When planning winter vacations, many travelers head to sunny beaches to escape the cold or embrace the icy chills and jet off to world-class ski destinations. Often overlooked are America’s national parks which, while buzzing with crowds during the summer months, offer a more peaceful and quiet retreat come winter.
If you’re looking for active adventures and pleasing climates, here are five national parks that will offer you picture-perfect conditions any time of year!
Biscayne National Park in Florida
Located just a quick drive from Miami, Biscayne National Park makes for the perfect cold-weather getaway for anyone looking for active adventures and sunny skies. A trip to Biscayne rewards visitors with a rare combination of turquoise waters, emerald islands and coral reefs teeming with colorful fish. In a park that's 95 percent water, boating is the perfect way to explore, with fishing, diving, snorkeling and kayaking tours offered any time of year.
Where to Stay: The Gabriel Miami Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton is a chic option that allows you easy access to the thrilling attractions and nightlife in Miami, while enjoying an idyllic location overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks in Utah
Utah is home to some of the most impressive rock formations in the United States and boasts a selection of well-known national park options that are commonly referred to as the “Mighty 5.” While each destination offers something unique for visitors, Southwest Utah’s iconic parks, Bryce Canyon and Zion, serve up snowy serenity in winter and manageable temperatures in any season. Hike among the hoodoos and spires in Bryce Canyon, then travel an hour to Zion to wade through the famous Narrows and you’re sure to come away with impressive tales of your unforgettable adventure.
Where to Stay: You won’t find better views than those at Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection by Hilton in Springdale, Utah, which offers an awe-inspiring location right on the edge of the Virgin River. Here you can take in the scenery from the year-round outdoor hot tubs.
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
Located just 75 miles from Washington, D.C., the heavily forested Shenandoah National Park is home to a vast network of hiking trails, including a lengthy portion of the Appalachian Trail. As you explore, you’ll find the dynamic movement of cascading waterfalls and fields bursting with wildflowers. Listen for the sound of songbirds and the rustle of foliage as deer dart past. The park exhibits a distinctly different look in each of the four seasons, and you’ll want to experience them all.
Where to Stay: Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, DoubleTree by Hilton Harrisonburg is within easy reach of the park and offers ample dining options for fueling up for days full of exploration.
Joshua Tree National Park in California
If the desert is more your scene, then head for Joshua Tree National Park in sunny California. In winter you’ll find mild climates perfect for strolling among the namesake Joshua Trees, and spring brings desert wildflowers and renowned music festivals. But be warned: the summer heat can be intense, with temperatures often climbing above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully the park is known for its proximity to Palm Springs’ swank eateries and refreshing swimming pools, which are perfect for cooling off After a day spent out on the toasty trails.
Where to Stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Palm Desert is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with its prime location in Palm Desert, California, between the bustle of Palm Springs and serenity of Joshua Tree, and surrounded by world-class golf courses.