Winter is meant for reveling in nature’s snow and ice. While the chill in the wind can drive some people indoors, you should try your best to get outdoors and enjoy all that this snowy season has to offer. Just be sure to do so sustainably, of course. Here are some eco-friendly recommendations for your winter itinerary.
Snowshoeing brings one closer to nature, and just a couple hours of practice boosts self-assurance. Where can one learn to snowshoe? Try the ranger-guided snowshoeing tours at Bryce Canyon National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and Sequioa & Kings Canyon National Park. While Yellowstone National Park offers no ranger-led snowshoeing tours, there is a list of authorized businesses that provide the service here.
Greet December’s solstice dawn
Winter solstice is the year’s shortest day. Did you know ancient civilizations welcomed the rising winter solstice sun by building temples and monuments that intentionally faced the emerging sunrise?
To greet the solstice light this December, make your way to any number of locations with prime views, from America’s Stonehenge to England’s Stonehenge or even your own backyard! Alternatively, with summer’s solstice light in the southern hemisphere, bask in the light at New Zealand’s Stonehenge Aotearoa and Peru’s Cerro del Gentil pyramid.
Stay in a treehouse
Winter is a unique time to stay in a treehouse. What better way is there to appreciate a frost-filled forest than cozily atop the snow in a treehouse that is tailor-made for the cold?
Related: 8 cabins that are perfect for a dreamy winter getaway
For a winter treehouse escape brimming with creature comforts, visit Treehouse Point, Montana Treehouse Retreat near Glacier National Park, Hermann Bed and Breakfast Treehouses, Branson Treehouse Adventures, Treehouse at Moose Meadow or Treetop Sanctuary. You’d be surprised to find just how many treehouses you can book within a short distance of your home!
Considering a treehouse stay abroad? There are plenty of treehouses in idyllic winter wonderlands around the world.
Unwind in Vancouver Island’s Free Spirit Spheres, Quebec’s Les Refuges Perchés or Treepods at Treetop Haven in Prince Edward Island. If you’re hankering for a Scandinavian treehouse experience, sample Nordic options like the Hawks Nest, the Owls Nest or Å Auge Treehouse. Meanwhile, Sweden has a wealth of Treehotel rentals. If you’ll be in Finland anytime this winter, delight in a stay at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel in Santa Claus Village.
Prefer spending winter in warmer regions? Then opt for Sir Richard Branson’s Kenyan Canopy Camp at Mahali Mzuri, South Africa’s Tsala Treetop Lodge, New Zealand’s Hapuku Lodge Treehouses or Raglan Treehouse.
Visit ice castles and ice hotels
Each year, Jack Frost crafts castles, palaces, villages, fortresses and even hotels from ice and snow. Whereas beaches have sandcastles, snow correspondingly has ice castles, like that exhibited at the Winter Carnival Ice Palace at Saranac Lake. Similarly, the multi-city Ice Castles company builds several each winter in Alberta, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin.
Related: This tiny house on a sled is the perfect way to see the Northern Lights
You can even stay inside any of these icy accommodations: Austria’s Alpeniglu Village in Thale, Iglu Village in Kühtai, Canada’s Hôtel de Glace in Quebec, Finland’s Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort Snow Igloos in Saariselka, Lapland Hotels SnowVillage in Kittilä, SnowCastle of Kemi, France’s Blacksheep Igloo in Lyon, Village Igloo Morzine Avoriaz, Norway’s Hunderfossen Snow Hotel in Fåberg, Snowhotel Kirkenes in Sor-Varanger, Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel at Alta, Romania’s Hotel of Ice in Balea Lac, Sweden’s IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi or the multi-city Igloo-Dorf Hotel with locations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Take a dip in winter’s natural hot springs
All of the festivities of winter can be overwhelming and stressful. If you want to unwind, you might just need a soothing soak in natural hot springs. Luckily, there are an abundance of hot springs to thaw out in across the U.S. and Europe.
Venture to Castle Hot Springs, Sierra Hot Springs Resort, Dunton Hot Springs, Indian Hot Springs, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Mount Princeton Hot Springs, Old Town Hot Springs, Pagosa Springs Resort, Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Lava Hot Springs, Maple Grove Hot Springs, North Carolina’s Hot Springs Resort, Oregon’s Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat, Utah’s Homestead Crater Hot Springs at Midway Utah Resort and Wyoming’s Saratoga Hot Springs Resort.
Want to rejuvenate abroad? Consider Canada’s Miette Hot Springs, England’s Thermae Bath Spa, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, Italy’s Terme di Saturnia or New Zealand’s Kerosene Creek and Glacier Hot Pools to restore your mind and body this winter.
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