY has over 2500 acres of the best skiing and riding in North America, with plenty of options for beginners, intermediate and advanced.
  • Grand Targhee Resort on the western slope of the Tetons near Alta, Wyoming is known for the most powder days of any ski area in the country. They offer Wyoming’s only cat skiing.

Not to worry, there are plenty of activities in Jackcon Hole for non-skiers too.

Top winter activities in Jackson Hole, WY for Non-Skiiers:

Jackson Hole, WY makes for an exciting family adventure.

Activities: Snowshoeiing, skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, art, shopping, dining, museums, tours

Where to Stay in Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

For Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, a stay in a gorgeous gorgeous spacious villa, with ski to door access in Teton Village will be a hit. Each villa boasts private balconies and fireplaces plus the kitchens are fully stocked and the bathrooms provide bathrobes.

Guests love the short walking distance to the gondola, tram, shopping, restaurants, mountain bike lift, access to a ski locker and it’s only a 5 minute drive to Grand Teton Park. Family friendly!

Teton Village – Luxury Log Cabin

If you are looking to splurge on a luxurious cabin experience, then this Granite Ridge Cabin is the Quintessential Mountain Log Cabin to stay in. Enjoy the two levels of exquisite design, 6 person private hot tub, deck with alpine views, and wood fireplace.

It’s within walking distance of many great restaurants, and only 20 minutes to the town of Jackson. Plus the entrance to Grand Teton National Park is one mile from the front door, and the south entrance to Yellowstone is only one hour away. Now I am dreaming!

Jackson, WY

In Jackson, WY try out a stand-alone rustic, log cabin, with all the amenities and comforts of home, along with a free winter ski shuttle. Family and pet friendly.

Driggs, ID

Driggs, ID is only about a 25 minute drive to the Targhee Resort in Wyoming. For an affordable cozy cabin try the Teton Valley Cabins near Driggs.

Keystone, Colorado

Ski Lift Keystone Mountain, CO Rockies in the distance.
Keystone Mountain Resort, Colorado
Photo: “Nick Elder via canva.com”

Keystone, Colorado is a gorgeous place to stay, with fun winter activities. It is also great for families and non-skiiers who are looking for things to do beyond the slopes.

Keystone is cheaper than Breckenridge, while still offering many great shops, & restaurants, and family friendly fun. It is also close enough you can do a day trip if desired.

Keystone Resort is a popular destination, and they pride themselves as Colorado’s kid-friendliest resort. The hills offer runs from beginner to more advanced, and is one of only a few resorts that offers night skiing.

If you are not skiing, buy a “foot pass” at the base of Keystone Mountain and take the gondola ride up to the top of Dercum Mountain. Enjoy the Der Fondue Chessel restaurant at the top. They serve fondue and a four course meal. Expensive but worth it for the experience I hear.

Explore River Run Village or ice skate on their outdoor rink.

For non-resort activities, try the family friendly Keystone Sapphire Point Overlook hike. It’s a short hike with amazing mountain and lake views.

A scenic sleigh ride, or an old fashioned run at the Keystone Nordic Centre tubing, with it’s walk up, slide down hill will bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

Activities: sleigh rides, tubing, shopping, dining, hiking, skating, gondola rides.

Where to Stay in Keystone, CO

If your focus is skiing / boarding, the two areas you’ll want to look into staying are River Run Village, or Mountain House base. River Run is within walking distance to the Keystone Gondola, resturants, shops, rentals. Mountain House is the original base, and is minutes walk to the lifts.

This River Run Mountain View Condo is within walking distance of the slopes and gondola, and all the amenities in the heart of River Run Village. This condo sleeps 8 comfortably, so a great choice for families or friends. Heated garage for parking.

Keystone Lodge and Spa located in the Lakeside Village, is a great option for families looking to focus on non-ski and lake activities, while being close to a day on the slopes if desired. They also offer free transfer services to ski slopes.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado ski resort skyline at dusk
Breckenridge, CO at dusk
Photo: “Sean Pavone via canva.com”

Breckenridge, CO, at the base of the Rocky Mountains is well known for its ski resorts, and year round alpine activities. With over 180 ski trails spanning 3,000 acres of terrain, there are a lot of opportunities to hit the slopes at Breckenridge Ski Resort. You can rent gear in advance to be delivered to your accommodations, to save time at the hill

Breckenridge also makes a fun winter destination for non-skiiers as the town has so much to do. From festivals, galleries, and craft beer to the main street with over 200 shops and restaurants, there is something here for everyone.

Visit the Arts District, a one-acre campus of studios, galleries, and art / performance spaces.

Try one of these winter vacation activities:

Hot Tip: For a unique activity, try a walking tour through the historic district of Breckenridge. Hear interesting stories of those who came for the gold 100 years ago.

Where to Stay in Breckenridge, CO

One Ski Hill Place is a newer resort and perfect for a more luxurious experience. Guests love the ski-in/ski-out access to Breckenridge Ski Resort, located at the base of Peak 8, free storage for ski equipment and the restaurants and bar on site.

Welk Resorts Breckenridge – The Ranahan is a popular choice for families, with two swimming pools, a small stocked kitchen, washing machine, beautiful rooms, great views and centrally located, you can’t go wrong with this choice if you have kids.

The Village right in the heart of Breckenridge offers on site ski services, concierge and activities desk, and a ski school, 5 minutes from the Ski Resort. All condos feature full kitchens, large seating areas and there is seasonal childcare offered.

Check out these gorgeous home rental options. Like home, only less cleaning!

  • Luxury Mountain Oasis: If you are looking for a more luxurious, large home, than the Gold Run Lodge is your choice for a pure mountain sanctuary on a one acre wooded lot! This home is perfect for year round getawaya and is located in the Highlands neighborhood in Breckenridge on the Breckenridge Golf Course and Gold Run Nordic Center, and a short drive to the ski slopes and downtown.
  • Elegant mountain home: This centrally located large elegant mountain home sleeps 7 and is perfect place to make your home base for the mountain and all the village action.

Park City, Utah

Park City, UT  old town district
Old town district of Park City, Utah in the winter
Photo: “Don Miller via Canva.com”

Park City, Utah boasts the largest ski resort in the United States, and has over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. If you are dreaming of a White Christmas, or a snowy vacation, this is a beautiful place to be.

Park City, Utah skiing, & snowboarding

Check out one (or all) of their three Resorts.

  • Deer Valley is a luxury, skiers only resort, with diverse runs for all skill levels. It also offers 5 star dining, and extras like ski-valets.
  • Canyon is the largest resort, accessible by multiple gondola rides up the mountain. Snowboarding is allowed, with some great runs for beginners and those with more advanced skills.
  • Park City Mountain Resort offers a more laid back skiing / snowboarding experience. Though smaller, Park City still provides diverse, easily accessible ski runs and snowboard parks, in a quaint subalpine setting. They also tend to open earlier in the season, depending on snow fall.

PRO TIP: Save time at the hill and get your rentals delivered right to your accommodations

Park City, Utah Things to do for Non Skiiers

When you want to spend a day off the slopes (or have non-skiers in your family / group) there a many options:

  • Sleigh Rides
  • Dog Sledding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Private snowshoe excursion
  • Fat Tire Biking (aka snow biking)
  • Tubing at Woodward Park City – 12 lanes of tubing fun
  • Stroll Historic Main Street, do a little shopping, then grab lunch at one of the amazing restaurants.
  • Learn the skiing and mining history of the area, at the Park City Museum

The more adventurous will want to try the Winter Bobsled Experience at the Utah Olympic Park. You can bobsled down the 2002 Olympic Winter Games Track.

Where to Stay in Park City, UT


Waldorf Astoria Park City, while not technically ski in/out is a gorgeous family friendly place to stay. Located at the  base of Canyons Village, it is just steps away from a dedicated gondola. They have lots of childrens programs, an amazing pool which is a must with kids, and are pet friendly.

Sundial Lodge is a beautiful hotel, with the convenience of ski-in/ski-out accommodations, with many amenities, but without the luxury premium. There’s alao 4 dining options onsite from family-style restaurants to straight from farm cuisine.

Gorgeous Hidden Creek Town Home is a gorgeous an wonderful option for larger groups or families as the three bedroom , 3 bathroom home sleeps 8 and is close to the Cabriolet Lift. There is access to a hot tub and a seasonal heated pool.

Deer Valley

St. Regis, Deer Valley, offers many family friendly amenities including a split level infinity pool, a children’s calendar, ski in/out access, a snow beach and more.

Four Bedroom Deer Valley Vacation Home, is a short 5 minute walk to the Snow Park Lodge ( the main Deer Valley Lodge), sleeps up to 12 people, with a private hot tub nestled amongst the aspens on the back patio, it is sure to be a hit with all travellers in your group.

Park City Mountain Resort / Downtown Park City

Park City Peaks is a wonderful and affordable, family friendly hotel. They are located close to downtown, a 5 minute drive to the Park City mountain, a 15 minute drive to Deer Valley, and there’s a pool!

Funky Historic Loft on Main Street is a fun and unique place to stay right in all the town action. Head out onto one of thei two balconies to enjoy the vibes of Main Street, Park City. Eat in with their fully stocked kitchen or easily head out into the town and take advantage of the local restaurants close by.

Or check out this list of great condos and homes to rent in the Park City areas.

👉 You may also like 50+ Family Winter Bucketlist activities

Midway, Utah

Ice Castle lit up at night
Midway Ice Castle, Utah
Photo: “sam_ via canva.com”

Midway, Utah is a quaint small town, in the Heber Valley offering many family friendly activities. It’s also only 20 min from Park City and 45 min from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Soldier’s Hollow is a popular Midway tubing destination. Built for the Winter Olympics in 2002, Soldier’s Hollow is also a great place for cross country skiing.

For skiing both Deer Valley and Sundance are close by.

For a unique winter experience, don’t miss the Midway Ice Castle. Ice artists form ice slides, fountains, crawl spaces, caves, and tunnels that are perfect for exploring during the day, and magical when lit up at night. They generally open late December, but this year they are opening in January.

Combine two fun winter activities, and arrive in style to the ice castle with a sleigh ride.

Try one of these other family friendly winter vacation activities:

  • Snowmobiling
  • Outdoor Ice skating at Midway Ice Rink
  • Take the North Pole Express or the Tube ‘n Train (snow tubing and train ride) with the historic Heber Valley Railroad
  • Swim in a geothermal pool in the Homestead Crater.

Where to Stay in Midway, UT

Stay at Zermat or Homestead Resorts. At Zermat Resort you will feel like you are in the Swiss Alps, due to the alpine architecture admist the Rocky Mountains.

The Homestead Resort offers accommodations consisting of separate cottages located throughout the grounds, and access to the Homestead Crater.

If you prefer the coziness and luxury of staying in a home away from home, then this Mountain Home close to the ski resorts would be a fun option. It sits in Heber City, a quiet and quaint town nestled in a valley at the base of Mt. Timpanogos local restaurants, and is a 15 minute drive to Deer Valley, Park City, and Sundance. Plus you get a private hot tub, to soak in, after a long day of adventuring. Pets are allowed.

👉 You may also like our detailed guide to Bryce Canyon Utah in one day.

Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint Winter Festival Dog K-9 Dog Pull
Sandpoint Winter Festival – K-9 Keg Pull is always a favourite event
Photo: “Silvrshootr via canva.com”

Beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho, sits along Lake Pend Oreille, the 5th deepest lake in the United States.

For a family oriented ski resort, try the highly rated Schweitzer Mountain Resort. It has 2900 acres of skiiable terrain, 92 runs, three terrain parks, as well as 32km of cross crountry trails.

At an elevation of 6,400 feet, it provides gorgeous views overlooking the lake and town of Sandpoint, as well as Montana and Canada on a clear day.

Other winter activities in Sandpoint, ID include:

  • Sledding & Tubing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Skating
  • Ice Fishing
  • Cross Country Skiing at Farragut or Round Lake State Parks
  • Visiting the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center 
  • Enjoying a play, concert, or fine art film at the Panida Theatre
  • Take a Sandpoint sleigh ride

Each year, typically in February, Sandpoint holds their Winter Carnival, a sure way to get you and your family into the snowy season. This event includes fireworks, live music & parties, a food festival, a Parade of Lights and the city fav, the K9 Keg Pull.

Sandpoint is also known as a place to enjoy a craft brew (family friendly Matchwood or Mac Duff’s Brewing Companies), a glass of wine at the Pend d’Orielle Winery or a visit to a local roaster / coffee shop, Evans Brothers.

Where to Stay in Sandpoint, ID

The Schweitzer Mountain Resort is a popular spot for families, with easy access to the slopes, tubing, pool and village shops and restaurants. Guests have access to an outdoor heated pool, fitness centre, 3 hot tubs and a theatre. Covered parking, Ski, snowboard and bike storage is available.

Talus Rock Retreat is family and pet friendly lodging at it’s finest. Nestled on an 18 acre wilderness playground, while also being close to dowtown, the Schweitzer Mountain, and Lake Pend Oreille, you’ll get the best of all worlds. Plus breakfast is included.

Downtown Sandpoint Lakeside Condo With Pool access. This cozy and clean 1 bed, 1 bath ground floor condo sleeps four, is well stocked with the essentials, and just a few steps from the lake, pool and downtown fun. Plus it’s only 13 miles to Schweitzer mountain resort, so you can get the best of both worlds.

Chicago, Illinois

The Bean Scultpture in Millenium Park, at night. Chicago, Illinois
The “Bean” in Chicago’s Millenium Park
Photo: “UWMadison / istock.com”

Chicago, Illinois is known as one of the best US cities for Christmas and holiday festivities, events, and shopping.  

If you are looking for Holiday or Winter themed events, there are many.

Their annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival happens in November, where one million lights line this shopping area and usually includes events like a parade, fireworks and concerts.

Celebrate the season at the Lincoln Park ZooLights Festival, which offers two million lights, ice carving, and a music and light show.

Take in the Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry. A forest of over 50 trees represent traditions from cultures around the globe.

Chicago’s family friendly Winter Wonderfest at Navy Piers is an annual tradition. Ice skating, rides, and entertainment are a few of the events offered. You can also take in the Centennial Wheel, suspended over Lake Michigan which offers spectacular views of the iconic Chicago skyline.

Finish your gift shopping at their famous, Christkindlmarket, a large traditional German – style Christmas market. Roasted nuts, fresh pretzels & bratwurst, oh my. Usually runs from mid November to Christmas Eve.

Popular tourist attractions tend to be less crowded in winter. Family friendly Chicago winter activities include:

  • The Field Museum – Learn about Human History and Dinosaurs
  • Skate through picturesque Millenium Park or at Maggie Daley Park
  • Take a photo of the famous “Bean” statue at Millenium Park
  • Get close to sharks at the Wild Reef Exhibit, Shedd Aquarium
  • See a Broadway play at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
  • Eat an iconic Chicago Dog and deep dish pizza.
  • Visit Legoland for a kid friendly delight
  • Wander the Chicago Lakefront Path
  • Enjoy a Hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour of Chicago
  • Get acquainted with the ghosts and gangsters of Chicago, with a family-friendly walking tour
Hot Tip: If you are planning on taking in multiple museums and attractions look into buying a CityPass. Spend Less and Experience More. See the best attractions in Chicago at 50% off regular price.

Where to Stay in Chicago, IL

Our top picks for family friendly accommodations in Chicago include the Embassy Suites Downtown by Hilton and the Radisson Blu Aqua.

We like that the Embassy Suites has the feel of a home away from home, with a living/dining area and separate bedroom. Access to a heated pool, delicious breakfast, and close to many of Chicago’s family attractions, it hits all of our requirements for a fun family stay. The also have a prime location at the Magnificent Mile popular with families.

The Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown Riverwalk is another great option, that has it all. The Hilton Garden . Plus it’s within a 1o minute walk to many attractions including Millenium Park, and Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile shopping, theatre district and more.

Spacious Vacation Condo in a stunning 1928 Art Deco building, with whirlpool tub, fireplace, and sleeps up to 6 comfortably. Only minutes walk to the lake and 1 mile from downtown, you get the benefits of a quieter neighbourhood and easy access to all the fun. If you are a sports fan, Wrigley Field home to the World Series Championship Cubs is just 15 minutes away!

Or check out other condo, penthouse suites and guesthouses right in and near dowtown Chicago.

Bonus: Stowe, VT

Stowe, Vermont is a fantastic and irresistible place to visit in winter. If you are looking for top notch skiing and boarding in the East, try out Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield.

Besides hitting the slopes, the Stowe Mountain Resort offers scenic gondola rides, ice skating, snowshoeiing, and a Spa, perfect for a holiday getaway.

Stowe, VT is home to Weissner Woods, perfect for short winter hikes or a little snowshoeiing.

  • The Green Mountain Inn is the top pick for a fabulous family friendly place to stay year round, right in the centre of town. It offers afternoon tea, a sauna, massage therapy services. You’ll be happy with their two dining options, the Whip Bar & Grill featuring local farm produce and New England microbrews on tap.

The Main Street Dining Room serves Vermont Country Breakfast and afternoon Tea and Cookies, which sounds like a fun way to spend the afternoon. The kids will love the year round outdoor pool.

  • The Top Notch Resort offers the full experience. From their indoor and outdoor swimming pools, modern tennis and full-service spa,there is something for everyone. Try some country skiing or scenic hiking trails, plus horseback riding & bike paths are available.

Be sure not to miss the iconic Trapp Family Lodge (sleigh rides, cross country skiing, hiking trails).

👉 Grab more fun things to do in Stowe, Vermont here.

With so many options for a fun winter vacation in the USA, which one will go on your bucket list? What’s your favourite place to visit for snow? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!

Related family travel ideas and tips you won’t want to miss:

11 Best Places To Visit In Winter In USA

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34 thoughts on “11 Best Places To Visit In Winter In USA (2022)”

  1. Pingback: How Often Should You Take A Family Vacation? |

    1. I miss traveling too. I think it is a common feeling, wishing things would go back to normal. It has been such a challenging year for everyone, on different levels.

  2. Because all the winter cruises were in the Caribbean, I never visited the States in winter. You do get the snow, even in the big cities and it looks like proper and magical winter. I’m consoling myself watching all the Christmas movies on Netflix that show the little places where everybody wants to escape, and then they get hooked! This is beautiful and remains on my bucket list now that my cruising days are long over!:)

  3. I would love visit the U.S during winter, I know just how much snow you guys get! in fact, we were supposed to visit during thanksgiving and stay for 3 months this year! but obviously things have changed this year.. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the end of next year 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Winter in the midwest can get long and boring. I needed ideas for where to travel (without a plane ride) for a change of scenery. Your list delivers! Thank you. 🙂

  5. Great list! I’ve been wanting to take a winter vacation to a snowy resort with outdoor ice skating, so I’ll definitely have to save this list for later!

  6. I just love to travel and this article makes me think how much I miss it! Hope this pandemic ends soon, these places all seem lovely!

  7. These places all look gorgeous. We had neighbors that went to Jacksonhole every year. My sister lives in Chicago, will have to ask her if she has been to these winter festivities

  8. These are great suggestions. I would have not thought to add Chicago to this list. I have always wanted to visit an ice castle. We did visit an ice cave in Iceland!

  9. Leavenworth is so beautiful! I had the opportunity to go a few years back, and the pretty small town vibes still live on through my camera roll x thank you for sharing, lovely!

  10. These locations all look beautiful! Chicago isn’t too far away from me. In the lower midwest we just don’t get much snow anymore. It would be fun to spend a long weekend in a place where they get more snow.

  11. I live in Minnesota (aka MinneSNOWta) so am really trying to embrace the whole snow thing. I just recently learned about Leavenworth, Washington. Loved the Bavarian vibe and it looks so picturesque in winter – would love to visit and check out those holiday lights!

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