It might be summer right now, but in our heads it’s snowing! After all, what is the summer, but the perfect time to prepare for your next winter vacation? Whether you are an expert at extreme sports, want to try something new, or are a cautious beginner, there are a lot of opportunities to do each of these things right here in the United States. So to help you plan your next winter vacation, we have collected some ideas for winter activities in US national parks.
- Where: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
- Where to Stay: The top rated hotel in the area is the Maxwell Inn.
- What to Know: A lot of national parks have restrictions when it comes to snowmobiling, but Rocky Mountain is not one of them. There are plenty of different trails, and you can rent snowmobiles nearby.
- Where: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Where to Stay: The park’s website has a handy backcountry camping guide to help you to find out everything that you need to know about camping in the area.
- What You Need to Know: If you are an avid climber, Grand Teton National Park is not to be missed. The closest city with an airport is Salt Lake City in Utah, so you may want to fly into Salt Lake and stay overnight before driving the five hours to get to the park.
- Where: Yosemite National Park, California
- Where to Stay: There are three hotels inside Yosemite that are open in the winter months. They are Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and the Ahwahnee Hotel.
- What You Need to Know: How many people can say that they have been snowboarding inside of Yosemite National Park? Probably quite a few, but you can be one of them if you stop by Badger Pass. The resort has a terrain park, but also lessons for beginners—whether skiing or snowboarding.
- Where: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Where to Stay: Old Faithful Snow Lodge is one of the best winter options and is located inside of the park. It is convenient and affordable and gives you an incredible view of the world renowned Old Faithful Geyser.
- What You Need to Know: There are a number of different trails for snowshoeing inside Yellowstone. Some of the best are the Riverside Trail, Gneiss Creek Trail, Upper Terrace Loop, and the Old Faithful Observation Point. Most of these are good for cross country skiing as well.
- Where: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
- Where to Stay: There are a series of inns and motels around the area of the park, but the best reviewed are the smaller, privately owned bed and breakfasts and hostels, such as Hi-Stanford House, and Shady Oaks Farm.
- What You Need to Know: Sort of a hidden gem of a national park, Cuyahoga Valley allows ice skating once the ice on Kendall Lake reaches at least 7 inches, and rents out skates to visitors.
- Where: Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
- Where to Stay: You will probably end up camping, as the park is only accessible by an ice road in the winter.
- What You Need to Know: Voyageurs is a national park for the more adventurous traveler. To reach it in the winter, you will drive down a 7-mile ice road, and you can go ice fishing at Rainy Lake. If you are a snowmobiler, Voyageurs is another park that will let you enjoy any of its four trails that total 110 miles.
Vincent Stokes is an outdoor enthusiast and an experienced world traveler. He also writes writes for the National Parks and works to promote pride in homegrown travel destinations. You can also connect with Vincent on G+ or twitter (@TravelingGlobal).