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 www.colorado.com.
Although lesser-known than that other national holiday in November, these two holidays make for a great excuse for a getaway: National Hiking Day falls on today, November 17th, and is closely followed by National Camp Day on November 19th. Even though fall, spring, and summer seem to get all the attention when it comes to camping and hiking, the winter can be just a magical time to plan your next outdoor adventure—don't let the impending cold weather keep you from the fun. "There’s a special kind of joy in embracing the outdoors, in being active and playful, and yes, even in getting a little muddy,” Ali Rasmussen, co-founder of Spacious Skies Campgrounds, says. “Our philosophy is to ‘Take Your Indoors Outdoors,’ encouraging everyone to step out of their comfort zones, to exchange screens for nature scenes and to embrace the outdoors, especially as the seasons change. It’s not about retreating indoors as winter approaches, but about celebrating each moment under the open sky.” While many top hiking and camping spots close during the winter season, nine of the Spacious Skies campgrounds are open during the winter. Plus, they are all located near parks and outdoorsy attractions so campers can explore each destination in a variety of ways. In honor of National Hiking Day and National Camp Day, here are a few places to get outdoors and enjoy this season. French Pond (Henniker, New Hampshire) Hit the slopes at Mt. Sunapee Ski Resort. Beloved by area skiers for more than 75 years, Mt. Sunapee Ski Resort is also a state park. “Sunapee” is an Algonquian Indian word that means “Goose Lake,” and the ski area is indeed known for giving visitors goosebumps, with some epic expert runs and four terrain parks in addition to family-friendly beginner and intermediate runs. Spacious Skies French Pond features RV sites year-round as well as glamping options including retro RV rentals and a secluded one-bedroom cottage during the milder seasons. Belle Ridge (Monterey, Tennessee) A man balances on a downed tree on a hiking path by Jon Flobrant - Unsplash At Belle Ridge pack up your daypack and walk right out of your RV or glamping cabin to on-site trails that lead to backcountry waterfalls, overlooks, caves and a catch-and-release fishing pond. And if you don’t get dirty enough after exploring these on-site options, head to nearby Cummins Falls State Park, a rugged 306-acre park situated on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River on the Eastern Highland Rim. Sparsely visited in the winter, this scenic destination is home to the 75-foot-high Cummins Falls, the eighth largest waterfall in the state of Tennessee. In addition to RV sites, Spacious Skies Belle Ridge features lodging options like glamping cabins, luxury cabins and a vacation house for groups of up to 12 campers. Country Oaks (Dorothy, New Jersey) Break out your binoculars and head to Spacious Skies Country Oaks, a wooded oasis in the southern New Jersey countryside about an hour from Philadelphia and less than 40 minutes from the famed boardwalk of Atlantic City. The campground is close to wildlife management areas and hiking trails and near rivers and lakes in a region that is acclaimed for its birdwatching opportunities. Shenandoah Views (Luray, Virginia) Hikers watching the sunset by Brayden Winemiller - Unsplash Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and close to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, Spacious Skies Shenandoah Views offers access to numerous hiking trails such as the Bearfence Mountain Trail. This short but rugged hike leads to some of the best views in the park, but to get to them you’ll need to scramble over rocks. In addition to RV sites, Spacious Skies Shenandoah Views features glamping yurts and deluxe cabins in the spring, summer and fall. Hidden Creek (Marion, North Carolina) Spacious Skies Hidden Creek is just a short distance from the Linville Gorge, known as the Grand Canyon of North Carolina. This wild and rugged destination features elevations of 3,400 feet along the rim, and hikers will find the terrain is steep and challenging. In addition to RV sites, the campground – which has recently completed major enhancements – features 17 deluxe one- and two-bedroom cabins. Sandy Run (Fayetteville, North Carolina) Forest views from inside a camping tent by Scott Goodwill - Unsplash Near this delightfully scenic campground is the J.Bayard Clark Park & Nature Center, a natural woodland area that is dedicated to preserving the environment and providing educational information about its wildlife and plants. The park features meandering paved and unpaved trails that lead to one of the highest waterfalls in the coastal plain as well as secluded picnic areas and live animal viewing areas. The Sandy Run campground is especially popular among snowbirds heading south in the fall because of its easy access from major highways. Look for the campground’s colorful mural, created by Carolina artist Christine Crawford. The mural aptly features the Spacious Skies Campgrounds slogan, “Take Your Indoors Outdoors” and it often is the colorful backdrop for camper photos. Savannah Oaks (Savannah, Georgia) The southernmost campground in the Spacious Skies collection, Savannah Oaks is close to the Okefenokee Swamp Park, with boat tours, interactive exhibits and animal encounters, hiking trails and the Okefenokee National Park Wildlife Refuge. The campground is located just steps from the Ogeechee River west of the historic city of Savannah. Peach Haven (Gaffney, South Carolina) Nestled among the rolling hills of South Carolina’s Upstate, Spacious Skies Peach Haven features on-site hiking trails and easy access to attractions such as the Hollywild Animal Preserve. The preserve is home to nearly 300 endangered, wild and domesticated animals that roam through the park’s 100-acre preserve with pastures, water features and plentiful wooded areas. Bear Den (Spruce Pine, North Carolina ) Hiking through a forest by Jake Melara - Unsplash Located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest, Bear Den campers need not travel far to get out in nature. The campground includes some 13 miles of hiking trails, an on-site lake with a beach and a 50-foot waterfall. Just a short drive from the campground is Mount Mitchell State Park, featuring the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The park offers trails to the summit, at 6,684, as well as a network of more challenging trails such as the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail. In addition to RV sites during the winter, campers can stay in on-site cabins come spring, summer and fall.
In a world where many people are increasingly focused on their well-being and strive to strike a work-life balance, most still find themselves neglecting their hard-earned vacation days. Those looking to Sonoma County, California will find a harmonious blend of nature's beauty where the art of relaxation awaits, promising to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. Experiences in Sonoma County include opportunities for forest bathing, stargazing, and engaging in wellness, creativity workshops, and more. A multitude of offerings provide visitors with the chance to immerse themselves in a midweek or weekend dedicated to self-care, relaxation, rejuvenation, connection, and holistic well-being. Forest bathe amongst the Redwoods Redwoods in Sonoma County by David Singleton - Unsplash Immerse yourself in the serenity of Bartholomew Estate Vineyards and Winery for a very special forest bathing and estate wine tasting experience Certified Nature Therapy Guide, Jenny Harrow-Keeler. Jenny leads guests through the Japanese meditative practice, shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), opening all five senses to the land and vineyard, connecting you with nature. Take the time to slow down and truly be aware of your surroundings - on all levels. Enjoy the beauty of the plethora of life at Bartholomew amongst the vines, redwoods, and creeks of the 375-acre sanctuary. Following the forest bathing experience, you'll be guided to Bartholomew's picturesque Oak Knoll for a seated tasting of wines grown in their sustainably farmed vineyards. Forest bathing enhances the wine, and the wine enhances your experience of the land. It's a full circle experience of connection and oneness. Forage for seaweed in Bodega Bay Sunset in Bodega Bay by Georg Eiermann - Unsplash Examine Sonoma County's underwater life with seaweed expert Heidi Herrmann of Strong Arm Farm. Heidi knows what to pick, how to pick it, and most importantly, how to make it taste delicious! This two to three-hour guided foray meets on the beach in Bodega Bay and is followed by a talk on what you collected, the science of seaweed, and how to cook your catch. Taking place during coastal low tide, foraging participants can expect to explore the normally underwater inter-tidal zone at a negative low tide, connecting with the local food system, enjoying umami direct from the source and takeaway 10 pounds of raw edible seaweed – a nutritional powerhouse – during your Bodega Bay adventure. Go glamping on the "Sonoma Serengeti" Experience a magical evening glamping on the Sonoma Serengeti as Safari West commemorates three decades of dedicated wildlife conservation. Don't miss out on this unique, memory-making experience. During your visit to Safari West be sure to be on the lookout for Otto, Safari West's first-ever Southern white rhino baby born to mother, Eesha, and father, Ongava. And to sprinkle even more joy on your experience, children stay free. This special offer is available through December 2023, Monday through Thursday only. Please note that holidays are excluded, and it is applicable for new reservations only. Go horseback riding through the heart of wine country Vineyard in Sonoma County by Trent Erwin - Unsplash Celebrating 20 years, Triple Creek Horse Outfit offers private horseback tours in the heart of the Sonoma Wine Country on some of the finest riding trails in the world, past acres of vineyards for premium wines, cross open oak woodlands and through shady groves of tall redwoods at the renowned, Jack London State Historic Park. Triple Creek Horse Outfit offers a variety of ride lengths to suit their guests' riding interests and schedules. Daily ride times vary. Triple Creek horses are saddled specifically for their reserved rider and rotated daily to insure a happy, healthy mount. Since Sonoma County wine tastes better after riding a horse, Triple Creek offers a complimentary tasting at nearby VJB Cellars. Learn about herbal remedies for winter wellness Herbalist Colleen Solis leads this empowering class on herbal remedies for winter wellness at Wind & Rye, highlighting the plant allies and herbal traditions used in the winter months to keep our bodies nourished and our immune systems strong. The concept of fire cider reaches back centuries but was officially named and perfected by famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970s. Learn about how to use traditional brews in your everyday cooking to support immunity and more. Every attendee will leave with a fire cider, elderberry syrup and bundle of broth herbs created in class. As always, a nourishing meal made with local organic Sonoma County ingredients will be served with drinks at the conclusion of the class. Dip into a one-of-a-kind cedar enzyme bath Sunlight pouring through the redwood trees by Kristina Wagner - Unsplash In a quiet corner of Sonoma County sits Freestone, California, home to Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, the only spa in North America that offers a Cedar Enzyme bath. A Cedar Enzyme "bath" involves submersion in a redwood tub filled with rice bran and warm cedar and fir shavings, a dry microbiome in which fermentation produces unique salutary benefits for metabolism, digestion, the cardiovascular system, relieving joint and muscle pain and improves sleep. Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary has a 30-year history of creating a unique healing environment in Sonoma County that provides spa services in resonance with nature. Beyond the uniqueness of their offerings—such as the one-of-a-kind Cedar Enzyme Bath and award-winning Japanese Zen gardens—their commitment extends to the close attention they give to making guests feel at home, comfortable, and well taken care of. Join in on a Star Party at Robert Ferguson Observatory The Milky Way stretching over the night sky of California by Rodrigo Soares - Unsplash Located in the majestic Mayacamas Mountains in northeast Sonoma County, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is a striking testament to the state's vast and varied landscapes. Encompassing over 4000 acres, the park is a treasure trove of verdant valleys, craggy peaks, and sprawling meadows. Within Sugarloaf Ridge State Park visitors can enjoy the Robert Ferguson Observatory, a must-visit for anyone with a passion for astronomy. Offering a unique chance to view celestial objects through high-powered telescopes, the Observatory hosts regular star parties and events throughout the fall season. During these events, volunteers guide visitors through the universe, from the planets in our solar system to far-off galaxies. For those who prefer to stargaze alone, the park's high elevation and minimal light pollution make it an ideal location for appreciating the beauty of the night sky and connecting to the universe.
When the final leaves drift down from the treetops and the snow begins to pile up, Wyoming becomes a winter wonderland for a variety of adventure seekers. From shredding powder down a double black diamond slope in Jackson Hole to a laid-back afternoon at the spa or soaking your worries away in the mineral-bearing hot springs in Saratoga, the Cowboy State is a superior winter destination for all ages and interests. Hit the slopes in Jackson Hole For those who label themselves as expert skiers or for others who are eager to sharpen their skills on the slopes, there are many ski areas Wyoming has to offer. Known for being the first designated ski area in Wyoming, Snow King Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole has 500 acres of skiable terrain, three operating lifts, a state-of-the-art gondola, three Magic Carpets and an impressive array of 41 designated runs. Apart from skiing, visitors can also enjoy alternative winter activities such as the Cowboy Coaster, snow tubing and exploring the soon-to-launch world-class observatory & planetarium. For more information, visit snowkingmountain.com. Located 12 miles northwest of Jackson Hole in the picturesque Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers an assortment of family-fun activities, an extensive skiable terrain of over 2,500 acres with 13 ski lifts and more than 130 named trails with options available for all skill levels. Visitors uninterested in hitting the slopes can always make a quick stop to ride the iconic aerial tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. For more information, visit www.jacksonhole.com. Click here for a full list of ski options in Wyoming. Glide through enchanting wilderness trails A cross-country skier in Wyoming by Glenna Haug - Unsplash If the fast-pace of downhill skiing isn't your thing, explore some of the wilderness trails across the state. Laramie, in southeast Wyoming, offers the Tie City/Happy Jack trail network and the Snowy Range for diverse snowshoeing and cross country skiing opportunities. The one-third-of-a-mile Summit Loop provides majestic views, while Chimney Park Trail's 15 miles cater to various skill levels. The Barber Lake Trail, groomed for classic Nordic skiing, offers thrilling descents and climbs in the Medicine Bow National Forest.In Yellowstone National Park, winter enthusiasts can explore miles of groomed and ungroomed trails, but they must consult park rangers for trail conditions, as some areas are closed to protect wildlife. Among the recommended trails are the 4.2-mile Snow Pass Ski Trail, the Lone Star Geyser Trail with its geothermal wonders and the historical Bannock Ski Trail. Near Yellowstone's east entrance, Cody provides over 15 miles of groomed trails at Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Pahaska Tepee Resort. One hour south of Yellowstone, Jackson Hole offers the Shooting Star Nordic Track for dog-friendly skiing, Teton Pines Nordic Center for wildlife sightings and Turpin Meadow Ranch for resort-style skiing. Backcountry enthusiasts will find Snake River Dike and Moose-Wilson Road captivating.South of Casper, a biathlon venue boasts 26 miles of groomed ski trails, perfect for both novices and experts. Casper Mountain's 28 miles of trails and adjacent biathlon facility provide a unique skiing experience. In Pinedale, scenic trails like Sweeney Creek, Grouse Mountain and Kelly Park, cater to skiers of all levels. Finally, head to Lander, located in the Wind River Range, to explore the Beaver Creek Nordic Ski Area and Sinks Canyon for various skiing experiences. Discover a snowmobile paradise Snowy Grand Tetons by Joel Holland - Unsplash Wyoming boasts a snowmobiling paradise with over 2,500 miles of trails, including the renowned Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail System, often ranked among the best in the country. Some key destinations include the Bear Lodge Mountains with 78 miles of groomed trails, the Bighorn Mountains offering 387 miles of trails and epic snowfall, the Black Hills with 40 miles of groomed trails connecting to South Dakota and Casper Mountain providing 46 miles of groomed trails at elevations over 7,000 feet.The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail offers a 270-mile adventure through breathtaking landscapes. Additionally, the Snowy Range boasts 25 feet of annual snowfall, while the Wyoming Range offers a 335-mile trail system.Finally, Yellowstone National Park, with its abundant wildlife and pristine winter setting, provides over 3,400 square miles of exploration, open to those with authorized commercial guides and advanced reservations recommended. Dog sled through national forests Dog sledding in Wyoming - courtesy of Jason Lindsey/Wyoming Office of Tourism While Alaska often springs to mind for dogsledding enthusiasts, Wyoming also offers the opportunity to experience the thrill of this wild and snowy adventure. Located primarily in the northwest corner of the state, Wyoming boasts a selection of dogsled tour operators for travelers to explore.Take a scenic joyride with Jackson Hole Dog Sled Tours, guided by eight-time Iditarod veteran Frank Teasley, bringing guests from town to the majestic Granite Hot Springs.Roughly a 45-minute drive northeast of Jackson Hole, Continental Divide Dog Sled Adventures takes guests on a thrilling sled excursion pulled by more than a dozen Alaskan huskies through the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone national forests. Relax in natural hot springs The Thermopolis Hot Springs by Michael Kirsh - Unsplash Soak your worries away in one of many Wyoming hot springs. Free to the public, Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis features both indoor and outdoor soaking pools, as well as attractions like a swinging bridge and Teepee Fountain. Have the family experience of a lifetime at Star Plunge, located inside Hot Springs State Park, which offers heated pools filled with mineral-rich water and additional amenities like water slides and a vapor cave.Granite Hot Springs near Jackson boasts a waterfall-fed soaking pool accessible in the winter via snowmobile, skis or a dog sled. Astoria Hot Springs Park near Jackson features man-made soaking pools rich in mineral compounds, along with amenities like snacks and a playground.Saratoga Hot Springs Resort & Spa offers a 70-foot outdoor hot springs pool and teepee-covered soaking pools, along with spa treatments like Couples Retreats. Last but not least, Hobo Hot Pool in Saratoga is a free natural spring with two pools next to the Platte River, even allowing visitors to wade into the river.
For most people, traveling by horse is not the typical day-to-day mode of transportation, making activities like trail rides and carriage rides a fun way to experience a new destination. The four destinations below offer a variety of activities for every kind of traveler, from beach lovers to those nostalgic for a simpler time. These equine activities are the perfect way to slow-down and enjoy the sights. Take a beachside horseback ride in Florida Horseback riding in Amelia Island, Florida - courtesy of J/PR The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida offers visitors some fantastic ways to explore the area. For an experience like none other, ride along the beach on horseback and take in the pristine ocean views. (It's also a great way to avoid getting sand in toes, if that isn't your thing!) While there, check out some of the other activities offered; explore the outdoors with small-group "Ecology Field Trips" led by the on-property naturalist to connect and educate curious guests on the local area and wildlife in neighboring state parks and nature preserves. Visitors can also adventure through the winding channels on an exciting kayak tour and investigate the island by bike with more than 40 paths to choose from. Experience cowboy culture at the Fort Worth Stockyards Horseback riding with the Fort Worth skyline - courtesy of Visit Fort Worth A true Western experience unlike any other, the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas is also home to world's only year-round rodeo and offers twice-daily longhorn cattle drives, historic tours, live music and the world’s largest honky tonk. Better yet, you can explore the Fort Worth Stockyards via horseback riding along the original Chisholm Trail. Tour a Hawaiian town via carriage ride Horseback riding in Lanai - courtesy of J/PR The Four Seasons Resort in Lanai, Hawaii offers a unique carriage ride experience to explore the area and learn about local history of this former plantation tour. Guests can tour the town in a beautiful carriage drawn by shire horses, recognized as a family-friendly and laidback breed. The private ride for parties up to four begins in Lanai City, where you’ll circle Dole Park, and ends at Lanai Ranch at Koele, home to the resort’s horses, minis and Spur, the Ranch dog. The one-hour excursion includes snacks, water, sunscreen and roundtrip transportation. Explore a vehicle-free Mackinac Island An aerial view of Mackinac Island, Michigan - courtesy of J/PR A visit to Mackinac Island, Michigan offers a trip unlike any other, to a place that feels as if it has been suspended in a forgotten, more innocent time. Situated on just 3.8 square miles of land between the Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Mackinac takes pride in their culture celebrating and embracing their 125th anniversary of the motor vehicle ban, where modes of transportation are limited to horse-and-buggy, walking, and biking on its traffic-free roads. Guests can explore all Mackinac on carriage tours, the most enjoyable and authentic way to view the island - and you can even bring your furry friends! After a day of adventuring and exploring, guests can book a stay at Mission Point Resort, to experience a sweeping Great Lawn dotted with Adirondack chairs ideal for lounging, picnicking and lawn games, garden tours led by the resident horticulturist and through local partnerships. Mission Point guests will also enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, and more.
Owning a private jet or mountaintop villa may be out of the budget for most—but there are other ways to experience the epic views of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Beyond the typical hiking trails and skyline drives, those looking for the ultimate birds-eye views will want to check out the experiences below that feature rides in vintage planes and hot air balloons, train tours, rock climbing experiences, and more. Tour Southern California in an open-cockpit biplane Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas, California has partnered with San Diego Sky Tours to offer aerial tours and—most unique of all—air combat experiences. Guests will be able to glide over the Pacific Ocean to see all of San Diego in one hour or less or enjoy a romantic sunset ride. For those looking for a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip, visitors can also book a thrill-seeking adventure in a vintage open-cockpit biplane with a military-trained pilot. While these kind of aviation experiences understandably come with a price tag (rates for experiences start at $400), budgeting around this unique activity can easily be done thanks to relatively cheap domestic airfare into California and plenty of other affordable accommodations and dining options to round out the rest of a trip in the area. Enjoy New England's fall colors from a hot air balloon Hot air balloons over Massachusetts - courtesy of J/PR For experiential ways to take in the New England foliage hop aboard a Hoosac Valley Train Ride and embark on a scenic train route through the Berkshires, take in the autumn allure from above with a Worthington Ballooning Hot Air Balloon ride or drive out to Western Massachusetts and wind along the famed foliage streets of the Massachusetts stretch of U.S. Route 7, Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway and Mount Greylock Scenic Byway. Scale Boynton Canyon's red rocks in Arizona The Trail House at Enchantment Resort - courtesy of J/PR With access to more than 400 miles of scenic and iconic hiking and biking trails, Enchantment Resort serves as the ideal base camp for exploration and uncovering trails throughout the destination’s soaring sandstone cliffs, striking canyons and pinyon-juniper forests. Guests are encouraged to connect to Sedona’s surrounding landscape through the property’s new Trail House, an adventure hub where expert guides help guests uncover which nearby trails, whether on foot or through world-class mountain biking equipment, are ideal for them based on skill level, terrain, scenery and elevation gains. The property recently partnered up with Arizona Climbing Guides to take guests to an epic rock climbing location at The Granite Dells, just ten minutes outside the city of Prescott, and offer outstanding rock climbing opportunities for all abilities (details here). View Virginia's wine country by helicopter Vineyard at The Nicewonder Farm - courtesy of J/PR The Inn at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards in Bristol, Virginia invites guests to take in the views with the new The Wine Flight Package, where majestic mountain terrain and lush forest greenery are paired beautifully with the property’s award-winning, homegrown wines. The package offers guests a private helicopter tour of Bristol’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and a private wine tasting and picnic on property, in addition to luxury accommodations, amenities, and daily breakfast. Cross the Continental Divide by train An unforgettable journey, travelers can take in the breathtaking sights from a luxury train with Rocky Mountaineer as they ride from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah on the “Rockies To The Red Rocks” route, filled with highlights best seen by train, including Ruby Canyon, Mount Garfield and crossing the Continental Divide. Once in Utah, complete your adventure with full day or multi-day rafting trips through some of the most legendary whitewater rivers, camping overnight under bright stars, next to stunning red rock formations and remote sandy beaches. Guide services such as Adrift Adventures, Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours or Sheri Griffith Expeditions can lead even new rafters through an incredible adventure, organizing everything from meals to bathroom stops. In addition to rafting, visitors can also take in much of Utah's scenery not accessible to cars and RVs. There are thousands of miles of trails open to off-highway vehicles, making off-roading one of Utah's most popular pastimes. Trails include Arapeen OHV Trail, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Paiute ATV Trail and many more. See San Francisco's landmarks by seaplane Views of San Francisco bay area and the Golden Gate Bridge - courtesy of J/PRCavallo Point in Sausalito, California sits on more than 350 acres complete with trails for running, hiking, and biking, but also offers unique and once in a lifetime tours of San Francisco. See the Bay Area from every angle from sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge to getting a bird’s-eye view of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks in a seaplane or private helicopter.
If you're looking for ghost towns, haunted houses, and creepy attractions to visit this fall, look no further than these destinations below. From dark local histories to paranormal investigative hot spots, there's something for every Halloween enthusiast looking for a perfectly frightful October getaway. Hear witchy stories in New England An autumn day in Salem, Massachusetts by Laura Michalski - Unsplash One of the most quintessentially "Halloween" towns is Salem, Massachusetts, thanks to its unique history. New England, in general, offers a great destination for fall getaways, too. Along with the autumn colors and fantastically crisp weather, this part of the country has some of the oldest buildings as well as key historic sites from early American military conflicts (a perfect combination for hauntings!). For a classic Halloween activity, Better Than Fiction's Salem Walking Tours offers tours around witchcraft as well as dark local tales beyond the infamous trials. Step back into the Old West at this ghost town A boarded up building in Kirwin, Wyoming - courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism Along the Wood River near Meeteetse and situated on U.S. Forest Service land is Kirwin, one of the most intriguing abandoned places in Wyoming. During the 1890s, Kirwin had 38 buildings and approximately 200 residents, many of whom journeyed to the settlement during its gold and silver boom. In the winter of 1907, a massive snowstorm caused an avalanche, taking lives and thus beginning the slow deterioration of the town itself. In the 1930s, the land became part of the Double Dee Guest Ranch, visited by Amelia Earhart and her husband, George Putnam. A cabin was under construction for Earhart when she disappeared during her around-the-world flight in 1937 that was never completed.If you wish to explore the ghost town and its potential haunting, you want to make sure you have four-wheel drive. You can book private tours or snag an ATV for an off-road adventure. View the remnants of her cabin, which are visible about a mile from Kirwin, as well as an old hotel, small log structures, and mining machinery at this old West ghost town. After visiting Kirwin, be sure to stop the Irma Hotel in nearby Cody, Wyoming. In 1902, Buffalo Bill opened the Irma Hotel, naming it after his daughter. Stay a night in Room 35 if you're brave—known as the Paul Stock room, it is one of the original 15 rooms in the hotel and has been the scene of the most ghost stories in the hotel. Elsewhere, down the hall in Room 16, many guests have reported seeing an apparition of Irma Cody Garlow sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of the room. She died of influenza and pneumonia in the hotel when she was 35, and just a few days after her husband and hotel manager Fred Garlow died of pneumonia. Employees of the hotel have even said they've seen Buffalo Bill wandering the hallways at night, or have heard the jangle of spurs in the bar when it's closed for the evening. Uncover Civil War haunts and more in Tennessee The sun on the horizon over Franklin, Tennessee by Josh Withers - Unsplash Just outside of Nashville, in Franklin, Tennessee, is the Lotz House. It is considered one of the most haunted places in the country, and with its history, one can easily see why. The house, which has been on the National Historic Register since 1976 is located at “ground zero” of the Civil War's Battle of Franklin. Historians describe the fighting that took place at the Battle of Franklin and in the Lotz front yard “some of the most severe hand to hand fighting during the four year long war.” Ten thousand Americans were killed, wounded or missing. The Lotz House served as a hospital for the wounded soldiers on both sides until the following summer. Book a special evening ghost tour and take a chance to experience the spirits and other unexplained phenomenon that are said to haunt the historic home. Tennessee is home to several other great spooky attractions that visitors can add to their itinerary. Nearby, in Nashville on October 27th, visitors can also plan a trip to experience The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, an interactive one-man play about the classic horror tale at The Hermitage with showings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. In Manchester, the Manchester Zombie Walk and Halloween Faire takes place on Friday, Oct. 13 at Fred Deadman Park will feature vendors, face-painting, axe throwing, food trucks, live bands and a spooky good time. Head to New Orleans for pirates and voodoo Crescent City is full of creepy sites. This city offers the highest number of haunted hotels and ghost tours, and ranked number 5 overall in the best cities for paranormal activities. Used as a hospital during the Civil War, Hotel Provincial allegedly houses a few ghostly guests. Spirits spotted at the Old Absinthe House include infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, and Louisiana Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Visit sites iconic to “The Vampire Chronicles” author on the Unofficial Anne Rice Tour. Encounter the paranormal along the Pacific Coast A graveyard in Yountville, California by Melissa Mullin - Unsplash This, Los Angeles, California was ranked the #1 city to visit for paranormal activity by LawnLove. Their metrics show that the City of Angels has the most paranormal conventions and events, the 5th most ghost tours, and the most haunted sites; interestingly, it is also the second best city to visit for witches and 4th best for vampires, according to additional LawnLove studies. California also comes in as the best state to look for UFOs. Ghosts seem to haunt the City of Angels with a dramatic flair at performance venues The Comedy Store and Pantages Theatre. Book a night at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for potential encounters with the star-studded spirits of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. In nearby Burbank, find oddities and interactive exhibits for paranormal activity lovers and horror fans at the Mystic Museum. Nearby, San Diego took 4th place in the best paranormal cities rankings. Book your own paranormal investigation at the Whaley House, the self-proclaimed “America’s Most Haunted House.” A short drive from Downtown San Diego, a ghost reportedly haunts the beachside Hotel del Coronado. Learn more about the phantoms haunting Downtown San Diego at the Ghosts of the Gaslamp weekly walking tour. Also in California is Willow Creek, the so-called Bigfoot Capital of the World. Learn more about the Pacific Coast Bigfoot at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, or search for it yourself in the Redwoods.