The Top Four Winter Vacation Destinations For 2016

by Gregory Dyson on February 1


You just got out of bed a few hours ago but it’s already getting dark. “How is this possible?” Then, uh oh, there goes another flock of geese. You suddenly feel a frigid blow straight to the face. “Hey, what was that?!” you proclaim in agony.

That was the windy punch of winter, and unfortunately is your life for the foreseeable future. Sure, you can put an extra sweater on or turn your thermostat up a degree or two for peace of mind, but we all know that chronic winter can’t be cured by band-aid remedies.

Don’t go into hibernation just yet, though. There is one measure you can take to rid yourself of that seemingly inescapable wintry disquiet:


A warm retreat to a sunny distant land. Back at home, though thou the waters will warp, thy sting won’t be so sharp, as you will have all but forgotten that bleak and dreary homeland, as the balmy sun of your newfound haven shines upon your face.

Hark, salvation!

Hold on just a second there, Shakespeare. Now you have another issue. To where will you be traveling? You haven’t done your research, but you don’t want to go anywhere cliché… Like to some generic place that your coworkers would think of. Plebeians! You’re much more cultured than they are, a trailblazer, a true renaissance woman or man, and your vacation needs to reflect those qualities.

Sound like you? Thought so. Take a gander at these off-the-beaten-path winter vacation ideas, Leonardo.

Fairbanks, AK

Situated just below the Arctic Circle in the sunny Interior region, Fairbanks is one of Alaska’s best-kept vacation secrets for weather alone. But what sets the city apart from other nearby areas is its culture. Other places around the world that are known for fine culture can be seen by non-natives as snooty, but don’t be deterred by Fairbanks, because the locals are famous for their welcoming demeanor toward visitors… I think. I don’t know, I’ve never been there tbh.

On a typical winter day, you’ll get roughly five hours of daylight, which can be hard to fathom for you lower 48 dwellers. You’re likely thinking, “How will I consider occupying all of that time?” but have faith that you’ll be so flooded with activities, those five hours will pass by in a flash.

It is imperative that you don’t make the mistake of packing inappropriately if you’re heading to Fairbanks. Unless you’re planning an activity that requires formal wear, you won’t be needing anything other than the lightest of clothing. Bring shorts and short sleeve shirts, and don’t forget sunblock! However, it can get fairly chilly at night so bring a light sweater as well.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the Birch Hill cemetery. Ask your hotel’s concierge about other activities, so you can plan an itinerary that’s in tune with your individual interests.

If you visit Fairbanks you’ll be atuktuk-ing for sun and joy (be sure to ask one of the natives what that means!) all the way through The Golden Heart City.

Disney World

All of the other destinations on this list are family friendly but Disney World isn’t recommended for parents with small children. However, if you’re seeking a quiet and childless romantic getaway this winter, then Orlando, FL is the perfect place for you and your loved one.

For those diehard child haters (you know who are), most of Disney World’s hotels offer arcades, which are famous for their relaxing atmosphere. Try your luck at one of the many games, and know that whether or not you win, you can never lose because there won’t be a kid in sight!

If you’re looking for something more upbeat, check out the Magic Kingdom (referred to by regulars colloquially as “Magic Kingdom: No Kids Here, Ha Ha Fun Times For Adults Only!”). Quiet time is necessary, but it’s always fun to get out there and make new friends with other travelers. Everyone there is notoriously nice, and you’ll undoubtedly share memories that will last a lifetime with your newfound cohorts.

The Magic Kingdom is infamous for short lines to access rides, so you won’t feel like you’ve wasted even a second of valuable vacation time. How perfect is that?

Children are an anomaly, but a few parents with bratty kids WILL be found. If you can avoid the child magnets, there won’t be any issues or annoyances, though. Steer clear of any place that advertises “couples massages,” and definitely don’t go near the bar and nightlife-riddled “Disney’s Boardwalk.” Heed this advice and you’ll be good to go!

Stover, MO

Being one of the nation’s top cultural capitals, you’re probably not surprised that Stover made this list. The dense city of approximately 1,000, nearly entirely white, citizens makes it seem intimidatingly progressive and diverse, not to mention its location in bustling central Missouri. Adding those facts together can only equal that it’s wildly expensive, right? Wrong!

Stover is experiencing a paradox that you can use to your advantage. Since Americans are under the impression that it’s populous and bustling, they’re overlooking visiting there in droves. A classic case of “no one goes there, it’s too crowded!” Many folks are also deterred by the recent 1916 tornado that swept the city, so tourism is at a historic low.

Stover’s stigma only means upsides for you. Despite low tourist rates, most of the city’s famous businesses and attractions are still open and are offering low prices in order to get customers through the door, which means that a trip to Stover won’t come close to breaking the bank.

Since Stover is a spontaneous city, it’s best not to create much of an itinerary. You’ll have the most fun by winging it, and regardless of which neighborhood you’re staying in, there are sure to be a plethora of activities just steps outside your door. One place you can’t miss is Dirty Dick’s Halfway Inn. While you’re there, be sure to check out the gift shop and “original minnow shot.” You won’t be disappointed.

Under a pile of blankets

If all of the above destinations sound great but are too pricey, consider hiding under an enormous pile of blankets this year.

Don’t retreat just yet though, because there are steps you’ll need to take beforehand to make your experience optimally relaxing and successful. Cutting your phone off to lessen disturbances is obvious, but also consider pre-recording a voicemail message for those who will inevitably try to get in touch with you. Feel free to use this one (festively set to the tune of “Jingle Bells”), or have fun coming up with your own!

Dashing through the down
No it’s not real goose
But it still keeps me warm
Can’t come to the phone!
Cotton blankets too
Polyester sheets
later in the week
I’ll return your call!

Ha ha ha, ho ho ho
This is [insert first name] you know!
Can’t come to the phone right now
‘Cause I’m under a pile of blan-kets

Make sure you’re prepared with (what the industry calls) the big three, a comforter, blanket and sheet, that is. If you can afford to splurge consider including a quilt and/or some extra cotton blankets, but that all depends on your economic situation and the heat of your home. Experts agree that keeping your house set to 70 °F and using the big three plus a quilt will provide optimal comfort, but it’s your vacation so the specifics are up to you. Don’t get too caught up in the technical variability. Just go with your gut and make sure to have fun!

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Gregory Dyson

Gregory William Dyson is a writer, freelance designer and musician based in Philadelphia, PA. He was born and raised in Central Connecticut, where he struggled throughout his childhood, as his family only owned a small catamaran while his peers all had large yachts. After finishing high school, he joined the Wu Tang Clan for a brief period time before pursuing an art history degree at a small and mediocre state college that no one has ever heard of. While he tries his absolute hardest to pawn himself off to strangers as an ethically savvy, Whole Foods intellectual type, he can be frequently seen shopping for boxed mashed potatoes and frozen pizzas at Walmart. He owns no land.

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