winter festivals

If any of these winter festivals are within visiting distances of you and yours, we highly recommend the trip to fully enjoy the season. 

Temperatures may be dropping, but the festival season is just warming up. Whether you’re looking to extend your holiday vacation or get your family uncooped from the house, there are still plenty of events to keep you busy.

To help you make the most of the frigid temps, here are 10 winter festivals to put on your radar.


1. Gatlinburg New Year’s Eve

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

January 1

Ring in the new year with style, watching fireworks and the ball drop from the Gatlinburg Space Needle – all while being serenaded by cover bands of your favorite artists. Then start your resolutions off on the right foot with a beautiful hike on New Year’s Day.


2. Wintersköl

Aspen, Colorado

January 12-15

For over 70 years Wintersköl has served as an annual alpine toast to winter. If you’re in the market for ice sculptures, fireworks, or a torchlit evening stroll down a mountain, you need look no further.


3. Fire and Ice Festival

Ely, Nevada

January 13-15

Ely, Nevada’s Fire and Ice Festival is basically just out to prove that any sport can be a Winter sport, featuring ice horseshoes, bowling, disc golf, and bike races. Not to mention there’s a ton of food, live music, art, and fireworks. Everyone in your family will have a blast.


4. World Snow Sculpting Championship

Stillwater, Minnesota

January 18-22

The tagline on the website says “There’s no business like snow business,” and that alone should set the stage for the 2nd annual World Snow Sculpting Championship. Teams from around the globe meet in Stillwater to show off incredible pieces of arctic art.


5. Ice Castles.

Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, Wisconsin

January – February

What if I told you there was literally a winter wonderland? Ice Castles is a glorified playground made out of ice, furnished with ice slides, caverns, and crawl tunnels. Initially just the brainchild of a dad trying to entertain his kids out of his garage, Ice Castles has grown to more than 20 million pounds of arctic imagination spread across locations in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, and Wisconsin.


6. The Great Northern

Minneapolis and St. Paul

January 25 – February 5

The Great Northern is a 10-day festival that sets out to prove blistering winters can’t stymie a creative spirit. With programming spanning the arts, concerts, ideas, food, and more, there’s definitely something for everyone. 


7. Snow Daze

Kenosha, Wisconsin

February 4th

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting Wisconsin Saturday in Winter than Snow Daze. The annual tradition is held downtown, as local shops and restaurants come out in full display to reveal ice sculptures and the best of what Kenosha has to offer. There’s plenty of ice skating, food, and exploring to keep the whole family entertained.


8. Whitefish Winter Carnival

Whitefish, Montana

February 3-5


A celebration of “fun, frivolity, and friendship,” this year’s Whitefish Winter Carnival boasts scavenger hunts, a polar plunge, and a disco amongst an eclectic array of events honoring first responders. Good times for a good cause.


9. Anchorage Fur Rondevouz

Anchorage, Alaska

February 23 – March 5

For almost 90 years, the Fur Rondevouz (affectionately referred to as “Fur Rondy” by the locals) has been a celebration of Anchorage culture. Tentpoled by the World Championship of Sled Dog races, fur auctions, and nearly 50 other family-friendly events, this could be the Alaskan adventure you never knew you needed.

10. Snowfest

North Lake Tahoe, California 

March 2-9

If you’re looking for a little mountain town magic, Snowfest is as good as it gets. The week-long festival packs it in with tons of events including parades, ice sculpting contests, polar bear swims, and golf in the snow (which is still better than a good day at the office).


What’s coming up next?

There are certainly plenty of fantastic events going on all year long. Join the Good Sam newsletter to stay in the loop with everything you’ll need for your next adventure!