PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Winter doesn’t officially begin until Dec. 21, but it’s not too early to plan a snow season getaway. Travel discovery platform TripsToDiscover compiled a list of the 50 Most Magical Winter Wonderland Towns in the U.S., and a few of them are just a few-hour drive away from Portland.
According to TripsToDiscover, “In America’s most magical winter wonderland towns, you’re guaranteed breathtaking surroundings and often charming streets lined with historical buildings or perhaps simply an ideal eatery for sitting next to a roaring fire, a glass of wine, or a cup of hot cocoa in hand.”
Here are the four Oregon and Washington towns that made the list:
The “magical winter wonderland towns” aren’t ranked by number, but Snoqualmie, Wash., was first on the list. Snoqualmie is about three hours outside of Portland, making it the perfect road-trip destination.
The town also has its own waterfall, Snoqualmie Falls. The historic landmark is more than double the height of Niagara Falls, and is an even more beautiful sight when enveloped by snow.
“Plus, you can enjoy dazzling lights via the Snoqualmie Winter Lights trail that runs from Salish Lodge and Spa through the town,” TripsToDiscover said.
Leavenworth, Wash., is next on the list — and nearly five hours away from Portland. The town’s many attractions and activities make the travel time worth it. TripsToDiscover reports, “Not surprisingly, winter activities here abound, including ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and snowmobiling.”
If snow sports aren’t on the agenda, Leavenworth’s Village of Lights Festival is a must-see. Every December, the festival displays over half a million lights during their celebration with live music and entertainment, Christmas caroling, Santa Claus photo-ops, and more.
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Along with Leavenworth, Klamath Falls, Ore., is about a five-hour trek away from Portland. The falls offer a variety of winter activities as well, such as snowshoeing, ice skating, and sledding.
The town’s annual Snowflake Festival begins Nov. 26 and lasts until Dec. 11. The Christmastime celebration has been a tradition since 1982 and has family-friendly activities including a tree lighting ceremony and a gingerbread house contest.
TripsToDiscover says Klamath Falls is, “a gateway to Crater Lake National Park with its deep sapphire waters especially magnificent surrounded by snow.”
About three hours outside of Portland, Bend — and the surrounding area — could be the best outdoor playground for wintertime travelers. Mt. Bachelor is nearby, with over 4,300 acres of powdered slopes that make skiing and snowboarding.
In addition to snow sports, there are numerous entertainment and fine dining options. “Live music, fireside shows, and numerous pubs and eateries can be enjoyed after a day of play too,” TripToDiscover said.