When you think of the best winter vacations, chances are your brain starts churning out epic ideas like skiing famous Swiss peaks in St. Moritz, Zermatt, and Matterhorn; trekking Patagonia’s glacial tunnels and craggy mountains; or chasing the northern lights across Scandinavia. But there’s a ton of adventure to be had closer to home—so close, you might not even need to book a flight.
That doesn’t just mean strapping on your skis at your local mountain. You can try winter surfing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, airboarding in Scranton, PA, and ice biking in Buffalo, NY. And, of course, there’s plenty of skiing to be had, too.
This season, head to one of the 50 best winter vacations that are relatively easy to get to while whisking you away. From the Canadian wilderness all the way down to the mountains of Arizona, these are the best snowy destinations to get your thrills in three days or less.
50 Best Winter Vacations in the U.S. and Canada
1. Alta, Utah
Why go: If you’re a diehard skier who hates sharing the slopes with snowboarders, Alta is your spot. The ski resort has banned snowboarding since the sport was invented, leaving all 2,200 acres of fresh, fluffy powder to you and your sticks. Every level is welcome, with 25 percent of the ski area available for beginners, 40 percent for intermediate skiers, and 35 percent for experts. Plus, Alta teamed up with Snowbird Ski Resort for access to double the terrain. Most importantly, it’s an easy, 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City International Airport, which means getting there from most major cities is easy breezy. Oh, and Utah’s Cottonwood Canyons are one of the snowiest places in the world.
Where to stay: Rebuilt a few years ago on its original 1941 site, the Snowpine Lodge offers 78 rooms with ski-in/ski-out access to the area’s 500 feet of pristine annual snowfall.
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