I’ll admit it. I’m itching to travel. Our RV has been parked for almost two months and I’m certain it’s eager to get back on the road, just like me. “But it’s winter,” you might argue. I know it’s winter and I also know there are amazing winter festivals and activities that await.
Even in the dead of winter there often are several days when travel is safe and roads are clear. Make use of your weather apps and search television or radio outlets for local forecasts along your route. Stay flexible and pack with the idea that Old Man Winter may delay your return.
Grab your electric blanket or heated mattress pad. Find the space heater. Pack your boots and winter coat. Then get out there and visit these winter festivals for yourself. Winter won’t last forever, you know!
Upcoming winter festivals
St. Paul Winter Carnival
Head to St. Paul, Minnesota, from January 26 through February 5, to experience the St. Paul Winter Carnival. There’s an ice fishing tournament, ice golfing, a scavenger hunt, and more. When you tire of outdoor activities, make the short drive to the Mall of America for some indoor fun.
Whitefish Winter Carnival and Cabin Fever Days
Whitefish, Montana, hosts its annual Winter Carnival this year from February 4-6. Mountain views in the area are breathtaking, and the carnival offers its guests ice sculpting, a torchlight ski parade, ski races, and lots more! Plan to stay the week after Whitefish’s Carnival. Why? The following weekend (Feb. 11-13) is Cabin Fever Days in Flathead Valley, Montana. It’s just a short drive away. There, you can see bar stools on skis race for prizes, enjoy live music, and watch snowshoe softball, along with a host of other fun activities.
Ottawa, Ontario, hosts its annual Winterlude this year on weekends from February 3-20. Winterlude is known worldwide as a premier winter carnival with beautiful ice sculptures, ice skating, a labyrinth, gigantic tube slides, Indigenous films, special art installations, jazz fest, and other activities, plus great food!
Quebec Winter Carnival
The oldest and largest winter fest in the world takes place February 3-12, 2023, in Quebec, Canada. Along with the many fascinating exhibitions, you’ll find snow sculptures, parades, and ice skating, too. Be prepared for crowds, though. Thousands of visitors come for the carnival every year.
Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
National Geographic includes this popular Colorado carnival in the top ten festivals in the world! Plan to visit this year from February 8-12. Bring your skis and join in the fun. You can also watch ski jumping contests, take sleigh rides, and see fireworks. You’re sure to enjoy this winter festival that honors the area’s rich Western heritage.
North Dakota is the place where winter is celebrated for six weeks in Fargo. This year, Fargo’s Frostival will be held January 14 through February 25. Come for the ice fishing tournaments or, if you’re really brave, enter the “Undie Run.” (Yes, its name says it all!) I think I’d enjoy the cardboard sled races and snow sculpture competitions more. But that’s just me.
World of Winter
You don’t want to miss Grand Rapids, Michigan’s, World of Winter. It’s held this year from January 6 through March 5. This free event includes incredible art installations—many of them amazing ice sculptures. Special events are held throughout the season, as well.
Winter Carnival in Marquette
Another Michigan favorite calls Marquette home. The Upper Peninsula is absolutely magnificent to see in winter. Events include snow sculptures (created by Michigan Tech’s students), broomball, cross-country skiing, human dog sled races, ice bowling, and more. 2023’s Winter Carnival is held February 8-11.
North Lake Tahoe Snowfest
Get ready for ten days of fun in North Lake Tahoe, California. From March 2-12, 2023, you can enjoy parades, polar bear swimming, pancake breakfasts, and even a Mardi Gras party! It’s all happening within the beautiful Lake Tahoe setting, so bring your camera!
No excuses—attend a winter festival!
There are many, many more wintertime celebrations, from east to west and north to south. You have no excuse for the wintertime blues or cabin fever. Chances are you are no more than a day’s drive away from a celebration of all things winter. I encourage you to take advantage of one!
If you’ve visited a winter fest not mentioned, please add it to the list in the comments that follow.