The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiencesMark Paterson
Winter is not my season, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to travel when it’s cold outside. I want to see the world in every season because each offers something new and exciting unique to that individual place. That got me thinking this week. It’s going to start snowing any second here with our second snow storm of the season and I have a massive travel itch.
I kept thinking I wanted to travel somewhere warm, but then I would counter that with but it’s the perfect season to visit this place because it’s such a snow town! You can have both and get something out of the same place in a different season. That’s my inspiration for this week’s post. A small sampling of the many places that are just as fantastic in the winter as they are in the summer.
Prepare yourself for cold like you’ve never experienced before, frozen nose hair, and the most incredible snowy views you ever thought possible. On the other hand, get ready for rustic mountain scenes, bursts of color everywhere, and lots of mosquitoes.
Fairbanks will probably always be one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been lucky enough to visit. I went in January a few years ago and I didn’t think that much snow was possible. I got to see musk oxen, reindeer, and moose. Although I felt frozen solid the entire time, it was something I’ll never forget.
What’s it like in the summer? Just as gorgeous but with a massive amount of color. While the mosquitoes are a problem in certain summer months, you’ll get that in lots of places. It. Is. Worth. It. More hiking is available, road trips are safer without the snow, and you can visit all of the watery attractions that were frozen solid in the water and see what they’re like when they burst back to life.
Quebec City, Canada
On the opposite side of North America is Quebec City. The last time I went was in 8th grade and I’m already scheming to go back in the near future. Honestly, traveling as an adult means you appreciate it more and oh man I can only imagine how much I’d love this adventure-y, European-esque city now.
In the summer, Quebec City is so much fun to explore. You can have lunch outside of cafes, explore the nearby waterfalls or hiking trails, learn about the history of the region at many of their outdoor historical sites, or simply wander around the narrow streets and window shop.
In the winter, Quebec City turns into somewhat of a fairytale city. The infamous Chateau Frontenac covered in snow is a dream to see and the city streets are the perfect backdrop for a snowy photo moment. While hiking and seeing the waterfalls is mostly a summer adventure, seeing frozen waterfalls is not something you want to miss. Whenever you get cold, just venture inside to one of the many museums around the city.
Stowe is an adventurer’s dream destination, but many people have never heard of it or know what’s there outside of their ski resort. If you’re the person who waits all year for the first snow just so you can break out your skis, Stowe is by far one of your best options on the east coast. There are also indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks, sleigh rides, snowmobiling or snow shoeing tours, and so much more.
Vermont is also one of the best places to see fall foliage, so why not come at the end of the summer as well? Even though the slopes aren’t open there’s basically endless options for things to do. Hike through the forest, visit waterfalls, enjoy a spa day, go zip lining, explore the village, and you can even take a boat or hot air balloon ride to maximize your experience.
The Alps get so much hype (and tourists) every year because of the incredible skiing there. Not too far away is a much-overlooked area called the Dolomites. It’s basically the cozy cousin of the Alps and deserves so much attention. Ski your heart out here, take in the views from a cabin, snowshoe, watch ice carving or try it out, and you could even try out snow kiting. How cool is that!?
Don’t forget to venture to the Dolomites during summer as well. There’s an 86-mile alpine drive that has some of the best views in all of Italy and that’s saying something. You can hike up the mountains, enjoy a spa treatment, take a day trip to Venice, and please please please enjoy the local food scene that’s been growing steadily over the years.
I couldn’t pick just one place in Iceland for this. There’s just too much to see and do in this country and it’s possible to explore lots of places when you’re there. So, why not just add an entire country? Iceland, as the name implies, is a must-see winter destination. Lakes aren’t normally a winter attraction but frozen lakes, like Jökulsárlón, are considered a national wonder and shouldn’t be missed. You have an endless variety of snow activities to choose from, chase the Aurora Borealis, explore ice caves, enjoy the hot springs, visit many of the winter festivals, and do some winter hiking.
Iceland in the summer is just as fun. Whether you want to take a whale watching tour, go snorkeling/diving, take a horseback ride, tour the highlands, scout for adorable puffins, visit museums, and partake in the summer festivals. This country might be small, but it has an amazing amount to offer.
New York, New York
New York is an easy trip to take no matter the season. The bustling city always has something going on each month, so there’s fun, new things to try. In the winter you can opt to explore the museums, take a carriage ride, ice skate in Bryant Park or Rockefeller Center, take a tour of the Christmas lights, or see a Broadway show.
Summer is my favorite time of the year to visit NYC. Walking around the city is the absolute best way to discover new places, see new parts of the city, and chance upon street performances, art exhibits, and great views you didn’t expect to be there. Plus, it gives you a chance to slow down in the hustle and bustle of the city. The summer heat means you can see all of your favorite outdoor landmarks in the bright sunshine which is always a plus. NYC is home to many festivals, celebrations, markets, and more in the summer too.
Lapland is most well known for its winter festivities and attractions. Sitting that far North that’s not a surprise. Whether you want to visit the Santa village, take a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride, or watch the northern lights from the coziness of a bubble dome, you absolutely can. Want to visit an ice hotel? You can. Want to snow shoe or snowmobile? You can.
If you’re a person who loves Christmas all year long, you’ll love Lapland in the summer. Why not visit the Santa village during the warmer months!? Cross the Arctic Circle, celebrate Midsummer, go wild berry picking, go hiking (you might spot wild reindeer), and so much more. It’s an outdoor adventurer’s wonderland, so live it up!