In the world of 2020, whether it was an outing to the grocery store or harnessing foreign flavors in your kitchen, we were all making adventures out of anything. And bread. We were making lots and lots of bread. But, as things begin to open up and winter is in full swing, it might be time to plan a real adventure to a epic winter destination.
As travel may still be considered a risk by some, we understand these destinations will not be for everyone. We also want to encourage any traveler to take necessary COVID precautions, honoring local regulations.
At the same time, we want to promote the spirit of adventure and the gift of wandering. Especially in light of such hard times for many. Rejuvenating your soul through new experiences is an act of self-compassion. Whether it’s in a socially distanced hike, or big city igloo dining, this year has made us more resilient, connected, and creative when it comes to traveling.
Here are a few places we don’t think you should miss this winter season.
Nestled in Southern Montana, known as the gateway to Yellowstone, Bozeman has the quirk of a small college town. With the historic wisdom and maturity of the American Wild West. For the outdoorsmen, Bozeman is surrounded by Gallatin National Forest, featuring three million acres of adventure and exploration. Whether you’re enjoying an afternoon snowshoe, going uphill with the more adventurous ski touring scene, or moving downhill at Big Sky or the locally-owned Bridger Bowl, Bozeman has an outdoor adventure for a variety of abilities.
For the art and history seeker, Bozeman features The Museum of The Rockies (a Smithsonian affiliate). It’s also home to The Montana Grizzly Encounter, The Ellen Theatre, or The Emerson Cultural Center. Where local artists display their created works. Whether you’re Indulging in a craft beer from one of the many local breweries, dining in historic buildings featuring delicious American dishes, or getting a late night drink in the historic downtown centre, Bozeman is where your winter adventure begins.
Stowe, Vermont is a year round getaway filled with charm, history, and activities for everyone. Experience the history of Stowe by exploring the ski and snowboard history museum or touring the historic Trapp Family Lodge. Yes- that’s right. Von Trapp as in the family from the sound of music. (the story is just as magical as it seems) For an afternoon of adventure, hit the hill at Stowe Mountain. Or Ice Skate in a picturesque square, or spend the day snowshoeing through the beautiful New England scenery.
For the culinary critic, Indulge your taste buds at Ben and Jerry’s Waterbury Factory (with free samples) or taste local Vermont maple syrup. And no New England adventure would be complete without cozying up at the end of the day, sipping on some locally brewed cider. Regardless of what you choose, one thing is for certain. Stowe is full of outdoor adventures, cozy food scenes, and winter memories waiting to be had.
Okay- major disclaimer. I love the desert. But even more so- I’m absolutely obsessed with Arizona’s sprawling hillsides of monstrous towering green cactuses. So clearly- for the snowbird looking to escape the cold- I had no other personal choice than to put Arizona on the map. Tuscan features the novelties of a big city, with the close convenience to outdoor living, and the spicy influence of Mexican culture and cuisine . Within the city, hit the arts and culture scene at DeGrazia Gallery. Or spend the afternoon in solace at the Cathedral of Saint Augustine or San Xavier del Bac.
For a taste of the great outdoors yet a quick drive back to air-conditioning, familiarize yourself with the local flora and fauna at Tohono Chul Park or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. For the desert wanderer, hit up Saguaro National Park featuring miles of hiking trails. They range in difficulty for the moderate hiker to the mountain adventurer. Most importantly, Saguaro is abounding in those big green cactuses I love so dearly. Lastly, Indulge your inner outlaw, in the town of Tombstone. Just a day trip away, Tombstone gives a modern look into the history of the Wild West. While it is geared towards the tourist scene, Tombstone is a unique throw back to times gone by.
From the outdoor wanderer, to the city dweller, Tuscon is full of historical factoids. Unique Spanish and Mexican flavor, and a collision of cultural surprises- all waiting to be discovered.
If you’re looking to do some reading on your next trip, check out these 12 travel books that will inspire wanderlust!
Salida, Colorado is a budget-friendly hidden gem located about two hours south of Denver, Colorado. This is a cultural combination of ranch land, river culture, and big mountain climbing and skiing. Located in the high plains below the Sawatch Mountain range featuring the breath-taking Mount Antero along the Arkansas River, the views and scenes of Salida truly cannot be beat. Whether you’re looking for a day of skiing at the local Monarch Mountain, an alpine adventure on snowmobiles, a scenic byway drive over Poncha or Monarch Pass, or a day of antiquing and diner eating around the historic downtown area, Salida has a place for the adventurer and the quirky and curious alike.
Regardless of how you spend your day, you can always end it with a relaxing dip in one of the many surrounding hot springs, or with a cozy night in front of the fire at one of the many vacation rental cabins or historic AirBnbs. Colorado is beautiful throughout every season. But the cozy winter comfort of the mountains always brings people from far and near. With charming towns like Salida- it’s easy to understand why.
Carlsbad has a soft spot in my heart as I have many memories with my grandma at the downtown ice-cream parlor, Handels. Regardless of my personal bias, the tropical flowers, sprawling hillsides, seaside shops, and laid back beaches can rival any California beach-town vibe. A short convenient Coaster ride from San Diego- Carlsbad offers the laid back beach scene with the convenience of a close big city.
The opportunities are endless in a town where you can spend the day taking a surf lesson, lounging on the South Carlsbad beach, wandering downtown historic Carlsbad, visiting the SeaLife aquarium, or galavanting through the Carlsbad flower fields. Not even mentioning the decadent oceanfront restaurants, freshly caught seafood, and unique downtown boutiques. Carlsbad is a convenient beach getaway for the traveler looking for a tropical winter escape.
A small gem in Southern Maine, Kennebunkport was settled in the 1600s. Sleepy, slow, and relaxing during the winter months, Kennebunkport is the picturesque weekend getaway. Relax, let go, and recharge as you’re surrounded by coastal charm and cozy falling snow. Gaze and graze through the town centre of Dock Square, where charming boutiques are abounding and fresh seafood is at your beckon at local favorites such as Alissons or Old Vines Wine Bar. View Maine’s scenic beaches and cliffs as you drive to Goat Island Lighthouse, wander down the winterized Colony Beach, or gaze at the historic Cape Neddick Lighthouse.
For the traveler with a bigger budget or perhaps saved a bit to splurge, Kennebunkport features New England’s only five-star five-diamond restaurants. The White Barn, features a five-course menu. For cozy winter lodging options, check out The Breakwater Inn, White Barn Inn, or Kennebunkport Inn. Located in the heart of Dock Square. Or for an authentic Maine experience, consider Captain Jefferds Inn. Which is situated in an old sea captains home in the heart of downtown.
Kennebunkport is the small New England town we’ve all always dreamed of walking through. From luxurious restaurants to quiet morning walks, Kennebunkport is charming, classic, and the perfect New England weekend getaway.
Don’t forget to check out Wild Bum’s travel guides to make your travel planning easy!
Regardless of where you may find yourself this winter season, exploration and adventure is waiting for you! Whether it’s wandering through cactuses in the Southwest, skiing the slopes of Vermont, or lounging on California’s beaches. Take some time this winter to reset, rest, and get some good fresh air and fresh experiences in your bones. Whether you’re traveling from your bed to your living room, or from one state to the other, we hope you stay healthy, safe, and make that bedroom commute as adventurous as possible.
About the Author
Laura is a teacher, traveller, writer, musician, and all around human. She believes travel is a means of bringing people together across lines of difference, moving us towards a more compassionate world. Learn more about Laura on her Instagram or website.