The depths of winter mean ski trips, Northern Lights and cultural immersion. Check out our tip sheet for the best places to travel in February. Some destinations are under the radar and others are well known. Either way, going during February will ensure minimal crowds, helping to spread the love all year long.
Nestled at the base of the Japanese Alps, Hakuba’s charming small-town feel is as warm as an aprés-ski bowl of ramen. The sleepy ski town may not be as flashy as Niseko, but the array of cultural experiences more than makes up for it.
Off the slopes, travelers can visit temples or try an origami folding class. You can even visit nearby Jigokudani Monkey Park to see wild monkeys soaking in a natural hot spring. Plan your winter escape for February when crowds begin to thin and there’s still a chance to score Japan’s mythical powder snow.
New Zealand may offer a trove of scenic landscapes and outdoor adventures, but this peaceful country is more than just a playground. Known for embracing sustainable travel before it was cool, Kiwis put forth a conscious effort to preserve and respect their indigenous culture.
Every February, the iconic Kāwhia Kai Festival invites travelers to explore the traditions of New Zealand’s Maori Tainui tribe on the scenic North Island shores, making this one of the best places to travel in February for a good dose of local culture. When planning your trip, make sure to check out our guide for sustainable hotels on any budget.
San Blas Islands, Panama
An archipelago, the San Blas Islands are located in the Caribbean, just off the coast of Panama. Turquoise blue water, swaying coconut palms and powdery sand create the backdrop for this tropical paradise that belongs to Panama’s indigenous Kuna tribe.
The tribe has complete control over tourism. That’s a rare thing for indigenous groups. Luckily, that affords travelers complete cultural immersion within a community that has clung tight to tradition. A range of eco-lodges and community owned businesses put travel dollars directly in the hands of locals. We love this, as it makes this far-flung escape that much more special.
A land of baffling beauty, Iceland definitely lives up to the hype. Despite its meteoric rise in popularity, all you need is a rental car and a sense of adventure to escape the crowds. Ditch the Golden Circle tourist route and check in to Hótel Húsafell, an eco-lodge at the edge of a glacier. It’s remote, but most importantly, it’s just minutes from the breathtaking Hraunfossar waterfall. The luxurious oasis even offers an automated wake-up-call to see the Northern Lights paint the sky.
-Shannon Valdes Leiderman