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Where to Travel If the Groundhog Sees His Shadow—or If He Doesn’t

BY: Andy Seifert | Jan 30, 2015

Every February 2nd, with cameras flashing and millions of people holding their breath, the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil pops out from a bunker in Pennsylvania and peeks around for his shadow. If you’re willing to believe in the prognostications of a fidgety rodent, we should have a good idea whether the next six weeks will give us more winter, if the groundhog sees his shadow, or a quick transition to spring.

Why not use the groundhog’s clairvoyance to plan a vacation for February or March? Here are three destinations for both scenarios.

If the Groundhog Sees His Shadow: Plan a Trip to Escape a Long Winter

New Orleans, Louisiana

Escape the cold and explore Big Easy’s sub-tropical swamplands, which usually see mild temperatures in February. It’s perfect weather for strolling through the French Quarter. Parades are just about to kick off for Mardi Gras in New Orleans; this year’s Fat Tuesday is on February 28, and the party (and hangover) stretches throughout the month.

Check out our lists of the best New Orleans spas and best étoufée in New Orleans, too.

Sydney, Australia

If the groundhog sees his shadow and we’re in for six more weeks of brutal winter, then maybe it’s time to go someplace where it isn’t winter and there are no groundhogs. It’s currently summer in Sydney, where the coastal, temperate climate keeps temperatures around the mid-70s. 

 Whistler, British Columbia

Instead of avoiding the cold, why not just embrace it? Whistler Blackcomb was named the best Ski Resort in North America by Active Times. Snowboard, ski, or ride the gondola at this highly regarded resort, home to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Afterward, raise a pint to the groundhog at one of the pubs in Whistler Village.

If the Groundhog Doesn’t See His Shadow: Plan a Trip to Celebrate the Early Arrival of Spring

Napa Valley, California

Summer is Napa Valley’s peak season, but it’s still worth a visit in early spring, when the region’s wild mustard fields start to bloom and the vineyards begin to green. The wineries stay open year-round, making the early spring months an advantageous time to sample the wine sans the summer crowds.

Texas Hill Country

An early spring means a bluebonnet season starts sooner in the Texas Hill Country; the violet-blue flowers typically bloom around mid-March. In the off chance that there are no early bluebonnets, the region will still charm you with its rolling ranches and German heritage.

See which Texas city's bluebonnet festival made our list of the top 5 spring flower festivals in the US.

Charleston, South Carolina

The weather is pretty pleasant to begin with in Charleston, but an early spring would amplify it even more. It’s been named one of the world’s friendliest cities by Condé Nast Traveler, and the area’s magnolia trees, azaleas, and oceanfront setting create a picturesque background for its colorful mansions.

Related Reads from the The Guide:

Five Places It s Already Summer


Five Places It's Already Summer