6 vacation hot spots to visit in February
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The winter doldrums may have set in and you’re suffering from cabin fever, but February is the ideal time to find awesome off-peak award availability or serious hotel deals so you can dig in the sand rather than dig out your driveway. Or, if you’re tired of your new gym routine, strap on a pair of skis and head for the slopes.
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February isn’t usually a busy month for travelers (beyond the occasional Valentine’s Day getaway), and we’ve looked at everything from the weather and annual events to new flight routes, exciting hotel debuts and major travel trends to determine the absolute best places to mix up your winter routine, whether you’re looking for an easy trip to the American Southwest or a far-flung adventure to South Africa. Here are six of the best places to travel in February.
Want to plan ahead? Check out our guide to on where to travel in 2020.
Eastern Cape, Mexico
With the proliferation of luxury hotels in Los Cabos on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, the sandy strip of coast between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas known as the Golden Corridor is still the place to be.
The hotels here are positively opulent, with new properties like the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal set in a rocky cove (available from 120,000 Hilton points per night for a standard king room), and Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (sadly, you won’t be able to earn or redeem any Marriott points here), where many of the rooms, suites and villas offer private plunge pools.
But for travelers looking for the next big thing, it’s the untrod East Cape that still feels undiscovered. The new Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, located on a two-mile stretch of tranquil beach along the Sea of Cortez, opened here in October. And Amanvari is expected to open its doors in 2020. Unlike most Los Cabos resorts, the East Cape has swimmable beaches.
The brilliant sunshine and warm air and water temperatures are ideal conditions not only for humans to work on their tans, but also for visiting whales to come hang. February is the prime season for gray and humpback whales to migrate to the warm Pacific waters of Baja California.
Getting there is easier with new weekly seasonal service between Calgary Airport (YYC), and Los Cabos (SJD) until April 18, 2020. European carrier TUI just launched the first nonstop flight between London (LGW) and Los Cabos (SJD) in late 2019. Of course, you can fly to Mexico from various U.S. hubs on airlines including Delta, American, United and Alaska.
Austria is a destination you visit to embrace — not escape — your winter blues. February is a prime month for dressing up for the Ball Season in Austria. And yes, we do mean Cinderella-esque events in palaces where you don a gown or tux and waltz the night away.
Because it’s so chilly, Vienna offers plenty of indoor musical and cultural events for local residents and visitors such as operas, concerts and plenty of museum exhibits. The International Orchid Festival also runs in Vienna toward the end of the month. And Salzburg is tuned up for concert season at the famous Mirabell Palace throughout the month.
Let’s not forget the ski scene in the Austrian Alps, where the fresh powder is deep this time of year. After a full day on the slopes, recharge with some hearty Austrian cuisine like piping hot, perfectly crisped Wiener schnitzel, followed by Viennese coffee and a world-famous Sacher torte or apple strudel. If you can brave the cold, Wiener Eistraum (Vienna Ice World) is open for outdoor skating through the end of February.
Make this vacation a points run, and consider a stay at the new Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere where February rates are just 12,000 Hyatt points per night.
Arizona is one of the few places in the U.S. with surefire sunshine and mild temperatures all winter. But February in Arizona is all about events, festivals and fairs. A visit to The Grand Canyon State makes for an easy weekend getaway, whether it’s a romantic retreat or a solo adventure.
Scottsdale kicks off the month with the Phoenix Open, one of the most popular events on the PGA Tour, followed by the Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival, featuring works from local artists. The third weekend in February is Arizona Cocktail Weekend, with concerts, exhibitions and, of course, tastings.
Events aren’t limited to the major cities, either. In February, Tubac hosts its 61st annual Festival of the Arts, with more than 200 artists and a number of musical events. Or, check out the annual Winterfest in Lake Havasu, as well as some exciting boat and bike races in the Havasu region.
Who wouldn’t want to spend their February exploring salt flats with wild flamingos? The Salar de Uyuni is one of Bolivia’s most extraordinary natural wonders, featuring more than 4,000 square miles of glittering salt.
Visitors can glamp in one of six private domes nestled near the foot of the Tulupa volcano at the new Kachi Lodge or, for an equally epic lodging adventure, stay at the Palacio de Sal: a hotel constructed almost entirely of salt.
For travelers who prefer an urban vibe, the high-altitude city of La Paz (elevation is almost 12,000 feet) remains extremely affordable, despite a hotel and restaurant boom. Stay at the Atix Hotel, a member of Design Hotels with art touches by Gastón Ugalde, or the Altu Qala (also a Design Hotels property), which opened in 2019. This intimate property, set in a townhouse from the 1900s, features upscale design elements like Murano glass and Kienzle clocks.
In Bolivia, travelers can also visit the less crowded part of Lake Titicaca. (The Peru side of the lake is where you’ll typically find the most visitors.) Head to the waterfront town of Copacabana and then to the Isla del Sol. Be prepared for the extreme elevation and intense sunlight.
February is one of the best months to visit the Southeast Asian nation of Singapore. The weather is warm with low humidity, meaning you can shop, hit the beach and explore the city under sunny skies.
It’s also the ideal time to check out the Raffles Singapore, a hotel that opened in 1887 and recently completed an extensive two-year renovation. Even if you don’t stay overnight, there’s no better spot than the hotel’s newly refurbished Long Bar to sip a Singapore Sling (the hotel claims to have invented the cocktail).
There are plenty of ways to get here, but bring a good novel along as none of them are short. Singapore Airlines still reigns with the world’s longest flight, which launched last year from Newark (EWR). Travelers can also book nonstop flights to Singapore (SIN) from San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX) and, most recently, Seattle (SEA). We’ve seen excellent saver availability on the world’s longest flight, but travelers can also book a paid seat in the premium economy cabin and use 47,000 miles to move up at the saver level, or 70,000 at the Advantage level. Finnair operates a flight from SIN to HEL, for AvGeeks itching to say they’ve flown the route.
Although Singapore has plenty to offer visitors, you may not want to leave the 10-story Jewel Changi Airport complex at Singapore’s namesake airport (SIN) that opened last April. With the world’s largest indoor waterfall, a 1,400-tree canopy forest, a hotel and more than 280 restaurants and shops, it’s a city in itself. This area is outside of security, so you can visit even if you’re not flying. Free Jewel tours are available to those with layovers (more information on these tours is available on the iChangi app), which you can register for in the transit hall.
The rest of the airport also has plenty of fun things to do and see if you don’t have time to visit Jewel — a butterfly garden, sunflower garden, adult slide, an orchid garden and more.
Cape Town, South Africa
Visiting this South African gem just got much easier with United’s new nonstop from Newark (EWR) to Cape Town (CPT). It’s the only nonstop flight between the U.S. and Cape Town, and United says the route will save flyers nearly eight hours of travel time round-trip. We’ve seen economy award availability for 40,000 MileagePlus miles each way, but it’s tough to find business-class saver-award space. If you can, it’ll cost you at least 70,000 United miles each way.
February is the time to visit because this route ends at the end of March 2020. If you can’t make it this season, don’t panic — the route will return next season, possibly as early as November 2020. Cape Town’s location in the Southern Hemisphere means February has prime summer weather.
Once you’ve made it there, hotel points go a long way. Thanks to Marriott’s partnership with Protea Hotels, you can find dozens of properties across the country with rates as low as 15,000 points per night — or even less.
Cape Town has many wonderful attractions like Table Mountain and the colorful Bo Kapp neighborhood, but there are also plenty of nearby spots to explore. Don’t miss the famous Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine regions or the iconic Boulder Beach and its African penguin population. You also don’t have to head all the way to Kruger National Park to see wildlife — there are plenty of reserves much closer to Cape Town where you can spot a variety of African species.
Feature image of Bolivia by Kazuki Kimura/EyeEm/Getty.
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