Switch up your holiday itinerary this year with a winter vacation. There are many appealing things about traveling during the winter months: Popular attractions are devoid of summertime tourists, trains are less crowded and, of course, the scenery is amazing. Plains and prairies are blanketed with freshly fallen snow, and mountain peaks are dressed in their winter white. All of this paired with ice-encrusted rivers and frozen lakes make for some of the most incredible sights to behold. The best winter vacations highlight the beauty of the landscape while also capturing the spirit of the season.
Visit alpine towns chock-full of winter activities, such as Banff or Jasper in the Rocky Mountains of Canada or the resort cities of the Swiss Alps. In these destinations, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are among the most popular ways to savor the winter scenes. Ride a snow train from Chicago to San Francisco or Seattle for a look at the ever-changing vistas of winter as you travel between states. Take a train trip past the Arctic Circle to watch the Northern Lights play across the sky in places like Alaska and Scandinavia. A winter holiday may also venture to Europe, where traditional Christmas markets fill the air with spiced aromas and the joyous sounds of festive music.
Winter holiday destinations do not have to be cold, though. Rather, travelers have the option to escape to warmer havens to soak up the sun and leave the cold far behind them. These trips combine thoughtful train itineraries with ocean cruising to destinations like Hawaii and the Western Caribbean. Winter vacation ideas are as diverse as the travelers that set out upon them.