We’re in the bleak depths of winter and inching closer and closer to the promise of spring. But just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up at home. Did you know you’re more apt to save money and get a better deal on travel if you vacation during the winter months? Summer is peak traveling season for most, and you usually need to work your schedule around availability. On the other hand, winter is a slower travel season overall, with lower demand. This means chances are higher you’ll snag a good deal on airfare, a hotel, and even a rental car on a schedule that is convenient for you.
So, if you’re looking to beat the winter blues and try something new, check out these 2023 winter vacation ideas. We’ve got a mix of warm, cold, domestic, and international destinations to tickle your fancy, whether you’re a snowbird or a snow-lover.
Lake Placid, NY
Despite the name, Lake Placid is not the setting of a 90’s comedy-horror film but a picturesque tourist destination in the Adirondack Mountains that has hosted the Winter Olympics not once but twice. Lake Placid offers the best of both worlds as a lake town and a mountain town and is full of activities for the outdoorsy types.
Here you’ll find over 80 world-class Alpine ski trails at Whiteface Mountain, an Olympic Sports Complex (you must check out the bobsledding track), and the beautiful Mirror Lake and Lake Placid. During the colder months, you can fly down a 30-foot toboggan shoot onto the frozen Mirror Lake, ice skate at either location, go dog sledding, and do just about any other winter weather activity you can imagine.
Jackson Hole, WY
A famous vacation destination, Jackson Hole is home to the town of Jackson and is well known for its skiing as it’s surrounded by mountain ranges. But this remote valley offers more than just hitting the powdered slopes. Wyoming is also known for its geothermal activity, and you can bathe in two nearby hot springs: Granite and Astoria. However, you’ll need to work a bit to get to the former as it’s only accessible by snowmobile, snowshoeing, or dogsled.
And speaking of snowshoeing, the best area to do so is the trails of Grand Teton National Park. You can join in on a walking tour to learn the ropes and see some of the wildlife, like bison and bighorn sheep. Just take care to keep your distance. And if you don’t feel like dragging your feet through the snow, hitch a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh around the National Elk Refuge. There’s also the option to tackle both during the Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge Winter Wonderland Full Day Adventure tour (talk about a mouthful).
If you’re a true ski-lover looking for a slope-filled getaway within the states, then Colorado is the place to be, specifically Vail. Argued as one of the finest resort destinations in the world, Vail offers breathtaking scenery, with thousands of trails of world-renowned skiing, shopping, dining, and high-class lodgings.
Take in the scenery via horseback, on the adrenaline-pumping Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, or with a relaxing gondola ride. And if you’d rather travel by foot, there are plenty of hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing opportunities. Then, take in the town by checking out the spa, enjoying hundreds of shops and art galleries, or visiting the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame.
Go big or go home—Switzerland is a winter wonderland for those with a less strict budget who don’t mind the cold. Famous for more than just its hot coca, the country is full of gorgeous mountain views and top-tier ski resorts. Though prices range across resorts, you’ll find some of the best along the Swiss Alps. And while we can’t cover them all (there are hundreds), a few notable locations to consider include:
- Zermatt, home to the iconic Matterhorn peak, features a family-friendly vibe with terrain for all levels.
- Verbier, named Switzerland’s Best Ski Resort in 2022, is a hotspot for expert skiers and off-piste skiing.
- St. Moritz, twice host of the Winter Olympics, is a famous winter sports village with about 220 miles of ski runs, an outdoor ice rink, and the Cresta—a natural-ice bobsled run.
- and Davos-Klosters-Serneus, one of the area’s largest winter sports playscapes, is known as a destination for celebrities and royalty.
There’s far more to the Alps than winter sports, though. If hitting the slopes isn’t your thing, you can enjoy a spa day and a hot soak at Leukerbad’s thermal springs, hike the picturesque trails at Grindelwald, or dine “on top of the world” at a famous revolving restaurant in Saas-Fee. And if you want to get away from the mountains, Switzerland offers plenty inland, too.
If you’d much rather escape the snow and bitter cold, hit up beautiful Charleston on the East Coast. South Carolina is full of southern charm and features mild winters. While you might see some snow flurries, you most likely won’t need to bundle up. You’ll still want to pack a jacket, though. Think northern springtime temperatures between mid-40 to 60 degrees.
Winter means oyster season in the Holy City, so you can get a taste at several well-known joints in the area. Outside peak season, you’ll also get to enjoy quieter walking tours, shopping, and beaches. It might not be swimming weather, but you can still catch some rays and stroll the shore. Plus, Charleston hosts seasonal Wine Festivals, where some of the best wineries around gather to show off their vintages.
New Orleans, LA
Winter is a great time to go if you’ve always wanted to visit the bayous of New Orleans. With cooler temperatures, you can avoid the oppressive humidity of summer, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy a hot serving of gumbo and try some chicory blended coffee.
Like, Charleston, any month with “R” is also the prime-time oyster season in Louisiana. Grab a bit of this local delicacy and other super fresh seafood. Explore the historic French Quarter, shop along Magazine Street with a drink in hand, and sample some delectable southern desserts. Don’t forget to try king cake for Mardi Gras season. If you can, make a point to visit up to two weeks before Fat Tuesday so you can join in the main Mardi Gras festivities. The date changes each year, though, so you’ll have to pay attention.
Palm Springs, CA
For another local getaway with warm weather, Palm Springs offers average winter temperatures in the 70s. Even though it’s a desert city, Palm Springs’ weather is far from unbearable from January through April. While lounging by the pool is always an option, some of the city’s most popular activities include:
- Biking – you can find bike paths and rentals aplenty throughout the city. And in February, there’s the Tour de Palm Springs fundraiser group ride.
- Checking out the art scene – Palm Springs is full of art galleries and the diverse Palm Springs Art Museum. Plus, there’s the acclaimed Fine Arts Fair in February, which features hundreds of exhibits.
- Playing footgolf – we hadn’t heard of this unique game before, but it’s a rising sport that combines soccer and golf. It has a closer resemblance to golf in terms of dress code and etiquette.
- Attending the Palm Springs International Film Festival – this event takes place in early January, and hosts screenings. There’s also a gala, and awards show, among other events. Keep your eyes peeled, and you might just spot a celebrity or two while out and about.
Not only the opposite end of the world but also another hemisphere. If you’re looking for the ultimate winter getaway, then you’re in luck. United States winter is Australia’s summer. December through February are the continent’s hottest months and March is the start of fall. Certain attractions may be limited this time of year due to extreme temperatures or flood risks during the rainy season. However, there are still tons of activities to choose from, especially in the southern part of the country.
Trade your snowboard for a surfboard to partake in Sydney’s most-known activity, or dive deeper and snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Summertime is the nesting season for sea turtles. So you might get lucky and spot some along the southern part of the reef. You can also swim with sea lions, dolphins, or great white sharks in the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. Or experience the annual crab migration at Christmas Island, off the western coast. If you’re a food lover, you have to hop on over to Kangaroo Island or Coffin Bay for some fresh seafood. You’ll get to see kangaroos while you’re at it, as well as other local wildlife. You can also catch the penguin parade each dusk on Phillip Island in Victoria, AU.
No matter where you plan to go, tropical or snowy, a winter vacation is a great way to get out of the house and catch a deal. And if you happen to fall in love with the place you visit, who can blame you if you decide to buy or rent a getaway home? In fact, we can help if you do.
Prime offers convenient self storage across the US. In addition, many of our facilities can provide boxes and other packing supplies, store your belongings for a move in one of our several storage unit sizes, or provide vehicle storage if you need a place to keep your boat or other toys at your home away from home. So, turn your vacation into an investment, and see if there’s a Prime Storage near you today!