A photo of a snow-covered mountain or a cozy cabin in the woods would be a great match for this article.

10 Budget-Friendly Winter Vacation Destinations

Budget Travel, Travel Tips By Jun 27, 2023 No Comments

When the weather outside is frightful, a winter vacation can be just the thing to lift your spirits. But with expensive airfare, hotel rooms, and equipment rentals, a winter getaway can quickly become a budget-buster. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 affordable destinations for a winter adventure that won’t leave you in the red.

From Skiing and snowboarding to snug cabin getaways, there’s something for everyone on this list. And with tips for saving money along the way, you’ll be able to enjoy a winter wonderland without breaking the bank.

So grab your gloves and get ready for some fun in the snow. Here are 10 budget-friendly winter vacation destinations you won’t want to miss. And don’t forget to check out our bonus tips at the end of the article for even more ways to save!

Are you ready to hit the slopes without overspending? Read on for our top picks for budget-friendly Skiing and snowboarding vacations.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.Edith Sitwell

Skiing and snowboarding retreats for beginners

Learning to ski or snowboard can be intimidating – not to mention expensive. But these affordable resorts are perfect for beginners looking to hit the slopes without breaking the bank.

At the top of our list is Utah’s Snowbasin Resort, which offers budget-friendly lift tickets and a variety of beginner slopes. Or head to Vermont’s Bromley Mountain, where you can take advantage of midweek deals on lessons and rentals.

For a west coast option, check out Washington’s Mount Baker, which boasts some of the most affordable lift tickets in the country. And if you’re willing to venture a bit farther, British Columbia’s Silver Star Resort offers a great beginner ski package that includes gear rental and lift passes.

Ready to hit the slopes? Our top budget-friendly Skiing and snowboarding destinations for beginners are sure to get you started on the right foot.

Looking for more ways to save? Check out our bonus section at the end of the article for tips on finding great deals on gear and lodging.

Affordable ski resorts for families

Skiing and snowboarding can be a great family activity, but it can also be expensive. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most affordable ski resorts for families.

At New York’s Holiday Valley, kids under 6 ski for free, while older kids can take advantage of adult lift ticket prices. Or try Wisconsin’s Grand Geneva Resort, which offers a variety of family-friendly activities in addition to skiing and snowboarding, like snowshoeing and ice skating.

If you’re looking for a destination further west, Colorado’s Copper Mountain has a variety of family-oriented events and activities, like a kid’s night out and torch-light parades. Or head to Idaho’s Schweitzer Mountain, which has one of the best kids’ ski free programs in the country.

Ready to hit the slopes with the whole family? These budget-friendly ski resorts are sure to please – and won’t break the bank.

Check out our bonus section at the end of the article for more tips on saving money while traveling with kids.

Tips for finding budget-friendly ski rentals

Ski and snowboard rentals can be one of the biggest expenses when hitting the slopes. But with a little bit of research, you can find great deals on quality gear.

First, consider renting from a local shop instead of the resort. These shops often have better deals and more flexible rental policies. Or try renting your gear ahead of time online – many websites offer discounts for booking in advance.

Another tip: look for package deals that include both gear rental and lift tickets. These can often be a great value and save you money in the long run.

Don’t let high rental costs keep you from enjoying the slopes – with these tips, you’ll be able to find quality gear at an affordable price.

Cozy cabin stays in national parks

If Skiing and snowboarding aren’t your thing, a cozy cabin getaway might be just the winter vacation you’re looking for. And the best part? Staying in a national park cabin can be surprisingly affordable.

At Yosemite National Park, for example, you can rent a rustic cabin for under $100 a night. Or head to Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park, where winter visitors can stay in one of the park’s 13 heated houseboats on the ice of Lake Kabetogama.

For a truly budget-friendly option, check out Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park, where you can camp in one of the park’s designated winter campsites for just $12 a night.

Ready to get away from it all and cozy up in a winter wonderland? Check out our top picks for affordable national park cabin stays.

And for more tips on saving money while traveling in the off-season, don’t miss our bonus section at the end of the article.

Cozy cabin stays in national parks

Affordable winter camping options

Camping in the winter – are we crazy? Not necessarily. With the right gear and a sense of adventure, winter camping can be a fun and affordable way to experience the great outdoors.

At California’s Joshua Tree National Park, for example, you can camp year-round for just $10 a night. Or head to Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, which offers rustic cabins and yurts for around $80 a night.

For a truly unique winter camping experience, try one of Death Valley National Park’s backcountry campsites. These sites are free and first-come, first-served, allowing you to experience the park’s secluded beauty with few others around.

Ready to brave the cold and camp in the winter? Check out our top picks for affordable winter camping destinations.

And for more tips on staying warm and comfortable while camping in the winter, don’t miss our bonus section at the end of the article.

Tips for saving money on winter lodging

Lodging can be one of the biggest expenses when traveling in the winter. But with a few savvy tips, you can cut down on costs and still enjoy a comfortable stay.

First, consider booking your lodging in the shoulder season – the time between peak and off-peak when prices are often lower. Or try booking last-minute – hotels and resorts may offer discounted rates to fill empty rooms.

Another option is to look for lodging alternatives – like house sitting, home exchanges, or couchsurfing. These options can save you money and give you a unique travel experience.

Don’t let high lodging costs keep you from enjoying a winter getaway – with these tips, you’ll be able to find comfortable accommodations at an affordable price.

Scenic train journeys through winter landscapes

Embark on a magical journey through picturesque winter landscapes on a scenic train ride. Not only is it a budget-friendly option, but it’s also a unique way to experience the winter wonderland.

One of the most popular scenic train rides is the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada. The route takes you through the Rocky Mountains, showcasing stunning views of snow-covered peaks and wildlife. Another option is the Bernina Express in Switzerland, which travels through the Alps and passes glaciers and frozen lakes.

The best part about a scenic train ride is that it’s a relaxing way to take in the breathtaking scenery. Sit back, sip on some hot cocoa, and enjoy the ride.

Scenic train journeys through winter landscapes

The Rocky Mountaineer in Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer train is a two-day journey that takes you through the majestic Rockies. The route covers 590 km, showcasing some of Canada’s most stunning winter scenery.

You’ll pass snow-covered peaks, frozen lakes, and wildlife such as elk and bighorn sheep. The train also makes stops at popular winter destinations such as Banff and Jasper.

The Rocky Mountaineer offers different packages, including GoldLeaf and SilverLeaf service, with meals and drinks included.

GoldLeaf Service

GoldLeaf service on the Rocky Mountaineer is the ultimate luxury experience. The glass-domed coach gives you 360-degree views of the winter wonderland, with complimentary drinks and gourmet meals served in a separate dining area.

You’ll also have access to an outdoor viewing platform, where you can snap some unforgettable photos of the snowy scenery.

SilverLeaf Service

SilverLeaf service on the Rocky Mountaineer is also a luxurious option, with a glass-domed coach and gourmet meals served at your seat.

You’ll have access to a viewing platform, but it’s not as spacious as the GoldLeaf platform. However, the SilverLeaf service is still a fantastic way to experience the stunning winter landscapes.

The Bernina Express in Switzerland

The Bernina Express is a scenic train ride that takes you through the Swiss Alps, passing glaciers and frozen lakes. The route covers 122 km, showcasing some of Switzerland’s most breathtaking winter scenery.

The train features panoramic windows, allowing you to take in the views from every angle. You’ll also cross the famous Landwasser Viaduct, which is a stunning feat of engineering.

The Bernina Express offers different packages, including first and second class, with meals and drinks available for purchase.

First Class

First class on the Bernina Express offers spacious seating and large panoramic windows, giving you unobstructed views of the winter wonderland. You’ll also receive snacks and drinks on board.

In addition, first-class passengers have access to a panoramic viewing car, which is an excellent spot to take photos and soak up the views.

Second Class

Second class on the Bernina Express is also a great option. The seating is comfortable, and the panoramic windows still offer fantastic views of the Alps.

Snacks and drinks are available for purchase, and there’s an onboard restaurant if you’re feeling hungry. Second class is a more budget-friendly option, but still offers an incredible winter train journey.

Affordable winter resorts for families

Winter resorts can be a fantastic option for families. They offer a variety of winter activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating. However, they can also be expensive, especially during peak season.

Luckily, there are some affordable winter resorts that still offer plenty of winter fun. These resorts cater specifically to families, with activities and accommodations that are kid-friendly.

Pack up your warmest winter gear and get ready to hit the slopes at one of these family-friendly winter resorts.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont

Smugglers’ Notch Resort is located in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains. The resort offers Skiing and snowboarding for all skill levels, as well as family-friendly activities such as snowshoeing and winter zip-lining.

The resort also has a full-service daycare and children’s ski programs, making it an excellent option for families with young kids. Accommodations range from hotel rooms to condos and townhouses, with something for every family size and budget.

Smugglers’ Notch is also known for its affordable prices, making it a top pick for budget-conscious families.

Snow Sport University

The Snow Sport University at Smugglers’ Notch is a comprehensive ski and snowboarding school for children. The program offers lessons for ages 2 1/2 to 17, with skill-based classes that cater to each child’s individual needs.

The Snow Sport University also offers programs for families, such as family ski and snowboard clinics. These clinics allow parents and children to brush up on their skills together and bond over the winter activities.

Winter Fun University

The Winter Fun University at Smugglers’ Notch is for kids who want to try out different winter activities, such as ice-skating and snowshoeing. The program offers half-day and full-day options, giving parents some free time to hit the slopes.

The Winter Fun University also includes a childcare option for younger children, so parents can enjoy some winter activities without worrying about the little ones.

Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

Stone Mountain Park is a family-friendly winter resort located in northern Georgia. The resort offers a variety of winter activities, such as snow-tubing and ice-skating.

The park also has a daytime Christmas parade and a nightly laser show during the winter season, making it a festive destination for families. Accommodations include hotel rooms and villas, with something for every budget.

Stone Mountain Park is a great option for families that want a winter vacation without having to travel too far from home.

Snow Mountain

Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park is a winter wonderland for kids. The park features a 400-foot tubing hill, a play area for young children, and a snowman village.

Snow Mountain also has a snowball shooting gallery and a snow fort, making it a fun and exciting winter destination for kids of all ages.


Skate-Tacular at Stone Mountain Park is a family-friendly ice-skating rink. The rink is open during the winter season and features a variety of activities, such as outdoor fire pits and hot cocoa.

Skate-Tacular can be a fun way to spend the evening after a day of snow tubing and winter activities at the park.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What are some budget-friendly skiing and snowboarding retreats for beginners?

    Some budget-friendly skiing and snowboarding retreats for beginners include Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, and Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

  • What are some cozy cabin stays in national parks for winter vacations?

    Some cozy cabin stays in national parks for winter vacations include Yosemite National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Glacier National Park.

  • What are some affordable winter resorts for families?

    Some affordable winter resorts for families include Keystone Resort, Camelback Resort, and Jay Peak Resort.

  • What are some scenic train journeys through winter landscapes?

    Some scenic train journeys through winter landscapes include the Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Winter Train, and the Rocky Mountaineer Train.

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