California Flower Super Blooms: Top 10 Places to See Them

Super Blooms

The state of California is blessed with diverse landscapes and a Mediterranean climate that transforms into a flowery paradise during the flower super blooms. From the arid expanses of Death Valley to the coastal beauty of Carrizo Plain, California’s wildflower displays captivate the senses and draw in nature lovers, perfect for brightening up your Instagram feeds.

Every decade or so, the Golden State lives up to its title as a splash of vibrance colors most of the state, providing you with some alternative Spring Break locations. If you’ve always thought of the California desert as drab and boring, get ready to pack up this spring and head to these vivid locations to see the Southwest in a whole new light – or color, if you will! It’ll give you a newfound love for nature.

Here’s our Top 10 Places to See the California Flower Super Blooms

  1. Joshua Tree National Park
  2. Borrego Springs
  3. Lake Elsinore
  4. Coachella Valley Preserve
  5. Valley of the Giants
  6. Death Valley National Park
  7. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
  8. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  9. Carrizo Plain National Monument
  10. Table Mountain

1. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is an incredible place to visit at any time of the year, but what makes it extra special this year is that the entirety of the super bloom’s beauty can be enjoyed during a leisurely car ride. That’s right, no hiking required. It makes this the best spot on our list for those with mobility issues or small children who can’t hike for hours to see the beautiful sights.

You don’t have to worry if you’re looking for a trek either. Virtually every trail is dotted with beautiful flowers, allowing for an entire day to be spent at this gorgeous flower wonderland.

2. Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs, CA, USA

Head down to the peaceful town of Borrego Springs if you’re looking for some incredible desert blooms. There is something surreal about seeing a kaleidoscope of colorful yellow and purple flowers growing out of the sand.  It almost doesn’t seem possible!

Getting to see this unique beauty in Borrego Springs will not only feed the beauty lover in you but the science lover as well. Here you can enjoy a collection of primrose, lily, and dandelion flowers in a variety of shades, growing out of the most unsuspecting places.

3. Lake Elsinore

Poppy Fields at Lake Elsinore, Temecula, USA

The hills are alive with the smell of poppies! All around Lake Elsinore and throughout Walker Canyon, the hillsides are covered with delicate orange poppies that are so vibrant it appears as though the landscape is on fire. It’s an incredible sight.

While you’re there, please treat the area with respect. We know it will be hard not to frolic amongst the flowers, but state officials are urging visitors to stay on marked paths to avoid crushing the sensitive blooms. They’re beautiful bits of nature to be cherished.

4. Coachella Valley Preserve

This area is just calling to flower enthusiasts; even the road leading into Coachella Valley Preserve is lined with flowers. Travel along any of the many trails to spot desert sunflowers, sand verbena, brown-eyed primrose, and Schott’s Indigo bush to name a few.

If those aren’t enough, you’ll find a variety of annual and perennial plants and wildflowers in Indian Canyon which skirts the edges of the valley. Catch these wildflowers while you can!

5. Valley of the Giants

If you’re willing to travel a bit further south of Baja, California into Mexico, you’ll be rewarded with a 60-mile stretch of beauty straight out of a Western postcard. Bask in the allure of brilliant lavender wildflowers set against the towering saguaro cacti in the Valley of the Giants. Then, when this scene has begun to pale, head north to follow the wildflowers as they bloom throughout Southern California. You’ll be left breathless, in awe of nature.

6. Death Valley National Park

Desert Gold by the road, Death Valley National Park, United States

Amidst the extremes of Death Valley, a super bloom can turn the usually harsh landscape into a canvas of wildflowers in Death Valley National Park. When significant rainfall occurs, a variety of desert flowers, including the rare desert gold, burst into bloom, transforming the hottest place on Earth into a mesmerizing and unexpected floral spectacle.

The park’s expansive Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, contrasts with the vibrant blooms, creating a surreal and photogenic scene. Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point offer elevated perspectives for capturing the vastness of the blooming desert below. The eye-catching colors against the rugged desert backdrop makes for a truly surreal experience.

7. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, USA

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve transforms into a breath-taking sea of orange poppies during the spring months. Blanketing the desert landscape, the poppies create a vivid and awe-inspiring display, drawing visitors from far and wide.

The poppies open their petals during the day, creating a dynamic landscape that shifts in color as the sunlight changes. The California Poppy Festival, held annually in nearby Lancaster, celebrates the beauty of the poppy bloom with various events and activities. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, located in the Mojave Desert, is pure bliss for nature photographers seeking the perfect shot amidst the gorgeous blooms.

8. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza Borrego State Park, Borrego Springs, CA

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, known for its expansive desert terrain, experiences stunning super blooms after periods of rainfall. Wildflowers, including desert lilies and primroses, carpet the arid landscape, creating a striking contrast to the usual dry scenery. The diverse flora, showcasing an array of colors, attracts visitors to the fleeting beauty of the desert in full bloom at Anza-Borrego State Park.

The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, in particular, provides an opportunity to witness both blooming wildflowers and native fan palms. Visitors can also explore the park’s Visitor Center for information on current bloom conditions and recommended viewing locations.

9. Carrizo Plain National Monument

Spring wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument, Santa Margarita, CA

Carrizo Plain National Monument, situated in the Central Valley of California, can experience impressive super blooms, particularly after periods of sufficient rainfall. The valley floor becomes a canvas of wildflowers, featuring vibrant hues that extend as far as the eye can see. The expansive and remote nature of Carrizo Plain adds to the allure of witnessing this natural beauty in a tranquil setting.

Soda Lake, within the monument, can reflect the vibrant hues of the wildflowers, adding to the visual spectacle. The monument’s remoteness enhances the sense of tranquility, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the blooming landscape.

10. Table Mountain

Flower Super Blooms at Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, Oroville, Ca

Table Mountain, located near Oroville, California, is famous for its annual wildflower bloom. The plateau erupts with a diverse array of flowers, including poppies, lupines, and goldfields, creating a palette of colors against the backdrop of volcanic rocks. The vernal display attracts hikers and nature lovers eager to witness the stunning beauty of Table Mountain’s springtime transformation.

The intricate patterns of volcanic rocks, such as basalt columns, create a striking contrast against the vibrant blooms. Hiking trails like the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve Loop offer opportunities to explore the diverse flora and appreciate the geological features of the area.

As these landscapes burst into an array of colors, each Californian destination presents a unique and unforgettable spectacle, showcasing the remarkable diversity and natural wonders that make the Golden State a premier destination for floral enthusiasts.

If you’re thinking of traveling during this period, why not take a look at our Spring Break airport hotel deals and coupons to see whether we can save you extra money.

And before you jet off for the Californian sun and desert landscapes, be sure to check out our airport hotel & parking packages.


Photos by:
Elliott EngelmannUnsplash | Tiff CatUnsplashZetong LiUnsplash | Jack DengUnsplash | Pamela HeckelUnsplashKatie RodriguezUnsplash | Pamela HeckelUnsplash | Deanna Lewis – Unsplash

Alternative Christmas Food Traditions Across the US

Are you looking for some Christmas food ideas to enjoy with the family this year? With Thanksgiving now over, it’s time to think about the big day on December 25th, and what better way to celebrate than with non-traditional American foods! Here are some fun Christmas food ideas from traditions that happen across the US from various cultures.

Mexican Christmas

First, we will look at the Southwest and the neighboring country of Mexico. It’s common for Hispanic families living in the US to make several dishes to celebrate Christmas, including flavoursome Tamales. Mexican Christmas food isn’t the same without them, and the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy these delicious, wrapped parcels filled with a tasty centre. They are prevalent in southern states such as Texas and New Mexico.

Mexican Tamales prepared for Christmas

The cooking process for Tamales is often long, taking around six hours to cook a 10-pound Pork. This gives the meat time to tenderize, so it falls apart when being eaten. Added to this is a variety of seasonings, including red chilli peppers (pequin), garlic and Comino. The more spices added, the better! The spicy filling is then rolled into Masa, a Spanish dough created from fire-dried corn kernels that have been cooked thoroughly in limewater. After plenty of prepping and cooking the filling, the Tamales are ready to be steamed for around 30-45 minutes in their corn husk shells.

If you are interested in a sweeter treat from our neighboring Mexico, we recommend either Conchas or Mexican Cinnamon cookies known as Hojarascas.

Mexican Hojarascas, crunchy and ready to eat

If you want to stick to the more traditional Western Christmas flavours, Hojarascas cookies incorporate the festive cinnamon flavour. This Mexican shortbread is the perfect addition to any home during the holidays, and if making a large batch it should last a while! Mexican Christmas food is incredibly versatile, so they also make great gifts to give to friends, and family, or to include in a holiday bake sale.

Conchas are another Mexican baked good that can house a variety of flavors, including chocolate, which commonly has a brown topping. They are consumed at any time of day, making them the perfect sweet to enjoy after a large Turkey dinner. Much like Tamales, Conchas need ample time set aside for preparing and cooking. We recommend allowing a day or so to prep for these recipes. Concha bread has a soft crumb, and aerated dough with the use of bread flour, or a denser crumb with all-purpose flour.

Traveling to see your family this Christmas to enjoy a Mexican feast? Don’t forget to pre-book your airport parking + hotel package with ParkSleepFly!


German traditions

Traveling across the pond to Germany, a tradition common for this country is Christstollen. German Christmas food can also be found across the US, and German settlers bring these recipes with them. Christstollen, better known as Stollen is a yeasted bread, filled with fruit, nuts and spices, dusted with powdered sugar.

Sumptuous Stollen, sliced and ready to enjoy

Some variations of Stollen exist, including Dresdner Stollen and Marzipanstollen, the former being the most popular at this time of year. The addition of Marzipan to traditional Stollen recipes adds a delicious almond flavouring, just don’t forget to age the Stollen for a few weeks to intensify the flavor!

If Stollen isn’t what you are wanting to add to your Christmas spread, but you still want German Christmas foods on your table, why not swap out Turkey for a Christmas Goose? Weihnachtsgans (Christmas Goose) makes a fantastic centrepiece if you are finding it difficult to get hold of a last-minute Turkey. This recipe can often take a few hours of roasting until cooked, so make sure there’s plenty of time for you to cook the Goose.

Warm, spiced Gluhwein served with Cinnamon & Orange

For the final touch to your German Christmas, a delicious glass of Gluhwein (mulled wine) is recommended by the log fire. This warming alcoholic beverage is comprised of red wine, seasonal spices, orange, and sugar and is heated on the burner to intensify the cinnamon and clove. This sweet, flavoursome drink is the perfect way to finish the day of your German Christmas.

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Festive Italian feasts

Journeying to the Mediterranean country of Italy, it’s go big or go home when it comes to Italian cuisine for Christmas. Italian Christmas food is full of flavor and guaranteed to fill you up, as they indulge in the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

This spread of fresh seafood is served on December 24 and is common amongst Italian-American families. It comprises either 7 different types of fish or a variety of fish prepared in 7 different ways, and it varies between families. Families usually choose between fresh pasta, soups and Gnocchi to serve their fish with.

Shellfish cooked and prepared for the feast

If you are looking to host friends this holiday season, another Italian Christmas food we recommend is a Charcuterie spread. These are perfect for larger gatherings and mean your visitors can pick and choose from the foods they want to eat.

Suggestions for inclusion on a Charcuterie spread are having the main cheese staple. We recommend Burrata or Fresh sliced Mozzarella. These pair best with cured meats, olives, and tomatoes. For more exotic flavours, Parmigiano-Reggiano with cured meat, honey, grapes, and pears/figs is sure to be a winner.

Delectable Charcuterie spread with various cheeses and meats

Natale Lunch, or ‘Italian Christmas Lunch’ is typically served on Christmas Day. This feast includes starters, which are various cured meat platters, crostini, (toasted bread) and panzerotti (miniature calzone). Following this is 3 other courses, first, second and finally an extravagant dessert.

Families usually gather to feed many mouths in Italian culture, and Christmas is no exception to this. From chicken broth to pasta with clams, all the freshest ingredients are used, and all dishes are made from scratch. To finish off Natale lunch desserts include Panettone, Pandoro and Ferratelle.

Pre-book your airport parking lot space with ParkSleepFly today and avoid the rush before Christmas.


Christmas in China

Chinese culture doesn’t tend to celebrate Christmas and often uses this day to enjoy their favourite western take-out food. KFC is very popular this time of year! However, if you are wanting to incorporate more traditional Chinese food on Christmas this year, here are a few options.

Chicken or Peanut Lo Mein is a quick and easy dish to cook and serve and would be perfect for Christmas Eve. This dish is slightly healthier than the Chow Mein alternative and uses more vegetables and protein to bulk out the coated noodles. The Lo Mein sauce also provides a bolder flavour, guaranteeing your Holiday guests a feast of flavours this festive season. The cooking method of Lo Mein is also different, which includes a difference in the technique of using the Wok. Why not give it a go this year for a Chinese Christmas treat?

Seasoned Lo Mein, perfect for Christmas Eve

Incorporating flavours from different parts of the world is a great way to experience Christmas from other cultures, and Chinese Dumplings can also experiment with flavours and fillings. Steamed dumplings are a very popular dish from the East and serving them with a spiced cranberry sauce is one way to enjoy them.

Dumplings are a great way to use up those leftovers from a Christmas Eve party, so if you’re hosting for the holidays this is a great way to use ingredients you already have in your larder! Grab that leftover stuffing and pop it into some dumpling wrapper for a Chinese starter in your 3 course Christmas spread.

Chinese dumplings after steaming and bursting with flavor

Much like Denmark, Duck is a firm favourite in Chinese culture during the holiday period. The use of Peking sauce differentiates it from the European recipe. Chinese five-spice and aromatic seasonal spices coat the Duck whilst cooking and are usually served with Cucumber, Scallions, and Mandarin Style pancakes. There are plenty of recipes for Peking Duck available, so why not try out a new tradition this Christmas and give Peking Duck a go?

Want to celebrate Christmas with delicious Chinese dishes and the whole family? Book your airport parking with ParkSleepFly and guarantee your lot space.


Succulent Swedish dishes

Finally, we travel to Sweden, where there are even more flavours to behold and inspire you for your holiday lunch this year. No Swedish Christmas is complete without the traditional Ham served with Kale. Swedish Christmas food utilises the Julskinka (Christmas Ham) as the centrepiece of the dining table. Glazed with mustard and breadcrumbs after boiling, Swedes tuck into their Ham and serve it alongside Långkål (creamed kale).

Swedish glazed Ham usually served with creamed Kale

To finish Christmas Day, we recommend indulging in a hot glass of Glogg by the log fire. Similar to the German Gluhwein as mentioned above, this wine-based drink is enriched with spices to warm you up after a winter’s day walk.

The recipe for Glogg differs slightly, by utilising Sauternes and aquavit, and is also enriched with raisins and almonds. Simply simmer this recipe on the stove for 15 minutes, and it is ready to enjoy!

Get a well-rested night in before your trip with a ParkSleepFly airport hotel + parking package before flying home for Christmas!

The US Ski Index

US Ski Index Blog Header

Where are the best ski destinations in the US?

There’s so much to see and do across the US throughout all seasons of the year, but during the winter months nothing beats the thrill of skiing, and you may be surprised to hear that there are more than 500 ski resorts in the US.

Whether you are traveling from Los Angeles International (LAX) or Boston Logan (BOS), the US is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world, so you are sure to find the perfect one for you.

No matter your abilities, whether you’re a pro on the slopes or a complete novice, this report reveals the best ski resorts across the US, analyzing factors such as annual snowfall, customer reviews, and the cost of a ski pass.

The Best Ski Resorts in the US for 2023/2024

Breckenridge, Colorado – Overall Ski Index Score 8.81

In the top spot is the historic mining town of Breckenridge, Colorado. In the summertime, this resort is alive with plenty of family-friendly activities, and during Fall Oktoberfest is often enjoyed. However, it is during the winter months that the resort transforms into a seasonal wonderland.

Scoring 8.81, this resort has a lot to offer with a total slope length of 153km and 284” of snowfall 2020/2021 season. The resort is also popular on Instagram with over 930,000 mentions, making it easy for you to identify grid-worthy parts of the resort before you go.

Vail, Colorado – Overall Ski Index Score 8.22

Out of the top three resorts shown, Vail has the longest length of slope at 234km and adult season passes start at the same price as those for Breckenridge at $859. Vail also saw 218” of snowfall during the 2020/2021 season. On social media, Vail isn’t as popular as the other top two resorts, however, it is still well known with 228,281 mentions on Instagram.

Park City, Utah – Overall Ski Index Score 8.16

In third place is Park City, in Utah, the only resort in the top five from outside of Colorado.

Park City is one of the country’s major destinations for skiers and has hosted the U.S. Ski Team for training camps. It is also the most Instagrammable resort on this list (1.3 million posts), and the joint biggest in terms of the length of its slopes (250km).

US Ski Index Table

The Longest Ski Slopes

US Ski Index Longest Ski Slopes

Park City, Utah & Big Sky, Montana – Length of Slope 250km

When it comes to sheer scale, two resorts are tied in first place, each with a total slope length of around 250km.

The first is Park City, Utah, which is the largest lift-served ski resort in the country, after being combined with the neighboring Canyons Resort via a gondola.

The other is Big Sky in Montana, which is also the second-largest ski resort in the US by acreage, with more than 5,800 acres of coverage.

The Ski Resorts with the Cheapest Season Passes

US Ski Index Cheapest Season Passes

Arapahoe Basin – Adult Ski Pass From $599

The cheapest resort for an unlimited season pass for adults is the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, with a price of $599.

A-Basin is an alpine resort in the Rocky Mountains and is of great value as it has a longer season than most, staying open until early June or sometimes, July.

The Ski Resorts with the Most Snowfall

US Ski Index Most Snowfall

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Average snowfall 437”

With 437” of snow in the 2020/2021 season, Jackson Hole resort tops the list as the snowiest resort. Plenty of snow makes the destination perfect for a ski trip, or for a magical winter experience. The views of the mountains and snow-filled wonderland are perfect for the grid and according to our research, the place is pretty picture-perfect with 973,997 mentions on Instagram.

The Most Insta-Worthy Ski Resort

US Ski Index Insta Worthy

Park City, Utah – 1,313,970 Instagram Hashtags

When looking at popularity on Instagram we discovered that the most mentioned resort was Park City in Utah, with over 1,000,000 hashtags! This resort offers amazing landscape views of the surrounding resorts of Deer Valley and Utah Olympic Park, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics. The scenery makes for awesome pictures so it’s no surprise that Park City made the first position.

The Most In-Demand Ski Resorts

US Ski Index Most in Demand

Heavenly, California – 823,000 Avg. Monthly Searches

Heavenly Ski Resort in California takes the top spot when it comes to average monthly Google searches, with a total of 823,000. 246,000 of these searches come from the US alone and perhaps it’s no wonder; with breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, it is an incredible place to ski and simply take in the scenery.

Now you have all of the details you need to choose the best ski experience for you and your family to enjoy, we hope you have an awesome time on the slopes.

Methodology

In total 523 ski resorts in the US were refined down to 50 based on those with the highest review scores as of October 17th, 2022, according to Skiresort.info.

Each ski resort was ranked on the following factors and was given a normalized score out of 10 before creating an average overall score.

  • Length of Slopes was sourced from Skiresort.info
  • The number of Ski Lifts was sourced from Skiresort.info
  • Adult Ski Pass Price was sourced from On the Snow. Where resort details were unavailable prices were retrieved directly from the resort website.
  • Instagram Hashtags were sourced from Instagram and are based on the number of posts mentioning the resort. Instagram research was undertaken between 16/09/2022 to 19/09/2022. The mentions of resorts with generic names included more specific phrases e.g. ‘heavenlyskiresort’.
  • Snowfall was sourced from On the Snow and the total snowfall for the 20/21 ski season was analyzed.

The Winter Sun Index

Winter Sun Index Blog Header

The best destinations in the US and around the world to enjoy some winter sunshine

As the colder months are starting to settle in, you may find yourself dreaming of a sunny escape. Whether you are longing for a January holiday in Dubai or a sun-kissed Christmas vacation in Thailand, there are a variety of winter sun destinations to choose from.

Destinations across the US, from Los Angeles to Orlando, alongside worldwide seasonal vacation favorites, have been analyzed on their winter temperatures, precipitation rates, sunshine hours, and average hotel prices to reveal the best US and global locations for a winter sun vacation.

This report also reveals the best winter sun destinations in terms of hotel affordability, so that you can top up your vitamin D without breaking the bank!

The best winter sun vacation destinations in the US

Winter Sun Index US Top 3

1. Phoenix, Arizona – 7.88/10

Ranking as the best destination in the US for a winter sun vacation is Phoenix, Arizona. On average, vacationers in Phoenix can lounge in 8.66 hours of daily sunshine through the winter months. Phoenix is known for its stunning year-round sun and warm average temperatures, owing to its nickname the Valley of the Sun.

Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and is well known for being home to high-end spa resorts, golf courses, and nightclubs. Phoenix also shows off some truly incredible landscapes surrounding the city with beautiful hiking trails to explore.

2. Miami, Florida – 7.54/10

Miami is the second-best winter destination for sun worshippers in the US. Enjoy a pleasant 7 hours of sun per day in Miami during the winter months, and a tropical average temperature of 70.34 °F. Miami likewise ranks as the most popular US winter destination on Instagram, having seen over 84 million hashtags on the social media platform.

On top of this, Miami is home to many high-end hotels and a truly mind-blowing skyline. Party-goers and sun worshippers flock to Miami year-round to enjoy its pristine beaches and non-stop nightlife under the sun.

3. Orlando, Florida – 6.95/10

Ranking as the third best US destination for winter sun is Orlando, Florida. Orlando offers mild weather conditions during the winter months, with average temperatures hitting 61.70°F and an average of 6.68 hours of sunlight each day. Furthermore, Orlando offers some of the cheapest hotels on this list at just $87 per night!

Orlando is a great winter sun vacation for thrill-seekers and movie-buffs alike. Home to over a dozen theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

Winter Sun Index US Table

The best winter sun vacation destinations across the world

Winter Sun Index Global Top 3

1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 8.38/10

Dubai ranks as the best destination in the world for a winter sun vacation. Visitors to Dubai can expect to bask in 8.82 hours of sunlight each day during the winter months, with average temperatures reaching a comfortable 68.84 °F. Dubai is by far the most popular winter sun destination of those studied, seeing over 111 million Instagram hashtags and the most winter-related Google searches for things to do, reaching over 55,000.

Dubai is probably best known for its ultramodern architecture, including The Burj Khalifa. Dubai’s most iconic building stands at 830m tall, making it the tallest building in the world.

2. Bangkok, Thailand – 8.11

The runner-up for the best winter sun vacation city in the world is Bangkok. Bangkok offers an average of 9.06 hours of sunlight each day in winter. With average temperatures reaching a friendly 63.80 °F Bangkok is ideal for warm and sunny winter escapes. Bangkok is also ideal for those on a budget, with average hotel stays costing around $68 per night.

Bangkok is unique in the way its impressive Buddhist temples contrast with its vibrant nightlife scenes. Bangkok is a hub of cultural and exciting activity from the Grand Palace to Khaosan Road. Sweltering hot all year round, Bangkok is a great city to visit during the winter months when the weather is cooler but still pleasant.

3. Cape Town, South Africa – 7.72

Ranking in third place is Cape Town. For those looking to vacation in Cape Town, sunlight hours average 10.22 each day, from December through to February. Despite these extended sunny days, average temperatures reach 67.46 °F and Cape Town sees a low average of 0.70” of rainfall over winter. Lying beneath the impressive Table Mountain, Cape Town is most known for its bustling harbor and warm weather.

Winter Sun Index Global Table

Winter destinations with the cheapest hotels per night in the US

Winter Sun Index Cheapest Hotels Top 3

1. Orlando, Florida – $87

Not only does Orlando rank as the third-best US destination for a winter sun vacation but it also ranks as the cheapest when looking at average hotel costs. Orlando will see you spend an average of $87 per night on your hotel stay during the months of December through to February.

2. Phoenix, Arizona – $106

Phoenix ranks as the best winter sun destination in the US, and for good reason, with an abundance of sunshine throughout the winter months. Phoenix also ranks as the second most affordable destination in terms of hotel prices, which average $106 per night.

3. Lafayette, Louisiana – $107

The US winter vacation destination that sees the third cheapest hotel prices is Lafayette; here prices average $107 per night. In Lafayette, you can enjoy over 6 hours of sun per day, making it an ideal destination for some winter sun.

Winter destinations with the most expensive hotels per night in the US

Winter Sun Index Most Expensive Hotels Top 3

1. Palm Beach, Florida – $919

At the other end of the scale is Palm Beach. Despite offering an excellent 6.66 hours of sunlight per day at a toasty 68.24 °F, the destination is met with significant hotel costs, averaging $919 per night between December and February.

2. Miami, Florida – $523

Ranking as the second most expensive winter sun destination in terms of hotel prices is Miami. For a price tag of $523 per night, Miami offers some serious winter heat of 70.34 °F alongside a total of 7 hours of sunlight every day.

3. Kailua, Hawaii – $339

Kailua, Hawaii is hotter than Miami, where average temperatures hit around 72.92 °F during the winter months. However, those that desire to soak up these temperatures should expect to pay $339 for a hotel per night.

Winter destinations with the cheapest hotels per night outside the US

Winter Sun Index Cheapest Hotels Global Top 3

1. Murcia, Spain – $56

Murcia, Spain, offers the cheapest average nightly hotel rate from December through to February. Here stays during the festive period average $56 per night. Paired with 7.35 hours of daily sunlight, this destination is perfect for a winter sun getaway.

2. Palma de Mallorca, Spain – $64

In Palma de Mallorca during the winter you can laze in 6.64 hours of sunlight each day for a nightly price of $64. At a cooler 52.40 °F during the winter, Palma de Mallorca is a popular winter vacation.

3. Palermo, Italy – $66

The capital of the popular Italian island of Sicily, Palermo, ranks as the third cheapest location to chase the winter sun, coming in at just $66 per night. For this price, you get 5.37 hours of sun each day.

Winter destinations with the most expensive hotels per night outside the US

Winter Sun Index Most Expensive Hotels Global Top 3

1. Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda – $574

Saint John’s is the capital city of Antigua and attracts visitors from around the globe. Saint John’s tropical temperatures of 77.42 °F and 8.21 hours of sun come at a significant price tag of $574 per night during winter, the most expensive hotel price on this list.

2. Nassau, Bahamas – $457

Nassau is a popular cruise ship stop with clean beaches and attractive offshore coral reefs. However, the dreamy 73.04 °F heat during winter in Nassau will set visitors back $457 per night on average.

3. Saint George’s, Grenada – $377

At Saint George’s, Granada, you can enjoy warm temperatures of 78.68 °F for an average of 8.57 hours of sun each day from December to February. However, such weather offerings come at a price, with hotels costing around $377 per night.

Methodology

A seed list of 60 global and US cities was created from northern-hemisphere winter vacation listicles including trip, dottedglobe, sunshine, and holidu.

Average winter temperatures (°F), average winter precipitation (inches) rates, and average daily winter sunshine hours were retrieved from climate-data.org, calculated to give data for the winter months of December, January, and February.

“City Winter” annual searches and “City Things to Do” during winter were taken from Google Keywords. “City Winter” annual searches were recorded as annual results for each keyword. “City things to do” were taken as winter searches (from December, January, and February) for each keyword.

Average nightly hotel costs were taken from Kayak by calculating the average costs of hotels from December, January, and February. All currency conversions were made on the 28th of October 2022.

The ‘Winter Holiday Score’ was created by giving each factor a normalized rank and then combining these scores. US cities were included in the global ranking. A separate ranking was also created for US cities in isolation.

The Best US Festivals to Visit this Fall

Fall is fast approaching; the summer sun is winding down. and the latter end of the year is gearing up for the next few months of festive cheer. From Halloween thrills to Thanksgiving spreads, there’s something special about Fall in the US. Looking for your next adventure for the last half of the year? Here are some of the top fall festivals to add to your next trip.


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

For 9 whole days, from October 7 – 15, Albuquerque puts on a spectacular display for the International Balloon Fiesta. This 60+ acre area launches over 500 hot air balloons into the sky in a mass ascension. Known for being one of the most photographed events in the world, it’s surely not to be missed this year. This event is perfect for those with children, as there is a myriad of activities to participate in as well as watching the balloons ascend into the sky.

Getting to and from

For ease of access in and out of the balloon park, the event provides park & ride services, meaning you can park at a partnered location and hop on the shuttle to take you to the festival park. Make sure to check the schedule for the day you intend to attend and remember that tickets cannot be purchased at the remote lots, so pre-booking is essential!

Activities

Other activities include the opening ceremony, drone light shows, firework displays and chainsaw carving. Displays run from as early as 5:45am up until 8:00pm at the latest. The balloon fiesta also plays host to the music fiesta, with headline artists providing a truly amazing atmosphere whilst watching the balloons fill the skyline.

Local and national performers also attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, including a military brass band, and differing genres of music. Main Street is home to strolling performers, with Native American dancers celebrating the New Mexico culture. Look out for the Mariachi troupes and Flamenco dancers too!

Hospitality

For a truly first-class experience of the balloon fiesta, why not upgrade to the Gondola Club VIP experience? You can benefit from A gourmet buffet, shuttle service to and from the park, souvenir gifts and the best views of the launch field. Other hospitality choices include the Chaser Club or glamping/camping. If you want a true camping experience, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta also allows visitors to bring in their own food and drink in soft-sided coolers. The only prohibited items include alcohol and glass.


Cincinnati Oktoberfest (Zinzinnati)

Fancy a long weekend-style trip to Cincinnati this year? Look no further than the Zinzinnati Oktoberfest from September 14-17. Taking place at 5th Street Downtown, this change of location brings even more fun to the festival this year as it gets bigger and better for 2023.

Food & Drink

Southwest Ohio celebrates its deep-rooted German culture with this 4-day weekend extravaganza, making it the perfect weekend to take a trip to this busy city. Expect a range of food and drinks, including Metts, Sauerkraut balls, bratwurst, pretzels, and strudel. Not to mention, all the German beers you can think of are included in this free city event!

Getting to and from

There aren’t any official parking partners with this event, however, it is advised to pre-book parking in the city centre ahead of the event. If you are traveling from out of the city, there are also many transport links within Cincinnati to get you to and from the event, especially if you want to enjoy the local brews and beers the event has to offer!

Activities

As well as the overwhelming choice of food and drink (you will never go hungry), there is a range of activities that are family-friendly at this city event. The famous ‘Running of the Wieners’ is expected to kick off this year’s event, much like in past years. This race is specific to our four-legged wiener friends, all of whom are usually dressed in hot dog costumes! Last year’s winner was Maple, a 1-year-old miniature dachshund that took home a Petsmart gift card worth $75. This one is especially good for the children to watch!

To get a head start on the Oktoberfest celebrations, the pre-event the week prior is the Gemütlichkeit Games (goodwill). Located at Fountain Square, you can watch this fantastic community celebration where contestants are challenged to participate in the Dachshund derby, beer barrel rolling, beer sein racing, log sawing races and nail hammering races.

Other fun activities include the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and the Sam Adams Stein Hoist competition.


Columbus Oktoberfest

If you want to make your time in Ohio worth the trip, you can also travel to Columbus for their Oktoberfest before attending the Cincinnati festival! Both festivals are only 1 hour 30 minutes from each other, and follow consecutively, starting with the Columbus celebrations. Taking place from September 8 – 10, this event takes a more traditional route for its German festivities.

Getting to and from

The city of Columbus once again offers a wide range of parking options which we highly recommend pre-booking before you visit. If you would prefer to really indulge in the event, the local city transport links are always a good idea when it comes to pre-planning your trip, meaning you can take full advantage and really soak up the culture of this yearly event.

Activities

This family-friendly event features a myriad of things to do, including the kick-off party at Hofbräuhaus Columbus, where you can enjoy food and traditional German beers whilst listening to live music. There is also the Oktoberfest Meiler Vier, a four-mile foot race that envelopes the fairgrounds, it is limited to 500 participants however, so get yourself signed up ASAP!

The main event of this Oktoberfest takes place at the Ohio Expo Center, housing traditional German beers, music, bands, and polka dancing. Strap on your finest Lederhosen and join in with the celebrations! There is also crafts and vendors for the kids, so you know you will never go hungry at this event, with plenty of things to keep the kids occupied too, including bouncy castles and face-painting.

Enjoy a bratwurst or two, frankfurters, German potato salad, Cream puffs, and German Sauerkraut. The best thing about Schmidt’s Columbus Oktoberfest is that admission is free, but parking is $10 per vehicle, so great if you are on a budget this year!


Duluth Fall Festival

Named one of the top 24 fall festivals in the US, the Duluth festival is another great activity to look at for something to do from September through to October. Comprising an opening parade, food, drink, trinket booths and a 5k road race, this festival is sure to get you in those fall feelings this year.

Getting to and from

Duluth is a reasonably small town to get around, and luckily a shuttle service is set up every year, meaning you can park and ride the event if you so wish! This means you aren’t sat in lengthy queues, potentially missing out on the opening ceremony. Parking near the festival site is extremely limited, so this is often the best way to get to and from the event. If wanting to watch the opening parade, it is recommended you arrive at the shuttle lot by 9am as the surrounding streets are closed for the parade.

Activities

Duluth fall festival has plenty to eat, drink, see and do for 2023. From cheerleader marching bands to electric jazz bands playing unique original songs, it’s the true culture of the Southwest injected into fall time – including traditional blues rock!

There’s no limit on food and drinks at this festival either, Duluth goes all out with 25-30 vendors expected to take part in this year’s event. Offerings include breakfast, lunch and dinner favourites, coffee, lemonade, breakfast biscuits, kettle corn, hamburgers and much more to suit all palates.

If you want to take home a special trinket from this fall-themed event, don’t forget to peruse the arts and crafts vendors, often selling homemade jewelry and trinkets that are sure to catch your eye! Knowing that all products have to be handmade makes this a truly awe-inspiring event, knowing you will take something home that is truly unique.


New York City Wine and Food Festival

New York is once again host to a spectacular wine and food festival this fall. From October 12 – 15, the big apple is THE place to be to try the latest in food and drink trends. This event is catered to adults, however, so we recommend this trip as an adult-only party and is ideal for friend groups and couples.

Getting to and from

NYC is a city that never sleeps, so you are guaranteed a great night with a lot of transport links to get to and from the New York City wine and food festival. With a subway system that never closes, you don’t have to worry about getting back to your hotel after a night of enjoying good wine and good food.

Activities

The NYC wine and food festival promises a plethora of activities to participate in, from Cocktail making master classes to a dinner hosted by your favourite chefs, you really don’t want to miss out on this one!

This fall festival promises a mix of signature events, walk-around tastings, demos and dining, and even master classes, allowing you to really get involved. CapitalOne also has exclusive cardholder access events, including a grand tasting package and a blue moon burger bash.


Pennsylvania’s National Apple Harvest Festival

Split over two separate weekends, October 7 & 8 and October 14 & 15, the Pennsylvania National Apple Harvest Festival is the perfect setting to get into the fall spirit. Arendtsville, PA is the heart of apple country and promises a wide range of tasting to be had.

Getting to and from

Much like the other festivals recommended in our guide, the National Apple Harvest Festival offers outlying parking fields with a shuttle bus service provided to get you to the festival grounds. This parking is included in your admission fee, so definitely worth parking and riding to the event! This festival is within driving distance from Washington D.C, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

Activities

This is the perfect fall festival for those with young families and adults alike, with a myriad of activities to participate in, including over 300 arts and crafts vendors, a huge selection of apple-themed food and drinks, hayrides, pony rides and even a petting zoo! The list is endless, so you and the kids are guaranteed to have a jam-packed weekend.

Alongside the many vendors and attractions to enjoy, you can try a variety of different foods and drinks local to the area, including Ribeye steak sandwiches, a full pork barbeque and vintage sodas, all whilst enjoying the live entertainment. The festival is open both weekends from 8am until 6pm and is held outdoors. Make sure to try all the apple-themed foods at this fall festival, and don’t forget a truly one-of-a-kind trinket from your favourite stalls!


Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor

Another great location to enjoy a fall festival this year is Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor. This annual food and spirits festival offers a diverse selection of food and drinks to try, perfect for the foodie in your life! This is an adult-only event, so best to leave the kids at home for this one.

Getting to and from

Occurring late October, from the 26 to the 28, the Harbor of Portland becomes a gateway to a spectacular offering of a variety of food and drinks to warm you up at the cool coastal town. Due to this being an event in the city, we recommend parking in the city and hopping on local transport to get to and from this event.

Activities

This fall festival is purely centred around food and drink and features live entertainment from local performers. Showing the culture of Maine, this is one for the food eccentrics and showcases the diversity of food and drink in Portland.

Starting with TOAST! This event allows you to meet top cocktail and spirit makers in Maine, followed by a Gourmet graze the next day. Featuring coffee, chocolate, and wine, you can also book an intimate cheese and chocolate tasting! This fall festival is rounded off by an OysterFest session, allowing you to truly indulge in what Portland City Harbor has to offer.


Flying into your fall festival?

Are you traveling in from further afield for a fall festival this year? Don’t forget to pre-book your airport parking with ParkSleepFly! We compare hundreds of airport parking lots across the US and can get you the best deal and dollars off your next reservation. Check out our offers before you fly out for your fall festival this year!