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
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
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.
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.
Get to Packing
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
fur-lined hiking boots
fleece lined long sleeve active top
fitted tank top
fur lined vest
ear warmer with ponytail hole
fitted face mask
thick waterproof gloves
warm pajamas or lounge wear
over sized sweater
wool ball cap
GoPro Hero 5 Black
Check Calendar of Events
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 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
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 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
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!