The busy winter holiday season between Thanksgiving and President's Day in February can leave you in need of a vacation. Sunny beaches beckon you to spend days relaxing with your feet in the sand while you chase away the winter chill. Shimmering white slopes hold the promise of fresh mountain air and days gliding across the snow. Can't decide? With these affordable sun and snow vacations, you can serve up a helping of each.
GOBankingRates worked with Travelzoo to find hotel deals that are available now for the holiday travel season. Reserve now before these cheap rates expire. Click through to start daydreaming about your destination, and find the best time to book your travel plans.
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
- Stay at Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa for $188 per night
Marvel at dramatic mountain or lake views from your private balcony or patio at Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa. It might not be swimming season, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want to explore the private beach. Snuggle up at a wind-screened firepit with a view of the lake, throw a steak on a barbecue or treat yourself to some “me time” at on-site Elements Day Spa. Ski season starts in mid-November. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America — it's a great bucket-list destination to check off.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Stay at Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit Beach Resort & Spa for $157 a night in early December
When your toes yearn to wiggle in the sun-warmed sand each time you think about winter, the Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit Beach Resort is ready to deliver. The resort is located in between the Flamingo Golf Course and the beach along an uncrowded stretch of sand north of Puerto Vallarta. The resort’s proximity to the city allows access to plenty of music and entertainment, but there is also plenty to do right at the resort, including cooking classes with the hotel’s executive chef. Or spend lazy days on your affordable beach vacation lounging next to the tropically landscaped waterfall pool and while away the afternoons. The resort is also an ideal location for an affordable, romantic weekend getaway.
- Stay at Palacio de Marquesa for $144 in early December
Discover the inspirational beauty that draws artists to Taos when you stay overnight at the Palacio de Marquesa. The 1912 adobe building is situated among gardens shaded by ancient willow trees. Each of the eight rooms tells the story of a woman who was crucial in the city’s history. Soaring wood beam ceilings and fireplaces in every room make this a place you’ll love to snuggle into after a day at the local ski slopes. Taos' ski season begins on Thanksgiving Day.
Samara, Costa Rica
- Stay at the Nammbú Beachfront Bungalows for $109 per night
Take a cheap, adrenaline-filled adventure trip in Costa Rica. Or just cuddle up on a sunny beach and relax your worries away. Thatched roof buildings are tucked along quiet Carrillo Beach at Nammbú Beachfront Bungalows, inviting you to spend your days letting the waves lap at your toes. You don’t want to miss the hotel’s infinity pool which, true to its name, appears to melt into the ocean. Take a hotel shuttle to nearby Samara to ride horses along the beach, catch waves on a rented surfboard or explore the coast in a kayak on an affordable beach vacation.
Stay at Banff Park Lodge for $114 in November and December
Banff is one of the places in Canada where your dollar goes further. Savor mountain vistas from your private balcony at Banff Park Lodge, where you can breathe in the alpine air. Catch a free shuttle to the ski slopes when you show your lift ticket or enjoy resort amenities that include an indoor pool, hot tub, eucalyptus-infused steam room and fitness center. Walk to downtown Banff just across the road or meander the Bow River trail behind the hotel. Nearby ski slopes at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise open in early- to mid-November.
Jackson Hole, Wy.
Stay at Jackson Hole Lodge for $99 per night through December 21
Live a wintertime way-out-west adventure when you book an affordable ski vacation at Jackson Hole Lodge. The lodge is the area's oldest continually operating hotel and rolls out the ambiance of a 1940s fishing lodge, right down to the fireplace in each suite or condo. Take a day trip to Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone National Park. Walk to Jackson Hole’s town square to experience a melange of cowboy culture and contemporary style. After a day of skiing Jackson Hole’s steep slopes, snuggle with a warm cup of complimentary coffee or hot chocolate by a cozy fire pit or take a dip in the outdoor whirlpool. Jackson Hole's ski season opens Nov. 25.
Las Vegas, Nev.
Stay at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino for $56 per night
Do your Christmas shopping Las Vegas style when you book an affordable holiday vacation at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino and uncover the best deals of the holiday season the week prior to Christmas. The hotel is less than a half-mile from Fashion Show Mall. Browse through stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple and Calvin Klein. There’s even a Samsonite store if you need more luggage to haul home your finds. Back at the hotel, rest your legs in a 25-person jacuzzi or sip a tropical infusion poolside.
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Stay at The Stowehof for $99 per night in early December
Revel in Old World charm of an Austrian ski chalet on an affordable ski vacation at The Stowehof in Stowe, Vt. The resort sits just a few miles away from Mount Mansfield and Stowe, two of the state’s premier ski resorts. Enjoy scenic mountain vistas and views of the 26-acre grounds. Snuggle by one of many hotel fireplaces or enjoy the art displays that you can buy for a one-of-a-kind memento of your trip. Ski slopes open Nov. 22. Stop by a maple syrup tasting while you're in town — it's one of the free things you can do in the state.
Palm Beach, Aruba
Stay at Caribbean Palm Village Resort for $89 per night
Put on your comfy sandals, your coolest shades and best beach gear and head to the Caribbean Palm Village just off the beaten path of Palm Beach. Settle in one of the resort’s 170 luxuriously decorated one- or two-bedroom units equipped with a full kitchen. After a 10-minute free shuttle ride, take a dip in the Caribbean or simply relax by the pool. You're on your way to vacationing for under $100 a day.
- Stay at Summit Lodge for $122 per night in early December
Whistle while you relax at the Summit Lodge, located at one of the premier ski destinations in Canada. While you're at it, whistle for your furry friend — this pet-friendly boutique hotel welcomes dogs at no extra charge. Your pet’s name appears on the hotel's VIP pets board by the front desk and you'll have bowls, treats and a pet bed waiting in your room. You can’t take your dog skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, but you can borrow a complimentary pair of snowshoes at Summit Lodge and head out to explore groomed trails along Lost Lake. The ski season begins in November.
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Stay at Natura Cabana for $131 per night
You know once winter hits, you'll yearn for a cheap and warm winter vacation destination. Concealed just off a crowd-free beach is a recharge station for your soul’s batteries: Natura Cabana. The boutique hotel offers the perfect place to unwind. You won't find TV or phones in any rooms, but there is free WiFi available if you simply can't resist checking Facebook. Gaze out at a lush tropical paradise and enjoy the sea breeze as you’re cradled in a hammock on a patio, or in bed in one of the 12 thatched-roof cabanas. Need more pampering? Experience a chocolate body wrap, a “magic mushroom” steam bath or a massage on the beach.
- Stay at Aspen Meadows Resort for $140 per night
Aspen might not be the first destination that comes to mind when you consider an affordable ski vacation, but it can be. Indulge your inner artist and athlete by lodging at the classic Bauhaus-inspired Aspen Meadows Resort. Enjoy artwork by hotel designer Herbert Bayer throughout the property. The property was once home to the U.S. Ski Team, and you can explore the park’s 40 acres by snowshoe or glide the slopes at the three nearby ski resorts, each less than a 10-minute ride away. When you return, swim a few laps in the heated saltwater pool or relax your muscles in the hot tub. The ski season begins on Thanksgiving Day.
- Stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for $166 per night
Disney World during the holiday season offers plenty of theme park attractions that are totally worth the money. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort creates a tropical theme convenient to Epcot, with more than 2,000 rooms organized into a half-dozen themed villages. Seven pools — including a Spanish Citadel-themed pool with slides and water cannons — let you cool off while “island hopping.” Settle in for a snooze on one of the property’s hammocks and tuck into a pirate-themed room at day’s end.
Methodology: Hotel prices were found using the least expensive dates between Thanksgiving Day (November 23, 2017) and President's Day (Monday, February 19, 2018) for each destination using Travelzoo or the hotel website, whichever was cheaper.