If the doldrums of seasonal affective disorder have you wishing you were hopping the next flight out of Dodge, there’s no better time to start planning a restorative cold-weather escape. The good news: There’s a getaway for every personality, from sun worshipers looking to fly south for the winter to snow lovers seeking the next adrenaline rush. Here are seven of the best winter weekend getaways in the U.S.
Park City, UT
Home to the Sundance Film Festival, Park City is a sybaritic winter escape favored by celebrities and trendsetters with a penchant for trailside hijinks. Make like them and drop your bags at Washington School House, a luxury boutique hotel in an 1889 school building in the heart of downtown. Skiers looking to avoid snowboarders take the free shuttle to Deer Valley Resort, then sip their après-ski cocktails at High West, a legendary western-style whiskey distillery in Old Town with an intimate wood-clad bar. You’ll need a dinner reservation at Handle, an elegant dining room that turns out cold-weather specialties (bison short rib, squash and parmesan bisque). Looking for something more low-key? The beers at No Name Saloon are best served with a side of buffalo burgers.
Santa Fe, NM
New Mexico’s capital has a reputation for New Age mysticism, but the truth is there’s something for everyone in Santa Fe. That’s especially true in the winter, when colder temperatures creep into the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Outdoorsy types can hit the slopes on a daytrip to the ski town of Taos, an hour and a half away. Art connoisseurs beeline to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum, and foodies flock to sample the gumbo at the Cajun-inspired Trinity Kitchen food truck, conveniently parked outside of the immersive Meow Wolf art installation. At the end of the day, head back to your room at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, a cozy 58-room refuge that’s decorated with hand-made local textiles and artifacts, kiva fireplaces, and warm wood ceilings.
Jackson Hole, WY
Hidden between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountains, Jackson Hole is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Throughout the year, the 19th-century frontier town plays the backdrop to every manner of sport, from hiking and fly-fishing to horseback riding, but the town seems to hit its stride in the winter, when skiing and dogsledding take over. Relive the region’s rugged past at the Anvil Hotel, an updated 1950s motel that looks like it could have lodged Jackson’s founders—albeit a bit more stylishly. If over-the-top indulgence is more your speed, look no further than Amangani, a lavish mountain resort from one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands. Then start your day with the house-made breakfast pastries (or, perhaps, the taleggio honey toast) at Persephone Bakery before making your way to the gondola in Teton Village.
The spectacular foliage gets Vermont top billing as an autumn getaway, but the northern resort town of Stowe has a reputation as the ultimate New England winter destination. Witness the picturesque downtown, which summons all the nostalgia of a Norman Rockwell painting with its towering steeple and cute shops, or the snowcapped Green Mountains that beckon skiers with their wooded trails. Bed down at Field Guide, a boutique stay whose 30 Scandi-Mod rooms are outfitted with papier-mâché taxidermy and whimsical patterned wallpapers, then hit the slopes. Not much for downhill racing? Don’t miss the Tyrolean charm of the Trapp Family Lodge, owned by the family that inspired the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music.
Las Vegas, NV
There’s no wrong time to visit Las Vegas—the show always goes on—but you’ll get the best deals on airfare and hotel rooms during the colder months. It’s not uncommon to find rooms at blowout hotels like The Venetian for half of what you’d pay during the peak season. For the ideal trip, snag a room at Wynn, where you can party like a jetsetter for less, then venture off the Strip to experience Sin City’s more authentic delights. Temperatures during this time typically run in the 60s, making hiking daytrips to places like Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire much more enjoyable than, say, during the dead of summer, when the mercury can register well over 100 degrees.
New Orleans, LA
With its pastel facades and year-round greenery, New Orleans provides plenty of inspiration for beating the winter blues. The city comes on strong in the wrought-iron balconies, magnolia trees, and cobblestoned streets on view in romantic neighborhoods from Jackson Square and the Garden District to the French Quarter. Then there’s the music, an eclectic mix of brass and bass best enjoyed at the legendary jazz venue Preservation Hall, not to mention the food; leaving without sampling the pillowy sweetness of the beignets at Café Du Monde is a cardinal sin. An ideal base for your warm-weather holiday: The Ace or for something less hipster and more old-world, the Henry Howard Hotel, a Greek Revival Mansion with Corinthian columns and wrought-iron balconies.
When the temperature drops, snowbirds who prefer to fly south for the winter would do well to make a pit stop in Charleston. The city offers all of the hedonistic pleasures of its northern counterparts, perhaps best experienced through the diverse and much-lauded food scene. You’ll find Asian-inspired specialties (think green fish curry, Sichuan eggplant, and Vietnamese shrimp crepes) at Xao Bao Biscuit; low-country staples like wood-fired oysters and slow-smoked ribs are the draw at Husk, the restaurant that started it all. Sleep off your food coma at The Vendue, billed as the city’s first art hotel thanks to its roster of rotating exhibits, then wake up to shop till you drop, whether in the ubiquitous antiques stores on King Street or at Fritz Porter, an emporium for contemporary homewares and textiles.