USA

24 Best Snowy Winter Wonderlands To Visit In The USA (2022 Review)

272Views

When the last of the autumn leaves fall to the ground, it is usually only a matter of days for snow to follow in many places in the United States. For those of us who love the quiet beauty and serenity that a blanket of snow offers, this is a wonderful moment. Some of us will accept this as the time to retreat before a warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa in hand to gaze at the stunning snow covered trees and snowcapped mountains. Others will bundle up and head out to snowshoe, downhill ski, cross country ski, snowmobile, dogsled, ice skate, or simply walk along snow packed paths. So, where are the best snowy winter wonderlands to visit in the USA? And which of the winter months – November, December, January, February, or March – are the best times to visit?

This post may contain affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy something through my site. This helps me run my website and produce the articles that I hope you find helpful.

Other Options

If you are looking for other winter destinations in North America, please see:

If you have changed your mind and now want a warm winter getaway, take a look at the 50 best Beach Destinations In The USA For A Warm Winter Getaway.

If you are not sure when you might travel and looking for other fantastic outdoor destinations in the United States, please see these articles:

Alternatively, if you are open to anything – cities, towns, national and state parks, please see:

For those that would rather find cool summer breezes and lovely mild temperatures, please take a peek at 20 Best US Destinations To Escape The Sizzling Summer Heat.

Best Snowy Winter Wonderlands To Visit In The USA

Here are 24 of the best destinations in America to see stunning winter landscapes and enjoy outdoor adventures in the snow. For each place, the best time to go is set out, including the expected temperature, weather, and how much snow you can expect during the winter months. In addition, the best things to do are highlighted, international airports are identified as well as driving distances are calculate. Finally, if anyone has stayed at a wonderful hotel or other accommodation, those are included as well.

best snowy winter wonderlands to visit in the USA
Sugarbush, Vermont (Photo courtesy of Keri from Bon Voyage With Kids)

Sugarbush, Vermont

By Keri from Bon Voyage With Kids

One of the best places to visit in the USA for a snowy winter wonderland is the lovely Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vermont. This beautiful setting in the green mountains, not far from Killington, is very special. It is family-friendly, offers a warm atmosphere, and has fantastic Northeast skiing. It is an ideal winter getaway, as it is located in the Mad River Valley, near farmlands and country stores. 

Some of the best things to do at Sugarbush include skiing and snowboarding, and enjoying the apres-ski scene in the Rumbles Bistro and Bar. In addition, consider snowmobiling, or taking a CAT cabin ride to the top of the mountain to watch the sunrise or set over Lincoln peak. 

If you aren’t a skier, you can enjoy snowshoeing or cross country skiing on the mountain. Alternatively, enjoy any of the non-snowy activities like the fitness center, heated outdoor pool (open even in the snow), the family adventure center, hot tubs, or the Mad Scientist Escape Room. Or just pop your feet up by the fire in your condo or favorite lounge, and watch the snow fall outside. 

There is also dog sledding nearby if you are up for a real adventure.

A favorite thing to do is dine at the Original Flatbread Pizza Company at the Lareau Family Farms, a few minutes from Sugarbush. It is well worth standing in line for a table as it is a cozy wood-fired pizza restaurant. It offers some of the freshest ingredients and the most delicious pizza outside of Italy. 

In fact, Vermonters take all their food seriously and often use locally sourced ingredients. You will want to be sure to enjoy a delicious Vermont breakfast with local maple syrup while visiting Sugarbush.  

For a spectacular snowy winter wonderland, be sure to add Sugarbush, Vermont to your winter bucket list!

Weather And Directions

Snowfall can begin as early as November and last until late March or even April. However, typically December through early March is when you will find the best snow. Expect around 10 inches of snowfall per month on average. Temperatures can range at this time of year from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to below zero, especially in January and February. 

The best way to get to Sugarbush is by car. It is about one hour from Burlington International Airport, 3.5 hours from Boston‘s Logan International Airport, and about 2-3 hours from Montreal’s International Airport. 

Hotel Recommendation

Keri says, “Sugarbush is also dog friendly. Your favorite four-legged family member can stay with you at Claybrook hotel and residences. In fact, your canine companion will be greeted with a treat upon check-in and there are doggy relief areas on the property.”

best places to visit snowy winter wonderlands in united states
Lake Placid, New York (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Lake Placid, New York

By Samantha from New England Wanderlust

Lake Placid is a wonderful little alpine town in the Adirondack mountains of New York State. With it receiving over 100 inches of snow each year, it is one of the best places in the United States to experience a true snowy winter wonderland. Lake Placid has also hosted not just one, but two winter Olympic games, which will make your winter getaway that much more memorable.

One of the best things to do in Lake Placid in the winter is to go ice skating on the Olympic speed skating oval which was actually used in both Olympics. Located right in town and walkable from everything, this outdoor rink is perfect for both experienced skaters and true beginners. With its large size, it offers plenty of room for spreading out. 

Lake Placid’s downtown is centered around the beautiful Mirror Lake, and in the winter, you can go tobogganing across the lake. The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute is a slide that’s about 30-feet high. It spits you out onto the frozen lake for a really fun and exhilarating ride for both kids and adults. 

Be sure to stroll around the downtown shops as well. Pick up some hot cocoa and freshly popped popcorn at the Adirondack Popcorn Co. to snack on while visiting all the beautiful boutiques.

If you’re looking for a great dining option, visit Salt of the Earth Bistro for elevated comfort food classics such as stews and burgers that are perfect for cold winter nights.

Weather And Directions

Temperatures in Lake Placid throughout the winter season average about 26-30° F, although they are usually colder in January and February. Snow often begins as early as October and will stick around until the end of April. However, the best months to visit Lake Placid for a winter getaway will be December, January and February.

To get to Lake Placid, you can fly into either Albany International Airport in NY, or Burlington International Airport in VT, both of which are a 2-hour drive away. From the airport, you’ll need to rent a car and drive to Lake Placid. 

Hotel Recommendation

Samantha says, “An amazing hotel is the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa. It is located downtown and walkable to all the shops and restaurants. For a cozy night, arrange a massage at the spa, followed by dinner at the inn.”

best places in america to visit for snowy winter holiday
Mammoth Lakes, California (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Mammoth Lakes, California

By Dhara from Road Tripping California

While Mammoth Lakes is a year-round vacation destination, it really comes into its own during the winter months. Located in the Eastern Sierra of California, Mammoth Lakes is a popular winter resort destination for downhill skiing and snowboarding, and so much more.

Mammoth Mountain is a renowned California ski resort. It is the highest peak in California that’s serviced by a chair-lift, with varied terrain suited for all levels of skiers. You can even take ski lessons here if you are a beginner. And on a bright clear day, the views from the top of Mammoth Mountain are sensational.

If you enjoy ice skating, Mammoth Ice Rink is open from late November through February. You can also choose ice tubing, snow sledding, and snow play. Go cross-country skiing, or take a wonderful winter wonderland snowshoe hike through the evergreen forests around town.

Love snowmobiling? Mammoth Lakes offers groomed trails, but there are also thousands of acres of public lands around Mammoth Lakes that are open to snowmobiles in the winter. In addition, it’s a great place to explore off trail if you are an expert.

Outside of winter sports, Mammoth Lakes is a fabulous area to visit in the winter to enjoy the snowy landscapes of a California. It is far removed from the palm trees and beaches of its famous coast.

The Mammoth Lakes’ area is known for its many natural hot springs, perfect for cold winter days. If you enjoy landscape photography, visit Convict Lake for an especially stunning winter scene.

Weather And Directions

Between December and February, Mammoth Lakes sees average daytime temperatures in the low 40s and nighttime temperatures in the teens. While snowstorms can occur, you can also expect bright sunny days.

Snowfall in Mammoth Lakes generally starts in October, and usually lasts well beyond winter. It averages around 28″ per month in December, January and February with snowfall starting as early as October. It is also normal for there to be a light sprinkling of snow in May.

The easiest way to fly into Mammoth Lakes in the winter is to take a flight from either San Francisco or Los Angeles into the regional airport at Mammoth Lakes. You can also fly into Reno International Airport and drive down if US 395 is fully open (about 170 miles). Alternatively, you can drive up Highway 395 from points south like Los Angeles or Palm Springs.

Hotel Recommendation

Dhara says, “The Westin Monache Resort is a great place to stay, close to shopping and dining.”

best winter wonderland in USA
North Conway, New Hampshire (Photo courtesy of Elena from The Carry-on Chronicles)

North Conway, New Hampshire

By Elena from the Carry-on Chronicles

New Hampshire in winter is a snow-lover’s paradise, particularly the charming mountain town of North Conway. Located in the White Mountain region, North Conway is the perfect jumping off point for frosty fun ranging from skiing, to sledding, to snow tubing.

From here, you can catch a ride on the snow train through the Attitash mountains. A winter dream come true, this 90-minute train ride promises picturesque views of snowy-white trees and snow-capped mountains from the comfort of your window seat.

Alternatively, if taking the wheel is more your speed, you cannot miss the drive across the Kancamagus Highway, a picturesque byway running through the White Mountain National Forest. This is nothing like crowded freeways you may envision, but a quiet, even ethereal experience. Surrounded by frosty pines, you’ll feel as though you’re caught inside a snow globe as you cross one of the most scenic routes in all of New England. Make sure to stop off along the way to explore the White Mountain National Forest in its prime for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, and hiking.

If you’re traveling with kids – or you’d simply relish the novelty of a child-friendly experience – head over to Ice Castles New Hampshire in North Woodstock. Open anywhere from late December to early January and running until late February to early March, this is easily one of the most popular attractions in the state. This magical venue features hundreds of thousands of icicle-based formations, an enchanted forest, and wintry horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Weather And Directions

From December to January, you can expect average highs hovering around 32°F in North Conway, with the average low temperature at a blustering 12°F. A mix of clouds and sun is pretty typical in the White Mountain Region, and you can generally expect at least partial cloudiness.

North Conway averages 77 inches of snowfall annually, including snow in both November and March. In December, the average snowfall is 14.6 inches, whereas 20.1 inches are average for January, the snowiest month of the year. February snowfall drops a bit, with an average of 17.6 inches.

To reach North Conway, you’ll ideally want to fly into Portland International Jetport. It’s then a drive of about one hour and 15 minutes to reach North Conway,. You’ll definitely want a car for the journey.

Hotel Recommendation

Elena says, “North Conway Grand Hotel is a great accommodation option, located in the epicenter of the White Mountains.”

best winter vacation destinations in America
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Montana (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Montana

By James from Parks Collecting

Yellowstone National Park is not only the world’s first national park, it is also one of America’s most stunning places. And it gets a LOT of snow, making visiting Yellowstone in winter a completely different experience from a summer trip. Most of the National Park is closed to regular vehicular traffic in winter, with just the North Entrance at Gardener open. The rest of the Park can only be visited by traveling over the snow.

If you want to drive your regular vehicle, you can enter at the North Entrance and see Mammoth Hot Springs, which are especially lovely surrounded by snow. You can also take a dip in the heated Boiling River and drive the Lamar Valley where you may get to see snow-covered bison. 

However, to see the rest of Yellowstone National Park, you will need to travel by snowmobile or snow coach. Daily snowmobile tours go to Old Faithful or the Canyon/ Yellowstone Falls area. Most tours leave from the West Entrance, but a couple of operators go from other entrances including the north, south and east gates. A more comfortable alternative is to take a daily snow coach to the same areas. Again, most go from the West Entrance, but one operator has tours from the south entrance. 

It’s also possible to stay in those two areas, taking a snow coach there and back. Seeing the incredible Yellowstone Falls mostly frozen is incredibly dramatic. And walking around the geysers and hot springs near Old Faithful all surrounded by the snow is a truly magical experience. 

Weather And Directions

It can start snowing as early as September; however, winter really starts in November when most of the roads close to cars. The main winter season is in full flight from mid-December to mid-March, though it snows well into April and even May. 

The average winter temperatures/monthly snowfalls are:  

December: Average temperature 26°F. Average snowfall 18.55 inches  

January: Average temperature 27°F. Average snowfall 20.05 inches  

February: Average temperature 31°F.  Average snowfall 14.44 inches  

The nearest international airport with easy winter access is Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. If you plan to enter via the north entrance, visit Mammoth Hot Spring, drive the Lamar Valley and possibly take a tour from there. It’s a 1.5-hour drive to Gardiner and the National Park’s North Entrance. 

The main access point for most tours is West Yellowstone. While there is a tiny regional airport there, it’s closed over winter. From Bozeman Airport, it’s a 2-hour and 15-minute drive to West Yellowstone.  

Hotel Recommendation

James says, “There are four options to stay inside Yellowstone National Park, but several others in the gateway towns. For the north entrance, the most comfortable option is the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins. However, for the full winter experience, it’s hard to beat the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins, which you can only reach by snow coach or snowmobile.”

best places to visit in usa for snowy winter wonderlands
Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota (Photo courtesy of Tom from MN Trips)

Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota

By Tom from MN Trips

Winter visitors to the Twin Cities are always warned about Minnesota’s famous cold temperatures and severe wind chills. However, they are rarely handed a list of the amazing things to do in Minneapolis and Saint Paul in the winter. If they did, they would soon discover it is one of the best snowy winter wonderlands to visit in the USA.

There is winter in the Twin Cities, to be sure. So, bring a good coat and boots. If you have any at hand, pack your cross-country skis, ice skates, or snowshoes and dig into the winter fun. If you don’t, you can easily find rental equipment in the city.

It’s not strictly a winter activity, but you may want to start at the beginning, at the Mill City Museum. Here you will learn about how and why Minneapolis was established on the upper reaches of the Mississippi River. In the ruins of one of the old mill buildings, exhibits highlight the early grain milling and shipping history of Minneapolis. Mill City Museum also offers worthwhile views of the river and the old Stone Arch Bridge.

Minneapolis’ Lake of the Isles features a skating rink and warming house. All Minneapolis parks with rinks offer free loaner skates on a first-come, first-served basis. Theodore Wirth Park provides even more winter equipment rentals and groomed trails for cross-country skiing.

If you happen to be in town late January to early February, don’t miss the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival. Tens of thousands of people take to the lakes and parks for cross-country skiing and other events. Ski, walk, bring your dog, pull a sled of hot chocolate and kids, and see ice sculptures, music, and candlelit trails.

Sometimes the best medicine in winter is the sight of greenery and the scent of flowers. In Saint Paul, The Como Park Conservatory is a popular spot to revitalize the winter weary with a variety of indoor gardens, rare floral species, and free concerts.

Weather And Directions

There is usually snow on the ground from November through March, with an average of 4″ of snow each month. The average high temperatures are 27, 22, and 26 degrees (F) in December, January, and February, respectively. The lows? You don’t want to know.

To get to the Twin Cities, it’s easy to fly into Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport (MSP.) From the airport, there are fast light rail connections to both downtowns. There are also the usual ride services, of course.

Hotel Recommendation

Tom says, “In downtown Minneapolis, we like the AC Marriott. If you’re planning on staying in downtown Saint Paul, treat yourself to the iconic Saint Paul Hotel.”

best places to visit in winter for snowy wonderland
Acadia National Park, Maine (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Acadia National Park, Maine

By Emily from Emily Embarks

Winter enthusiasts are often in search of the ultimate winter getaways where heavy blankets of snow cover cities and landscapes as far as the eye can see. This makes it easy to see why crowds of tourists flock to the mountains of New England, particularly Maine’s stunning Mt. Desert Island and the famed Acadia National Park.

If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in the USA for a snowy winter wonderland, look no further. With endless winter activities and nearly guaranteed snow sightings from November through March, Acadia National Park is a winter lover’s dream vacation!

Skiing in Acadia is particularly fun owing to the Park’s isolated location surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The rarity of skiing with views of the ocean is a beautiful thing that guests get to appreciate during their winter visit to Acadia National Park. 

Whether you’re visiting on a family trip from Canada or a romantic couple’s getaway, Acadia National Park is an amazing winter destination to consider.

Weather And Directions

From December through February, visitors are likely to experience snowfall ranging between a few inches per day and upwards of 1-2 feet per major snowstorm. With a mix of sun and clouds and temperatures averaging in the 20s Fahrenheit, this makes for wonderful conditions for sledding, snowball fights, skiing down Cadillac Mountain, and many other fun activities. Just be sure to pack plenty of warm layers!

If you want to partake in the winter fun, consider flying into either the Boston International Airport or the Portland International Jetport. From there, you’ll need to rent a car and drive the remaining distance to Mt. Desert Island (ranges between 3-4.5 hours, respectively).

Hotel Recommendation

Emily says, “Once you arrive, head over to The Inn On Mount Desert and check in before making your way out into the snow! At this inn, you’ll find quintessential coastal charm balanced with sophisticated luxury and warm hospitality.”

best winter wonderland destinations in USA with lots of snow
Leavenworth, Washington (Photo courtesy of Hannah from That Adventurer Blog)

Leavenworth, Washington

By Hannah from That Adventurer Blog

Leavenworth, between Seattle and Spokane in the Cascade mountain range, is one of the best snowy winter wonderlands that’ll make you feel like you’ve hopped on a plane to Germany! The town is a Bavarian village that features alpine-looking buildings complete with wooden balconies and cute window shutters.

Over the holiday season, there’s a great Christmas market. You can also ski, sled, go for snowy hikes and refuel on bratwurst and sauerkraut and beer.

One of the best things to do in Leavenworth during a winter visit is to go to the Leavenworth Christmas market which runs throughout December. There’s carolling, a market with unique gifts and sleigh rides too!

If you’re visiting outside of Christmas, then skiing at Leavenworth is a must-do activity to enjoy the snow. Leavenworth Ski Hill is small with only a couple of runs and two rope tows to get you to the top. However, it’s a fun half-day activity and great for beginner skiers or with children. Plus, the ski area is quiet and you’ll have amazing views of the Cascade mountains surrounding you. For keen skiers, there’s also Mission Ridge and Stevens Pass Mountain Resort all within easy driving distance of Leavenworth.

Weather And Directions

Over winter, the average temperatures in Leavenworth range between 18F – 33F. There will be reliable snow from December to April while some years you can expect snow as early as September and as late as May. It snows between 10-16 days a month on average between December to February with most snow typically falling in January to around 17″ of snow.

The closest international airport is Seattle, just over 2 hours drive. Alternatively, you can take Amtrak 8 which goes from Seattle to Chicago with a stop at Leavenworth.

Hotel Recommendation

Hannah says, “Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort in Leavenworth is a hotel with resort-style facilities including a restaurant, bar and a beautiful garden with incredible mountain views.”

best places to visit in America for snow and winter landscapes
Breckenridge, Colorado (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Breckenridge, Colorado

By Mary from Wander U

Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s most beautiful ski destinations, with the added bonus of a quaint downtown that echoes the town’s mining history. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge is a snowy winter wonderland with no shortage of memorable experiences.

Exploring Breckenridge’s historic Main Street is a must. With quintessential Wild West facades and over 200 shops along the street, you’ll find local treasures and feel transported back in time. After shopping through the many boutiques, relax at a brewery or winery like Breckenridge Distillery.

Of course, the primary appeal of Breckenridge is the Breckenridge Ski Resort! The resort is usually open for skiing between mid-November and mid-May, but the best conditions are between December and April. Ski or snowboard along 187 trails in the resort’s complex, and get your heart racing on the tallest chairlift in North America.

Another snowy activity that is sure to delight the family is good old-fashioned dog sledding! Good Times Adventures is one of the recommended outfitters for a dog sled adventure through the mountains around Breckenridge. 

Weather And Directions

Temperatures usually stay between 20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit in December, January, and February. Snow usually begins in October, and continues through the end of May, totalling an average of 366 inches every year. 

The closest airport to Breckenridge is Eagle/Vail Regional Airport, but this small airport does not have many flights. Most visitors will fly or take a bus to Denver, then drive about 80 miles (90 minutes) from the Denver International Airport to Breckenridge.

Hotel Recommendation

Mary says, “There is no shortage of excellent lodgings in Breckenridge, but you can’t go wrong with One Ski Hill Place. This luxurious ski-in lodge at the base of Peak 8 includes a steam room, screening room, outdoor patio, jacuzzis, and indoor pools. And the mountain views from the rooms are obviously to-die-for!”

best us destinations to visit for outdoor snow activities
Park City, Utah (Photo courtesy of Leigh from Campfires And Concierges)

Park City, Utah

By Leigh from Campfires And Concierges

With an average of 300 to 400 inches of snow each winter, Park City Utah is one of the best places to visit to experience a snowy winter wonderland in the United States. Park City is home to two world-class ski resorts, but even if you don’t ski, there are tons of fun Park City winter activities to explore. Best of all, Park City has relatively mild winter temperatures.

Besides skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding are some of the most popular things to do in winter. There are dozens of snowmobile tours in the area, offering guided two-hour tours of the nearby mountains.

Dog sledding is also a fun activity, especially if you have younger kids who can’t go snowmobiling. Park City is also one of few places where you can ride on an Olympic bobsled track, as the city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

For more active winter endeavors, there is cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Even just a stroll down Main Street is like walking through a fairytale winter wonderland. The former mining town has retained much of its 19th-century charm with colorful wooden buildings filled with unique boutiques and fabulous restaurants. 

Winter activities typically start just before Christmas and the holiday season. While the ski season lasts into April, off-slope activities typically start winding down at the end of March as the snow softens. February is probably the best month to visit, but it’s also very busy around the President’s Day holiday weekend. 

Weather And Directions

It’s usually not much colder than 20F so you can really enjoy the snow without freezing. 

Best of all, Park City is just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, so it’s very easy to get there in the winter. Access from the airport is on a major interstate, so they do a great job of clearing the road after a big snowstorm. In addition, there aren’t any scary mountain roads to drive.

best snowy winter destinations in usa
Anchorage, Alaska (Photo courtesy of Mike from Live Travel Teach)

Anchorage, Alaska

By Mike from Live Travel Teach

Anchorage is far and away the best snowy winter wonderland on American soil.  Alaska has countless winter adventures and stunning scenery. The good news, though, is that you can see and do everything you would ever imagine in a winter wonderland in and around Anchorage! 

Whether you’re looking for snowy landscapes, winter wildlife, the Northern Lights or snow adventures, Anchorage offers it all. In winter, there is clear star-filled night skies with a chance to photograph the Northern Lights!  But, that’s only if you are not exhausted from a day adventuring in the nearby Chugach Mountains. Some of my favorite activities are found in Chugach National Forest where you can hike, fat bike, or ski to Portage, Skookum, and Spencer Glaciers.

Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest are at the fringes of Anchorage and give you access to untold winter wonders. You’ll find frozen waterfalls driving south on the Seward Highway and watch sea ice roll with the tide in the Turnagain Arm. These destinations are full of countless snow filled trails and Anchorage itself has many parks with groomed ski trails too. Don’t forget to support local Alaskan businesses and visit Kincaid and Hillside for free groomed ski trails. In addition, you can rent any missing winter gear from Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking.  

The mountains start getting “termination dust” (the first snowfall on the mountains) as early as September and snow begins to arrive in Anchorage by November. In a light snow year, we have incredible wild ice skating on the lakes and sloughs nearby. Check out Rabbit Slough in the Palmer Hay Flats for world class wild ice skating. Once the snow starts coming, it just stays and builds on itself. Most years you can have a few feet of snow in your backyard and it lasts until March or later. Some years, you can ski in Turnagain Pass in late May and backcountry ski in June.

Weather And Directions

Winter temperatures in Anchorage can range from the mid twenties & thirties to minus teens. It’s not usually negatives but the weather can vary greatly from week to week. We often have temperatures in the single digits and teens. It’s not uncommon to see a -10F late in the middle of the night while out hunting for the Aurora Borealis or with a nasty wind chill. 

Wearing layers is the key to enjoying winter in Alaska. When you’re skiing or hiking on the trails, you’re working up a sweat and happy for the chilly air!

Ted Stevens Airport is a 15 minute drive from just about anywhere in Anchorage and is a great airport.  You can be checking into Alyeska Resort for the best downhill skiing in the world in less than an hour. 

Hotel Recommendation

Mike says, “Spring Hill Suites by Marriot is a great hotel near University Lake Dog Park and central to everything in Anchorage.”

beautiful places to visit in united states for snowy winter wonderlands
Sun Valley, Idaho (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Sun Valley, Idaho

By Candace from CS Ginger

One of the best winter vacations in the United States to experience a snowy winter wonderland is Sun Valley, Idaho. It is a small resort town in the beautiful Idaho mountains. 

The town is mostly known for its ski areas at the Sun Valley Resort – Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. Bald Mountain has more than 3,000 feet of fall line skiing and is one of the best ski experiences in the country. There are great beginner hills as well as challenging runs for more experienced skiers. You can also go backcountry skiing with Sun Valley Heli Ski. The mountains have beautiful views of the Idaho mountains and the Sun Valley Lodge. 

In the winter months, it is also a great place to go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Sun Valley has about 200 kilometers of groomed trails. In addition, there are beautiful mountain views in this area. 

Another fun thing to do is explore the town of Ketchum. There are lots of cute boutiques, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Weather And Directions

The snow in Sun Valley starts falling around the end of October and lasts through the end of April. Through the deep winter months from December through March, the area gets about 5-8 inches of snow per week. During November and April, the area gets about 2-3 inches of snow per week.

The closest international airport is in Salt Lake City. There is a small airport in Ketchum and the nearby Boise airport is another option. Salt Lake City is about 5 hours from Sun Valley and Boise is about 2.5 hours away.

Hotel Recommendation

Candace says, “Along with fun winter sports, the Sun Valley Lodge is a great place to visit. It has a very nice spa with lots of relaxing massage services, a bowling alley, and an arcade. The Lodge is also one of the best places to stay if you wish to be close to the ski hills. In the halls, you can see pictures of the famous celebrities who have visited Sun Valley.”

best snowy winter wonderlands to visit in USA
Boyne Falls, Michigan (Photo courtesy of Pam from Our Adventure Is Everywhere)

Boyne Falls, Michigan

By Pam from Our Adventure Is Everywhere

Boyne Falls, Michigan is a classic snowy winter destination in America. From January to mid-March, the area is covered with several feet of beautiful snow.

Boyne Mountain is the perfect place to start to enjoy your winter adventure. With 60 runs over 415 acres, Boyne Mountain is a great spot to enjoy downhill skiing or snowboarding. The runs range from easy greens to challenging double black diamonds, with a few terrain parks thrown in. There is something for every kind of skier in your group.

Boyne Mountain also boasts snowshoeing (often attached to other fun events such as snowshoeing to dinner). In addition, it offers fat-tire bikes, and even a zip-line course across the mountain. There is also a small ice-skating rink that is free to mountain guests.

Once you tire of the snow sports at Boyne Mountain, head into the village to shop or to nearby Boyne City. Enjoy checking out the shops full of vacation treasures and then, indulge in a delicious meal at a local restaurant. End your shopping adventure with a decadent chocolate treat from the local Kilwin’s store. 

Don’t miss out on one of the best winter destinations in the USA. Between the beautiful winter scenery, the marvelous nearby shopping and dining, and the exciting snow sports available, it’s a winter getaway your family won’t soon forget.

Weather And Directions

With average temperatures in the low thirties from December to early March, snow is a guarantee! The area averages 140 inches each year. Although there might be a light snow or two in November, if enough snow for winter sports is what you desire, mid-January to mid-March is your best time to visit. February and early March are particularly lovely as there are many bluebird ski days. On the other hand, December and January tend to be a bit less sunny. 

Boyne Falls is in Northern Michigan, so the closest airport is Traverse City, Michigan, about an hour and twenty-minute drive.

Hotel Recommendation

Pam says, “The best place to stay is right on-site at Boyne Mountain. The resort has a variety of room types for rent from secluded cabins on the backside of the mountain to hotel rooms within walking distance of the village and slopes.”

best destinations in us for winter wonderlands
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

By Katie & Ben from Go Wander Wild

While Jackson Hole attracts thousands of visitors each summer who come to see Grand Teton National Park, the wintertime is also a wonderful time to visit this Wyoming gem.

Boasting 2,500 acres of terrain and an average of 526 inches of snow each winter, Jackson Hole Mountain resort is a skier’s dream. Spend your days on the slopes and mingle with locals and other travelers during apres-ski happy hour. 

For those who aren’t into skiing and snowboarding, there are lots of other winter activities in the Jackson Hole area as well as ways to stay cozy during the cold months.

If you’re looking for a winter adventure, strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and hit the trails. Taggart Lake is one of the best hikes in Grand Tetons during the summertime, and come winter, it makes an excellent snowshoe adventure. If you don’t have your own snowshoes, there are several outdoor shops in town that have rentals.

In addition to snowshoeing, there are dogsled tours, snowmobiling, tubing, and sleigh rides, all of which would be memorable winter activities.

Once you’ve had your fill of outdoor fun, there’s plenty to do indoors. Wander one of the town’s 25 art galleries, book a spa treatment, or splurge on an unforgettable meal. 

Weather And Directions

The temperatures hover around freezing during the winter months, so be sure to dress in lots of warm layers if you’re spending the day outside.

Jackson Hole Airport is the most convenient airport. Another option is to fly into Bozeman, Montana, then rent a car and make the 4-hour drive. Compare both options to find the best deal to one of the most beautiful places in the USA.

Hotel Recommendation

Katie & Ben say, “There are plenty of cozy places to stay in Jackson Hole. If you’re planning to ski, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will make the perfect base for your winter trip.”

Durango, Colorado

By Kate from Where In Wellington

Durango is a super cute Old West style town in the Colorado mountains, close to the Purgatory mountain ski trails. Despite the ominous name, this resort is one of the best off-the-beaten track ski destinations in America. And with over 100 trails, you won’t get bored. There are also Hesperus Ski Area, and Chapman Hill ski resorts that are within a half hour drive from Durango. 

As Durango is an old mining town, the railroad is a big part of its heritage. You can experience a piece of that history with a scenic ride on the Historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. While you can’t travel all the way in winter to the mining town of Silverton, the train trip does take you through the spectacular Cascade Canyon and San Juan Forest. 

Weather And Directions

While Durango has plenty of clear and sunny winter days, the temperature does drop, averaging between 10 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall is also common with an annual average of around 71 inches. Snow removal is managed well within the town and does not limit your ability to get around.

The closest international airport to Durango is Albuquerque, New Mexico, just under a 4 hour drive. However, the Denver airport is a larger hub with more international flights. It is in Colorado, albeit a 6-7 hour drive to Durango.

Hotel Recommendation

Kate says, “In terms of accommodation, the hotel with the most Old West Colorado spirit is the Strater Hotel which is right on Durango’s main street. It’s in a beautiful heritage building and super convenient to all the restaurants and shops.”

best winter getaway for snowy landscapes in America
Salt Lake City, Utah (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Salt Lake City, Utah

By Catherine from Nomadicated

Winter in Salt Lake City brings brisk temperatures and heavily coated snowy peaks that dazzle this Utah capital. It is home to multiple world-renowned ski resorts and plenty of outdoor sightseeing and city fun. Salt Lake City is a great home base to explore one of the best snowy winter wonderlands in the USA.

Park City, Snowbird, Brighton, Alta, Solitude, Snowbasin, and the list of famous ski resorts doesn’t end there. Hit all the slopes as most of them are within an hour’s drive from downtown. Non-skiers can also partake in winter activities such as outdoor ice skating, snowshoeing, or snow tubing. 

Aside from a chilly night hike to see the best view of Salt Lake City at Ensign Peak, you shouldn’t miss Fifth Water Hot Springs near Spanish Fork. There’s nothing like a 3.5 miles’ one-way hike slipping on ice and snow to be awarded cascading blue and emerald pools inviting you in for a heart-warming dip. 

Weather And Directions

Expect winters in Salt Lake City to bring cold temperatures and snowy conditions. The average highs for the winter months hover around 40F degrees and lows bottoming out at 25F degrees. Average snowfall is 3 inches in each of December, January and February, more in the mountains. There is little to no snowfall in November or March. Heavy blizzards do hit this southwestern capital multiple times every winter. Daily weather can rapidly change, so it is best to prepare for any forecast turns. 

Whether you’re planning a southwest USA road trip or flying, Salt Lake City’s roads are easy to navigate with its numbered grid system. The best airport is Salt Lake City International Airport, only a 10 minute drive from the heart of downtown. 

Hotel Recommendation

Catherine says, “If you aim to make the most of your ski day, choose a hotel near the resort to best optimize your time. However, if you would instead like to sample the culture of Salt Lake City, book a stay at Salt Lake Plaza Hotel.”

best winter wonderlands to visit in the united states
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada (Photo courtesy of Priya from Glorious Sunrise)

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

By Priya from Glorious Sunrise

Lake Tahoe is a charming lake straddling the border between the states of California and Nevada. This spot is equally lovely in the summers months as well as wintertime. If you visit Lake Tahoe in summer, you can enjoy the many beaches with its crystal clear blue waters.

However, Lake Tahoe has so many cool things to do in winter like snowmobiling, sledding, skiing, and ice skating. Emerald Bay is the best place to catch amazing views of the snowy surroundings. Next, make a stop near Taylor Creek Visitor Center. The whole area surrounding it is a wonderful place to build your snowman and have snowball fights. If you like to explore a bit on foot, don’t forget to hike over to Lower Eagle Falls.

The most fun thing to do at Lake Tahoe apart from snow play is riding the Heavenly Gondola. The Gondola ride takes you over a frozen Lake Tahoe. Below, you can see the pine forest covered in snow and brave skiers sliding down the hills. The views are amazing.

Weather And Directions

Everything is just magical at Lake Tahoe in the winter months. The average temperature from December to February has highs around 45 degree Fahrenheit and lows about 20 degree Fahrenheit. The sky is mostly cloudy and snowfall is expected about half the time. On average, 70 inches of snow is common from December to February. Usually, snow starts to fall in mid November and lasts till early April.

Reno-Tahoe Airport is the closest international airport to Lake Tahoe. It takes about an hour to drive to Lake Tahoe.

Hotel Recommendation

Priya says, “There are many hotel options in Lake Tahoe. Marriott Grand Residence Club is a great place to stay.”

best winter destinations with snow in usa
Whitefish, Montana (Photo courtesy of Taryn from Chasing Trail)

Whitefish, Montana

By Taryn from Chasing Trail

People generally associate northwest Montana with hiking through Glacier National Park in the summer or being an unforgiving frozen tundra. However, there is, in fact, a middle ground. Less than 30 miles from the Park entrance, the small but mighty town of Whitefish offers year-round recreation. It is particularly spectacular in the winter. 

Skiing and snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort are popular activities, and there’s even a free shuttle that runs from downtown up the mountain. If you’d prefer to explore around town, several hiking trails run just outside of and through Whitefish and can be explored with snowshoes, cross-country skis, or on a fat tire bike. 

When you want a break from spending time outdoors, Whitefish has a surprisingly vibrant downtown for such a small town. There are several local breweries and distilleries. Create your own tour and hop around to a few (Bonsai Brewing Project and Spotted Bear Spirits are standouts).

Whitefish’s restaurant and shopping scenes are also impressive. You can easily spend several hours strolling Main Street. You can pop in and out of shops and stop for a cocktail, coffee, or quick bite when the mood strikes. Best of all, downtown is framed by the mountains in the most picture-perfect setting!

Weather And Directions

If you’re planning to visit Whitefish in the winter, daily average temperatures hover in the 30s and often dip into the teens at night, with the occasional single digit. It snows regularly from October through May, with the snowiest months being December and January. Each of those months will get about seven inches on average. The mountains get substantially more at higher elevations.

You’ll want to fly into Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, just 15 minutes from downtown, and you’ll definitely want to rent a car to explore. 

Hotel Recommendation

Taryn says, “You won’t find many chain hotels here. The town has a number of resorts, independent boutique hotels, and more unique accommodations such as Montana glamping resorts. These all highlight the area’s spectacular scenery. They allow you to really immerse yourself in the uniqueness of northwest Montana.”

best winter destinations for snow in usa
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington (Photo courtesy of Jessica from Uprooted Traveler)

Mount Rainier, Washington

By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Mount Rainier National Park, in Washington state, is one of the snowiest places in the United States, come winter- in fact, on average, parts of the park can receive 53 feet of snowfall per year!

There’s plenty of ways to enjoy the snow on the tallest mountain in the Cascades. For example, take any of the myriad of snowshoeing trails that you can use to explore Rainier’s pine tree covered wonderland. Try your hand at snowshoeing parts of the Skyline Trail, one of the most famous hikes in the National Park. You can get up close and personal with Mount Rainier and drink in the fantastic vistas of the surrounding mountain peaks.

Next to this trailhead, you’ll find the park’s only “snowplay” area, where kids (and kids at heart!) can zoom down the hill in a sled or inner tube. Alternatively, you can plan a backcountry retreat, like making the 4.4 mile cross-country skiing trek to the Copper Creek Hut. There you can cozy up to a wood-burning fireplace and enjoy the spectacular alpine views.

Weather And Directions

Given its soaring elevation, Rainier tends to get pretty chilly throughout the winter months, with cloudy skies and highs in the mid-20s and lows hovering just above 10 degrees. And with such frosty weather, snow stays in the park for quite a long time, usually blanketing its peaks and valleys from mid-October all the way through June.

To get to Mount Rainier, you’ll need to fly into Seattle Tacoma International Airport and drive southeast approximately two hours and 15 minutes. 

Hotel Recommendation

Jessica says, “Once you’ve made it to the National Park, consider making the Paradise Village Hotel, in the nearby town of Ashford, your home base. For maximum hygge vibes, the hotel offers a wood-burning hot tub to soak your aching muscles after all that playing in the snow!”

best us destinations with snowy winter wonderlands
Burlington, Vermont (Photo courtesy of Karen from Outdoor Adventure Sampler)

Burlington, Vermont

By Karen from Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Burlington, Vermont is a fabulous US destination for winter wonderland adventures. The progressive city is located in northwest Vermont with a beautiful lakefront on Lake Champlain. In the winter, the views across the lake to the snow-covered Adirondacks are stunning. Plus, there is nothing like watching a Burlington sunset over the lake as the sky turns riotous with color.

There are many winter outdoor activities to enjoy. The Intervale, a vast network of farm fields in the city, is groomed for cross country skiing in the winter. The ski trails are flat so it’s perfect for beginners. More experienced Nordic skiers will enjoy the mixed ability terrain at nearby Catamount Outdoor Family Center or Sleepy Hollow Ski Center. Snowshoeing and winter fat biking are also popular at these centers.

Downhill skiers can hit the slopes at either Bolton Valley or Stowe ski resorts. Both offer gorgeous, snowy trails that everyone in the family can enjoy. Or you can ski at Cochran’s, the mom-and-pop ski hill that has been the training slope for past and present Olympians.

After a full day outside in the snow, stop by Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory for the best traditionally made hot chocolate you will ever taste. You can also wander along the pedestrian mall at Church Street for cute shops and delicious restaurants.

Weather And Directions

Bundle up as temperatures in Burlington in the winter hover just below freezing. The wind off the lake will make it feel even colder. Snow begins to fall in November and will even continue into early April. However, the vast majority of snowfall occurs in December, January, February and March. Expect around 8″ per month on average during these winter months. Of course, there will be much more in the alpine.

You can fly into Burlington International airport and be downtown in 5 minutes by cab.

Hotel Recommendation

Karen says, “Pick accommodation with a view of the lake and you will be able to walk everywhere in Burlington. The Hilton Garden Inn is a great choice.”

best snow filled winter destinations in america
Fairbanks, Alaska (Photo courtesy of Paula Pins The Planet)

Fairbanks, Alaska

By Paula Pins The Planet

It is impossible think about a snowy winter wonderland in the United States without thinking about Alaska, in particular Fairbanks. 

Fairbanks has amazing things to do. It is a popular destination for the vast forests, wilderness, and abundant snowfall. But one of the highlights in Fairbanks and the reason why there are many visits at this time of the year is to chase the amazing Northern lights. Fairbanks is one of the best places on the planet to see the aurora borealis. This is because of the low precipitation, the distance from the coast, and minimal manmade light from the low population density.  

While the temperature during winter frequently falls well below zero, and the days are short, it is during wintertime that you can also find many other ways to spend your days. From stopping into an ice museum to visiting the hot springs, skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, or learning how to ice fish with the locals, they are all available for your winter holidays.  

If you love the outdoors and adventure, you should also add snowmobiling to your bucket list. If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry because your guides will practice and provide all the instructions.

Weather And Directions

Winters are cold and dry with temperatures dipping well below freezing at night and daytime highs in the 20s. It’s not unusual to go from 25 degrees to minus 25 degrees in the same day. December, January and February are the coldest months, with November and December seeing the highest snowfall totals. 

The best way to get to Fairbanks is to fly to the Fairbanks International Airport.

Hotel Recommendation

Paula says, “The best place to stay is Chena Hot Springs Resort. Because of its location, this is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights and accumulation of snow.”

best spots for snowy winter experiences in usa
Mount Hood, Oregon (Photo courtesy of Val from Voyages With Val)

Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

By Val from Voyages With Val

If you are looking for a winter wonderland in the Pacific Northwest, Mount Hood National Forest is one of the best places around! The area has plenty of winter activities and snowy mountain views. 

Mount Hood is a great place to experience winter. There is skiing and snowparks across the mountain. The three ski resorts include Mount Hood Skibowl, Timberline Lodge, and Mount Hood Meadows. If you would rather snowshoe than ski, there are several great snowshoe trails in the area. Snowshoeing to Tamanawas Falls is one of the best winter trails that will lead you to a beautiful winter waterfall. 

Weather And Directions

Mount Hood usually starts to receive snow in late November or early December. According to the Timberline Lodge, the area averages 60 inches of snow depth in December, 74 inches in January, 117 inches in February, and 145 inches in March. The snow may even continue into April depending on the year.

In the winter, the temperature can be expected to range from the high 10s up to the low 30s (degrees Fahrenheit) with mostly cloudy days.

The Portland International Airport is the nearest airport with only a 1 to 2-hour drive to the mountain, depending on the area you are visiting. The snow may make this drive take slightly longer. In addition, you are required to carry snow chains or traction tires in the winter. 

Hotel Recommendation

Val says, “Easily the best place to stay on Mount Hood is the Timberline Lodge. It is a historic, near century-old, lodge with sweeping views of Mount Hood and the surrounding mountains. If you can’t stay at the lodge, there are several other hotels nearby in Government Camp.”

perfect place to visit for winter wonderland in usa
Steamboat Springs, Colorado (Photo courtesy of Dan from Honeymoon Always)

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

By Dan from Honeymoon Always

Steamboat Springs is a destination perfect for someone looking for a snowy wonderland. Located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, this winter resort town gets an average of over 200 inches of snowfall per year. From November to April, there is snow on the ground attracting winter sports enthusiasts seeking the signature “Champagne Powder”.

With over 3,000 acres of ski terrain, Steamboat Springs is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders alike. The resort town also offers a variety of other winter activities such as dog sledding, ice skating, and snowmobiling.

If you are a beginner, the Howelsen Hill Ski Area is one of the most affordable places you could learn to ski, while the Steamboat Resort offers a wider variety of slopes for any experience level.

And for the sore muscles after all the fun outdoor activities, there are 2 hot springs in the area to help you relax and recover. It is also hard to go far without finding a hot tub whether you are staying at one of the hotels or vacation rentals.

Weather And Directions

In the winter in Steamboat Springs, you can expect temperatures of 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, dipping into the single digits at night. However, the town experiences over 300 sunny days per year so don’t forget your sunscreen!

To arrive in Steamboat Springs, the closest airport is located in Hayden, Colorado which is about 40 minutes away by car. If you need an international airport, Denver International Airport is about a 3 hours drive away.

Hotel Recommendation

Dan says, “For a truly unique experience in a winter wonderland, consider a stay at Vista Verde Ranch. The all-inclusive guest ranch is the perfect place to explore the backcountry on horseback or cross country skis. You can also snowshoe, go ice fishing or simply relax. All meals are included and range from comfort food to three-course meals.

If you are looking in town, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas is a great option. The resort offers ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes, as well as an outdoor heated pool and hot tub.”

best snowy places in usa
Door County, Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)

Door County, Wisconsin

By Paulina from Paulina On The Road

Door County, located on the Door Peninsula, is the easternmost county in Wisconsin. It is usually known for its cherry blossoms, natural beauty and romantic environment. However, Door County is a fantastic winter getaway too!

If you are looking for a laid-back or adventurous winter vacation, the peninsula makes for a great choice. Door County is for everyone, offering different experiences, but all of them include scenic views and snowy landscapes if you visit during wintertime. 

If your main purpose for visiting Door County is to enjoy the snow, cross country skiing is what you should try before anything else. The county has approximately 50 miles of trails in its state parks. Enjoy stunning views while cross country skiing through one of the trails.

After that, visit a tasting room to taste the local beer, cider and wine. There are a number of local breweries like Starboard Brewing Company. The local wineries and vineyards are worth visiting because you get to see the growth of local wines in the wine region of the USA. Shop through the region’s wonderful stores and from some of the most popular and cosy shopping centres like Liberty Square.

Weather And Directions

The average temperatures in Door County in winter vary from 36°F to 28°F. The sky is mostly cloudy and it experiences an average of 48 inches of snow/year. Some of it falls in November and April, but most of the snow arrives from December through March.

You can fly to Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay and then drive for one hour to Sturgeon Bay to reach Door County.

Hotel Recommendation

Paulina says, “For a nice stay, you can choose cabins in Door County or hotels like Snug Harbor Inn.”

Last Word

There are many amazing places to visit in the United States to experience and enjoy a snowy winter wonderland. Most take you up or near mountains where the choice of winter activities include downhill skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Others lead you to beautiful towns or cities where you can ice skate, snowmobile, dog sledding or sometimes even hunt for the Northern Lights. All of them guarantee beautiful views and a warm fire by which to relax after a busy day outside.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.