Fall is upon us which means it’s time to start planning winter travel. When I think cold weather getaway, the same places always come to mind: Vermont, Aspen or an escape to some place warm like Puerto Rico. But I decided to get a little creative and research some places that you might not already know about. Here’s what’s on my winter travel wish list now…
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
I never thought the words “I want to go to Idaho,” would ever come out of my mouth, but that just goes to show you that you should NEVER say never! After researching the town of Coeur d’Alene, I need to see this beautiful place that travelers can’t stop raving about.
How to get there: It’s about a 40 minute drive from the airport in Spokane, Washington.
Where to stay: The Flamingo Motel looks like an old motor inn, but reviewers say it’s much, much more. If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodations but hate chains, then this is probably your best bet. The old-fashioned spot is located right in downtown Coeur d’Alene and each room has a different fun theme, giving the spot its own unique twist. Guests say the friendly owner gave them great recommendations for where to go during their stay. And a room with a king size bed will only cost you $80 per night!
If you want something a little more luxe, The Coeur d’Alene Resort seems to be the top choice of travelers with 4/5 stars on Tripadvisor. The resort has several on-site dining options, a spa and lakefront views from modern rooms equipped with cozy fireplaces (rooms differ so ask when you book). And you still won’t break the bank with room rates from about $129 to $520 per night, which can include ski lift tickets, breakfast or spa packages.
What to do: Coeur d’Alene has one of the largest Christmas lighting ceremonies in the US on the Friday after Thanksgiving with a parade and fireworks. But if you miss this festival, you’re not missing everything: through January 1st visitors can take a boat cruise across Lake Coeur d’Alene (from the CDA Resort) to see more than one million holiday lights.
Coeur d’Alene is located near 2 major ski resorts (Silver Mountain Resort and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort) so there are plenty of sporty activities to partake in. Surrounded by forest and several lakes, the city offers plenty of breathtaking views for outdoor explorers. But don’t worry if you’re more likely to enjoy sipping hot chocolate in the lodge than getting active (guilty!). There are plenty of other things to do in Idaho’s second largest city including shopping, restaurants and nightlife.
The great outdoors combined with city amenities? It sounds like the perfect winter getaway for The Blonde Banana!
The name of this town drew me in, and after some Googling I realized that this place is probably awesome. This Canadian town is surrounded on all sides by the Rockies, offering plenty of skiing and other adventures.
How to get there: The nearest airport is Calgary International Airport, about an hour and a half drive from Banff. It’s a little out of the way for us New Yorkers – definitely not just a weekend trip!
Where to stay: The Post Hotel & Spa offers great views of the Rockies (although those aren’t hard to find!), goose down duvets, heated slate floors, fireplaces and oversized jacuzzi tubs. For all you could ever need in a luxe mountain retreat, prices are around $300 per night.
The Hidden Ridge Resort looks like it has a cozy, cabin-like feel and all the basic amenities for an affordable price tag of about $160 per night.
For even more budget-friendly options, check out Airbnb. There are plenty of condos for rent, as well as apartments that are well-reviewed for $99.
What to do: Obviously skiing, but there are plenty of other cool things to do in Banff…
Visit the Columbia Icefield, the largest sub-polar glacier in North America.
Take the Banff Gondola to the 7,500 foot summit of Sulphur Mountain for stunning views of the area.
Relax and warm up in the Banff Upper Hot Springs – after a few trips skiing down the mountain this would be especially amazing!
Eat some of Banff’s signature Rocky Mountain cuisine – think MEAT like elk and bison. There are so many adorably rugged, mountain-chic places to eat!
The Elk & Oarsmen, a casual pub where you can watch sports games or catch live music at night.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge – how cozy is this?
Warwick, New York
The ideal winter weekend getaway for New Yorkers, the Hudson Valley is becoming an increasingly popular destination. It’s a little more low key than Coeur d’Alene or Banff, which could be just what you need!
How to get there: It’s about a one and a half hour drive from NYC. The nearest Metro North train will get you about 10 miles away if you prefer to take a taxi from the station.
Where to stay: Charming B&Bs are plentiful in the area, making it the perfect romantic trip for two. Check out the Inn at Stony Creek and the Warwickshire Bed & Breakfast, which I read about on Jordan Reid’s blog Ramshackle Glam.
What to do:
Visit a local winery, like the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, which offers live music and a warm wood-burning stove in the winter.
Shop for rustic chic country furniture and decor at Frazzleberries. If you are on a romantic getaway, your boyfriend hates me right about now – sorry! You can make it up to him with burgers, wings, BBQ ribs and an extensive craft beer selection at Eddie’s Roadhouse.