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The best winter vacations in the U.S. are of course subjective depending on your travel palette. Are you someone who wants to be on the slopes for eight hours a day in the winter? Or do your ideal winter vacation ideas involve a rooftop pool and a perfectly crafted mai tai? While, of course, the allure of skiing in the Italian Dolomites and migrating to a Maldives beach is real in the winter, it’s also a considerable time commitment and schlep. And the truth is, winter vacations in the U.S. can also offer unimaginable heights of luxury and new experiences for the curious traveler. If you’re looking for a getaway within the 50 states this year, here are some of the best winter vacations in the U.S.:
Often outshined by Portland, Bend, Oregon is making a name for itself in the travel space as their luxury offerings grow to accommodate the tourists interested in hitting the famed slopes of Mt. Bachelor. Pronghorn Resort, situated on 640 acres just outside Bend in the world’s largest juniper forest, recently opened their 104-room boutique hotel, Huntington Lodge. Through the lodge, you can book any snowy excursion to see the full spectacle of Oregonian winter, including snow tubing, helicopter tours, and snowmobiling. While on property, take advantage of their year-round outdoor pool, full-service spa, and fitness center that hosts cave yoga regularly.
Wildly scenic Jackson puts travelers in proximity of the Grand Tetons and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Travelers looking for a curated activity selection can seek out Snake River Sporting Club, Wyoming’s high-end outdoor adventure playground. In the winter, the Club’s championship golf course becomes a Nordic skier’s playground with 10 miles of groomed trails that invites skaters and cross-country skiers to explore the forest’s scenic woodlands on their snow-covered tracks. Guests can also heli-ski backcountry powder from the Club’s private helipad (prices start at $1,350 per person for five to seven runs). For Jackson lodging, Snake River Sporting Club offers luxurious wilderness lodging such as the intimate collection of designer, one-bedroom “tiny homes” in the Discovery Village. Each home away from home comes with its own fire pit and patio.
Let’s be real, winter can be a bummer—and Miami is never a bummer. Stay at the Kimpton EPIC Hotel, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property in downtown Miami for some of the city’s best views of Biscayne Bay. Coming off a new renovation, the hotel has an entirely fresh look while maintaining the coveted chic-minimalism the Kimpton properties are known for. Head to Maison F.P. Journe within Kimpton EPIC29, an exclusive speakeasy-like experience featuring high-end wristwatches and a 10-seat rare spirits bar.
Westerly, Rhode Island
Snowy New England is fairytale-like in the winter. While Rhode Island isn’t the first destination that comes to mind when brainstorming winter vacation ideas, exploring coastal New England as the cold settles over the Atlantic is well worth it. Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island is known for curating phenomenally luxe winter programming—like their Fondue Village in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot and Columbia and holiday events for the whole family—like a high tea with baby penguins guaranteed to melt your heart.
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Whether you’re passing through Honolulu for work or you’re desperately in need of a family vacation to Hawaii, Waikiki Beach sees their most favorable temperatures December through February (a perfect 80 degrees). It’s also whale-spotting season—humpback whales take their annual migratory path off the shores of Oahu in the winter. Stay at the new ESPACIO THE JEWEL OF WAIKIKI, a nine-floor, nine-suite ultra-luxury hotel. (Yes, that’s right, every suite gets an entire floor of the hotel.) ESPACIO also has a rooftop infinity with views of Waikiki Beach and each $5,000-a-night suite comes with 24/7 butler service and personal use of the hotel’s luxury cars.
Finger Lakes Region, NY
Just four hours from New York City, the Finger Lakes region thrives in the winter season with outdoor activities like ziplining over 1,500 feet of iced-over nature, practicing Snow-Ga (yoga with snowshoes and ski poles) overlooking Canandaigua Lake, and night skiing after the day crowds clear out. It’s also ice wine season in the Finger Lakes, and the wineries are especially cozy when the region has welcomed a fresh coat of snow. The Ice Wine Festival even celebrates the harvest of grapes left to frost naturally on the vine. Stay in Seneca Falls at The Gould Hotel, a century-old boutique hotel in an area that inspired scenes from It’s a Wonderful Life. Or opt to escape to Inns of Aurora, a lakeside boutique resort with some of the most glorious crackling fireplaces in all of upstate New York.
Half Moon Bay, California
The northern coast of California is arguably the most scenic in the continental United States. And taking it in from Half Moon Bay during shoulder season is the best time to see it—especially because winter still feels like fall in northern California. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, sits directly on an ocean bluff overlooking 50 miles of awe-inspiring coast. It’s the Bay Area’s only luxury oceanfront resort, and they just put $1 million into renovating their signature suites and premier Ritz-Carlton Suite, with over-the-top levels of extravagance and complete seclusion. To cure your winter blues, try their “Redwood Forest Ritual” at the on-property spa, which utilizes ingredients from the natural surroundings like pumpkin, lavender, and even crushed pearls.
Park City, Utah
Park City has been a Utah gem for more than a few years now, but ultimately, it continues to deliver. The access to the slopes and luxury offerings of the five-star Park City hotels come together for an unbeatable winter combination. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, Montage Deer Valley is literal steps from the slopes, with ski-in/ski-out accessibility. Sitting next to three high-speed chairlifts, from Montage Deer Valley you can explore the area’s annual 300 inches of fresh powder on beginner runs like Lucky Jack, or on the staggeringly steep Daly Bowl for the double-black-diamond audience. After a day in the Utah mountains, unwind at the property’s haute Veuve Clicquot après-ski lounge.