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posted on January 4th, 2018

Winter wonderlands

It’s easy to get sucked into the enticing hygge (if you haven’t looked it up yet, now’s the time) haven of your home, but there’s no better way to beat the winter blues than with an adventure. We’ve rounded up some favorite winter vacation ideas to inspire your wanderlust — whether that involves herds of zebras, ice fishing, or straight-up sunbathing.

FOR ADVENTURE: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA

Lions and rhinos and zebras, oh my! January to March are prime time for sighting these critters and more (including about 1.5 million wildebeest grazing on the grasses that mark Tanzania’s green season). And what better way to ring in the new year than with a safari? Make 2018 the year of the wild!

FOR PARADISE AND PARTIES: MIAMI, FLORIDA

A winter vacation idea that doesn’t require mittens or scarves, Miami brings the heat (get it?) with beaches, nightlife, top-notch dining, and a cutting edge art scene. Grab a cubano while strolling the Wynwood walls for a taste of the city’s eclectic art, then head to the Miami Music Club for an electronic music and visual arts experience. For the best of crystal-clear waters and white sand, take a day to drive the Overseas Highway and soak up the sun in Key West.

FOR CHARM ON A BUDGET: QUEBEC CITY, CANADA

For a French vibe without leaving North America, Quebec City is a picturesque winter vacation idea that won’t break the bank. Cobblestone streets wind around towering cathedrals and open onto European-style squares filled with cafe tables. The 17th- and 18th-century buildings house all manner of options to warm up, from trendy boutiques to bakeries offering flaky croissants and freshly-baked baguettes.

FOR PEAK COZINESS: BITTERROOT RANGE, MONTANA

Is your idea of snow heaven the kind you watch from the window while curled up by a fire? A dude ranch in Montana might just be your new favorite spot. At Triple Creek Ranch, log cabins come with hot tubs and wood-burning fireplaces, and the restaurant serves dishes like wagyu beef with caramelized fennel home fries. Better yet, rates drop at the all-inclusive, adults-only hideaway in the winter months. And if just cozying up under a blanket doesn’t sound like enough for you (weird, but okay), there’s snowshoeing and ice fishing to keep you busy.

FOR HISTORY (AND PIZZA): ROME, ITALY

Chillier than the sun-soaked Mediterranean you might have in mind, Rome in the winter months more than makes up for it with an absence of crowds and cozy restaurants to warm up with a perfectly al dente plate of cacio e pepe. Stroll the Forum and Colosseum without battling the summer crowds or oppressive heat, and catch an early sunset from Aventine Hill.

FOR SNOW SPORTS: BRECKENRIDGE, VAIL, AND DENVER, COLORADO

If you like your winter vacations more traditional, Colorado is top of the list. Plan a mini ski road trip with stops in some of the best powder around. The mining town of Breckenridge maintains its friendly charm now complete with elite runs, while Vail is made for luxury-seeking snow bunnies. Top it off with a stop in Denver for outstanding local craft beer before hitting up the Rockies for one last run.

Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.