Illinois Tourism & Travel

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8 Winter Vacation Destinations Our Travel Experts Love

No matter whether you embrace the cold or prefer to abscond to warmer locales, TravelAwaits has rounded up some superb winter destinations for you. In which did we get these incredible winter vacation ideas? From our qualified journey writers, of study course! Find their preferred areas to travel all through the colder months — from winter season wonderlands to solar-drenched escapes — below.

Sunset on the mountain best in Bergen, Norway (Photograph Credit rating: Tatyana Vyc / Shutterstock.com)

1. Bergen, Norway

“Bergen, on Norway’s southwest coast, is a chilly and snowy wonderland in winter,” TravelAwaits’ individual glamourous globetrotting granny, Inka Piegsa-Quischotte, tells us. She visitied Bergen, 1 of Northern Europe’s oldest port cities, a handful of Christmases ago. “Norway’s 2nd-largest city does not really feel like a metropolis at all,” she says. “It’s substantially more like a small town, surrounded by mountains and seven fjords. Among them is Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway.”

Bryggen, the historic harbor district in Bergen, is a UNESCO Earth Heritage Internet site which influenced the style and design of the town of Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen. In Bergen, Piegsa-Quischotte implies checking out the Hanseatic Wharf, the fish market, and Troldhaugen, the dwelling of composer Edvard Grieg. “Enjoy the colourful wood homes,” she suggests, “there is even a Viking village close by to evoke the earlier.”

“Take the Fløibanen funicular up the mountain of the identical title and strike the obviously indicated slopes,” Piegsa-Quischotte suggests. “Another winter experience is a journey with the Flåmsbana, a educate that operates by way of two tunnels, past the snow-coated mountainsides and frozen waterfalls.”

An Elk in the snow
Elk in the snow (Image Credit rating: Take a look at Clearfield County)

2. Clearfield County, Pennsylvania

“Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, is the perfect preference for a laidback wintertime family vacation,” asserts our freelance writer Robin O’Neal Smith. The self-proclaimed “young Little one Boomer” endorses experiencing straightforward aged-fashioned out of doors recreational activities these as snowshoeing and ice-skating at Parker Dam. “Or, try some cross-state skiing or sledding,” she implies. “Remember how enjoyment that was as a kid?” Smith asks. She also implies leasing “snowmobiles for some interesting out of doors fun at S.B. Elliott Point out Park in the coronary heart of the Moshannon Condition Forest.

“Viewing the majestic elk in the snow is a wonderful sight. Northern Clearfield County has a herd of close to 300 elk roaming the space,” states Smith. “Visit Clearfield County’s website to locate the very best locations to watch elk in the county.

“Soak in a heat hot tub after your outside pleasurable at the Most effective Western Additionally in Clearfield or the Ease and comfort Suites in Dubois,” Smith implies. “If you work up an appetite when outside, check out Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub. They have a huge menu with some thing to suit just about every flavor, even a two-pound burger big enough to feed numerous individuals.

“While in the region, make certain you pay a visit to Doolittle Station,” advises Smith. “Tour a car or truck from a circus teach, and one applied by President Teddy Roosevelt as he traveled throughout the region. Consume in an authentic dining car or truck and additional. Examine out the animated creatures at Doolittles Dinosaurs. You can even experience one of the animated beasts and truly feel like you are element of a Jurassic Park movie.”

Sunset at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain property
Sunset at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain assets (Photograph Credit: Peggy Cleveland)

3. Marana, Arizona

Dependent in the Pacific Northwest, TravelAwaits author Peggy Cleveland likes to dangle out in Marana, Arizona, all through the winter season, specifically at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. “This oasis in the desert is just amazing, with beautiful organic surroundings bordering the vacation resort and climbing trails accessed from the lodge. Discovering the space in the early morning and then expending the afternoon by the pool sipping a handcrafted cocktail is a fantastic working day,” Cleveland tells us.

snow-covered Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe Plaza (Picture Credit history: New Mexico Correct)

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

“If you crave chilly, snowy wintertime climate, but want to be ready to go away it behind when you’re performed, then Santa Fe, New Mexico, is your winter vacation place!” exclaims professional contributor Sage Scott. “Ski Santa Fe offers snowboarding and snowboarding just a 30-moment generate up the mountain from the Santa Fe Plaza downtown. Whether or not you tear down double-black-diamond trails like an Olympic athlete or want to adhere to the bunny slope, Santa Fe’s 283 days of sunshine for each yr and high-altitude place make most times on the slopes feel like spring snowboarding, even for the duration of the peak of wintertime. And when the ski lifts close for the working day, leave cooler temps and snow powering by heading back again down the mountain to the coronary heart of New Mexico’s capital town.”

Scott claims Sante Fe ordinarily sees no much more than two inches of snowfall a thirty day period in the course of the winter and the times are approximately generally previously mentioned freezing. Preparing on traveling to Santa Fe above the holidays? Never miss out on these magical experiences.

Snorkeling paradise Hanauma bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Snorkeling paradise Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii (Photograph Credit history: Juancat / Shutterstock.com)

5. Oahu, Hawaii

Award-profitable author Vanessa Chiasson’s favourite winter vacation spot is Hawaii. “I know, not wildly unique, ideal?” she quips. “But to comprehend why I love it so significantly (it’s not just the mai tais!), it allows to know the context of my initial stop by,” she points out. “Way again in 2010, I did a small favor for a buddy, a favor she appreciated even additional than I understood. She worked for an airline and she tucked a established of close friends-and-relatives standby passes in a thank you card for me. By coincidence, my spouse and I the two had a 7 days of vacation coming up. There is no larger pleasure than the second you comprehend your perform-absolutely free 7 days in February now comes with some aircraft tickets! We selected the furthest desired destination these tickets would get us and the winner was the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

“To say that I fell head around heels in adore would be an understatement. The minute I stepped off the aircraft and into the open up-air terminal, I understood I was a goner. In the times that followed, I explored the island’s coffee farms, art galleries, museums, trails, and — sure — the seashores and the mai tais. It was each and every little bit as excellent as I dreamed it would be,” she remembers. “I’ve given that returned a number of periods but nothing at all will examine to the gentle sunny breeze I felt in those people to start with handful of times.”

Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel sunset (Picture Credit rating: Carol Colborn)

6. Cozumel, Mexico

Travel blogger Carol Colborn tells us how she and her spouse finished up expending their winters south of the border. “One December, our timeshare corporation wrote us that we had a stability of factors we had to use in advance of December 31,” claims Colburn. “It was timely — the Phoenix space, exactly where we experienced just preferred to settle, was receiving as well cold for us, with maximum temperatures of 65 degrees every working day. The good news is, there was a a single-bed room unit out there at La Ceiba in Cozumel, Mexico, wherever temperatures have been 12 degrees warmer. We booked the required three weeks.

“Winter in the Caribbean turned out to be the finest of our travel suggestions,” Colborn proclaims. “Those 3 weeks grew to become hours at the shorelines and swimming pools, Jeep tours all-around the island, excursions to Chankanaab (Cozumel´s Countrywide Reef Maritime Park) and tequila factories, day trips to San Miguel, the money, and Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Puerto Morelos reverse the Yucatan Channel, and beautiful sunsets at the stop of each individual day. We ended up signing for the exact same Mexican winter season working experience, all-inclusive, each and every calendar year for the next 15 many years!” Colburn exclaims.

Mazatlan sunset
Mazatlan sunset (Photo Credit rating: Travel and Pictures by Ivan / Shutterstock.com)

7. Mazatlan, Mexico

“Would you think that we, Phoenix citizens, constantly go down to Mexico during winter season?” Colburn quips. “Yes, the desert nonetheless receives as well chilly for us with common highs at beneath 70 degrees,” she suggests. “Aside from the Yucatan Peninsula, we love driving to Mazatlan (15 hrs) and staying there for 3 months, from January to March, where it is 10 degrees hotter. We want to be in a position to nevertheless enjoy soaking in the water, whether or not at the vacation resort infinity swimming pools or the seashores.

“It’s also the time to stock up on home staples and they are all so considerably extra inexpensive there, so we fill the auto with the essentials we want. Ultimately, this is our once-a-year break from cooking and cleaning,” she states. “We go all-inclusive (at an reasonably priced cost) of most loved Mexican and international dishes, in particular seafood. Right after all, Mazatlan is the ‘Shrimp Money of the World’! Fish is also abundant. We throw in plenty of tropical fruits, much too, like pineapples, avocados, and mangoes.”

Sunset along Sandy Beach in Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point)
Sunset alongside Sandy Seashore in Puerto Penasco, aka Rocky Point (Image Credit score: Cindy Barks)

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

“A beautiful Sea of Cortez spot and a charming fishing-village environment have combined to make Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Level) in Sonora, Mexico a longtime beloved getaway for my household in the wintertime — and definitely, in every single time,” remarks Arizona-primarily based newspaper reporter and vacation author Cindy Barks. “The mid-sized beach front city is located about an hour previous the U.S./Sonora, Mexico border, generating it a relatively brief push for much of Arizona,” she tells us. “Over the decades, my relatives has gathered in Puerto Penasco for exciting spring breaks, laidback tumble holidays, and perhaps my preferred — winter season trips, when the beach locations are uncrowded, the times are sunny and warm, and the evenings are amazing.

“For me, the great winter season beach front working day involves a taco lunch of contemporary-from-the-sea shrimp at one of Rocky Point’s road-side taco stands, an afternoon invested browsing the quirky shops in the Aged Port area, and an evening stroll along Sandy Beach to get in an epic Sea of Cortez sunset,” Barks describes. “My visits have spanned about 3 decades, and even while Puerto Penasco has developed from a small village recognized largely for its fleet of shrimp boats to a regional tourist draw, I imagine it has retained its rustic charm. It has now been approximately 2 several years considering that I’ve built it throughout the border, but the seaside outpost of Rocky Position is never ever much from my mind.”