Watch the Winter Night Sky in D.C.
Rock Creek Park is a gorgeous and accessible retreat for couples and families. This urban oasis in the heart of Washington D.C., contains hiking paths, waterfalls, and enough acreage to put distance between you and the city lights so you can see some natural sparkle. Through December, take your kids on a special weekend night outing under the stars.
Wikimedia Commons via Carol M. Highsmith
Athletes’ Heaven at Yosemite
From snow-tubing to sledding, winter sport options are almost endless at Yosemite National Park, one of our nation’s greatest natural treasures. You can bring your own equipment or rent gear and take professional lessons on site. Be sure to check weather conditions and road closures before you head up for the weekend.
flickr.com via Jeff P
Music, Hot Chocolate, and Hiking, Oh My!
For an exciting array of winter activities, look no further than Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Its jam-packed winter events guide includes concerts; an outdoor reading of A Christmas Carol; photo exhibits; train rides; and a festival of lights.
flickr.com via Chris Capell
Playtime in the Colorado Snow
Imagine the dramatic backdrop of Rocky Mountain National Park as the setting for your winter fantasy playground. For serious athletes, the park offers ice-climbing and skiing. And for families, check out the Yuletide Lights Driving Tour, which runs from December 5 to January 1.
flickr.com via Scott McLeod
Dazzling Safaris and Fine Dining
Whether you prefer to stay by the fire or trek through icy wonderlands, Yellowstone has the adventure for you. Book one of the exciting tours on the park’s website, and explore fine dining options at the Yellowstone Lodges, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinner.
Related: 17 Log Cabins We Love
flickr.com via Pat Henson
Relive American History in Tennessee
Are you a Civil War buff? From December 26 to 29, Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is commemorating a tide-turning battle for the Union. Retrace the soldiers’ footsteps with rangers, storytellers, and fellow history enthusiasts. Plus, enjoy Tennessee’s gentle hills and waterways.
flickr.com via Casey Fleser
Celebrate the Season in Maine
Schedule some outdoor family time in Maine at Acadia National Park’s Winter Festival, which lasts from February 10 to 12. Have you ever wondered what a quinzhee is? Well, you’ll get to build one, as well as a gingerbread birdhouse—and then you can build up your thigh muscles with a few snowy hikes.
flickr.com via Amy Meredith
Hike Under the Light of the Moon
For some wintertime magic, head to Bryce Canyon National Park on a clear, moonlit night, when the tent rocks are bathed in silver light. You’ll understand why they’re also called “fairy chimneys.” The dramatic natural setting is perfect for a romantic getaway or an unforgettable family vacation.
Wikimedia Commons via National Park Service
Canyon Camping and Breathtaking Views
What better place than the Grand Canyon to spend Christmas? Soak in the silence, dazzling vistas, pastel sunsets, fresh snow, and wildlife such as mule deer and bald eagles. Consider booking a suite at Bright Angel Lodge, so you can enjoy this historic property before it closes for renovations in September 2018.
Soak in the Sun and Save the Earth
Beat the winter blues and head south to Everglades National Park in Florida, a precious and endangered sanctuary. Your visit will also help raise awareness of our beautiful, fragile coastal ecosystems. In fact, just by visiting our national parks, you are helping to preserve America’s epic wilderness.
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