7 Great Pacific Northwest Winter Getaways
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 road trip, we have got you covered.
Here is a sampling of just seven cold weather destinations that offer a myriad of staycation fun, outdoor activities and more.
As the gateway to the lakes, rivers and peaks of Glacier National Park in the Rocky Mountains, Whitefish is a resort town without the crowds of Vail and Aspen, Colorado. It’s a natural base of operations for skiers, snowshoers and mountain bikers that just want to get away.
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.
Bozeman and Yellowstone, Montana
There are some places where you travel to escape cold weather. Then, there are places where you go to experience the sensations that only winter can provide. Here’s a look at winter thrills in and around Yellowstone National Park from West Yellowstone and Bozeman, Montana, including Bridger Bowl Ski Area, Big Sky Resort and other great settings.
North Idaho is blessed with frozen lakes in the coldest months, one of the many amenities that make the region an outdoor enthusiast’s playground in winter. As temperatures plunge below freezing, many residents and visitors seek warmth indoors from the cold weather. Others can’t wait to experience the ice and snow of North Idaho winters and to find picture-perfect, frozen destinations in this rugged landscape.
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 ranches, lolling rivers and endless backcountry, has a lot more to offer to those seeking an invigorating cold weather getaway.
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.
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, last updated in September 2022.
–Top image of Leavenworth by Getty Images.