10 Affordable Winter Destinations To Put On Your Bucket List

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So many people head off to places like Colorado or New York for the winter. Since these are big hot spots for this season, prices skyrocket.

Instead of purchasing inflated hotel rooms and flight tickets, visit other cities and states that have just as much to offer for the winter season. 

I live in Colorado and it gets SO busy here during the winter season. Hotels and Airbnbs go for hundreds to thousands per night and get booked way in advance. Although I love it here, there are so many other places to visit on a budget. 

I’ll also be sharing my top recommendations of places to stay on Airbnb! Save even more money by staying at an Airbnb on your trip. You can get $40 off your first trip and $15 off your first adventure. I’ve been using Airbnb for years when I traveled in Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, and the states. I even used Airbnb’s new feature called Adventures where locals take tourists on different trips! 

Here are 10 affordable winter destinations to visit. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to any of these cities!

Before we get started, make sure to sign up for my free resource library and get access to exclusive printables all about saving money and building wealth, meal planning, and more.

1. Sedona, Arizona 

Sedona is such an underrated travel destination. This city has some of the best terrain and red rock formations in the country. 

If you’ve ever seen the Devil’s Bridge Trail on Instagram, this place is located here! I’m not sure if I could muster up the courage to cross the bridge, but maybe you would. 

Sedona is great for hiking, visiting wineries, shopping, and riding your bike around town. 

Sedona’s weather during the winter is chilly at night but perfect during the day. You can hike all day and come home and enjoy a warm dinner by the fire. 

Things to do:

Where to stay: 

2. Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson is the perfect place to visit for skiers and non-skiers alike. This winter destination is filled with gorgeous scenery and pretty much the perfect spot to spend the holidays. (Who else loves snow!?).

There are several skiing spots in Jackson like Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This resort is well-known around the world for being one of the best skiing reports. 

Snow King Mountain is a great alternative to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (and significantly less expensive than JHMR!).

If skiing isn’t your thing, you can rent a fat bike which is essential for riding a bike on snow. But what if you’re someone who doesn’t like sports? 

You can opt for sightseeing at National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton, or Yellowstone National Park. There’s also a ton of bars and nightlife in Jackson. 

Things to do:

  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
  • Snow King
  • Grand Targhee Resort Tubing Park
  • Granite Hot Springs

Where to stay: 

3. Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Before we get started, I need to share that Minneapolis is insanely cold in the winter, but if you already live in a cold place, this won’t bother you. I lived in Chicago and the winter was freezing, but I still enjoyed visiting freezing cold cities.

Minneapolis has amazing trails for cross-country skiing. Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis has 15 miles of trails for beginners to advanced and a 1-mile lighted trail for evening skiing.

St. Paul (which is right next to Minneapolis) but is most well-known for the Winter Carnival, held in St. Paul in late January and early February. The Winter Carnival features ice and snow sculptures, a grand parade, and tons of different food options from local vendors. 

There are a total of 3 parades to choose from (or you can go to all 3!). 

Things to do:

  • Skiing at Theodore Wirth Park
  • Fort Snelling State Park 
  • The Winter Carnival

Where to stay: 

When buying your flight tickets, rental car, or hotel room, make sure you check out Ebates first. Ebates is an online cash back site. All you have to do is sign up for Ebates here (you get $10 in your account just for signing up!). For example, right now, Ebates has deals like 10% cashback from CheapOair, Entertainment.com (where you buy tickets to fun events!), HomeAway, and tons of hotels. 

4. Twin Falls, Idaho

Twin Falls, Idaho is such an underrated winter travel destination. There are so many idyllic spots to visit in this southern Idaho town. If you love photography, Twin Falls is a must-visit during the winter. 

The Perinne Bridge is a popular destination for BASE jumpers. If you’re not a daredevil like me, you can opt to enjoy the views instead. The Shoshone Falls is seriously one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the U.S., yet most people have never even heard about it before. 

The weather in Idaho is pretty brutal in the winter, but if you’re used to cold weather, you’ll be fine.

Things to do:

  • Perrine Bridge
  • Shoshone Falls
  • Snake River Canyon Trail
  • Sawtooth National Forest

Where to stay: 

5. Las Vegas, Nevada

I spend every holiday season in Vegas because my boyfriend’s family lives here and it’s always so much fun. The weather is perfect and there’s an endless list of fun things to choose from. 

Things to do:

  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Hoover Dam
  • Stratosphere (the rides are amazing – yes, I went on all of them!)
  • All of the hotels on the strip have something fun to offer – just walking around is a blast
  • Seven Magic Mountains
  • The Grand Canyon is only a couple of hours away from Vegas

Where to stay: 

Vegas is a little different than the rest of the cities on the list. I do recommend staying on the strip if you think you’ll be spending all of your time on the strip. If you’re visiting Vegas this time to do everything outside of the strip, save money and stay off the strip at an Airbnb.

Read more: 10 Free Things To Do In Las Vegas, Nevada

6. St. Louis, Missouri

I grew up in St. Louis and it is still one of my favorite cities ever. This is an incredible destination for someone on a budget because there are so many free things to do. 

St. Louis is such an affordable place to visit and it’s especially beautiful during the holiday season.

Things to do:

  • City Museum (an absolute MUST! essentially an adult’s playground)
  • Science Center
  • St. Charles Main Street (where I grew up – such a cute *Gilmore Girls* type town)
  • Art Museum
  • St. Louis Cardinals Stadium + BallPark Village

Where to stay: 

7. Pátzcuaro, Mexico 

Probably the most affordable place to visit on this list, Pátzcuaro, Mexico is a beautiful, majestic city to visit on a budget. The town sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet and was founded in the early 1300’s. 

If you want to get a real feel for Mexico and stay in a smaller town (compared to Cancun), visit Pátzcuaro. There is a ton of cultire and vibrance in Pátzcuaro that definitely makes it worth visiting. 

Things to do:

Where to stay: 

8. Seattle, Washington 

Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the world. This was one of the first trips I went on that sparked my love for travel. I rented a car while staying in Seattle and went on a mini road trip in Washington with my mom.

Things to do:

Where to stay: 

When you’re buying travel-related items like snacks, clothes, toiletries, etc., make sure to check Ibotta first. Ibotta gives you cashback for groceries (even healthy food!), clothes, toiletries, travel-related *everything*, and more. You can get $10 in your account just for signing up here.If you’re downloading Ibotta on your phone, the app will ask if you have a referral code. Use my referral code: lwyxxrb and you’ll get $10 for signing up.

9. Chicago, Illinois

I grew up in both St. Louis and Chicago and both winters are brutal, but Chicago during the holiday season is magical. The city is lit up for the holiday season and it’s incredible.

There are so many free things to do in Chicago that are perfect for families, couples, and even solo travelers. I truly feel like Chicago is such an underrated city – and it’s always so affordable to travel to!

Things to do:

Where to stay: 

10. Seville, Spain

Spain is one of the most affordable countries to visit in Europe, with Seville being a hot destination for the winter season. The weather is warmer than most other cities and has plenty to offer.

While most people flock to Madrid, Seville is a city known for its culture, monuments, and artistic heritage. 

Things to do:

Where to stay: 

Read more: 10 Budget Travel Tips To Save You Thousands (That Actually Work)

Reminder: You can save $40 off your first Airbnb booking here and $15 off your first Adventure booking! Take advantage of this.  If you’re thinking about becoming an Airbnb host, you can find out how much you can make here in your city. 

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