If you are feeling the winter blues — especially after the traffic snarls we experienced this week — it may be time to make your escape.

If you’ve got a free day, a free weekend or a whole week — here are some inexpensive ideas to help you embrace the season.

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•First off, you can’t avoid the St. Paul Winter Carnival, or what organizers call ‘the coolest celebration on Earth.” Between the ice skating, medallion hunting, beer tasting and sled dog racing, you’d be hard pressed not to find something fun to do. For a full list of events, click here.

•Think state parks are only for the warmer months? Think again. Did you know that ice fishing is free in State Parks if the lake is completely in the park? It is!

And there are cabins, guesthouses, suites and even campsites that you can rent year-round. Hint: they are much cheaper and bigger than a hotel room. Plus you get the added bonus of special park programs like snowshoeing and hiking, and skijoring. And you and your family may even get to pick up a free family activity kit. For a full list of the MN State Park winter events and guide, click here.

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•The Art Shanty Project will let you check out art all while taking a stroll on a lake. People have creatively decorated houses as part of a four-week sculpture park. Click here to see how you can see the houses.

•If you need a little place to get away from dry weather and get some tropical inspiration, the Como Conservatory is your personal rainforest. Imagine fragrant flowers, blooming orchids and lush lily pads in a world that is all white outside. No imagining — it’s free, but a voluntary donation of $2 per adult and $1 for kids helps the zoo and conservatory out.

•If you are looking for other winter events, check out the Explore Minnesota page. You can track down a polar plunge and fishing tourney near you!

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Know of any other deals? Share them with other ‘Good Lifers’ in the comment section. You can also read more money-saving blog posts here and text WCCODEALS to 84816 for a ‘deals of the week’ reminder.