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Embrace the cold or jet off to somewhere warm? That is the question to consider when planning a winter vacation. Valentine’s Day and the long President’s Day weekend are reasons to travel this month. And a February getaway means fewer crowds, great deals on hotels and airfare and the chance to escape cold weather, if that’s your goal.
Whether you are longing for a relaxing beachside retreat or a cold-weather getaway packed with adrenaline-pumping activities, there are plenty of options. Here are the top 10 best places to visit in February.
1. New Orleans, Louisiana
If New Orleans is on your bucket list, February is the ideal time to go. That’s because it is when you’ll get to experience the city’s most infamous event – Mardi Gras!
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It has been called “the greatest free show on Earth,” Mardi Gras – with its ornate costumes, beads, parades and nightlife – is the most festive time of year in the Big Easy. The event draws thousands of visitors each year to take part in the celebration.
Mardi Gras aside, New Orleans has many other great things to offer. You’ll find museums, river boat cruises, beautiful neighborhoods to explore and some of the best food and entertainment in the world.
Fun Things to Do in New Orleans in February
- Wander the French Quarter
- Visit the National WWII Museum
- Take a walking tour
- Cruise the Mississippi on the Steamboat Natchez
- Try some gumbo on a food walking tour
- Party during Mardi Gras
- Watch a parade
- Listen to jazz music
2. San Antonio, Texas
With its world-famous San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio is one of the most popular cities for a Texas getaway. And while San Antonio tends to get very hot in the summertime, February is an ideal time to visit.
Situated in south-central Texas, San Antonio is rich in culture and history. Must-see attractions include the Alamo, and the famous San Antonio River Walk, packed with restaurants, shops and Insta-worthy bridges.
Fun Things to Do in San Antonio in February
- Walk and dine along the San Antonio River Walk
- Take a riverboat cruise
- Visit the Alamo
- Spend a day at SeaWorld San Antonio
- Experience thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
- Be amazed by the Natural Bridge Caverns
- Admire paintings at the San Antonio Museum of Art
3. Maui, Hawaii
February is a great time to visit the Hawaiian island of Maui. The weather is warm, but there are fewer crowds as there is a lull of visitors before the popular spring break season.
The weather in February is perfect for enjoying all the wonderful outdoor adventures in Hawaii. You can hit the beach, go snorkeling or hike to the top of a mountain to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Check out this list of the best family-friendly Maui hotels.
Fun Things to Do in Maui in February
- Drive the Road to Hana
- Take a snorkeling excursion
- Go to a luau
- Take a whale watching cruise
- Visit the Maui Ocean Center
- Hike to see a volcano crater at Haleakala National Park
- Relax on Maui’s warm sandy beaches
- Take an ocean kayaking tour
- Walk on the black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park
4. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty, and February is the perfect time to experience it all.
February is in the height of their dry season (typically December through April) and you can enjoy the beautiful beaches. Except for occasional rain showers, the weather is sunny and perfect for outdoor activities. Zipline through the rain forest, go river rafting, snorkel, sail, hike, go rock climbing or waterfall rappelling. The weather in Costa Rica is at its finest this time of year.
SheBuysTravel Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a beach vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
Keep in mind, the dry season is also high season for tourism, so Costa Rica will be more crowded and more expensive during this time. However, you don’t want to visit when it will be raining non-stop!
You’ll also find a number of events happening in February, including Costa Rica’s Summer Festival in San Jose and the Sun Festival, an annual celebration of the Mayan New Year.
Fun Things to Do in Costa Rica in February
- Go river rafting
- Hike up a volcano
- Take a zip lining adventure
- Spend time at the best beaches along the Caribbean coast
- Visit the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
- Go hiking or zip lining in the Monteverde Rainforest
- Take a canyoneering adventure
- Explore the capital city of San Jose
5. San Diego, California
With its clear skies, ocean views and warm sunny days, San Diego one of the best places to travel to in February.
Known as “America’s Finest City,” San Diego is packed with wonderful things to do. Southern California has year-round warm weather, and the temperature in February is delightful enough to try it all.
San Diego is home to the best zoo in the world – the San Diego Zoo – as well as its sister property, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. You can visit the USS Midway Museum, Balboa Park or even take the ferry to Coronado Island.
If you’re looking for views of the Pacific Ocean, check out the famous Hotel Del Coronado. You can also find beach hotels in La Jolla and all along the coast down to the Mexico border.
Fun Things to Do in San Diego in February
- Visit SeaWorld San Diego
- Eat the best Mexican food in Old Town San Diego
- Explore the shops and restaurants at Seaport Village
- Take the ferry to Coronado Island
- Check out the world-famous San Diego Zoo
- Spend the day on one of the many beaches along the coast
- Learn about marine life at SeaWorld San Diego
- Take a harbor cruise
6. Key West, Florida
Key West is at the southernmost tip of the USA, so the weather is warm and there are many things to do outdoors so you can enjoy the sunshine!
The Florida Keys are a collection of islands, located just south of Miami, with Key West at the very end. Traveling to Key West is budget friendly, as you can drive to this island destination and not have to pay for airfare.
Key West is known for its laid back atmosphere, small town charm and vibrant bar scene. There are countless activities to enjoy on the water, such as boating, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving or taking a sunset cruise.
On land, you can visit the Key West Shipwreck Museum, climb the lighthouse, go biking or stroll along Duvall Street and check out the many art galleries, shops, bars and cafes.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Check out this list of the best all-inclusive resorts in Key West.
Fun Things to Do in Key West in February
- Visit the Key West Aquarium
- Spend time shopping, dining and bar hopping downtown
- Take a ghost tour
- Lounge on the beach
- Rent a jet ski
- Go sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling
- Take a ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park
- Check out the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
- Watch the sun set from Mallory Square
7. Vail, Colorado
February is peak season for winter sports, and Colorado is the best place to go to experience them! There are many wonderful ski destinations in Colorado known for their ski resorts and beautiful locales.
Located in Eagle County, Vail is a winter wonderland famous for its world-class slopes. Besides skiing and snowboarding, Vail has a myriad of great restaurants, nightlife, entertainment and shopping. Vail Village, designed with cobblestone streets and alpine-inspired architecture, is an absolutely charming destination to explore.
Fun Things to Do in Vail, Colorado in February
- Ski at Vail Mountain Resort
- Go on a dog sledding tour
- Visit Vail Village
- Check out the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame
If you are itching to get to Europe, Italy is a wonderful destination to visit in February.
Summer is high season here, which is exactly why February is the best time to go. Hotel and airfare prices are at their lowest in the off-season, and the crowds are gone, too. That means you can stroll through the country’s many museums, historical sites, beautiful villages and not get stuck in a traffic jam on the canals if you go to Venice!
Speaking of Venice, the Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice every February. Much like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, come to Venice if you want to experience this loud and vibrant party atmosphere. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks.
February is also the best time to visit the Dolomites, UNESCO-listed mountains in the Italian Alps. The southern regions of Italy are also beautiful this time of year, and much warmer! Check out Sicily, Positano, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Naples and even Rome so you can see the sights without fighting summer crowds.
Fun Things to Do in Italy in February
- Ski the Italian Alps
- Visit Vatican City in Rome
- Gaze in awe at the stunning Amalfi Coast
- Stuff yourself with Italian Food
- See the ruins in Pompeii
- Take a ferry to the Island of Capri
- Enjoy a romantic gondola ride in Venice
9. Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is the perfect winter escape if you are seeking dry, warm weather. It is one of the warmest vacation spots to visit in February.
Located 100 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is a haven for people looking to escape the winter blues. It is known for its clear blue skies, abundant sunshine, natural hot springs, world-class golf courses and luxurious hotels.
While summer can be unbearably hot (think temperatures well into the triple digits for months on end!), February is the perfect time of year to visit. Temperatures typically stay in the 70s, making February a great time to enjoy outdoor activities in Palm Springs such as hiking, golf, biking or just relaxing by the pool.
We love Palm Springs this time of year, and recommend staying at the new Margaritaville Resort in Palm Springs. Located on 24 lushly landscaped acres at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California, the new Margaritaville Palm Springs is a true desert oasis!
Fun Things to Do in Palm Springs in February
- Visit the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
- Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
- Go hiking or horseback riding in Indian Canyons
- Visit the Palm Springs Air Museum, rated one of the top Air Museums in the World
- Play a round of golf
- Indulge at one of Palm Springs’ many luxurious spas
- Spend time at the pool at your resort
10. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is a city where you can experience outdoor adventures, luxurious resort escapes and cultural activities.
Like Palm Springs, it experiences scorching temperatures during the summertime. But February weather is mild and comfortable. Average highs hover around 70 degrees and the skies are almost always clear and sunny. It is the perfect time to visit Phoenix!
This explains why Phoenix is a haven for snowbirds, people who spend their winters in warm climates and then go home for the summer.
Because February is a popular time to visit Phoenix, you may experience bigger crowds and higher room rates at hotels. However, this is a small price to pay if you want to experience all the desert environment in cooler temperatures.
Fun Things to Do in Phoenix in February
- Visit the Desert Botanical Garden
- Take a road trip to the Grand Canyon
- Hike the Sonoran Desert or Camelback Mountain
- Visit one of Phoenix’s many great museums
- Catch a baseball game during MLB Spring Training
- Play golf at one of nearly 200 golf courses
- Indulge at one of Palm Springs’ many luxurious spas
Gwen Kleist is an award-winning writer based in Southern California. She is the mother of one very active son who shares her love of travel and adventure. She writes about their adventures and more on her family travel website, CaliforniaFamilyTravel.com. Her articles have appeared in San Diego Family Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Cat Fancy, Huntington Beach Magazine, and she was a contributing author to Explorer Publishing’s guidebook, Los Angeles: The Complete Resident’s Guide.