Top 10 cold weather active North American vacations to renew your spirit

For many people fall and winter vacations aren’t so much about money, they are about time and escaping the eternal screech of the smart phone ringer. Some of the best fall and winter luxury vacation spots will let you trade in the phone for a pair of skis, hiking shoes or scuba gear and come back renewed and revitalized.

Three strategies will make any vacation renewing rather than hectic and draining:

• Timing, avoid high season crowds.

• Transportation, pay for the best (usually private jets) to get where you want to go in the most efficient manner possible.

• Safety. Choose places that let you relax without worrying about crime, questionable food or diseases.

In the following vacation list these strategies are used to select the best and most rejuvenating North American vacations.

1. Early fall, Yellowstone, hiking. Yellowstone in the fall is miles of empty open space perfect for hiking and reawakening the spirit. The luxury resorts in Jackson Hole and some of the Yellowstone resorts remain open into the fall to cater to the people that really know when to come. Look forward to no crowds, pristine air and colder weather that kills the bugs and brings the animals out in force.

2. Early fall and winter, Ely, MN and Lake Vermillion. Fall, fishing and canoeing. Winter, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Off the beaten track, Ely MN is the US entry point to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). The Boundary Waters is arguably the most pristine wildlife area in North America outside of Alaska. Accessible only by canoe with a guide this pristine wilderness area is the ultimate quiet escape. You can bring your cell phone but don’t expect it to work. Nearby is Lake Vermillion, the most exclusive lake in the region. Serviced by many elegant and understated resorts, this is a coveted northern vacation spot. A bit of trivia, Bob Dylan was born in the small town of Hibbing and grew up in Duluth, MN.

3. Fall, North Vancouver, salmon fishing until October, salmon run watching until late November, boating. Possibly the most beautiful city in the world, Vancouver in fall has it all. Great weather, turning trees, running salmon and outstanding five star hotels and restaurants. Venture north daily by boat or plane into the wilderness for salmon fishing/run watching, hiking and ocean fishing. Truly remarkable in every way.

4. Fall, El Dorado County, CA, hiking, biking and wine tasting. El Dorado County sits at the foot of Lake Tahoe and the El Dorado National Forest.

Aptly named, El Dorado is a lost land of beauty. With breathtaking hiking and rolling hills dotted with wineries El Dorado is also perfect for biking enthusiasts. It is intimate compared to the large flat expanses of Napa. Sitting at the base of the mountains the terroir is similar to the most prestigious wine growing regions of Europe. Smaller, top rated vintners abound.

5. Fall, Brandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, Augusta National, and Pinehurst, golf. Golf is the ultimate quest for perfection. Brandon Dunes, OR, Pebble Beach, CA, Augusta National, GA (private) and Pinehurst, NC all challenge your game and wipe your cares away with blissful natural and manmade perfection.

6. Winter, Aspen, CO., Jackson Hole WY, Park City, UT, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a ski vacation:

• Ski the Rocky Mountains for the best, dry, fluffy snow.

• Choose mountains that are well designed with fast lifts. Design significantly affects lift lines and your entire vacation.

• Book ski-in/ski-out quality resorts whenever possible (book early- the best ones fill up). Worth every penny when you are really sore after a hard day on the slopes!

• Hire a helicopter and a guide for an amazing experience.

7. Winter, British Virgin Islands, diving. The Virgin Islands let you float through an enchanting world of coral heads and brightly colored creatures. Numerous resorts offer relaxation and excellent accommodations.

8. Winter, Fisher Island and Key West Florida, boating and fishing. Fisher Island is a little piece of luxury that is somehow trapped right next to brazen, glitzy Miami. Total relaxation is available further down in the Keys. Warning! Once you get on a boat down there you may never come back.

9. Winter and fall, Sedona, AZ, hiking and biking. Sedona is known for spas, artists and healing crystals. It is also filled with extensive hiking and biking trails. The scenery varies from streams and forests to high desert within a few miles. Breathtaking red rocks and amazing restaurants will surprise you at every turn. Best retreat at the end of winter when you just feel like you can’t possibly stand another frigid day.

10. Late fall and early spring, Zion National Park, UT, hiking. Like Sedona but massive, a little cooler and without the healing crystals. Zion is one of the top US destinations for European visitors. Somehow North American travelers routinely overlook it.

Daniel Pott is Brand Manager at PrivateJetsCharter.com.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (2)

  1. David Grover says:

    That’s what I love about Utah, there are so many different geological formations that you’re bound to take some good photos when you go there.

  2. I usually don’t think of cold weather locations when I’m brainstorming vacation ideas, but I gotta say that I’m tempted to start looking for a nice winter rental so I can hit the slopes.

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