Our Favorite Winter Getaways (without going too far away)

With the holidays behind us we think it is a good time to take a look at some ideas for escaping the midwinter doldrums that are likely fast approaching. So here we go with a look back at a few of the places that were the best for lifting our spirits over the past few winters.

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.

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 climes this time of year, duh!

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.

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.

Not much further down the road we discovered one of our all-time favorite spots, Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

This little fishing village on the northern shore of the Gulf of California just might be the ultimate snowbird destination. It may be only an hour’s drive south of the border, but it’s a million miles from the hustle and bustle of life back home.

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 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.

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.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com


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