Looking for some fourth-season fun? You’ve probably already Googled some iteration of “best winter vacations” and scrolled through a list of tropical destinations. But is that what you really want to do? Like reallyø†Instead of flocking to the beach with the other sheep and paying ridiculous rates during peak season, consider booking Southwest Adventure Tour’s Yellowstone & Grand Teton Winter Adventure. Its itinerary includes two of the most beautiful national parks to visit in winter.
Still need convincing? Here’s why it’s a snow brainer.
The tour starts in Salt Lake City — home of the greatest snow on Earth, the 2002 Winter Olympics and possibly the 2034 games to (ski) boot — then moves to the Wasatch Mountains, where the Utah Olympic Park is located. Walk through the museum. Stand at the top of the world’s highest Nordic ski jumps. Hear firsthand what it takes to stick the landing — many of the guides are former Olympians and their stories bring the venue to life. Go ahead and brag about the tail grabs and gravity-defying tricks you used to do at the local resort as you walk back to the shuttle. Just try not to trip or you’ll lose your cred.
What you do in the privacy of your own hotel room ain’t nobody’s bidness. We’re talking about the scenery. Old Faithful. West Thumb Geyser Basin. You get the idea. Witnessing these geothermal wonders in winter (without throngs of tourists vying to get the perfect picture) adds to the mystique of the already magical park. Not to mention it’s easier for you to get your own Insta-worthy shot.
Cheesecake and eggnog? #noregrets. Go ahead and hide those extra holiday pounds under your hoodie and gaze out the window of the heated Yellowstone snowcoach at the wintry wonderland. Or bundle up, buttercup, and go on a Yellowstone snowmobile tour instead. Wanna burn off some calories? You’ll have an afternoon free to ski, snowboard, snowshoe or shop in the Jackson area. (Yes, shopping IS a form of exercise. Those bags don’t carry themselves.)
The National Elk Refuge, located between Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park, isn’t just about protecting its noble namesake animal. Sure, there are thousands of elk in the herd here. But while on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, you’ll most likely see bison roaming around, bald eagles perched in trees and the impressive wingspan of trumpeter swans, too. You may also spot bighorn sheep perched precariously on a crag or even a grey wolf lurking in the shadows.
You could spend hours researching affordable hotels, places to eat, unforgettable activities and the best times to visit Salt Lake City, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Make an old-school list of pros and cons on that yellow pad of lined paper. But Southwest Adventure Tours has already done all the work for you and created a tour that includes these things. (Whew!) All you have to do is show up and have fun in the snow.