Reasons to Visit Yellowstone National Park in Winter

Home to a great collection of geothermal features, an abundance of wildlife, the most spectacular views and a thick blanket of snow – Yellowstone National Park in winter is an adventurer’s dream.

Plus, there’s less visitors – so you get to experience the true beauty of the park without the crowds!

So, if you’re brave enough to face the cold, windy and snowy days during the months of November through to April, you’re in a for a treat.

If you’re not quite convinced on experiencing a Yellowstone National Park winter, national park located in the western United States, here’s a few reasons why you should.

10 reasons to visit Yellowstone National Park in winter

Yellowstone in winter is a true wonderland.

Here’s why:

1.      The snowy landscapes and geysers

The wintery landscapes in Yellowstone National Park are absolutely breathtaking! From the steam rising up from the geysers and hot springs to the bison trekking through the snow and the frozen streams.

Old Faithful, the nearly 500-year-old geyser in the park, continues to erupt. In winter, the near-boiling water hits the chilly air and falls down in tiny icy crystals and flakes. Watching the geysers erupt against the backdrop of the snow and stunningly blue skies is a sight to behold.

Yellowstone in winter - the geysers
Witness the Yellowstone geysers in winter.

2.      The winter activities

According to the locals, the best way to experience Yellowstone in winter is on a pair of cross-country skis! From cross-country skiing to snowshoeing – there’s plenty of adrenaline pumping winter-based activities to explore in the area.

You’ll find several places nearby who rent gear and several companies specialising in guided trips if you’d rather not go out alone (this is recommend unless you’re extremely experienced in navigating the snowy hills).

3.      Snowmobiling

In mid-December, many of the roads in the park are only open to oversnow travel, meaning that visitors may only enter the park via snowmobile, snowcoach, snowshoe and cross-country ski.

West Yellowstone offers 400 miles of snowmobiling terrain outside Yellowstone National Park on national forest service land. It’s a snowmobilers paradise, with loads of tour companies taking you into the park on the snowmobiles. The terrain caters to all levels, from beginners to experts.

4.      The wildlife

The Yellowstone National Park in winter is still home to a variety of wildlife. The less-crowded park means that you’ll get to observe the wildlife facing the elements of winter without hoards of other tourists surrounding you.

Against the snowy background, the animals are also much easier to spot and you can easily track them in the snow. Expect to see bison, elk, river otters, wolves and other Yellowstone National Park animals.

Plus, you’ll get to see the bison in their winter coats! Huge balls of snow dangle on their beards, making them look even more impressive.

5.      The cozy lodges in Yellowstone National Park

There’s nothing better than curling up on a sofa with a hot drink (or whiskey), a good book, a crackling fireplace nearby and view of a snowy landscape outside. That’s ultimate relaxation, right?

This is exactly what you’ll get when you visit Yellowstone in winter. Note that not all lodges stay open during the winter months (and due to COVID restrictions, a few more might be closed this year). Best is to check out the full list of Yellowstone accommodation to see what is available.

6.      The quiet, peaceful solitude

Not many people visit Yellowstone in winter, which means that you get to truly experience the natural beauty completely on your own. In the winter, the park is nothing but miles of peaceful solitude in the wilderness.

It’s the perfect winter escape if you want to disconnect from humans, unplug your laptop and switch off your phone.

And since the park is primarily accessed via guided oversnow transport, you get experience Yellowstone’s canyons, woods, wildlife and hydrothermal forces in a much more intimate way.

7.      The Yellowstone holiday traditions

If you love the traditions that come with the holidays, then you’ll still get to experience the magic of the season in Yellowstone. Some of the popular traditions include candlelight Christmas Eve services in the Mammoth Chapel, tree lighting on Officer’s Row and festive Christmas dinners held at the local lodges.

If you’re in the area for New Years, then you’ll get to ring in the new year at Old Faithful, where everyone heads out to the geyser viewing area shortly after midnight to watch the first eruption of the year.

8.      Practice your snow photography

With so much natural scenery around you, Yellowstone in winter is an ideal spot to practice your snow photography skills.

The landscapes are filled with contrasts – from clear blue skies to snowy fields, steamy geysers and woolly animals. You can shoot these images on your own or join one of the guide-led photo safaris on offer.

9.      Witness the star-filled night sky

Yellowstone comes alive at night – from the parks most well-known creatures coming out to play to the star-filled sky lighting up the land.

To witness this spectacular scene, you need to join one of the nighttime snowcoach tours. The tours take you past the hissing geysers and passing wildlife and eventually stops for you to get out and witness the beauty above you. The countless stars on display will leave you in awe.

10.  Take a dip in a hot spring

This one is for the true adrenaline junkies, or the people who just want to say ‘I took in a dip in a hot spring in below zero degrees’.

The naturally heated waters of the hot springs won’t freeze, even during the coldest of winters. Which leaves for a fun opportunity to take a dip any time of year! The water is so warm, that no matter how cold it is outside, you’ll be so comfortable that you won’t want to get out.

Look out for the spot where the Boiling River meets the Gardner River, about two miles north of Mammoth. This is a popular swimming spot during the summer months but is sparsely visited in the winter months – making it one of the more unique experiences of a Yellowstone National Park winter.

Ready to start planning your adventure in Yellowstone National Park in winter?


Why You Should Visit Murcia, Spain

Located on the Mediterranean coast, the vibrant city of Murcia truly comes alive with the help of its lively architectural heritage and energetic cultural atmosphere.

Although it’s a lesser-known city of Spain, there are a number of memorable things to do in Murcia, things to see and several Murcia attractions that will prove that this city really is one of Spain’s most underrated gems.

So, why visit Murcia?

Here’s a few reasons…

Murcia beach, Spain
Murcia beach, Spain

Top reasons to visit Murcia, Spain

Your authentic Spanish experience begins now … and thankfully it comes without the usual tourist crowds. 

The beautiful Murcia beaches 

For those of you that consider yourselves to be sunshine lovers, you’ll be happy to know that Murcia experiences over 3000 hours of sunshine every single year. What’s better is that one of the main Murcia attractions is, without a doubt, its picturesque beaches.

Combine the glorious sunshine of Murcia with its unspoiled sands and refreshing turquoise waters and you have officially located paradise. 

With the glistening city sharing its glorious sunlight with you, meandering through the Cape Palos peninsular is a definite sun worshipper’s dream. For those looking for a picturesque leisurely walk, strolling through Cala Cerrada and Calarreona promises exceptional panoramic views of the shoreline.

If you have time, we also thoroughly suggest visiting the southern part of Costa Blanca that is delicately dotted with a number of energetic and colourful towns. Whilst there, make sure to head over to Torre de la Horadada where a number of quaint beaches await you.

The culinary delights

For all the foodies at heart, Murcia truly is your culinary haven

This city, with its labyrinthine streets, is heavily populated with a number of high-end dining experiences, Michelin-star restaurants and lively tapas bars that will tantalise those tastebuds. 

For those of you looking for a more authentic eating experience, you will appreciate that the city of Murcia also offers a number of local ‘holes-in-the-wall’ and cafes that serve traditional delicacies and dishes. From seafood stews and paella to old-style chorizo and fried squid, you’ll know that your food has been prepared following authentic generational family recipes. 

In short: homemade Spanish foods truly are a genuine Murcia attraction!

Now for some name-dropping!

If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to sampling all the food Murcia has to offer, don’t panic, we’ve got you covered! We suggest heading out to Plaza de Las Flores. This square has a variety of diverse food selections that will appease even the pickiest of eaters. While you’re there, you have to try one of Murcia’s traditional pies at Zaher bar. Make sure to order your pie with one of their local ciders … you won’t regret it! And if you have a serious hankering for seafood, courtesy of the local nearby harbours, La Tapa restaurant is where you’ll want to be.

The vibrant villages

If you currently have a list of things to see in Murcia, your itinerary isn’t complete unless you have ‘visit local villages’ on it.

In a city where no one is ever rushed (note: it did take them 330 years to build their cathedral), you can see how their continued patience and dedication to exceptional detail has contributed to their picturesque villages. Known, and adored, for the whitewashed buildings that line the rugged hillsides, Murcia’s quaint and cobbled streets are just another charming attraction on offer.

One of the things you have to see in Murcia is the Ricote Valley journey from Archena to Blanca. This truly is where mother nature shows off with the help of her bold cliffs, luscious lemon groves and crystal-clear waters. But her visual riches don’t end there. Murcia also has historical beauties including its castles that can be found along Alamha, Mula and Lorca where their ancient charm and ruins remain intact. 

The main takeaway here: bring your camera and a few portable batteries – you’re going to need them!

The fresh produce

There may be a number of things to see in Murcia, but there are also a number of things that you have to taste too! And well, to the delight of many, Murcia has done away with the intrusive fast-food chains (you’ll actually have to search for a McDonalds) and embraced wholesome and fresh eating experiences instead. 

All of your culinary expeditions in Murcia will prove one thing: this sun-drenched city produces unimaginable amounts of fresh produce. In fact, picture your local food market back home and increase its size by 20 … that’s North and West Murcia for you!

Murcia’s agricultural lands offer locals an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. From oranges to lemons, tomatoes and lettuce, it truly is an agricultural utopia. For this reason, many locals have even referred to the lush and giving lands of Murcia as La Huerta de Europa, which translates to The Market Garden of Europe!

The many Murcia attractions

When it comes to finding things to do in Murcia, you are in for quite the selection. First up? Water activities. With warm waters that run along the Mediterranean, visitors to the city’s shoreline will be able to explore their more adventurous side, with windsurfing, jet skiing and water-skiing being on offer. 

For those of you that prefer the water from a safe distance, you will appreciate the conservational areas, including the Tenerife which is a must-visit of the Murcia attractions. You can also head straight for the natural parklands and follow the pine-scented walking trails or get your heart racing through the rosemary lined hiking trails of the Santuario de la Fuensanta that will feature perfectly on your current Instagram page. 

When it comes to finding things to do in Murcia, just know that this city is quite the show-off. If you are looking to experience exceptional natural beauty, taste authentic cuisine and take in various historical wonders – Murcia is the place to be!

destinations

7 plastic-free travel destinations you need to visit

 

In 2018, ‘single-use’ was named the word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

‘Plogging’ – jogging while picking up litter – also made it into the dictionary. (As did an updated description for ‘flossing’, but we’re studiously choosing to ignore that one!).

This evolution in language is indicative of just how far the dialogue on plastics has come, pervading how we think and changing our purchasing habits. But what is more inspirational is how some governments have gone a step further, by passing laws to ban plastics altogether from their countries, oceans and eco-systems.

This July, in honor of Plastic Free Month, we thought we’d celebrate the destinations that are making serious waves in the fight against plastic pollution. From Italy to Indonesia, we salute you!

Capri, Italy

Famous for its stunning blue grotto, high-end beach clubs and café-strewn piazzas, the Italian island of Capri is a mecca for beach and ocean lovers. In an effort to protect its precious flora and fauna, in May 2019, the island introduced a law forbidding the use of disposable plastics, including plates, cups, straws, bottles and food packaging. Businesses were given 90 days to use up their existing stock, and fines of up to €500 will be enforced in order to implement the ban.

Rwanda

The West could learn a lot from Rwanda. This small East African country banned non-biodegradable polythene bags back in 2008. The fact that the first country to ban plastic bags was a developing nation, and that it was implemented over a decade ago, should be an inspiration to the rest of the world.

The ban is rigorously enforced, so fully expect to have your backpacks searched at airports and borders, and any old plastic bags containing your dirty washing confiscated! However, this heavy policing has paid off. Rwanda is noticeably clean. Not only do you not see the piles of roadside rubbish that can plague other countries, but this approach to waste and sustainability has become ingrained in Rwanda’s national psyche.

Bali, Indonesia

Last year, the shocking images of divers swimming through a sea of plastic off Bali’s beaches went viral on our social feeds, and helped to prompt a big reaction. In December 2018, Bali’s governor announced that after a six-month grace period for businesses, the island would be enforcing a ban on single-use plastics, including shopping bags, straws and Styrofoam cups.

After China, Indonesia is the world’s second biggest polluter of marine plastics. It’s hoped that this ban could help to reduce Bali’s plastic pollution by up to 70%, and that it will inspire other parts of Indonesia to follow suit.

Costa Rica

A haven of eco-tourism, Costa Rica is a global leader in sustainability and green practices. In 2015 and 2016, the country powered itself for more than two thirds of the year using 100% renewable energy, and aims to be carbon neutral by 2021.

On World Environment Day in 2017, Costa Rica announced a new national plan to eradicate all single-use plastics by 2021 and become the world’s first plastic-free country.

Chile

In a move to help break a culture of throwaway plastic, in 2018, Chile passed legislation to become the first country in South America to ban plastic bags. This came off the back of previous legislation that had banned plastic bags in Patagonia to try and help protect the region’s national parks and marine life.

Under the new law, businesses have been given two years to adapt to the new legislation, and in the interim, have been limited to giving shoppers a maximum of two plastic bags.

Machu Picchu, Peru

There have been numerous attempts in the past to help preserve the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu, including a permit system to limit the visitors allowed onto the ancient UNESCO site.

In December 2018, Peru’s National Service of National State-Protected Areas (SERNANP) passed a decree to forbid the use of single-use plastics on the Inca Trail and 76 natural protected areas nationwide, including Manu National Park and the coastal reserve of Paracas. Travellers are encouraged to take canteens, refillable bottles and cotton bags instead.

Koh Samet

In November 2018, the authorities of the tiny island paradise of Koh Samet launched a campaign to stop travellers from taking plastic bags and Styrofoam onto the island.

It’s estimated that Koh Samet receives 1,500 visitors a year, with each using an average of eight plastic bags during their stay. While the campaign is an environmental one, and not a legal one, it’s a groundbreaking move by the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, who have committed to reduce the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam in all of Thailand’s 154 national parks.

Shout out to the rest of the world…

Other places that are tackling plastic pollution head on, by either banning plastic bags, taxing them or charging for them, include San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, UK, Kenya, South Africa, Aruba, Dominica and some states in Australia. In fact, we are happy to announce that the full list is too long to print in full!

How you can further help reduce plastic in paradise

  • Commit to a beach clean-up, every time you’re on one. You know how lovely it is to wander up and down the beach, combing it for interesting shells to take home as souvenirs? Well, stop. That’s stealing. Take home the plastic instead.
  • Buy food, fruit and snacks from markets and local vendors. They need your custom more than the 7-Elevens do anyway. Plus, drinking coconut water fresh from the coconut > drinking it out of a bottle. Sans-plastic straw, of course.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle or flask everywhere. Just because hot countries require you to drink five litres of water a day, it doesn’t mean you need to go through five litres worth of plastic.
  • Check out our eco-packing guide.
  • Or go buy some of these super kind-to-the-oceans travel gifts.