Traditionally, the winter months are a tour operator’s offseason. As the mercury dips in the thermometers and jack frost starts nipping at our toes, the sheer variety of summertime group tour activities starts to feel like a distant memory. There may not be as many options in the winter, but our list of unique winter activities have an undeniable charm all their own – enough to satisfy even the staunchest seasonal Scrooge.
Regardless of whether you’re organizing an off-season wedding party, a corporate team-building exercise, a senior’s day trip, or a family reunion, we’d like to help you get the most out of the season. Right off the bat, be sure to take a look at our collection of handy tips for seasonal bus tours to get you started on the right foot.
It’s important to choose the bus that best suits your needs. Whether it’s a classic yellow school bus for the quick hop to a country sugar shack, or maybe a mini coach bus loaded with all the amenities for a weekend cottage getaway, Bus.com is committed to finding the bus that best fits you. And if you’re not sure where to start, check out our Quick Guide to Choosing a Bus Type.
Also, if you’re traveling during the the cold winter months, your group is going to want a place to stay and warm up. HotelPlanner.com makes it easy for large groups to secure hotel travel by offering them the best available rates on an easy-to-use booking platform.
Sugar Shack Tour
A favourite of children and adults alike, a trip to your local sugar shack is sure to make for fond memories. The traditional sugar shack season runs from late October to the end of April in northern New England and eastern Canada. Typical operations will include old-fashioned sleigh rides, live demonstrations, and decadent meals in cozy log cabins with menus chock full of glazed hams, impossible pancake stacks, homemade beans, and oodles of maple syrup treats.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Skiing & snowboarding are among the world’s most popular winter sports, and whether your group is looking for competition alpine, freestyle snowboard runs, or backcountry telemark skiing, North America boasts some of the best ski resorts in the world. Legendary ski towns like Aspen, Colorado, Whistler, British Columbia, or Big Sky, Montana are popular choices, but regardless of what mountain town calls your name, a =coach bus is the perfect fit. Not only will your group appreciate the comforts a coach bus, but the generous undercarriage storage bays will make sure you aren’t caught playing last-minute games of Tetris with ski equipment and other luggage.
For real cross-country connoisseurs, check out the spectacular Adirondack trails in Lake Placid, New York, the former 2002 Olympic cross country skiing venue at Soldier Hollow in Park City, Utah, or the incredible 124-mile trails that wind through the Royal Gorge at the Sugar Bowl resort in California. As is the case with all ski trips, equipment poses a logistical challenge so a coach buses is your best option.
Plan a Cottage Weekend
What better way to slough off the winter blues than to book a remote cottage getaway? There are lovely hidden cottages to be found all over North America, from 1930s era log cabins with wood-burning fireplaces in the backwoods of Oregon, ultra-luxe mountainside hideaways in upstate New York, or mini cottages with majestic views near Lake Louise, Alberta. For cottage-bound groups of 32 or less, a minibus or mini coach bus would fit the bill perfectly, and include all the comfort and amenities of their larger cousins in a more manageable size.
Polar Bear Swim
Polar bear swims have been gaining traction year after year and are swiftly becoming a new way to ring in the new year. Places like Vancouver, British Columbia have been holding polar dips since 1920, and regularly see over 1000 registered participants. The practice is also slowly becoming associated with Super Bowl Sunday in Long Beach, New York and makes for a great way to cap off a triumphant Super Bowl run (or maybe as a way of coping with an inconceivable loss). The water may be freezing but if you’re organizing a large group to take part in a polar bear swim, they’ll appreciate being able to huddle, warm-up, and bond together back on a toasty charter bus.
Human beings have been snowshoeing for thousands of years, originally fashioning snowshoes from hard ash wood and raw leather webbing. The sport has modernized heavily and has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in recent years, with many ski resorts folding snowshoeing trails into their offerings.
Ski resorts all over the continent, as well as many state and national parks, have begun to maintain breathtaking snowshoeing trails, so be sure to leave no stone unturned when choosing where to bring your group. When choosing a bus, be sure to consider whether your tour will likely be bringing their own equipment or if they’ll be renting on-site.
Here’s a travel secret: if you are unfamiliar with the area that you are traveling to, it can be hard to be in the know about the best trails and activities simply by Google search alone. To get a fully immersive experience, we recommend partnering with a local travel guide through ViaHero. Their knowledgable guides can point you in the direction of hidden gems that only residents know about.
Not for the faint of heart, ice fishing tours are nevertheless a great way to experience the natural world during the winter months. They’re also a great way for avid fishers to scratch that itch during the off-season!
Popular spots include Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin for the wide variety of its local fish, or Lake Michigan, beloved by beginners for the comprehensive nearby amenities. When booking your bus, however, bear in mind how far you’ll need to travel to get to your group’s ice-shack and. Also take into account whether your group are seasoned ice fishers with loads of their own gear or budding amateurs looking to rent equipment onsite.
You may not immediately think of camping when the weather starts to get colder, but winter camping is growing in popularity, and there are dozens of great winter camping spots across North America. Notable locations includeCalifornia’s iconic Yosemite National Park, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona (renowned for its birding opportunities), and Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado (home to the tallest sand dunes in North America). And when it comes to bringing along winter camping gear and extra layers to keep warm in chilly outdoors, a coach bus with it its storage bays is certainly the best choice.
When the season gets to be a little too much, a Scandinavian spa can help your groups get rid of even the most severe cases of the winter doldrums. Treatments run as varied as the venues themselves, from salt scrubs at the Hotel Viking Spafjör in Newport, Rhode Island, champagne and raspberries during your bubble bath at Reméde Spa in Aspen, Colorado, or bergamot detoxification treatments at Alyeska Resort in Chugach State Park, an hour outside Anchorage, Alaska. Regardless of your spa destination, ensure your group’s comfort with a luxury coach bus, equipped with leather seats, wifi, individual reading lights, curtains, and an on-board washroom.
Sledding & Tubing
There’s a charming nostalgia in the simplicity of sledding and tubing and there are countless locations across the country just waiting for your group to show up. Some all-time favorites include the 500 ft. runs overlooking Lake Tahoe at the Heavenly Mountain Resort in California, the thrilling night tubing at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, or the absolutely picturesque Harvard Arboretum in Boston. And since children will probably be part of your sledding/tubing experience, make sure to check out our guide to chartering a bus for minors.
From the palm tree backgrounds of Los Angeles’ Pershing Square Rink to the Olympic sized Blue Cross River Rink overlooking Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Bridge, all the way to the quintessential rink at the Rockefeller Centre in New York City, there’s nothing quite like lacing up a pair of skates and gracefully carving across an urban rink. Our buses stand ready to bring your ice skaters to the rinks of their dreams. On-time, safely, and comfortably. Explore your options with our Instant charter bus quote wizard and we’ll have you on your way in no time.