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Escaping the British winter in February - how cold would Phoenix or Santa Fe be? Other ideas?

Escaping the British winter in February - how cold would Phoenix or Santa Fe be? Other ideas?

Old Sep 14th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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Escaping the British winter in February - how cold would Phoenix or Santa Fe be? Other ideas?

Hi, we are thinking of a two week trip in February, flying into somewhere like Las Vegas or Phoenix (from London) and would like to do a bit of a road trip. The weather is a big factor in this, we don't mind cold at night but sunshine during the day would be wonderful!

Places we are keen on are Sedona, Santa Fe, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park etc. We've been to Las Vegas before and liked it but would only stay a night or two if that was our arrival city.

I've been reading up on the weather and there seems to be conflicting reports, some say it's warm, some say it's cold. How cold does it actually get during the day in early/mid Feb - could we get away with just wearing a t-shirt or would you need a fleece?

If this area is not particularly warm, and I'm comparing it to freezing England which is dark by 4pm, any other suggestions? We are looking for places we can fly direct from London. The past two years we have visited Florida, one trip south towards Key West, the other year north to Charleston.

We'd be grateful for any info.
Kay
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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Weatherwise, Tucson would be perfect. Expect springlike temperatures, around 20C and lots of sunshine.

There is a lot of to do and to see in Tucson and the surrounding area:

- Breathtaking scenery
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- Mission San Xaver del Bac
- Tombstone
- Tumacacori
- Nogales/Mexico
- Saguaro Natl. Park
- Old Tucson Studios
- Biosphere 2

Besides, Tucson has a great choice of excellent resort hotels (my personal favorite is Westward Look Resort).

What we had done:

We started with spending a few days in Santa Fe, then stayed two nights in Las Cruces, with a daytrip to White Sands and Alamogordo, and drove from there to Tucson.

This would be a perfect itinerary for two weeks.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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P.S. Of course, the outdoor swimming pools are open and heated.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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Thanks so much. Tuscon is a place I've heard of but don't know anything about so your suggestions sound great.

Any other ideas welcome. I know we can find lots to do in the area, we like national parks and shopping and nice scenery. The heated pools sound like heaven. Are the resort hotels very expensive? We usually stay somewhere on the budget side, like a Microtel or Days Inn.

Kay
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 07:35 AM
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Santa Fe will still be quite cold. February averages are 49 highs 21 Low F ( or 9 & -6 Celcius). You will probably get snow (elevation is 7320 ft/2231m) so I don't think it will suit your desire for a warm spot.

What about California? You could start in LA and drive up to Santa Barbara, continuing to San Simeon (Hearst Castle) and up scenic HWY 1 through Big Sur, Carmel and then San Francisco.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 07:37 AM
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How cold does it actually get during the day in early/mid Feb

You can find average temps on various web sites. For example Phoenix average daily highs in February are 21-23 C (69-73 F), typically with bright sunny skies. Most years figure a one in four chance of rain in any given week, but typically sunny. Lows according to the same USA Today weather site average 8-11 C (46-51 F).

Of the other places mentioned the altitude is the main factor in determining the temperature (Phoenix is about 1,000 ft above sea level). Tucson is a bit higher and typically 6 degrees F colder, Sedona is several thousand feet higher and colder still, and Santa Fe is around 7,000 ft and will be pretty cold. All of these places typically have bright sunny skies during the day except when the occasional storm passes thru.

any other suggestions?

The main USA snowbird destinations are probably south Florida, south Texas, the Arizona deserts and the California deserts (Palm Springs, etc).

Bill
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Phoenix will be in the mid 60's to 70's. Las Vegas will be in the mid 50's to low 60's. Santa Fe will be cold, in the 40's or lower in the day.

I've been to Phoenix in February and it is rather nice. Personally, though, South Florida would be much nicer (mid 70s).

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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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If you look at weather.com there is a section where you can find the typical high and low temps for a particular city for every day of the month. Very useful info for comparing....Unfortunately, it takes lots of clicks to get to the right page and some are not obvious or even intuitive. I found it the first time quite by accident. Here is Phoenix for February so that you can see what the info is...

http://www.weather.com/outlook/trave...6?climoMonth=2
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:38 AM
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From Phoenix or Vegas, the next logical stop is southern California! San Diego is beautiful in February and not nearly as chilly as northern Calif at that time. You'll love the coastal drives, Torrey Pines State Park, the Bay, and Balboa Park.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Thank you everyone. This is all very useful. I had already looked up weather averages and that's where I seemed to get conflicting info.

The weather in Phoenix and Tuscon sounds pretty good so we may choose Arizona as our main destination though I'm quite keen on Santa Fe. Maybe we could just wrap up and go there for a day or two.

We have visited California on a few occasions and enjoyed the Hearst Castle, Big Sur etc so don't think we would do that again, though it is a nice part of the world.

Thanks for all suggestions.
Kay
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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FYI Kay -- the parts of California that sheri is recommending (San Diego, Torrey Pines) are not anywhere near Hearst Castle, Big Sur. In fact, they're a good 5-6 hour drive south. Very different.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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Hi Sheri,
I must have just missed your post. San Diego is a thought, we haven't been as far south in California as that. I'll look into what there is to do there, the coastal drives you mention sound great.
Kay
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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weather in Phoenix and Tuscon sounds pretty good so we may choose Arizona as our main destination though I'm quite keen on Santa Fe. Maybe we could just wrap up and go there for a day or two.

So long as you realize the weather in Santa Fe will be pretty cold I think this is a great idea. Santa Fe is a unique city and you'll likely enjoy it very much.

From southern Arizona there are three ways you could go to Santa Fe. The obvious is up to the Grand Canyon, then east, which would take you thru some great scenic country and thru the Navajo reservation. This is the most popular route most of the year, but for a winter trip if you wish to avoid the high country while driving I'd suggest either driving east on I-10 thru Tucson and then to White Sands National Monument, which is stunning, then up to Socorro for a day at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, which is also stunning with incredible concentrations of wintering birds, then up to SF. Or cut it a bit short and just take US-60 from PHX to Socorro for Bosque (skipping White Sands).

So long as the roads are free of ice and snow (the norm except during and shortly after storms) these are good trips in the winter.

Bill
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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Be mindful of the elevations of the places you wish to study. They range from sea level to more than 5,000 feet. Accordingly, temperatures -- day and/or night -- vary widely. Example: Tucson and Sedona are higher than Phoenix. At the Mexican border, the elevation is about 4,500 ft., the same as in Sedona.

And it's spelled "Tucson" -- not Tuscon.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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It would be a beautiful contrast to see the snow in the redrock country in Sedona against the craziness that can be Vegas, then the Pacific - lots of variety and the trip sounds great.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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Santa Fe IS a magical place. It will be cold in Santa Fe - you even may encouter snow - but since humidity is low you do not feel the coldness.

My recommendation would be:

Fly into Albuquerque and drive up to Santa Fe (90 min). Spend 3 or 4 days in Santa Fe, including a trip to Taos.

Then drive southwards to Tucson, with one or two overnight stays in Las Cruces. White Sands is spectacular!

You will enjoy Tucson. I am European too, and we have spent winters in Florida, California, Nevada and other places. Weatherwise, Tuscon was the best place for us. February in Tucson is like paradise for us Europeans. The climate is perfect then.

We payed 150$ for a double room (sleeping four) in Westward Look Resort. Since we were travelling with our children, we considered this dirt cheap. But there are dozens of less expensive motel-type places in Tucson.

www.westwardlook.com

You may also try Wyndham Canoa Ranch Resort which has good rates for February.
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Thank you so much everyone and I will check out the suggestions for where to stay.

It looks like we may not be able to fly direct, which was our preference, but not too many airlines fly direct into that part of the world from the UK. Virgin fly direct to Las Vegas so that may be an option, then drive from there. (Or LA but that is a lot further west.) I'll have to check out mileage. We had a driving holiday years ago and drove from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon then north to Bryce and Zion so know a little of what to expect from roads etc.

Thanks again.
Kay
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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It looks like we may not be able to fly direct, which was our preference, but not too many airlines fly direct into that part of the world from the UK.

There's a non-stop flight from London to Phoenix on British Airways. Maybe not every day during the winter months, but at least on Saturdays (I just plugged in a 2 week r/t on Priceline.com Feb 7 - 21 and it popped up for $860 as non-stop).

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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 11:07 PM
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Thanks Bill. I was looking at so many different airlines and destinations I think I got confused. I'll have to sit down and have a proper look and make some notes. It does sound like a trip we would really enjoy, the desert scenery and sunshine sound like bliss. Our flights will be the main thing to sort out, car hire and accommodation can follow.

Many thanks again.
Kay
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 02:52 AM
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San Diego, Palm Springs, etc. are a good suggestion.

The desert areas get very cold at night sometimes. I'd skip the desert in February.

How about going even further south to Cancun, Mexico? Great beaches, wonderful warm sunshine. That's where a lot of Americans go for Christmas and later, leaving the frozen northlands.
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