Top Destinations for Cold Weather Vacations

5 Great Getaways for Late Fall and Winter

Many Pacific Northwest cities and towns make for great escapes even in the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. Whether you want to stay closer to home or plan a future road trip, we have got you covered. Here is a sampling of just five destinations that offer a myriad of staycation fun, outdoor activities and more.

Because of COVID-19, please take recommended safety requirements, check road closures, and practice social distancing if you are planning a road trip. 

Ennis Creek Mural

Ennis Creek Mural (photo by Rob Casey)

Port Angeles, Washington

There are more sunny, dry winter days in Port Angeles than Seattle because of the rain shadow from the Olympics, which block some of the Pacific Ocean moisture that drenches the outer coast and the moss-swaddled Hoh and Quinault rainforests. Visit Port Angeles and learn about native tribal history, search for local marine life, enjoy the harbor’s expansive water and mountain views, and plan time to take in sights on the many scenic routes to Port Angeles.

The Winthrop Emporium in downtown Winthrop, Washington

Photo by iStock

Winthrop, Washington

Methow Valley boasts a legendary 124-mile skiing trail system under a vividly crisp blue sky in Winthrop. Although the trail network is rightfully the most famous winter attraction in this remote valley, the area, which is home to timber lodges, rolling ranchlands, lolling rivers and endless backcountry, has a lot more to offer to those seeking an invigorating winter getaway.

Leavenworth overview in winter

Photo by Alamy

Leavenworth, Washington

Every winter, snow blankets the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth where more than a half-million twinkling lights hang from fairy-tale facades and chalet-style roofs. Wedged into a valley between Cascade Range peaks, this charming Washington town makes an ideal base for winter recreation and getting outside all year long. Backpacking, hiking, ziplining, snowshoeing and skiing are just some of the many outdoor activities in and around this picturesque mountain locale.

Long Beach Peninsula Cape Disappointment State Park Lighthouse

Winter waves crash into rocky cliffs near the lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park. (Photo by Richard Dawson)

Long Beach Peninsula, Washington

Summer always draws big crowds to Long Beach, but winter brings many delights, too. Swells crash against 200-foot cliffs at Cape Disappointment State Park’s Waikiki Beach with the lighthouse as a backdrop. Locals walk beautifully maintained paths on some of more than 2,000 acres of the misty, green park year-round, including the Discovery Trail along the beach, where migrating gray whales can occasionally be seen.

Snow biking

Snow bike racing in McCall, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Ride McCall

McCall, Idaho

Unlike the black bears that sometimes make an appearance, McCall becomes even more active when the mercury drops. Known as a skiers’ haven, McCall’s ski hills include nearby Brundage, offering 18,000 acres of backcountry terrain and more than 26 feet of annual snowfall. For those looking to explore, McCall’s five cross-country ski areas boast more than 70 miles of both groomed and untouched trails.

–Compiled by AAA Washington staff

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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