Coming up with Christmas vacation ideas for this year? It’s never too early to start the search, especially if you’d like to visit a wintry destination in the United States. Though the weather these days can be rather unpredictable, you can dream of a white Christmas—and see it in person—at these 23 winter holiday hotspots.
Whether you’re taking family trips with the kids over their winter break, or need Christmas vacation ideas for couples, any of these would be welcome excursions. Many of the places below are resorts and hotels that have ample space for dashing through the snow, but there are also cities, towns, and resorts that offer festive fireside tableaus if you’d rather stay inside and get cozy. (If you prefer to get all your gift-shopping done at holiday markets, we’ve got that, too.) Either way, you can give yourself the gift of a Christmas vacation—the biggest struggle will be picking just one.
All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
1. Lake Tahoe
From charming mountain villages to luxury lakeside retreats, the region that surrounds Lake Tahoe is a quintessential holiday escape in the wintertime, with snowy scenes as far as the eye can see. To the south of the lake, there will be a Holiday Tree Lighting at the Heavenly Village Lake Tahoe on Friday, November 24, featuring a tree that stands at 65 feet tall. In the north, Palisades Tahoe will throw its traditional launch party on December 16 and 17 to celebrate the ski season with fireworks, giveaways, live music, and of course snowsports of all sorts.
2. Villa Roma, Catskills, New York
Looking to celebrate a white Christmas in the Catskills? Villa Roma will be one of your best bets. This all-inclusive family-focused resort just outside of Callicoon, New York, and east of the Delaware River boasts plenty of winter activities to keep you and yours entertained. Among them: three slopes for skiing and snowboarding, two snow tube runs, a ski school for beginners, and a ski chalet for some après time with a hot beverage by a roaring fire. Keep an eye on the resort’s events calendar—the property dresses itself as dictated by the holiday-packed fall and winter seasons, and offers special deals and packages for families so broods can celebrate in style and comfort.
3. Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Colorado
There are not a lot of things in the world more fun than a frosty white Christmas in the Rockies. Blankets of snow are all but guaranteed and families can enjoy the festivities on sleigh rides, skis, snowshoes, and scenic tours at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, an eco-luxe resort and spa spread over 6,500 acres of pristine, untamed wilderness in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Ice skating under the lights, enjoying a warm fire outside while wrapped in a cozy blanket under the stars, plus breakfast with Santa, Christmas karaoke, and holiday feasts, all await.
4. Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah
The festivities at perennial ski resort fave (and newly renovated!) Montage Deer Valley begin over the long Thanksgiving weekend and include ornament decorating, a holiday bazaar, gingerbread house displays, and the 10th annual tree lighting ceremony on November 25. In December, there will be a Candy Land-inspired experience as well as a red mailbox where guests can drop their letters to Santa bound for the North Pole. The resort’s annual reading of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas returns on Christmas Eve, when three-course prix-fixe dinner will be served (reservations recommended). On Christmas Day, a day buffet and a dinner in the evening will wrap up the festive seasonal experiences—until the New Year’s events kick in.
5. North Pole, New York
Visit the North Pole closer to home—in the Adirondacks. The hamlet of North Pole, NY, leverages its name (their tagline is “Santa’s Home Away from Home”) and transforms into a holiday wonderland each year. The tiny hamlet is a veritable theme park, overflowing with attractions: Check out Santa’s blacksmith, where magical reindeer shoes are made; visit the popular reindeer barn (with live reindeer); stop by the Saint Nicholas Chapel for a quiet meditative moment; and drop in on Santa at his house for a visit with the man himself.
6. North Pole, Alaska
If you want to go even further north of North Pole, New York, might you be interested in North Pole, Alaska? Much like its New York counterpart, this small city of about 2,700 people in Alaska—roughly 1,700 miles south of the actual North Pole—leans into not only its name, but also its icy environs in the winter. It maintains Christmas decorations year-round, even when it’s sunny in July. But come the snowfall, the place takes you to the Arctic and you can visit the Santa Claus House (a store for holiday ornaments and toys), many holiday bazaars, and Santa’s Letters & Gifts, where you can get personalized notes from Santa—there are even ‘Good Girls and Boys Certificates’.