This may be hard for some to hear, but winter is on its way. Our advice for those who usually dread winter: plan something to look forward to!
Winter travel doesn’t have to be about hitting the slopes. It can mean Christmas light shows, hot chocolate, and magical views (enjoyed from a snowshoe trail or through the window from your heated Cabana).
Whether you’re hoping to fall in love with winter for the first time or the mountains have been calling to you all year long, here are 7 mountain towns to visit this winter.
1. Leavenworth, WA
We love Leavenworth year round, but it is truly special around the holidays. Walking through this Bavarian town feels like a scene out of a snow globe. The town transforms into the Village of Lights: Christmas Town from Thanksgiving to February. On both weekdays and weekends, enjoy cheerful light displays, steins and warm pretzels, adorable boutiques all in a row, and the year-round nutcracker museum.
Leavenworth is just over 2 hours from Seattle, which makes it the perfect quick trip for when Seattle’s dreary winter gets you down.
2. Bend, OR
Bend is uniquely situated to offer both spectacular skiing on the surrounding mountains and a break from the heavy snow within the city. On Mt. Bachelor, you can choose from over 100 trails for skiing and snowboarding. Back in the city, grab an ale trail passport and warm up with a good beer. You might be surprised by Bend’s vibrant culinary scene, too.
3. Bisbee, AZ
If you’re looking for the charming winter town feel without the cold, consider Bisbee, Arizona. Winter daytime temperatures stay around the mid-fifties, and you’ll usually find sun. Bisbee is a well-preserved mining town with fascinating architecture, transportive saloons, and a small town festival of lights that will surely leave you smiling. Winter is an ideal time to visit most of Arizona, so add Bisbee to your larger AZ itinerary for sunshine and red rocks galore!
4. Mammoth Lakes, CA
The Mammoth Lakes area is rich with winter adventure. Head to Mammoth Mountain to ski the tallest chairlift-serviced peak in California, snowshoe through peaceful winter landscapes, and even snowmobile through the forests. Plus, a hike to Hilltop Hot Springs will end in a rewarding dip. To get both the winter adventure and the desert escape in one trip, stop in Death Valley National Park on your way back to Los Angeles.
5. Ashland, OR
The small town of Ashland has something for everyone. Within the town is the Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink, which opens in mid-November. Mount Ashland is a local favorite for skiing, and there are miles of cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails, too. The Ashland Festival of Light celebration couldn’t take place last year, but we are still holding out for this year’s parade!
6. Whistler, Canada
No mountain town list would be complete without Whistler. Because travel to Canada was restricted last season, we are more excited for Canadian winter road trips than ever! The ski resort in Whistler is a top spot in North America, but there is winter adventure beyond the slopes, too. Experience the winter wonderland by snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even winter ziplining. Enjoy high end shopping mixed in with some expert outdoors companies. Whistler may be too large these days to top the list for small town charm, but it’s perfect for keeping the non-skiers entertained while the enthusiasts hit the slopes.
7. Park City, UT
Park City is another iconic spot that is more “resort” than “small town” these days. Still, some of the coziest small town activities remain, like sleigh rides for groups or pairs. If you’re looking for a more adventurous excursion, dog sledding is available, too. One thing is for sure: you won’t run out of things to do in Park City. Combine a trip to this ski town with Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks to experience the stunning desertscapes during their low season.
When you know where to go, winter really isn’t so bad! So instead of hibernating for the season, plan your winter road trip! Book your Cabana to enjoy a heater, hot shower, and comfy queen sized bed wherever your travels take you.