The depths of winter make for the heights of sightseeing in many destinations that are usually overcrowded: Think U.S. national parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s also a prime time for extreme climates on either end of the spectrum, from the Middle East to Antarctica.
Yellowstone National Park
In February, Yellowstone is a winter wonderland with limited visitors. Take advantage of this excellent opportunity to see wildlife—elk, bison, even wolves—and to cross-country ski, snowshoe, and ride in snowmobiles or heated snow coaches.—Caroline Bach Wood, Trusted Travel Expert for the American West
Read Caroline’s Insider’s Guides to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, and contact her to get the best possible trip.
Savvy visitors come to Bermuda in February: Hotel rates are half their summer peak, the crowds are gone, and temperatures in the low 70s make it a great time for golf, tennis, and swimming in heated pools. (It does rain more often, but only in short spurts.) This year, the Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts will also bring artists from around the world to the island through the entire month.—Vicky McGlynn, Trusted Travel Expert for Bermuda
Read Vicky’s Insider’s Guide to Bermuda and contact her to get the best possible trip.
In 2016, Carnevale will peak in February: Fat Thursday falls on February 4th, Shrove Tuesday on February 9th. All that is sumptuous and extravagant about Venice is kicked up several notches during this period of elaborate celebrations marked by Baroque costumes, masked balls, sinful sweets, and general bacchanalian overindulgence.—Maria Gabriella Landers and Brian Dore, Trusted Travel Experts for Italy
Read Maria and Brian’s Insider’s Guides to Venice, Florence, and Rome and contact them for the best possible trip.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
In early February, the worst of the hot and steamy weather has not yet arrived—but the huge crowds that descend on Angkor Wat in January have already departed.—Andrea Ross, Trusted Travel Expert for Southeast Asia
Read Andrea’s Insider’s Guides to Cambodia, Angkor Wat and Vietnam, and contact her for the best possible trip.
Beijing and Shanghai, China
February might be cold, but if you’re just visiting China’s main cities, it’s brilliant: There aren’t too many other visitors, and you’ll get great value for money. Just make sure to avoid the week of Chinese New Year (starting on February 7 in 2016), when the cities shut down while everyone goes home to be with family.—David Allardice, Trusted Travel Expert for China
Read David’s Insider’s Guides to China 101 and Hong Kong, and contact him for the best possible trip.
Yunnan Province, China
By February many parts of Yunnan are already in spring mode, with camellia and other flowers in bloom; to the east and south of Kunming, fields of yellow rapeseed flowers turn the area into a photographer’s heaven. If you time your trip to Chinese New Year, you can witness dragon dances, waves of firecrackers, village banquets, and many other celebrations. (What you won’t find then, however, are discounts on flights or hotels.)—Mei Zhang, Trusted Travel Expert for China
Read Mei’s Insider Guides to Beijing, Yunnan Province, and China’s Big Cities and Small Villages, andcontact her for the best possible trip.
February is the coolest month of the year in this tropical country—and one of the drier ones as well—making it a delightful time to go exploring. There are also several festivals on tap in the country: the Maha Muni Pagoda Festival in Mandalay, the Pindaya Cave Festival in Pindaya (near Inle), and the Nan Taw Pagoda Festival in Maymyo.—Antonia Neubauer, Trusted Travel Expert for Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal
Read Toni’s Insider’s Guides to Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal, and contact her for the best possible trip.
Prices are as much as 40 percent cheaper in February than during peak season, and the vegetation is lush and green from the rains. The periodic thunderstorms that roll through often provide beautiful rainbows, which form a great backdrop for your photos. Plus, many of the wildlife have babies—zebra, wildebeest, antelope—and the predators tend to be more prolific with the greater availability of prey. This is also a time when migratory birds in full breeding plumage are in residence; their coloring is just exquisite.—Julian Harrison, Trusted Travel Expert for Southern Africa
Read Julian’s Insider’s Guides to Botswana and Cape Town and Winelands, and contact him for the best possible trip.
In February Israel is virtually empty of tourists, so you have unfettered access to almost all of the sites without waiting in lines. If you are looking for the best rooms in the best hotels and the best tour guides—all at fabulous prices—this is the time to go. Temperatures are mild, in the 50s and 60s for the most part, and although you will have some rain, the scenery makes you feel that it is springtime in Vermont or Switzerland: green hills, multicolored wildflowers, snowcapped peaks, and flowing streams and rivers.—Joe Yudin, Trusted Travel Expert for Israel
Read Joe’s Insider’s Guides to Jerusalem and Israel, and contact him for the best possible trip.
February is one of the cooler months of the year for Abu Dhabi, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s; plus, rates are at the lower end of the scale for the emirate. The Qasr al-Hosn Festival, a celebration of Emirati culture, runs from February 3rd to 13th at the same-named fort, with performances of music and dance.—Lindsey Wallace, Trusted Travel Expert for the UAE, Maldives and Seychelles
Read Lindsey’s Insider’s Guides to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Maldives and Seychelles, and contact him for the best possible trip.
By February the sea ice has melted, allowing for longer voyages and prime whale-watching when the humpbacks surface and feed. These shorter autumn days also allow glimpses of the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. What’s more, the icebergs have been beautifully sculpted by summer winds—reflecting the sun’s rays like giant crystal chandeliers—and special offers often come available for these late-season departures.—Ashton Palmer, Trusted Travel Expert for Expedition Cruises
Read Ashton’s Insider’s Guides to Antarctica Cruises and the Arctic, and contact him for the best possible trip.