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It’s true. You can find snow in the South! While you may think about heading to the beach this time of year in the South, snow may be even more fun. From Georgia to Tennessee to North Carolina, Florida and Texas – yes, even Texas! – you can find the white stuff. Here are 10 places you can find snow in the South (often without dealing with the cold weather).
Updated December 2020
While most friends in the North can see snow without too much effort, we Southerners need to work a little harder. Although the South is better known for freezing rain than inches of snow, there are a surprising number of places where snow can be found in winter.
Looking for the best place to see snow in December? Even if you’re in the South there are options. Here are 10 places to find snow in the South, along with fun things to do in the snow. And you don’t have to wait for a once-in-a-decade storm, either.
TravelingMom Tip: Before you head south for the snow, read our winter driving tips!
Does it Snow in North Carolina?
Yes, ma’am. It definitely snows in North Carolina. The mountains of North Carolina are the place to see real snow and feel the cold air of a northern winter. The North Carolina ski resorts are the perfect place to experience the fun of snow skiing or snowboarding close to home.
There are several ski resorts in North Carolina (some very close to the South Carolina border). Resort areas include Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain andolf Ridge. The resorts use snow-making machines, so even if there isn’t much “real snow,” there can still be skiing in North Carolina.
Here are our favorite places to find snow in North Carolina.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort, Beech Mountain, North Carolina
My favorite place to ski in North Carolina is Beech Mountain Ski Resort. Late spring skiing (which in the South is February and March) offers some awesome discounted rates compared to day rates for skiing in December and January.
Beech Mountain has the highest elevation of any North Carolina ski resort, with 17 trails, 8 lifts, and 95 skiable acres. It also boasts the only high-speed quad lift to get skiers up the mountain fast. When Mother Nature doesn’t provide the snow, Beech Mountain Resort will make it.
Before you go, check the snow reports, though there’s a good chance you will see snow fall from the sky throughout the winter season.
Read More: Where Kids Ski Free in 2019-2020
Hawksnest Snow Tubing Park, Seven Devils, NC
Did you know that North Carolina has a plethora of snow tubing? It’s true! Hawksnest actually has 30 lanes of snow tubing. It is the largest snow tubing park in the entire state of North Carolina AND the whole East Coast!
One thing to note is that there is no skiing or snow boarding here. It’s all tubing, all day.
Appalachian Ski Mountain, Blowing Rock, NC
If you are a very beginner skier or you are traveling with small kids, Appalachian Ski Resort is a great place for for a snowy family vacation. It has 10 slopes, 3 terrain parks and a really beautiful outdoor ice area. You can easily spend a whole day having fun here.
Another bonus for beginners: the Appalachian Ski school is the only ski resort in the Southeast region to be designated as an official Burton Learn To Ride Center. This happens to be one of the most inexpensive places to ski in the South as well.
The season is scheduled to start Nov. 20, 2020.
Ski Sapphire Valley, Sapphire, NC
For anyone who lives in the Metro Atlanta area, like I do, the closest ski resort is at Ski Sapphire Valley in Sapphire, North Carolina. The drive takes about 2.5 hours (or a little more if you encounter snow).
This resort is a full scale winter sports haven. You can ski, snow board, take a winter zipline, and go tubing. The Frozen Falls Tube Park offers great family fun too. The 60 foot drop is no joke!
Read the resort’s Covid-19 policies here.
Is There Snow in Tennessee?
Yes! And chances are good you’ll find the stuff Mother Nature supplies, not just the human-made snow that coats most ski resorts in the south. You can very likely find real snow in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains in the winter.
Ober Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Ober Gatlinburg is Tennessee’s best-known ski resort. While it counts on Mother Nature to help get its slopes ready, it also uses warm-weather snowmaking technology. The ski slopes open in mid-December and they will be open through mid-March (weather permitting). In addition to the ski slopes, there also is a Ski Mountain Coaster, ice skating, snow tubing, a scenic chairlift, snowboarding and more.
A special snow zone called Cubbies is for little ones under 48 inches to enjoy some fun in the snow in an area dedicated to them. The resort also offers the OGFT, or Ober Gatlinburg Freestyle Terrain, to let skiers and snowboarders get as creative as they want.
If you’re looking for something to do off the slopes, Ober Gatlinburg’s Wildlife Encounter is a good option. Although the black bear family may be in hibernation, you can still see the river otters playing, the birds of prey and various native Smokies animals in a special Nocturnal House.
Does it Snow in Georgia?
Where does it snow in Georgia? Well, it doesn’t snow in Georgia very often. But you can always find the machine-made kind.
Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, Georgia
It’s always a snow day when Snow Mountain is in session!
Located just outside of Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is one of the most interesting southeast destinations in the US. This winter wonderland lets you enjoy manufactured snow without dealing with cold weather or pesky annoyances like school closings.
Stone Mountain Park opens Snow Mountain each November and runs through February. It includes a 400-foot snow-covered tubing hill for individuals, as well as a family run. There is a Snow Zone area to throw snowballs and build snowmen. You can even roast s’mores.
In addition to the larger runs, the Little Angels section is built for smaller children (shorter than 46 inches tall).
If you need more to do before or after your snow tubing session, you can always enjoy the attractions at Stone Mountain Park, including the 4D theater, a Summit Skyride to the top of Stone Mountain, live action shows and more. You can camp at Stone Mountain or stay at any of the many hotels near Stone Mountain Park.
Read Stone Mountain’s Covid-19 policies here.
License to Chill Snow Island at Margaritaville, Lake Lanier Island, Georgia
Lake Lanier Island is known to be a summertime fun spot, but it is also a fantastic place to find snow in the South! From November through March, it is transformed into a winter wonderland. License to Chill Snow Island at Margaritaville even has the fastest snow tubing hill in North America.
License to Chill Snow Island includes 13 winter-themed carnival rides. It has ten 400-foot long snow-tubing hills, an ice skating rink, snow play areas, sleigh rides and more! Even if there’s not a trace of snow in the long-range forecast and winter weather is staying above freezing, snow can be found here!
Is There Snow in Alabama?
Cloudmont Ski Resort, Lookout Mountain, Alabama
Football, sweet tea and skiing? You can head to Alabama to find snow in the south. About 90 minutes from Birmingham is Cloudmont Ski Resort. Located at an elevation of 1,800 feet, it will be colder here than down in the rest of the state.
Cloudmont Ski Resort has incorporated advanced snow-making equipment to make sure there is snow when you want it. As long as the temperature goes below 28 degrees, there will be snow. Cloudmont has two slopes which are geared toward beginner or intermediate skiers.
Although Alabama skiing may not be quite as challenging as shredding the Colorado slopes, it’s also a lot less expensive. Cloudmont is a great option for first-time skiers or you just want to see some white stuff. No sense spending a ton of money to go to Canada to find out you don’t really like the snow!
You Can Find Snow in Florida?
Ice! at Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando, Florida
Can you believe the best place near Florida to see snow in 2020 is in Florida? People go to Orlando for many things…snow isn’t usually one of them. However, during the winter months, you can see Mickey Mouse and snow in the same day! Gaylord Palms Resort has nearby car rental options if you need that too. And it’s minutes from Walt Disney World. The Gaylord Palms offers guests the ability to experience the freezing cold at their family-friendly Ice! experience.
Read More: Florida Family Vacation Ideas
At Ice! at Gaylord Palms, there is snow tubing, ice slides, a snowball throwing area, and two million twinkling lights to make it all extra magical. Be prepared for the cold though! It is kept at a chilly 9 degrees. Guests are provided calf-length, hooded winter coats to keep them warm, but long pants and closed-toe shoes are required. Hats and gloves are recommended and available for purchase if you didn’t remember to pack them next to your swimsuit.
Look for overnight stay options to get the most for your money. Gaylord Palms Resort is one of the most beautiful family-friendly resorts you’ll ever see! Didn’t get here before ICE at Gaylord Palms closed in January? There’s always TONS to do at this awesome resort.
View the resort’s Covid-19 policies here.
TravelingMom Tip: For ski lift tickets, rentals, packages and more visit here.
Snowcat Alpine Ridge in Dade City, Florida
If you are close to Tampa there is a new option to see snow in Florida in 2020. Snowcat Alpine Ridge has opened a winter wonderland complete with a tubing hill, igloo and alpine village. There might be a reason to buy gloves this year! Find out more information about tickets and pricing here.
View Snowcat’s Covid-19 policies here.
Hotels Near Snowcat Alpine Ridge
Hampton Inn Dade City- Zephyr Hills– A family-friendly option that includes free breakfast.
Microtel Inn & Suites Brooksville and Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Zephyr Hills– Part of the Wyndham brand these no frills options are located north (Brooksville) and south (Zephyr Hills) of Snowcat Alpine Ridge. Just be sure to put all guests in when making the reservation as some of these rooms have limited capacity.
Where is There Snow in Texas?
Santa’s Wonderland, College Station, Texas
Santa’s Wonderland Texas in College Station is a full Texas-sized Christmas Experience. There is a reason people come back year after year with their families. There are some old favorites, such as Texas Santa, Marshall Frostbite (the 7-foot-tall snowman mascot), and the hayride that are always a big hit.
Besides all of that, you can go snow tubing!
Introduced in 2019, Frostbite’s Mountain at Santa’s Wonderland gives visitors one more reason to get excited about seeing snow. This eight-lane snow tubing experience has an adjacent Snow Playground. It allows Texas kids the rare chance to play in the snow. Both are included in the price of admission. Learn more about going tubing in College Station Texas at Santa’s Wonderland. New in 2020 there is also ice skating!
Hotels Near Santa’s Wonderland in College Station Texas
Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center– Aggies fans will love this hotel located across from Kyle Field. Rooms scream team spirit and there’s a two story bar on site.
Embassy Suites by Hilton College Station– The location for this hotel is ideal if you want to be near food and shopping. Spread out in a suite so that everyone has their own space.
Best Western Plus College Station Inn & Suites– If you want to be right near Santa’s Wonderland this hotel will get you the closest plus free breakfast.
Snowy Trails in Palo Duro Canyon
It’s not uncommon to see snow in West Texas. The Lubbock, Amarillo and Canyon areas get snow annually, usually in January. Do be careful if you decide to visit. The snow often comes with freezing rain and ice so driving can be tricky. Refresh your winter driving skills before heading out with these tips.
Palo Duro Canyon is located in, where else, Canyon Texas. This canyon is actually the United States’ 2nd deepest canyon right behind the Grand Canyon. Trails range from kid-friendly to challenging. When the park gets a light flurry the photo opportunities are stunning. Snow isn’t a regular thing here but January is your best bet if you’re keeping your fingers crossed for flurries.
Hotels near Palo Duro Canyon
There aren’t a lot of choices super close but there are a few solid options.
Best Western Palo Duro Inn & Suites– TravelingMom Nasreen Stump has stayed here multiple times. She says, “this hotel is a great option. Free breakfast, clean, and there’s a restaurant next door making it super easy for dinnertime with kids. Bonus points because Canyon is no longer a dry town so you can grab a drink!”
Hampton Inn & Suites Amarillo East– While this hotel is 20 miles away it’s a great option for families. Suites give you the space to spread out and you’ll have the Hilton guarantee on your side.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Located in West Texas near the New Mexico border this NP contains the highest peak in Texas. In winter months there’s a good chance you’re going to see snow but you’ll need to work for it. Guadalupe Peak also called the “Top of Texas” stands at over 8700 feet. Bring your winter wear. It gets cold and windy in the park in December and January. We recommend this hike for experienced hikers. There is a vertical elevation gain that can stop novices in their tracks. In addition, you’ll need to carry in your water and watch out for wildlife. Nothing like a face to face encounter with a mountain lion to add some cardio to your hike! Be sure to check in with rangers to be aware of any sightings before setting out.
Hotels near Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Many hikers choose to start very early in the day so that they can get coveted sunrise photos. The only option for those who want to stay close is to camp. If you’re willing to start a little bit later the closest hotels will be in Carlsbad New Mexico near Carlsbad Caverns. Many recommend about 7 hrs total climb time up and down so be sure you don’t get too late of a start. Word to the wise there is a similarly named state park (Guadalupe River State Park) that is not even a little close by. Be sure to triple check if you’re running Google searches for a hotel.
Hyatt House Carlsbad NM– This one is 49 minutes away and conveniently located off of US 62. Hyatt House is a suite-style hotel with a great free breakfast. While we haven’t personally been to this one we’ve reviewed locations in New Orleans and Puerto Rico and been impressed.
La Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad NM– You’ll drive for about 50 minutes to reach Guadalupe Mountains National Park from here but if you’re looking for a pet-friendly hotel that offers free wifi and free breakfast it’s a great pick.
Where to Stay Near These Snowy Spots
Just type your desired destination into the bar at the top of this map where it says “United States” to get a list of the family friendly hotels and Airbnbs in the area. It’s a super-easy way to find accommodations and pricing information!
The bottom line is that you can find snow in the South if you look hard enough. When you need your frozen fix, you now know where to go! Where’s your favorite place to find snow?