I have a lot of friends in the middle and eastern parts of the US who have had enough snow, ice, wind chill and cold to last them for the next decade. The most common theme I’ve been reading on various social media sites is ‘get me outta here!”. So – to give all of you something to think about, something to dream about, or something to actively plan, here’s a few lesser-known places that are waiting for all you Snowbirds who don’t want to spend a fortune getting there, and where you can see just about everything in a 3 or 4 day weekend.
- San Diego, California combines some of the best winter weather in the US with a good number of sights. The San Diego Zoo, Gaslamp, Mission San Diego, Coronado Island, and Legoland are just a few of the sights that draw tourists to this picturesque town year round. Summer time can be cool and foggy, but winter and spring are usually glorious, and there are some great prices right now on flights. San Diego just has one airport, but you can fly into Los Angeles and drive south if the prices are better.
- Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona is the winter golf mecca for Snowbirds. The weather is usually very mild this time of year, and you don’t have to stay at one of the pricey resorts to be able to enjoy the sun and the warmth. There are many better deals in the towns around Scottsdale that are within easy distance of all the sights. Check for hotels or motels in Glendale, Mesa, and Tempe for lower cost accommodations. Fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
- Palm Springs/Palm Desert, California – within easy driving distance of Las Vegas, this desert resort area caters to all financial spectrums. There are chi-chi resorts, timeshares, as well as cost-effective hotels and motels. From this area, you can reach the Cabozon shopping center within an easy drive, as well as driving into some of the most beautiful desert areas in the world. Fly into Palm Springs or Las Vegas and drive from there.
- Santa Fe, New Mexico is a delightfully quaint town in the mountains above Albuquerque. Or is it Left at Albuquerque? I always get that mixed up. Santa Fe is home to artists, shops galore, and incredibly beautiful nature. It’s a great place to just rest and recharge, and the weather dramatically improves in March. Look for deals on B&B’s during this time – they can be had! You can fly into Santa Fe directly, or for a cheaper flight, go to Albuquerque and drive up the scenic road to Santa Fe.
- Napa/Sonoma County wine areas in California are known all over the world for beautiful scenery and good wine combined. But there are other reasons to visit besides the wine – bicycling is very popular in the area, and there are several good tour companies that fit every budget. Calistoga is home to natural hot springs and famous mud baths that are not necessarily expensive. The Russian River area has Anderson Woods, with beautiful hiking paths through the redwood forest. Spring is a lovely time in this area – at the most you’ll have to deal with a few showers of rain in the midst of lots and lots of sunshine. There are many small B&B’s in this area as well as motels that are cost effective if the pricey resorts are not in your budget. Fly into San Francisco or Oakland Airport and drive to the Wine Country.
- Oregon’s Willamette Valley is incredibly beautiful. Bicycling is popular for the more active, and tour companies abound with a wide variety of options for the beginner to advanced cyclist. Look for good deals in the Spring. For those who prefer a more 4 wheeled option, there are back roads that are clamoring for a leisurely drive, with wildflowers and grape vines blooming as far as you can see. Yes, this time of year can be rainy, but it’s still better than 2 feet of snow, and there is a lot of green to look at! Fly into Eugene, Oregon and go from there.
- San Antonio Texas combines warm spring weather with golf, shopping, amusement parks and The Alamo. There are several pricey resorts up on what passes for a mountain there, but there are also many other low-cost options that can be found on an internet search. Flights are relatively cheap there at this time of year, and it’s worth a look to see what’s available.
I hope this gives you some ideas for getting OUT OF THE SNOW for a 4 day weekend. Enjoy, and may the Travel and Weather Gods be with you!