Cooler weather doesn’t mean your outdoor fun has to cool off too. Plenty of travel destinations, especially those in southern states, offer temperate climates and ample opportunities for outdoor enjoyment throughout fall and into winter.
If you’re planning a cool-weather vacation, but aren’t necessarily interested in snow sports, you can find a destination that will still allow you to enjoy the great outdoors. Keep three key considerations in mind as you search for your destination: climate, convenience and attractions.
Millions of Americans every year hit the ski slopes in winter, but you don’t have to limit your outdoor vacationing to mountain resorts and snow-themed activities. Many locations throughout the southern states maintain temperate climates year round, meaning you’ll find a greater variety of outdoor activities there in winter than you would in snowy regions.
Beach locations, like Myrtle Beach, S.C., can offer a range of outdoor fun, from watersports — like kayaking and fishing — that work well in cooler months, to biking, hiking or simply walking on the beach. While the water may be too cold for swimming by late in the season, year-round sun ensures a stroll on the beach will be just as enjoyable in October as it is in spring and summer. Other popular beach activities like bird-watching and crabbing continue year round.
Look for destinations that also offer outdoor fun in a less wild setting, such as golf courses or botanical gardens. The Myrtle Beach area boasts more than 100 golf courses, many open year round. Brookgreen Gardens features more than 300 acres of gardens and outdoor sculpture art, and is open all year.
Since your fall or winter getaway may be shorter than your summer vacation, the last thing you want to do is spend a big chunk of it getting to your destination. Look for a vacation spot that is either an easy drive from where you live or that is served by a major airport. Positioned around the midpoint of the Eastern seaboard, Myrtle Beach is a reasonable drive from most points in the East. And the Myrtle Beach International Airport, which is serviced by many major carriers, and budget airlines like Spirit and Direct Air, makes it easy to reach area beaches and other offerings from anywhere in the country.
Attractions in many northern shore resort towns shut down in the winter. But choosing a destination with a temperate climate ensures you’ll find more attractions open and operating throughout the fall and into winter. From amusement parks and miniature golf, to triathlons and camping, you’ll find a wealth of outdoor activities and events in full swing in southern regions.
Many traditional beach activities like jet skiing, parasailing or even surfing can still be accomplished in cooler weather with the simple addition of the right insulating attire. You can also kayak, canoe and tube, fish, or simply explore nearby wildlife in national parks throughout the south.
And while summer festivals and barbecues may be over in northern regions, southern spots like Myrtle Beach host fun events well into fall and winter. For example, the city’s popular annual Triathlon and Mini Marathon both take place in October, when crowds are smaller and temperatures cooler, and the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February attracts more than 10,000 people annually.
Winter’s approach doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to hanging out indoors or learning to ski. By choosing the right destination, you can enjoy the great outdoors well into the winter months.