For a vacation that is unique and unexpected, book a getaway to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The month of February is actually during the end of summer/autumn season, so temperatures will be high enough to warm up your winter chill. Because the city has a large Catholic population, each February, Buenos Aires celebrates Fiesta de las Murgas, a vibrant holiday very similar to Carnival. Parades, parties, live music, and dancing in the streets make this an event not to miss. Take a break from all of the partying and relax on one of the city’s breathtaking Atlantic beaches, or visit late in the month to hit the country’s Fashion Week.
If you live somewhere with cooler temperatures during February, you may be buried deep in snow and ready for an early glimpse of swimsuit season. Head to the beautiful Caribbean, where hundreds of islands offer warmth and fun in the sun. Head to the island of Jamaica to hike, river raft, and try a plate of famous jerk-seasoned meat. The island of Aruba is actually owned by the Netherlands, and is a unique landscape of beaches, forests, and desert-like terrain. Scuba dive, ride horses on the beach, or visit Arikok National Park to see the varied landscape. For a dose of mainland Central America, get lost in one of Costa Rica’s rain forests, or zen out at a yoga retreat. Whichever Caribbean destination you choose, any of these spots are sure to deliver pristine beaches and just the right amount of sun to cure your winter blues.
Looking to experience something entirely new and out of your comfort zone? Head to Hong Kong. This bustling city in southern China is vibrant and busy, with a population of over 7 million. The month of February sees a warming of temperatures before the rainy season, so days are pleasantly warm, but dry. Along with the visiting of stunning cultural heritage sites and the necessary eating of enough dim sum to feed an army, try out new and exhilarating theme park rides at the AIA Great European Carnival. The carnival runs through the 21st of the month, and features a classic carnival atmosphere, with rides, games, food, and live entertainment.
For another trip idea that is far from ordinary, visit one of the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, or Tanzania. Take a safari or wildlife spotting tour through a number of national parks and preserves. In most parts of these countries, February is a dry season, so your chances of getting rained out are low. Hit the Serengeti, and you might be lucky enough to see the wildebeest migration, zebras, flamingos, and some large cats. For a feel-good holiday, volunteer with a number of organizations with diverse missions, from dolphin and marine conservation work in Tanzania, helping to preserve the natural environment of a national park in Uganda, to community outreach and teaching opportunities in any of the three countries.
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, Louisiana, you know that this city stands alone for its music, food, heritage, and partying. This most-European of American cities certainly knows how to have a good time during any part of the year, but most especially in February. Mardi Gras is the Crescent City’s own take on Carnival, and has grown to be a community-wide celebration of epic proportions. The beloved festival has been celebrated in Louisiana for over 300 years, long before the birth of the United States. Hit up New Orleans’ famous French Quarter during the first week of February for dozens of parades, parties in the street, and raucous enthusiasm with cajun and creole flair. This city is well-known for its jazz music, so be sure to catch a concert at a local bar or club, or keep your ears open for talented street performers. And as they say in The Big Easy, “Laissez le bon temps roulez!”
Okay, so New York may be a bit too obvious of a suggestion for February. The Big Apple is famous for love and romance around Valentine’s Day, but there is no denying the magic of this city. A holiday here definitely won’t include sunbathing or warm waters. Rather, the temperatures are perfect for indoor activities that are unique to New York. All of the world’s biggest names in fashion and design will be there for Fashion Week, from February 11th-18th. For the wine-lovers out there, plan your trip around the New York Wine Festival on the 6th. Centrally located at Time Square’s Playstation Theater, the festival provides an opportunity to taste wines from all over the world, and, of course, the food is sure to be divine as well.
This destination is another that is probably not on the list for travelers looking for warmer weather, but those looking for adventure and world-class skiing will be delighted with this small town in Utah. Park City is well-known in the snowsports community as a prominent venue during the 2002 winter olympics. Utah actually proudly touts having the “greatest snow on Earth,” which makes this an adventurer’s playground. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Park City can be very busy, with hotel and resort prices often skyrocketing. January can be equally as busy and expensive, as the city hosts the Sundance Film Festival each year. Waiting until February to plan your vacation makes way for lower prices and shorter lines at the lifts. Be sure to also check out Park City’s dining scene, with numerous world-class restaurants.
Another destination for the food-obsessed traveler is Miami, Florida. Every year, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival attracts visitors from all over the world for a tasty event that is star-studded with culinary elite. Attend lectures and demonstrations from charismatic celebrity chefs, or attend a tasting of the latest flavor trends in the culinary world. The lineup of events from February 24th-28th is impressive, and offers something for every palate. If you’re traveling with those not as enthusiastic about food as you are, the possibilities for outdoor fun are endless. Spend some time at the beach, bike along Miami beach for unparalleled views of the Atlantic, or go deep-sea fishing and bag yourself a shark, mahi mahi, or a kingfish.
During the month of February, Sydney, Australia, is experiencing its summer, making it a great escape from cooler temperatures. Because the holidays are over and most schools are back in session, many of the most popular attractions are less busy. The Sydney Opera House is iconic in the city’s skyline, and hosts a variety of musical and theater events that would surely be worthwhile. You can also take a tour of the opera house and see what’s inside the architectural masterpiece. The city itself is impressively metropolitan, with great shopping, dining, and museums. For more adventuresome activities, sign up for a surfing lesson on Bondi Beach, or take a day-trip to the Blue Mountains.
Another possibly obvious entry on our list, Venice cannot be ignored during February. If you are interested at all in Carnivale, the City of Bridges should be on your bucket list — plus, if you are traveling from the US, the value of the Euro is almost even with the dollar, so there is no better time than now. Venice is unarguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it lights up even more brilliantly during this centuries-old traditional festival. Streets are colorfully decorated, and locals dress in vibrant costumes and masks, ushering in the celebration of Lent. But why let all of the locals have fun? Don your own mask and join the party.