Why fight the cold when you can embrace it? If you lack enthusiasm for the first snowfall of the year, travel to a place where winter provides the best attractions. Other seasons (like fall) are known and embraced for their beauty. Yet, as my winter-hating college roommate used to say, “The leaves are dropping because of the impending death of winter.”
Perhaps even she would embrace the snow through these once-in-a-lifetime vacation spots! Just planning your trip will provide unlimited amounts of excitement for you and your family, encouraging you to count the days until the cold arrives.
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
Is there anything more surreal than a warm beach during winter? The Blue Lagoon offers an incredible juxtaposition of climates that form one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
The Blue Lagoon was formed by a volcanic eruption that left geothermal seawater over time. Even in the frost of winter, pool temperatures reach 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine floating in the warm lagoon while snowflakes lightly decorate your hair.
Hardwater Kiting in North Conway, New Hampshire
A company in New Hampshire embraced the idea of skiing and snowboarding with parachutes, providing an experience that’s as close to flying as you’re likely to get. Most people choose to use cross country skis for this activity. Trained instructors attach a harness to you, which you can control through your skiing movements. With over forty sites, Hardwater Kiting uses the parachute as a sort of sail across frozen lakes and other open areas.
The activity provides the feeling of flying since you ride forward on the wind with steering control. There are many other classic outdoor winter activities around New England as well, so it is worth the trip. At Hardwater Kiting’s website states, “We’re snowkiters. All we do is ride snow and ice. We don’t look at snowkiting as a means of ‘getting through winter.’ Our focus is on winter.”
Kakslauttanen’s View of the Northern Lights
Travel to Finland to embrace the delights of winter during the seemingly dark and dreary months. For those who live near water, almost constant cloud cover obstructs the view of the sky. In Finland, the sky seems to thrive in winter.
The Kakslauttanen Resort offers beautiful igloos with large glass ceilings to get a great view of the Northern Lights. These lights are supposedly caused by the sun’s effect on particles when these particles merge with the earth’s atmosphere. However, science cannot easily explain the awe-inspiring movement of colors that are not usually found in nature, and their dazzling effect upon the human eye. You will never look at the sky the same way again.
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The resort also offers other incredible ways to see the sights. For example, nothing says Christmas time like a sleigh pulled by actual reindeer during the winter! Alternatively, you can use snowmobiles to chase the movement of the lights. There are even log cabins with fireplaces and saunas that include your own viewing dome.
Many tourists enjoy learning about the history of the places they visit. In the winter, Siberia contains the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. Dagu Glacier National Park in China has the “lowest, largest, and youngest” glacier in the world, according to TripChinaGuide. The glacier was only discovered in the ‘90s by satellite. Therefore, tourism in the area is still relatively new. The ski lift is the second highest in the world, so this is certainly a place for the skiing enthusiast. The national park offers gorgeous views of the Himalayas into the bargain.
Meanwhile, animal lovers can enjoy over 150 different wild species in the area—many of them rare (including flying squirrels!). You may also be in the midst of history in the making—the surrounding Tibetan villages built into the mountains nearby have incredible cultural significance. The park is now considered part of China, so who knows? You may be able to see for yourself just how Tibetan culture has survived the Chinese takeover of this natural wonder.
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