From Sun and Sand to Springs and Spa: The U.S.’s Top Winter Destinations

If your idea of a dream winter vacation conjures up images of warming up by a roaring fire, with a backdrop of snowflakes falling across a postcard-perfect picture of pristine, white snow, these U.S. destinations are practically guaranteed to make your dream come true.

 

Watch the stunning landscapes go by on the Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad operates throughout the year, connecting Fairbanks and Anchorage. Pass by ivy-covered landscapes, taking in the stunning views of wild moose and sapphire blue skies, all from the comfort of the Aurora Winter Train. Stay overnight in Fairbanks as you sleep under the aurora borealis’ glow or feel your adrenaline kicking in with seemingly endless activities at your disposal, such as dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and ice climbing.

Highlight: Fairbanks’ Aurora Ice Museum is the largest all-year-round ice environment in the world, created from over a thousand tons of snow. Wear one of the museum’s complimentary parkas and make your way over to the bar for an appletini.

 

Allow Yellowstone’s winter wildlife to take your breath away

Pay a visit to Yellowstone National Park’s dramatic landscapes, plunging canyons, and steaming geysers. The winter valleys are home to wandering coyotes, bison, and elk, easily seen in the wintry scene. Explore Yellowstone’s iconic vistas and learn about how the grey wolf was reintroduced into the park.

Highlight: Among Yellowstone’s finest sites is Old Faithful. The must-visit geyser is a particularly special place for photographers. Whether you’re a professional or just a man (or woman) with a camera, treat your lens to a frost-coated bison, colorful mineral pools, and dense evergreens. If you don’t already own a camera, you will want to look at investing in one that specializes in landscape photography.

 

Gaze in wonder at the San Antonio light show

Christmas Lights in San Antonio
Christmas Lights in San Antonio” (CC BY 2.0) by L. Allen Brewer

From November each year, the San Antonio River Walk is illuminated by millions of lights. Riverboats carry an eclectic combination of folk groups and bell choirs, and Latino ensembles fill the air with Christmas carols throughout the evening.

Highlight: When you aren’t shopping along the cypress-lined River Walk or enjoying the cosy cafes, take in the local colonial heritage found in the San Antonio Missions, the state’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

Discover Arizona’s Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation extends 27,000 long square miles into New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, where the Anasazi people’s legacy is echoed throughout museums, national monuments, and tribal parks. Visit the Navajo National monument’s majestic canyons, where you will see prehistoric sandstone villages carved into the alcoves, with their rock art decoration. Take your journey southeast to one of the U.S.’s largest archaeological preserves.

Highlight: Tuba City’s Navajo Interactive Museum was developed with the assistance of esteemed Navajo artists and scholars. It tells the story of the Navajo people, including ancient times and WW11.

 

A Quick Holiday Tip…

Should you feel inclined to get cozy and stay in your accommodation for the evening, you would be thankful for taking your laptop with you on your journey. It could be useful in many ways, such as catching up with friends online, watching your favourite shows on Netflix, or simply staying in touch with what’s going on in the world.

For those who prefer more interactive fun with their portable friend, there are plenty of online games to enjoy. Addicting Games features numerous fun titles in categories that include puzzles and shoot ‘em ups. You could even combine game playing with a flutter at an online casino if you really want some fun, such as at bitcasino.io, which has more than 1,300 games and offers a m฿ 1,000 welcome package to newcomers.

Not that you want to get overly attached to your laptop, of course. There’s plenty more to see…

 

Take America’s most scenic road trip along the Oregon coast


Source: Pixabay

Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, the 363-mile coastline comes with spectacular winter storms, craggy headlands, towering waves, and moody landscapes. There are plenty of stops along the way that begin at Astoria and end at Brookings, enabling you to take in 79 state parks, watch jellyfish dance at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, visit sea lions at Shore Acres State Park, and explore coastal communities.

Highlight: Ecola State Park provides stunning views of crashing waves, sweeping shorelines, and coastal mountains. Indian beach, which belongs to the park, will be recognizable to movie fans, after doubling up as Push beach from Twilight.

 

Marvel at the Whales on Hawaii’s Island Paradise

Whales migrate to the islands of Hawaii from May to December, where they breed and look after their young in the shallow, warm waters. Get away from the cold weather and take in the sun on a winter getaway in the January to March peak season. The Luau Channel, which is located between Molokai, Lanai, and West Maui, is among the world’s finest viewing spots. Maui is an excellent destination for whale watching but cruises are also available at most of the state’s harbours.

Highlight: When not sailing the crystal waters of Hawaii, pay a visit to Haleakalā National Park. You’ll drive up a twisting road that takes you to the 10,023-foot summit, where the Haleakalā Crater will give you goosebumps and take your breath away, all at once.

You’ll need to be beach-ready for this one. Make sure to grab some beachwear and sunning accessories to take advantage of some of the glorious beaches along the way.

 

Relax in the natural hot springs of New Mexico

Hot springs travertine mound (Holocene, ~7 ka; Soda Dam, Jemez River, eastern side of Rt. 4, southwest of the Valles Caldera, north of San Ysidro, northern New Mexico, USA) 1
Hot springs travertine mound (Holocene,” (CC BY 2.0) by James St. John

With over 300 days of sun a year, 17 monuments and national parks, and 5 national forests, New Mexico is a paradise for the outdoor adventurer. When you’ve indulged in your favourite activity, you can relax your muscles in geothermal mineral springs. Alternatively, you can enjoy the Native American-influenced spa treatments. If you’re willing to travel further out, 50 miles from Santa Fe to be precise, you can soak yourself silly at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, with a stunning backdrop of river valleys, desert mesas, and seemingly endless trails.

Highlight: just 45 minutes away is the National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taos Pueblo. The settlement has been inhabited for over a thousand years.

Some travellers can’t wait to escape the winter cold, while others are enchanted by the season’s snowfall. Whichever locale best suits your winter preferences, there’s bound to be something from the above selection to make your winter a pleasant one.

1 Comment

  1. Oregon is very beautiful! We’ve taken a few trips over and it’s beaches are just as nice as California’s in my opinion.

    Reply

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