Bills are piled high, New Year’s resolutions have flopped, and Valentine’s Day failed to deliver for the umpteenth time. This is the part of winter that seems like it will never end.
Call it a lack of Vitamin D or simply a case of the winter blues, the best way to beat it is by hopping on a plane. Whether you want to escape the season or embrace the snowy weather, here are six ways to shake off the funk and grab winter by its icy horns, without breaking the bank.
Escape the Cold
Personally, I’m more on the escape side of the coin—I’ve had enough winter weather for one lifetime, thank you very much. If you’re like me, you’ll want to check out these fabulous beachside escapes.
Exotic Adventures in Cancun, Mexico
Why: Though the weather is warm, it’s not as scorching as it is during the summer months, and if you avoid Spring Break time, you should avoid the crowds, too. A short jaunt for both West and East Coast inhabitants, this strip of gorgeous Mexican beaches is a great pick to shake off the blahs.
What: Whatever your tropical paradise dreams, you can find them here. Soak up some sun on El Mirador Beach, tour Mayan Ruins (including the famous Itza Chechen), swim with the dolphins, go snorkeling, or scuba dive. Or, yes, just lay by the pool with a margarita.
Leisure Time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Why: If you’re on the East Coast, Fort Lauderdale is a much easier destination to reach than Mexico, while offering many of the same benefits: sunny beaches, plenty to do, and year-round great weather.
What: Rent a bicycle or rollerblades and explore Fort Lauderdale Beach on wheels, or try taking a water taxi for a unique perspective. If you’re craving some ocean time, take a deep sea fishing charter, swim with dolphins, or enjoy some of the best scuba diving in the U.S. The area is also home to multiple shopping options, from the Galleria in Fort Lauderdale to nearby South Beach.
Catch a Wave in Nosara, Costa Rica
Why: What better way to combat boredom than with a dose of adrenaline and learning something new? Nosara has one of the best surfing outfitters on Earth (so sayeth National Geographic), but isn’t as prone as other Costa Rican towns to hordes of tourists.
Embrace the Season
When the going gets cold, the colder climes get going with action-packed adventures and fun festivities. If it’s more a change of scenery than a change of weather you’re after, wrap up in your scarf and head to one of these snowy destinations.
Visit the Land of Fire and Ice in Reykjavík, Iceland
Why: With affordable airfare from the East Coast and plenty to do, Iceland is an increasingly popular destination. This capital city is the cultural heartbeat of Iceland and is surrounded by plenty of winter adventures.
What: Go glacier hiking and ice climbing with a guide—they’ll teach you the ropes and take you to some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth. Afterward, enjoy a well-earned soak in one of the geothermal heated pools and keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights.
Hit the Slopes and Cozy Up in Sun Valley, Idaho
Why: This rustic, cozy lodge includes ample skiing for all levels, frequent discount packages, and convenience to the West Coast without being impossible for East Coasters. It’s less crowded and showy than Vail, plus if you stay at one of the resorts, you ski for free! All inclusive? You bet.
What: If you want to take your skiing to a new level (and you have a grand to throw down), try Heli-Ski, which drops you off via a helicopter to explore backcountry moutains. Aside from killer downhill skiing, you can try Nordic snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, tubing, or a sleigh ride.
Enjoy a Short Winterlude in Ottawa, Ontario
Why: Leave it to the Canadians to shake the winter blues off with a raging party. Throughout most of February, Ottawa throws a major celebration called Winterlude. The festival is close at hand for the Eastern U.S., and Ottawa accommodations are very reasonably priced.
What: Winterlude offers a wide variety of activities: Ice skate Rideau Canal, catch live performances in the Ice Lounge, explore the incredible ice sculptures, take on the winter obstacle course, go to wine tastings, sample the cuisine, and explore The National Gallery of Canada.