The “Polar Vortex” is gripping much of the country this week, sending freezing and below freezing temperatures from Maine to Mississippi. And while this might seem like a great time to bundle up and stay cozy, winter can also be a great time for a road trip. Follow a few simple tips for safety and warmth, and experience hidden gems and sights not found in the fair weather months.
Skiing is an obvious choice for a weekend trip. But how about hiking and snowshoeing? Most States have accessible parks and land open year round, some with winter-specific wildlife learning opportunities. Winter is also a great time to consider visiting some popular tourist destinations that may be mobbed with crowds during the summer and fall. Consider a city visit to focus on museums and indoor attractions, or even a wine or bourbon tour in the off season to catch special deals and pricing. Check for special winter hotel rates and restaurant deals.
Another fun option is exploring with the new perspective winter offers. Niagara Falls looks incredible surrounded by ice. Northern Arizona’s red rocks with a dusting of snow is a unique and magical opportunity. Even the beach, whipped by winter’s waves and storms, can offer incredible beauty.
I’m just back from a great road trip to New Hampshire and a visit to Lake Winnipesaukee. The popular summer resort and boating destination is just as beautiful in the winter. Fresh puffy snow covered the charming town of Meredith and provided an awesome backdrop for some winter hiking and hot tub soaking. And, warming up by the fireplace at the end of the day is a delight!
Check out the following sites and tips to make the most of your winter day trip or road trip:
Stock your vehicle for safety and warmth. I always have supplies in the car for a just-in-case need. Here’s my list:
– Sleeping bag or blanket
– Hand warmers
– Lots of snacks and water. I love portable tuna and cracker kits, energy bars, and dried fruit.
– Power adapter. The power cup is a good one http://www.originalpower.com/mobile/inverters/powercup-200-watt-inverter-with-usb-power-port
– Small snow shovel
– Standard car safety kit and/or jumper cables
– Extra set of hat and gloves for every travel companion
Consider a national or state park for a new perspective:
The National Park Service offers winter tips for many of it’s parks: http://www.nps.gov/index.htm
Search out special winter events and promotions. Many cities’ Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus offer winter-season packages, promotions and special events. Here are a few examples:
Winter “Restaurant Week” promotions occur in January all across the US. Here are a few examples:
Plan for the weather
– Update a trusted friend with your itinerary and plans, especially when setting off for a long drive or day hike
– Dress appropriately! I love the saying, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate gear.” How very true that is. With the right layers, clothing and footwear, any adventure is warm, dry and fun!
– Be flexible! Allow yourself a few cushion travel days for route adjustments due to weather or to adjust your itinerary.
Now bundle up, get out there, and enjoy!