Many people are unable to take vacation in the summer time, either due to work issues or the fact that the kids are in year-round school and have a break that’s too short to work around. Many others prefer taking their vacation at other times of the year because the summer is either too hot, too crowded with other vacationers, or because they simply prefer winter sports. If you find yourself in a position of being able to take your vacation at a time other than during the summer, following are a few winter vacation destination ideas for you and your family.
Winter is the time for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, or just building a snowman. If you live in a southern area where snow is a rarity, you might enjoy taking your winter vacation to a place that receives a significant amount of snow and caters to winter sports enthusiasts. Colorado has more than twenty ski areas, but vacationers must understand that a ski area offers so much more than simply skiing. Aspen, Colorado is a historic mining town which has four separate ski areas, a quaint town with surprisingly great shopping, and restaurants that would rival any big city in variety and excellence. Aspen has also become the playground for the rich and famous, so for those who like star gazing, Aspen may be the place for you.
If you would rather avoid the sometimes crowded streets and slopes of a ski area, consider Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Glenwood Springs is not far from Aspen (less than two hours driving) and although it does not have a ski area, it offers ice skating opportunities, snowmobiling tours not far away, and of course the world famous hot springs. Glenwood Springs has a natural underground hot spring bubbling under the town. Today there is a giant pool for bathers with a water slide and spa. The water is like a Jacuzzi, but the pool is larger than two Olympic sized swimming pools. Most of the pool is very shallow, so people of any age can enjoy the heat, and the pool is open every day, regardless of weather.
New England also has winter playground areas. Sugarloaf, Maine, is known for producing Olympic skiers and snowboarders, but in addition to the super ski slopes, it is merely a quaint little New England town where the locals never change. While Maine offers much in the way of winter sports, few others states rival its cross-country skiing trails. Nordic skiers might ski for hours around the woodland trails of Maine; and the occasional moose sighting can be quite a thrill!
Another charming New England village is North Conway, New Hampshire. North Conway is home to the Cranmore ski area, which is a mid-sized, intermediate ski area that is very family friendly; but the thing for which North Conway is famous is its outlet shopping. Set in a beautiful valley, overlooked by famous Mount Washington, North Conway has several large outlet malls that have been built in the traditional New England architecture, so they aren’t displeasing to the eye. One doesn’t feel as though he is in mega-suburbia, but rather, in a tiny village that just happens to have great shopping. Outlets such as Reebok, Nike, L.L. Bean, Nautica and countless others will keep shoppers busy for days.
Of course, if your vacation falls in the winter time but you are still itching to get some warm weather and sunshine, you can always head south instead. Florida, the Bahamas, the entire Caribbean and of course, Mexico are delightful in the winter time. Even Southern California has fairly mild winter weather, as so southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southern Texas. Many a New Englanders and mid-westerners head to Florida when the winter snows descend, and Mexico is an easy retreat for those who live in the western part of the country. For the truly adventuresome, there is even Australia and New Zealand, which enjoy summer time while those of us in the northern hemisphere are having winter. The destinations are available; the question is, where do you want to go?
Just remember to plan ahead and to seek out vacations and activities that the whole family enjoys. Happy vacation!