When you think of peak travel seasons, there’s either spring break, summer or the holidays. Traveling in the winter may seem like a major feat, as storms could delay flights, the cold makes you moody and the like. But there are advantages that winter travel holds over any other time of the year. Some spots could have way fewer tourists than it would in the summer, you don’t have to face blazing temperatures and the destinations are just more scenic in the colder months. If you’re looking to squeeze in a trip before school starts again, check out these four spots.
1. Anchorage, Alaska
If you’re looking to see the Northern Lights, winter is the time. A light display that’s a result of interaction between particles from the sun and Earth’s atmosphere, the Aurora Borealis appears from late fall to late winter. The best viewing spots are in the Northern Hemisphere in small communities that don’t have too much light pollution. If you’re looking to not go too far from home, head to Anchorage, where you’re pretty much guaranteed a display if you take a short drive to rural areas. Meanwhile, during the day, you have plenty of national parks to choose from to hike or camp.
2. Whistler, British Columbia
A resort town, Whistler was the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics and has unbeatable slopes for skiing or snowboarding, whether you’re a novice or a pro. If winter sports aren’t your thing, the village has plenty of shopping and restaurants to explore along with the Olympic rings to take a photo by. While you could visit in the summer, you’d be limited to hiking instead of skiing and the lack of snow in the village doesn’t quite give it its signature appeal. Meanwhile, Vancouver is only a short drive away.
3. Park City, Utah
Park City, the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, has some of the best ski slopes in the nation and you can take your pick from either Deer Valley Resort or Park City Mountain Resort. When you need a break from the black diamonds, check out the annual Sundance Film Festival, where you can be among the first to see the newest indie films. The 2018 fest takes place from January 18-28.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday, is not just a one-day holiday but a season. While the celebration starts in January, it continues on until February and has origins that date back to the 19th century. Other than the major parades, you can explore the historic French Quarter and enjoy Cajun cuisine. If you need a break from sub-zero temperatures, you’re in luck because Nola remains temperate at 40 – 50 degrees.