Get Outta Town! 12 Trips for the Winter Blues

A change of scenery, not to mention experiencing something new, can work wonders to break up the monotony of winter. Stay inside state lines, further explore the Midwest, or rack up airline points with these 12 trip ideas to fit a range of interests.



Game of Thrones fans will feel major “winter is coming” vibes at Wolf Park. Throughout the season, the research facility offers Saturday-evening Howl Nights when guests can see (and hear) the pack up close. That’s because as temps drop, the wolves become more active. It’s also their mating season, so the canines are even more chatty this time of year. 4004 E. 800 N, Battle Ground, 765-567-2265,


Even the building is rich in history: The mansion that holds Lafayette’s Haan Museum was the Connecticut State Pavilion during the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Check out Renaissance Revival furniture and art by the Hoosier Group, or bundle up to explore the sculpture gardens and nature trail. 920 State St., Lafayette, 765-742-6449,


Here’s a food festival after the heart of Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope. The Maple Syrup Festival February 25 and 26 and March 4 and 5 at LM Sugarbush in Salem boasts a bevy of pancakes and waffles dripping in liquid gold, er, pure maple syrup. Tour the farm and stock up on other goodies, like delicious maple candy. Get an H&R doughnut for the ride home. 321 N. Garrison Hollow Rd., Salem, 812-967-4491,


OK, you’ll want more than just a day trip to Getaway’s new petite-cabin outpost nestled in the woods between Columbus and Nashville. Accommodations have queen beds, kitchenettes, full bathrooms—and unabated views of the hibernating Southern Indiana landscape.


Just east of Galena, Illinois, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa provides complimentary transportation to Chestnut Mountain’s ski and snowboard slopes and terrain park. There’s also a horse backriding facility nearby and ice skating and sledding. Or choose to while away the hours inside with a balmy spa experience. 815-777-5000,

Through March 5, downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, hosts the World of Winter Festival, the Midwest’s largest of its kind. Massive outdoor art (some of which lights up) is dwarfed only by the number of free events and activities, such as ice-carving and fire-dancing demos. No winter doldrums here. 616-719-4610,

Winter is the time for comfort food, and Virtue Restaurant & Bar in Chicago has plenty. The restaurant proffers Southern-inflected classics like rich mac and cheese and fried green tomatoes. Chef-owner Erick Williams packs each bite with kindness and hospitality, key ingredients for this 2022 James Beard winner in the Best Chef, Great Lakes category. 773-947-8831,

Hallmark dreams come true with a Hocking Hills BAKEcation. Reserve a batch of kitchen supplies (mixing bowls, cookie sheets, recipes, and more—basically everything but the ingredients), and hunker down with loved ones in a cozy cabin or luxury lodge, baking up a storm amid a beautiful woodsy Ohio winter setting. 740-385-9706,


Calling snowbirds: The Florida tropics are a great place to roost. Recently celebrating its 75th year, Everglades National Park hosts a menagerie of exotic fauna, from crocs to homegrown birds like the cotton candy–hued Roseate Spoonbill. Stay in the Keys, then head to the Flamingo Visitor Center in Homestead for boat tours and bike rentals. 239-695-2945,

The landscape of Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row is dotted by colorful public art, delicious restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. But step out during the First Friday Art Walk, and you can combine all of these into one of the largest self-guided art explorations in the country, replete with food trucks and an open-air market.

On the 56th floor of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Vetri Cucina recently reopened after a long pandemic closure. At a table overlooking Sin City, savor Chef Marc Vetri’s classic seasonal tastes of Italy, mingled with others from around the globe. No passport required. 702-944-5900,

Make the newly and fully renovated Beacon Grand hotel, which combines the dazzle of old San Francisco with modern and plush looks in guest rooms, your home base during a trip to the Golden City. Reopened since June, the Beacon resides in the Union Square neighborhood, with cable cars out front to whisk you over the hills. 844-223-3713,