There are two kinds of winter travelers: the folks who seek the snow and the folks who escape it. Which one are you? No judgments because we endorse both!
As you’re planning your winter vacation, start with the kinds of activities you want to do while you’re on break. Skiing? Or beach lounging? Ice skating? Or lure fishing? You can probably see how this helps narrow down your options during the colder months.
To help you plot your road trip route, we’ve vetted a handful of winter RV destinations and separated them into four carefully-picked categories: best for winter sports, best for cozy cabins, best for national parks, and best for warm weather. All that’s left to do is decide where you’ll go.
RVs For Rent Near You
Best For Winter Sports
Front Range, Colorado
Snowhounds already know that Colorado’s Front Range is a treasure trove for powder. With ski resorts spanning from Eldora to Vail, with some of the country’s best snow havens in between, you can spend all your days skiing and riding the mountains. Many RV parks and campgrounds along the I-70 corridor stay open through the winter, so you’ll have plenty of places to camp out—such as at The Hideout in Glenwood Springs and Tiger Run Resort in Breckenridge.
Taos, New Mexico
Soaring above 9,000 feet, Taos Ski Valley is arguably the best alpine ski resort in the southwest. This mountain is known for its steep and shaded north-facing terrain. About 50% of the runs are considered difficult, while 25% is moderate and the other 25% is beginner-friendly—meaning there’s plenty to explore for all skill levels. Grub on some New Mexican hatch chile dishes in town, and rest your head at the Taos Valley RV Park or park overnight at the resort.
From skiing and snowboarding at Mount Mansfield to snowshoeing and fat biking at Smugglers’ Notch State Park, Stowe, Vermont is an epicenter for snowsport enthusiasts. This little New England mountain town sees an average of 60 days of snow and more than 200 inches of snowfall every year. Smugglers’ Notch’s campground stays open throughout the winter, as do the campgrounds at the nearby Underhill and Elmore state parks.
Best For Cozy Cabins
San Bernardino Mountains, California
These high and rugged peaks in Southern California span from the city of San Bernardino almost all the way to Joshua Tree. The glittery blue gem of Big Bear Lake is right in the heart of these vast woods, and snow-streaked mountains are every which way. Along the corridor, a cluster of cozy cabins—listed on Outdoorsy as Stays—are available to rent as basecamps.
–Big Bear Cabin has a fire pit, sleeps 8, is minutes from the lake, and pets are allowed.
-This mid-century A-frame is big enough for 10 and offers panoramic views from the deck.
-The Rustic Modern Perch Cabin has a woodsy vibe, nooks for working, and board games.
–Moreno Pines Chalet has bunk beds, modern touches, and is steps away from the forest.
-The Cresta Cabin is just 2 hours away from Los Angeles and has a woodburning stove.
-Three levels of the Wandering Pines Cabin offer room to spread out in mountain style.
Coming soon, you’ll get to search for Stays in Texas and Colorado as we launch in more states!
Best For National Parks
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Winter is Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s slower season, but it’s magical nonetheless. Waterfalls freeze into interesting ice formations, and powder dusts the trees and trails. Primary roads stay open during the winter, even though secondary roads close because of snow, so you can access Newfound Gap Road, Cades Cove, and historical sites in Oconaluftee and Cataloochee. Hike the Andrews Bald Trail for views of Fontana Lake and the Smokies.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
To see the best of Big Bend National Park, take your time along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive through the Chisos Mountains or stretch your legs on the 1.6-mile Santa Elena Canyon Trail. Besides scenic hikes and drives, you can also immerse yourself in Big Bend’s beauty by taking a dip in the 105-degree F hot spring, an ideal winter activity. A short walk leads to the little soaking pool along the Rio Grande.
Need we say more? Yosemite takes on a whole new personality once the snow falls: glittery, cold, and a little unpredictable. Be mindful of road closures this time of year, and have a backup plan in case the weather calls for flexibility. Cross-country ski at Badger Pass, walk the 2-mile Washburn Trail to the Mariposa Grove, visit the Yosemite Museum, take a spin at the Curry Village ice rink, and catch sight of Lower Yosemite Falls.
Best For Warm Weather
Gulf Coast, Florida
Come for the white quartz sand beaches, stay for the sunrises and sunsets. Florida’s Gulf Coast stretches from Northwest Florida to the Dry Tortugas, offering miles and miles of camping along the shoreline. All your favorite beach activities are on the table: saltwater fishing, swimming, sunning, seashell hunting, birdwatching, walking and hiking, snorkeling, and more.
In a place that surpasses 100 degrees F for a good chunk of the year, relief finally comes during the winter months. While snow and rain is falling everywhere else, you can sport sandals and short sleeves in the desert. Identify cacti at the Desert Botanical Garden, hike up Camelback Mountain, mountain bike in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, and grab tacos and elote in town. Many private and state park campgrounds are open throughout the year.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Disclaimer: It’s not technically tank top season in North Carolina from December through February, but it’s much warmer than most other places. We’ll call the weather “mild.” Life is a little slower and sleepier—and more affordable—here than the rest of the East Coast. Comb the beaches, admire the Christmas light displays, hike to the lighthouses, and wander around the sand dunes. You might even spot wild horses roaming the beaches.
And you’re off! Whether you’re seeking or fleeing the cold, we hope you feel equipped to find somewhere to set up camp and enjoy the winter months. See you out there!