The 5 Best Places to Travel in February
While you might think February’s the time to curl up in bed with a never-ending stream of Netflix, the shortest month of the year actually packs lots of travel opportunities for skiers and snow enthusiasts, romantics and anyone looking to get a little much-needed vitamin D (not this year, seasonal affective disorder!). Behold, the five best places to travel this month, even if it means you’ll probably be flying out during a polar vortex.
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA
Could there ever be a more glorious time to visit sun-drenched south Florida than February, when the average temp is 74 degrees? We’re not sure why (or if we should even question it), but according to SkyScanner, there are fares as low as $49 one way this month. February is all about romance and food (honestly, is there any other better pair?) in MIA, with Airbnb citing it as its top trending destination for Valentine’s Day; and with the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival happening February 20 to 24, you won’t go hungry. Enjoy events taking place on the actual beach—our favorite: Burger Bash, hosted this year by Neil Patrick Harris and his honey, David Burtka. The glorious weather also makes perfect sense for biking the bustling streets of South Beach, exploring Little Havana, where the Cuban influence is legit, or getting cultured at the jaw-droppingly beautiful Perez Museum or seeing what’s new at Wynwood Walls. (It’s where everyone’s been snapping photos in front of those graffiti murals recently.) Toward the end of the month, Winter Party—one of the largest LGBTQ festivals in the U.S.—takes over with some epic themed parties. But no matter when you visit in Feb, you should check out ADDiKT, a brand-new restaurant in Brickell. You don’t have to make up your mind between Mexican or Vietnamese, because the restaurant serves up creative dishes from around the globe, all with views over the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay. There are also cocktails that smoke—literally—to encourage the Miami FOMO Instagram likes to roll through.
Where to stay: The Loews Miami Beach Hotel has long been a staple in SoBe, but after a massive, $50 million renovation—which means all new lobby, restaurants, guest rooms and, most importantly, pool deck—it’s actually better than ever. You’ll appreciate the service and little luxuries, sure, but the location is really why there’s no better spot to park it at the beach. You’ll be steps from Lincoln Road and all the bars and restaurants on Ocean Drive, and if you do happen to be in town for the South Beach Wine & Food festivities, Loews is the host hotel, so you'll be at the center of all the action.
UVITA, COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse destinations in the world, where untouched beaches, exotic animals and lush jungles meet to make your trip part relaxing and part exhilarating. Can you imagine waking up to a white-faced monkey during your vacay? Yep, that’ll happen. Or spotting a sloth *attempting* to cross the road as traffic comes to a standstill? Yep, that’ll likely happen, too. In the tiny beachside village of Uvita, you can spend time at one of the area’s many natural waterfalls—which happen to double as the best waterslide ever. Sit in the water of La Catarata Uvita and ride the 35-foot drop down the slippery rock into the water below. February is Costa Rica’s dry season, meaning you’ll enjoy some of its best weather all year—with temps in the South Pacific ranging from the high 80s to low 90s.
Where to stay: Vista Celestial, a small boutique hotel made up of five private villas—each with its own hot tub and terrace—that are located in the jungle with views of the Pacific Ocean.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans means a weekend (or week) full of eating and drinking any time of the year, but if you’ve never been for Mardi Gras, you truly haven’t seen it. The Fat Tuesday celebration is a cultural institution in NOLA—so yeah, it’s bound to be a party. When you’re not throwing beads or sipping on a Voodoo Daiquiri from America’s purported oldest bar, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, you’ll want to spend the rest of your time getting immersed in the Big Easy’s incredible food scene. Whether it’s the contemporary and cool French/Caribbean fare at Compère Lapin, fine Southern dining and charm at La Petite Grocery or the iconic brunch (with balloons!) at Commander’s Palace, your tummy won’t be disappointed. Plus, it’s a time of year when NOLA’s not oppressively hot, and there’s a lot going on pre-Mardi Gras (which means pre-Mardi Gras prices, to boot).
Where to stay: Hotel Monteleone seems to have been around as long as the city itself. With its location in the French Quarter, you’ll be steps from the city’s most adorable and ’Gram-worthy neighborhood, and you can meet in the lobby on a nightly basis to take a spin at the Carousel Bar, where the bar actually moves like a carousel as you sit and enjoy your libation.
BLACK HILLS, SOUTH DAKOTA
For those who embrace it, February is undoubtedly one of the best months for skiing across the U.S. And for those who don’t embrace skiing at all, there’s still an opportunity to enjoy the fluffy snow in the Black Hills of South Dakota. A lesser-known (for now) destination located among the snow-dusted birch trees, Black Hills National Forest boasts 350 miles of marked, mapped and groomed snowmobile trails with some pretty epic mountain and canyon photo spots along the way. If you’ve never had the joy of biking through the snow—on a specialized fat bike—Black Hills is the ideal place to do it, with an impressive 84 trails that suit all kinds of riders. There’s snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to round out the winter weather activities, and it’s close enough to Mount Rushmore that you can officially cross that one off your list, too. Just make sure to pack your Sorels or, better yet, invest in a boot warming bag from Sportube—it's sure to be cold.
Where to stay: Options in the Black Hills are admittedly limited, though there is The Lodge at Deadwood, a casino hotel with adequate rooms at nightly rates as low as $76, as of press time. Or, you could opt to stay in close proximity to Black Hills in Rapid City by booking at Hotel Alex Johnson. It’s a maybe/probably haunted landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it’s also part Hilton’s Curio Collection, meaning it has a solid boutique vibe, rooftop fire pit bar you need to see to believe and even your caffeine fix, Starbucks, in the lobby, too.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The best part about Monte Carlo—and all of Monaco, really—is that the country is tiny, clocking in at just about 500 acres of coastal bliss. This means you can see a lot in a short time, like the changing of the guard at the Prince’s Palace (you should also venture inside to gawk at the 15th-century frescoes in the State Apartments), the marina and its mega yachts or the famed Place du Casino. You might recognize the latter from the James Bond movies, and it's where you’ll find a bunch of other icons: the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and Casino de Monte-Carlo and some of the world’s most celebrated designer boutiques, which are jam-packed into the tiny streets around the square. Sure, we’ll admit—it’s generally a playground for the rich during high season, but low season means better rates even despite the mild winter weather. The month of February also brings the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique in the very beginning of the month, a prestigious and long-running race when vintage cars take off from cities all around Europe to meet in Monte-Carlo for a nail-biting finale.
Where to stay: The swanky Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo. It’s all sorts of romantic with Belle Époque vibes—the hotel’s winter garden dome was even designed by Gustave Eiffel. You can spend the *most* romantic day at Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, the connected high-tech spa with impeccable suites and one of the best hydrotherapy tubs you’ll ever sit in, plus a seawater pool and advanced treatments like face-and-body cryotherapy.