Some travelers are enchanted by winter’s first snowfall, while others are itching to escape the season’s cold weather. To help you find the locale that best suits your winter vacation wants and needs, U.S. News compiled a list of the Best Winter Travel Destination 2019 based on expert analysis and reader votes. Use these ideas to start planning your getaway
Best Winter Travel Destination 2019
Winter sports enthusiasts flock to this Canadian locale to zip down the world-renowned ski slopes at Whistler Blackcomb. But Whistler boasts ample activities for non-skiers, too. Travelers can go bobsledding at the Whistler Sliding Centre, sign up for a snowshoe tour or simply take advantage of the top-notch après-ski scene
9. Rio de Janeiro
Although room rates are inflated from December to March (Rio’s summer season), splurging on a getaway during these months comes with its perks: You’ll enjoy warm 80-degree weather while lounging on the city’s famous sands and trekking through Tijuca National Park. Additionally, you can still catch a futebol match in early December.
8. U.S. Virgin Islands
To soak up plenty of suns this winter, a vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to avoiding the threat of a hurricane, you’ll enjoy comfortable temps in the 70s and 80s as you sunbathe on white sand beaches. Resort rates are pricey in winter, so if you’re set on saving some money, consider accessing the islands via an Eastern Caribbean cruise.
7. Jasper National Park
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland filled with outdoor activities, head to Jasper National Park. In this Canadian oasis, you’ll have your pick of winter sports, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and fat biking. But remember to check for road closures before you visit: Some areas are not accessible until February or March.
6. St. Lucia
St. Lucia’s superb winter weather (think: highs in the 80s and mostly clear skies) beckons to travelers set on escaping the snow and freezing temps. Though a winter visit requires shelling out some coin for flights and accommodations, you’ll quickly forget this headache while lounging on the beautiful sands of Anse Chastanet and Reduit Beach.
You may find higher accommodation prices and hordes of tourists, but winter visits to this Thai island in the Andaman Sea feature several pros. You’ll avoid the region’s monsoon season, enjoy 90-degree beach weather and cross sights like Big Buddha and Wat Chalong off your bucket list without the threat of rain.
4. New Orleans
Winter visits to the Big Easy feature daytime temps in the 60s, low room rates and more elbow room at tourist hot spots like the French Quarter and St. Louis Cathedral. Arrive in late December to see the festive displays at Celebration in the Oaks and NOLA ChristmasFest. On Christmas Eve, be sure to check out the bonfires on the river levees
3. Jackson Hole
For those set on shredding powder this winter, Jackson Hole makes for an excellent winter trip. In this Wyoming valley, vacationers can hit the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain, Snow King, and Grand Targhee resorts before unwinding in the Granite Hot Springs. Those who love wildlife won’t want to miss a visit to the National Elk Refuge
If you don’t mind donning cold weather attire to see iconic attractions like the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps and the Colosseum, then a winter visit to the Eternal City can’t be beaten. You’ll avoid Rome’s notorious summer crowds, plus you can warm up inside one of the city’s museums or with a cappuccino or a plate of fresh pasta.
1. Hawaii – The Big Island
The Big Island may not appeal to surfers as much as other Hawaiian destinations, but its swells are best come wintertime. Prime spots to catch waves include Honolii Beach Park and Kahaluu Beach. Additionally, the island’s warm climate is ideal for hiking and wandering the stalls at the Nä Mäkua Invitational Christmas Gift Fair.