5 Destinations for Anti-Valentine’s Day Travel
Whether you’re one-half of a couple that loathes the commercialization of Valentine’s Day or someone enjoying his or her best life as a single person and want to escape the nauseating amount of red balloons and PDA, consider taking a last-minute vacation. Lucky for you, there are plenty of travel opportunities that don’t revolve around professing your undying love to a significant other. From celebrating a Hindu festival in Nepal to indulging your inner speed demon in Las Vegas to road-tripping in Australia, consider one of these non-romantic options on Feb. 14.
Queenstown, New Zealand
City life during Valentine’s Day can feel stifling, which makes it the perfect opportunity to escape the urban sprawl and head back to nature. Queenstown, New Zealand, offers a diverse landscape and is an ideal getaway during the month of February, thanks to its long days and pleasant temperatures. Hit the trails and trek the Routeburn Track, a 20-mile trail located in Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park. Treks usually take between two to four days to complete, and bookings are required for huts and campsites. For a more laid-back experience, head to Lake Wakatipu and chill out in a kayak or take a scenic cruise on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. And since the city bills itself as the “adventure capital of the world,” adrenaline junkies will want to try everything from skydiving and hang gliding to paragliding.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nothing says anti-Valentine’s Day quite like the bright lights of Vegas. Sure, it’s known for shotgun weddings at A Little White Chapel, but beyond that, there’s enough entertainment and activities to keep both singles and couples occupied (sans red roses and soppy love songs). For car enthusiasts, the Exotic Car Driving & Racing experience with Exotics Racing is a must. Take a turn -- or five -- around the track, located 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, in one the many high performance vehicles, from Corvettes and Ferraris to Lamborghinis and even a McLaren. If comics are more your thing, pander to your inner geek and check out Marvel’s Avengers STATION, located inside Treasure Island Hotel & Casino. Take part in an interactive experience where you assemble case files on each Avenger character and eventually move on to become “qualified members” of the Avengers STATION. You can even learn how to operate an Iron Man suit. Finally, after dinner, consider catching one of the many performances -- we promise there are enough non-romantic options -- from “O” by Cirque du Soleil and a night of comedy at L.A. Comedy Club to a performance by the Blue Man Group.
Grab a few friends or your significant other and hit the road in Victoria, Australia. February is an ideal time to visit this southeastern state, thanks to its warm and predictable weather. And since this month falls outside of school vacation time, accommodation is both readily available and affordable. If you’ve got a week, consider road-tripping down the Great Ocean Road. Though it’s possible to complete this 150-mile plus trip in a day, it’s best to spread it out so you can take in all the sights. Explore Port Campbell National parks; see the many Instagram-worthy lookouts, including The Arch, Loch Ard Gorge and Bay of Islands; catch a glimpse of Apostles rock formations; and check out the marine life with a snorkeling or surfing experience.
There’s no better way to avoid the chocolates and roses of Valentine’s Day like cozying up with a pint next to a roaring fire in one of Dublin’s many drinking spots. Ireland’s capital offers all manner of watering holes, from twee traditional pubs to more modern establishments that specialize in gin. Although the Temple Bar might seem like an obvious stop, consider venturing elsewhere. Check out The Palace Bar, a Victorian Era-stop located on Fleet Street that offers a wide range of craft beers. Fleet Street also has several other pub options that are a must. Meanwhile, gin lovers will want to head over to Drury Buildings Charcuterie & Cocktail Bar for a menu that features gin from every county in the country. For non-drinking related activities to keep you busy, the city offers a number of indoor options (February sees cooler temperatures and rain), from checking out some of Ireland’s best artwork at the National Gallery of Ireland and the interior of the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral to catching a show at the Abbey Theatre.
Head to Nepal’s capital this Feb. 14 for sightseeing, challenging treks and celebration. During the month of February, daily temperatures hover around a pleasant 65 degrees, but the temperature falls to a chilly 40 degrees at night. For this reason, this month sees fewer tourists and quieter trails. Though many of the main sites in Kathmandu are still under construction following the 2015 earthquake, there is still plenty to keep you occupied. Visit the historic site of Durbar Square, the Boudhanath stupa, and the “Monkey Temple.” If you have a few days to spare, consider embarking on a three-day trek around the Kathmandu Valley. Most tours stop off at Chisapani, Nagarkot and UNESCO World Heritage Site Bhaktapur. If you’re in Kathmandu a few days earlier, take part in the major Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri. The celebration, which falls on Feb. 13 this year, pays tribute to Hindu god of destruction, Shiva. Head to Pashupatinath Temple, located about 3 miles from the capital, and enjoy the carnival-like festivities that go well into the evening hours.
Ashley Bess is an editor turned freelancer writer who describes herself as short, opinionated, recently repatriated, lover of gin and travel and with a head full of useless song lyrics and movie quotes.