Illinois Tourism & Travel

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The Best Places to Travel to in February

With the holidays in the rearview and spring still several weeks away, February is a good time to take a special trip. For starters, smart and frugal travelers can take advantage of deep discounts on air travel and hotel accommodations — making it an ideal opportunity to book a winter getaway. Plus, some schools close for a full week in February for midwinter recess, which is perfect for families traveling with school-age children. Not many districts have this break, so for those who do, it’s a great benefit that opens doors to countless possibilities.

Ready to pack your bags, but can’t settle on a location? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve done a bit of the heavy lifting for you and compiled a list of some of the best places to visit in February. Let this be your inspiration for your next out-of-town excursion.

With many places experiencing the full grip of Old Man Winter with freezing temperatures, it’s not a shock that many want to escape to warmer climates. While it’s true that many equate vacation to balmy weather, some travelers revel in wintry environments.

No matter if you’re looking for a destination with pristine sandy white beaches or somewhere with icy snow-capped mountains, this list has a variety of global options that are sure to please. What’s more, we’ve taken into account February’s major holidays and observations. Whether you want to surprise your significant other with a romantic jaunt for Valentine’s Day, take an educational and enlightening trip to celebrate Black History Month or party for Mardi Gras, this roundup can be your guide.

Go ahead, embrace your wanderlust and go full throttle this February. The world and your personal adventures await.

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The Big Easy is the place to be this month. With Mardi Gras (February 21) and carnival season in full swing, elaborate parades, live music and electrifying parties abound. You’ll find festive revelers gathered on Bourbon Street and neighboring areas tossing colorful beads or “throws” from beautiful wrought-iron balconies — a Mardi Gras tradition that dates back to the 1920s.

Plus, legendary eateries like Dooky Chase and Acme Oyster House, serve delectable classic creole and Cajun dishes ranging from hearty gumbo to mouthwatering jambalaya. While visiting the Crescent City, leaving room for dessert is a must. Covered in stick-to-your fingers powdered sugar, the city’s famous beignets are a delightful crowd pleaser. Be sure to stop by the iconic Cafe du Monde for their signature take on the sweet and fluffy fried confection.

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, guests can stay at the Hyatt House in downtown New Orleans, just minutes from the city’s bustling French Quarter. The free breakfast and rooftop pool with private cabanas are just some of the amenities that make this hotel a tried-and-true option for frequent travelers to the city.

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If you’re in the mood for nonstop sunshine, San Diego is a sure bet. On the Pacific coast of California, this southern Golden State city has plenty to offer. In fact, it’s full of natural beauty and picturesque landscapes. It boasts breathtaking beaches with throngs of barking seals and sea lions lining the shores — it’s a can’t-miss sight for first-time visitors. While it’s known for its year-round moderate weather, you may want to skip sunbathing on the beach. With temperatures only reaching the mid-60s in February, it may be a bit too chilly to take a dip in the Pacific.

That’s alright because San Diego is buzzing with culture, entertainment and exquisite dining experiences. Visitors can check out the historic navy sites or grab a famous fish taco from Oscar’s Mexican Seafood. Plus, the city is super kid friendly. Theme parks, children’s museums, and other kid-centric activities abound. Families can build memories at Legoland or spot a koala at the popular San Diego Zoo.

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A trip to D.C. in February may seem like an unexpected choice, but it’s a top pick for those seeking an enriching Black History Month experience. The nation’s capital is teeming with restaurants, museums and spaces that celebrate and honor Black culture. One of the most popular destinations is the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Located on the National Mall, the sprawling museum boasts 105,000 sq-feet of exhibition space and 10 floors filled with more than 40,000 artifacts (not all items are on display).

Guests can get a glimpse of precious, historical pieces like a shawl worn by American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, as well dozens of interactive exhibitions celebrating Black life, history and culture.

After visiting the museum, hungry and chilly travelers can treat their bellies to Ben’s Chili Bowl for a hearty bite. This Black-owned staple on U Street has served everyone from the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to former President Barack Obama.

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Known for its reef-lined beaches and perpetual warm weather, this Caribbean Island is a popular destination all-year round. Comprising four main islands, it’s a haven for couples, families, groups and even those who enjoy their own company and want to experience solitude in a magnificent setting.

Travelers to the islands can partake in land and water activities such as horseback riding, parasailing and of course, swimming in the clear sapphire blue waters.

For visitors who enjoy a fully, all-inclusive, customized and private vacation, they can stay on Moskito Island. The exclusive hideaway’s staff will take care of guests’ every need. Whether it’s setting up a romantic dinner with live jazz bands to family-friendly picnics, no request is too big or too small.

If those specific accommodations don’t suit your taste, opt for Saba Rock, an iconic private resort known for its kiteboarding and windsurfing. With nine newly designed guest rooms and suites, it’s a secluded paradise for elite travelers.

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With mild temperatures, Abu Dhabi is a popular international pick for February travel. The moderate weather makes it a magnet for those who want to beat the sweltering heat that smothers the city during the summer months, but don’t let the throngs of tourists turn you away.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is vast and has so much to explore. From its high-end shopping districts to its award-winning restaurants, it’s a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis. Outside the bustling city, travelers can take a two-hour drive and go on an immersive adventure traversing through sand dunes by visiting the Empty Quarter.

If the desert isn’t your speed, the city’s replete with surprising wildlife and gorgeous beaches, making it a scenic, top spot for families. In fact, it’s ranked as the best family destination by experts at The Family Vacation Guide.

Since Abu Dhabi isn’t a best-kept secret, prepare to spend premium rates for flights and accommodations — so budget accordingly.

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Some might give you the cold shoulder if you suggest a trip to Tulsa during the thick of winter. Before they ice you out, win them over with some of these inviting options that only this Midwestern city can offer. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities such as picturesque walking trails and live theater. In fact, travelers can see a showing of Cinderella, a quintessential classic at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center from February 9 -12, 2023.

The best part? Lodging and air travel to this affordable and cozy city will be lower than during the holidays and warmer months. Plus, if you’re in New York City, the Tulsa International Airport now offers direct flights between the cities.

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As the birthplace of safari, it’s no surprise that Kenya is a desired destination for a variety of travelers. From beginner jetsetters to avid globetrotters, it’s on the top of many peoples’ lists and rightfully so. Its prized wildlife is punctuated by majestic mountains and pristine beaches, making it a unique place to visit.

What’s more, in February, the weather is dry and hot, particularly in the Maasai Mara. Plus, visitors can experience fewer crowds and more accessible pricing.

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Just under a half-hour drive north of Dallas, Grapevine is a Southwestern city with old-school charm with a twist thanks to its restored 19th- and 20th-century buildings. We heard through the grapevine that visitors can choose from a wide variety of fun and engaging activities.

From taking a glassblowing class at Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Fine Art Gallery where visitors can create their own one-of-kind pieces to taking popular wine tasting tours for a memorable time, Grapevine has something for everyone.

For comfortable accommodations, visitors can stay at Hotel Vin, the city’s only boutique hotel. Boasting Southern hospitality mixed with refined luxury, the top-notch amenities and sophisticated design such as ergonomic workspaces make it a wonderful home away from home.

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If gliding down a snowy slope is your idea of fun, then Telluride is your place. Ideal for winter thrill seekers, this mountain town experiences consistent snowfall and is chock-full of exhilarating activities such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding. During the winter months, travelers can take advantage of nonstop flights from 10 major hubs, including Chicago, New York City’s LaGuardia, Los Angeles and more.

Nestled in a box canyon, it’s surrounded by spectacular 14,000-foot peaks, providing sweeping, awe-inspiring views and the perfect topography for winter sports.

After a day of enjoying the elements, visitors can stroll through the historic mining town and stop by boutiques, gourmet restaurants and investigate the thriving arts scene. With just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long, Telluride is small but packs a mighty punch.

Visitors can retreat to Madeline Hotel and Residences for a luxurious stay. The five-star resort’s restaurant, Madeline’s Black Iron Kitchen & Bar offers exquisite Alpine fare. After dinner, guests can indulge in a sticky, family-favorite: s’mores. The daily sunset offering is a surefire way to make lasting memories while satisfying your sweet tooth.

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Fiji in February is for those who like it hot and humid. Ideal for some, but considering it’s the low travel season, it’s safe to say that many tourists stay away. The good news is that it’s great for travelers who don’t mind a little rain and are looking for a bargain on airfare and hotels.

Coined the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” by famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Fiji is overflowing with beautiful coral reefs.

After snorkeling in the warm waters, guests can unwind at Wakaya Club & Spa, located on an exclusive part of a private island. The expansive resort offers all-inclusive packages designed

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Seeking a memorable romantic excursion? Look no further than Venice. As the capital of the Veneto region, comprising 100 islands, this fairytale-like Italian city is virtually synonymous with romance. Why? Well, unlike most places, roads are few and far between. Instead, bridges and canals are plentiful, which make traveling via slow-moving gondolas a charming mode of transportation. Although Valentine’s Day is ideal for the rowing boat ride, the weather is a bit on the chilly side. So, be sure to dress warmly.

Of course, there’s more to the city’s popular gondolas. Visitors can venture into one of its nearly 100 museums for an enlightening afternoon or marvel at the numerous cathedrals’ breathtaking architecture.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Like New Orleans, visitors to Rio de Janeiro in February can get a front-row seat to unforgettable carnival festivities. With countless parades featuring flamboyant floats, exuberant samba dancers sporting extravagant costumes and excited party goers celebrating in preparation for Lent — the seaside city’s streets come alive.

Rio’s rich history and culture is a major draw and for good reason. For starters, it’s home to the popular Christ the Redeemer statue. Standing at 98 feet (without the pedestal), the Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ is a major tourist attraction, making it one of the most visited cities in South America.

Additionally, its natural setting and climate are ideal for those who want a break from the cold. With the average temperatures in the upper 80s, it’s a warm weather hotspot during the winter. Taking a dip at the famous Copacabana Beach is a must.

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If warm weather is a must for your winter getaway, Key West is a perfect pick. Located at Florida’s southernmost point, it’s a tropical paradise that doesn’t require a passport. With temps reaching the upper 70s, it’s a midwinter escape that travelers can’t resist. Closer to Cuba than Miami, it’s a bustling island with breathtaking architecture, exquisite dining and cultural diversity. Plus, it’s a romantic city for lovers to relax, recharge and reconnect. With colorful, Caribbean-hued homes and quaint shops flanked by towering palm trees, its beauty is the stuff of postcards.

Needless to say, art comes in all forms in Key West. For those who fancy local artwork are in luck. The city is home to dozens of art galleries such as the Haitian Art Company and the Key West Art Center, which feature unique paintings, sculptures and more from local artists.

With water at every turn, it’s an ideal destination for those who want to partake in aquatic activities. From snorkeling to fishing, Key West is one of the best places to play in the water. What’s more, visitors can take sightseeing boat tours where guests can take a deep dive into what the island has to offer.

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While visitors to Auckland are abundant during this time of year, the city’s summer season is one of the best times to scratch New Zealand off your bucket list. Brimming with impressive shopping options, countless restaurants serving fresh seafood, and endless outdoor activities, it’s a prime tourist destination. Plus, its natural beauty including, black-sand beaches, enchanting rainforests and pristine parks add to its allure.

While fun activities and scenic views abound, a trip to Auckland is incomplete without visiting Hauraki Gulf and its gorgeous islands. Take a short, 40-minute ferry ride to explore the star of the bunch, Waiheke Island. Home to dozens of vineyards, olive groves and picture-perfect beaches, it’s ideal for a day trip on your itinerary.

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Want to avoid Singapore’s rainy season? Then traveling during February is a good idea. It falls during the time of year where the city of islands gets the least amount of rainfall, low humidity and plenty of sunny skies. The ideal weather makes trips to the myriad beaches a must for those who want to soak up the sun and cool off in the water.

For good eats, visitors can grab a bite from the plentiful food vendors offering a variety of culturally diverse cuisines including, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and Indonesian fare.

Although Singapore is one of the world’s most densely populated places, visitors can escape the hustle and bustle and seek solace at the city’s lush sanctuary, the Botanic Gardens. With more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids on display, it makes this a top attraction for travelers to the Southeast Asian destination.

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