You're not alone if your images of snow flurries thrill your heart while everyone else thinks of tropical beaches and sunny skies. You don't have to let the changing of the seasons keep you from going on vacation—and in many cases, chilly weather is best enjoyed rather than feared.
These picturesque destinations, ranging from Maine's coast to the French Alps, make it easy to have a good time even in the dead of winter. So put on your warmest sweater, light a fire, and get set to dream up the perfect winter vacation.
Kennebunkport, Northern Maine
Kennebunkport is a year-round destination for a reason. The allure of this gorgeous town extends far beyond beachcombing season and lobster rolls, thanks to everything from the quaint shoreline to the attractive downtown stores.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
This premium alpine resort town is much more than just a ski getaway; it is a year-round attraction for outdoor enthusiasts. Due to the area's lengthy history (the home of Alpine tourism), the area has an ancient charm, while the town itself is constantly expanding, making it the ideal starting point for an idyllic vacation.
Lyon's iconic Festival of Lights, which takes place in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area, is enough to warrant a visit to this vibrant French city. French people celebrate Mother Mary every winter with the Lyonnaise tradition, which involves placing candles outside their windows to produce an eerie, unifying glow throughout the city. The Place des Terreaux and the Basilica of Fourvière also have spectacular light shows that are sure to delight visitors and locals alike.
Mt. Cayambe, Ecuador
Cayambe Volcano in Ecuador's Andes is the only equator-crossing location where snow is always present, making it an ideal winter destination for adventure seekers. A leisurely trek up a mountain or along a lake will almost certainly be accompanied by amazing scenery of the snow-covered mountains as you go.
Big Bear Lake, California
The renowned Bear Mountain ski resort and the Snow Summit ski resort have helped turn the sleepy town of Big Bear Lake into a popular wintertime destination. Big Bear Lake Village, the ski resort's central commercial district, is dotted with quaint stores, restaurants, and boutiques where visitors can take advantage of the winter weather and warm up from the elements.
Holland Peak Ranch is an excellent starting and ending point for any excursion to the picturesque town of Condon, Montana. This idyllic resort with three luxurious villas spread across over 1,000 acres of gorgeous plains; perfect for all four seasons. Condon, a quiet, unincorporated village, is the ideal spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy a fabulous, pleasant vacation.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled, an exquisite body of water surrounding the island of Bled, is located in Slovenia's Julian Alps. While the lake is beautiful all year, it is during the winter months that it becomes an incredible sight, with skiing and other sights such as the Vintgar gorge, caves, and waterfalls available to visitors.