If the doldrums of seasonal affective disorder have you wishing you were hopping the next flight out of Dodge, there’s no better time to start planning a restorative cold-weather escape.
The good news: There’s a getaway for every personality, from sun worshipers looking to fly south for the winter to snow lovers seeking the next adrenaline rush. Here are seven of the best winter weekend getaways in the U.S.
There’s no wrong time to visit Las Vegas—the show always goes on—but you’ll get the best deals on airfare and hotel rooms during the colder months. It’s not uncommon to find rooms at blowout hotels like The Cosmopolitan for half of what you’d pay during the peak season.
Temperatures during this time typically run in the 60s, making hiking daytrips to places like Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire much more enjoyable than, say, during the dead of summer, when the mercury can register well over 100 degrees.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Mexico’s capital has a reputation for New Age mysticism, but the truth is there’s something for everyone in Santa Fe. That’s especially true in the winter, when colder temperatures creep into the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Outdoorsy types can hit the slopes on a daytrip to the ski town of Taos, an hour and a half away.
Art connoisseurs beeline to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum, and foodies flock to sample the gumbo at the Cajun-inspired Trinity Kitchen food truck, conveniently parked outside of the immersive Meow Wolf art installation.
The spectacular foliage gets Vermont top billing as an autumn getaway, but the northern resort town of Stowe has a reputation as the ultimate New England winter destination. Witness the picturesque downtown, which summons all the nostalgia of a Norman Rockwell painting with its towering steeple and cute shops, or the snowcapped Green Mountains that beckon skiers with their wooded trails.
New Orleans, LA
With its pastel facades and year-round greenery, New Orleans provides plenty of inspiration for beating the winter blues. The city comes on strong in the wrought-iron balconies, magnolia trees, and cobblestoned streets on view in romantic neighborhoods from Jackson Square and the Garden District to the French Quarter.
Then there’s the music, an eclectic mix of brass and bass best enjoyed at the legendary jazz venue Preservation Hall, not to mention the food; leaving without sampling the pillowy sweetness of the beignets at Café Du Monde is a cardinal sin.
Charleston, South Carolina
When the temperature drops, snowbirds who prefer to fly south for the winter would do well to make a pit stop in Charleston.
The city offers all of the hedonistic pleasures of its northern counterparts, perhaps best experienced through the diverse and much-lauded food scene.
You’ll find Asian-inspired specialties (think green fish curry, Sichuan eggplant, and Vietnamese shrimp crepes) at Xao Bao Biscuit; low-country staples like wood-fired oysters and slow-smoked ribs are the draw at Husk, the restaurant that started it all.
Wake up to shop till you drop, whether in the ubiquitous antiques stores on King Street or at Fritz Porter, an emporium for contemporary homewares and textiles.