With cold temperatures and a dearth of sunlight, January and February are the hardest months of the year for those of us who live in northern climes. Working hours and daylight hours tend to coincide, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) becomes highly contagious. The best cure for the winter doldrums: a change of scene. A weekend getaway can breathe life into the dark side of the year, keep up morale, and leave you with enough sunshine and happiness to ward off SAD for another week.
No matter where you go to escape, searching for last minute availability in vacation rental homes can be a great way to put together an affordable spur of the moment mini-vacation when you know that you just have to get away and relax. With that in mind, Here are some ideas for wicked winter weekends…
1. Ski the East
Within driving or train distance of New York and most states north of the mid-Atlantic, New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Vermont’s Green Mountains are home to the best skiing East of the Rockies. Piles of snow, small town charm, and New England tradition round out the experience and will keep you re-living your mountain retreat for the rest of the week. (Full Disclosure: this getaway makes the top of the list because this blogger skis New Hampshire almost every weekend and still can’t get enough).
2. Get the sled out
January is “Learn a Snowsport” month, and what cooler sport to learn than dogsledding? Imagine speeding across frozen terrain under the power of a team of huskies. You may not be ready to train for the Iditarod quite yet, but many dogsledding outfits, such as Winterdance in Canada and Husky Power Dogsledding in Maryland, offer everything from half-day tours and moonlight rides to multi-day adventures. For a weekend you can head to northern New England, Michigan, Canada, and many other snowy areas to join mushers and their dogs for the thrill of a lifetime.
3. Roadtrip and park
Wherever you live in America, there’s a national park or historical site within driving distance. Since most Americans prefer to reach their weekend destination by car, taking the national highways to the park of your choice is a no-brainer. Parks offer activities from intense ice climbing and skiing to simply taking in the wildlife. Plan your trip on the National Park Service website, where you can search the parks by location, activity, or history.
4. Life’s a beach
Let’s face it, winter isn’t for everyone. But while there are still months to go before anyone but the polar bears will dip into icy northern seas, beaches on the Gulf Coast, Southern California, Hawaii, and the Caribbean are warm and welcoming ways to recharge. Shake off the winter SAD and break out your bathing suit for a quick midwinter dash to the beach!
5. Travelers without borders
Few things are more invigorating than exploring another country. 48 hours is too short for treks to the other side of the world, but it may be just enough time for a quick hop across the pond to Paris or Barcelona for two days of indulgence. If you’re staying closer to home, try Quebec City—this northern capital has all the old-world charm of Europe and easy access from North America.