Our Favorite Unexpected Locations for a Winter Getaway

It’s about that time of year when everyone is really itching for a getaway. You might be envisioning Florida or some tropical resort. We’re here to tell you that Florida is not your only option for a getaway in the U.S. You also might not be looking for something scorching hot, or maybe you’re not the type of vacationer who likes to lay out in the sun. Here are some milder weather locations that are underestimated around this time of year. 

Yosemite National Park

This is a must-see location at least once in your lifetime. Since 75% of visitors come between May and October, we prefer to see it at the very beginning of the peak season. There’s nothing wrong with a crowd, but you don’t want to feel rushed or stuck in lines while experiencing this great American National Park. 

When planning your visit, be aware that sometimes reservations are required to drive into or through Yosemite, so keep an eye on alerts to make sure you don’t get delayed. Lodging options are extensive. You can choose to stay at the height of luxury or at more down-to-earth accommodations like the historic Curry Village. A visit to this national park offers far more than you might think. From food and wine events to traditional hiking, biking, and fishing, you really can choose your own adventure

Hot Springs, North Carolina

If you’re looking to spend a lot more time outdoors away from the crowds of a city, this is the place to start. With a local population of around 530, this tiny town is a breath of fresh air. It lands on both the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River, so if you’re a big hiker, but not quite down with the months-long camping journey, this is the ideal location to get a taste of it. 

There are an abundance of hideaway cabins to choose from. You can also lodge or camp at the famous Hot Springs Resort and Spa, which is famous for (you guessed it) its natural hot springs and mineral baths. If you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker, of course there’s white water rafting on the French Broad River.  

Lake Powell, Arizona

Lake Powell is an oasis in the middle of the desert. This reservoir has become a popular vacation destination for good reason. Its unique landscape and refreshing waters are a boater’s dream. It’s a prime spot for water-sports and a resort-like feel. You can opt to stay at the Lake Powell Resort, or if you’re looking for an immersive experience, the house-boat rental options are endless. If you’re not staying right on the lake, day-rental options for boats of all kinds are available as well. Just make sure to stop and explore the little islands. Whether you love geology, lizards, or simply taking in the sun, it’s worth pulling over for an hour or two. 

Charleston, South Carolina

Maybe your family is more of a mixed bag. Some of you want a more traditional spring break, while others are vying for more quiet, outdoor activities. Charleston is a great compromise. There are some amazing restaurants with fresh seafood and great beaches to take in the ocean air. There are also some next-level golf courses offering coastal views for your next round. There’s also a lot to learn about for the history buff in your family. 

If you’re the family-member that’s looking to engage even more directly with the local wildlife, we recommend taking a kayak or paddleboard tour. You can wade through cypress swamps, creeks, rivers, and rice plantations. These waterways have been known to bring encounters with alligators, dolphins, herons, and much more. With an extensive network, there are many swamps and rivers to choose from for your adventure. No vacation is complete without a touch of adrenaline, so you’ll probably want to strap into a zipline for a thrill and a new view of Charleston. 

Whether you end up cooling off in the Arizona desert, paddling down a cypress swamp, or taking in the grandeur of Yosemite, you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience. If you choose to embark on one of these adventures, or have suggestions on our next great destination, be sure to share with us here

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