8 winter vacation destinations our travel experts love

Whether you embrace the cold or prefer to run away to warmer places, The journey awaits you has put together some wonderful winter destinations for you. Where did we find these fabulous winter travel ideas? From our expert travel editors, of course! Find their favorite places to travel during the colder months – from winter wonderland to sunny getaways – below.

Sunset atop a mountain in Bergen, Norway (Photo credit: Tatyana Vyc / Shutterstock.com)

1. Bergen, Norway

“Bergen, on the southwest coast of Norway, is a cold and snowy winter wonderland” TravelAwait ‘ tells us her own glamorous globe-trotting grandmother, Inka Piegsa-Quischotte. She visited Bergen, one of the oldest port cities in Northern Europe, a few Christmases ago. “Norway’s second largest city doesn’t look like a city at all,” she says. “It looks a lot more like a small town, surrounded by mountains and seven fjords. Among them is the Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway.

Bryggen, the historic port district of Bergen, is a Unesco World Heritage which inspired the design of the town of Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen. In Bergen, Piegsa-Quischotte offers to visit the Hanseatic quay, the fish market, and Troldhaugen, the home of composer Edvard Grieg. “Enjoy the colorful wooden houses”, she says, “there is even a Viking village nearby to evoke the past”.

“Take the Fløibanen funicular to the mountain of the same name and down the clearly marked slopes, ”suggests Piegsa-Quischotte. “Another winter adventure is a trip with the Flåmsbana, a train that passes through two tunnels, passes snow-capped mountains and frozen waterfalls.

A moose in the snow
Elk in the snow (Photo credit: visit Clearfield County)

2. Clearfield County, Pennsylvania

“Clearfield County, Pennsylvania is the perfect choice for a laid back winter vacation,” says freelance writer Robin O’Neal Smith. The self-proclaimed “young baby boomer” recommends enjoying simple old-fashioned outdoor recreational activities such as snowshoeing and ice skating at Parker Dam. “Or try cross-country skiing or sledding,” she suggests. “Do you remember how much fun it was when you were a kid?” Smith asks. She also suggests renting “snowmobiles for outdoor fun at SB Elliott State Park in the heart of Moshannon State Forest.”

“To see the majestic moose in the snow is a magnificent sight. Northern Clearfield County has a herd of about 300 elk roaming the area, ”says Smith. “Visit Clearfield County Website to find the best places to see elk in the county.

“Immerse yourself in a hot whirlpool after your outdoor fun at the Best Western Plus in Clearfield or the Comfort Suites to Dubois, ”suggests Smith. “If you whet your appetite outside, visit Denny’s Beer Bar. They have a huge menu with something to suit every taste, even a two pound burger big enough to feed multiple people.

“When you are in the area, be sure to visit Doolittle StationSmith advises. “Visit a car from a circus train, and the one used by President Teddy Roosevelt as he traveled across the country. Eat in an authentic dining car and more. Discover the animated creatures of Doolittles Dinosaurs. You can even ride one of the animated beasts and feel like you’re part of a jurassic park movie.”

Sunset at the Ritz-Carlton, owned by Dove Mountain
Sunset at the Ritz-Carlton, owned by Dove Mountain (Photo credit: Peggy Cleveland)

3. Marana, Arizona

Based in the Pacific Northwest, The journey awaits you writer Peggy Cleveland enjoys spending time in Marana, Arizona during the winter, especially at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. “This desert oasis is simply beautiful, with beautiful natural landscapes surrounding the resort and hiking trails accessible from the hotel. Exploring the area in the morning and then spending the afternoon by the pool sipping an artisan cocktail is a perfect day, ”Cleveland tells us.

Plaza de Santa Fe covered in snow
Plaza de Santa Fe (Photo credit: New Mexico TRUE)

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

“If you fancy a cold, snowy winter, but want to be able to leave it behind when you’re done, then Santa Fe, New Mexico is your winter vacation destination!” exclaims expert contributor Sage Scott. “Skiing in Santa Fe offers skiing and snowboarding just a 30-minute drive up the mountain from downtown Santa Fe Plaza. Whether you hurtle down double black diamond trails like an Olympian or prefer to stick with the rabbit slope, Santa Fe’s 283 days of sun a year and its high altitude location make most days on the slopes. slopes look like spring skiing even during the peak of winter. And when the ski lifts close for the day, leave the cooler temperatures and snow behind as you descend the mountain into the heart of New Mexico’s capital.

Scott says Sante Fe typically doesn’t see more than two inches of snow per month in the winter, and the days are almost always above zero. Planning to visit Santa Fe while on vacation? Don’t miss these magical experiences.

Snorkeling Paradise in Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Snorkeling Paradise Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii (Photo credit: Juancat / Shutterstock.com)

5. Oahu, Hawaii

Award-winning writer Vanessa Chiasson’s favorite winter destination is Hawaii. “I know, not very original, right? She jokes. “But to understand why I like it so much (it’s not just the May Silences!), It helps to know the context of my first visit,” she explains. “In 2010, I did a friend a little favor, a service she appreciated even more than I thought. She worked for an airline and put a set of friends and family passes into a thank you card for me. Coincidentally, my husband and I both had a week’s vacation ahead. There is no greater excitement than the moment you realize that your week without work in February now comes with plane tickets! We picked the farthest destination these tickets would take us to and the winner was the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

“To say that I fell head over heels in love would be an understatement. The minute I got off the plane and walked into the open-air terminal, I knew I was lost. In the days that followed, I explored the island’s coffee plantations, art galleries, museums, trails and, yes, beaches and mansions. It was just as wonderful as I had dreamed it would be, ”she recalls. “I’ve been back several times since, but nothing compares to the gentle sunny breeze I felt during those first few moments.”

Cozumel, Mexico
Sunset in Cozumel (Photo credit: Carol Colborn)

6. Cozumel, Mexico

Travel blogger Carol Colborn tells us how she and her husband ended up spending their winters south of the border. “One December our timeshare company wrote to us that we had a point balance that we had to use by December 31,” says Colburn. “It was the moment: the Phoenix area, where we had just chosen to settle, was getting too cold for us, with high temperatures of 65 degrees each day. Fortunately, there was a one-bedroom unit available at La Ceiba in Cozumel, Mexico, where the temperatures were 12 degrees warmer. We have booked the three mandatory weeks.

“Winter in the Caribbean turned out to be the best of our travel ideas,” says Colborn. “These three weeks have turned into hours on the beaches and swimming pools, jeep tours around the island, trips to Chankanaab (Cozumel Reef National Marine Park) and tequila factories, day trips to San Miguel, the capital, and Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Puerto Morelos across from the Yucatan Canal, and sunsets exquisite at the end of each day. We ended up signing up for the same Mexican winter experience, all inclusive, every year for the next 15 years! Exclaims Colburn.

Sunset in Mazatlán
Sunset in Mazatlan (Photo credit: Travel and Photos by Ivan / Shutterstock.com)

7. Mazatlán, Mexico

“Did you think we Phoenix residents always go down to Mexico during the winter? Colburn jokes. “Yes, the desert is still getting too cold for us with average temperatures below 70 degrees,” she says. “Aside from the Yucatan Peninsula, we love to drive to Mazatlan (3pm) and stay there for 3 months, from January to March, where it’s 10 degrees warmer. We want to always be able to enjoy immersion in water, whether in the resort’s infinity pools or on the beaches.

“It’s also a time to stock up on basic household items and they’re all so much cheaper out there, so we fill the car with the essentials we need. Finally, it’s our annual break between cooking and cleaning, ”she says. “We offer an all-inclusive package (at an affordable price) of favorite Mexican and international dishes, especially seafood. After all, Mazatlan is the ‘shrimp capital of the world’! Fish is also plentiful. We also add a lot of tropical fruits, like pineapples, avocados and mangoes. “

Sunset along the sandy beach of Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point)
Sunset along the sandy beach of Puerto Penasco, aka Rocky Point (Photo credit: Cindy Barks)

8. Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point), Sonora, Mexico

“A beautiful location by the Sea of ​​Cortez and a charming fishing village atmosphere combined to make Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point) in Sonora, Mexico a longtime favorite getaway for my family in the winter – and truly , all year round, ”notes Arizona Cindy Barks, newspaper reporter and travel writer. “The mid-sized beach town is located about an hour past the US-Sonora border in Mexico, making it a fairly quick commute to much of Arizona,” she tells us. . “Over the years my family have gathered in Puerto Penasco for a fun spring break, laid back fall break and maybe my favorite winter trips, when the beaches are deserted, the days sunny and warm. and cool nights.

“For me, the perfect winter day at the beach includes a lunch of freshly caught shrimp tacos at one of Rocky Point’s taco stands, an afternoon spent browsing the quirky shops of the Old Port district. and an evening stroll along Sandy Beach to watch an epic sunset over the Sea of ​​Cortez, ”describes Barks. “My tours lasted for about three decades, and although Puerto Penasco has grown from a small village known primarily for its shrimp fleet to a regional tourist draw, I think it has retained its rustic charm. It’s been almost 2 years now since I crossed the border, but the Rocky Point Beach Outpost is never far from my mind.

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