10 Must-Visit Spots This Winter
There’s no need stock up on canned goods and batten down the hatches this winter; try taking one of these adventurous vacations instead. Our friends at National Geographic compiled the 10 best winter trips and we’ve broken it down for you below. From a reindeer-drawn safari to a traditional hot spring in Japan, this list has it all.
Winter Wonderland Train Ride in the Canadian Rockies
Location: Vancouver to Calgary, Canada
The Skinny: If you want to experience a real Polar Express, hop on The Canadian, Canada’s iconic train that takes passengers from Toronto to the Pacific Coast. Be prepared for breathtaking views and lots of snow.
Montréal en Lumière
Location: Montreal, Canada
Dates: Feb. 19 to March 1
The Skinny: Montréal en Lumière is the city’s biggest winter arts, music and food festival. From live music and theater to pyrotechnics, light shows and children’s activities, this event has something for everyone.
Fountain of Youth Warm Mineral Springs
Location: North Port, FL
The Skinny: If you’re looking to stay stateside but would like to warm up, head to Florida’s only naturally formed warm-water mineral spring to relax. The hourglass-shaped sinkhole reaches depths of nearly 250 feet in the center and has a round swimming pond at the top.
New Zealand’s Biggest Street Performance Festival
Dates: Jan. 15 to Jan. 25
The Skinny: Street performers gather from around the world for this event that includes a wide variety of acts. Comedians, musicians, dancers, acrobats, vaudevillians, contortionists and high-flying acrobats all take the stage at indoor and outdoor venues.
Monarch Butterfly Migration
Location: Angangueo, Mexico
Dates: January to March
The Skinny: Millions of monarch butterflies migrate 3,000 miles each year from the US and Canada into Mexico. In January through March, Monarch butterflies cover the forests of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve World Heritage site.
Fat Biking in the Tetons
Location: Grand Targhee Resort, Alta, WY
The Skinny: While Jackson Hole often steals the spotlight, low-key Grand Targhee Resort is the perfect place to ride through the western slopes of the Tetons on a fat bike. The 2,600-acre ski area was the first in the nation to open its trail system to mountain bikes fitted with big-volume, low-pressure, stable fat tires.
Reindeer-Drawn Sleigh Ride Safari
Location: Lapland, Finland
The Skinny: Finland’s Jaakkola Reindeer Farm offers reindeer-drawn sleigh rides through an enchanting snow-covered forest. November to February, the four-hour evening sleigh ride excursion provides riders with an opportunity to see the glow of the Northern Lights.
Off-Road Tour Through Arikok National Park
The Skinny: If you want to escape the cold, this exotic national park features a natural pool, caves, limestone cliffs and a bevy of wildlife. Rent a jeep to explore the remote park firsthand, some of the best sites can only be reached by unpaved roads.
2015 European Capital of Culture Opening
Location: Pilsen, Czech Republic
Date: Jan. 17
The Skinny: The Czech city Pilsen is one of Europe’s cultural epicenters. Jan. 17 kicks off the city's year-long events calendar with cultural activities, special exhibits and performing arts, tightrope walkers, and high-powered audio visual presentations projected on medieval buildings.
Traditional Hot Spring Village
Location: Nozawa Onsen, Japan
The Skinny: At Japan’s Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort, skiers can wind down at one of 13 community bathhouses. The indoor thermal spring pools are collectively owned by the villagers and have no entrance fee.