Heading to warmer, sunnier destinations is a popular choice for winter getaways, but it’s not the only one! There are several snow-covered destinations in the U.S. that are absolutely beautiful to visit in the winter and offer a unique experience by visiting in the colder parts of the year. Here are 7 winter wonderland destinations in the U.S. to visit this winter.
1. Leavenworth, Washington
This charming small town is notable for its German-themed buildings and shops. It’s also incredibly festive, with several shops offering year-round holiday cheer and the majority of the town being decorated in elaborate lights during the winter.
This makes it a great choice for visiting in the winter – you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a Christmas movie. There are also countless things to do in the area in addition to exploring the town itself, including cross-country skiing and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
2. Yellowstone National Park
Visiting Yellowstone National Park in the winter is an entirely different experience than visiting in the summer. The crowds that can give the park a busier feel are long gone, replaced with sparkling snow and steaming hot springs.
The majority of the park is only accessible by snowmobile and snowcoach during the winter, meaning you’ll most likely have to book a tour to see attractions such as Old Faithful. However, the magical feeling environment makes doing so more than worth it – this national park was actually referred to as “Wonderland” in the late 1800s for precisely that reason.
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3. Breckenridge, Colorado
If you enjoy winter recreation as well as plenty of things to do in town, Breckenridge, Colorado is a great choice! This beautiful town is nestled in the mountains and is home to Breckenridge Ski Resort. It also has a variety of local shops, perfect for picking up souvenirs or spending a day exploring.
4. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe, Vermont offers a great combination of fantastic opportunities for winter recreation like skiing, as well as a charming small-town feel. If you enjoy skiing, Stowe Mountain Resort is an excellent choice, and it also has many shops and some dining choices at the base of the mountain. Stowe is also home to the Trapp Family Lodge, run by the family who inspired the beloved movie The Sound Of Music.
5. Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood is Oregon’s tallest mountain and also home to countless things to do in the winter. With the mountains’ notable height, it won’t come as a surprise that downhill skiing and snowboarding are both popular choices. They’re far from the only ones, though.
Tubing, cross-country skiing, and sledding are also all popular in the area. When it comes to where to stay, you’ll have charming lodges such as Timberline Lodge. Mt Hood is also home to Mt Hood Ski Bowl, a ski resort offering some of the best night skiing in the region.
6. Fairbanks, Alaska
If you’re looking for a cold-weather destination, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Alaska makes an excellent choice. Fairbanks, Alaska is one of the relatively larger cities in this remote state, making it a great home base for winter adventures while still having plenty of amenities to return back to. Visiting in the winter is also one of the best times to see the stunning Northern Lights that are most visible in the area from November through March.
7. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is one of those places that’s gorgeous to visit any time of year and offers unique draws with each season. A winter visit will beget amazing opportunities for cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowboarding. This is also a great choice for a wide variety of visitors – kids will love sledding in the area, while adults may enjoy grabbing some delicious drinks from breweries such as South Lake Brewing Co.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com