The Christmas holidays have come and gone. And spring break feels like it’s a lifetime away (even though it’ll be here before we know it). Instead of settling in to the winter doldrums, there’s no time like the present for a little winter weekend getaway in nature.
When it comes to weekend getaways, we have a few simple rules we abide by: Go somewhere close to home (say, within a 6-hour car ride), don’t break the bank (drive instead of fly) and keep it fun for the entire family. And while a 3-day weekend is ideal, we don’t limit ourselves to traveling on holidays.
No matter where you live, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a winter weekend getaway in nature. Here are a few ideas to help inspire you to get planning.
Pick a new-to-you park or revisit an old favorite. Either way, the winter experience will undoubtedly be different from one you’d have during another season.
Try winter camping.
We are not a winter camping family, but I have friends who swear by it. Campground crowds are down making it easier to book your favorite spot, bugs are gone and the brisk weather is the perfect excuse to huddle up around a campfire. Or opt out of traditional tent camping in favor of something warmer, such as a yurt or camper van.
The Campy Mom has some great winter camping tips if you need ’em.
Do some wildlife watching.
There are lots of ways to get in some wildlife watching during winter. Many birds migrate south, with specific gathering places along their routes throughout the U.S. – some cities even host festivals. In California alone, we’ve got migrating gray whales and monarch butterflies, and breeding season for elephant seals. Find out what wildlife is gathering new you and make a weekend getaway out of it.
Escape to the shore.
You don’t need warm weather to enjoy a day at beach. In fact, beaches and lakes are overlooked (and often nearly empty) during winter. Bring your warm clothes – and maybe a kite – and take advantage of having the place practically to yourselves.
Head to the mountains.
It is winter, after all! If you live near the mountains, take advantage of the snow. You don’t have to splurge on ski gear and lift tickets, though. Keep it simple by playing in the snow or going snowshoeing.