Arkansas, Itinerary, Travel

Planning a Wonderful Winter Weekend Getaway

You don’t have to spend the whole winter cooped up inside your house. Winter is a gorgeous time to explore the outdoors, see new places, and enjoy an adventure or two. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start planning your winter getaway!

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Check Your Calendar

wonderful winter getaway

The first step in planning your winter getaway is choosing the dates for your trip. If you are employed then you probably have a specific time frame to travel. Since we are teachers, traveling over our Christmas break just makes sense.

Your winter adventure doesn’t have to be long. With the right amount of planning, you can have a great getaway with a one night stay and a couple of days worth of fun.

Where To Go

Once you choose the dates and the amount of days you want to travel, it’s time to choose your destination. If you only have a day or two or a long weekend, then the location should be within a few hours (if you are driving). Of course if you are flying then you are a little more flexible because it doesn’t take as long to arrive at your destination when you fly.

What types of activities do you want to do during your stay? Are you up for an adventure and want to hit the great outdoors? Does a cabin in the woods with a hot tub and isolation sound more like your style? Deciding what types of activities you want to do will help when choosing your winter getaway destination.

Where to Stay

winter getaway

There are tons of options when you go to book your accommodations. For budget purposes, Airbnb and HomeAway have been my top choices for accommodations lately. Especially if you are traveling to a popular destination. You can typically find a cabin, house, condo, or apartment cheaper through Airbnb or HomeAway than a hotel/motel.

If you haven’t tried Airbnb then use my link to get $40 in travel credit towards your first trip!

Travel Budget

How much are you comfortable to spend for your winter getaway? If it’s a short trip then you can get away with spending a couple hundred dollars for whole trip (if you drive). You should budget for:

  • gas money

  • food

  • accommodations

  • activities and tours

  • snacks for the road or flight

  • souvenirs and shopping

For more travel tips and budget planning advice, make sure that you give these posts a read:

Planning a Vacation on a Budget

Planning the Perfect Weekend Getaway

Essential Tools for Stress-Free Travel

Consider the Weather

Winter time is cold. Plain and simple. Unless you are going on a tropical vacation, then you will more than likely be dealing with cold temperatures, possible winter conditions, and slick roads. Weather can’t be successfully predicted for more than a few days out. You can either wait to book your accommodations until the last minute, or pray that the weather is enjoyable. (I typically do the latter.)

Embrace the Season

If you are traveling to a destination that is cold…embrace it! Enjoy the cold air. Bundle up with the right gear (more on that later), and enjoy winter. Don’t spend the months of December-February praying for Spring to come. Each season has its own beauty.

winter getaway

Get to Packing

packing for winter getaway

The perfect packing list can make or break your winter getaway. If you are going to be outside in the cold temperatures AT ALL then you will need some essential gear. Here are my go-to winter pieces for our adventures:

  • temperature adjusting tights

  • fleece lined leggings

  • skinny jeans

  • wool socks

  • fur-lined hiking boots

  • fleece lined long sleeve active top

  • fitted tank top

  • fur lined vest

  • thick coat

  • toboggan

  • ear warmer with ponytail hole

  • fitted face mask

  • blanket scarf

  • thick waterproof gloves

  • warm pajamas or lounge wear

  • flannel button-up

  • over sized sweater

  • wool ball cap

  • hot hands

  • binoculars

  • GoPro Hero 5 Black

  • backpack

Check Calendar of Events

fall events for getaway

What did we do before the internet? Online calendars of events at various locations is the BEST way to choose your winter getaway activities. Some of the best local activities are completely free. After you choose your destination then you should be able to find the state’s local website. It will have a wealth of information, and you can usually find free travel guides on the state’s website as well. I have received tons of free full-color travel catalogs in the mail just by requesting one! Here is the Arkansas calendar of events! 

TripAdvisor=Best Friend

TripAdvisor is your best friend when planning any getaway or adventure. You can find accommodations, flights, the best restaurants, and advice from locals in the “forum” section. You can’t go wrong when using TA.

 Winter Getaway Highlights

winter getaway highlights

For our winter getaway, we were actually able to getaway twice this year! Mountain View, AR was our first getaway where we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Here are some of the “bests” of that winter adventure.

Mountain View, Arkansas

Mountain View

Mountain View is a gorgeous little town that is nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The small town feel, delicious food, southern hospitality, and gorgeous scenery will draw you here time and time again.

Cabin in the Mountains
winter getaway

When you are in the mountains, you have to stay in a cabin right? This little beauty was found on HomeAway. For $106, you can have a gorgeous view, within 15 minutes of downtown, a fire pit, and a billion stars at night. 🙂

Activities

Caroling in the Caverns is the main activity that drew us to Mountain View in December. Amazingly talented singers sing traditional Christmas carols inside Blanchard Springs Caverns! If that doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit then nothing will. You can order your tickets online, and they will ship them to your house. 🙂

Shopping and Eating

The downtown square has tons of adorable shops and restaurants to explore. Our favorites were PJ’s Rainbow Cafe, Tommy’s Famous Pizza, and Kin Folk’s BBQ.

Exploring

Many fun adventures await you in Mountain View!

Taking turns walking across/driving across the swinging bridge was a lot more fun than expected!

Mountain View made such a good impression on us, we decided to return in October during one of their many festivals. Seeing the gorgeous fall foliage in October will be amazing I’m sure!

Lake Dardanelle State Park and Mount Nebo State Park

 A winter birthday adventure took place this year as well. Lake Dardanelle State Park and Mount Nebo State Park didn’t disappoint. If you haven’t explored state parks near you then I highly recommend doing that ASAP. Here is the Arkansas State Parks event site!

Cabin at the Base of Mt. Nebo

This cabin can be reserved through HomeAway for a little over $100 a night. An older couple own it and are very hospitable when you arrive. They don’t bug you, but they do welcome you with a fresh baked dessert and show you the cabin.

The cabin wasn’t perfect, but the view was perfect. There is a firepit, and it’s located in a field with cows and open skies. The view of Mount Nebo is gorgeous.

Activities

The main activity that draws people to Lake Dardanelle in the winter time is their eagle watching tours. In the winter months, eagles nest near the lake. You can board a ferry FOR FREE, and take a tour around the lake to spot bald eagles. We were able to see two bald eagles and their huge nest. It was amazing!

There are also tons of other migratory birds at Lake Dardanelle in the winter time.

Mount Nebo Fun

Not only can you visit Lake Dardanelle to view bald eagles for free, but you can also drive to Mount Nebo for spectacular sunset and sunrise views.

Mount Nebo

There are a few great trails, but we didn’t have time to hike any unfortunately. The Rim Trail. and the Bench Trail are great options for various skill levels.

goals for the new year

Holla Bend Wildlife Reserve

Holla Bend costs $4 to enter with your vehicle, and you can stay until 6:00 pm that day. There are TONS of varieties of hawks and other birds. You can also see fox squirrels, deer, and other wildlife. The drive is worth the $4 for sure.

There are so many fun activities to do during winter. Get outside, have an adventure, and enjoy the season!

What types of winter trips have you taken? Tell me all about it in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Planning a Wonderful Winter Weekend Getaway

  1. Very comprehensive list to help with planning a winter getaway Lacey. It would be really something to hear those carollers in the cavern, must sound so beautiful and angelic. We are just not winter people so we travel to a tropical location every winter to lift our spirits and renew. We are planning on getting snow shoes next winter, I think that will get us more active during the cold weather as we have lots of parkland to walk in behind our home!

    1. Thanks Lisa! The carolers were so talented! I used to not be a “winter” fan either until we started riding our bikes. We had to invest in winter gear so it helped me feel more prepared and WARM outside. ha! I definitely understand wanting to travel somewhere tropical. Your recent IG pics of your trip were gorgeous! 🙂

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