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Top Festivals & Events to Travel for in January & February

After the hecticness of the holidays, you deserve a much-needed getaway. So why not orient it around a notable festival or event for an added air of excitement? Here’s your curated list, from a month-long wine celebration in New England to a four-day side-splitting comedy fest on Florida’s Gulf Coast.


Have a sneaky suspicion that you’ll be craving a getaway after all the hoopla of the holiday season? We’ve got just the roundup of festivals and events in East Coast destinations to shape a much-needed vacation around during the months of January and February 2024. Read on and say “so-long” to the post-holiday slump.

TOP NORTHEAST FESTIVALS & EVENTS

The Winter Wine Festival | Portsmouth, NH

January 19–February 11, 2024

A detail shots of glasses at the Winter Wine Fest.

Don’t assume the New Hampshire Seacoast slips into hibernation mode after the holidays. Because it actually comes very much alive from mid-January through February when Wentworth by the Sea’s Winter Wine Festival takes center stage. Unlike other wine festivals, this is not a mere weekend hinging around one main tasting event, but a month-long celebration featuring four main event series that cater to a wide audience. A few highlights to look forward to: 180 wines for sipping and sampling during The Big Tastings, top-notch jazz by Chris Klaxton, innovative dishes from Chef Lee Michael, and notable Napa winemaking personalities.

The Glacier Ice Bars | Lake George, NY & Rockport, ME

January 12–14, 19–20 & 26–27, 2024

Chairs and seating made entirely out of ice at the annual Glacier Ice Bar.

Sitting at a bar and throwing back a cold one might not seem that novel. But what if that bar – including the barstools, bartop, and surrounding tables and chairs – were all made of 50,000 pounds of ice? Now that’s oh-so-cool (pun intended). Say hello to January’s annual Glacier Ice Bars, two quintessential wintertime traditions dating back more than a decade at both The Sagamore Resort on Lake George, New York, and Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine. This year’s theme is inspired by the circus, so expect a world of whimsy honoring the sights and iconic flavors of the Big Top. Overnight hotel guests enjoy automatic entry to the ice bar, but you can also purchase individual tickets for the events at The Sagamore Resort (1/19–20 & 1/26–27) and Samoset Resort (1/12–14 & 1/19–20).

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup | Lake Placid, NY

February 9–11, 2024

Photo courtesy of the Olympic Regional Development Authority

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s an Olympic hopeful mid-ski jump in Lake Placid. In February 2023, for the first time in 33 years, Lake Placid saw the return of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup to the newly renovated Olympic Jumping Complex, located just five miles from Lake Placid Lodge. Therefore, it was no surprise that such a homecoming to the two-time Olympic village naturally sold out fast with 15,000 spectators making the pilgrimage for the three-day event from near and far. So if you missed out on witnessing the high-flying spectacle, you’re in luck: Lake Placid will be hosting the competition again in 2024 – the only World Cup tour stop in North America. Like last year, viewers will get an up-close-and-personal view of the top ski jumpers from the U.S., Poland, Slovenia, Norway, Austria, and more soar the length of a football field off the 128-meter jump.

TOP FLORIDA FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Sunshine Comedy Fest | Tampa & St. Pete, FL

January 11–14, 2024

What’s better than seeing the country’s hottest comedic acts take the stage at intimate St. Pete venues no more than 15 minutes from Treasure Island Beach Resort? Being able to rub elbows with those comedians at special events in between the Sunshine Comedy Fest’s four days of stand-up acts, including podcast recordings, exclusive after-parties, meet and greets, even a VIP pool party. And we’re not talking a handful of funny folk, but 40-plus wild and whacky personalities all with their own unique shticks. A few to look forward to: Kevin Farley (who will also be hosting a series of acting classes during the festival), J.B Ball (comedic writer for Kevin Hart), and Kerryn Feehan (of “Funny or Die” fame).

The Key West Literary Seminar | Key West, FL

January 11–14, 2024

© Nick Doll


What do Margaret Atwood, Jamaica Kincaid, and Marlon James all have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re all world-renowned authors, they’ve also all taken the stage at past Key West Literary Seminars, proving that this annual four-day January fest brings in some literary heavyweights. With this year’s theme, “Florida: The State We’re In,” the lineup includes distinguished authors intimately acquainted with the Sunshine State, including Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, and Jeff Vandermeer. The schedule is packed with keynotes, signings, readings, presentations, dinners, and film screenings mostly located in the main venue is right on Duval Street and easy striking distance to three Opals located right in town: Opal Key Resort & MarinaThe Capitana Key West, and The Laureate Key West.

The South Florida Fair | West Palm Beach, FL

January 12–28, 2024

It may seem like nothing could top 2023’s “Dino-Myte” theme, where a dozen full-scale moving, animatronic dinosaurs were set throughout the South Florida Fair’s massive West Palm-based grounds. But, then again, with roots dating back to 1912, this iconic 17-day festival is in the business of reinventing itself each year. So what’s on the docket for this year and why should it be a stop during a stay at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, Opal Grand Resort, The Atlantic Suites on the Ave, or Delray Sands Resort? Yes, you can expect the usual five stages of music and entertainment and more than 200 rides, games, and attractions. But what patrons are most excited about is 2024’s ocean and marine-life theme, featuring a live shark encounter show, a 40-by-40-foot immersive underwater experience, a sea lion splash show, and a pirate-themed high-diving show.

Port St. Lucie Seafood Festival | Port St. Lucie, FL

January 27 & 28, 2024

You’ve heard the expression “there’s plenty of fish in the sea.” Well, that point has – literally – never been proven truer than what you’ll find at the Port St. Lucie Seafood Festival, held at the open-air MIDFLORIDA Event Center (less than a 20-minute drive from Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa and The Lucie). It’s quite the seafood smorgasbord: stone crab on ice, fried catfish, fresh oysters, crab cakes, coconut shrimp, seafood paella – we’re talking a multitude of preparations on practically every seafood species you can think of. In between indulging, you’ll find plenty of photo opps – either on the 40-foot-long pirate ship replica or in front of the mermaid exhibit, where finned ladies swim behind a glass window.

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