Plan A Winter Family Trip To This Popular Western US Holiday Hot Spot

A snowball's throw away from the snow-capped peaks of Vail, Colorado's Maroon Bells, and Aspen Buttermilk (yes, it's really a place!) awaits a winter hideaway blanketed in powdery snow. Wedged in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, the alpine village of Beaver Creek combines the carefree leisure of its luxury ski resorts and the peaceful charm of a wintery wonderland. Even in the thick of winter, the town enjoys year-round sunshine dappling the snow-covered valleys. From dawn until dusk, visitors and locals in Beaver Creek spend the daylight hours frequenting the land's iconic slopes, a typical image of life in Beaver Creek. After all, Beaver Creek ranks among America's best ski resorts, according to Forbes. Nightfall welcomes an even cozier vista, marked by gently-glowing chalets and snow flurries.

With unparalleled ski slopes and coveted snowshoe trails, wintertime undoubtedly brings out the best of Beaver Creek. If barreling down the dramatic bluffs of Birds of Prey strikes you as a frightening image, the landscape also holds space for its bunny slopes — a welcoming invitation for beginners. Better yet, for those who prefer to pass on potential frostbite and cozy up in their favorite puffer instead, check in to one of Beaver Creek's luxury resorts (hello fireside cocoa!). For families with little ones, if the tree lighting ceremony and Christmas movie screenings don't hold their attention, a freshly baked holiday cookie certainly will! Regardless of what's topping your holiday bucket list this season, cross it off in this quintessential Christmas town.

Throw around some festive cheer

As Kevin McCallister veraciously pointed out in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," "How can you have Christmas without a Christmas tree!?" It would be irrefutable to say that every Christmassy town must have a Christmas tree planted in the heart of its town square. Beaver Creek is no exception to this rule. November 29 marks the grand lighting ceremony in this Rocky Mountain city, with the glowing lights transforming the area into a festive replica of Whoville.

As the Most Wonderful Day of the Year approaches, Beaver Creek prepares the way with its annual Winterfest Extraordinaire. The sweet serenades of carolers and quartets fill the air with songs of the season while the scenic mountain town hosts classic holiday screenings in Beaver Creek Village. The cookie-cutter chalets adorned with Christmas lights and glistening ice skating rink fringed with pine garland pull the entire look together.

Few things in life are better than a warm chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven. Apparently, Beaver Creek concurs with this philosophy, given its annual Christmas cookie bonanza tradition. Peruse the frost-covered sidewalks for wafts of chocolate, butter, and sugar mingling with the chilly air during this bake-off. Located a short 20-minute trip through the mountain pass, Vail, Colorado, is another example of a Western city that knows how to bring Christmas to life. The Vail Winterfest highlights the talent of its locals with its Grand Ice Installation — 25,000 pounds of sculpted ice illuminated by glowing lights as darkness covers the land.

Stay at this fireside lodge in Beaver Creek

For a taste of all-out luxury, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch was practically designed for fireside lounging with a cup of cocoa in one hand and a toasted marshmallow in the other. This modern mountain lodge draws its style from the land's native elements, resulting in a beautiful wood-clad bar and alpine-inspired common areas. The luxe hotel keeps things family-friendly with luxurious oversized suites and slopeside snowboarding lessons for kids.

The amenities only improve as the day continues, with dinnertime promising guests a unique, holiday-themed surprise. Reserve a table at Zach's Cabin perched on the glaciers above the Bachelor Gulch for your evening fare (a decision you won't regret). There's only one way to enter the grounds of this iconic European dining spot. Departing nightly from the Bachelor deck, your chauffeur awaits in the form of an open-air sled, whisking guests through the densely forested grounds on a starlit sleigh ride. Cap off the night fireside with a warm blanket, anticipating yet another snow-filled day ahead.