Top 4 winter escapes in 2016
When it comes to winter getaways, there’s a couple vacation styles. The first: Flock to a balmy destination and soak up the sun while thawing out on the beach. The second? Embrace the season and head to a winter wonderland so picturesque you’ll feel like you’re in a snow globe.
Whether you’ll be spending your trip building sand castles or making snow angels, we’ve partnered with TripAdvisor to scout out some of the best winter vacation destinations. With TripAdvisor, you can not only find inspiration for your next vacation, but you can use the site to book flights and hotels as well as compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deals. Take advice from millions of users who leave reviews at TripAdvisor, lending travel tips, pointing you to the best restaurants and sharing ideas for how to make your vacation memorable.
Here are four vacations spots that are great year-round, but especially fun in the winter.
Colorado is home to plenty of magnificent ski towns. But, Steamboat Springs gets bonus points for its apres-ski activities. The laid-back ski town about three hours northwest of Denver is blessed with 349 inches of snow every year, making it a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. It’s known for “champagne powder” — smooth, dry snow ideal for skiing.
Schuss down the slopes at Steamboat Ski Resort. Then, take a day off to relax in the famous Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Imagine relaxing in 104-degree mineral water, surrounded by falling flakes and a picturesque mountain landscape. “Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a magical, serene place tucked up in the mountains,” a TripAdvisor reviewer writes. “Gorgeous views and varying temperatures of pools make for a great time.”
Complete your trip to Steamboat with a dinner at Cafe Diva, which locals and tourists gush about. “Everyone will tell you to order to Foie Gras Creme Brûlée and the Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwiches,” one TripAdvisor reviewer writes. “And they are right, they are two must-haves. But once you’ve had them, there is plenty more to keep you coming back and dreaming of their menu.”
Ready to ski into winter? View all hotels in Steamboat Springs, Colorado here.
Escape to the tropical islands that make up the Florida Keys. Go snorkeling in Key Largo, fishing in Islamorada and dance the night away on Key West’s Duval Street.
Temperatures in the Keys sit around 80 degrees in February and March, and you can get a true island vacation experience without applying for a passport or any visas since the stretch of islands is part of the United States.
Check in to the Pier House Resort & Spa, which is perched on the Gulf of Mexico and features a private white sand beach and full-service spa. The resort was originally a haven for artists and writers. “The views from the room were breathtaking and the hotel itself is perfect,” a TripAdvisor reviewer writes. “Great location, small but perfect private beach, deep pool, excellent food and friendly staff.” Looking for a different resort? Check out all Florida Keys resorts here.
Explore gorgeous reefs, shipwrecks and marine life and visit old forts at Dry Tortugas National Park. “There’s no place like this,” a TripAdvisor review says. “Dry Tortugas should be on everyone’s bucket list.”
And, of course, don’t skip dessert. Sweet Savannah’s on the Marathon island gets five-star reviews for key lime desserts. “Love the nice tart flavor and graham cracker buttery crust,” one TripAdvisor notes. “Worth every calorie.”
Ready to sail away? Check out all Florida Keys resorts here.
Park City is so much more than a ski town (though, the resorts are amazing and receiving epic snowfall this year).
This rustic mountain town is about 35 minutes west of Salt Lake City and the historic main street is lined with shops, restaurants and spas. You might rub shoulders with movie stars during the Sundance Movie Festival that takes place in Park City. Or, catch a theater performance in the historic Egyptian Theater. You’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the Utah Olympic Park, a monument to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
When it comes to ski resorts, TripAdvisor reviewers love Deer Valley. “We’ve been skiing Park City every January for the last 10 years or so,” one reviewer dishes. “January 2016 had the best snow conditions that I can remember for this time of year. Deer Valley caps the number of tickets that they sell, so even on a busy holiday weekend, you can guarantee that you will not have long lift lines or crowded slopes.”
Make a reservation at Zoom for dinner. Foodies on TripAdvisor are impressed with the creative menu.
“You can tell that a restaurant’s executive chef is creative when you can’t get enough of the brussels sprouts appetizers,” one reviewer says. “Seriously… they were that good.”
View and compare all Park City accommodations here.
The beaches at Cabo San Lucas have a little something for everybody. Relax on the white sand next to the serene waters of the Sea of Cortez and Playa del Amor or go surfing in Zippers, which is lauded for its great waves.
Never surfed before? No problem. Reviewers praise the instructors at Surf Lessons Cabo.
Cabo is also a great family vacation spot. Kids can go swimming with dolphins in the ocean or take a camel ride through the Desert Park Natural Reserve.
“The guides were great, warm and friendly,” one reviewer says of the camel rides through the Desert Park Natural Reserve. “The scenery was beautiful as well as the waves crashing against the shore as I viewed it from the back of a camel.” Or check out other fanatstic Cabo San Lucas Hotels here.
Book a room at the Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos All Inclusive Golf & Spa, which one TripAdvisor reviewer describes as a “wonderful, relaxing paradise.” Some upgraded rooms at this beachfront resort have private pools. Need more choices? View all fantastic Cabo San Lucas Hotels here.
* This blog post was sponsored by TripAdvisor