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You Don't Have To Go Far To Escape Winter's Gloomy Gray

Deanna Keahey
Sedona is a two-hour drive from Phoenix or about four hours from Las Vegas, both of which are relatively cheap flight destinations from Seattle.

Editor’s note: This is an encore presentation of a Going Places episode that originally aired on Dec. 10, 2015.

Winter in the Northwest is famously gray and drizzly. And that causes many of us to look for a temporary reprieve. KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley says how far you travel to find it depends entirely on what you’re looking for.


Cold Sunshine

Sometimes, all we need is a little sunshine. If that’s the case, you’re in luck, Brumley says. Here are some nearby recommendations.

Methow Valley: Near ski areas, cross-country trails and opportunities for snow-shoeing. Centered on Winthrop and Twisp, the valley’s tourism economy suffered this summer because of wildfires. So you’re getting some sunshine AND helping a local economy deal with a rough year.

Lake Chelan: A popular summertime destination, Lake Chelan offers lots of winter activities, too. That includes Winterfest, a two-weekend event in the city of Chelan in mid-January. It features something for everyone, from wine-tasting to a polar bear dip to a massive bonfire on the beach.

Leavenworth: A haven for skiers at the nearby Stevens Pass, there are also cross country trails and winter outdoor recreation options here. Plus beer halls and shopping. Did we mention beer halls?

Warm Sunshine

All right, all right. The nearby stuff is nice, but you want to break out the shorts and T-shirts again. Brumley says you should make a list of sunny cities – San Diego? Phoenix? Las Vegas? – and then shop for deals on airfare. Two big tips here:

Use the cities as hubs: Maybe you’re not wild about spending time in Vegas or Phoenix, but both places are relatively cheap to reach by plane. From there, rent a car and head out into some of the world’s most astonishing natural wonders.

Two one-ways: Fly to Phoenix. See the things north of Phoenix. End in Vegas. Fly home. Two one-way flights can often give you a better deal than a round-trip ticket.

How About You?

If you've lived in the Northwest long enough, you must have your own tried-and-true methods for taking a break from the overcast skies. Where do you go? Or maybe you want to extoll the virtues of a rainy day. Let us know in the comments.


"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes,  Google Play or Stitcher.


Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.
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