America's Best Cities For Winter Travel

America’s Best Cities for Winter Travel

Winter often has a way of making towns look gloomy and depressing but certain places seem to be immune to that effect. The outdoor vibe of mountain towns – popular or lesser-known – gives you energy like nothing else. They offer plenty of thrilling adventures. The 2017 Farmers' Almanac says that "winter is back!" The locations on the following list any winter's forecast – from lots of snow to plenty of sunny and warm days. Whatever your preference is, you will find a fit among these cities.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Escape the snow with great music and unforgettable food. The city is famous all over the world for its jazz, zydeco, blues, Cajun & funk events. The street to listen to the best music is the Frenchmen Street. If you're not interested in Mardi Gras mania, plan to visit in December or January. The city is like an art paradise for the soul. New Orleans also offers a lot of history lessons. A major tourist attraction is the National WWII Museum.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale won't break the bank in the winter. You can take a free barn tour at the famous Arabian Horse Show if you go in February. If you like running, you can do that with bulls. If you prefer safer sports, take a hike at Pinnacle Peak Park. Go on a half-day mountain bike tour through the Sonoran Desert, home to some of the Southwest's best mountain-biking trails, or kayak through the desert's Salt River, a lush oasis surrounded by red cliffs and wondrous wildlife. The lively nightlife scene won't disappoint.

Keystone, Colorado

This charming small town in the foot of a mountain has one of the best ski resorts in the world. It is offering you a chance to ski on the largest mountain in Summit County. There are 3,148 skiable acres, 20 lifts and the largest night skiing operation in all of Colorado. Kids ski for free, so you can save lots of money on lifts. Non-skiers will love the 10,000-square-foot luxury spa, the largest maintained outdoor skating rink in the country, yoga classes, and snow bike rides.

Key West, Florida

If you want to get far away from the cold but not travel for too long, head to the beach in Florida. One of the best places in the Sunshine State is the island city of Key West. Take a free walking tour, visit the botanical gardens and the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. This is a pet-friendly vacation destination, so you don't have to leave your pooch behind. Go boating, paddling and kayaking together. Some of the popular active adventures in Key West include snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, primitive camping, and flyboarding. 

Stratton, Vermont

This beautiful tiny town in Windham County is worth a trip in the winter. It has one of largest ski areas in all of Vermont. The courses are carefully groomed and if you're ever unsatisfied with a run you can exchange your lift tickets for a later date. Enjoy a day at the spa, rent a fat bike and explore the mountain in an unconventional way, visit the tube park with the family for some fun rides, and feel the thrill of a dog sled tour.

Charleston, South Carolina

People go to budget-friendly Charleston for the food, golf courses, and historic sites. You can get an all-inclusive "ticket" to a few restaurants, and drink and eat as much as you want for one price. The city where the Civil War began undoubtedly tops the list of must-see places for American history buffs. Wander the cobblestone streets, lined with buildings that date back to the 1700s. You won't miss the beach because you are only a short drive away from five beach towns.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, a city rich in culture, arts and delicious food, is also a secret ski spot. Most people have no idea that they can ski and board in New Mexico, and they would be surprised to learn about the quality of the terrain, too. Located a few miles from the city center, the mountain is one of the highest ski areas in the continental U.S. With a vertical drop of 1,725 feet and gorgeous sunny days, Santa Fe is the perfect ski getaway. Ski Santa Fe has a base elevation of 10,350 feet and is located only 16 miles from the heart of the city.

San Antonio, Texas

There is a lot to do and see – River Walk, the Alamo and SeaWorld are just a few. Taste some of the best Mexican food in all of the U.S. Explore the history at the Spanish colonial missions, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas, and enjoy pulse-pounding rides at world-class theme parks. The winter is also the time for fun cultural festivals and amazing exhibits. Go in February to see the Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest and most prestigious single events in the city with more than 2 million visits every year. 

Denver, Colorado

The Mile High City is one of the fittest cities in America, which means there is a lot to do outdoors. Denver boasts more than 4,000 acres of parks, 2,500 of which are urban. They offer perfect opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Don't miss the Winter Brew Fest and a rare winter concert at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park is a must-see attraction. Check out the Apex Center, which has two ice rinks, a gigantic indoor aquatic play area, climbing wall, indoor track, and themed indoor playground. Visiting can be an educational experience, too. Learn about the myths and legends of the world at the Museum of Nature and Science.  

Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid, which is set in the Adirondacks, has a rich winter sports history. Ice-covered cliffs and frozen waterfalls are popular Adirondack ice climbing hangouts. The lakes nearby are perfect for ice skating and cross-country skiing. Ice fishermen also make the most of the opportunity; there are several fishing derbies in the winter. Whiteface Mountain is the place to be for a world-class skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, bobsled and skeleton, snow tubing, and snowshoeing.

Jackson, Wyoming

This is a great town for relaxation during the winter. Aside from the popular activities such as skiing, you can try dogsledding. Visit the National Elk Refuge where thousands of migratory elk come every November when mating season starts. You can try snowmobiling and wildlife safaris. For another incredible way to see the landscape, go on a 6-hour hiking experience. Jackson Hole Resort touts itself as the last of the old west, it offers some pretty rugged adventures. Plow through untamed backcountry terrain on skis or a snowmobile; discover Grand Teton National Park on two fat wheels or paraglide from the mountain over Teton Village.

Nashville, Tennessee

The Music City is very entertaining in the winter. Concerts (many of which are free), art exhibits, unbelievable shopping deals, and awesome special events – they are all scheduled to warm your heart in the colder months. Go hiking, boating, fishing, and relaxing at any of the area's urban parks. Visit the Adventure Science Center and discover the wonders of the universe. Take the teens to Rocketown, an entertainment center, which has venues suitable for all ages, Middle Tennessee's only indoor skatepark, a recording studio, and photography, art, and dance studios.

Portland, Oregon

If you are looking for a family vacation on a budget, consider Portland. The arts and music scene is incredible in the winter. Sip a craft cocktail while soaking in a ceramic saltwater pool at McMenamins Kennedy School for about the cost of a latte (or free with an overnight stay), according to Travel Portland. Visit in December for the Holiday Ale Fest and the Holiday Express, in January for the Rose City Rollers Roller Derby and the ChocolateFest, and in February, known as Portland's dining months, for the city's Jazz Festival.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Most people think of gambling, partying, and general debauchery, but that warped reputation overlooks a lot of what Vegas has to offer. The Sin City lives up to its name, but travelers can also take a trip back in time by heading downtown to "old Vegas" or, just a few minutes off the strip, outdoor enthusiasts can find tons of adventure.

Aspen, Colorado