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Kinga Philipps exposes the different sides and issues associated to this popular ski resort destination.
schegi/ iStock/ Thinkstock
schegi/ iStock/ Thinkstock

Bundle Up and Venture Out

Whether you like to embrace the season by hitting the ski slopes or escape it by heading off to someplace tropical, winter can be a great time to travel. You may even find fewer crowds and cheaper flights. But if you choose a cold-weather destination, you’ll need a good coat, hat, gloves and scarf!

Get Inspired

Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort - Lake Tahoe
Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort

Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort

Hit the slopes at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort. With 65 trails, and 121 miles of skiable terrain, the property is the largest cross-country ski resort in all of North America. Find it in Soda Springs, CA, roughly 45 minutes from Lake Tahoe. 960 1280

Daphne Hougard  

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa

For a little gambling fun, head to MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. Nestled on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe, the resort doubles as a casino and health spa, where you can indulge in saunas, whirlpools and eucalyptus steam rooms. The resort is also a great place to catch a live show. 960 1280

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa   

Paddle Boarding on Lake Tahoe

Paddle Boarding on Lake Tahoe

Come summer, rent a stand up paddleboard and paddle around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe. You’ll get in some good exercise: The lake is the 27th largest lake (by volume) in the world, with a perimeter that stretches 72 miles long. 960 1280

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Burger Me

Burger Me

Grab a burger and onion rings at Burger Me. This family-owned-and-operated burger joint in nearby Truckee, CA, serves everything fresh and made to order. Hearty options include the “Dirty Bird” (made with 5-oz. free-range chicken) and a good ole hamburger, except this one grass-fed, with no antibiotics. Fast food just got a little healthier. 960 1280

Larry Miller, flickr  

Hiking (Tahoe Rim Trail)

Hiking (Tahoe Rim Trail)

Lace up your boots for a hike along Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile-long hiking trail that forms a loop around Lake Tahoe. Other great hikes include Bayview Trail, a 4- to 5-mile-long trail for experienced hikers, southwest of Lake Tahoe; and Eagle Falls Trail, a family-friendly, 1.5-mile hike in Tahoma, CA, located right by Lake Tahoe. 960 1280

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Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

"It may seem counterintuitive to consider Iceland in winter, but hear us out. It's the off season and therefore surprisingly affordable. The mere 6 hours of daylight only up your chances of witnessing the majestic Northern Lights. And the 40-degree temps shouldn't stop you from taking a dip outside -- it's famous geothermal spa, the Blue Lagoon, offers mineral-rich waters averaging 100 degrees." -- Sara Gilliam, Senior Interactive Producer 960 1280

iStock  

Telluride, CO

Telluride, CO

"Most places in Colorado offer top-of-the-line skiing and first-class resorts -- Telluride is no different. However, for those who don't ski (like myself) and are still looking for a cozy winter getaway relaxing by a warm fire with a nice glass of scotch or a some hot apple cider, look no further then the Franz Klammer Lodge at the Fairmont Heritage Place. Boasting an impressive private spa, fire pits, an outdoor heated pool, several hot tubs and much more, this may just be the perfect place to keep warm in the cold face of winter." -- Ben Breslerman, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge   

Winter Park, CO

Winter Park, CO

"The epitome of cozy, the Zephyr Mountain Lodge is comprised of rustic condos situated right at the base of Winter Park Ski Resort and located mere feet from the lifts. With outdoor hottubs and plenty of fireplaces to gather around with a cup of cocoa, this resort is a perfect escape in the snow-covered mountains of Colorado. And as the gateway to the Winter Park Village, there's no shortage of things to do, from shopping to ice skating." -- Amanda DiGiondomenico, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Bryon & Olivia, flickr  

Hot Springs, MT

Hot Springs, MT

"Skip glamping, skip glowing posh fireplaces at cozy winter resorts, it’s time to get back to nature … and warm up naturally! This coming winter, I’ll be hot spring-hopping through Montana. Lots of hot springs dot the Big Sky winter landscape, and offer a welcome reprieve when temperatures plummet to 20 degrees … and below. On my list so far are Bozeman Hot Springs, White Sulphur Springs, Chico Hot Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Firehole River Swimming Area and Norris Hot Springs. Bring your bathing suit, no wetsuit needed." -- Lisa Singh, Interactive Producer 960 1280

iStock  

Quebec, Canada

Quebec, Canada

"If you're not afraid of a little cold, then Quebec City is a beautiful place to visit in winter. Last January, I visited this cozy (albeit bitter cold) Canadian city, during a blizzard no less, and even was convinced to spend a night in an ice hotel! While sleeping in an igloo might not sound so inviting, the historic area of Quebec City, surrounded by fortified city walls, is brimming with charming bistros and cafes, and super friendly french-speaking locals. Right outside the old city gates is an ice rink, worth at least one skate around in all your thermal layers." -- Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Kathleen Rellihan  

Beaver Creek, CO

Beaver Creek, CO

"For the quintessential ski village, my family chooses Beaver Creek, CO. Roughly 2 hours from Denver International Airport, the resort is large enough to cater to the entire family, especially young children – offering activities like Cookie Time, tubing, ski and snowboard lessons (ages 3-14) and a play school and nursery for the young ones (ages 2 months to 6 years)." -- Rani Robinson-Kiganda 960 1280

Jack Affleck  

Grand Marais, MN

Grand Marais, MN

"Grand Marais is the perfect winter getaway for those who enjoy outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. In addition to its quaint lodges, shops and pubs, this small town is a popular destination for spectators who come out to see mushers and their dog teams make the 400-mile trek along the Gunflint Trail for the annual John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Take the 2-hour drive from Duluth, MN, along the North Shore Scenic Route, to see amazing vistas overlooking Lake Superior." -- Kwin Mosby, Managing Producer 960 1280
New Paltz, NY

New Paltz, NY

"Steal away to Mohonk Mountain House, a stunning Victorian castle resort surrounded by more than 2,000 acres of natural beauty, nestled along the banks of Lake Mohonk in New York’s Hudson Valley. Bundle up and sip your morning coffee from one of the rocking chairs that line the resort’s many porches, skate into the sunset at the open-air skating pavilion, or drink in the house’s turn-of-the-century elegance as you cozy up in front of one of the many stone fireplaces." -- Allee Sangiolo, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Mohonk Mountain House  

Yosemite
Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California

The setting sun illuminates El Capitan monolith in frozen Yosemite National Park. A favorite for advanced rock climbers, "The Chief" is the world's largest solid granite block, rising an awe-inspiring 3,500 feet above the ground. 960 1280

Getty  

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

After an ice storm, freezing cold water continues to plummet an impressive 620 feet into the Columbia River. Visitors can take in the spectacular view from the Benson Bridge, built in 1914 for scenes like this one. 960 1280

Getty  

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Snow coats the ground around the Belgian Pool, a hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park. You can look, but don't get too close! Originally named Oyster Spring, the natural wonder was renamed after a Belgian visitor who fell into it in 1929 and suffered fatal thermal burns. 960 1280

Getty  

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

A snowy shot of Bryce Canyon's hoodoos, tall rock structures that form from water, wind and ice erosion. 960 1280

Getty  

St. Joseph Lighthouses, Michigan

St. Joseph Lighthouses, Michigan

The St. Joseph Lighthouses attempt to withstand the elements on frozen Lake Michigan. The 2 lighthouses were built in the early 1900s, and the outer light is one of the oldest on the lake.  960 1280

Getty  

Coyote Buttes, Arizona

Coyote Buttes, Arizona

Jack Frost puts an icy touch on "The Wave," an incredible sandstone rock formation in Coyote Buttes North, a section of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. In order to preserve the spectacular sight, only 20 hikers (with permits) per day are allowed to visit. 960 1280

Getty  

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

The sun rises over snow-clad Joshua trees in California's Mojave Desert. 960 1280

  

Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City

For those who check ski conditions on the daily, you don’t have to leave the country for world-class skiing. Get thee on a direct flight to Salt Lake City, and you’ll be minutes from Utah’s premier ski village of Park City. At the site of the 2002 Olympics, you’ll find black diamonds fit for the US ski team, which has made Park City its permanent home base. Stroll along the main street, and you’ll see that it’s not lacking in century-old buildings, twinkling lights or exceptional restaurants. 960 1280

Adam Barker  

Washington's Methow Valley

Washington's Methow Valley

Take ski-in/ski-out lodging to a new level and experience the European tradition of hut-to-hut skiing in northern Washington’s Methow Valley, near the US-Canadian border. For novices or those more familiar with its downhill sibling, cross-country skiing is a thrill in its own right, and Methow Valley is home to more than 125 miles of tranquil, well-marked trails. If indoor plumbing is a must after a long day on the trails, you may want to trade camping for other mountain accommodations, such as the Sun Mountain Lodge, where you won’t sacrifice the scenery or vast view of the stars. 960 1280

Ty Milford / Getty Images  

Bahamas

Bahamas

If blue skies and tan lines seem like a distant memory, a quick Caribbean vacation may be what you’re craving. Consider the Bahamas, a chain of more than 700 islands, cays and reefs, which will feel downright balmy compared with East Coast temps. This year-round island paradise just off the Florida coast is in its peak season, allowing you to choose to splurge on a luxurious resort with all the trappings at Atlantis Paradise Island or escape to one of the more remote Out Islands. 960 1280

Daniel Korzeniewski / iStock / Getty Images  

Miami

Miami

Every winter, the promise of sunny, 72-degree weather beckons visitors to Miami. Beyond the requisite Cuban sandwich in Little Havana, in Little Havana, foodies will find memorable cuisine at the annual, star-studded South Beach Wine and Food Festival. With high season in full swing, you’ll see many a scantily clad European spend the nights dining at 9 p.m. and traipsing along Ocean Drive and sleep the days away in cabanas or on a bed of soft, white sand — that is how Miami is meant to be enjoyed. 960 1280

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images  

New Orleans

New Orleans

There are good times to be had in New Orleans year-round, but things get kicked up a notch when Mardi Gras and college bowl games roll through town. Not that you need added reasons to visit — snacking on beignets at Café du Monde and listening to jazz on Bourbon Street should be reason enough to check into the elegant Hotel Mazarin in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images  

Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida

When you think of Orlando, you think of theme parks — and for good reason. It is home to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, each with myriad parks and resorts. Whether it’s a special parade or fireworks display over the holidays or a much-needed break from frozen temperatures back home, there are countless reasons why winter is an ideal time to visit. The period just after the holidays and before spring break is, in particular, the least crowded and will have the shortest lines.  960 1280

Songquan Deng / iStock / Getty Images  

Paris

Paris

While the chilly temps in Paris may keep throngs of tourists at bay, put on your rose-colored glasses and take advantage of cheaper rates for an extra-long-weekend stay — to make up for the travel time — at hotels such as the intimate (and conveniently located, near the Louvre) Hotel Relais Saint-Germain. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast over café au lait and a chocolate croissant (clichés for a reason) before strolling along the light-strung Champs-Elysees and taking advantage of the semiannual soldes, or sales. Longchamp or Hermès at 50% off, n’est-ce pas? 960 1280

Xavier Richer / Photononstop / Getty Images  

Phoenix/Scottsdale

Phoenix/Scottsdale

Sun worshippers, take heart; you’ll find your oasis in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Greater Phoenix area has earned the nickname “Valley of the Sun” honestly. Most come to hit the links, as the area is dotted with more than 200 golf courses. But the Desert Botanical Garden is another year-round highlight. Like a relic of the Wild West, Old Town Scottsdale lures tourists, but most visitors will value a relaxing stay filled with shopping, golfing and lounging at the spa. 960 1280

Brent Winebrenner / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

While chilly during the winter months, visitors will find Southern charm in spades in Savannah. The low-season prices also mean it’s a great time to splurge on a romantic Valentine’s stay at the Green Palm Inn. Indulge in comfort food, including cheesy grits, fried green tomatoes and Lowcountry cuisine, as well as cocktails. Thanks to lenient open-container laws, you can take that hot toddy to go as you stroll through the historic district downtown. 960 1280

Daniela Duncan / Moment / Getty Images  

Best Destinations for Winter

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