While most of us spend considerable effort plotting our spring and summer vacations, it seems the standard winter getaway often gets overlooked. But when you’re in the heart of shorter days, longer nights, and plummeting temperatures, a trip at this time of year is arguably more important, even if you don’t go far or to a different climate.
With a surplus of holiday weekends and the typical slow season that accompanies the beginning of a new year, short trips seem ideal for this season, and many of us forget the abundance of great escapes that are waiting just a few hours outside our doors.
We combed our favorite cities worldwide to select some of their best winter weekend escapes. You’d be surprised how easily it is to relocate to a new environment and surroundings with a short drive, train or plane ride. In some cases (we’re looking at you, Pacific Northwest) travelers have the choice of warmer, drier climates, snowy mountains, or lush wine country all a quick jaunt away.
Related: 20 Long Weekends
In the southern hemisphere it’s summer right now, so visitors to South America or Australia are guaranteed brighter weather; but since it’s also peak season for the cities in those areas, these trip ideas are just as relevant and timely. If you’re in, say, New England, Paris, or London, you’re likely not going to avoid the weather unless you can book a flight, but that doesn’t mean a grand ski or cabin stay, complete with roaring fire, spa break, and comfort dining, won’t rejuvenate you. Don't forget to do a little research before you go—it’s a popular time for off-season rates and packages, as well as other deals, so you could end up with a great trip that doesn’t throw off any other travel plans you have this year.
So whether you're packing sunscreen and a suit or skis and snow boots, get ready to hit the road—and to give the winter getaway the attention it deserves.