Cold weather is finally here and everyone is looking for the best snowy places to visit for winter vacation. You won’t find a winter wonderland here in Miami where we live, but you are sure to find the best place to embrace the winter on this list. (If you are wanting to escape the cold this season you can find the best warm places to visit in winter here).
Best Snowy Places to Visit For Winter Vacation in the USA
Colorado is one of the best destinations for a snowy winter vacation. You can spend time in the snowy mountains or the bustling downtown area. There is so much to do including shopping, site-seeing, skiing, and snow tubing. You can take the train or drive up to the ski resorts to hit the slopes. During our winter weekend in Denver we visited Winter Park Resort and had a blast doing indoor and outdoor winter activities. In 2019 we decided to gift our daughter ski lessons at Keystone Ski Resort for her 3rd birthday.
Keystone is one of the best family-friendly ski resorts in Denver and we were so happy we stayed there. Besides skiing in Denver, you can visit the Botanic Gardens, Denver Zoo, and the Museum of Nature & Science. You can find a list of things to do besides skiing in Denver here. The best months to visit Denver, Colorado are January to early March when the winter weather is at its peak.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
On our 5th annual mother-daughter trip, my eldest daughter and I visited Wisconsin Dells. We never ran out of things to do here as the activities were seemingly endless. Check out our 3 day itinerary to discover fun things to do in Wisconsin Dells in winter. Our first day there we spent most of our day on Cascade Mountain. From snowboarding to snowball fights we had a great time. We also got to do indoor activities including Kalahari Resort Indoor Water Park & Tom Foolery’s Indoor Amusement Park. There is so much to do in Wisconsin Dells for kids to enjoy.
When we got the opportunity to visit Juneau, Alaska with Royal Caribbean we jumped at the chance and are so glad we did. It is one of the most breathtaking places we’ve visited so far. We took a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier, and we’re lucky enough to explore an ice cave. Peak winter months in Alaska are November through March, and though we visited during the summer we still needed snow boots for some of our activities. We spent 11 days in Alaska and if you’re looking for the best things to do in Juneau you can find them here.
Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in California and is a snowy wonderland between December and March. It has some of the best views, hiking trails, and family vacation opportunities in the country. Located in central California, Yosemite National Park was established in 1890 and draws four million annual visitors. Yosemite offers plenty of activities and sightseeing spots like the 7 mile wide canyon with incredible rock formations, Yosemite Falls, and the world’s most massive tree species, the Giant Sequoia. Our family loves exploring National Parks and both of our daughters have their Junior Ranger badges. We recently visited Joshua Tree National Park, also located in California (read about our trip here), and hope to one day visit Yosemite as well.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon’s winter temperatures can be as low as -26°F and makes it one of the best snowy places to visit for winter vacation if you’re really looking to embrace the cold. We’ve visited Bryce Canyon twice now, first on our Southwest road trip the week of Thanksgiving in 2019 and on our 8 day Southern Utah road trip the summer of 2021, and enjoyed exploring the landscape and trekking through the canyon. Bryce Canyon is arguably even more beautiful during the winter season with its snow-covered mountain tops. It is a great place to go winter backpacking and even snowshoeing.
Best Snowy Places to Visit for Winter Vacation Outside of the USA
Quebec City, Canada
There are so many family-friendly fun things to do in Quebec City during the winter which makes it one of the best places to visit for winter break with kids. The city is covered in snow with the coldest months of the year being December through February, making it quite the winter wonderland. Quebec City has so many holiday events happening throughout the city including the Quebec Winter Carnival and German Christmas Market. In winter, Old Québec is like a fairyland Christmas village of lights, decorations, snow, and enchanting European architecture. Spend the day snow tubing at a resort like Village Vacances Valcartier, zipping down the old-fashioned toboggan run at Dufferin Terrace, or flying down the 7.5 km luge course at Massif de Charlevoix.
Alberta, Canada is another family-friendly winter destination you’ll love. Winter here is bright and sunny with temperatures as high as 25°F and as low as 9°F. Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park and one of the most popular destinations in Alberta. This park is a great place to get a beautiful view of the snowy Rocky Mountains. You can enjoy plenty of fun winter sports here including skiing, snow tubing, and dog sledding. My dad, daughters, and I got the opportunity to visit Alberta, Canada and do so many fun things. If you’d like to see us go dog sledding, a tour of our hotel room, and so much more, check out our vlog here!
Not only is it one of the most popular winter vacation spots in the world, Zermatt, Switzerland is famous for its winter sports. At an elevation of 1,620 meters it is located at the base of one of Switzerland’s highest peaks. Zermatt is a skier’s dream destination, but this town has a lot of fun winter activities for non-skiers as well. The town has a variety of restaurants, shops, and museums. Though it is not the most affordable place to visit, Zermatt is a magical place and is absolutely beautiful in winter. You can guarantee snowfall here throughout the winter season which also contributes to its popularity.
The beautiful historical old town of Graz is a great destination for winter vacation if you’re looking to spend more time in the city. Though Graz is a small town, it has a big city feel. During winter there are twinkling lights strung along the streets and musicians and street performers are out to entertain visitors. You can find ice skating rinks and holiday festivities throughout the town.
There are also great restaurants to try local and authentic Stryian cuisine. Graz, Austria has awe-inspiring architecture and views. During my visit to Graz, I went up to the Schlossberg Clock Tower and got to see the beautiful landscape of the town and surrounding areas. I can only imagine how magical it looks covered in snow. I also got to visit the Murinsel, an artificial island made of steel, built in 2003. For more on my visit to Graz check out this post here.
Dolomites is said to be one of Italy’s hidden gems and its stark white snowy mountain peaks are truly a sight to see. Visit the Lago di Braies, the most famous lake in the Dolomites that freezes over between December and March. Though it’s frozen, the lake is still beautiful. You can hike near and around the glistening, icy lake to get a better view. You can also go on a cross-country skiing adventure while you take in all the beauty the Dolomites has to offer in winter.
Winter in Hokkaido is quite literally a winter wonderland as every inch of the city and countryside are covered in snow. You will definitely be needing your warmest coat when you visit. You can visit the national parks here including Shiretoko and Shikotsu-Toya National Parks where thousands of people visit every year. After a day of skiing, stop to relax at an onsen, also known as hot springs, a spring of naturally hot water heated by volcanic activity that is safe to be in. The best time to visit for winter in Hokkaido, Japan is January to early February. During this time there are also plenty of winter festivals being held.
If you have ever wanted to see the northern lights Lapland, Finland is the place to visit. Though there are many natural factors that determine if the northern lights will show up on a given night, Lapland is one of the best areas in Europe to spot them. Experience a real arctic adventure in Lapland by going on a sledding safari with reindeers or huskies, and trailing through the snowy forest on a snowmobile. There is so much to see in this breathtaking winter wonderland.
Any of these places make perfect winter vacation spots. Hopefully this list was helpful and made it easier to find the best snowy places to visit for winter vacation. If you found this article helpful please share it!