The best gift this holiday season is the gift of spending time outdoors. Fall and winter are great for outdoor vacations because the summer crowds have dwindled, so most outdoor destinations are enjoyable and peaceful. It’s also an excellent time to think outside the box by gifting yourself or a loved one with an experience.
A recent study by GetYourGuide found that more than 90 percent of Americans would rather receive experiences over physical gifts if they could share them.
“With the holiday season upon us, along with the familiar rush to shop for gifts, our data is showing more and more people are choosing to share an unforgettable experience and create meaningful memories with their loved ones, instead of giving a physical gift,” said Madison Pietrowski, director of brand U.S. at GetYourGuide.
If you plan early, you can gift yourself or the traveler in your life an outdoor vacation for a great price. Here are the best flight deals for experiencing the outdoors this holiday season.
The Grand Canyon
The off-season months, or “the secret season,” for the Grand Canyon ranges from December through January. Visiting in the winter is calmer compared to the spring and summer months. There’s also the chance for winter weather, which means there’s a chance to see the Grand Canyon from a different and unique perspective.
There are a few options that will get you to the Grand Canyon. People flying can choose Arizona’s Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Phoenix’s Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport or Utah’s St. George Regional Airport.
The cheapest flights are to and from Phoenix. Flights from San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Portland, Houston and Seattle are less than $150 round-trip in November and less than $200 round-trip in December, according to Skyscanner. People departing from Denver have the cheapest option, according to Expedia. Use Nov. 15 through Nov. 22 for a round-trip ticket for less than $100. Round-trip flights on Dec. 12 through Dec. 20 are less than $75.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is the fifth-oldest national park in the country. While the temperatures drop in the fall and winter months, the trees maintain their majestic shape and green color underneath the snow. The National Park is full of winter recreation, making it the perfect destination for snow lovers. It’s common to find people skiing or packing snowshoes to walk the snow-covered trails.
The largest city closest to Crater Lake is Bend, Oregon. From Bend, Oregon, it takes a little less than two hours by car to get to Crater Lake. It is the best place to stay overnight because park lodging is limited. Crater Lake Lodge is a historic accommodation at the national park, but it fills up quickly.
Flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas are less than $450 round-trip this November. Flights in December go down, with round-trip flights to Bend from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston being less than $400. San Francisco is the cheapest option in November and December, according to Expedia. Use Nov. 11 through Nov. 15 as your travel dates for a ticket priced around $350 round-trip. Use Dec. 8 through Dec. 11 for a round-trip ticket at the same price point.
Another outdoor bucket list destination that’s perfect in the fall and winter months is Joshua’s Tree because the summer and fall crowds have dwindled. A light jacket is needed; however, visitors will not have to use it during hiking activities, a highlight of visiting the national park.
Joshua’s Tree has a hike or trail for every skill level. There are walks and nature trails that take less than one hour and moderate hikes for people for up to two hours. Strenuous hikers can stay in the great outdoors for up to three days. Pick your walk on the National Park Service website.
The best way to get there is by car. Travelers flying in first should travel to Palm Springs International Airport or Los Angeles International Airport. The cheapest options are in and out of Los Angeles.
Round-trip flights from Las Vegas, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Denver, Memphis and Washington, D.C., are less than $200 in November and less than $200 in December. Some of the best options depart from Atlanta, according to Expedia. Use Nov. 8 through Nov. 22 for a round-trip ticket from Atlanta to Los Angeles for around $150. Use Dec. 18 through Dec. 27 for a round-trip ticket priced below $250.
The Smoky Mountains
Tennessee’s ski mountain has attractions that will entertain people outdoors in the fall. There’s skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, indoor ice skating, a downhill mountain coaster and more. Travelers who want to experience the outdoors from a distance can ride the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway or head to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle for excitement.
The closest airport to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee. This November, flights from Chicago, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Denver, Austin, New York, Boston, Dallas and New Orleans are less than $200 round-trip. In December, flights from West Palm Beach, Houston, Austin, Tampa, New York, Las Vegas and Dallas are also less than $200 round-trip on Skyscanner. Orlando offers the best flight deals, according to Expedia. Use Nov. 22 through Nov. 27 for a round-trip ticket priced below $150. Use Dec. 4 through Dec. 11 for a round-trip for less than $100.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
For those who don’t want to see snow or feel the cold temperatures, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a warm alternative that will leave visitors in awe. The park protects some of the world’s most unique, cherished cultural landscapes.
From sea level to 13,680 feet, the park encompasses the summits of the world’s most active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. It is a designated International Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over half of the park is wilderness, which provides travelers with plenty of hiking and camping opportunities.
The nearest airport is Hilo International Airport, and it will take almost an hour to get there from the airport. Visitors should expect long lines before entering, congestion, and minimal parking at Nāhuku and the summit of Kīlauea between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. through early January.
Flights from Oakland, San Francisco, Denver, and Durham are less than $500 round-trip in November. For an even better deal, flights from Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. are less than $475 round-trip. For the best deals, book into January. Round-trip flights from Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles are less than $450. The cheapest options depart from Los Angeles. Use Nov. 12 through Nov. 20 for a round-trip ticket for less than $500 with Expedia. Use Dec. 11 through Dec. 21 as your travel dates for a round-trip ticket for less than $400.
Our editors love finding you the best products and offers! If you purchase something by clicking on one of the affiliate links on our website, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
Source link : travelnoire.com