Winter break is more than a time to celebrate the holidays or a break from the neverending barrage of exams and essays. It's a time to explore the U.S. and see all it has to offer, especially when you're an international student set on taking in its vast cultural diversity. With the spring semester fast approaching, however, vacation time is in short supply. So what better way to make the most of winter break's final weeks than to plan an escape that can be covered over the course of a single day? Here are five locales that will bring the perfect end to your happy holiday.
Bask in the natural beauty of this desert oasis, where adventure lovers can find everything from walking tours to water sports. It's here in the shadow of Oak Creek Canyon that tourists can take in the various spots where iconic movie moments were captured by day and gaze at the majesty of the sky at night.
Located in the heart of California's northern Bay Area, Calistoga is the place to go for a good glass of wine. Visit rustic vineyards that have been untouched by time or take a tour of the world-class Castello di Amorosa, which evokes the architecture of 13th-century Italy. If you just want to unwind, the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs has everything from mud baths to hot soaks. And don't forget to book a table at Michelin-starred restaurants Solbar and Evangeline for dishes that make your mouth water before you sit down.
Tarrytown, New York
Budding historians will find the ideal place to visit in Tarrytown, a place brimming with stories. From the homes of Gilded Age business tycoon Jay Gould and author Washington Irving to Patriots Park, history comes alive everywhere one looks. Want a good scare? Take a short drive to the adjacent town of Sleepy Hollow and walk among the headstones that populate the cemetery. This is best done at night for those eager to catch a glimpse of the Headless Horseman.
All it takes is an hour-and-a-half-Amtrak ride to get to the home of Happy Days. Climb aboard the hop-on, hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour to take in the sights and sounds of the Cream City at your own leisure. Meander through the Winter Farmer's Market or visit one of the hundreds of local vendors at the Milwaukee Public Market for fresh-grown, local food. Be sure to also visit Lakeshore State Park to catch a magnificent sunset.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
If you're looking for a day by the sea, look no further than Grand Isle. Home to the eponymous state park, this Jefferson Parish-based town boasts hundreds of beaches that make the ideal spot to lie on the sand with a good book and take in the sun's rays.
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