Top 10 Best Winter Vacation Destinations

Church of Mary Immaculate Conception in panaji goa india

Well Said!
I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.
Harun Yahya
Destinations become famous due to various factors. Some are discovered, some introduce new attractions, while some come up with new travel policies. However, what truly makes a great destination is the combination of these factors. In winters, there are two types of places you can visit. One, where the snow is good for skiing and sightseeing. These destinations have been explored and nothing new as such has come up here of late. The second type, with beaches and the sun, are what you should look out for. And then, why stop at one place? You also have an option to take a cruise, which will take you to different destinations in one winter vacation. All these and many more have been listed here for you. But first, we see the top 10.

* The following places have been listed solely as per the preference of the author.

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13 Spectacular Winter Vacations in the U.S

600-grand-canyon-sunriseA great destination for a winter vacation in the US is Lake Tahoe. You can book a good resort nearby the lake. It’s situated at the border of Nevada and California, and is an ideal destination for couples.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
grand geyser at yellowstone
The Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is a fascinating tourist spot, very popular, and ideal for a vacation in winter.
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Lake at wisconsin dells
The small town of Wisconsin Dells attracts tourists for spending their winter vacations in the best way. The main attraction is Golf of Dells; the exotic Great Wolf Lodge makes a wonderful stay during the winters.
Orlando, Florida
gorgeous beaches of florida
One of the best destinations to enjoy with your family in winter is Orlando. Warm up in the beaches of Florida with luxurious sun baths. The evening is enchanting, and you can take immense pleasure in dining exotic cuisines, shopping, besides many other activities.
Hawaii
serene beach in hawaii
Hawaii is quite an affordable place to spend a couple of days in winter. Sun and sand awaits you here.
San Diego, California
the skyline of san diego
Spending the Christmas vacations at San Diego is a great way to savor the winter season. There are numerous tourist spots all around. You can enjoy whale watching, which is a famous tourist attraction. This is the season when they migrate from the Bering Sea to Baja California, and the view is simply amazing.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
beautiful vista of harrisburg in winter
Pennsylvania is also a beautiful winter destination for its picturesque beauty. You can make a short tour with your family to Hershey’s Chocolate Land.
Winter Park, Colorado
winters in colorado
Winter Park in Colorado has some brilliant winter sports. Such an adventure packed trip will definitely trigger the energy in you for wanting more and more fun.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
sunrise at the grand canyon
Grand Canyon is a vintage destination for winter vacations for families. This place has a warm climate which you can enjoy the most during the winter.
Key West, Florida
relaxing beach at key west florida
Plan a Key West vacation, and enjoy diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and sightseeing. For those who want to explore the island, one can hire rental boats and charters.
Haystack Rock, Oregon
haystack rock at oregon
Haystack Rock is popular for the 235 feet tall monolith that can be explored by all visitors. It is a popular place for bird life, and a delight to explore tide pools, along with watching different species of seabirds.
Ecola State Park, Oregon
the beach at ecola state park
Ecola State Park is located north of Cannon Beach on the North Oregon Coast. It is famous for the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse which is one mile away from the sea shore. You’ll enjoy the rocky shore, hiking trails, and challenging treks.
Alaska
pristine beauty of alaska
People who love snow and ice must travel to Alaska. You will come across the savage beauty of wildlife sanctuaries. You must not miss the land of the Eskimos. Alaska state has excellent cold spots, like South Central, Far North, Inside Passage, etc. A few rush sites around are Arctic National Park, Fairbanks city, Denali National Park, and Caribou grazes.

Winter Vacation Spots in California That are a Traveler’s Delight

indexDid You Know?
The highest and lowest points in United States, Mount Whitney at 14,495 feet (4,418 m) and Bad Water in Death Valley at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, are both located in California and that too within 100 miles (160 km) of one another.
California, also known as the”Golden State”, is one of the most well-known states of the United States. This beautiful state contains two of the most populous cities in the US, namely, Los Angeles and San Diego. Laid back beaches, picturesque mountain deserts and the world famous ‘Hollywood’ are just a few highlights of this state. Needless to say, there are plenty of activities to do. California has a diverse geographic terrain which ranges from the Pacific coast in the west, to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east and from the Redwood-Douglas-fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. With such diversity, winters (December to February) can be a great time to visit California. The mountains turn into a winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders. The desert, meanwhile, is beautiful, and temperatures are mild and pleasant. California beaches, like always, are lively and perfect for soaking your body in the sun.
Popular Winter Vacation Destinations in California
Desert Hot Springs
Desert Hot Springs
At 1,076 ft (328 m) elevation, Desert Hot Springs is mostly visited during winters because of the warm, sunny, clear and dry climate. It is popular for its educational park that showcases how the entire area gets access to high quality and pristine drinking water. So, if you’re planning to spend some quality winter time, do consider this beautiful city that has been specially constructed over the world’s finest natural hot mineral water aquifers.
Numerous activities in this city include, hiking, golf, tennis, shuffleboard, sightseeing, bicycle riding, ballooning and horseback riding. Moreover, nights are always filled of joyful activities like music concerts, theaters, museums visits, movies and cultural events related to the region.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
If you’re planning for a winter vacation with your entire family or friends, you can bank upon Yosemite National Park. It is one of the first wilderness parks built in Eastern Central California. This park has been constantly ranked among the top 10 best winter vacation destinations in the world. Mid December to March, is the best time to visit. Some must-visit spots during winters are Badger pass, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Crane Flat area.
The entire park area covers 761,268 acres and nearly 4 million tourists visit this grand park every year. Yosemite valley, a world heritage site since 1984, is popular worldwide for waterfalls, meadows, wetlands, rock formations, giant sequoias, granite cliffs, its amazing biological diversity, and wildlife tourism. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, ice skating and numerous other Yosemite national park activities are available for adventure lovers.
Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
The 2nd deepest freshwater lake in the US, and largest in North America, Lake Tahoe is situated in the Sierra Nevada range and is known for its clear water. During winters, this place becomes heaven for adventure and sports enthusiasts as it has a number of ski resorts and outdoor recreations. Snowboarding and skiing are among the most popular things to do at Lake Tahoe and they also form a major source of income for this area.
Other activities in Tahoe include water sports, hiking and bicycling and downhill snow skiing. The scenic beauty, along with the mentioned activities, make Tahoe one of the best vacation spots in this state. Tahoe can also be an ideal destination for a romantic vacation because of its serenity and natural beauty.
San Diego
San Diego
The 2nd largest city in California, and the eighth-largest city in the US, San Diego is known for its mild year-round climate. San Diego is a major tourist destination in the US owing to its excellent climate and some very popular destinations. Some of the major attractions in San Diego are Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo and Legoland California.
East San Diego offers nature lovers numerous activities like hiking, camping, fishing, observing wildlife in the 600,000-acre Anza Borrego Desert State Park. With Mexico to the south, San Diego’s geographical borders are a melting pot of numerous cultures. Balboa Park, that houses 15 museums, many art galleries and beautiful gardens is the largest urban park in the US. Owing to many luxury spas, amusement parks and historic sites, one may face difficulty in choosing amidst innumerable fun things to do in San Diego! It is certainly one of the best places to visit in California during winter.
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
A California trip is incomplete without a visit to Los Angeles. The world famous Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles and the historical center of movie studios and movie stars. Other places to look out for are Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame, Walt Disney Concert Hall and Griffith Observatory. Los Angeles has plenty of sunshine throughout the year and the temperature in winters ranges from 57 to 66 degree Fahrenheit.
This vibrant city of California is world famous, and has inspired legendary artists like The Beatles, The Doors, RHCP, Guns and Roses, David Bowie, Frank Sinatra and many more. Los Angeles is often billed as the “Creative Capital of the World”, because of the fact that one in every six residents works in a creative industry.
These were just a few vacation spots in California that are ideal for a winter visit. There are plenty of other places which are worth visiting at least once. Fun filled Disneyland resort, the historic Golden Gate Bridge, the beautiful Monterey Bay Aquarium, Death Valley, Big Bear Lake, the magnificent California Giant Redwoods, Napa Valley Wine Country to name a few.
Another activity that you cannot afford to miss is paddle surfing and whale watching along the central California coast, between Monterey and San Diego. California travel will be an amazing experience for you, if you’re able to visit some or all the places mentioned here.

Winter Vacation Destinations in USA to Inspire Your Wanderlust

indexThere are several kinds of locations, ones with warm climate, cold climate, mixed climate, and also unpredictable weather. Here are some winter destinations that are sure to suit your preference of weather and cater to just about every type of traveler. These destinations are not the usual ones which can become crowded and expensive during holiday season. Offbeat or lesser known spots not only retain the charm and character of that place, but also allow you to experience local life and customs in a better way. Another important thing which would make your vacation more enjoyable and comfortable is to plan your vacation or travel. Also, sometimes, last-minute travel bargains can prove useful when going on a vacation.

Cold Destinations

In the winter time, some people like to enjoy cold climates and for them, the state of Alaska offers some of the best winter vacation destinations in USA. While visiting the cold haven of Alaska there are 3 things that you should certainly do, fishing (also ice fishing), winter activities such as skiing, and see the wildlife. You can begin your journey with the city of Anchorage or the capital city of Juneau and then proceed to the several wildlife parks, or lodges and motels that are present throughout Alaska. Covering the entire Alaska state in just one visit is impossible, hence you can cover one division among the Inside Passage, Southcentral, Interior, Far North, and Southwest. The Far North is a land of Eskimos, gold rush sites, and the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The Interior, on the other hand, is known for its vast wilderness where the Caribou grazes. Denali National Park and the city of Fairbanks are two attractive winter vacation ideas. Similarly, the Katmai National Park is an enjoyable experience in the Southwest. If you are visiting the inside passage, then you should definitely check out cities of Juneau and Ketchikan, and the majestic wildlife that surrounds them.

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Winter Holidays Around the World that Definitely Demand a Visit

indexMost winter holidays are linked to the winter solstice in some way. On that day, because of the tilt of the earth’s axis, the days are short and the nights are long. And this is the reason that most wintertime seasonal holiday traditions have their roots in the northern hemisphere. But these holidays are also associated with religiously linked holy days. In fact, the very word ‘holiday’ has been derived from ‘holy’ and ‘day’, because originally holidays demarcated special religious days.
Winter solstice is a celebration in some parts of the world, which marks the transition of longer nights and shorter days to longer days and shorter days. It has been a part of number of cultures. In India and South Asia, there is the ‘Festival of Lights’, called Diwali, which is celebrated to herald the start of winter. There is a ‘Harvest Festival’, which is celebrated in India and some parts of South Asia, which is referred to with different names in different parts. The different names with which it is referred to with are Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Uttarayan, Magh Bihu, Maghi, Songkran, Thingyan, etc.
Diwali
Diwali is also known as the festival of light is celebrated at the start of winter in India, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Fiji. It is one of the most important festival of the Hindus, which is celebrated over a period of five days, which are named as Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdashi, Lakshmi Puja, Padava and Bhai Dooj.
Each of these days has its own significance. Before the start of the festival, ‘spring’ cleaning is undertaken, which is done to welcome Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth). Rows of clay lamps filled with oil are lit, which stands for good winning over evil. Crackers form an important part of the Diwali celebrations. It is said that bursting of crackers helps in driving the evil spirit away.
Hanukkah
Also known as Channukkah is a ‘Festival of Lights’. This is one of the most important Jewish holidays, particularly due to the significant connotations of its proximity to Christmas. The history of this festival chronicles the Jewish people celebrating the revolution against the suppression and assimilation of the Jewish religion. It is an eight night and day long holiday that begins on 25th day of Kislev, according to the Hebrew calendar, with the menorah, or eight candles, being lit.
On the first day only one candle is lit on the first day and the number increases with each passing day. Other than the eight lights, there is one light known as shamash, which is placed above the eight lights. This light is available for use, as the other lights cannot be used.
Christmas
Christians all over the world celebrate this winter holiday on December 25, on which day Jesus Christ was born. Preparations for Christmas begin way before the actual day by cleaning the house and decorating it. They go to church, decorate a Christmas tree, give each other gifts, have a traditional dinner, with families spending the day together. In certain parts of Europe, star singers also sing Christmas carols walking behind a large star strung on a pole.
There is a belief, in almost all parts of the world of Santa coming on a sledge to deliver gifts. There are certain customs, which are special for a certain part of the world itself. For example, in Brazil Santa Claus has an assistant named Magi, who assists Santa in distributing candy.
Boxing Day
Also known as St. Stephen’s Day, is celebrated the day after Christmas. On this day it is common to give gifts to the poor and needy. In some places, there is also the tradition of gifting people in service positions. The traditions followed in different parts of the world are different. In countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Britain, etc., it is jokingly often referred to as ‘Shopping Day’, for there are great items for grab at discounted prices.
There are various sporting events, which especially take place on this day. Hunting has been a tradition, which has been a part of celebration on this day. Although this practice is now discontinued owing to the ban on hunting in most parts of the world.
Las Posadas
This is a traditional winter holiday celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala and Southern parts of United States of America, between December 16 and December 24. The nine day celebration symbolically represents the months of pregnancy. In English, the term Las Posadas translates to ‘the Inn’, therefore is a re-enactment of Joseph searching for a room at the inn.
Hence, every Christmas, there is a procession carrying a doll, which represents Christ as a child and the images of Mary and Joseph riding a small donkey, which goes through the streets. Many houses have a nativity scenes, where the hosts enact the roles of innkeepers.
Hogmanay
This is a Scottish word which means the last day of the year and is basically celebrating the New Year, according to the Gregorian calendar, in the Scottish way. It begin on the night of December 31, lasting all through the night and carrying on until the ‘Ne’erday’ or January 1, and sometimes even carrying on to January 2, which is a bank holiday in Scotland. The customs associated with Hogmanay are different for different parts of Scotland.
There is the fireball swinging custom in Stonehaven, in north-eastern part of Scotland, burning of the clavie common to Burghead in Moray, etc.
St. Nicholas Day
This day is especially celebrated in Northern Europe on December 6. St. Nicholas was a protector of the weak against the rich and the strong. He was known for his kindness and for helping people in distress. He is often said to be the patron saint of unmarried girls, children and sailors. St. Nicholas is treated like Santa Claus, and in fact is thought to be Santa Claus’ original name.
Children place boots on their windowsills or at the fireplace so that St. Nicholas can fill them with candy. However, the boots of naughty children was filled with coal, so that they can learn from their mistakes.
St. Lucias Day
This is a winter holiday celebrated on December 13 in Sweden in honor of St. Lucia, who lived in the third century and is regarded as the patron of light. In Sweden, the St. Lucia’s day is seen as the start of the Christmas celebrations, although it is not a part of Advent.
On this day, young girls bedeck themselves in white colored long dresses with red sashes, and wear a wreath made of lit candles on their heads. They sing
songs in order to wake their families up and bring them twisted saffron buns, known as ‘Lucia cats’ and coffee.
Bodhi Day
This is celebrated by the Buddhists on December 8 in commemoration of the enlightenment of the Buddha. Before the enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama (earlier name of Buddha) is said to have undergone extreme ascetic practices and yet continued his meditation under the Pipal tree. He continued with his meditation till He was able to find the cause of suffering and how to liberate a person from it. This is considered the most important holiday for the Buddhists.
Eid-al-Adha
This is a feast that is celebrated by Muslims, to commemorate Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, at the behest of God. Therefore, it said to be a ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ or ‘Greater Eid’. This festival 10th day of the 12th month according to the Islamic calendar. The celebrations start after the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims consider Ishmael to be the Arabs’ forefather.
Lunar New Year
This is two-week winter holiday celebrated in the latter part of January or early part of February, or during the first lunar moon, by the Vietnamese, Koreans, and Chinese. In China this celebration is called Spring Festival, where it is marks the end of the winter season. It starts on the first day of the Chinese New Year and ends after fifteenth day, when the Lantern Festival is celebrated. The Korean New Year falls on the second new moon following the winter solstice.
This celebration lasts for three days and is primarily a family oriented celebration. In Vietnam, like in China it heralds the arrival of spring. It is based on the Chinese calendar. Practices that are common to this celebrations are visiting friends and family, worshiping the ancestors, exchanging gifts, etc. People wear their best clothes and exchange gifts and food during this period.
Kwanzaa
Literally meaning ‘First Fruits’, this has its basis on an ancient harvest festival of Africa which celebrates ideals like collective responsibility and work; self-determination; co-operation; purpose; creativity; faith; and unity. The celebration starts from December 26 and culminates on January 1, during which time African-Americans bedeck their homes with vegetables and fruits, don special clothes, and light the ‘kinara’ which is a special candle-holder.
There are also other symbols, which are a part of the celebration namely corn and other crops, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, a black, red and green flag and a communal cup for pouring wine (or alcoholic beverage). Families pay their respects to ancestors along with the children of the family.
Mardi Gras
Which is actually ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French and ‘Fasching’ in German, occurs one day prior to Ash Wednesday, and is also known as ‘Pancake Day’ or ‘Shrove Tuesday’. Mardi Gras is the last day of Carnival, which begins twelve days after Christmas, hence is also referred to as Twelfth Night, which falls on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras day, exactly forty-six days before Easter. It is said to be the last day of eating some fatty foods, with the fasting season of ‘Lent’ beginning the next day.
Some of the cities that are most famous for celebrating Mardi Gras are: Rio de Janeiro in Brazil; Marseille in France; New Orleans in Louisiana; Italy; and Venice. However, in Milan, Mardi Gras is celebrated on the Saturday following Ash Wednesday.
Japanese New Year
New Year celebration is one of the most major events in Japan. New Year’s Eve is known as Omisoka in Japan. The Japanese spend a lot of time shopping and cleaning their houses in preparation for the new year. This symbolizes getting rid of the past and starting afresh. The celebration on the New Year’s day itself is known as Shogatsu. The Japanese decorate their houses and give their children gifts of toys and money and greeting cards to friends and family.
There are certain delicacies, which are a part of the festive spread, like fish cakes, boiled seaweed, mashed sweet potato with chestnut, soybean preparation, etc. At the stroke of midnight on the 31st December, there are bells ringing in the Buddhist temples for a total of 108 times. After the ringing of the bells, there is a feast of soba noodles, which everyone partakes.
There may not be a part of the world, which does not have some festival, celebration or event around the winter. Therefore, often winter is said to be the travel and holiday season, as people make the most of the holidays.