Plan an Epic Winter Vacation to the Rocky Mountains

By Colorado Tourism / BT Editor
December 5, 2023
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Snow in Estes Park, Colorado by Dominique Hicks - Unsplash

Colorado has long been renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and year-round outdoor adventures, and during the holidays, it transforms into a winter wonderland. Colorado's allure during this special season lies in its ability to seamlessly combine timeless traditions with thrilling new adventures. From annual events to celebrate the season and memorable winter activities to festive lodging packages and dining experiences, Colorado is the place to celebrate the most magical time of the year.

See magical sights and light displays

Snow, Christmas lights, and the tree during the day in Denver, Colorado by Colin Lloyd - Unsplash

Most trips begin with a flight into Denver, Colorado. Make sure to take in all the magical sights that the Mile High city has to offer this time of year. Stop by Denver's Union Station for a glance at the 40-foot tall Christmas tree. Just south in the suburb of Littleton, visitors can see the Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms (November 24 – January 1), a 1-mile path that is illuminated with thousands of Christmas lights and epic lighting displays synchronized to music, creating a magical atmosphere on the 1880s Hildebrand Ranch homestead. Then, on December 10th is the Cherry Creek Chanukah Celebration; an outdoor menorah is lit and attendees can enjoy festive treats, face painting and crafts. Also, through January 7th, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts Blossoms of Light, an annual holiday light extravaganza that transforms the gardens into a shimmering wonderland with a 360-degree immersive light experience. Don't miss The Colorado Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, a cherished holiday tradition offering joy and merriment to visitors as they kick off the season.

    Several holiday markets also pop up across the state during the holiday season. The Denver Christkindl Market (November 17 - December 23) transforms Civic Center Park into a miniature German village with live music, holiday shopping and food vendors serving traditional German Christmas market specialties such as gingerbread biscuits, grilled sausages and the beloved gluehwein.

    Heading north from the city, be sure to stop at the Garden of Lights (December 8 - 23) in Fort Collins, one of Northern Colorado's favorite holiday traditions featuring a half-mile loop of perennial flower beds, sculptures, a holiday village and other garden creatures—all crafted entirely from holiday lights. There's also Loveland's Winter Wonderlights (November 18 - January 1), a captivating free light show that enchants visitors with over 200,000 lights, live reindeer, ice sculpting, music and dance performances.

    Over in Telluride, the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade showcases ski resort employees gliding down the mountain with torches, making it a unique and unforgettable spectacle.

      Take a mountain train ride

      Telluride, Colorado turns into a winter wonderland in the snow by Thomas Kelley - Unsplash

      For a touch of nostalgia, Colorado's historic trains take travelers on a journey through winter wonderlands. The Leadville Railroad Holiday Express offers a magical ride through snowy mountains with scenic views. The Santa Express Train with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad leads passengers to the North Pole and back, complete with a visit from Santa. The Polar Express Train Rides at the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, both offer unparalleled holiday experiences.

      The Georgetown Loop Railroad's Winter Holiday Trains are one of Colorado’s most authentic living history experiences and offer timeless adventures through scenic vistas decorated with more than 300,000 holiday lights.

        Experience the Royal Gorge Bridge at its most festive

        For the second time, America’s highest suspension bridge will become a winter wonderland. In December, the Royal Gorge Bridge will transform into an interactive drive-thru holiday lights experience, The Bridge of Lights. Cookies and cocoa are also available for purchase as you enjoy the drive across the sparkling bridge.

        Stay a night in the backcountry

        A trail through Crested Butte, Colorado by Taylor Brandon - Unsplash

        In Crested Butte, those seeking outdoor adventures can embark on a cross-country ski or snowshoe trip into the serene backcountry. The Magic Meadows Yurt, heated by a wood-burning stove, is accessible only on skis or snowshoes through a 1-mile groomed trail. Visitors can warm up with cocktails or enjoy local brews while savoring a Colorado-inspired meal and live music.

        For equally festive accommodations that are less rugged, the C Lazy U Ranch transforms into a snowy paradise for the holidays offering a delightful combination of Rocky Mountain scenery and festive fun, including gingerbread house making, Christmas karaoke and a special visit from Santa via horse-drawn sleigh.

            Enjoy merry, seasonal dining experiences

            Indulge in a unique Snowcat Dinner at Aspen's Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, where a picturesque cabin in the Rockies serves exquisite dishes with breathtaking views. If you find yourself in Arapahoe Basin for New Year's, try the New Year's Eve Moonlight Dinner Series; it combines chairlift rides, chef-prepared global cuisine and mountain vistas for an unforgettable celebration. In Grand Junction, The Hotel Maverick’s restaurant, Devil’s Kitchen will transform its rooftop terrace into an amazing snow globe dining experience against panoramic views of the Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument. Cozy up and enjoy a festive meal of regionally inspired dishes and specialty craft cocktails in private illuminated igloos and gondolas. There's also Miracle on 7, Estes Park's own Christmas-inspired pop-up cocktail bar that transforms Cousin Pat's Pub & Grill into a festive atmosphere with kitschy holiday decorations, expertly crafted cocktails and more.

            The Ramble Hotel in Denver will transform Death & Co’s intimate Suite 6A into an elegant holiday bar with floor-to-ceiling décor and a festive selection of specialty cocktails and bites only available in the pop-up ski lodge-inspired suite. Also in Denver, The Brown Palace is an iconic hotel renowned for its holiday offerings including a traditional holiday afternoon tea (November 13 – January 21) and special Christmas and New Year's Eve dining events.

            Get a taste of holidays past with historic activities

            A cold winter evening in Glenwood Springs, Colorado by Nate Hughes - Unsplash

            The historic Fort Restaurant in Morrison, designed to resemble an 1800s fur trading post, offers a unique holiday dining experience serving traditional dishes like bison and game meats. Also in Morrison, the Tesoro Cultural Center's Las Posadas (December 24) is an annual Christmas Eve celebration that reenacts Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, featuring children's participation, traditional music, piñatas and complimentary treats like biscochito cookies and Mexican hot chocolate.

            For a cozy and rustic adventure, 2 Below Zero in Frisco offers mule-team-driven sleigh rides with chuckwagon dinners and live music, while Steamboat Springs provides a Wild West touch with its Haymaker Sleigh Ride Dinner. In Glenwood Springs,Hotel Colorado provides an enchanting and classic Colorado Christmas experience, where visitors can immerse in the rich holiday tradition that dates back to 1893 featuring beautifully decorated fir trees, half a million holiday lights, an annual tree lighting ceremony, breakfasts with Santa and festive touches around each corner.

            Celebrate the holiday season in Victor and Cripple Creek as the Gold Camps come alive with dazzling holiday lights adorning mine headframes (November 24 – December 31). Enjoy a festive self-guided tour, complete with holiday music and beautiful light displays in this historic mining region. Finally, experience the unique charm of the holiday season in Denver before 1924 by touring the beautifully decorated Center for Colorado Women's History and enjoying a delightful tea service during their Holiday Tea special events (November 25 – December 16).

            Head outdoors for snowy excursions

            A herd fo elk in Estes Park, Colorado by Greyson & Thomas - Unsplash

            Located in Granby, between Winter Park Ski Resort and Rocky Mountain National Park, true to its name, YMCA of the Rockies -Snow Mountain Ranch is the ultimate winter wonderland. The 5,100-acre property offers Nordic skiing and snowshoeing on 85K of groomed, world-class terrain, private and group cross country ski lessons and rentals, dog sled experiences, winter horse drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, indoor archery and rock climbing, indoor swimming, nostalgic roller skating, and much more. Accommodations include hotel-style lodge rooms starting at $104 per night and Nordic ski-in and ski-out, pet-friendly cabins starting at $199 for a 2 bedroom. There are several activities to participate in during the winter season:

            • New this year, the Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center will offer full moon ski and snowshoe experience, with lights on the trail and hot chocolate.. The full moon events will take place on Friday, January 26, 2024 and Friday, February, 23, 2024.
            • The Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center offers 85K of groomed, world-class country ski terrain meandering through pine forest, wide meadows and along a mountain creek.
            • An annual tradition for many families and friends is the Christmas Tree Cutting Experience. Purchase a tree-cutting ticket and head out on a winter adventure to find the perfect Christmas tree. Overnight guests can cut down a tree for free.
            • Meet the team, including the six new Snow Mountain Ranch dog sled puppies, and tour the beautiful property on a Snow Mountain Ranch dog sled adventure. Reservations are required for both the long and short sled dog rides.

            There's also the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center (in Estes Park). Guests can enjoy a number of on-site, seasonal activities during the day – including sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, roller skating, indoor swimming or rock climbing and more – and return to their cozy lodge room or private cabins at night. And the town of Estes Park itself is a must-visit winter destination – with its annual Catch the Glow holiday festival, local boutique shops, and charming restaurants.

            • Ice skating is a favorite winter tradition at the Estes Park Center. This year, guests can grab their free skate rentals and twirl, glide, and jump to their heart’s content. For a warm-up on select dates, they can stop by the new rink side Hot Cocoa Truck (the resort’s winter iteration of its popular summer ice cream truck).
            • The Mootz Family Craft and Design Center will feature seasonal crafts alongside their popular regular offerings. So, guests can make a holiday-scented candle, mosaic, or piece of jewelry for a gift that really comes from the heart. And, new this year, the craft center will offer gift wrapping.
            • YMCA of the Rockies is known for its guided hikes, included with a stay. Area experts will lead guests through the winter wonderland of Rocky Mountain National Park on snowshoe adventures that range from beginner to expert. At the end of the day, guests can relax and share stories of their day around a private bonfire with hot cocoa and s’mores.

              — Colorado invites all to embrace the holiday spirit and create treasured memories in a snow globe setting. For more details, please visit

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              Charming Hotels to Visit for Christmas

              "Home for the holidays" might be the preferred plan for some, but these hotels go all-out when it comes to celebrating Christmas day. With life-size confections and incredible gingerbread displays, shows and performances, beautifully-crafted decor, Santa (and reindeer!) appearances, and so much more, visitors will be hard-pressed to find a more magical palce to spend the Christmas season. Hotel Bennett (Charleston, South Carolina) Kids get hot cocoa from a life-size gingerbread house in Hotel Bennett - courtesy of Hotel Bennett Warm your heart and your spirit this holiday season and create cherished memories with loved ones at Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2022, Hotel Bennett unveiled a spectacular addition to our holiday decor – an enchanting life-sized gingerbread house. This masterpiece was meticulously crafted using a staggering array of confections: 2 lbs of candy corn, 10 lbs of marshmallows, 10 lbs of candy canes, 25 ft of rock candy, 95 lbs of gummy bears, 105 lbs of Rice Krispies, 364 ft of red liquorice rope, 672 jolly ranchers, 1428 skittles, and adorned with 3000 twinkling red and green lights. Nestled in the welcoming embrace of our first-floor lobby, this Gingerbread House promises an enchanting experience for all. Elves will be on hand to serve steaming cups of hot cocoa, making it a heartwarming treat for families and guests alike. Ensure you don't miss this captivating destination, perfect for creating cherished holiday memories. Enjoy a whimsical "Tea with Santa," held on weekends through the holiday season, that will transport you and your loved ones to a world of magic and wonder with an array of delectable, holiday-inspired treats and a visit from Santa Claus himself. Sip on a selection of whimsical teas with champagne available for grown-up guests; plus, receive a keepsake to commemorate the special day. Holiday teas geared more towards adults are also served Thursdays and Fridays. On December 23rd, guests can also book a magical Breakfast with Santa in the Crown Ballroom. If you can't be home for the holidays, Hotel Bennett will try to be the next best thing. Experience the magic of the season with an enchanting "Home Sweet Hotel Bennett" package. Unwrap the joy of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling lights and festive ornaments, right in the comfort of your room. And to make your stay even sweeter, enjoy a special Hotel Bennett keepsake ornament to commemorate your holiday getaway. (Reservations even include complimentary hot chocolate from the Life-Size Gingerbread House!) Book this special package now through December 25, 2023, for stays until January 3, 2024 (blackout dates apply). Snowvillage Inn (Eaton Center, New Hampshire) Winter at The Snowvillage Inn - courtesy of the Snowvillage Inn The Christmas decorations at the Snowvillage Inn are a sight to behold, transforming the inn into a festive wonderland that exudes warmth and holiday spirit. Visitors can find beautiful, handcrafted wreaths adorning the entrance, each one uniquely decorated with traditional holiday elements. The inn's exterior is adorned with twinkling lights that outline the building, creating a magical, wintry ambiance as soon as you arrive. Inside, the cozy fireplaces are decorated with garlands and their crackling fires invite guests to snuggle up with a warm drink while enjoying the festive atmosphere. The heart of the inn is graced by the presence of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Get into the holiday spirit with a pre-Christmas getaway to the Inn. This exclusive package gives you the official Snowvillage Inn Holiday Ornament, romantic dinner for two, and more. Be sure to visit the nearby Stone Mountain Arts Center. Their December schedule is packed with Christmas cheer including: the SMAC Craft Fair on December 3rd, a Christmas luncheon on December 6th with a Christmas concert performed by owner Carol Noonan, and Stone Mountain LIVE December 15th-16th. With the lights all strung and garlands galore, Stone Mountain LIVE at Christmas takes all the best aspects of this special place on the hill and packs it into one fun festive night! The Aspen Meadows Resort (Aspen, Colorado) This year, The Aspen Meadows Resort will debut a new holiday reindeer village complete with carolers along with snowmen building and s'mores by a cozy firepit. On Friday, December 22, the iconic Anderson Park will transform into an enchanting winter wonderland and the magical world of the North Pole will come to life with a meet and greet of Santa’s reindeer from Colorado Reindeer Ranch. An outdoor bar serves steaming hot cocoa and mulled wine. There are also sleigh rides, gingerbread house and cookie decorating, plus special holiday menus. The resort celebrates all eight nights of Hanukkah with menorah lightings and traditional latkes (from December 7th-15th this year). Holiday movie nights as well as happy hours are planned for December 9th, 24th, 27th, and 29th. A special Christmas dinner will be held on the big day, and New Year's Eve will feature a fireworks extravaganza and an elegant four-course prix fixe dinner at Plato's Restaurant. The Westin Anaheim Resort (Anaheim, California) The Westin Anaheim Resort during the holidays - courtesy of Wincome Hospitality From festive décor and delectable holiday dining to special events and interactive family activities, The Westin Anaheim Resort has curated a wonderland of experiences to make this holiday season truly extraordinary. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a captivating display of twinkling lights on the grand entrance, wreaths, and illuminated Christmas trees. Guests staying at The Westin Anaheim Resort December 13th – 31st will be welcomed with a complimentary holiday arrival beverage, Sweet Orange Tea Elixir. This nourishing elixir is infused with antioxidant-rich oranges and spiced with aromatic turmeric, ginger and honey— long renowned for their many health benefits. From December 22nd - 24th, guests will also enjoy melodious carols and the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked Christmas treats and hot cocoa in the lobby. In the hotel lobby, view Santa’s Chocolate Workshop. Acclaimed Pastry Chef Andy De La Cruz and his talented pastry team have meticulously recreated Santa’s chocolate workshop, a confectionary wonderland filled with the sweet aromas of the season. Over 100 pounds of chocolate were used in building the workshop’s festive scene, where life-sized elves toil to create toys for boys and girls. The display was built by a team of eight, and took over two weeks to construct. In addition to the hotel’s regular Westin Family activities, (Storytime, Art Quest, Yoga and more) throughout the month of December, children can embark in magical ornament decorating, while adults can indulge in Holiday-themed Crafted at Westin cocktails. Santa Claus will also visit Blossom Café on December 17th from 11 am – 1 pm, and inside the lobby December 22nd from 6 pm – 8 pm. Santa’s Holiday appearance will include holiday hot cocoa station and Christmas carolers. The Tangerine Room, the resort's signature restaurant, will host a sumptuous Christmas Day buffet December 25th from 12pm to 6:30pm featuring an array of holiday delicacies. For a more casual experience, families can opt for Blossom Market and Café which offers sweet confections from the bakery and gourmet Christmas coffee including the Gingerbread Espresso Latte and the Cool Yule Peppermint Mocha. The Flamingo Resort (Santa Rosa, California) During the holiday season, the iconic resort will be transformed into a tropical winter wonderland full of retro tiki holiday décor. Upon entering, visitors are welcomed with a beautiful, elevated Hawaiian holiday display in the porte-cochere. Get lost in the whimsy of Sippin' Santa, the Lazeaway Club's holiday themed cocktail pop-up. Envision Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh, replace the classic pine tree with palms decked with ornaments, and hang hibiscus garlands alongside tinsel—in essence, that is the Sippin' Santa spirit. Those looking for festive family fun at the Flamingo Resort will enjoy Festive Ornament Decorating on Thursday afternoons and Holiday Cookie Decorating on Saturday afternoons through December. The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, Colorado) The historic Broadmoor hotel - courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles and In Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor blends timeless tradition with enchanting elegance as guests start their holiday season amid millions of dazzling holiday lights, an extravagant gingerbread display and a wide range of family-friendly holiday programming. This year's special piece in the gingerbread display is "A Lightning Bug Boat" that pays homage to the canopy boats that once cruised on Cheyenne Lake when the resort opened its doors in 1918. Enjoy a Broadmoor Hall Brunch on Christmas Day, and the resort's "12 Days of Christmas" with special events from December 20th to January 1st. The Broadmoor's annual Holiday Show is a family-friendly dinner show filled with seasonal favorites presented in a variety show format, sprinkled with a few surprises. Back by popular demand, singer Debby Boone returns to headline. Joining Boone are Broadway star Marcus Lovett and his daughter, Cathryn Lovett; the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale; and Ken Miller and The Broadmoor Pops Orchestra. This year, te Holiday Show takes place December 15, 16, 22, 23, and 24, 2023. Additionally, the Broadmoor hosts a New Year's Eve Gala and New Year's Eve Bash.


              Catch a Glimpse of Santa Claus at These 5 Unique Events

              Photo ops with Santa at the mall are fine, but Ole Saint Nick is making some unique visits around the country this year. From dramatic entrances by air and by sea, to mountainside sightings and rodeo events, the man in the big red suit is gracing the destinations below with a little extra Christmas magic. Look out for flying reindeer (Perdido Key, Florida) Santa lands on this beach in Perdido Key, Florida by Cody Riviello - Unsplash This year on December 9th, don't miss a trip to the gulf coast to experience the Annual Santa Drop, where Santa Claus will skydive onto the snowy-white sandy beach on Perdido Key. On the state line between Florida and Alabama, visitors can view Santa's thrilling entrance at 12:30pm from the Flora-Bama beach lounge. Following the jump, photos ops with the jolly skydiver will be available—all ages are welcome to get in line, so don't forget to bring your holiday wish list! Flora-Bama will also have kids crafts, games, live music featuring holiday tunes for the kiddos, face painting, treats, and (for those of age) plenty of Bushwackers for sale at the bar. The event free to the public, and entertainment begins at 11am. See the Fast and the Festive-est (Breckenridge, Colorado) Downtown Breckenridge in the snow by Michael Steinman - Unsplash The Lighting of Breckenridge in Colorado captures the charm of a snowy mountain town straight out of a holiday movie; but it also has a unique event that brings not one, but several Santas to town. The "Race of the Santas," which takes place during this year's celebration on December 2nd, features hundreds of Santa look-alikes running down the town's Main Street in a race to the finish line. Following the race, the "real" Santa makes an early appearance to Breckenridge to light the tree and illuminate the town with over 250,000 holiday lights. Then from 5 to 7:30pm at the Mountain Top Explorium, kids can visit Santa himself. Other events during the day include a holiday dog parade, a mini-race for kids called the "moose march," carolers, and other revelry. A holiday market and toy drive also run throughout the day. Stop by Santa's year-round workshop (Colorado Springs, Colorado) A Christmas gift all wrapped up by Samuel Holt - Unsplash Sure, Christmas is the best time of year to encounter Santa Claus, but if you're someone who can't shake the holiday spirit (no matter the season), you'll be thrilled to know that Saint Nick can always be found at the North Pole in Colorado Springs. Located at the picturesque foot of Pikes Peak, the North Pole-Santa's Workshop offers a vintage amusement park experience with rides, festive shops, and the chance to meet Santa year-round, creating a timeless family tradition. Take in a show with Elmer the Elf, watch the glass blower create beautiful custom ornaments before your eyes, and don't forget to get some sweet treats at the Carousel Cafe. Wrangle a visit with Old Saint Nick at the rodeo (Las Vegas, Nevada) Christmas decor in Las Vegas by M A Dipp - Unsplash Proud to continue the western legacy in downtown Las Vegas, the Plaza Hotel & Casino will again serve as a hotel sponsor of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and host numerous professional rodeo events at its outdoor equestrian facility, the CORE Arena, December 4th through 16th. Alongside the rodeo events, the Downtown Christmas Expo takes over the Plaza’s third floor convention space from 9 am to 4:30 pm daily, December 7th through 16th. As a special treat for younger attendees, this year, Santa Claus will be at the Downtown Christmas Expo daily from noon to 2 pm. Shoppers can also bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to a toy drive to benefit St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a local nonprofit that provides a community of hope and healing to help children and youth who have been abused, neglected, homeless, and/or exploited. The carefully curated shopping event features a diverse array of apparel and accessory designers, artisans, jewelers, and Western couture. Free to attend, the Downtown Christmas Expo is a marquee part of the memorable Western experience in Las Vegas every December. Head to the Cape for a seaside welcome (Falmouth, Massachusetts) Cape Code, Massachusetts by at - Unsplash In Cape Cod, a seafaring Santa makes his way to the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts during the first weekend of December. Falmouth's Holidays by The Sea Weekend is free to attend and features events throughout the town, including caroling at Woods Hole, the Nobska Light Holiday Open House, a GhElf run and Jingle Jog, the annual lighting of the Falmouth Village Green, and a downtown holiday stroll. On the morning of Saturday, December 2nd, Santa sails into the harbor at 10:30am (with free candy canes for all!). Then, on Sunday, Santa Claus returns to take part in the largest Christmas parade in southeast New England, which features decorated floats, marching bands, live animals, and costumed characters.


              4 Different Ways to Vacation in Monterey County, California

              In Monterey County, California paths connect places, people and experiences, offering a wealth of things to explore. Every trip offers a new opportunity to connect with those around you, with nature and with yourself. Below are four different ways to experience this West Coast destination, with something for every type of traveler. Find you "path" below, and get to booking a trip for the new year! The Wellness Path: Connect Within and Find Your Center Spa treatment at Post Ranch Inn - courtesy of See Monterey Combining the region's iconic natural beauty with unique and immersive bespoke experiences, Monterey County is a haven for wellness seekers. Reconnect with your mind, body and spirit as you immerse yourself in the tranquil trails along the pristine coastline of Pacific Grove, find your Zen in serene redwood forests and enjoy rejuvenating spa experiences at renowned resorts. From indigenous-inspired treatments and shaman sessions to cold stream plunges and equine therapy programs, wellness travelers can experience a diverse array of rejuvenating activities, ensuring an enriching journey of self-discovery. The Epicurean Path: A Culinary Voyage of Land and Sea Old Fisherman's Wharf - courtesy of See Monterey Monterey County is a haven for foodies, connecting diners with fresh seafood straight from the Monterey Bay, produce from the verdant Salinas Valley and award-winning wine poured tableside. Culinary experiences are accompanied by acclaimed wines from the Carmel and Salinas valleys, the largest Chardonnay grower in the country, at esteemed and award-winning vineyards that offer immersive and authentic wine journeys. Savor local classics, such as the iconic clam chowder served in a warm garlic bread bowl or fresh-caught calamari. For an elevated dining experience, indulge in delights crafted by Carmel-by-the-Sea's Michelin-starred chefs like succulent abalone skewers and Dungeness crab ravioli. Additionally, embark on a self-guided journey along the Artichoke Trail, a path winding through farm stands, local shops and restaurants throughout Monterey County, where two-thirds of the world's artichokes are cultivated. The Outdoor Path: Conquer New Horizons Pfeiffer Falls Trail in Big Sur - courtesy of See Monterey Connect with Mother Nature as you explore Monterey County's natural wonders. Monterey County boasts a treasure trove of outdoor adventures and is a veritable playground for wildlife lovers, leisure hikes and thrill seekers. Whether you're into hiking, biking, wildlife spotting or skydiving over Seaside, Monterey County offers diverse landscapes, from 99 miles of sweeping coastline to endless trails into the redwoods and out of the valley. Explore miles of serene hiking trails that wind through the lush redwood forests of Big Sur and the coastal bluffs, perfect for leisurely strolls or challenging hikes. For thrill-seekers, embark on exciting water sports such as kayaking in the pristine waters of Monterey Bay or scuba diving to discover the hidden gems living in the kelp forests. Watch the California condors while you hike ancient rock formations and discover caves at Pinnacle National Park or take a leisurely cruise down the Elkhorn Slough on the lookout for marine birds and sea otters. There's a path, literally and figuratively, for every type of outdoor enthusiast to discover nature and themselves. The Family Friendly Path: Adventures for the Young and Young at Heart Monterey Bay Aquarium - courtesy of See Monterey Creating cherished family memories is effortless in Monterey County. Brimming with attractions for kids and the young at heart, there is an abundance of opportunities for families to create lasting moments and connect with each other. Explore the wonders of the ocean at the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium, where both young and old can marvel at marine life. Enjoy quality time together at the family-friendly resorts in Carmel Valley where adventure and relaxation blend seamlessly. Discover accessibility and inclusivity at new attractions like Orchard Lane Park in Soledad, the sensory children's park designed to accommodate all children, or ride the rails through Marina State Park on a handcar tour, sure to tire out active kiddos. For a classic family experience, venture to Dennis the Menace Park, a beloved local destination where kids can run, play and let their imaginations roam free. The possibilities are as diverse as your family's unique interests, ensuring that every family member can find their own path to an unforgettable family adventure. — For more information and to find your way here, please visit


              Prioritize Self-Care at These Enchanting Spa Retreats

              New Year's is just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about health and wellness goals. While new fitness memberships are a popular and respectable choice, consider avoiding the crowds at gyms this January and put those savings towards a luxurious trip for the senses. From hot spring dips to aromatherapy, from the mountains and forests to deserts and beaches, the retreats below offer something for everyone looking to rejuvenate the body and mind. Resolve to prioritize self-care at one of these incredible spa destinations below. Immerse the senses in geothermal pools (Sonoma, California) Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is ideally situated atop an ancient mineral hot spring, allowing guests to take advantage of the proven healing benefits of mineral waters in geothermal pools. The drawing of energy from nature has been practiced for millennia. Guests can immerse themselves in the elements and be reconnected with nature at Fairmont Spa. The famed Bathing Ritual at the Bathhouse will leave you feeling vibrant and nourished. The steps you'll travel will be filled with ancient mineral waters, fire, ice, and healing aromas. Make the most of a Sonoma County Wine Country getaway with a curated offer designed with rejuvenation in mind. Visiting for just a night or escaping for a few? The perfect package is available at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Harmonize with nature in the Rocky Mountains (Dubois, Wyoming) The mountains in Dubois by Andrew Sterling - Unsplash Unwind and embrace the timeless allure of the mountains at Brooks Lake Lodge's Rocky Mountain Spa in Dubois, where guests can enjoy complimentary access to amenities like hot tubs, saunas, a fitness center and a tranquil relaxation room. Amidst the rejuvenating ambiance of Shoshone National Forest, the spa's skilled staff pampers guests from head to toe, offering a complete spa experience that harmonizes body, mind and soul at this luxurious resort near Yellowstone National Park. Additionally, guests can explore a wealth of outdoor adventures, from horseback riding and hiking to fishing in pristine mountain lakes, ensuring an unforgettable retreat. Enjoy a waterfront getaway (The Palm Beaches, Florida) A pool at Hilton West Palm Beach - courtesy of Hilton West Palm Beach and Discover The Palm Beaches Several prominent resorts and hotels in The Palm Beaches are undergoing substantial transformations, amplifying the guest experience. Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa recently completed an extensive renovation, unveiling 175 revamped guest rooms and suites, upgraded banquet spaces, and the all-new Latitudes restaurant, accompanied by a variety of amenities, including a dedicated kids club. Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, nestled along the south Palm Beach waterfront, is also preparing to reopen this month following a $20 million renovation, focusing on modernized guest rooms, updated dining venues, and refreshed common areas. Relax under the Redwoods (Guerneville, California) Redwoods in California by Matt Busse - Unsplash Try a "relax under the redwoods" package at Dawn Ranch. Escape to your own cabin or cottage and receive a $100 spa credit to be used on treatments during your stay. Treat yourself to a facial, a massage or just a relaxing aromatherapy session all while reconnecting with nature at the new spa at Dawn Ranch. Explore the other on-site activities, including Writing Salons (select Fridays), Creative Workshops: Treasure Boxes (Fridays), Dawn Ranch Scent Discovery Workshops (select Saturdays), and Introduction to Forest Bathing (select Sundays). Add a wildlife excursion to your spa day (Saratoga, Wyoming) Fly fishing in Saratoga, Wyoming by Glenna Haug - Unsplash In Saratoga, Brush Creek Ranch's Trailhead Spa invites guests to indulge in a wide range of pampering services, including massages and facials, inspired by the rich heritage of the West, providing a unique healing renewal experience amidst inspiring landscapes. Furthermore, guests can complement their rejuvenating spa experience by exploring a diverse array of outdoor activities, from horseback riding and fly fishing to hiking and wildlife excursions, guaranteeing guests a relaxing and memorable retreat. Visit the country's top-ranked spas (Arizona) The view from Castle Hot Springs road in Morristown, Arizona by Jim Witkowski - Unsplash Can't choose just one spot? Plan a multi-spa trip to Arizona. Five spas from across the state earned recognition in Condé Nast Traveler's Top 20 Destination Spas in the US: 2023 Reader's Choice Awards. The luxurious Mii Amo in Sedona, Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson, CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa in Carefree and Castle Hot Springs in Morristown all earn a spot on the list for helping guests find tranquility through their spa treatments and stylish accommodations. If you're looking for seclusion in particular, Castle Hot Springs fits the bill. Located down a dusty dirt road, access is limited to registered overnight guests. Unwind in the natural hot springs, or go on an adventure in the Sonoran Desert.