Winter is upon us, and with it comes an unfortunate struggle for many. Seasonal depression is a real condition, and it can be an incredible challenge. It can mess with your daily life, and because it is so closely tied to losing sunlight and nature itself, it’s tough to overcome.
This list is here to explore some ideas of levity and travel that might brighten your winter. A small vacation is no substitution for the guided medical treatment prescribed by your doctor. A winter getaway can’t serve as a replacement for anti-depression medication and treatments, but it could help you take the edge off and lessen some of the worst and most persistent symptoms.
With that in mind, here are some promising US winter destinations.
San Diego is the same all year long. With a winter trip, you can still enjoy the beach, golf or any other outdoor activities. You’ll see people outside and enjoying the warm weather. Being so far south, the days in San Diego aren’t quite so short.
It’s also accessible. You can find flights and a place to stay relatively easily. Plan a fun weekend or a longer stay if you need. Either way, it’s easy to take advantage of the pleasantness that is a San Diego winter getaway.
Florida is even sunnier and warmer than San Diego. If you want to feel like you completely left the winter behind, then it’s time to visit the sunshine state. The only problem with Florida is that there are so many viable locations, it’s hard to pick!
You can head for the popular beaches in Miami and try to meet people and make memories. You can go all the way to the Keys and enjoy a Caribbean getaway. You can head to Daytona for smaller crowds but plenty of outdoor fun. Hop over to the Kennedy Space Center to get some education and history along the way.
You can visit the world-class theme parks in Orlando, catch sports in Jacksonville or Tampa Bay or go camping in the Everglades. There are a lot of options in Florida, and all of them get you away from the sad and depressing air of a dark winter.
Across the country, in southern New Mexico, you can aim for an outdoor experience unlike anything else in the world. The Carlsbad Caverns cave system features the largest single cave room on this half of the planet, and it is full of unique sights.
You can camp right on the grounds of the park. The winter weather is mild, often getting into the low 70s. Once you’re exploring the caves, you’ll find that they are the same throughout the year. You’ll get good exercise, but more than anything else, you’ll be able to appreciate a unique experience that makes memories and transports you away from the normal confines of winter.
There’s another approach to this whole idea. Instead of dodging winter weather to break the depressing feelings, you can steer into winter and try to embrace it with a positive attitude. That’s easier said than done, but a ski trip is a great way to try.
Breckenridge is a charming and beautiful ski town. It’s also full of people, which is sometimes what you need. You can get outside and enjoy the snow and winter weather by skiing, snowboarding or tackling other winter sports.
If Breckenridge isn’t quite your speed, there are countless mountain towns that are beautiful and inspiring throughout the winter. Pick your favorite.
Hawaii is the ultimate winter getaway. It’s certainly a harder destination to reach than most, but if you can make it happen, it is completely worth the effort. No matter when you go, you can expect 80-degree weather and lots of sun. Hawaii is known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere with plenty of fun to have.
Everyone will tell you to go to their favorite island, and all are great choices. The four easiest to reach are Oahu (where Honolulu is located), Maui, Kaui and Hawaii (the biggest island).
Maui is amazing for lounging on the beach, snorkeling, scuba diving and the famous road to Hana. Oahu is the major city of the islands. That means you’ll find more amazing places to eat, shopping and people to be around. There is still no shortage of phenomenal beaches, hikes, sights and fun.
Kaui is often referred to as the most beautiful of the islands, and that’s saying something. You can find a nice mix of outdoor adventures (zip-lining through the jungle is always a good time), relaxing beaches and an uncrowded vacation.
Hawaii, being the biggest island, has the most to do in terms of outdoor adventures. You can explore active volcanoes, get lost on beautiful driving tours and completely envelop yourself in natural beauty that is as far away from a North American winter as you can imagine.
You might not be able to cure seasonal depression with a winter vacation, but you can certainly do yourself some good with a well-planned trip. These are just some ideas to get you started. If you can find a destination that will bring relief, it’s definitely worth considering.