Although summer is known as prime vacation season, winter getaways are equally special and enjoyable. A winter getaway might be just what you need to provide a healthy dose of adventure to combat seasonal blues. Whether you’re interested in hitting the slopes or cozying up to a fire while looking out over the mountains, these destinations may just inspire you to plan a winter getaway.
Big Sky, Montana
Located just outside of Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort offers one of the most skiable terrains in the United States and is the most popular ski resort in Montana. With over 5,800 acres of skiable terrain spread across four mountains, and 4,350 vertical feet, there’s something for the entire family. Because of its vast terrain, Big Sky boasts snowmobile trails of over 15 miles long that are perfect for “dashing through the snow” on an exhilarating winter adventure.
Even if you don’t live to ski, or even snowmobile, enjoy spectacular winter adventures at the Resort, or nearby. Your Basecamp activity specialist can set you up for any of these amazing adventures, among many others:
Fairbanks is known as “America’s coldest city” with regard to temperatures. Winters here last from mid-October until mid-to-late April. Unlike typical winter destinations, Fairbanks offers a variety of cultural and outdoor activities that don’t involve skis or snowboards.
As one of the best places in North America to view the Northern Lights, Fairbanks is also the place to get “under the stars” through amazing adventures, like a combined flightseeing (sightseeing via aircraft) and driving excursion. On flights such as those offered by Arctic Circle Aurora Fly Drive Adventure, you’ll get an aerial view of the vast northern wilderness.
Fairbanks is artistically impressive for more than just the natural lights in the sky. It’s also the ice art capital of the world and home to the World Ice Art Championships. In fact, many top ice artists in the world make Fairbanks their home.
The Chena Hot Springs Resort is home to the world’s largest year-round ice environment in the world, the Aurora Ice Museum! It was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, which is all harvested at the resort, and is a year-round geothermal technology wonder.
While visiting the museum visitors can take a dip in the nearby hot springs at the aforementioned Chena Hot Springs Resort. Enjoy the healing mineral waters of the natural outdoor hot springs, known as Rock Lake, or delight in the outdoor hot tub or indoor family pool. You can even soak in both the hot springs and in the great view of the Northern Lights above when possible!
What’s a winter destination list without a trip to Iceland? Reykjavik is the world's northernmost capital city and a popular tourist destination. Depending on your departure location, flights to Reykjavik can be more affordable than you think.
Once you’re in this laid-back city, visiting the hot springs is a must. In the city itself are a couple of public thermal pools that will only cost you a few dollars to visit. But while in Reykjavik, you are only a 40-minute drive away from the more unique and renowned Blue Lagoon – too close to not soak in the best!
Iceland has plenty of unique adventures from which to choose. Iceland is one of the most volcanically active places on earth with 200 volcanoes, and there is an eruption every 4-5 years! Take a tour of the Volcano House, one of the best places to learn about the unique geology of Iceland. You’ll have free admission to the geology exhibition where you can touch and view different mineral samples, lava, pumice and ash from famous eruptions.
While in Reykjavik you must explore the air and sea with a helicopter ride over the surrounding glaciers on the Reykjavik Summit Tour. Or experience the Reykjavik Classic Whale Watching tour. You can even experience Reykjavik in one day.
If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss the more relaxing option to explore the city on a guided Icelandic Cuisine Food Tour.
Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec City is one of Canada’s oldest cities. Bustling with history, Quebec City is the only walled city in North America north of Mexico. French culture is alive and present in this winter destination, offering visitors a taste of Europe without leaving North America. The quaint cobblestone streets, such as those of the oldest shopping district in North America, Rue de Petit Champlain, are lined with restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.
If you love architecture and interior design, make sure to stop at the Chateau Frontenac, one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Then visit the Morrin Cultural Center, a 200-year-old jail turned library. The cultural center is a must see for bibliophiles and is regarded as one of Quebec City’s best-kept secrets.
Seeking a little more excitement? Plan your trip during the months of January and February when visitors and locals enjoy Quebec’s Winter Carnival, said to be one of the biggest and most colorful winter festivals in the country. The Carnival’s varied activities range from floor hockey and axe throwing, to sampling “beaver tails” (a favorite Canadian pastry). Want yours sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar?
Another atypical winter destination, Sedona’s mild climate and beautiful scenery lend to a memorable winter vacation. Sedona is legendary for its rock formations. Visitors travel from around the world to experience the awe of Cathedral Rock, Antelope Canyon and The Wave.
Sedona and the surrounding areas are also one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Amateur astronomers from across the world travel to Arizona for night-sky tours and to camp underneath the dark starry sky.
With average highs in the low 60s and lows in the high 30s during the winter, Sedona is warm enough to comfortably explore. Imagine a view of the acclaimed copper and crimson mountains dusted lightly with snow during sunrise. Since the winter is considered the low season, you can also catch decent deals on lodging as well as avoid the large crowds that descend on this popular desert destination.
Whether you decide to hit the slopes of Big Sky or opt for the old-world historical charm of Quebec, or any one of the above winter destination locations, you are bound to find the perfect winter getaway!
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Tonya Rapley is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the article or found by following any link within this article.
Photo credit: iStock photo and Shutterstock
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