The Best Cities In The U.S. To Go For A Winter Break

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. People don't have to love skiing, snowboarding or any other sport that requires snow to enjoy the winter. Vacationing at a ski lodge, relaxing at a day spa, taking long walks surrounded by snow, or enjoying some fresh air can be an exhilarating experience by itself.

Yuma, Arizona

Why wouldn't you want to try a new adventure this winter? Ditch the slope or the beach and head for the desert. Yuma, a true oasis in the desert, is located at the extreme southwest corner of Arizona. The weather is mild and dry. The city averages 242 sunny days per year. Explore the historic and wildlife areas – with dunes that reach 300 feet – and enjoy the lively riverfront as well as the many parks and recreation areas. Bonus: The city is close to historic ghost mining towns.

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, which is a lot more than a great place to eat and drink, also offers a lot of history lessons. A major tourist attraction is the National WWII Museum.

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. 

McCall, Idaho

They call it "Idaho's Recreational Playground." McCall is one of the most adventurous outdoor winter vacations in the West. It's located just about 100 miles from Boise, and access is easy. Go snowboarding and skiing at the nearby Brundage Mountain Resort and ice skating at the Manchester Ice & Event Centre. Explore the Payette National Forest on a snow cat adventure. You can buy a McCall Nordic Pass that allows access to the popular Activity Barn, Jug Mountain Ranch, Little Bear Basin, and Ponderosa Park.

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.

Breckenridge, Colorado

If the thought of fresh snow, slopes, a variety of terrain and winter activities excite you, you're definitely going to want to spend the holidays in Breckenridge. Along with a variety of recreational activities to choose from, this town also boasts plenty of events to get you into the holiday spirit. This is where you go if you want to learn how to ski. The area offers up a great après scene, while the mountain is home to lots of easy terrain and a ski school for riders of all levels.

Park City, Utah

Park City is the ultimate winter paradise both for active adventurers and people who just want to relax. It's home to some of Utah's finest slopes. Go to the Olympic Park for first-hand experience in high-speech bobsled rides. You'll be sliding through the mountain for about 20 minutes. Go out for a live music show; something is happening every night in the city's more than 100 restaurants. Zip-lining is another popular adventure for non-skiers. Don't miss the Alpine Coaster for an awesome ride through the beautiful Wasatch mountain scenery.

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.

Bend, Oregon

Bend is set in the middle of Oregon, making it accessible for travelers around the state. This once-obscure adventure travel mecca is a must-visit mountain town for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, fishing—you name it, you'll likely find it in Bend. Ski or snowboard at Mt. Bachelor, which boasts one of the longest Nordic seasons in the country. Dog sledding and snowmobiling are also popular. Enjoy the thriving food and drink scene after a thrilling day of exploring.  

Tybee Island, Georgia

Just about 17 miles from Savannah, this pure, uninhabited nature preserve is accessible only by boat, according to Visit Tybee. Temperatures in December stay around 66°F.The wilderness gem is home to rich coastal salt marshes, natural dunes and subtropical forests of live oak, pine and palm. Wildlife includes the egret, heron, white ibis and the endangered woodstork. Kayak tours are a popular way to see Little Tybee and camping is allowed.  There are plenty of affordable lodgings as well.

Miami, Florida

Miami averages a daily maximum temperature for December that's between 76 and 80°F. Anytime other than Spring Break is great to visit this party and culturally rick city. It's on the list of places to spend the best weekend of your life. It's also famous for its gorgeous beaches, delicious foods, and most importantly, its year-round incredible weather. After all, it's not nicknamed "America's Riviera" for nothing.

San Diego, California

This beautiful city is quite affordable in the winter. Located right next to the border with Mexico, San Diego will brighten your mood with its warm weather and overabundance of fun activities from beach-front ice skating rinks, concerts, and holiday shopping. If you want to experience world-class surfing without having to break the bank, San Diego is your destination. Surfing there is on the great American bucket list. It has awesome wave pools in addition to a plethora of good surf spots. You can find hotels for under $100 per night (usually at their lowest this time of year).

Honolulu, Hawaii

Leave the cold weather behind and take your family to Honolulu, the ultimate paradise. Try a new water sport, go scuba diving and snorkeling. Have some fun in the sun at Waikiki beach, take pictures by the beautiful Manoa Falls and walk the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail. Then take a private tour, visit the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and learn more about history at the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Diamond Head State Monument and the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This is a great town for relaxation during the winter. Aside from the popular activities such as skiing, you can try dogsledding. 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.

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is all about a combination of incredible adventures and metropolitan appeal.  With national parks nearby and 60 glaciers a short drive away, it's a dream destination. The city is also great because of its proximity to the incomparably beautiful six million acre Denali National Park. It is home to the tallest peak on the continent, incredible wildlife and some of the most stunning natural scenery anywhere. Climb Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, go dog sledding, hiking, and take advantage of the opportunity to see the spectacular Northern Lights.