Don’t let winter’s chilly grasp keep you from exploring! With so many U.S. cities at their prettiest under a fresh blanket of snow and enchanting festivals taking place all season long, we’ve highlighted the best winter vacations to satisfy your wanderlust.
Top Winter Vacation Ideas Across America
While everyone else is fleeing frosty temperatures in search of warmer weather, we’re highlighting seven of the most magical winter getaways right here in America. Each place features a one-of-a-kind winter festival and countless attractions, heartwarming for all. Whether you prefer slopeside entertainment or exhilarating outdoor adventures in the snow, our list covers it all.
When you’re visiting one of these idyllic winter escapes, book a vacation home on FlipKeyto enjoy all of the comforts of home, plus extras like luxurious hot tubs, gear rooms, and more. From cabin hideaways tucked away in the mountains to modern apartments in the center of the city, FlipKey has more than 300,000 rentals to choose from for the perfect stay.
Check out our best winter vacations and start planning your trip!
Saint Paul, Minnesota | Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Searching for winter vacation ideas that will please the entire family? Then consider Saint Paul! With its vibrant energy, cosmopolitan culture, and kid-friendly Winter Carnival, it’s the perfect winter escape. The Winter Carnival runs for two weeks each season and features more than four dozen events and attractions. From outdoor ice skating to sledding down the hills of Saint Paul, this is one of those rare winter getaways that will keep everyone amused. Book an apartment downtown and enjoy all of the festivities at your fingertips.
Festival Details: Saint Paul Winter Carnival
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Breckenridge, Colorado | International Snow Sculpture Championship
Not only is Breckenridge considered one of the best winter vacations in America for its world-class skiing, this down-to-earth city is also home to the enchanting International Snow Sculpture Championship. Visit in January for the event, and fill your days strolling around watching as snow sculpture artists transform colossal blocks of ice into incredible masterpieces. In the evening, strip off your layers and soak in the hot tub, taking in views of the surrounding Rockies from your mountain hideaway. Breckenridge is also a great home base if you’re looking to explore Colorado’s surrounding mountain towns—both Denver and Vail are just a short car ride away.
Festival Details: International Snow Sculpture Championship
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Anchorage, Alaska | Fur Rondy
No matter how cozy you are in your Anchorage rental, you can’t miss the Fur Rendezvous (Fur Rondy to the locals), the ultimate celebration of winter in Alaska. The decades-old tradition features events like snowshoe softball, the running of the reindeer, and the legendary World Championship Sled Dog Race. Whether you participate in all 10 days of Fur Rondy merriment or take some time to explore the Last Frontier’s natural beauty, your winter getaway in Anchorage is sure to bring endless adventure.
Festival Details: Fur Rondy
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Saranac Lake, New York | Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Although the streets of Saranac Lake might be covered in snow, don’t let that keep you indoors! The town’s annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival takes place every February and is the ideal way to embrace this magical time of year. It’s the oldest of its kind in the eastern U.S. (it began in the 1800s) and features daily events, unique competitions, and a massive ice palace made from chunks of ice from the lake. Warm yourself up between events at home in a charming waterfront cottage.
Festival Details: Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
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Sun Valley, Idaho | Winter Wonderland
Sun Valley comes alive every winter when fresh snow carpets the ground and avid skiers and snowboarders flock to this vibrant resort town. Shred some powder on the slopes, soothe sore muscles at the spa, or sit by a roaring fire at home in your Sun Valley chalet. What else makes Sun Valley one of the best winter vacations in America? Its annual Winter Wonderland festival celebrates the magic of the holiday season for nearly a month straight! From caroling to shopping at open-air markets, this charming event is a can’t-miss in December.
Festival Details: Winter Wonderland
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Tahoe City, California | North Lake Tahoe Snowfest
Winter days in Tahoe City are defined by ski runs at Squaw Valley, snowshoeing in the Lake Tahoe basin, and, if you visit in March, attending North Lake Tahoe Snowfest. The boisterous 10-day festival boasts events like beach parades and polar bear swims with fun for all ages, both on and off the mountain. Away from the festivities, take advantage of the area’s epic snowfall at nearby resorts, such as Alpine Meadows and Heavenly Mountain. Admire the surrounding majestic scenery during a sledding adventure or experience the area’s glitzy nightlife at a nearby casino—there’s no shortage of winter fun in Tahoe City.
Festival Details: North Lake Tahoe Snowfest
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Baltimore, Maryland | MSP Polar Bear Plunge
Often overlooked as one of the best winter vacations, Baltimore is just the place for vacationers who want to explore, without the arctic cold of more northern cities. Milder winters allow for scenic walks along the harbor and strolls through Fells Point, the oldest neighborhood in Baltimore. Feeling brave? Take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean during the MSP Polar Bear Plunge—Maryland’s “coolest” tradition. The event benefits Special Olympics Maryland and attracts more than 10,000 courageous plungers each year. Just make sure you have someone on the shore ready to wrap you up in a towel!