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The 10 Best Winter Vacation Spots For Snow or Sun

Arctic winds and record-breaking low temps. Will this winter ever end? Whether you’re a sun-seeker in search of soft sandy beaches or a powder hound looking to make the most of ski season, these itineraries are full of great winter vacation ideas.

Warm Weather Vacations

Key West, FL

Image by Crawford A. Wilson III

Famous for being the southernmost spot in the Continental U.S., this walkable city offers everything from water sports like parasailing, snorkeling and jet skiing to art galleries, museums, and countless open-air bars and restaurants along Duval Street. Stay at the Southernmost Beach Resort which boasts a beachfront location. A must-visit: The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy where visitors can walk among hundreds of butterflies, exotic birds and two flamingos inside the glass-topped tropical habitat.Check out our comprehesive list of the best national and state parks in Florida, too. 

San Miguel De Allende, Mexico

Image by Marco Bottigelli

Located about three hours from Mexico City, this colonial-era city in the country’s central highlands enchants visitors with cobblestoned-streets, charming buildings painted with sunny hues, and scores of home-décor stores, as well as dining options for every palate. Stay at the Hotel San Miguel and enjoy rooftop cocktails with a clear view of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. On weekends the central plaza alights with families enjoying an after-dinner stroll to the music of any number of mariachi bands.

Santa Fe, NM

Image by Dean Fikar

The state’s capital city is a microcosm of all kinds of passions, from art galleries and museums to markets, live music and, depending on the time of your visit, festivals. Foodies will find traditional New Mexican cuisine as well as more high-end dining. Stay at the Hotel St. Francis and enjoy a one-block walk to the bustling plaza. No trip is complete without a visit to the famed Canyon Road, a mile-long stretch lined with dozens of art galleries.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Image by James O’Neil

Hikers and stargazers flock to this rugged stretch of California which boasts seemingly endless trails, including Discovery Trail, the Split Rock Trail, and the Black Rock Canyon Panorama Loop. After a day exploring, wind down at The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells  with a massage or soak at the Agua Serena Spa. Hook up with Sky Watcher Star Tours for a two-hour star gazing experience.

San Diego, California

Image by Valeria Marrocco/EyeEm

Year-round warm weather and little rain make this Southern California city a winning choice for travelers. Beach lovers will find miles of sandy coastline, while the Gaslamp District offers scores of restaurants and bars, as well as outdoor markets. Stay downtown at The Sofia, a member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America. At Point Loma’s Sunset Cliffs you can catch the sunset or sunrise. If viewing animals is more your speed, buy a day pass to the San Diego Zoo.

Cold Weather Vacations

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Image by Karl Henderson

The Netherlands’ walkable capital offers much to gaze at, from its narrow row houses, stately boats floating along its canals, cyclists pedaling to and from work and school and quaint cafes populating almost every corner. There’s also much to do, including visits to museums such as the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum, and a stroll along the picturesque Nine Streets. Stay at the centrally located Pulitzer, from which you can walk to the Jordaan, a trendy neighborhood with shops and restaurants.

Jackson Hole, WY

Image by Troy Harrison

Averaging 458” of snow a year, Jackson Hole is a skier’s paradise, with over 130 named trails including 50% expert, 40% intermediate and 10% beginner. Stay on-mountain at the Snake River Lodge and Spa and enjoy ski in-ski out access to the hill. Come nightfall, head to Jackson, and strut your stuff at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Image by Jordan Lye

Another ski paradise, this car-free village in the Swiss Alps attracts snow-seekers from all over the world each year thanks to its wide and varied pistes, decadent on-mountain lunches and unspoiled views of the Matterhorn. Stay at the SchlossHotel, steps from the stop- and restaurant-lined, Bahnhofstrasse. A must-do: Ski over the Theodul Pass and down into the Italian ski resort of Cervina. Don’t forget your passport!

New Paltz, NY

Image by Henry C

This small town two-and-a-half hours north of New York City offers outdoor activities for every type, including miles of hiking trails, ice skating, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. Get your shopping fix on quaint Main Street which is lined with artsy shops, cute cafes and splurge-worthy restaurants. A stay at the all-inclusive  Mohonk Mountain House is a must as is a visit to the Antiques Barn on Water Street where you’ll find hundreds of unique pieces of furniture, jewelry and ceramics. Looking for more great hikes just outside NYC?

Alaska

IMage by Patrick J. Endres

The 49th state seems ready-made for icy adventures given its long, cold winters. If that’s your jam, visit Anchorage for the start of the yearly Iditarod race, or Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights or take a dogsled ride. If your travels in the state take you to Juneau, make sure you visit the ice caves carved out of the Mendenhall Glacier. The Denali Backcountry Lodge is one of the state’s more unique lodging offerings, accessible only by helicopter. 

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