The hustle and bustle of modern life can leave you feeling drained. If you need a break, why not plan a vacation that allows you to disconnect? Whether you want to kick back in the snowy mountains or on a sandy beach, these remote destinations offer the rest and relaxation you’ve been craving, and each are perfect for a winter escape.
Located about ninety miles north of Seattle, the San Juan Islands provide plenty of activities for nature lovers. They consist of 172 individual islands, but only four are accessible to visitors: Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw. The average temperature in the winter is in the upper forties, making this a relatively mild winter vacation destination. Whale watching is a must during your stay, with orcas inhabiting the surrounding waters year-round. You can also enjoy hiking, horseback riding, wine tasting, and visiting the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor. There are numerous places to stay on the islands; a quick search on Airbnb returns options ranging from glamping-friendly yurts to rustic cabins to waterfront cottages.
The natural beauty of Mammoth Lakes makes it a year-round destination, with highlights like Devils Postpile National Monument and the 101-foot-high Rainbow Falls. However, winter brings many additional opportunities to explore the area. You can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Mammoth and June Mountains. Away from the slopes, visit the outdoor Mammoth Ice Rink, or enjoy a day full of sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. For a scenic tour of the area, hop into a snowcat, and head up to Minaret Vista. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Mammoth Mountain RV Park is open year-round, with sites for tents and RVs, as well as rustic cabins. There are also various nearby cabins, chalets, and lodges to choose from, which can accommodate larger groups and offer access to electricity.
Don’t let the name scare you away—Goblin Valley State Park in southern Utah gets its name from rock formations called hoodoos, known locally as goblins, that decorate the landscape. The scenery has an almost otherworldly feel and the park has even been featured in films like Galaxy Quest. During the winter, the temperature can range from the mid-forties during the day and dip into the teens at night, with occasional snowfall. Activities are plentiful: you can hike, mountain bike, or play disc golf by day. At night, you’ll have a front-seat view of the Milky Way due to the low levels of light pollution in the area. The park’s campground features twenty-five sites, including fourteen RV spaces and ten walk-in tent pads. You can also get cozy in one of the park’s two heated yurts, each equipped with bunk beds, furniture, an outdoor gas grill, and solar panels.
If you’re not in the mood for snow, head to this small desert town in west Texas for a trip packed with art and nature. Located less than three hours southeast of El Paso, the small desert town supports a passionate art scene. You’ll find the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum, and Ballroom Marfa, an art space featuring the work of established and emerging artists, as well as musical acts. For a taste of nature, head outside of town to spot herds of pronghorn antelope, or make your way to Davis Mountains State Park for hiking, bird watching, and mountain biking. For lodging, you can’t beat El Cosmico, a bohemian-inspired space for glamping, that offers trailers, yurts, safari tents, and teepees for rent.
Located just over forty miles from Green Bay, this northern Wisconsin county is on a peninsula that stretches into Lake Michigan. The beaches on the lake are stunning in the winter, with ice stacks and a dusting of snow that paint a winter scene. Door County offers plenty of winter activities, such as ice fishing, fat-tire biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and snowshoeing. Some of the local state parks host candlelight nighttime hikes through the wilderness, which offer a relaxing and intimate experience. After enjoying the outdoors during the day, you can visit one of the area’s many breweries or wineries at night. Accommodations across the county are plentiful, with campgrounds, cottages, and cabins you can cozy up in.
Head to this island that’s about twenty-three miles northeast of Fort Myers to escape the winter cold. The average temperature in winter ranges from the low fifties up to eighty degrees. Cayo Costa State Park provides a taste of off-the-grid vacationing, as the only amenities on the island are campsites and rustic cabins. The cabins each sleep up to six people, with three bunk beds, a table, and outdoor grills. There are no concessions, so make sure to bring everything you need with you. As for activities, you can enjoy shell-collecting (which is popular during the winter), fishing, hiking nature trails, or renting a kayak or bike to get around the island. Cayo Costa and its surrounding waters are also home to abundant wildlife, including manatees, porpoises, and shorebirds, and nesting season starts in late winter.
This village in the Adirondack Mountains becomes a wonderland in winter. Lake Placid has numerous activities perfect for a winter getaway. You can enjoy the slopes at Whiteface Mountain or zoom down the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute. Lake Placid is also a must-visit for sports fans, as it was the location of the legendary “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Winter Olympics. You can also skate at the Lake Placid Olympic Center and tour the Olympic Jumping Complex. For your stay, relax at one of the cabins offered by Lake Placid Resort. Each one features modern amenities and has plenty of room for activities.
Gather your loved ones, and head to one of these relaxing destinations to help make the most of your winter!