After the excitement of the winter holidays and vows to turn over a new leaf in January, February can seem a bit boring in comparison. But, February is actually a great month to travel to many of the coolest destinations around the world. Let us help you find the best places to visit in February.
Summer vacations are great, but there are some destinations that shine outside of the most popular months for travel. Plus, planning a vacation in February gives you something fun to look forward to when the winter blues are getting you down, and it still seems like a long time until spring.
If you’re ready for a change of scenery, we’ve put together a list of the best places to visit in February. No matter whether you’re looking to avoid winter by heading to a tropical island or ready to fully embrace the wintertime with a trip to a renowned ski town, we have something on our list that you’ll love.
New Orleans, United States
The Big Easy is worth visiting any time of year, but New Orleans especially shines during the Carnival season from the Twelfth Night (January 6th) to Shrove Tuesday (February 21st this year). Mardi Gras events take place all throughout the season with the majority of parades taking place within the 2 weeks before Shrove Tuesday.
Most people imagine that New Orleans during Mardi Gras is a giant drunken revelry. While that is true for certain parades, different Krewes hold a variety of themed parades and a large number of events are family-friendly.
Look at the official parade website to pick out a parade or two to see, and then spend the rest of the time enjoying New Orleans cajun charm. Have a beignet at Cafe Du Monde, explore Jackson Square, stroll down Magazine Street, and browse the books at Faulkner House Books.
If you’re looking for an active winter getaway with cozy charm, the Annecy is a perfect choice. This postcard-perfect town has a mix of French and Swiss cultures. The town is also sometimes called the Venice of the Alps thanks to the canals running through it.
Annecy is close to several ski resorts, so you can enjoy a day trip to the slopes at the nearby ski resort Le Semnoz while you’re there. The rest of the time you can explore the Old Town, go outdoor ice skating at Place François de Menthon, and walk around Lake Annecy. You can also indulge in the delicious cheese-based dishes the region is famous for–raclette, tartiflette, and fondue taste even better next to the fire after a day of walking around.
Visiting Annecy is hugely popular during the summer months, but visiting during the winter allows you to enjoy the town without the crowds. While shops are restaurants that cater to tourists may be closed for the slow season, the places that locals visit remain open year-round. There’s no guarantee what the weather will be like during winter (most likely cold and possibly snowy), but Annecy is just as magical in February when you’ll feel like you have the town to yourself.
Compared to other popular Italian cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, Verona is severely underrated. Verona is a city full of romance, culture, and beauty but without the crowds other Italian destinations draw.
February is the perfect time to visit the city of Romeo and Juliet. You can see the house that supposedly inspired Shakespeare’s play and leave a note for Juliet. You can also visit the houses of the Montecchi and Capuleti families (the inspiration for the Montagues and Capulets).
While the weather is somewhat chilly in Verona in February, you can still enjoy a romantic getaway. Enjoy the wonderful Italian food, take in the scene from the top of the Torre Dei Lamberti, and view the masterpieces at the Castelvecchio Museum. If you have the time, it’s also worth taking a day trip to Lake Garda.
Rapa Nui, Chile
January to March is the busy season for Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. Each year the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival is celebrated in early February. This festival highlights Rapa Nui culture, and it’s an experience that isn’t replicated anywhere else in the world.
During the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival, a variety of competitions take place including Polynesian canoeing, horse races, handicrafts, agriculture, and storytelling. If you want to visit during the festival, make plans in advance because accommodations and flights get booked far ahead of the event.
The island is best known for its giant statues and archeological sites. These are worth exploring during your time visiting Rapa Nui. There are multiple sites with large stone figures, known as moai, that you can either drive to or hike to. When you’re ready to relax, you can enjoy one of the island’s white sand beaches. Getting to Rapa Nui, especially during its busiest season, takes some extra planning, but it’s well worth visiting.
Everglades National Park, United States
For an outdoor adventure, head to the Everglades National Park in south Florida. February is one of the best months to visit the Everglades National Park because it falls during the short window when the weather in Florida is relatively dry and cool. The park covers over 1.5 million acres of wetland, and you can easily spend days exploring.
While walking the trails, you’ll spot all kinds of wildlife. Hundreds of species including turtles, herons, and alligators make their homes in the wetlands. There’s also the opportunity to take a boat tour or kayak across Florida Bay and catch glimpses of crocodiles, manatees, and dolphins.
No matter what kind of outdoor activity you enjoy, chances are you can do it at the Everglades National Park. Besides hiking and kayaking, you can also go fishing, spend the night camping, bicycle down the trails, and try geocaching among other things. The park also has excellent ranger-led programs.
You’ll encounter fewer crowds (and fewer mosquitos) by visiting the Everglades during the winter rather than the summer, so it’s the perfect time for a trip to one of America’s natural treasures.
February is the warmest month in New Zealand, but unlike Australia, the smaller island country doesn’t get the same scorching summer heat. With children heading back to school the month before, the country’s beautiful beaches, lakes, and rivers are less crowded than in the earlier summer months.
All of New Zealand’s outdoor activities, except for skiing, are accessible during the summer months. If you’re looking to spend time on a beach, the country has miles of coastline. In the North Island, Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula are great options as are the Abel Tasman National Park, and Golden Bay in the South Island. If you’d rather hike or long-distance trek, the conditions on New Zealand’s most popular trails are usually good during this season.
For more outdoor adventure, take a cruise through the high cliffs at Milford Sound, go swimming with the dolphins at Kaikoura, go whitewater rafting, or go snorkeling at the Bay of Islands. When you’re ready for a slightly tamer adventure, you can spend an afternoon exploring Christchurch, visit Hobbiton, or stroll through the museums in Auckland. If you have the time, you could easily spend 2 weeks exploring New Zealand and still not see everything it has to offer.
If you’re looking to enjoy sunshine and fun, pack your sunscreen and head for Costa Rica. February is one of the drier summer months in this Central American country.
This month is the perfect time to visit one of Costa Rico’s many volcanoes, which are covered by clouds for the majority of the rest of the year. You can also enjoy all kinds of water activities including rafting on the Pacuare River, snorkeling on the Central or Northwest Pacific Coast, or canyoning and watering rappelling in Arenal or Turrialba.
To experience a taste of Costa Rica’s culture time your visit to overlap with one of the many festivals taking place. Puntarenas has the country’s largest Carnival celebration during the month. The small town of Uvita has Envision Festival, a Costa Rican version of Burning Man, during late February. The Fiesta de los Diablitos, an indigenous festival marking the Brunka tribe’s victory against Spanish conquistadors, takes place in Rey Curre. Also, the Sun Festival celebrating the Mayan New Year takes place at the end of the month.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The capital city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is an enticing blend of modern architecture, stunning beaches, and Emirati culture and traditions. The normally scorching weather is milder during the winter months, making February the perfect time to enjoy the city’s attractions.
You can’t visit without taking a walk along the Corniche, a 4-mile stretch running along the waterfront. Besides the beaches, the city is full of cultural attractions. The biggest draw in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s one of the largest mosques in the world, and by far, one of the most beautiful. You can also walk around the world-famous Emirates Palace, a 5-star luxury hotel that is one of the most extravagant places you’ll find anywhere.
Another place worth visiting is the Louvre. Abu Dhabi has its own version of the legendary museum thanks to an agreement between the UAE and France. Inside you’ll find artifacts, paintings, and statues spanning centuries of history.
While Dubai might be the most popular tourist destination in the UAE, Abu Dhabi is worth visiting in its own right.
There’s no better way to celebrate winter than by attending the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo. The festival, which was first held in 1950, now regularly draws more than two million people to admire the famous snow and ice sculptures. Three different sites across the city display several hundred stunning sculptures with some of the largest measuring over 80 feet high and over 50 feet wide.
Besides the wintery works of art, you can enjoy all kinds of snowy fun in the city. There are snow slides, snow rafting, skating rinks, and more. While the weather is cold, you’ll want to explore the food stands and ice bar as well as enjoy the live entertainment.
When you’re ready to take a break, you can head to the underground malls and restaurants to warm up. If you love all things wintery, the winter wonderland of the Sapporo Snow Festival is a must-visit event. Sapporo is one of the snowiest cities in the world with an average snowfall of 191 inches each year, so make sure you pack appropriately.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With breathtaking beaches, an abundance of historic sites, and beautiful scenery, Rio de Janeiro is always worth a visit. However, February is a particularly great time to visit Brazil’s capital city because it’s Carnival season. Thousands of people flock to the city to enjoy the festivities proceeding the last day before Lent (February 22st this year).
A few highlights include the competition between top samba schools at the Sambadrome, the carnival parade, street parties called blocos, stunning costumes, and masquerade balls.
While Carnival is the main event happening in February, the rest of Rio’s attractions are still there for you to enjoy. During your trip, you can sun on the area’s famous beaches, take a hike on Sugarloaf Mountain, and see the iconic Christ the Redemer statue.
If you want to visit Rio de Janeiro during its most vibrant season, be sure to plan early. Airfare, hotel rooms, and tickets to events sell out quickly in advance so don’t try to wait until the last minute to book.
For literature lovers, there’s no better place to be in February than in Norway for the Bergen International Literary Festival. This new festival, first hosted in 2019, brings together authors from all around the world as well as authors in Norway. The festival is four days of seminars, courses, lectures, and chats around a common theme.
Outside of the literary festival, Bergen has a wealth of other cultural attractions. The Bryggen District is a UNESCO World Heritage site full of beautiful architecture. Even outside of this district, Bergen’s streets are the perfect place to walk down the winding streets and enjoy the old wooden houses. You can also take the funicular (or hike) to the top of Mount Floyen for views of the fjords, seas, and mountains that surround the area.
Not surprisingly, the weather is usually quite cold in Norway during February, but that makes it the perfect time to enjoy Bergen’s many museums. Music aficionados can enjoy the Troldhaugen Edvard Grieg Museum. History buffs will love the Gamle Bergen Museum – Bymuseet. Art lovers should visit the KODE Art Museums of Bergen, one of the largest art and music museums in Scandinavia.
Don’t miss out on this rising destination in northern Europe.
Quebec City, Canada
Rather than spending your February getaway running from winter, you can fully embrace the season by going to Quebec City. Each year the Canadian city holds the Quebec Winter Carnival, one of the world’s largest winter Carnivals.
The celebration has been taking place since 1955, and there are some traditional events that are repeated each year. You can visit Bonhomme’s Ice Palace, stand on the snow-covered streets to watch the night parades, and cheer on the teams competing in the extreme competitive sport of ice canoe racing.
You can enjoy a wide range of fun carnival activities. While some activities change out each year, the classic giant Ferris wheel is always a good idea. You can warm up drinking a caribou, an alcoholic drink that’s similar to mulled wine, and of course, you can’t skip getting some maple taffy.
The Carnival takes place right outside of Quebec’s historic center, so you can easily visit the city’s attractions when you’re ready to take a break from the festival.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you’d rather escape from snow and ice for a while, head to Puerto Rico to enjoy the local culture and tropical weather. In Puerto Rico’s capital city, you can enjoy a beautiful oceanfront, tasty cuisine, and rich history.
The historical Old San Juan neighborhood is the perfect place to stroll through cobblestone streets with buildings dating back to the 16th century. You’ll find restaurants, bars, and shops filled with character. The neighborhood is also a great place to enjoy San Juan’s vibrant nightlife. In just a 20-minute drive to Isla Verde, you’ll be able to relax at some of the best beachfront resorts in Puerto Rico.
February is one of the most popular months for tourists to visit Puerto Rico thanks to the Carnival celebrations and other festivals taking place. While you’ll need to plan in advance to book a trip to the island during this time, it’s worth a little extra hassle to visit Puerto Rico at its best.
If you’re looking for a winter ski break, try Breckenridge. February is typically one of the snowiest months in Breckenridge making it the perfect time to visit one of Colorado’s charming mountain towns. Besides skiing, the town is also a great place for sledding, icing skating, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.
While in Breckenridge, you can learn about the town’s history as a mining town at the town’s Welcome Center History Museum & Theather. There are also several other interesting museums to explore including the Red, White, & Blue Fire Museum detailing how miners, teamsters, saloon-keepers, and merchants came together beginning in 1880 to prevent fires from decimating the town.
The town’s historic Main Street is filled with a mix of quirky boutiques and cozy apres-ski fun. In the evenings, Breckenridge has a variety of laid-back restaurants and bars where you can relax after a day of playing in the snow and exploring the town. Even if you’re only in town for a short visit, you’ll quickly feel at home in this perfect mountain town.
Cape Town, South Africa
February falls right at the end of peak summer in South Africa, making it a great time to visit South Africa’s “mother city.” Cape Town is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it’s full of scenic spots, colorful buildings, and welcoming people.
If you enjoy hiking, Cape Town has multiple popular hiking spots including Lion’s Head where you can view the Atlantic Ocean, Camps Bay, and Table Mountain. The city has an equally impressive array of great beaches to visit. The Clifton beaches are a top choice, but there are many others you can visit, including Boulders Beach about an hour outside of Cape Town where you can watch the penguins wandering around in the morning or afternoon.
You can also learn more about the history of the city. Cape Town has several historic museums, and there are important sites scattered around the city including where Nelson Mandela made his first speech after being freed.
It’s also worth walking around Bo-Kaap, a local neighborhood with distinctive neon-colored houses and cobblestone streets. The area, which seems tailormade for Instagram photos, actually has buildings dating back to the 1760s.
Summer may be the traditional season for travel, but planning a winter getaway gives you a chance to see some destinations at their absolute best. Maybe you want to enjoy a destination in the tropics or head to the southern hemisphere during their warmer season or maybe you want to experience a proper winter somewhere that has snow for months on end.
February is the perfect time for a fun getaway. For some of our destinations, the month actually is their biggest season while for others February is the best time to visit to avoid the crowds but still enjoy the destination.
Hopefully, you’ve found what you needed to inspire your next trip in February. If not, check out our guide to the best winter places destination in Europe for more great travel ideas.