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For Canadians, there are a great many things to be patriotic about, but it’s hard not to envy our southern neighbours a bit when the winter months are in full swing. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, at least 3 per cent will experience some form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in their lifetime. If the impending winter is tempting you to book a trip to sunnier destinations, consider one of these lesser-traveled American spots.

Gulf Shores, Ala.
A resort city with a population less than 10,000, Gulf Shores is an idyllic beach town that exemplifies the best qualities of the south. You’ll find warm hospitality, perfect weather and pure white beaches that stretch for miles along the Gulf Coast. Nightlife, waterfront trails, great food, the chance to release baby sea turtles into the ocean—this getaway is guaranteed to be memorable.

Ruston, La.
If bright lights and bourbon aren’t your style, skip New Orleans in favour of small-town Ruston. Located in the north of Louisiana just between Shreveport and Monroe, this little city has everything you could dream of in a relaxing midwinter vacation. Ruston is full of historic sites, walking trails, museums and more crawfish restaurants than you could ever hope to try. An increasing number of artisanal coffee shops have opened up in recent years, so if you’re craving some cold brew, you won’t have to wander far.

Savannah, Ga.
Atlanta might boast the biggest film industry in the south, but the coastal antebellum town of Savannah has a rich architectural history. The weather is as perfect as the cobbled, oak-lined residential streets. Walking ghost tours are available for travelers interested in the creepy history of Savannah. Hit the historic district if you’re in the mood to sip on some wine and find a bite to eat.

Joshua Tree, Calif.
A national park discovered by a female environmentalist, Joshua Tree has now become the hipster getaway beloved by Angelenos and northerners alike. You’ll find no better place than the desert to relax and unwind midwinter, and Joshua Tree provides more privacy than nearby San Bernadino and Los Angeles. The town’s kitschy aesthetic is perfect for Instagram photos, and the starry desert sky at night is nothing short of awe-inspiring.