Winter Vacation Destinations

Every year, the weather turns cold and travelers are left with a simple decision: embrace the chill, grab your heavy coat and head off into the snow, or make a break for the warmer climates. No matter how you choose to spend it, there are numerous winter vacation destinations waiting for your arrival.

This is the best time of year for those that prefer the shimmering white of the mountains. Whether you ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or just prefer the solitude that the darker months provide, winter destinations bring millions to the northern regions every year.

In America, the standard is set. No matter if you want to hit the slopes or just sip hot chocolate in the lodge, Aspen is for you. The snow drenched Colorado hamlet is beset by avid skiers every year, its legendary ski resorts known worldwide. For millions, this is the premier of any possible Christmas vacation destinations.

Just outside the sparkling metropolis of Vancouver is another ski that is synonymous with skiing. The height of winter vacation destinations in Canada, the slopes here are renowned to no end. Covering 8000 acres and providing runs for all skill levels, if you are going on a ski trip that does not end in Aspen, this is the ultimate in skiing.

Unless you are already in Europe. In which case, you may have heard of a little mountain range called the Alps. Stretching across the border of France and Switzerland, here you'll find one of Europe's favorite Christmas vacation destinations. Combining picture perfect mountainsides with quaint ski lodges, the Alps offer a winter setting that cannot be topped.

There's a certain mystique that is attached to fall in New York, but none of that appeal falls away as the calendar turns toward December. While New York City is always one of the country's top tourist options, it remains the most popular of the urban Christmas vacation destinations in America. Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, explore Central Park beneath three inches of snow, or warm up in one of the city's famed museums - everything in the five boroughs takes on a romanticized appeal late in the year.

But not everyone supports the cold. Both the Caribbean and Hawaii see thousand upon thousand tourists looking to escape the dark night of winter by flocking to the palm trees and sandy beaches offered there. Also, many countries in the southern hemisphere must be included in a list of popular winter vacation destinations, due to their opposing seasons. The South Pacific, with top travel destinations like Fiji, New Zealand and the Philippines, offers many opportunities to flee the onset of freezing weather. And, of course, there is the permanent attraction of Australia, which seems twice as exotic as your own hometown fills with sleet and snow. Always one of the most popular winter destinations (winter in the northern hemisphere, that is), the glistening cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are wonderful respites from wherever you are trying to escape from.

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