Courtesy State of Alaska/Chris McLennan Alaska is a shoo-in for a great winter getaway, even though many people only think of visiting the 49th state in the summer. For winter fun, head to Fairbanks, where you can stay at a new lodge with glass-ceiling domes for aurora viewing in comfort and then head out ice fishing and snowmobiling. Want even more adventure? Consider a guided adventure that combines northern lights, cross-country skiing, and dog mushing. Speaking of dogs, Fairbanks also provides a front-row seat to Alaska’s famed Iditarod dog sled race.
demamiel62/Shutterstock The northernmost point of Europe, right on the border of Russia, is really, really cold in winter (like -16 degrees in the sun). But it has to be cold for the Kirkenes Snowhotel here to welcome visitors to its ice-sculpted rooms. (Don’t want to spend the night on ice? Tour the shimmering igloo during the afternoon and then stay in one of the property’s cozy glass-fronted Gamme Cabins instead). This far north, your evenings will very likely be filled with the ethereal vision of the Aurora Borealis, and when you see the green dancing lights, you’ll most likely forget about the frosty temperatures. When you’re not sky-gazing, jump on a sled pulled by huskies or bring your appetite for a King Crab Safari. First, you’ll be tucked into the back of long sleigh pulled by a snowmobile across the icy sea. Then crab fishermen drill into the ice to create a hole to pull up the monstrous crabs. Another quick sleigh trip and you’ve reached a cozy cottage where crab claws as long as your forearm are served up minutes after being plucked from the frigid waters, tasting of salt water and dripping with melted butter. A rich reward for braving the cold. Don’t miss these vacations for people who love winter activities.