A snowy vacation can make for a great change of pace compared to the typical sunny summer vacation destination. Before you take in all of Mother Nature’s snowy wonder, though, it’s a good idea to know the best places to visit. This will help you get the most out of the vacation time you have available so you can leave with memories that last a lifetime. Here are four perfect vacation ideas to get you started.

Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe, a beautiful vacation destination at any time of year, takes on a whole new magic when the snow begins to fall. From the breathtaking Donner Pass to the beauty of the icy lake itself, the feeling of isolation and tranquility you get in Tahoe is hard to match. Great skiing can be found at Squaw Valley and Heavenly Mountain Resort, among a host of others, or you can opt for a snowmobile excursion that takes you deep into the beautiful Tahoe backcountry, surrounded by idyllic snow-covered evergreens.

4 Perfect Vacation Ideas If You Love Snowsnow

Snowshoe, WV

Unless you’re well-versed in the world of snow sports, you may have never heard of Snowshoe, WV. If not, consider this your invitation to be enchanted. Quality lodging can be found at the Inn at Snowshoe, among other top-notch locations such as the Snowshoe Mountain Resort, which offers a world-class skiing and snowboarding experience of the same name. Unique to the area is the Cass Scenic Railroad, a beautiful train ride through the majestic mountains of West Virginia.

4 Perfect Vacation Ideas If You Love Snow

Marvin Kuo [CC BY]

Gatlinburg, TN

If you like lots of activities to go with your snow, then Gatlinburg is the place for you. Nestled at the edge of the spectacular Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg itself is part of the surrounding mountain landscape. In town, you can find countless activities to keep you occupied, from the Ripley’s Aquarium and Museum to the endless array of knick-knack shops. At the edge of town, Ober Gatlinburg offers a scenic aerial tram ride and a main activity building that’s as comfy in its datedness as your favorite pair of jeans.

4 Perfect Vacation Ideas If You Love Snow

Steamboat Springs, CO

Unlike Aspen, CO, a city known for its wealthy residents, Steamboat Springs is known more for its serious skiing and other associated winter activities. The Steamboat Ski Resort provides challenging courses for even the most experienced skier or snowboarder, while the Howelsen Ice Complex provides more down-to-earth fun for those who can’t quite keep their balance. Add to that the numerous scenic trails around the area and you end up with a destination that really has something for everyone.

4 Perfect Vacation Ideas If You Love Snow

Many places that are popular in winter are smaller cities and towns. These destinations, though charming in their small size, can be challenging to visit if you don’t plan ahead. Make sure you make hotel reservations and get your lift tickets and other attraction admissions in advance to ensure the influx of snow lovers don’t ruin your plans.