As we can tell by trees shaking their leaves and hot chocolate flying off the shelves, winter is coming. In the months ahead, some states across the US will see snowfall and temperatures plummet. Others might still be rocking shorts and T-shirts well into January. Winter is the season with the most distinctive differences across the country, providing unique post-fall activities. In this two-part series (sequel to Best Summer Activities, by the Region), I will share some of the best December-February things to do in each of the four US regions.
People looking for excitement in their holiday break will find abundance in the West. Places like Colorado and Utah contain dozens of ski-and-snowboard resorts. Whether you stick with green circles or speed down black diamond slopes, resorts like Snowbasin (UT) and Crystal Mountain (WA) are great places for a winter vacation. For those who prefer skates to snowboots, Curry Village Ice Skating Rink in Yosemite Valley, California, offers spectacular views of Half Dome. The arid American West is a clear winner when it comes to sports in the coldest season of the year.
Breckenridge Ski Resort (CO)
Westchester Lagoon (AK)
Canyon Ferry Lake (MT)
While amusement parks may be a favorite during summer vacation, the long lines in sweltering weather are not as welcome - especially in the South. Even ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ can feel miserable when you're pressed close to tens of thousands of fellow visitors, making winter the best time to visit Southern theme parks. The heat and humidity that makes June or July unbearable makes December's neither freezing nor steamy weather magical. While there may still be copious crowds, especially during holiday weeks, wintertime is generally quieter for theme parks. You can head to Universal Studios for rides and experiences with your favorite movies as themes, from E.T. to Harry Potter. Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, hosts Christmas Town From November to January. This holiday festival includes performances, shopping, food, and lights. Winter stereotypes may demand real snow and chill, but Southern parks prove those are not essential for a great season.
Disney World (FL)
Six Flags Over Georgia (GA)