15 Snowy Mountain Towns Perfect For Winter Getaways

Snow-covered mountain towns exude a charm that is unique to the winter season. From breathtaking landscapes to exhilarating outdoor activities, these winter wonderlands offer opportunities for all types of travelers. Whether you're an avid skier or snowboarder, enjoy ice skating, or simply want a relaxing vacation, the best snowy mountain towns across the U.S. have just what you need for the perfect winter getaway. Unlike destinations offering a respite from the cold, these locations exude cozy vibes and embrace their colder temperatures.

Truth be told, there are so many great winter getaways in the U.S. that it's difficult to choose which ones to include on a "best of" list. Our expert research and personal experiences played a factor in our recommendations. We also looked at the average snowfall for each town, the variety of winter activities available, and the proximity to stunning mountain ranges. All of these attributes combined to give you this list of snowy mountain towns perfect for winter getaways. 

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, a small town situated in the Cascade Mountains, is a picturesque Bavarian-inspired village that transforms into a magical winter wonderland during the colder months. The town offers plenty of activities for visitors, such as skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and sleigh rides. In December, the Christmas lighting festival adds to the town's charm and provides an enchanting experience for all. With an average snowfall of 150 inches and temperatures ranging from 15 degrees to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, Leavenworth promises a cozy and authentic winter getaway experience.

The town offers numerous shops, restaurants, and accommodations that cater to all tastes and budgets. Visitors can indulge in hearty Bavarian cuisine or enjoy other international dishes while taking in the stunning alpine scenery. Additionally, there are many outdoor recreational opportunities available in Leavenworth throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for those who love nature and adventure. According to the town's website, Leavenworth is one of the best snowmobile destinations in the world with over 150 miles of trails to explore. 

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park is a charming mountain town located near Rocky Mountain National Park, just 90 miles northwest of Denver. This mountain town offers a plethora of winter activities such as skiing and ice fishing. Visitors can indulge in the cozy atmosphere by staying in cabins or lodges with fireplaces while exploring the dynamic art scene with galleries and live performances. During the winter months, festivals take place from January through March celebrating everything from Indigenous culture to whisky to Sasquatch. 

With an average temperature of around 30 degrees Fahrenheit and an average snowfall of 33 inches per year it will be important to pack warm gear before heading out to enjoy the snowy wonderland of this lovely town. Due to its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking is quite popular in Estes Park. However, if hiking is not your thing, wildlife watching is easy as elk are so plentiful in the area that it is not uncommon to see them wandering through the town.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Another Colorado town that should be at the top of a winter getaway list is Breckenridge. This ski resort town is renowned for its winter activities, but did you know it also boasts an average annual snowfall of 355 inches? These snowy conditions make for some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country. "Breck," a nickname affectionately given to the town by its residents, began as a base camp for gold miners in the 1800s. Its Main Street is now a carefully preserved time capsule of a bygone era visitors can enjoy while taking in the stunning views.

After a day on the slopes, travelers will want to warm up in one of the town's cozy accommodations and enjoy the charm of a quintessential mountain town. Don't miss the chance to see the stunning ice sculptures and hit up the ice-skating rinks while the opportunity is available.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Since the 1930s, the breathtaking surroundings of Sun Valley, Idaho, have made it a winter enthusiast's dream destination. Its website proclaims that it is "America's first destination ski resort" and says that its two mountains provide great trails for kids and beginner skiers. Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain are two of the most famous ski resorts in the world, making it an ideal place for skiing and snowboarding. 

Besides skiing, visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as ice skating, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Along with the vibrant arts and culture scene, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Between the Sun Valley Inn, Sun Valley Lodge, cottages, and townhomes, travelers are sure to find their perfect place whether it's a getaway for two or a family reunion. With an average snowfall of 165 inches and temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Fahrenheit to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, Sun Valley offers an authentic winter experience that will leave you spellbound.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah, is a winter haven with 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and more than 330 trails, making it an ideal destination for skiing enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice skating in a picturesque winter wonderland that boasts an average snowfall of 258 inches. 

The historic downtown area offers excellent shopping and dining options, while accommodation ranges from cozy cabins to luxurious resorts, ensuring a pleasant winter escape. Park City also enjoys making use of the remnants of the Winter Olympic Games that were hosted by the city in 2002. Though the games are no longer in town, Utah Olympic Park is still used for training and developing the next generation of winter sports athletes. With its proximity to Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City is easily accessible for those looking for a quick getaway.

Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon is a picturesque town located in the Cascade Mountains that offers an array of winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Visitors can also indulge in hot springs, local cuisine, and breweries that are sure to provide a memorable experience. With an average snowfall of 33 inches and temperatures ranging from 28 degrees to 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, Bend virtually guarantees an authentic winter wonderland experience. There are plenty of accommodation options available for visitors ranging from cozy cabins to luxurious resorts, ensuring a comfortable and delightful winter getaway.

A visit to Bend is perfect for those looking for a road trip adventure with beautiful views along the way. The stunning scenery coupled with the enjoyable winter activities make it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. For active travelers, Mount Bachelor opens for winter activities in early December and it stays open through late-May. Additionally, Bend is known for its friendly locals who are always willing to help visitors with their needs. 

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming is an idyllic destination close to Grand Teton National Park. This charming town offers a winter wonderland experience like no other with its breathtaking views of the national park, outdoor activities, and sleigh rides. Visitors can engage in winter sports such as skiing, snowmobiling, and ice skating, making it a perfect getaway for those seeking adventure and excitement. In addition to outdoor activities, Jackson also boasts delightful winter activities such as ice sculptures and shopping options. 

If you're curious like we were, the difference between Jackson and Jackson Hole is minute. According to the Visit Jackson Hole website, "Jackson Hole refers to the 42-mile-long valley between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountains." Trappers and other mountain folk referred to the valley between the mountains as the "hole." Within Jackson Hole are the towns Jackson, Teton Village, Kelly, Wilson, Moran, Moose, Hoback Junction, as well as Grand Teton National Park.

Jackson is known for its average snowfall of 398 inches and cold temperatures, making it an ideal destination for those who want to experience a true winter wonderland. Jackson also has an array of high-end restaurants that serve delicious local cuisine. Visitors can relax in one of the cozy lodges or hotels after a long day on the slopes or exploring the town's shops and galleries.

Mammoth Lakes, California

Surrounded by the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains, Mammoth Lakes, California, is an idyllic winter wonderland escape that offers a little bit of everything for winter enthusiasts. This charming mountain town boasts several world-class ski resorts, snow-covered slopes, and captivating lake views that are sure to leave visitors awe-inspired. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can partake in other exciting winter activities such as snowshoeing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. The average snowfall in Mammoth Lakes is around 315 inches per year, and the average winter temperature ranges from roughly 20 degrees to 40 Fahrenheit.

Mammoth Lakes is also home to some of the best dining, shopping, and cultural experiences in the region. From rustic mountain lodges to sophisticated restaurants and bars, there's no shortage of options for foodies and wine lovers. For those who enjoy exploring the local culture, the town offers several museums, art galleries, and cultural events throughout the winter season. If you're looking to unwind and relax, Mammoth Lakes has several world-renowned spas and wellness centers that offer everything from hot stone massages to rejuvenating facials and yoga classes. After a long day on the slopes, there's nothing like soaking in the hot springs or taking a dip in one of the town's many heated pools.

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Tucked into the White Mountains, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire is a picturesque winter getaway famous for its outdoor activities. The town boasts snow-covered landscapes, sleigh rides, and charming winter retreats. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of winter by indulging in outdoor activities like ice skating and snowshoeing. The average annual snowfall sometimes exceeds 80 inches and temperatures range from around 10 degrees to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It is considered one of the "newer" towns in the area after only being officially incorporated in 1962. Sugar Hill can also claim the first resort-based ski school in the U.S. that was established on the slope of a nearby hill in 1929. Besides outdoor adventures, visitors also have access to restaurants offering comfort food and local delicacies that are sure to keep them warm during their stay. Additionally, the town is home to the renowned Sugar Hill Sampler, a specialty shop that offered an array of unique gifts and handmade crafts. Unfortunately, the shop closed in 2018 after its owner passed away. However, a local couple purchased the property in 2021 with the intent to restore the 200-year-old barn to its former glory.

Bozeman, Montana

If you're planning a winter getaway to Bozeman, Montana, you're in for a treat. This stunning town offers an array of activities, from skiing and snowshoeing to ice climbing that cater to all skill levels. With an average snowfall of between 63 and 82 inches and temperatures ranging from approximately 10 degrees to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the brisk air and snowy climate. 

When you're not hitting the slopes, be sure to explore the charming downtown area with its shops, restaurants, and museums. For more winter fun, take a short drive to the nearby ski resort Bridger Bowl or venture a little further to Big Sky Resort. Don't miss the winter experiences like the Bozeman Ice Festival and Bozeman's off-leash dog park Snowfill Recreation Area. Though it's popular for people with dogs, many visitors enjoy hiking and sledding in the Snowfill Recreation Area. With so much to do and see in Bozeman, it's no wonder that it's becoming a popular destination for winter enthusiasts looking for a unique and unforgettable experience.

South Lake Tahoe, California

South Lake Tahoe, California, is a top destination for winter sports activities. With an average snowfall of 302 inches and low temperatures throughout the colder months, this town offers a winter wonderland escape. Visitors can enjoy skiing, sledding, shopping options, dining experiences, and entertainment options. It's the perfect mountain town getaway for winter sports enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful escape.

In addition to the winter sports activities, South Lake Tahoe also offers a variety of indoor activities to keep you entertained during your stay. The town is home to several art galleries, museums, and theaters, providing a cultural experience to complement the outdoor adventures. You can also indulge in some retail therapy at the local shops and boutiques, which offer a range of products from snow gear to artisanal crafts.

When it comes to dining options, South Lake Tahoe boasts a diverse culinary scene. From cozy cafes and family-friendly restaurants to upscale bistros and fine dining establishments, there's something to satisfy every taste bud. After a long day of outdoor activities, you can unwind with a hot drink or a pint of local craft beer at one of the town's many bars and pubs.

Lenox, Massachusetts

Lenox, Massachusetts, is a charming town known for its historic architecture and cultural events. When winter arrives, Lenox transforms itself, offering outdoor activities such as ice skating and sleigh rides. The town's quaint shops and cozy cafes offer a warm winter escape, perfect for those seeking relaxation and tranquility. Lenox has an average winter temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit and an average snowfall of 59 inches. Thirty minutes up the road in Hancock, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort offers skiing and snowboarding for all skill levels. The resort boasts 45 trails, nine lifts, and a vertical drop of 1,150 feet.

In addition to the outdoor activities and cultural events, Lenox also has a rich history to explore. The town was founded in 1767 and played a significant role in the American Revolution. Visitors can learn about Lenox's history by visiting the Lenox Historical Society, which offers guided tours of the town's historic buildings and landmarks. Lenox is also home to the famous venue Tanglewood, which attracts music enthusiasts from around the world.

Fairbanks, Alaska

If you're looking for a truly unique winter getaway, Fairbanks, Alaska should make your list. Not only is this town a great place to view the Northern Lights, but it also offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as dog sledding, ice fishing, and winter sports. With an average annual snowfall of 66 inches and temperatures that can — when it gets really cold — drop to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, Fairbanks is certainly one of the coldest locations on our list.

The World Ice Art Championships takes place in Fairbanks annually. Competitors from around the world come to carve incredible works of art from one or more blocks of ice. When you need a break from the cold weather, venture inside to one of the many museums in the area. The Fairbanks Children's Museum is great for families and car enthusiasts will enjoy the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum at Wedgewood Resort. It wouldn't be a trip to Alaska without experiencing the thrill of traveling by dog sled, and several companies in Fairbanks offer that experience for visitors to enjoy.

Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake, California, specializes in outdoor recreation. Surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, this mountain town offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The town also has plenty of shopping options, with local boutiques and gift shops offering unique treasures. After a day on the slopes, visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the town's many restaurants or relax by a warm fire in their cabin rental. 

With an average annual snowfall of 100 inches, Big Bear Lake is an exceptional winter retreat for those who crave adventure and relaxation in equal measure. Additionally, the town hosts many winter events, such as the Green Jack Film Festival, and several holiday events throughout the winter. Whether you're a thrill-seeker or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, Big Bear Lake should be a consideration on your winter destination list.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Looking for a winter getaway that offers occasional snow and somewhat chilly temperatures? Look no further than Gatlinburg, Tennessee, located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With an average snowfall of around 9 inches, visitors can enjoy a taste of winter filled with skiing and snowboarding adventures at Ober Gatlinburg. With average temperatures hovering around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, there's no better place to indulge in winter activities like ice skating, snow tubing, and horse-drawn carriage rides.

It's not all about the snow and cold — Gatlinburg also boasts unique shopping experiences, from moonshine distilleries to quaint pancake houses, and holiday festivities like Gatlinburg Winter Magic. We've visited Gatlinburg in late December and early January, and, while it can be crowded, choosing an elevated mountainside cabin can make your getaway feel cozier. Escape from the weather by visiting Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies or Ripley's Believe It or Not! experience.

Our Methodology

When it came time to narrow down our list of incredible snowy mountain towns, we considered several factors. Most importantly, we looked at whether or not a town was located in or near enough to a mountain range to be considered a mountain town. We also looked at average temperatures and average snowfall amounts. Finally, we included personal experience where applicable and supporting information from each location's official website.