Alaska: Denali National Park & Preserve
Head to the top of the world to see the Northern Lights. Tent campers in Denali have a front-row seat to this spectacular light show. During the day, borrow snowshoes from the Winter Visitor Center for a trek into the wilderness, where you just might spot snowshoe hare or lynx in their winter coats. Visit nps.gov/dena.
California: Yosemite National Park
Winter is an ideal time to enjoy the backcountry—particularly with amenities. At the mountaineering school in Yosemite National Park (above), ski guides give tours to visitors who stay in cozy huts and learn about ecology and wildlife during six-day ski trips. Acclaimed kitchen masters offer wine tasting and cooking demonstrations at the Ahwahnee Hotel, and at night professional storytellers spin tales by firelight. Visit yosemitepark.com and nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/winter.htm.
Florida: Everglades National Park
The Everglades is best enjoyed at water level. Paddling along in a kayak or canoe, visitors might catch sight of an American crocodile basking in the sun, or spy a flamboyant roseate spoonbill preening its feathers with its spatula-shaped beak. Numerous operators offer tours, or you can bring, or rent, your own vessel. Visit nps.gov/ever.
Maine: Acadia National Park
Bundle up, grab a pole and some bait, and then head out onto one of Acadia’s numerous frozen lakes or ponds for some ice fishing for trout and landlocked salmon. Snowshoers and cross-country skiers can take advantage of miles of trails through snowy woods and along dramatic coastlines. Visit nps.gov/acad.
Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Test your skills climbing frozen waterfalls and curtains of ice flowing out of sandstone cliffs, instructed by professionals, during the annual Ice Fest. Throughout the season visitors can enjoy the Northwoods’ beauty and solitude while camping, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Visit nps.gov/piro.