5 Reasons to Plan a Winter Vacation (and Where to Go)

It's tempting to hibernate at home, but winter might actually be the best time of year to travel. Here's why.

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Beech Mountain NC

Most everyone plans a vacation during the summer. We spend January and February fantasizing about the places we'll visit during the warmer months, but what if we looked at winter differently? Perhaps winter is a timely opportunity to have fun, see friends and do something out of the ordinary. What if winter is actually the perfect time to travel?

Here are five reasons to plan a getaway this season — and some winter destinations too good to pass up.

1. There Are Great Deals to Be Had 

Why not cash in on the reduced rates offered during the winter? A stay at a quaint inn in Asheville, for example, can be 40 percent lower than their peak season rates. Snag a comfy room at a bed and breakfast for the perfect romantic getaway. While there, tour a few of the city's famous breweries or find a corner cafe to enjoy a glass of wine or champagne at the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar.


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2. Winter Activities Can Help Beat the Blues 

 

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Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. can take its toll on anyone’s wellbeing. Physical activity like skiing, tubing or snowboarding can help lift the emotional fog that tends to set in during winter. New England’s Wilmington, Vermont, offers a picturesque town with shops, restaurants and lodging just minutes away from the Mount Snow Resort. Beech Mountain Resort in Beech Mountain, North Carolina celebrates its 50th anniversary Jan. 20-28, 2018. The occasion will be marked with activities, contests, live music, games and fireworks.

Want to escape the cold completely? Travel to a warmer climate for golf, biking, hiking and rock climbing. Traditional, links and desert style courses are available at one of Scottsdale, Arizona’s 200 golf courses. Plan your excursion around the Waste Management Phoenix Open, also known as the “Greatest Show on Grass” at the beginning of February.


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Napa and Yountville in California offer bike tours through beautiful wine country. Cyclists can expect to see the bright yellow mustard fields that take over the landscape during the winter months.

3. It's a Great Time of Year to Be a Super Fan

Find a music or art festival to attend in a city you’ve always wanted to visit and book a winter trip for the occasion! Steamboat Springs in Colorado has a winter carnival each year with a parade, contests and fireworks. Check out IBSF North America's Cup Bobsled & Skeleton 2018 or the US Cup Ski Jumping in Lake Placid, New York.

Need music to fill those dark winter days? Try the Destination Blues Music Festival in Pennsylvania Feb. 16-18, 2018. Feel the warmth of Florida at the aptly named Sunshine Music Festival in St. Petersburg and Boca Raton. This January festival will feature music from Mike Gordon, Tedeschi Truck Band and Hot Tuna.


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4. Your Friends Need a Vacation Too  

Winter is the best time to plan a fun getaway with friends because summer is typically reserved for family vacations. Book a picturesque cabin in the mountains for a couple nights of wine and board games, or head to Las Vegas, Nevada for an off-season weekend of pampering and fun. The Mandarin Oriental features luxurious spa treatments and yoga classes. Skip gambling and use the money you save to book a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or horseback ride through Red Rock Canyon.


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5. You Can Cure Cabin Fever With a Staycation

For a fraction of the price of an out-of-town vacation, consider staying at a luxury hotel close to home. Cities like Charlotte, North Carolina have amenity-rich accommodations such as The Dunhill Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte or The Ballantyne Hotel — many of which will be priced considerably lower than they would be in the summer months. Pamper yourself with a massage, take a wine blending class or enjoy an extravagant meal at a local restaurant you haven't made time to try before.

Winter never looked so good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vanessa Infanzon moved to North Carolina for college and never left. When she’s not writing about day excursions or entrepreneurs, she’s paddle boarding at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Follow ...