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11+ Best Places To Visit In Winter In USA (2023)

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Looking for fun winter vacations with snow in the USA? This ultimate list highlights the best places to visit in winter in the USA.

It’s that time of year again. Where dreams of snow and winter wonderlands dance through our heads. It can be hard to know, where to go, and which destinations are also family friendly.

Which is why we’ve put together our list of perfect winter vacations in the US for families, couples, or solo adventurers.

Whether it’s looking for a magical experience over the holidays, or a family ski vacation, there are a plenty of fabulous places to visit in winter in the USA.


1. Leavenworth, WA in Winter

Bavarian style village in winter with Christmas lights and snowy mountain.
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.

LOCAL TIP: Don’t have much time? Book this wonderful day trip from Seattle to Leavenworth, where you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery and day.

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

Get in the holiday spirit with a visit to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm. 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

  • RIVERFRONT CABIN: For a more homey experience, Hannah’s Riverfront Cabin has a great location, only a 17 min walk to dowtown, right on the River, plus there’s a hot tub. The loft style cabin sleeps up to 4 comfortably.
Winter Wonderland USA ideas  infographic, with snowy mountain photos. Yosemite, Jackson Hole, Keystone, Park City, Leavenworth & Chicago.

2. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon in Winter

Crater Lake with snowy mountains reflecting on water.
Crater Lake National Park, USA in winter
Photo: “trongnguyen / depositphotos.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. Great for families with kids 8+.

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 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).

  • COZY CABIN: This cozy private home-away-from-home cabin is only an hour from the park, sleeps 4 and really has amazing views 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.
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY CHALET: 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.

3. Yosemite National Park, CA in Winter

Person walking on snowy path in Yosemite towards the falls.
Yosemite National Park in winter
Photo: “kamchatka / depositphotos.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.

Things to do in Yosemite in Winter

Tours allow you to just relax, enjoy the scenery and not worry about a thing.

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

Winter hiking in Yosemite

Hiking is a popular activity in Yosemite National Park year round. And there are plenty of year round trails to try.

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)

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 an ideal family friendly winter bucket list 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.

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.
  • 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

  • IN THE PARK: 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 hike to the Firefall event.
  • FOR FAMILIES: 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.
  • LUXURY HOME (IN PARK): The more spacious & upscale Yosemite Valley View comes 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.

4. Star Valley, Wyoming in Winter

Four people snowmobiling through forest trails.
Snowmobiling in Wyoming, USA
Photo: “Medioimages 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.

Winter Activities in Star Valley, WY

  • Check out the world’s largest Elkhorn Antler Arch, in Afton, WY. Just outside Afton is also 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.

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, WY 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.

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

Where to Stay in Star Valley, WY

  • CABINS & RESORT: 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.
  • BUDGET FRIENDLY: 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.
  • PET-FRIENDLY RANCH CABINS: 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. Enjoy their full kitchen, washer and dryer, and beautiful mountain views. They are pet friendly and you can even bring your horse!

5. Jackson Hole, Wyoming in Winter

Elk gathering at Elk Refuge Jackosn Hole, Wyoming in winter
Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Photo: “wanderluster via canva.com”

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:

  • Take a drive from Jackson, WY to Yellowstone and visit the Old Faithful Area, Midway Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pots, the Canyon Area, Hayden Valley, take short hikes and more.

  • Snow Shoeing or Cross Country Skiing one of Jackson Hole’s many trails

  • Dog sled with a guide and a team of Alaskan sled dogs

  • Snowmobile or go Snow Tubing in Jackson Hole

  • View wildlife history through art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art

  • Explore Jackson’s historic downtown centre and take some time browsing the shops and restaurants

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

  • 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

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 – Log Cabin & Ski Shuttle

  • PET-FRIENDLY LOG CABIN: In Jackson, WY try out a stand-alone rustic, log cabin at the fabulous Cowboy Village Resort. With all the amenities and comforts of home, along with a free winter ski shuttle. Family and pet friendly.

Driggs, ID

  • BUDGET FRIENDLY MOTEL: Driggs, ID is only about a 25 minute drive to the Targhee Resort in Wyoming. For an affordable stay, try the Teton West Motel. Indoor pool, breakfast included and comfortable clean rooms.

6. Keystone, Colorado in Winter

Snowboarders walking through Keystone mountain resort in the snow.
Keystone Mountain Resort, Colorado
Photo: “urban_light / depositphotos”

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 to Breckenridge 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.

  • Gondola Ride: 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.
  • Ice Skating & Shops: Explore River Run Village or ice skate on their outdoor rink.
  • Winter hike: 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,skiing, night skiing, tubing, shopping, dining, hiking, skating, gondola rides.

Where to Stay in Keystone, CO

  • ON THE MOUNTAIN: 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.
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY CONDO: 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.
  • LODGE: 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 also being close to a day on the slopes. They also offer free transfer services to ski slopes.

7. Breckenridge, Colorado in Winter

Breckenridge, CO USA winter skyline at dusk
Breckenridge, CO at dusk
Photo: “seapavone / depositphotos”

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.

LOCAL TIP: You can rent gear in advance that includes transportation to the ski shop & 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:

  • Walking along the Blue River Recreation path

  • Fat Tire Biking

  • Snowmobiling tours through the Rockies

  • Summit Ski Museum

LOCAL TIP: For a unique activity, take 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

  • SKI IN – SKI OUT RESORT: 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, pool and restaurants and bar on site.
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY: Hyatt Vacation Club – 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.
  • RESORT APARTMENTS: 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.

8. Park City, Utah in Winter

Two skiiers on a ski lift in Park City in winter.
Old town district of Park City, Utah in the winter
Photo: “Prostock / depositphotos”

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 winter 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.
  • Canyons 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.

LOCAL TIP: Save time at the hill & skip the shop lineups by getting your gear 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
  • Kimball Art Centre
  • 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


  • LUXURY RESORT: 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.
  • SKI IN SKI OUT LODGE: 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 also 4 dining options onsite from family-style restaurants to straight from farm cuisine and a pool & steam / sauna rooms.
  • 3 BDR TOWNHOME: Gorgeous Hidden Creek Town Home is a 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

  • FAMILY FRIENDLY RESORT: 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.
  • LARGE VACATION HOME: 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

  • BUDGET FRIENDLY: 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! Free shuttle to the slopes.
  • COUPLES RETREAT: 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.

👉 You may also like 50+ Family Winter Bucketlist activities

9. Midway, Utah in Winter

Ice Castle walls lit up at night.
Ice Castle at night | Photo: “AJ. Mellor

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 starting late December.

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

  • ALPINE RESORT: At Zermat Resort you will feel like you are in the Swiss Alps, due to the alpine architecture admist the Rocky Mountains.
  • RESORT: The Homestead Resort offers comfortable rooms, a pool, hot tubs, golf course, restaurant and access to the Homestead Crater.

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

10. Sandpoint, Idaho in Winter

Ski Run sign at Schweitzer Ski Resort mountainside
Schweitzer Ski Resort
Photo: “CascadeCreatives / depositphotos”

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 or Schweitzer Mountain Resort
  • 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 Annual 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 MicDuff’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

  • PET FRIENDLY: 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.
  • SANDPOINT CONDO: 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.

11. Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Bean reflecting snow and footprints in winter.
The “Bean” in Chicago’s Millenium Park
Photo: “Chait Goli / canva.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.

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.

LOCAL TIP: Grab a CITY PASS to save money on all the attractions you want to see.

Popular tourist attractions tend to be less crowded in winter. Fun ideas include:

Where to Stay in Chicago, IL

  • DOWNTOWN FAMILY FRIENDLY: We like that the Embassy Suites – Magnificent Mile is close to everything, with breakfast included, a hot tub, and pool, making it popular with families.
  • VACATION CONDO: Sleep easy at this Spacious Vacation Condo located 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.

12. Stowe, VT in Winter

Gondolas at Stowe Mountain Resort in winter.
Stowe Mountain Resort in winter
Photo: “fashionstock / depositphotos”

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 also home to Weissner Woods, perfect for short winter hikes or a little snowshoeiing.

Where to stay in Stowe, Vermont

  • BUDGET FRIENDLY: 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. The kids will love the year round outdoor pool.
  • RESORT: 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.
  • HISTORIC LODGE & WINTER ACTIVITIES: Be sure not to miss the iconic Trapp Family Lodge (sleigh rides, cross country skiing, hiking trails). Even if it’s just a day trip.

👉 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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  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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!

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