Where to vacation if you’re more of a snow bunny than a beach bum
By Suzanne McMinn
A beach vacation is a popular choice in the winter, but why not take advantage of the winter season? If you love snow and want more of it, there are a flurry of resorts across the country offering gorgeous slopes, stunning glaciers, frozen falls and time out for the perfect cup of cocoa overlooking breathtaking scenery. From an ice museum at a hot springs resort in Alaska to powdery destinations for skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding and more, here are some of the places where you can find the best deals for the most luxury.
At Chena Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska, tour the ice sculptures in the ice museum (also made entirely of ice), order a drink at the ice bar or take a soothing dip in the natural hot springs. The Northern Lights (otherwise known as the aurora borealis) are visible in the winter months, adding a once-in-a-lifetime treat to your trip. Round out your holiday with dog sled rides, helicopter tours of the glaciers and the Arctic Circle, skiing, snowshoeing and ice-skating. Romantic getaway packages are available for couples, or arrange a “Discover Chena” package for the whole family. World famous for its healing mineral waters, the resort’s isolated location also offers an incredible up-close view of Alaska’s wildlife.
Skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice volcanoes and frozen waterfalls are all waiting for you at Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon, Michigan. This is a true wilderness adventure trip with miles of trails for hiking or horseback riding that cross free-running rivers or wind through majestic old-growth forests along Lake Superior. With more than 200 inches of snow each year, 1,000 miles of snowmobiling trails and 42 ski runs, the winter sports opportunities alone are enough to keep you busy—but wait, there’s more! With historic mines, lighthouses and nearby Victoria Dam, you’ll want to leave the slopes and trails for a spell to take in the local attractions. Packages are offered for every budget, and families with children aren’t just welcomed, they’re embraced. Lodging ranges from resort hotels to cabins, and sample itineraries make planning a snap.
Glide through the snow on a sleigh at Mystic Mountain Ski Area in Black Hills, South Dakota. Ski, snowshoe, snowboard, tube or ice skate, then visit Mount Rushmore or Crazy Horse Monument. Enjoy an underground tour of Jewel Cave, or browse one of the numerous museums to learn more about the area’s rich history from prehistoric times to the Sioux tribe and the Gold Rush. Stay in a bed and breakfast, cabin, hotel or guest ranch. Pet-friendly accommodations are available, and catering to children is a priority, with such choices as a tipi lodge.
Skiing, tubing, snowboarding and dog sledding are just the beginning at the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania. When you’re not on the slopes, you can choose from cooking classes, spas, art galleries or air tours. With animal parks and fun parks, there’s plenty for the kids, too. The Poconos are famous for their romantic getaways, but family-friendly resorts offer budget packages and children’s programs.
So put away your swimsuits and pull out your mittens. The powder’s on, and it’s waiting for you!
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This is the first in a series of Winter Getaways stories on Chevy Culture.
Suzanne McMinn lives with her three children on a farm in West Virginia, where she writes the blog Chickens in the Road, about finding “the true meaning of home—and life—beyond the noise of suburban sprawl and suburban convenience.”