Best places to visit in February

written by Joanne Owen
updated 1/6/2023
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It's fair to say that February is unlikely to be anyone's favourite month of the year. It's an in-between time when the freshness of the new year is a dim memory, and brighter days still feel out of reach. As a result, it's the perfect month to banish in-between blues through taking a trip.

With that in mind, read on for our overview of the best places to visit in February. These travel tonics are sure to put a spring in your step. When you've decided where to go, browse our guidebooks to help you make the most of your trip.

1. Dominica, Nature Island of the Caribbean

Best for tropical adventures and rejuvenation

Verdant volcanic mountains. Cascading waterfalls, rivers and ravines. Beautiful black sand beaches unspoiled by unsightly mega-resorts. It's clear why Dominica is known as the Nature Island. This Eastern Caribbean treasure is nothing less than awe-inspiring. A place that stays in your soul, and sparks a desire to return — over and over.

Walkers come to hike the Waitukubuli Trail — the Caribbean's first long-distance walking network. With fourteen varied segments, the most adventurous walkers won't want to miss tackling the Boiling Lake trail.

Located in the UNESCO-designated Morne Trois Pitons National Park, this is the second largest lake of its kind in the world. Romantic nature-lovers will be enchanted by Freshwater Lake and Boeri Lake, which lie beyond the heights of Laudat village.

To the north, the Syndicate Nature Trail in Morne Diablotin National Park is a paradise for bird-lovers. With luck, you'll see the island's two endemic parrots — the imperial Sisserou, and the red-necked Jaco.

Meanwhile, divers come for Dominica's pristine reefs. Don't dive? Snorkel Champagne Reef or Tourcari Bay.

Alternatively, go on a boat trip. Given that Dominica is the only place in the world where sperm whales are resident year-round, you're guaranteed an extraordinary experience. And all the better if you visit in February, as peak whale sightings are between November and March.

In good news for culture vultures, February 2023 will see Mas Dominik — Dominica’s carnival — back to full strength for the first time since the pandemic. It runs from 14th January, with events culminating on 22nd February.

Make the most of your time in Dominica 

Where to stay

  • Best for beachfront bliss: Picard Beach Cottages. Cute, well-equipped cabins with on-site whale-watching.
  • Best for chic sustainability: Sea Cliff Eco Cottages. Welcoming, stylish, and close to vibrant Calibishie.
  • Best for back-to-nature luxury: Jungle Bay. Gorgeous grounds and breath-taking views over the south coast.

Discover more places to stay in Dominica.

Dominica is one of the best places to visit in February for nature, rejuvenation and events © Shutterstock

2. New Orleans, USA

Best for music, dancing and all that jazz

If you love music and fabulous street celebrations, New Orleans is one of the best places to visit in February. And the reason? You’ll get to witness the city’s unforgettable Mardi Gras events.

In 2023, this legendary celebration will take place on Tuesday 21st February.

That said, with the city’s Mardi Gras season kicking on Twelfth Night — 6th January — you might want to head here before the carnival’s climax on 21st. This date represents the culmination of a whirl of street parades, parties, and masked balls.

Music-mad visitors will also want to explore the New Orleans jazz museum. Here, rotating exhibits showcase jazz history and culture, and celebrate the city's jazz greats.

Meanwhile, the French Quarter's historic Preservation Hall hosts intimate jazz concerts for over 350 nights of the year. Being bijou, beautiful and brilliant, you'll want to arrive early.

Make the most of your time in New Orleans

Where to stay

  • Best for boutique beauty: Maison de la Luz. This stylish five-star has its own speakeasy bar.
  • Best for downtown action: Astor Crowne Plaza: Smart, big rooms on the corner of Bourbon and Canal Street.
  • Best for budget travellers: India House Hostel. Private rooms and shared dorms, plus an outdoor pool and deck.

Discover more places to stay in New Orleans.

Bourbon St, New Orleans, USA © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

3. Cadiz, Spain

Best for history, heady events, beach strolls and wetland walks

Almost entirely surrounded by water in Spain’s Andalucía region, Cadiz evokes visions of sun-soaked summer breaks. This ancient port settlement — Cadiz was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC — boasts a clutch of beautiful beaches. Dozens more are within reach along the aptly named Costa de la Luz (coast of light).

Come mid-February, though, this charming, laidback city is transformed into the stage for a fabulous fiesta. With eleven days of street parties and parades, Cadiz Carnival is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. 

If you want to walk on the wilder side, Parque Nacional Coto de Doñana — Spain’s largest nature reserve — is within reach. A key site for migrating birds, this is one of Europe’s more significant wetland reserves.

Make the most of your time in Cadiz

Where to stay

Explore more places to stay in Cadiz.

Tarifa beach in Spain's Cadiz province © Shutterstock

4. Devon, UK

Best for half-term fun and beautiful, brisk walks

If you’re wondering where to go for a fun, rewarding half-term UK staycation, Devon has bags of events and attractions to keep the whole family happy. 

Looking to get active in the fresh air? Head to Dartmoor National Park for 365 square miles of wilderness, woodland and valleys, just as spring flowers are starting to sprout through the earth. The scattering of Bronze Age sites and Dartmoor ponies are plus points for kids.

Little ones will also love the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, which presents 185 million years of history along 95 miles of the coast. Home to Britain’s richest concentration of mid-Triassic reptile sites, the East Devon section is the oldest stretch.

For more fun, and epic views, take the cliff-top train that connects the town of Lynton with Lynmouth. The UK's only fully water powered railway. this is the highest and the steepest in the world.

Elsewhere, towns like Totnes, Torquay, Exeter and Ilfracombe offer a variety of scenery. Enjoy quaint harbours and quaysides, as well as Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture. They're not short of family-friendly watering holes and theatres, either.

Make the most of your time in Devon

Where to stay

Discover more places to stay in Devon.

Dartmoor, Devon — one of the best places to visit in February © Shutterstock

continued below

5. Paris — one of the best places to visit in February

Best for romantics, art-lovers and foodies

With a fresh bite in the air, visiting sophisticated Paris in February has a certain poetic flair.

It's the perfect time to wrap up warm and go for romantic riverside walks before finding an intimate cafe to cosy up in. Come evening, you could take a cruise followed by a show at the Moulin Rouge — champagne recommended.

With almost 150 art galleries and museums to explore, you won't be short of indoor activities. While it goes without saying that the Louvre is a must-visit, don't miss the city's quirkier offerings, including the Vampire Museum. Interested in the city's history? Head to the Carnavalet Museum.

Meanwhile, foodies will want to wander Marché Bastille. One of Paris largest food markets, this operates along Boulevard Richard Lenoir on Thursdays and Sundays. Expect fresh, fragrant flowers, fruit and veg, plus divine charcuterie, cheese, and bread.

Make the most of your time in Paris

Where to stay

  • Best for iconic elegance: Derby Alma. Chic decor a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower.
  • Best for budget travellers: St Christopher's Inn. Dorms and rooms overlooking Canal Saint Martin.

Browse more places to stay in Paris.

Paris is one of the best places to visit in February for romantic spring breaks © Shutterstock

6. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Best for festivals, culture, temples and trekking

It’s fair to say that February is one of the best times to visit Thailand. With an average daily maximum temperature of 33C, there’s a low chance of rainfall, and a big chance of spectacular cultural experiences, among them Chiang Mai’s Flower Festival.  

In 2023, this vibrant three-day celebration of parades, displays, and flower-festooned floats, will be held from the 3rd-5th February. 

Thanks to its cultural landscape and temples, the kingdom’s second city has long been mooted as a UNESCO site. Note that Chiang Mai's most famous temples — Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man — aren’t just museum pieces. Rather, they’re living community centres. 

Chiang Mai is also the best place in Thailand to buy handicrafts, from woodcarvings and lacquerware, to beautifully bold umbrellas.

Chiang Mai is also well set up for trekking, with many operators offering specialisms. These include everything from bird-watching field trips and adventure-oriented excursions (think whitewater rafting on the Pai River), to educational trips that fund projects in hill-tribe villages.

All that considered, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to visit in February. It's an especially good fit if you're looking for an unforgettable trip that combines culture, nature, adventure and giving back to local communities.

Make the most of your time in Chiang Mai

Where to stay

Explore more places to stay in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai, Thailand © Shutterstock

Want more seasonal inspiration? Discover the best places to visit in January, and the best winter sun destinations around the world.

Looking further ahead? Read up on the best places to visit in spring around the world, and the best UK places to visit in spring.

You might also want to discover our best travel destinations for 2023.

And remember, wherever you're thinking of heading, there's sure to be a Rough Guide to enhance every step of your journey from the moment you start planning.

Not keen on planning? Browse our expert-curated, 100% customisable tailor-made trips.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Header image: Inthanon temple, Chiang Mia, Thailand © Shutterstock

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written by Joanne Owen
updated 1/6/2023
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Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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