Travel Writers, DJs, And Artists Share Their Favorite Winter Destinations

With the holidays long gone, we find ourselves in January’s mid-winter lull. And if you ask us, it’s better to appreciate the cold instead of going “full hibernation.” 2024 is your year of travel, after all — from seeking out lesser-known “second cities” to embarking on wellness travel trips to living out Almost Famous concert dreams — so don’t let a little weather stop you from seeking adventure.

Make the most of your renewed surplus of PTO and set off on your own hedonistic winter adventures to one of the destinations below (plenty of which are in tropical locales) — picked by global touring artists and expert travel influencers. Better yet, tack one of these amazing hotels selected by global electronic artists and our staff. As always, don’t forget to strategically use your credit card and flight points to maximize your travel plans.

EDITOR’S PICK — Steve Bramucci (@steve_bramucci): Bachelor Gulch & Beaver Creek, Colorado

sauna bachelor gulch ritz carlton
Chris Rodriguez

This is about to become a giant Centennial State love fest of an article (with some tropics tossed in), so I’m glad I get to shout out my new favorite Colorado spot first!

I just got back from Bachelor Gulch — staying at The Ritz-Carlton property there — and… wow. I’m going to be covering the property in a forthcoming Hotels We Love article but I have to say that the whole area charmed me completely. First off, as a boarder, the lifts at Bachelor Gulch and neighboring Beaver Creek were just my speed — a whole lot of very wide blues to carve across. But better still was the absolute lack of crowds during a midweek visit.

I spent three days on the mountain and waited 0.00 total seconds to get on lifts. That was pretty grand. The whole “no wait” effect was amplified by the fact that the ski-in, ski-out aspect of Bachelor Gulch is simpler than I’ve ever seen it in my life. Rentals and lifts are practical in the hotel’s lobby.

As I said, I’ll be diving deeper into the hotel soon but — whew — the on-site spa was lovely. It features a men’s and women’s steam, sauna, and cold plunges, plus a shared grotto and three above-ground hot tubs. That, in my book, is how you après ski. I noticed that as my week progressed, I started hopping in the tubs and the sauna earlier and earlier in my day. No regrets at all on that count.

Food-wise, I want to give a monster shout-out to Zach’s Cabin — one of a handful of on-mountain dining options. After taking a snowcat up the slopes, we were seated near a crackling fire and feasted on elk and fondue as if we were European aristocracy overdue for contracting the King’s Disease (gout, for those not in the know). I also loved the uni appetizer at Sakaba, at the Ritz. The property’s bison chili with Fritos is an institution of sorts and also lived up to the hype — warming me deeply after a day that featured a few tough falls.

Beaver Creek is adjacent to Bachelor Gulch and Vail is just a short drive away, but winter keeps me feeling a little less outgoing than usual so I stayed put most of my trip. Real talk, I loved being hemmed in by the mountains at this quieter spot this January. Plus I couldn’t drag myself out of the spa at the Ritz.

Sherm (@sherminthebooth): Park City, UT

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Feb 3 – Minneapolis, MN (2/3); Madison, WI (2/9); Atlanta, GA (3/16)

Sherm
SHERM

Out of all the places I’ve been on winter vacations, Park City, Utah delivers the best overall experience. Being able to traverse three different peaks without going back to base is the ultimate adventure for any skier or snowboarder. I like to cruise the blues, rip long runs, adore houses that I’ll never afford, and get lost on the mountain. If that is your vibe, then make the journey!

After a long day on the mountain, there are still plenty of reasons to check out what downtown has to offer. For all my whiskey drinkers, the High West Distillery is one of a kind and provides tastings for their exclusive selection. Once you’ve hit your level, then it’s time to roll right into an amazing sushi dinner at Oishi. The night is not over yet – time to hit the hotel hot tub with your crew and plan the next day.

Okay now it’s time to pass out. It really doesn’t get better than that!

Bass Physics (@bassphysics): Ember Shores, Cancun, Mexico

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: TBD

Bass Physics
TYLER CHURCH

Being from snowy Colorado, my favorite winter destination vacation would have to be Ember Shores in Cancun, Mexico. Ember Shores is Illenium’s curated destination festival, which I have had the privilege of playing for three years in a row. The event is held at the beautiful Paradisus Resort in Cancun and includes some of the best musical acts worldwide. The event is full of beautiful people who are amazing to hang with and meet, but there is nothing like playing your music on the beach and barefoot.

If you have never been to Cancun, I absolutely recommend you take a bus over to Chichén Itzá – the ancient Mayan civilization and ruins that are sure to bring you lots of energy. I also really love the cenotes in Mexico or any adventure that involves scuba diving/snorkeling! I had the honor of debuting my new album during my set at Ember Shores this year, which made 2023 the most special year yet for me. Ember Shores is by far my favorite festival I have ever attended, and as it is held in December it wins the best winter vacation in my book.

Melanie Gordon (@livinginflowco): Central America

Melanie Gordon
MELANIE GORDON

Winter in the tropics is always a good idea. And conveniently, the end of December marks the beloved dry season in Central America. This is THE best time for rain-free beach days in Panama, crystal clear water for marine life spotting in Roatan, and cloudless skies for incredible hiking and Mayan ruin tours in Belize and Costa Rica.

Central America has colorful colonial cities to stroll around while appreciating their individual history and culture. Check out Antigua, Guatemala; Casco Viejo in Panama; and Granada, Nicaragua (Central America’s oldest city). If you’re feeling like causing a bit of a ruckus, you can party it up in Bocas del Toro, Panama, or the Tree House Hostel in Nicaragua.

Want to take it chill and sink into the slower pace of life? Eat pupas and surf till nightfall in El Salvador, practice yoga at the Eagles Nest on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, or join a wellness retreat (that gives back) on the beaches of Popoyo, Nicaragua. Really, you can’t go wrong with any Central American destination this winter!

Just be sure to travel responsibly and respect the people and places you encounter.

Emily Hart (@emilyventures): Vail, CO

emily hart
EMILY HART

During the winter months, I love to travel from my home on the Colorado front range to nearby Vail for a quick getaway. The drive is magical, and the town never disappoints – even for a non-skiier. I love staying at The Hythe, Gravity Haus, or The Sebastian – all within walking distance of everything you need. Start your day with coffee at Unravel or Yeti’s Grind, and stop by Remedy Bar at The Four Seasons for a libation or their famous hot chocolate with a view before Revel Lounge, Mountain Standard, or Fall Line Kitchen and Cocktails for dinner.

Take a ride on the scenic gondola, ice skate on the downtown outdoor ice rink, or shop, browse the many art galleries, or enjoy beer and wine tasting in Vail Village or Lionshead before heading to the Well & Being Spa for a relaxing treatment.

MZG (@mzgmusic): Oahu, Hawaii

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Frisco, CO (2/8); Atlanta, GA (3/9); Chicago, IL (4/27)

MZG
MZG

Our unanimous answer would have to be Hawaii…now first off, we surf so we’re extremely partial to Hawaii but there are a multitude of other activities to do if you’re not into surfing. Sightseeing is big there and when we visited we saw the dole pineapple plantation, toured the Waimea waterfall, we went surfing all over the North Shore, and more.

If you don’t surf, the monstrous waves that come through during the wintertime in Oahu are a sight to see. We also went snorkeling on the coral reefs and did a classic Lū’au experience. We hear checking out Diamond Head Volcano is awesome too and you can do a lot of whale watching, swimming with dolphins, or shark diving if you’re feeling froggy. Hawaii in general is one of the best options if you’re trying to have a warm and tropical experience during winter and there are a plethora of activities with varying degrees of intensity.

Noami Grevemberg (@irietoaurora): Mojave National Preserve, San Bernardino County, CA

Before life on the road, I’d hoard PTO just to escape into nature from New Orleans. Those long weekends, driving to the nearest public lands was my sanctuary. They were my training grounds for camping, hiking, and road-tripping, where I learned to balance needs, test gear, and try new activities.

Now, after a three-month break from the road, I’m rekindling my exploratory spirit. A quick drive – just under two hours – took me and my pup Amara to the Mojave National Preserve and stunning Kelso Dunes. Watching her revel in the new surroundings until sunset was a highlight. As an island girl I’ve always loved the ocean, but the desert has this straightforward, no-nonsense beauty that is truly unmatched.

This jaunt into the Mojave Preserve with Amara was a reminder that adventures don’t need to be these grand, meticulously planned expeditions. Because sometimes the magic we seek is right in our backyard. Simple acts like pitching a tent or exploring a nearby state park or green space can be just as thrilling. True adventure isn’t measured by miles traveled; it’s found in the spirit of discovery, in embracing the extraordinary in our everyday surroundings.

I’m grateful for these small yet significant experiences that make life so rich.

Eminence Ensemble (@eminenceensemble): Steamboat Springs, CO

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Estes Park, CO (3/16)

eminence ensemble
EMINENCE ENSEMBLE

Although we live in Colorado year-round, Steamboat Springs remains undefeated as one of our favorite winter destinations. In addition to the legendary ski mountain, Steamboat also has an amazing and dedicated music scene.

We just played two nights at the Old Town Pub, which is truly one of our favorite places to play due to the the unforgettable energy the crowd brings every time. Of course, we have to mention that we always try to make an appearance at Strawberry Hot Springs which is probably one of the the best ways to unwind after an evening of madness at the OTP. Steamboat is a town where you can lean into exhilaration or ease, chaos or comfort.

We will certainly be returning next year so if you haven’t been to a weekend of EE in Steamboat we hope you can make a weekend out of it next year! See you out there.

Vincent Antone (@vincentantonemusic): Nassau, Bahamas

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Louisville, KY (1/31); Covington, KY (2/1); Tucson, AZ (2/2)

vincent antone
VINCENT ANTONE

Growing up in Texas I have always loved going down to the Gulf for weekend escapes as a kid with my family but even beyond that, my love for the Atlantic stretches out into the Caribbean. The Bahamas have become a personal favorite of mine, which is why Nassau and its surrounding cays are my favorite wintertime escape. The crystal clear water, pristine beaches, and local flavor have called to me time and again.

The last time I went down there, it was as an escape from the nonstop touring I had been doing with my drummer. We decided to carve out some time and go down there together almost as a company vacation. We stayed at the legendary Atlantis Hotel and Resort. This place is absolutely beautiful and sprawls out all over the cay. We would dine out on the local cuisine every night and then head to the casino for some late-night fun.

The food, the music, the weather, the people — it’s all just so calming and easygoing. It helps you slow things down a bit when you’re used to the hustle and bustle of normal life.

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