Winter breaks are amazing opportunities for setting some time aside to relax and organize a sightseeing trip. In the United States, the winter break is set in February, so you still might get to see snow in some places if you decide to use your free time to explore the unknown. But not all of us love the cold weather and snowy countryside, but thanks to the natural diversity of the United States, you can find someplace to go if you'd rather enjoy sunny weather. There are hundreds of destinations all over the United States to choose from, with all kinds of activities and attractions to expect. However, since there are just so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming to have to limit yourself to just one or two of them. To help you organize the best winter break trip you can imagine, we have prepared this handy list of Top 10 Tips for Awesome Winter Break, which will take you through some of the ideas on how to spend your time fruitfully.
Visit the National Parks
There are so many national parks in the United States that the majority of Americans have never seen them all. National parks show some of the best that nature has to offer, all preserved and carefully guarded to keep the natural ecosystems intact. If you’re a nature enthusiast, there is no better way to enjoy the diverse landscapes of Northern America than in a National Park. We especially recommend visiting the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, which features much smaller crowds than in the summer season, as many parts of the park become inaccessible by foot. However, there are a plenty of cross-country skiing tours and guided snowmobile tours to choose from, which are plenty of fun and will allow you to sightsee the national park thoroughly even in winter, and learn a new activity at the same time.
While Florida is often joked about by the rest of the United States, the oceanside state actually has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism. Unlike most of the states in America, Florida remains warm for the most of the year, which means you definitely do not have to worry about snow or cold weather when visiting Florida in February during your winter break. With dozes of theme parks such as the Walt Disney World, Florida is the capital of American entertainment. In Orlando alone, there are as many as four theme parks. There are also a bunch of animal reserves and zoos, where you can see some of the most exotic animals in the world. All of these make Florida a perfect place to visit with kids – we fully recommend to plan your Florida trip with the rest of your family!
If you have never learned how to ski before, a winter break is a perfect opportunity to do so! While a lot of more wealthy tourists choose to fly to Europe for skiing, with the most popular skiing resorts being located in Italy, France, and Austria, you don't have to leave the United States in order to find a viable skiing location. For example, Sun Valley in Idaho is a paradise to skiing enthusiasts with its snowy slopes and numerous ski lifts. Sun Valley is also a great choice if you're traveling on a tight budget and have to limit your spending – Sun Valley is one of the most affordable places for skiing you can find in the United States, and both ways flights from New York will cost you less than $300.
A trip to Minneapolis
While Minneapolis is not one of the cities most Americans think about when coming up with winter break destinations, but do not let that fool you. Minneapolis is actually a great place to visit during your winter break, even if it does get a bit cold there. Despite the freezing temperatures, the locals in Minneapolis come with ways to warm themselves up in the cold seasons, mainly by throwing festivals. One of those festivals is a ten-day-long stretch of attractions, ice sculptures and competitions, called the Great Northern. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a match of the U.S. Hockey Championships, which is hosted on one of the lakes surrounding Minneapolis and is one of the favorite sports competitions of locals.
Travel to Vermont
Vermont is one of the most popular places in the United States to spend winter break-in, and definitely not without a reason. Vermont is often named the Green Mountain State, as it is filled with beautiful landscapes covered in lush greenery. Vermont is also one of the biggest maple syrup producers in the world, holding the second place right after Quebec. Vermont is also known because of its tasty cuisine, which takes advantage of locally found fruits as most dishes that come from Vermont are desserts. If you want to relax in peace and tranquility, we recommend renting a boat on Lake Champlain, which provides plenty of water to swim around, unwind, and maybe even catch some fish.
Celebrate the Mardi Gras
When looking for destinations for your winter break trip in February, New Orleans is a great contender, as the date of the celebration usually happens during the winter break in the United States. If you don't know what Mardi Gras is, it is one of the largest street parties in the world, celebrated a day before Ash Wednesday, which is the last day before Lent begins in the Christian Calendar. To prepare for the lent, hundreds upon hundreds of local restaurants and eateries prepare unique dishes for all to try, so make sure to try and taste as many different cuisines as you can. You may also want to stay for the amazing parade which happens every year in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and features over a thousand members with more than five hundred rides and platforms to see!
Take a train to Alaska
If you love seeing snow-filled landscapes, Alaska will definitely be of interest to you. While Alaska’s beauty is not limited to only gorgeous nature, it is a huge part of it, which brings thousands of tourists every year who want to see the icy glaciers and snow-tipped forests. One of the best ways to enjoy Alaska is to hop aboard the Aurora Winter Train, which operates on weekends from September to May every year, with some mid-week service in February, perfect for winter break. The train operates between the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks, making the whole trip around 12 hours, during which you will be able to see picturesque sights through the window, and the train even stops at a couple more interesting locations for you to sightsee.
Retreat to the Virgin Islands
If you’re not a fan of cold weather and would rather not have to spend your entire winter break with a warm coat and mittens on your hands, why not run away to the sunny Virgin Islands? We recommend visiting the island of St. John, which is the smallest of the three Virgin Islands in the Caribbean belonging to the United States. The island is filled with wild sandy beaches and is surrounded by warm water, allowing you to sunbathe and take a swim in the sea in the middle of February. The island is a bit tricky to find, as it does not have its own airport and can be only reached by ferry, but most visitors fly to St. Thomas instead, where they can find cheap transportation to St. John.
Get crazy in Las Vegas
If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, a winter break might be the perfect time to change that, since you will have a couple of weeks of freedom, and the casinos and clubs of Las Vegas don’t close for the winter. You can find some of the most hardcore parties in Las Vegas, as the city’s nightlife stays vibrant for the entire year. On top of that, there is an actual benefit of visiting Las Vegas in February – the tourist demand is a lot lower than in summer, which means cheaper room rates in hotels and more affordable flight tickets, especially during the week. Apart from clubs and casinos, you will find a large number of museums in Las Vegas, as well as incredible cuisine from all parts of the world. Remember to bring your warm clothes, as the temperatures in Las Vegas during the winter still go down quite a bit.
The weather stays warm and sunny in Hawaii for the entire year, which makes February as a good time as any to pay this remote state a visit. Among the dozens of Hawaiian islands, you will be able to find plenty of white, sandy beaches surrounded with turquoise water, and lush green forests filled with colorful, exotic plants and flowers. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the local humpback whales migrating, which happens every year between December and March. Keep in mind that winter is the rainy season in Hawaii, so make sure to pack your umbrella!