When beanies and blankets cease to combat Denver’s average high of 44 this month, make like a bird and fly south (or west, or east) to warmer climes. This chart can help you plot your long-weekend migration.
If you’re down for a road trip…
Head to: Idaho Springs, Colorado
Average January high: 43 degrees
Distance from Denver: 39 miles
It might be freezing outside Indian Hot Springs, but inside this bathhouse with on-site lodging, you’ll find 102- to 112-degree mineral water and steamy caves with sunken tubs. In fact, the clear dome and tropical plants surrounding the 90-degree swimming pool could make you forget that winter exists at all. When hunger drives you into the cold, head to Westbound & Down Brewing Company for Colorado suds and fried chicken.
If you prefer to catch a cheap flight…
Head to: Galveston, Texas
Average January high: 61 degrees
Weekly nonstop flights from DIA to William P. Hobby Airport: 49 (from $57 round trip*)
You can buy two round-trip flights to Galveston for less than a single-day lift ticket at Vail Ski Resort. The 45-minute drive from the airport to the Gulf Coast island beats the I-70 haul, too. That means more money for ring tosses and rides at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park. For a different ocean view, walk through the aquarium tunnel at Moody Gardens, where stingrays, sharks, and more swim overhead. You can even buy lunch at the Spot, an open-air deck serving locally sourced shrimp and burgers, and still have some change for a souvenir.
If you’re going for a kid-free vacay…
Head to: Paso Robles, California
Average January high: 62 degrees
Weekly nonstop flights from DIA to San Luis Obispo Airport: 21 (from $349 round trip*)
You’re probably acquainted with California wine regions Sonoma and Napa. Meet their smaller and warmer cousin, Paso Robles, where the Wine Line’s hop-on, hop-off shuttle will take you to see some of the region’s 200 wineries. That way, you can linger over your new favorite Syrah or wander (Coloradans in wine country call it hiking) sprawling estates like Castoro Cellars.
If a beach is at the top of your list of requirements…
Head to: Panama City, Panama
Average January high: 89 degrees
Weekly nonstop flights from DIA to Tocumen International Airport: Four (from $684 round trip*)
If you’re excited about the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s recent dino discoveries, this Central American time capsule is for you. Ruins of an early European city remain at Panama Viejo, and ships pass through the Panama Canal just as they did when it was completed in 1914. See a few of the many fossils found in the canal at the Frank Gehry–designed Biomuseo, an ode to Panama’s biodiversity.
If you haven’t renewed that passport yet…
Head to: Miami Beach, Florida
Average January high: 74 degrees
Weekly nonstop flights from DIA to Miami International Airport: 28 (from $83 round trip*)
The ocean isn’t the only beauty in Miami. Between South Beach’s art deco buildings (including a mansion seen in Scarface) and renowned museums (like the contemporary Bass, within a Frisbee toss of the shore), Miami Beach offers as much art as the Golden Triangle. But the Golden Triangle doesn’t have the Mandrake restaurant, where dishes such as Alaskan king crab and uni Inaniwa noodles, topped with flecks of real gold, make for masterpieces in their own rights.
*Ticket prices reflect round-trip price estimates on Kayak, searched on November 22, 2019.