Winter is all about one thing for many of us: hibernation. It’s one of the main reasons people can seem so much crankier and gloomier during the first few months of the year when plants are dead and animals seem to be in hiding. Many of us, from December through, say, March, don’t get our daily dose of nature while snuggled up in bed with chicken noodle soup and Theraflu.

So, naturally, our cure for the winter blues is to get out of the house and reconnect with America’s beautiful flora and fauna. There are ways to do it, even in these chilly next few weeks, if you simply know where to go. Below, we’ve compiled five great destinations to go if you feel the need to stop and smell the roses.

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY

The NYBG is open year-round and offers stunning walking paths that display the gorgeous frosted limbs and stems of its normally colorful and vibrant foliage. Want to get out of the cold? Not a problem. Their Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is among the best in the world, featuring all sorts of plants found in a variety of terrains, like desert cacti, lush rainforest shrubs and palms, as well as carnivorous and aquatic plants from around the world.

STAY: New York Hilton Midtown

Muir Woods, outside of San Francisco, CA

If you’ve never seen a Redwood forest, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. These towering trees are among the more majestic sights left in the modern world, and the feeling of tranquility and silence that surrounds these towering totems is truly divine. Muir Woods, just a short drive outside of San Francisco, is open year round and features remarkable paths that wind through some of the oldest living plants in the nation.

STAY: Hilton San Francisco Union Square


Arnold Arboretum, Boston, MA

Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum is a spectacle to behold year round: 281 acres of some of the best-kept wildlife habitats in the world. While it’s not exactly a warm getaway to visit Boston this time of year, the Arboretum in winter is dazzling with bright berries and magnificent evergreens. Tread quietly and you might even spot some winter critters between bushes.

STAY: Hilton Boston Downtown/Faneuil Hall


Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee, WI

The Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are three enormous dome-shaped greenhouses open year-round, each home to a different type of climate and corresponding flora: the Show Dome, Tropical Dome, and Desert Dome. Each provides an entirely different experience. Visit all three and leave with a new understanding and appreciation of just how varied and magnificent the world’s plants truly are.

STAY: Hilton Milwaukee City Center

Fontainebleau State Park outside New Orleans, LA

Located across the gorgeous Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans proper, this state park stretches for 2,800 acres. Fontainebleau State Park is home to some of the best swamp wildlife Louisiana has to offer, including but not limited to wild alligators and blue crabs. Come for the nature, stay for the beignets, in one of America’s tastiest, most fun cities!

STAY: Hilton New Orleans Riverside


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