5 Places to Go in February
From romantic beach vacations to skiing adventures to winter city breaks for a long weekend, here are our picks for places to travel in February.
If snow isn't your thing, Tucson's arid desert climate and Saguaro-spotted landscape makes an excellent February getaway. Head to Saguaro National Park for a hike through the Sonoran Desert or play a sunny round of golf at the Ritz Carlton's Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Dove Mountain. The city plays host to some popular events in February as well: check out North America's largest gem show at the Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase from February 1-16, or come later in the month for La Fiesta de los Vaqueros -- Tucson's rodeo, which has been ponying up here since 1925.
Hawaii weather is nearly perfect all year long, so choosing a time to visit the islands depends what you're looking for. February is one of the best times to visit Kauai, as hotel rates drop and crowds shrink between the winter and spring break holiday rushes. It's whale season now, too, so you can turn a catamaran sail along the lush, waterfall-strewn Napali Coast into a whale-watching adventure. On the west side of the island, the Waimea Town Celebration (February 15-22), celebrates local culture with everything from stand-up paddle board races to ukelele competitions. Just be warned: the Garden Isle's beaches (don't miss Hanalei Bay) will make it hard to return to wherever you call home.
St. Louis, Missouri
Winter may not be the best time to visit St. Louis weather-wise, but February 14 (yes, Valentines Day) marks the city's 250th birthday, and there's going to be quite the party. Throughout the weekend, family-friendly historical re-enactments, fireworks, art exhibits and musical performances will celebrate the quarter-century -- most of which are free to attend. The festivities continue the following weekend, with St. Louis Mardi Gras in the Soulard neighborhood, which is one of the country's largest parties. Since this is off-season for the city, you can find some great hotel deals.
Quebec City, Canada
The best time to visit Quebec City in winter is during the Winter Carnival, which runs from January 31st to February 16th. The festival, now in its 60th year, brings ice sculptures, sleigh rides, snow slides and other cold weather fun to the Canadian city. For an added chill, spend a night in the Hotel de Glace -- the first "ice hotel" in North America. Quebec City is an easy weekend escape by plane or car from the Northeast, and its European architecture and atmosphere may make you feel like you've traveled much farther away from home.
Panama City, Panama
If you haven't spent a lot of time in Central America, Panama might not be on your travel radar. But this year the country is celebrating a huge milestone: the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, which connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and changed travel forever. The official anniversary day is in August, but February is one of the best times to visit Panama City, and you can still enjoy some of the new developments leading up to the centennial, including a new museum on biodiversity designed by Frank Gehry and a slew of new hotels. Oh, and need we mention that since it's close to the equator the weather in February is warm and sunny and the temperature is a balmy 75-85 degrees?
Other February Vacation Ideas:
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for skiing and winter wildlife viewing in nearby national parks
- Miami, Florida, for peak season and beach time
- New Mexico, for skiing in Taos or Santa Fe
- Sarasota, Florida, for warm weather and circus season
- Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for skiing and the Winter Carnival
- Alabama, for family-friendly Mardi Gras in Mobile and bass fishing in Birmingham
- Lake Placid, New York to get in the Olympic spirit at the Olympic Museum
- Baja California for peak whale season
- Much of India, including Goa and Delhi, for dry season and moderate temperatures
- The Philippines, for dry weather and peak tourist season
- Australia, for prime summer beach weather
- Prague, for hearty winter-friendly Czech food (think duck and venison)