Planning a winter vacation presents a unique challenge, because most travelers either want a destination that’s great due to the chilly season, or they want to visit a warm and balmy place in spite of it. Top ski resorts and popular islands are aware of their appeal this time of year and set a price tag to match. However, some lesser-known spots are available for a bargain – including a few destination categories you may not have considered.
Visit a National Park
Image via Flickr by Ellie Attebery
Many travelers assume that National Parks close in winter, but many stay open year-round, offering unique winter experiences that really stand out. Accommodations range from the rustic cabins at Triangle X Ranch in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons to the elegant Ahwahnee in California’s Yosemite.
While popular winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling abound, there are other perks to visiting in the winter season as well. In Yellowstone National Park, the winter months are an ideal time to view the wolves. You’ll spot deer and elk easily in the Canadian Rockies.
Choose a Lesser-Known Ski Resort
Avoid big-name ski resorts and opt instead for a lesser-known option. Ogden, Utah offers affordable accommodations that are just a short shuttle ride from the Powder Mountain and Snowbasin ski resorts. Both options are affordable choices with excellent runs and convenient lifts. Ogden is the same distance from Salt Lake City as the better-known Park City destination. The biggest difference is the price.
Crested Butte, Colorado is another option for budget skiers. If you’re planning your first Colorado ski vacation, take the time to do your research into the many options so you’ll know a good price when you see it. Colorado’s Skiing Opportunities by Scott Gelbard is a slideshare that’s handy resource to will help you get acquainted with Colorado’s top destinations.
Accept Less-Than-Perfect Weather in Europe
Europe’s weather isn’t ideal in the winter, but if you’ve set your sights on primarily indoor attractions, the forecast won’t have much of an impact on your stay anyway. Museums and shows are as comfortable in winter as in summer, and you’ll face fewer crowds in the off-season. Paris and London can get dreary, but Rome still has plenty of sun in the winter. Further south the weather is downright pleasant this time of year.
Enjoy a Tropical Vacation at a Discount
While warming up on a tropical island is a popular winter activity, you’ll find that some islands aren’t as popular as others. Caribbean destinations typically offer steep discounts in winter. The Dominican Republic and Bahamas are affordable options for warm sunny fun when it’s cold back home. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is a good choice, too. This spot is typically considered a spring break destination so you’ll find it much less crowded in winter.
Whether you prefer to spend your vacation on a beach, on the slopes, or in a museum, you’ll find that there are many affordable destinations that can meet your needs. You don’t have to put a dent in your savings to enjoy yourself with family and friends this winter.