7 Places Where You'll Forget It's Winter in New England

Okemo Mountain
Okemo Mountain
  • 01 of 08

    Warm up to New England This Winter

    When winter winds howl and snow blankets New England, some travelers are in their glory. They can't wait to hit the slopes, to lace on skates, to feel the cold blow through them as they whip along on a snowmobile. For others, though, being cold and damp is a far cry from their preferred pastime.

    Does that mean winter getaways in New England are out of the question for the cold-blooded among us? Heck, no. Here's our guide to places in New England where, even on the coldest days, you may just forget that it's winter at all.

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  • 02 of 08

    Great Wolf Lodge New England

    Great Wolf Lodge New England
    Kim Knox Beckius

    Great Wolf Lodge New England, 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, MA, 978-343-9653

    Never been to Fitchburg, Massachusetts? Since summer 2014, there's been a reason to visit this out-of-the-way city north of Worcester...especially in the winter. The first Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort in the Northeast opened on May 30, 2014, and it's an ideal getaway option for families who want to escape winter for a while. The resort's 68,000-square-foot water amusement park is always a tropical 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Other on-site amusements include the MagiQuest live action adventure game, Howlin' Timbers Play Park and the Howlers Peak Ropes Course, miniature golf, a bowling alley, an arcade and even a Scooops Kid Spa. Once you check in, everything you need to pretend you're far away from New England is under one roof.

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  • 03 of 08

    Magic Wings

    Magic Wings
    Kim Knox Beckius

    The Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens at Magic Wings, 281 Greenfield Road, South Deerfield, MA, 413-665-2805

    Butterflies like it warm. So warm, in fact, that Magic Wings, a Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, has a convenient coat closet where you'll want to leave your winter wear before venturing inside. The steamy, 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory is home to about 4,000 butterflies from all over the world. "Flight attendants" are on hand to identify the various species for you and to help you check for hitchhikers when you leave. Not only is winter weather harmful to butterflies, USDA regulations could be potentially harmful to Magic Wings if some of these exotic species from afar were allowed to get "loose." Did you know that butterflies only live for about two weeks? A visit to Magic Wings may just help you survive winter's icy grip, after all, it doesn't last forever. Magic Wings is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the winter (hours are extended until 6 p.m. in the summer).

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  • 04 of 08

    Elizabeth Park Greenhouses

    When the Elizabeth Park Greenhouses in West Hartford, CT, are open in March, you can experience spring even if there is still winter snow on the ground.
    Kim Knox Beckius

    Elizabeth Park Greenhouses, 1561 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT, 860-231-9443

    You may have to rub your eyes and blink in disbelief when you emerge from the greenhouses at Elizabeth Park and see mounds of white stuff all around. The 100-year-old greenhouses at America's oldest municipal rose garden keep a breath of spring air alive throughout the winter. Inside the warm confines of these hot houses, you'll be treated to the sweet scents and sights of flowers in bloom. The greenhouses are open to the public during a few weeks in March.

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  • 05 of 08

    Cape Codder Resort and Spa

    Cape Codder Indoor Water Park
    Kim Knox Beckius

    Cape Codder Resort & Spa, 1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, MA, 855-861-4370

    The 8,200-square-foot indoor water complex at this family resort may just fool you into believing it's the middle of summer. While the kids play in the waterfalls and whoosh down the two winding slides, you can close your eyes and ride the waves, picturing yourself at the shore on a sunny day. Or really warm up in the giant, tension-easing whirlpool. Then, when you're really ready for a taste of summer in the middle of winter, head outdoors to the Cape Codder's year-round outdoor heated pool. Another plus, right on the premises, you'll find a Hearth-n-Kettle Restaurant that's perfect for family dining and the Grand Cru Wine Bar & Grill if you're looking for something more upscale. Either way, the key is you won't have to wander far in the winter weather to find delicious grub.

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  • 06 of 08

    Mohegan Sun Casino

    Gambling chips stacked around roulette wheel on gaming table
    Michael Blann/Getty Images

    Mohegan Sun Casino, 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT, 888-226-7711

    There is a Winter Casino at Mohegan Sun, but the good news is, the gaming complex in southeastern Connecticut is now so enormous that you could easily occupy hours roaming through shops, bellying up to Craps and Roulette tables, flirting with one-armed bandits, or feasting at one of the several outstanding restaurants without ever knowing that it was winter, inside or outside. The decor of the original Mohegan Sun Casino reflects the four seasons: As you wander the circular layout of the Casino of the Earth, the carpet pattern changes from bright spring flowers to summer hues to orange and gold fall leaves. ​Stop there, and head for the Casino of the Sky with its planetarium and giant, cascading waterfall or the new Casino of the Wind with more slots, table games, and a 42-table Poker Room. After all, you know what comes after fall. The Mohegan Sun is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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  • 07 of 08

    Surf's Up

    Surf's Up New Hampshire at SkyVenture, 100 Adventure Way, Nashua, NH, 603-897-0002

    Plenty of intrepid surfers ride New England's waves in the winter, but why would you surf in the icy cold ocean when you can surf indoors? At SkyVenture, New England's only place to skydive indoors year-round, you can also catch waves at North America's largest indoor surfing facility. Surf's Up New Hampshire is an 11,000-square-foot, all-season paradise that features a programmable SurfStream from American Wave Machines churning up gnarly, 32-foot waves.

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  • 08 of 08

    Okemo Valley Indoor Golf Training Center

    Okemo Valley Indoor Golf Training Center at Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow, Vermont, 802-228-1396

    Thought you couldn't golf in New England when there's a foot or more of snow on the ground? Au contraire. At the Okemo Valley Golf Club's Indoor Golf Training Center, your clubs won't get rusty, and neither will your golf skills. In fact, you may just be able to knock a few strokes off your handicap with the instructional programs offered at Okemo. Affordable daily rates are available for the Academy's Swing Stations and 9-hole Practice Putting Green, and the Full Swing Golf Simulator is available for an hourly fee.