The 12 Best Places to Visit in February

Empty Ocean Drive in the morning, South Beach, Miami, USA

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In many ways, February is the perfect month to travel. Those looking to avoid pesky crowds and high-season rates will find a sweet spot between holiday travel and spring break, while action-seekers can head to select cities and countries for raucous and colorful celebrations of Carnival and Mardi Gras towards the end of the month. Some of the world’s best skiing conditions can be found this time of year, while anyone looking to avoid the winter doldrums can plan the ideal tropical escape below the equator. From bucket list-worthy adventures to long weekend getaways, here are some of the best places to travel this February.

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Snow covered town of Telluride, Colorado

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The honorary Sunshine State, with almost three hundred sunny days a year, Colorado in February is cold and bright, and it's the ideal time for winter activities. This is peak ski and snowboard season, and you can expect an average of 7 to 8 inches of snow in the Rockies and at resorts like Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs. For a once-in-a-lifetime stay near Telluride, check out Dunton Hot Springs, an all-inclusive luxury resort within a restored 19th century ghost town. Dunton’s winter excursions range from back-country skiing and snowshoeing, to sleigh rides pulled by Percheron horses. After adventuring, soak outside under the stars or in a historic bathhouse.

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Miami, Florida

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Miami in February is perfect for a low key and relatively affordable weekend getaway, where you can expect lots of sun and little rain, as well as fewer crowds on the beach and in the clubs and restaurants. Flights are affordable and easy within the United States and beyond; use the money you save to book a South Beach resort, or something boutique, like Life House in Little Havana. Window shopping (and people-watching) is at its best in the Design District; after, check out contemporary art at the ICA, free to the public. On Sundays before hitting the beach, reserve a spot for drag brunch at the Palace Bar, the best show on Ocean Drive

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Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
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This unique American landmark in far West Texas is defined by jaw dropping, isolated expanses of mountains and desert, unique flora and fauna, ancient limestone and spectacular canyons carved out by the Rio Grande. Hot sun and high temperatures make it hard to fully enjoy the abundance of hiking trails here much of the year, making winter the perfect time to visit and get the most out of the park. Combine your camping trip with a stop in Marfa, the artsy, laid back town that’s home to El Cosmico, a zany, high-desert hodgepodge-of-a-property comprised of stylish tents, yurts, and trailers.

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Trinidad and Tobago

Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago, Englishmans Bay, View of Englishmans Bay Beach

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Second only to Rio de Janiero, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago throws the best Carnival party in the world, with seemingly endless dancing, eating and celebrating, and streets filled to the brim with colorful costumes and music. Originally, French plantation owners brought pre-Lent traditions to the dual island nation, with fetes meant to exclude African slaves—who, in turn, started their own celebration of freedom, identity, culture, and music at the root of Trinidad and Tobago’s contemporary carnival. Today, bands showcase different costumes and styles of music, like calypso and Soca, in all day parades, parties, and performances. The main event takes place in the capital city of Port of Spain on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday—though the entire week before is known for its parties.

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Mexico City

Mexico, Federal District, Mexico City, View across the city from Torre Latinoamericana with Palacio Bellas Artes in foreground
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February is low season for this popular destination, meaning you’ll find less crowds and better deals on Mexico City’s best hotels, such as the luxe St. Regis or chic Pug Seal boutique properties in Polanco. It’s also the perfect time to secure hard-to-get reservations at the city’s hottest restaurants like Pujol and Contramar. During the day expect lovely temperatures in the sixties and seventies.

One of the country’s best carnaval celebrations also takes place in Tepoztlan, a small city surrounded by mountains and less than a two hour-drive from the capital. Each night in the month leading up to Lent, the pueblo’s main plaza fills with partygoers donning colorful masks for a traditional celebration including live music and dancing.

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The Pyrenees

France, Pyrenees, Cirque de Gavarnie, cirque landscape w Gave de Gavarnie river.
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With low-key ski resorts and charming towns throughout, this mountain range between Spain and France is completely breathtaking and serene under snowfall, with a slightly sunnier climate on the Spanish side. Skiing the French Pyrenees is decidedly more lowkey than the Alps, but still has plenty to offer: think of historic charm and locals on the lifts, rather than long lines and high prices. Barèges, a 14th century village known best for its spot on the Tour de France, is the largest resort and highest peak in the mountains, also home to divine thermal spas. The Spanish side is dotted with historic villages and centuries-old stone houses, some in ruins and some restored to charming inns like Hotel Casa de San Martin, just three hours from Barcelona and surrounded by national forest.

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View of Grand Canal in Venice, Italy with vaporetto and gondolas navigating on water.

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Venice in February, on its own or combined with train trips to Florence and Rome, takes advantage of Italy’s low season and is a great time to travel on a budget. On a chilly or rainy day, spend time inside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Galleria dell’Accademia; at night, stroll along the rio della Misericordia canal, packed with locals enjoying Aperol spritzes and cicchetti, Venetian snacks. Around Fat Tuesday, the Carnevale di Venezia transforms the Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco into a public revelry—and private parties and balls—showcasing theatrical costumes and ornate Venetian masks.

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Puerto Escondido

The sun sets over a deserted Playa Zicatela, as waves from the Pacific Ocean come crashing in, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
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This beach town on Oaxaca’s Pacific Coast isn’t on everyone’s radar, and that’s a good thing. Puerto Escondido is a laid back surfer’s paradise, known as much for its vegan food and hip health culture as its wild nightlife. The party is in full swing around New Year, but February is a nice time to visit, whether you’re looking to surf or spectate from your lounge chair—while drinking margaritas and eating fresh Pacific oysters and ceviche. Renting a place in the Brisas de Zicatela area puts you close to the beach and several good bars and restaurants; for a luxe design experience, check out Casa Sforza.

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Joshua Tree National Park

joshua tree national park during the winter
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Desert temperatures can be unbearably high for much of summer and spring, making winter, when you can expect temps in the upper sixties and thinner crowds, a pleasant and peaceful time to visit this national park just hours from Los Angeles. Daytime hikes are spent touring the landscape dotted with its famous Joshua Trees—a giant and twisted species of agave—and the park’s earliest wildflowers, which begin to bloom at lower elevations during February. At night, grab a jacket and a blanket, and enter the 24-hour park for stargazing.

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South America

Aerial view of Cartagena, Colombia

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February is summertime south of the equator, meaning peak time to visit. Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is the obvious choice for Carnival—the largest celebration of its kind in the world, attracting some two million people each day—but strolling the Old Town of Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, and a stay at the dreamy Casa Pombo, might call your name instead. From mountains to sea to the end of the world, the skinny country of Chile has so much to offer; for a shorter trip, Santiago—on its own, as a jump-off to Vina del Mar and its beaches, or to the Argentine wine town of Mendoza via an epic drive across the Andes—are just some other great possibilities.  

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Inside of the Hawa Mahal or The palace of winds at Jaipur India. It is constructed of red and pink sandstone.

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By February, the end of winter is approaching in India, with weather that is dry, sunny, and relatively cool. It’s a good time to visit the city of Agra in the Northern Province, home to the Taj Mahal, when tourism is not in full swing and crowds are slightly thinner. The Oberoi hotel group offers excellent luxury stays all over India, including New Delhi and Mumbai, but The Oberoi Amervilas in Agra is a special treat, as close as you can get to the Taj Mahal, and often considered one of the finest hotels in the world—with beautiful gardens, peaceful surroundings at odds with hectic Agra, and five-star service that will have you feeling like a royal.

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New Orleans

new orleans Louisiana honeymoon

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New Orleans, known for its melting pot of cultures and party spirit, can feel like a trip to a different country altogether, but flights within the United States are easy and often. Come ready to eat, drink, and wander into the music-filled halls and festive street parades that this charming town has to offer. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the official end of the Carnival Season, falls towards the end of February, but the party starts weeks before that, with parades really ramping up the week and weekend before. Check a schedule before making your plans, for there’s something for everyone, from a parade run by dogs, to sci-fi themed Chewbacchus—but make sure your itinerary allows for some flexibility and unexpected moments of wonder.