Our national parks don’t shut down in the winter. In fact, this is when some experiences actually come alive, so now is the time to go.
The Yellowstone Association in Wyoming has a very cool naturalist program where you get to track the wolves inside the park.
For three days, you’ll snowshoe your way through the northern range wolf habitat, using high-powered spotting scopes and binoculars to track these wild creatures. Not only that, but the price also includes educational evening programming, hotel and meals.
If you can brave the cold at Glacier National Park, the Glacier Institute has everything from tracking wildlife in the snow to spotting winter owls and raptors.
The Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park starts its programming in early spring, so start planning now. We’re talking geology walks with a naturalist, along with photography and painting in the desert.
Best of all, these programs take place in the off season at the parks. That means you can take advantage of cheaper rates in the park lodges and, my favorite perk, you’ll practically have the entire park to yourself.
Travel Tip: Un-Ski Vacations
There’s no reason to skip out on a ski vacation just because you’re not into skiing. Plenty of resorts are offering deals to appeal to the non-skier, so you’re not going to be stuck in the lodge all day.
Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana, has an adventure package that gets you out on the terrain…but not just on skis. The package also includes a day of snowshoeing and a day of dog sledding.
At Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is surrounded by Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. So you have the option of going on a wildlife safari, or going on a sleigh ride to spot the thousands of elk that inhabit a nearby refuge.
And if you are a skier who’s looking for another adventure, they’ve got something called snow kiting boarding.
If you prefer a some R&R after a ski day, just head to the Sebastian in Vail, Colorado. They’ve got a package that includes your lift tickets and two spa treatments. Or send your partner out on the slopes while you take advantage of the free massage.
Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. We provide the most recent travel news, reviews and expert travel tips.