Best Winter Wonderland (2016)


Want to get away from home for the holidays? Dreaming of a white Christmas? These 10 destinations in North America, nominated by a panel of 10Best travel experts and voted the best by our readers, transform into winter wonderlands during the colder months, making them ideal for a snowy holiday escape.

  • Quebec City, Quebec

    Quebec City, Quebec

    Quebec has been named one of the world’s best holiday destinations, and the combo of history, lights, snow and great shopping easily explain why. In December, Old Quebec turns into a real-life Christmas village. Visitors can stroll through the decorated streets, or take a guided historical tour that ends in a Christmas market. In face, Quebec features a variety of holiday markets, including European-inspired. Quebec also offers holiday foodie tours, and is home to one of the world’s seven Holy Doors.
    Photo courtesy of Ville de Québec

  • Montreal


    Montreal, arguably North America's most European city, brings all the fairy-tale romance of Paris without a transatlantic journey. Anyone who'd been to this lovely French Canadian city knows just how romantic it can be, particularly during the winter months. When temperatures drop, Montreal transforms into a postcard-perfect Christmas village complete with sleigh rides and skating rinks where couples glide along hand in hand. 
    Photo courtesy of Tourisme Montréal

  • Frankenmuth, Mich.

    Frankenmuth, Mich.

    German heritage is obvious in Frankenmuth, located 75 miles north of Detroit. Thanks to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, one of the world's largest Christmas stores, the holiday spirit is alive year-round in this Bavarian town, but it's particularly festive after a fresh dusting of snow.
    Photo courtesy of Christopher Woodrich / Flickr

  • Mackinac Island, Mich.

    Mackinac Island, Mich.

    Most famous as a summer resort, Michigan's Mackinac Island is equally charming under a blanket of winter snow. Visitors can go snowmobiling or ice sailing, shop at a Christmas Bazaar, listen to carolers at the annual tree lighting ceremony or simply enjoy the calm and quiet in a town largely isolated from the rest of the country come winter; the only access once the water freezes is an ice bridge from the mainland.
    Photo courtesy of Mary McGuire | Mackinac Design Follow / Flickr

  • Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.

    Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.

    Winter in the Sierras doesn't get much better than at beautiful Lake Tahoe, where snow-blanketed peaks descend toward the frigid waters of the lake. Snow-centric sports abound, including dog-sledding, ice skating, and snow-mobiling, and the many small towns serving the lake – both on the California and Nevada side – offer cozy bars and restaurants to warm up after a day in the snow.
    Photo courtesy of Tahoe South

  • Ogunquit, Maine

    Ogunquit, Maine

    Most famous as a New England summer beach resort, the town of Ogunquit is also one of the region's most charming towns come winter. The annual Christmas By the Sea Festival features a warming bonfire on the beach, while a Christmas tree made from lobster traps illuminated in twinkling lights at Perkins Cove makes for a perfect Maine photo op.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Park City, Utah

    Park City, Utah

    Park City offers the feel of a historic Wild West mining town with the amenities of a world class ski resort. Main Street is lined with top-notch bars and restaurants, while the Sundance Film Festival each January is one of the hottest tickets in town. Winter activities include snowmobiling, skiing, dog-sledding, snow-shoeing and ice skating.
    Photo courtesy of Park City CVB

  • Ouray, Colo.

    Ouray, Colo.

    Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Ouray – a former mining village – is most famous for its dramatic ice falls cascading into the box canyon. Ice climbers come from around the world to conquer this frozen landscape of Ouray Ice Park, but the alpine scenery throughout is worth the trip. Visitors can warm up with mountain views in Ouray Hot Springs after a cold winter's day.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Aspen, Colo.

    Aspen, Colo.

    Internationally renowned as the Rocky Mountain playground for the world's glitterati because of its legendary ski slopes, Aspen is a favored winter vacation retreat boasting not only a host of outdoor activities, but a rich cultural scene as well. Fresh snowfall, crackling fires and warming winter cocktails enchant visitors both on and off the slopes.
    Photo courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles

  • Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone National Park

    Visitors who head to Yellowstone National Park during the colder months will find fewer crowds and a completely different national park experience. Snowcoaches, snowmobiles, skis and snowshoes help guests get around the park, where frigid temperatures transform the park's geological features into a very unique winter wonderland.
    Photo courtesy of National Park Photo

The top 10 winners in the category Best Winder Wonderland are as follows:

  1. Quebec City, Quebec
  2. Montreal
  3. Frankenmuth, Mich.
  4. Mackinac Island, Mich.
  5. Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.
  6. Ogunquit, Maine
  7. Park City, Utah
  8. Ouray, Colo.
  9. Aspen, Colo.
  10. Yellowstone National Park

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Larry BleibergEric Grossman, Anna Hider (Roadtrippers) and Gerrish Lopez were chosen based on their extensive experience covering travel in North America.

Other nominated destinations included Breckenridge, Durango, Lake Louise, Lake Placid, Leavenworth, New York City, Snowshoe, Stowe, Telluride and Vail.

Congratulations to all our winning winter wonderlands!

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AlertThe Experts

Larry Bleiberg

Larry Bleiberg

Larry Bleiberg

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt