We are currently planning our next trip without the kids and we are researching different places to go. My husband and I love national parks and traveling to places with breathtaking scenery. We also enjoy great food, wildlife, exercise, and a few days of relaxation. Our dislikes? Constant crowds of tourists and large cities. If we visit a large city or tourist area, we only want to spend a tiny of amount of time in that location. We have air miles and companion tickets that are only good for the lower 48 states and can only be used in January or February, so that narrows down our search a bit! I recently asked my Instagram followers for their travel recommendations, and I will include those in this post.
We typically try to break away once a year for a trip without our children. This is important for our marriage, to reconnect while doing things that we love. We are also researching places we would like to take the kids when they are a bit older. Over the past five years, we have been to Mexico, Vegas, Florida’s Gulf Coast, Naples, Northern Minnesota, the Grand Canyon, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, and the Keys. Personally, my favorite place in the United States is Jackson, Wyoming. We visited there in January and loved that there were minimal crowds while we visited Yellowstone on snowmobiles. I will share an entire post from that trip, but I have to say, add that location to your bucket list now!
Back to planning this trip, where do we go now? We originally planned on visiting Banff, but our tickets only cover the lower 48 states. Next, we researched Bozeman, Montana with trips to Big Sky, Glacier National Park, and Yellowstone. When I asked my Instagram followers about driving to these locations in the winter, most people advised against it and suggested waiting until June or July to see these areas. More options we have considered include Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Napa, Sedona, Zion, and San Diego.
So what did my Instagram followers recommend? Here is a round up of their suggestions for places to visit and places to avoid. These are quotes from followers and not my own suggestions:
- “Seattle, take walks along the waterfront.”
- “Love Seattle (lived there six years) but those months are not ideal unless you’re okay with gray, dreary rain. The touristy areas will likely have a lot of people. You could easily do snow for a day and still have some hiking access.”
- “I would suggest against Seattle if you don’t like cities and crowds. If it snows, the entire city shuts down.”
- “If you go to Seattle, you can take the ferry up to Vancouver.”
- “Denver, Boulder, and Breckinridge”
- “Pick a spot on Hwy 1 and drive down the Pacific Coast.”
- “Bend, Oregon”
- “Banff is amazing, but go in June/July.”
- “I live in Bozeman! The drive from Bozeman to Glacier can be terrible depending on the weather. We have had a mild winter so far. If you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle with great snow tires, you should be fine! We do it all of the time!”
- “Bozeman is beautiful, but I definitely recommend in the spring or summer if you aren’t into skiing.”
- “Roads are pretty hectic and the main roads are closed in Glacier National Park until around May. I highly recommend saving that area for a summer trip.”
- “We just went to Zion in November and it was mindblowing. Also, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree would fit the bill for relaxation and nature.”
- “I used to live about 45 minutes from Zion, there are also other national parks and some lesser known state parks you can visit nearby. Zion is great off-peak because you can drive through in your own car and there is nobody around. The summer is a zoo with so many people in the park.”
- “Southern Utah is beautiful!”
- “Saguaro National Park”
- “Paso Robles”
- “Utah is one of my favorite spots, the scenery is gorgeous and so clean, not a huge crowd, and the people are all insanely nice.”
- “Go to Sedona.”
- “Napa is beautiful!”
- “Napa just had several fires and we were unable to visit many of the wineries.”
- “We just went to Napa in October, heavily damaged is an exaggeration. Napa is more touristy. Sonoma has less people. Kenwood Inn in Sonoma is INCREDIBLE. Also, I recommend staying in Yountville or Calistoga if you’re doing Napa. We drove up to Mendocino and stayed at a farmstead there, the Glendeven Inn.”
- “We live in Nor Cal and just visited Napa recently. The fire damage is mostly on the outskirts and you may see some damage but honestly it doesn’t ruin the experience at all. Sonoma is also gorgeous. I think if you’re just looking for the sites rather than wineries, I would do Sonoma. The rolling hills are beautiful.”
- “We go to wine country every October. We go with our son but Napa has a new law prohibiting minors from even being on the property of wineries. They tend to charge more for tastings also.”
- “Carmel by the Sea for a few days and then Napa.”
- “Redwoods are excellent! Highly recommend. Mendocino is lovely, Ferndale you would love, Ft. Bragg has a glass beach that is fun to explore. We flew into San Francisco and worked our way up to the redwoods.”
- “Paradise Point in San Diego is a great escape!”
- “Loved San Diego! La Jolla was very picturesque and a great place to ride bikes and be outdoors.”
- “We love San Diego, especially if you stay in Coronado and visit La Jolla.”
- “San Diego and Seattle are nice, but lots of traffic and crowded.”
- “We LOVE Coronado Island in San Diego. We stay on the island every summer.”
- “Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-Sea.”
- “Go to Vail, you would love it!”
- “Denver, Boulder, and Breckenridge.”
- “Telluride, you would love it!”
- “Outer Banks”
- “Sanibel Island, Florida”
- “Texas! The Fredericksburg area is second to Napa for wine. It’s in the hill country, so not crowded, with lots of Airbnbs available. Also, go to Round Top, Texas.”
- “Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.”
- “Lake Placid, New York in the winter!”
Overall, most of the responses discouraged travel to Bozeman, Glacier, Yosemite, and Banff due to the weather at this time of the year. Also, due to visibility and road closures. Many of my followers recommend going to this location in the summer. While most followers said that San Diego and Seattle are amazing, they discouraged the larger cities because they are crowded with a lot of traffic.
Where Will We Go?
Where will we head? We have a few ideas in mind. One, a trip to San Francisco, over to Sonoma and Napa, ending in Lake Tahoe. Second, a trip to the Sedona area. Third, a trip to Northern California and up to Oregon. Lastly, a trip to the Big Sur area. I loved receiving all of these travel recommendations. I will keep you all updated and share as we plan! Have a wonderful week, and Happy New Year!