Winter holidays typically inspire travel. Whether you want to escape “old man” winter, or embrace the joys of a winter wonderland, here are some suggestions for your winter travel.
SNOWBOUND – DOMESTIC
If you love a white Christmas, then you’ll love these destinations.
Midwest – Come brave the winter “hawk” of the Midwest. The “hawk” is that gusty wind from Canada that makes the Midwest feel like the Arctic. It’s why Chicago is known as the “Windy City.” Layer up and prepare for fun in the elements.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – Covered in snow, this locale is picturesque. It has long been a favorite spot for Chicagoans who want to enjoy Mother Nature without hours of travel or airport delays. Take out your cross country skis and snow shoes. Better yet, throw on extra thermals and zip line in the snow.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin – Wisconsin Dells will bring out the kid in you. Have a snowball fight then head inside to a heated indoor amusement park to get your roller coaster and water slide on. Later, channel your inner X Games athlete as you snow board or snow mobile through Lake Dells. It’s the best of summer and winter all in one!
Mackinac Island, Michigan – Mackinac Island is the Catalina Island of the Midwest. No motorized vehicles allowed, so you take a step back in time. The island’s tourism bureau describes the experience adequately, “Rugged outdoor activities, breathtaking coastal views, carriage tours, and horseback riding are just a few pieces of the puzzle that make Mackinac Island a popular, all encompassing travel destination.” Mackinac is quaint, charming, and a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.
East – There is nothing more nostalgic than a New England Christmas.
Vermont – Bing Crosby’s “A White Christmas” has solidified Vermont as winter Americana. Stowe holds the reputation as the spot, but I would not pass up smaller venues for a taste of charm.
Niantic, Connecticut – For that quaint romantic place to pop the question Christmas or New Year’s Eve, head to The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina. Snow covers the harbor and grounds like a Currier & Ives postcard. Oh this is relaxation at its best.
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West – Celebrities and Sundance, need I say more?
Colorado – Aspen, Vail and Steamboat have long been the playground for the rich and famous to play in the snow. Whether you’re shopping, skiing, or trying to be seen – this is the scene!
Montana – You’re shaking your head, but wait… A friend tipped me off to its raw beauty that mimics the Northern Lights. Commune with nature and test your Bear Grylls survival skills in this untamed yet beautiful landscape. Montana is peaceful, serene, scenic, and a survivalists dream.
SNOWBOUND – INTERNATIONAL
European Christmas markets harken back to Reginald Owen’s black and white version of “A Christmas Carol.” The locations below are perfect in that they are big cities for night life and sightseeing, yet within hours of the slopes. The past and present meet in these ancient but modern cities. C’est la vie!
Prague – Art, architecture, food and drink (with real beer hops as varied as wine grapes) are but a few reasons to visit, garnering it the moniker “Paris of the East” but better. Prague’s rich history is the true gem. It remained undamaged by the ravages of WWI and WWII. A sight of awe for architect and history buffs where Baroque, Romanesque, and Gothic structures stand side by side. The splendor of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge blanketed by snow under moonlight = romance in a bottle!
Strasbourg – Joyeux Noel! The French know how to enjoy life. This stunner will not disappoint.
Vienna – The hills are alive with the sound of music! Learn to waltz and downhill ski in this jewel of architecture.
Frankfurt – A real German Christmas is a sight of wonder. Smell roasted nuts. Taste the Glühwein (warm mulled wine perfect on a nippy day). See craftsmanship in hand-carved wooden nativities and gifts.
BEACH BOUND – DOMESTIC
East – New Yorkers and other residents along the Eastern Seaboard are very fortunate because a flight south to Miami or the Keys is less than a few hours and easy on the wallet. White sand, nightlife, and drinks abound. Miami or Ft. Lauderdale if it is pleasure you seek. For relaxation, the Keys will bring out your inner Jimmy Buffett.
West– The Obama and Smith (Will/Jada) families have long called the Big Island home for the holidays. Hawaii is a great place to learn how to surf, take in a pig roast, or get your hula on. Better yet, take it down a thousand and join the locals beach side for spam sushi – a favorite!
BEACH BOUND – INTERNATIONAL
The Caribbean and South America islands are wonderful and a reasonable flight from the east coast. Work on your tan, language skills or get eco-friendly by zip lining through the Amazon or along Jamaica’s Great River.
Whether you are packing your ski boots or swimming trunks, be kind to the locals and have a drink for me. Bon Voyage and Safe Return!