Top Travel Destinations for Winter!
Winter is coming, and that means you’re probably starting to think about where you want to be for the season. For some travelers, winter means the start of ski/snowboard season and they’re anxiously anticipating the first snowfall of the season. For others, the thought of cold and snowy weather has them scrambling to find contracts in warm-weather climates. Whether you want to lounge by the pool in 70-degree temperatures or take a snowy walk through the neighborhood and cozy up by the fireplace, we’ve got you covered! Check out our list of the top travel destinations for winter!
Situated next to the Cascade Mountains, Seattle is a premier destination for winter sports enthusiasts. There are several top-rated ski resorts less than two hours from Seattle, including Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, and Snoqualmie Pass, Other regional favorites include Mount Baker, which averages the highest annual snowfall of any ski resort in the world, and Mount Hood in Oregon, which is home to three impressive ski areas. In addition, you’re just five hours away from Whistler Blackcomb, which should be on every skier and snowboarder’s bucket list!
If you’re not into skiing/snowboarding, there are plenty of ways you can still enjoy winter in Seattle. Take a trip to the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, and enjoy the famous Village of Lights festival. Back in Seattle, visit the world-famous Pike Place Market where you can browse the local vendors for unique holiday gifts. Or, head to the new Climate Pledge Arena to see a concert or watch Seattle’s newest professional sports team, the Seattle Kraken! Furthermore, you can enjoy Christmas music at the Seattle Symphony or see The Nutcracker at the Pacific Ballet Company. Of course, no day out in Seattle is complete without a trip to one of the many craft breweries like Elysian Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, or Fremont Brewing.
If the thought of snow and cold temperatures is putting a damper on your spirits, consider a contract in Phoenix, AZ! While most of the country is preparing for rain and snowstorms, Phoenix is entering its optimal weather season. For Phoenix, summer means brutally-hot temperatures and most people don’t venture very far from their A/C units. However, in the winter, Phoenix’s temperatures drop into the 60s and 70s, making for a much more mild climate that is perfect for outdoor activities.
There are countless things to do in the Phoenix area that allow you to take full advantage of the pleasant winter weather. Take a hike at one of several great hiking spots around the city, including Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, and South Mountain Park and Preserve. Both offer sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape and visitors can immerse themselves in the native plants and wildlife of the Arizona desert. You can also take fun day trips to hike in the Superstition Mountains, Tonto National Forest, and Sedona, home to the famous Cathedral Rock and Devil’s Bridge trails. Sedona is also known for its art scene and has several great bars and restaurants to try. If you’re looking for a fun night out, check out the nightlife in Roosevelt Row or head to Old Town Scottsdale for top-rated restaurants like Grimaldi’s
Known as “the outdoor playground of the west,” Bend’s popularity has exploded in recent years as a mecca for both summer and winter recreation. The city is only 20 miles from the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, with over 100 established ski runs and over 4300 acres of terrain to explore! Hoodoo Ski Area is another option close to Bend that is less expensive than Mount Bachelor, and is the only ski area in Central Oregon that offers night skiing! If you’re more interested in cross-country skiing, no problem! There are 56 km of trails at Mount Bachelor ranging from beginner to expert loops that wind through the beautiful scenery of Deschutes National Forest.
There are plenty of non-skiing activities to enjoy as well. Go tubing at Wanoga Sno-Park just outside of Bend on Century Drive. Or, if you want to try snowmobiling, you can take a two or four-hour tour with Central Oregon Adventures, Inc. which also departs from Wanoga-Sno Park. Have you ever dreamed of taking a ride on an actual dog sled pulled by a team of real sled dogs? Well, now you can with the Oregon Trail of Dreams tour. Of course, no visit to Bend is complete without trying at least one of Bend’s highly-regarded craft brewery scene including favorites like Deschutes Brewery, Boneyard Beer, and Crux Fermentation Project.
The Florida Panhandle
If you’re thinking about visiting Florida for the winter, consider a contract in the Florida Panhandle! When people think of visiting Florida, they often think of major cities like Miami and Orlando. While there are certainly perks to visiting these cities, they are also more crowded and have a higher cost of living than other parts of the state. The Florida Panhandle has a mild climate like Southern and Central Florida, with temperatures averaging in the 60s and 70s throughout the winter months. It’s the perfect place to enjoy warm-weather activities without paying an arm and a leg.
Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and is also the most populous city on the panhandle. The city has several major universities including Florida State and Florida A&M and has earned a reputation as one of the best college towns in America! Tailgating is popular during football season and FSU hosts a block party every week before home games. Or, you can head south to visit St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, a 68,000-acre nature preserve that is nationally renowned for bird watching. For some unique entertainment, check out the live music at the Bradfordville Blues Club, an authentic juke joint known for featuring local blues bands. Crestview is another panhandle city that has plenty of amenities to offer visitors. Go hiking, swimming, or kayaking at Blackwater River State Park, or visit the beautiful white-sand beaches at Fort Walton Beach or Miramar Beach.
If you like to play in the snow, look no further than Denver, CO! The Mile High City averages 5 snowy days per month during the winter, and snowfall is more of a given rather than a possibility. However, Denver also averages over 300 sunny days per year, and that means lots of crisp sunny days and beautiful snowy walks around the city. In addition, the city is just 12 miles away from the majestic Rocky Mountains, and you’re just a few hours from some of the best ski resorts America has to offer!
There are dozens of different ski areas to choose from, and it can be overwhelming trying to pick which one you want to visit. Some of the most highly-rated resorts include Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Copper, all less than two hours from downtown Denver! Aspen/Snowmass and Steamboat Springs are also highly-regarded and are within a day trip from Denver. Winter Park, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin are also close to Denver and give skiers and snowboarders a more economical option compared to the other resorts listed. Back in town, you can visit the Christmas Market in Civic Center Park, or enjoy free ice skating at the Downtown Denver Rink in Skyline Park. Don’t forget to cap your day off with a trip to one of Denver’s many craft breweries!