Fall in love with winter’s most colorful landscapes by experiencing the season’s natural beauty at its peak! America’s storied national parks are nothing short of spectacular in February. From purple mountain majesties in Tennessee to red rock arches in Utah to blue tropical waters in St. John—forget this time of year’s drab, gray reputation and take in some of our land’s most inspiring natural treasures.
Arches National Park, UT
With 2,000 natural red rock arches and stunning stone pinnacles, Utah’s Arches National Park is rife with awe-inspiring backdrops. This Moab-area glory is famous for its sunsets, when the sky’s red and orange hues bounce off of its fiery, multi-hued landscape. Take a late afternoon hike along the Delicate Arch Trail from Wolfe Ranch to one of the park’s most-photographed arches and capture the memory, or just sit still and absorb the spectacle surrounding you.
Virgin Islands National Park, USVI
Searching for a sunnier version of wonderland this winter? Try the U.S. Virgin Islands (specifically the Bordeaux Mountain area of St John), where Virgin Islands National Park covers more than 7,000 acres on the island and some 4,000 acres surrounding it. Home to renowned Trunk Bay Beach, considered one of the world's most beautiful shores, the park also boasts some of the best snorkeling and hiking along the entire island chain. Hop on one of St. John Snorkeling Tours full-day catamaran jaunts to explore its glorious coral reefs, deserted stretches of beach, and hidden coves.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO
Travelers looking for distinctly dramatic landscapes need look no further than Great Sand Dunes National Park. These Colorado wonders are the tallest sand dunes in North America. Skiing and snowboarding on them is popular, but hiking the dunes is perhaps the park’s calling-card activity. For an incredible view, climb High Dune, just northwest of visitor’s center, or head west of High Dune to Star Dune, the highest of them all at 750 feet. For easy access to the park, book a Westcliffe vacation home in Southwest Colorado.
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Saguaro National Park is just one of Arizona’s many natural wonders, but its proximity to Tucson’s high-end restaurants and spas makes it a good destination for unwinding as well as gearing up. Douglas Spring Trailhead is one of the park’s easy treks leading up to the gorgeous sight of Bridal Wreath Falls. Inspired couples can relax after hiking with a couples massage at the Omni Tucson Spa, and any visitor looking for a prime meal will enjoy Bob's Steak & Chop House.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Majestic mountain views are yours for the taking in Tennessee’s fabled Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If your vision of an ultimate hideaway is a cozy cabin deep in the forest, a trip to this particular neck of the woods may be your best move in February. And there are plenty of vacation rentals—complete with roaring fireplaces—surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful mountains in and around nearby Gatlinburg. Book a Gatlinburg cabin to get easy access to the park, as well as lots of space, great views, and plenty of amenities.