5 Last-Minute MLK Weekend Getaways - United Hub

Last-minute MLK weekend getaways

By Bob Cooper

Whether you choose a warm-weather paradise like Hawaii or Mexico, or a ski town that embraces the winter like Park City, Utah, Martin Luther King Day weekend (January 18-21) is the ideal time to take your first trip of the new year. Mid-January is the perfect time to set your travel resolutions into motion. Here are just a few destination ideas.

Park City, Utah

Though you might not believe it, winter will be gone before you know it and with it the snow - so what better time than a long weekend to hit the slopes. Home to two major resorts, Park City has become one of the top winter destinations in the country. Winter activities don't stop at skiing and snowboarding, there are all kinds of activities that attract visitors every year, including snowmobiling and dogsledding the backcountry, snow tubing with lifts back up to the top, snowshoeing trails and the Utah Olympic Park to explore. Once tired from all of those winter activities and looking for a little R&R, indulge in a spa, aprés-ski or try one of the many restaurants and bars downtown.

San Luis Obispo, California

This largest town on the central California coast is a fine midwinter destination whether you favor seabirds or syrahs. January is prime time for admiring the hundreds of bird species that migrate on the Pacific Flyway. A favorite Flyway stopover of theirs (and birders) is the charming beach town of Morro Bay, just 13 miles west of “SLO" (as locals call it). The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival (Jan. 18-21) hosts 130 events that turns birding into a group activity. SLO County is also home to wine regions that are rated among the best in North America, with more than 200 wineries in the county's Paso Robles and Edna Valley regions. Many keep their tasting rooms open through the winter.

Orlando, Florida

Epcot Center in Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida

Orlando's theme parks are a madhouse during the December holidays, but lines get shorter and hotel prices get lower during MLK weekend, when visiting families can squeeze in two days of fun between arrival and departure. Kicking off that weekend, the annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts (Jan. 18-Feb. 25) will offer an array of musical, theatrical and visual arts for all ages. Experience a captivating performance at one of Disney on Broadway Concert Series, attend a professional workshop to learn tips from the experts or eat your way around Epcot on MLK weekend.

Washington D.C.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during winter.

The nation's capital offers milder January weather than most East Coast cities, but more importantly, its most appealing attractions are indoors anyway. Chief among those are the 13 free museums, galleries and other attractions that line the Capital Mall. Newest among these is the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture, the perfect place to visit on MLK weekend. Honoring Dr. King on MLK Day in Washington, D.C., are a parade and a Kennedy Center concert featuring Tony®, Oscar®, and Grammy®-winning artist Aura McDonald and Tony®-winning artist Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Kahului, Hawaii

Waterfall in Kahului, Hawaii

Maui feels like paradise anytime, but especially for visitors coming from cold-climate locales in mid-January. After arriving from the U.S. mainland in Kahului, it's only a short drive to beach hotels—taking you through sugarcane fields and alongside the typically dry leeward coastline, where you may spot whale spouts close to shore. Once checked in, you can choose languor—a poolside Mai Tai and perhaps a little snorkeling off Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach—or you can be more ambitious: drive and then hike to the 10,023-foot peak of Haleakala, negotiate the famously twisty road to Hana (600 curves, 54 bridges), or run the Maui Oceanfront Marathon, Half Marathon, 15K, 10K or 5K.

If you go

United Airlines offers nonstop flights from U.S. cities to all of these cities. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your mid-winter weekend getaway.

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