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8 Winter Destinations That Make Cold Weather Cool

When I think of getting away, the thing I most want to escape is the cold weather.

But what if you enjoy winter? What if winter sports are totally your jam? Maybe your perfect idea of winter is hopping in a hot tub while snow falls gently overhead. (Ok, that doesn’t sound so bad.)

If you’re ready to fully embrace winter, and you’re not afraid of a road trip, then stick around. This list is most definitely for you.

Hocking Hills

via Facebook

For those who want to get away, but not too far away, Hocking Hills is a great place to spend a winter weekend. You can rent an epic cabin and hop in the hot tub or book a stay at Glenlaurel Inn where you can be pampered and relaxed with in-room spa services. Head out for a winter hike to see some incredible frozen waterfalls or go stargazing at John Glenn Astronomy Park.

Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago is one of my favorite ways to spend a winter weekend. For one thing, there aren’t nearly as many tourists, so you can explore without all those pesky people getting in your way. Hello, uninterrupted Bean photo! Grab some grub, go curling on the roof of a hotel, or strap on some ice skates and hit Millenium Park. Just be sure to bundle up. It may not have been nicknamed the windy city for its weather, but it is cold and windy!

Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia

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Itching to carve down the side of a mountain but heading out to the Rockies isn’t quite in the budget? How about something a little closer to home. Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia is the definition of a winter playground, with skiing, snowboarding, tubing, an epic heated pool, snowmobile tours, and more. I know all of that sounds like it will cost you, but they have some pretty affordable packages.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Frozen waterfall
Photo by Chelsea Wiley

Having been in Gatlinburg in the snow, I can tell you, it’s a magical place to curl up and read a good book. Even if you don’t plan on hitting the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg, you should definitely hop on the aerial tram for an awesome view of the Smokey Mountains as you make your ascent. Gatlinburg has tons of family-friendly activities to take part in, like the Mysterious Mansion and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

If you’re traveling without the kiddos, you can get a real taste for the Smokies by throwing back some moonshine at one of the distilleries in town! That’ll warm you up. If you’re looking for an easier hike in the winter weather, I can’t recommend Cataract Falls enough. The trail is gentle, well marked, and it leads to a waterfall that’s truly hard to grasp the size of until you’re in front of it for yourself!

Louisville, Kentucky

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There’s no better place to spend a blustery, winter day than Louisville. That’s because you can warm yourself up pretty dang quickly on a Bourbon Tour by Mint Julep Tours. The tours include stops at Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Barton 1792, Lux Row, and Stitzel-Weller (Bulleit). If you’re feeling adventurous, it would be criminal to skip out on the Louisville Mega Cavern. You can zipline through the massive cave system or take a shot at the underground aerial ropes challenge course. The cavern does close for government-issued weather warnings, so be sure to double-check just how “wintery” it is outside before you book.

Deep Creek, Maryland

wisp ski resort maryland
via Facebook

If your idea of a winter escape involves pristine snow-covered landscapes and charming cabins, Deep Creek, Maryland, is the perfect destination for you. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Deep Creek offers a picturesque winter wonderland. You can unwind in cozy cabins, enjoy the warmth of a crackling fireplace, and take in the breathtaking scenery. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are opportunities to get up close and personal with the mountains at Wisp Resort. From an Alpine Coaster to skiing and snowboarding to tubing, there’s a lot of fun waiting for you in the mountains.

Niagara Falls, NY

via Niagara Falls State Park

It’s hard to imagine something as powerful as Niagara Falls freezing over, but when it does, it’s absolutely breathtaking. Since it’s not exactly boat tour weather, you may be wondering what else there is to do. Highlights of the winter itinerary include hitting up the Niagara Wine Trail, grabbing some authentic Buffalo Wings at Anchor Bar, or popping over to the casino for a fun night of cards, dice, and slots. Responsibly, of course.

Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario

snowboarding blue mountain resort ontario
via Facebook

For an international winter getaway that combines thrilling outdoor activities with a touch of luxury, look no further than Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario. This premier destination offers a variety of winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding on well-groomed slopes. After a day on the mountain, indulge in après-ski relaxation at the resort’s spa or savor delicious cuisine at one of the on-site restaurants. Blue Mountain Resort is not just a winter sports haven; it’s a complete retreat where you can enjoy the beauty of the snow-covered landscape while experiencing the best in comfort and hospitality.

Featured image via Facebook.