The Best Weekend Trips To Take This Winter In Every State

As the sun begins setting earlier and earlier and winter's chill has settled in, many people are tempted to plan their epic, weeklong escapes to faraway tropical locations. But sometimes a quick weekend trip can do the trick in terms of getting you out of the winter doldrums.

Alabama: Gulf Shores

If winter weather has got you down, escape the snow by heading to the Gulf Coast of Alabama, a top American vacation spot where it's still warm and sunny even in the dead of winter. Enjoy oyster season and other delightful fresh seafood at local restaurants, or catch your own fish and bring it to a local restaurant that will prepare it for you. Other water activities include kayaking and dolphin watching. Take romantic and uncrowded strolls on the beach, and play championship golf courses that are open year round.

Alaska: Girdwood

This resort town outside Anchorage is a peaceful, remote-feeling retreat nestled among the peaks of the Chugach Mountains and full of some of Alaska's top adventures. To get your pulse pounding, this winter playground offers adventures such as snowmobiling on a glacier or skijoring, in which you'll wear skis and be pulled by dogs or horses. See Alaska's amazing wildlife, including bears, beavers and caribou at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. After hardcore playing, it's time for hardcore relaxing at a B&B or the Alyeska Resort, where you can unwind at the spa or take a dip in the saltwater pool.

Arizona: Tucson

Snowbirds famously flock to Arizona in the wintertime to escape the cold and holiday crowds, and Tucson is a prime choice because of its mild temperatures and sunny skies. The pleasant weather is perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding and golfing. The Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul gardens offer a chance to take in some greenery, while wildlife and cacti abound in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum or Saguaro National Park. In February, visitors come from around the world for the interesting Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. That month you can also experience the city's Western heritage at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros at the Tucson Rodeo.

Arkansas: Hot Springs

The charming town of Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park are named after their naturally occurring phenomena, 47 natural hot springs. You can tour the historic Forsythe Bathhouse before taking a dip in the traditional Buckstaff Bathhouse, which has been open since 1912. You can also have a modern-day spa experience at the park's Quapaw Baths and Spa. Once you feel rejuvenated, visit the 216-foot-tall Hot Springs Mountain Tower for a stunning view. Hiking, biking, bird-watching, horse racing and exploring Garvan Woodland Gardens are also entertainment options in Hot Springs.

California: Santa Barbara

Year-round warm weather and small offseason crowds are reason enough for some to take a weekend trip to one of the most beautiful towns in America this winter. A better vacation alternative to Santa Monica, if you're looking to surf, winter in Santa Barbara offers the best swells. It's also the season to witness the annual gray whale migration. Mid-November to mid-February is also when monarch butterflies migrate through the region in the thousands. Spend time shopping on State Street, strolling through the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or touring the numerous breweries and wineries around the city.

Colorado: Ouray

Nicknamed the "Switzerland of America," Ouray is an underrated small town of about 1,000 nestled inside a canyon surrounded by mountains. Winter activities such as skiing, hiking and biking abound, but the town's claim to fame is the world's first ice climbing park, which opened in 1994 and has more than 200 named climbs. Watch some of the best ice climbers in the world in action at the Ice Festival in January. When you need to warm up, hit up the area's four public sulfur-free hot springs.

Connecticut: Litchfield

This charming Revolutionary War-era town has plenty of wintery fun in store. Visit one or all of the three nearby ski areas, ice skate on Bantam Lake or head to White Memorial Conservation Center, which has 4,000 acres with 35 miles of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. After checking in to the odd yet wonderful hotel at Winvian Farm, warm up by sampling Connecticut-made whiskey and gin at the Litchfield Distillery or catching a movie at Bantam Cinema, the state's oldest continuously operating movie house.

Delaware: Lewes

One of the best coastal towns in America, Lewes is a progressive beach town that relaxes its rules in the offseason, allowing you to bring your dogs or go horseback riding on the beach as well as fish. Delaware's best kept secret destination, Lewes is a year-round town thanks to its mild winter weather. Besides enjoying the outdoors, vibrant local dining and the large craft brewing scene are big draws for visitors.

Florida: St. Augustine

The prettiest town in the state of Florida and America's oldest city, St. Augustine, is a great destination for history buffs. Admire the Spanish architecture on a horse-drawn carriage ride and drink from Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth. If you visit around the holidays, St. Augustine is also home to some of the best Christmas lights in the country. Check out the food and wine scene, or if the supernatural is more your speed, St. Augustine is supposedly home to many haunted locations you can tour, including the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The city's cool but pleasant winter temperatures mean you also snag great winter deals in the offseason.

Georgia: Savannah

January and February are offseason months in Savannah, meaning you can enjoy lower hotel rates and smaller crowds while soaking in the Southern charm of this romantic city. You can avoid the mild chill by filling your itinerary with visits to the town's many historic (or haunted) homes, such as the Mercer House from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" or the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and Girl Scout First Headquarters. Enjoy the city's amazing food scene and explore the city's iconic squares and parks.

Hawaii: Kauai

While it's impossible to experience all Hawaii has to offer in just a weekend, if you can only spare a few days, hit up the island of Kauai. If you're trying to escape dreary winter weather, the Garden Isle will reinvigorate your spirits with its greenery and sunshine. Kauai is famous for its lush valleys and stunning natural sights. Visit Polihale Beach, one of the best secret beaches in the world, and explore the famous Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, either on foot, by car or from above via a helicopter tour. Winter is when humpback whales can be seen migrating through the waters all around the island. The warm waters are also great for swimming, and winter brings nice swells for surfers.

Idaho: Sun Valley

Founded as the American answer to the Swiss Alps, Sun Valley is America's oldest destination winter resort. One of North America's top family-friendly ski resorts, Sun Valley was also the first place in the world to implement chairlifts and is the birthplace of heli-skiing in the U.S. Besides world-class skiing, Sun Valley is a destination for ice skating, sleigh rides, horseback riding, fat tire biking and more. The area hosts cozy winter events such as a Christmas market as well as athletic events like the Sun Valley Nordic Festival and Boulder Mountain Tour.

Illinois: Galena

At the northwestern tip of Illinois, Galena is a quaint town like something out of a history book. Besides its shopping and dining options and access to winter activities such as snowshoeing and ice skating, Starved Rock State Park offers the opportunity to climb frozen waterfalls. Galena also has a unique winter wildlife experience. More bald eagles winter in Illinois than any other state besides Alaska. Galena's Eagle Nature Foundation offers bus tours to the best spots to see hundreds of these majestic creatures.

Indiana: French Lick

While families can enjoy a respite from winter weather at the Big Splash Adventure Waterpark, the city of French Lick, Indiana, is best known for the historic French Lick Resort. Built in 1845, this charming hotel offers the state's best day spa services, a Vegas-style casino and live entertainment ideal for a relaxing girlfriends' or couples' getaway. For parents with kids in tow, KidsFest is a day camp hosted by the hotel for kids ages 6 to 12 that can occupy them all day with activities like swimming, bowling and crafts so that adults can have their own fun, such as a wine tasting at French Lick Winery.

Iowa: Des Moines

Iowa's capital isn't often the first metro area that comes to mind when planning a Midwestern vacation, but the bustling, millennial-friendly city combines culture with hopping nightlife and access to nature. Take in famous art at the Des Moines Art Center and sculptures at Western Gateway Park and Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Ice skate downtown at the Brenton Skating Plaza. Really get your blood pumping at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park, which makes its own snow, so it's always the perfect place for sledding or tubing. Stay warm and get your dose of greenery at the conservatory at the Greater Des Moines Botanic Garden.

Kansas: Kansas City

Kansas City sprawls over from Kansas to Missouri, making for one unique city. The Strawberry Hill Ethnic Museum and Cultural Center celebrates the holiday traditions of the area's many immigrant groups during its Olde World Christmas celebrations, while Union Station's halls are decked for the arrival of Santa on the the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express train. The city offers plenty of indoor options to escape winter weather, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the National Toy Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Kentucky: Slade

If you need to feel rejuvenated by spending time in the great outdoors this winter, Slade, Kentucky, makes for a peaceful retreat. Slade is home to Natural Bridge State Park, named after its unique sandstone bridge, a natural wonder that is thought to be more than a million years old. The park also has lovely vistas and hiking trails. Natural Bridge is part of the Red River Gorge region. The area has easy trails and expert climbs alike that wind among more than 100 sandstone arches, near waterfalls and through forests. Without leaves on the trees or crowds in the winter, you have an unrestricted view of the area's unique rock formations.

Louisiana: New Orleans

Winter is the best time to snag travel deals in New Orleans. The weather will be cool, but you're more likely to get tables at coveted hotels and restaurants. For example, Casamento's Restaurant is the place to enjoy oyster season, and it's closed during June, July and August.There's more to the city than just eating and drinking, however, Around the holidays, the historic city will be decorated for the holidays, and City in the Oaks puts on one of the country's best light displays. Though Mardi Gras is in February, the city's Carnival season actually begins in January, so you can still experience festivities like parades and parties before the major crowds descend on the city. Best of all, New Orleans is still a warm and sunny destination this time of year.

Maine: Kennebunkport

Although Kennebunkport is a popular summertime stop on the East Coast, and a truly magical small town in the fall, it still has its own charm in the winter. The photogenic city hosts many wintertime shopping and dining events, especially in February, where the city celebrates Valentine's Day all month long. For a sweet winter couples retreat, cozy up in a B&B for the weekend. Take a horsedrawn carriage ride through Dock Square to see the many business participating in "Paint the Town Red," which involves hanging red lights and decor and offering special "red plate" meals and "red tag" savings. Enjoy chocolate and wine tastings, a Valentine's dance, a winter carnival and skating party and more.

Maryland: Eastern Shore

Maryland's Eastern Shore is a seafood mecca, especially in winter when it's oyster season. You can enjoy the bivalves at local restaurants or try your hand at catching them yourself on an oyster-dredging boat outing. Explore the area's history and architecture, and enjoy the winter wildlife at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, including migratory birds and resident bald eagles and great horned owls. Go horseback riding in the Assateague Island National Seashore, which isn't permitted during the summer and early fall months.

Massachusetts: The Berkshires

The bucolic landscapes of this most beautiful region in Western Massachusetts were captured in the works of local painter Norman Rockwell. Experience the beauty of a crisp, calm winter day during a romantic winter weekend trip here, where you can play outside by skiing or snowshoeing. Experience art and culture inside at the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Winter events include the the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival in Pittsfield, North County Eats restaurant week and the Bay State Winter Games.

Michigan: Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth, known as Michigan's "Little Bavaria" is known for celebrating the holiday season all year long since it's the headquarters of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, which claims to be the world's largest Christmas store. The quaint town also has unique antiquing and shopping and lots of German treats, from sweets to beer at the Frankenmuth Brewing Company. Work off some of those calories ice skating or ice fishing. Come in January for Zehnder's Snowfest for snow and ice carving, fireworks and more.

Minnesota: Minneapolis

Winter temperatures in Minneapolis often drop below freezing, but thankfully the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has plenty to do and offers amazing winter travel deals for those bold enough to brave the cold. Outdoor opportunities abound, such as miles and miles of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, fat tire biking, ice fishing and more. If you need further motivation to enjoy the winter weather, the sister cities host The Great Northern Festival in late January, which includes the national pond hockey tournament, an urban cross-country ski race across Minneapolis and a winter carnival with parades and a 70-foot-tall Ice Palace. After playing to your heart's content, warm up by exploring the brilliant local food and beer scene.

Mississippi: Biloxi

The summer months are the most popular time to visit Biloxi, but the humidity and heat can be stifling. For milder weather and cheaper rates, come to this Gulf Coast destination on a winter weekend. Tour the local lighthouse and Ship Island or the Beauvoir historic home. Hunker down in the tap room at Biloxi Brewing Company or press your luck at the local casinos. There's also great golfing and live entertainment options.

Missouri: Branson

This underrated hub for family-friendly attractions in the Ozarks goes big when it comes to the holiday season. November and December are great times to visit. Places like Branson Landing are dripping in light displays, and there are multiple drive-thru light displays to get you in the holiday spirit. Silver Dollar City has a holiday parade, live Christmas shows and 1,000 decorated Christmas trees. Branson Scenic Railway transforms into the Polar Express and offers magical rides. Besides holiday festivities, visitors can tour wineries and distilleries, shop and explore the area's amazing underground caves.

Montana: Whitefish

Whitefish makes for a perfect home base for your weekend winter getaway in Montana. Hit the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort or head to nearby Glacier National Park, one of the country's most underrated and beautiful national parks. Enjoy the winter scenery on snowshoe and skiing trails, with rangers leading guided snowshoe walks on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter. Warm up indoors back in Whitefish on a tour of the Great Northern Brewing Company, by making a mosaic at the Stumptown Art Center or by enjoying a spa treatment.

Nebraska: Omaha

Omaha is a great city to escape the Midwestern winter chill because of its many indoor entertainment options. The 17,500-square-foot conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens is bursting with tropical plants and floral displays year-round, while the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo — one of the best small zoos in the country — is the world's largest indoor desert with plants and animals such as klipspringers and meerkats from Africa, Australia and the U.S. Other interesting museums include the Durham Museum and the Joslyn Art Museum. Once you've worked up an appetite, explore the city's innovative food and craft beer scene.

Nevada: Genoa

While most people think of Nevada as nothing but roasting-hot desert, the Western portion of the state near the Sierra Nevada Mountains gets quite wintery. The city of Genoa in the Carson Valley, east of Lake Tahoe, is the perfect place to get your winter kicks. The oldest town in Nevada, Genoa still has a rustic Western charm that makes it a must-see small town. Take a hike on the Genoa Trail System and then grab a drink at the state's "Oldest Thirst Parlor," also known as a bar, at the local saloon. Genoa also isn't far from the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, where you can spend the day skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more before retiring back to Genoa.

New Hampshire: Portsmouth

Step back in time this winter by visiting the historic yet hip city of Portsmouth. The city's 17th- and 18th-century homes look lovely dusted with snow. Shop locally owned stores in Market Square, which also hosts holiday activities such as a parade and a gingerbread contest. The Strawbery Banke Museum preserves and celebrates the city's past. It puts on a holiday Candlelight Stroll in which historic homes are decked in decorations and lights and costumed performers explain vintage Christmas traditions. You can also ice skate on Puddle Dock Pond or admire the views on a winter stroll in Odiorne Point State Park or Wallis Sands State Park.

New Jersey: Asbury Park

Enjoy the quiet off season in this New Jersey shore town with serene beaches during the day and hopping nightlife in the evening. Play vintage pinball games on the boardwalk or catch a show to support the city's live music scene at the famed Stone Pony or Asbury Lanes, where you can also bowl a few frames when there's not a show. Beer lovers can escape the outdoor chill at the Festhalle & Biergarten, which serving more than 100 varieties of beer and is one of the nation's coolest beer gardens. Visit in January for Asbury Park Beerfest.

New Mexico: Santa Fe

Sante Fe is a Southwestern mecca of culture, art and food, luring in visitors around the region looking for a perfect winter weekend full of fun. The city looks lovely dusted in snow, making the perfect backdrop for perusing the city's art galleries or visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. For those wanting to spend time outside, the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains are known for their excellent skiing. The Santa Fe National Forest offers gorgeous areas to hike or snowshoe. The red chili harvest season is in fall, and by winter, local restaurants offer a bevy of local dishes featuring the pepper meant to warm you up from the inside out.

New York: Lake Placid

A popular summer getaway for New Yorkers, Lake Placid is still a pleasant place to escape for a winter weekend, with plenty of things to do. Ice skate at the Olympic Oval or on Mirror Lake, which also has a toboggan shoot. Hit the high peaks with a licensed guide to go Adirondack ice climbing, take a sled dog ride or enjoy classic winter downhill skiing on Whiteface Mountain. During the winter, Lake Placid hosts fun holiday events as well as the Lake Placid FIS Freestyle Cup and the Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships, so you can catch some of the world's best athletes in action.

North Carolina: Blowing Rock

The perfect North Carolina winter mountain getaway awaits in Blowing Rock, an underrated American gem. After touring Flat Top Manor, explore Moses Cone Memorial Park, which has 25 miles of carriage trails for horseback riding, hiking and cross-country skiing. Skiing and hiking can also be done on portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway that get closed to cars when it snows. The area is great for skiing, horseback riding and more. Come for Winterfest in January for great shopping, a polar plunge and a community bonfire. And of course no visit would be complete without a visit to Blowing Rock's namesake rock, the state's oldest travel attraction.

North Dakota: Lake Metigoshe State Park

No matter your winter activity of choice, you can do it all at Lake Metigoshe State Park. Cross-country ski or snowshoe on 1,500 acres that wind through forests where you can spot moose, beaver and white-tailed deer as well as more than 170 types of birds. The park also offers prime spots for sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling. For a unique, rustic winter camping experience, rent a yurt from the parks department.

Ohio: Hocking Hills

A must-see destination in the American heartland, Ohio's Hocking Hills region becomes a winter wonderland once temperatures dip below freezing. Hocking Hills State Park's gorges, rock formations and caves drip with icicles. The park hosts cheerful group hikes to Ash Cave around Christmas, mid-January and around Valentine's Day, complete with a cozy campfire and refreshments. Stay at Glenlaurel Inn where private cottages come fitted with fireplaces and hot tubs to warm up after a day of exploring. Hopefully you've worked up an appetite, because each night the restaurant hosts six- and seven-course dinners by candlelight.

Oklahoma: Pawhuska

Food Network star Ree Drummond, aka "The Pioneer Woman," put her small town of Pawhuska on the map, and now many people are flocking to this hidden gem in northern Oklahoma. Enjoy strolling through the historic downtown area, which has more than 80 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, before stopping in to eat and shop at Drummond's Pioneer Woman Mercantile. Work off any sweets from the bakery on a hike at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve or the Osage Hills State Park. As the headquarters of the Osage Nation, Pawhuska is also great place to learn about Native American history at the Osage Nation Museum.

Oregon: Bend

Whether you're looking to frolic in the snow or cozy up and be entertained indoors, the central Oregon city of Bend is the perfect spot for a winter break. The Old St. Francis School hotel has a relaxing turquoise-tiled soaking pool open to the public. If you'd rather warm up from the inside out, head to the tasting room at Oregon Spirit Distillers or spend a day working your way down the 14 stops of the Bend Ale Trail. Nordic skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing and sled dog rides are just some of the winter outdoor activities you can do in Bend. The mountain town is also a fantastic destination in the summer, so you don't have to wait a whole year to plan another getaway.

Pennsylvania: Erie

Erie offers a mix of outdoor winter activities in close proximity to nightlife, dining and culture, including two dozen wineries in the region and the Erie Art Museum. Families looking to escape winter's chill can have a blast at the Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park & Resort or embrace the cold with an afternoon of ice skating. To enjoy a natural winter wonderland, head to Presque Isle State Park, where snow and ice coat miles of beaches, dunes and waterfront, making it a serene place to walk, ski, fish or snowshoe.

Rhode Island: Providence

From its beautiful historic homes to its outdoor opportunities to its food scene, Providence is a perfect New England winter getaway. Stay cozy and warm while shopping at the Arcade, the oldest indoor shopping mall in America, or curl up with a good book at the Athenaeum library and cultural center. Explore the world of cinema with your kids at the Providence Children's Film Festival in February. Go ice skating or play ice bumper cars at the Alex and Ani City Center rink. Hike to the top of Neutaconkanut Park just outside the city to experience winter wildlife like deer, foxes and wild turkeys and see a dreamy bird's-eye view of Providence.


South Carolina: Greenville

Winter is a slow tourism season in Greenville, South Carolina, but the city offers plenty of winter charm and fun activities. Leading up to the holidays, Greenville is a perfect place to shop for locally made gifts, enjoy Christmas lights and a parade, and pick out the perfect live Christmas tree. During January, explore the local food scene through Greenville Restaurant Week or spend a day indoors enjoying the area's breweries and distilleries. Greenville can have surprisingly mild winter weather, making it possible to enjoy the city's trails or head just outside the city to tackle more demanding trails such as Table Rock.

South Dakota: Black Hills

The Black Hills region of South Dakota has many claims to fame, including the controversial landmark of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park and the city of Deadwood. These places will be less crowded in the winter, and the season offer you the chance to see amazing wildlife such as buffalo, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. The Terry Peak Ski Area has a half pipe for snowboarders and a 7,076-foot-tall summit for skiers, which is the highest vertical drop between the Rockies and the Alps. You can experience some of the country's best snowmobiling terrain in the Black Hills National Forest.

Tennessee: Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge are known as entertainment destinations in the Smoky Mountains. One of the best vacation spots for Americans right now, Gatlinburg goes all out for Christmas, including the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade and the Trolley Ride of Lights, part of the city's Winterfest, which lasts from early November to late February. The area offers amazing winter activities, including fishing and hiking at Great Smoky Mountains National Park or tubing, skiing and snowboarding at Ober Gatlinburg resort.

Texas: South Padre Island

Spring break destination South Padre is famously overrun by tourists in the warmer months, but it makes a peaceful, affordable seaside getaway come winter. The weather is still pleasant enough to stroll or horseback ride on the beach, go parasailing or go dolphin spotting on a boat tour. Big winter swells await surfers, and the nearby sand dunes are perfect for a day of ATV adventuring. Animal lovers should visit Sea Turtle, Inc. and the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center to see and learn about the area's wildlife.

Utah: Salt Lake City

On top of access to world-class skiing and snowboarding slopes, Salt Lake City has unique winter amenities, since it hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Oval is open to everyone during public skating hours. Or try your hand at speed skating or curling in a class. Head to the 400-acre Utah Olympic Park in nearby Park City to fly down the sliding track during the Winter Bobsled Experience or soar 161 feet over the park on a seven-part zip line.

Vermont: Burlington

Even in the dead of winter, the city of Burlington is bustling thanks to its exciting outdoor opportunities and local food and craft beer scene. Work up an appetite on the mountains skiing or snowboarding or shopping the unique boutiques in the Church Street Marketplace. Afterward, unwind with a flight at one of the city's many breweries or tap rooms. If you fancy yourself an IPA expert, crawl the Vermont brewery trail through and just outside of Burlington.

Virginia: Roanoke

Located in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, the scenic and charming city of Roanoke has something to offer for every kind of vacationer. Along with shopping and dining, the city offers unique cultural experiences, such as the Roanoke Pinball Museum. For those looking to get in the holiday spirit, every December, the city puts on its Dickens of a Christmas, in which Dickensian performers take to the streets to entertain visitors as they take sleigh rides, snack on roasted chestnuts and watch a live Nativity scene. Stretch your legs by going on a winter hike. When it gets enough snow, the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed to cars and becomes a course for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Washington: Walla Walla

This quaint college town is home to more than 120 wineries as well as an imaginative food scene that are far less crowded in the winter months. The town also offers easy access to cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding, tubing and other winter activities.

West Virginia: Canaan Valley

Canaan Valley is a state park and national landmark in West Virginia that gets an average annual snowfall of over 160 inches. The snow sticks around for a long season for sports such as cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and ice skating, which you can do at a rink with an outdoor fireplace. Rent a private cabin or cottage and curl up by the fire for a weekend of family fun or a romantic couple's retreat.

Wisconsin: Madison

While some may shiver considering visiting a city almost continuously blanketed in snow during the winter, Madison is a definite bucket list destination, offering lovely winter outdoor activities alongside places like breweries and museums perfect for thawing out. Home to the University of Wisconsin, Madison has a 1,200-acre arboretum with trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Tenney Park turns into an ice rink in the winter where people gather to skate, play hockey and even ice fish. For some local goods, shop the weekly farmers market at its indoor winter location.

Wyoming: Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole has the charm of a vintage Western town combined with access to world-class skiing. Nearby Grand Teton National Park offers beautiful areas for cross-country skiing, ice skating and fat tire biking. Enjoy the sight of moose, bison and pronghorn roaming through powdery plains on a winter wildlife tour of Grand Teton, Yellowstone or the National Elk Refuge from the comfort of a heated snowcoach or horse-drawn sleigh. View the wintery landscape from above by taking a ride on the aerial tram, just one of many reasons that makes Jackson one of the best ski towns for non-skiers.

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