7 Chill New Year’s Destinations Where You’ll Escape the Holiday ChaosBy Stephanie Lee
Wellfleet oysters and snow walks on the beach? New Year’s in Cape Cod is a win. (Photo: iStock)
Some years, you want that non-stop New Year’s madness: confetti cannons, crowds, ball drops, the works. And some years, you just want to get away from it all and treat yo’self. This year, we’re going with the latter.
Take advantage of the long weekend and hop in the car to zip out of town. There are ski slopes to be tackled, country cabins to nestle in, and national parks to explore—even beaches. It may give you a moment to reflect on the new year to come. It will definitely be more memorable than shelling out tons of cash for a crowded dance floor and a glass of bubbly.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod in the winter might sound silly. (We can bet your associations have more to do with BBQs and beach parties than snowfall.) But trust: This is also an ideal destination for a New Year’s escape. In the daytime, go for snowy walks on the beach…or, for a bit of culture, wander the galleries of Wellfleet. In the evenings, the area’s many B&Bs offer cozy hideaways. And then there are the famous oysters, which are perfectly in season at this time of year. Time for some bivalve indulgence.
Napa and Sonoma, California
Winter may not be quite as scenic a time to visit California’s famous wine valleys, given those rather naked-looking vines. But if you ask us, it still might be out favorite time to visit. By now, the tourist buses have vanished, tasting rooms are empty of crowds, and you’re more likely to get into those destination restaurants. Plus — for those Zipsters who’ve booked in for the night — many wineries also host their own New Year’s bashes. Who needs the big city?
The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are an obvious choice for sun-seekers on a New Year’s getaway, given that they’re one of the warmest, sunniest, and definitely chillest places in the U.S. Though Key West throws a big party, you can also enjoy a quieter holiday snorkeling at John Pennekamp State Park (the country’s very first underwater park) and the Key’s many reefs. Just don’t stay put too long or you’re at risk of catching the local Keys Disease. (Side effects include never wanting to go home again.)
Forget the fireworks: few shows are as awe-inducing as the one Yosemite puts on as the sun goes down, especially when there’s a light dusting of snow on the ground. Luckily, the park’s open to visitors all year long, and frost-lovers can tromp through the snow, go skiing — even ice skate — to their hearts’ content. (And party. Lodges and hotels in the park offer a selection of fancy schmancy celebrations to attend, too.)
Remember that whole “treat yo’self” thing? Yeah, that’s Vail in a nutshell. Outdoorsy travelers flock every winter to this high-end, ski-heavy destination, though even non-skiers can dip into the scene, thanks to the Vail Nordic School, which teaches you the art of snowshoeing. And, while you’re coming or going, be sure to log some hours in Breckenridge, as well. Just a 45-minute drive from Vail, it’s chock-a-block with winter sports, cute shops and, for the non-drivers, a world-class brewery.
The Poconos, Pennsylvania
All right, so Pennsylvania’s mountains aren’t the steepest. But come winter, it’s not hard to see why the lake-studded, cabin-filled Poconos are one of the region’s top New Year’s destinations. Snow tubing is a good way to navigate those gentle slopes (if you haven’t hailed a dog sled, mind). When not enjoying winter vibes, wanker historic local towns like Stroudsburg — before picking up supplies for your own cabin party, natch.
Hudson, New York
New York City might be the ultimate New Year’s destination for many, but for New Yorkers, it can be pretty chaotic. Solution? Head a couple of hours north to Hudson. Home to live music spaces, dozens of antique shops, boutiques, coffee shops, museums, and a farmers market, it’s basically like New York in miniature. (Bonus for chillaxers: There’s no Times Square in sight.)
This article was published through a partnership with Zipcar’s online magazine Ziptopia.