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Our Absolute Favorite Winter Getaways (Without Going Too Far Away!)

With the weather starting to turn chilly we think now is a good time to take a look at some ideas for for a winter getaway and begin planning that escape. So let’s take a look back at a few of the places that we found the best for lifting our spirits over the past few winters.

Our Favorite Winter Getaways

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is certainly a year-round destination, and much more popular in the summer months.

Unfortunately, most of the glaciers in the park are long gone, but by visiting in the winter we were still able to get a feel for the once icy landscape.

winter getaways

Amtrak’s Empire Builder travels along the southern edge of the park and is an amazing way to see it in the snow, but we wanted to venture in a little deeper.

So we rented a car and drove through Hungry Horse to the western entrance of the park and up the famous Going to the Sun Road.

Staying in the nearby town of Whitefish, Montana made the trip all that much better. Not only did we get to experience some real Wild West hospitality, including a dogsled trip through the Rockies, but there were not too many other people crowding up the place.

Probably because most travelers are looking for warmer climates this time of year, duh!

Hawai’i

Hawai’i is wonderful any time of year, but when temperatures drop and the wind chill is brutal a tropical paradise moves to the top of almost everyone’s list.

Whether it is a day on the beach or visiting a volcano, our fiftieth state is perfect for a winter escape.

We’ve done both, so here’s a look at a few of the wildly colorful and unique beaches on the Big Island.

Most of those colors come from volcanic activity so we felt like we had to takea look over the edge of a volcano while it was erupting!

Even with the incredible power that lies deep within our planet on display only a few hundred yards away we still felt perfectly safe.

As if that wasn’t enough, we decided to go inside. Yup, we walked inside the lava tubes of an active volcano and lived to tell.

Actually, so far as we know everybody who has done it has also survived.

Mount Lemmon Ski Valley

Skiing is always a popular winter pastime, but we stumbled upon a particularly peculiar variation in Arizona.

It’s not something that can always be done, but when the weather cooperates it is possible to ski all day and then hang out by the pool afterward. Just outside of Tucson lies the southernmost ski area in the United States, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley.

The drive up the mountain was gorgeous, going from sizzling arid desert to frigid alpine winter wonderland in less than an hour. It was like passing through all of the seasons in one day, and at the top the views were nothing short of spectacular.

The landscape is mesmerizing, with arid mountains dropping into the crystal blue Sea of Cortez, and here in the heart of the Sonoran Desert temperatures are in the eighties even in the dead of winter.

Mexico

Mexico is home to many other fantastic destinations all across the vast country. A great way to see the Pacific coast is to pick up a Car Rental in Puerto Vallarta. From majestic mountains to beautiful beaches the region has it all.

Another of our top choices, Cancun and the Riviera Maya. This area along the Caribbean coast is so jam packed with things to do and places to go that we could easily spend the entire winter here, and Cancun airport transportation makes it so easy to get to and from the airport.

From the historic and mind blowing Mayan ruins in Tulum and Chichén-Itzá, to Rio Secreto, a river that flows for miles underground, this mystical region never ceases to amaze.

Taking the extra time to really explore led us to another gem, Valladolid. This inland hideaway on the Yucatan Peninsula has been named by the Mexican government as the best preserved colonial city in the entire country.

And of course the incredible food from the region makes it so we never want to leave.

But then summer will come along and we will certainly be looking for places to cool off by then.

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About The Author
Gypsy Nesters
Gypsy Nesters
David and Veronica James have spent the last thirty eight years together, ever since a boy from the heartland met a Valley girl on the west coast and took off to Nashville for a wild ride through parenthood and the music business. After sending three kids out into the big wide world they set out to find it for themselves, selling everything and taking off in a beat up old motorhome. Along the way they accidentally created the top travel blog GypsyNester.com and authored the book Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All (Skyhorse 2015). In the past ten years they have visited and written about fifty seven countries on six continents. They have no plans to slow down.
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