15 Warm-weather Getaways to Escape the Next Winter Blizzard
In December, snowy forecasts conjure images of twinkling lights in shop windows, ice skating children and hot chocolate by the fire. By the time the new year rolls around, the charm of the chill has worn off. Whether it’s a “polar vortex” or a “bomb cyclone,” from January onward, it’s less about walking in a winter wonderland and more about sludging through dirty snow, hoping not to slip on ice.
If you’re desperate to get away to warmer temperatures, you’re not alone. We’ve rounded up some affordable warm-weather getaways for when you’re ready to go from snow to sand.
The Cayman Islands
Visit the Cayman Islands for white sand beaches and turquoise water. Grand Cayman is the biggest of the three islands, meaning there are plenty of options for shopping and dining. The island is perhaps most famous for Stingray City, where travelers can swim alongside the rays. Flights from the East Coast start at $469 round-trip.
The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands. The coasts here are the kind of white sand, palm tree-lined beaches you’ve seen on postcards, with options for relaxation, water sports and adventure, as well as child-friendly activities. Flights from the East Coast starting at $285 round-trip.
Stay: Kamalame Cay
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas is renowned for its nightlife, but in fact there’s plenty of culture, dining and activity for travelers who are looking for a more relaxing holiday. The town is set against a dramatic backdrop at the tip of Baja California, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortes. A traveler favorite is The Cabo Arch, a rock formation jutting out of the sea.
Stay: Resort at Pedregal
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
Sunny Isles Beach is located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and, with its high rise beach-front properties, it looks the part. Don’t be put off by the bustling town, though. There’s a long stretch of sand, the warm Atlantic Ocean, perfect for snorkeling and diving, and amenities including dining and shopping. It’s also home to the Aqualina Resort, which is one of Travel + Leisure’s top 100 hotels in the world.
Stay: Acqualina Resort & Spa
Phoenix is home to stunning natural attractions, including Camelback Mountain, with its views of the city and the Phoenix Mountains, as well as cultural attractions. Daytime temperatures in the winter range from high sixties in January to high seventies in March, meaning it’s not exactly a hot weather destination, but if Phoenix has been on your list, it’s a great time to visit to avoid sweltering heat. Flights starting at about $200 round-trip from East Coast and Midwestern airports.
Stay: Arizona Biltmore
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Providenciales is another destination straight out of a postcard. Azure skies give way to brilliant teal water, coral reefs and sparkling white beaches. Turks and Caicos offers a nice balance of natural attractions alongside modern amenities, including an airport, resorts and restaurants. To experience the unique offerings, check out a conch farm and stones engraved by shipwrecked sailors.
Stay: The Shore Club
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica is famous for reggae and the relaxed vibes that go with it: take advantage of that atmosphere by spending long days by the water with a local rum daiquiri in hand. Dry season in Jamaica runs from December to April, making winter the perfect time to visit.
Stay: Half Moon, a RockResort
Grenada is one of Travel + Leisure's 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018, and the bright turquoise water, coral reefs and warm, welcoming locals make that choice easy to understand. Visitors in February will get to experience celebrations for Independence Day, which marks the island’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1974, but really, anytime of year is a perfect time to come.
Stay: Silversands Grenada
San Diego, California
For people trying to escape the extreme chill of the northern part of the country, but who aren’t keen to find themselves at the opposite extreme either, San Diego is an ideal getaway. Temperatures are balmy in the winter, allowing for barefoot walks on the beach with minimal chance of a sunburn.
Little Torch Key, Florida
The Florida Keys are a string of islands curving southwest from the tip of mainland Florida. Stay in Little Torch Key, about two thirds of the way west, at the Little Palm Island Resort and Spa. The resort is on a private island and is serious about relaxation: there are no televisions or cell phones allowed. If this sounds terrifying, consider that it’s gone down well with guests: Travel + Leisure readers voted it one of the top 100 hotels last year.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
There’s never a bad time to go to Playa Del Carmen, given the near year-round sunshine. Winter is the high season though, so you may need to book in advance. The city is located about halfway between Tulum and Cancun, on the Yucatan Peninsula, meaning travelers who tire of the beaches, shops and restaurants locally can also experience tours of Mayan ruins nearby.
Stay: Rosewood Mayakoba
Maui landed a spot on the World’s Top 10 Islands list. The second largest island in Hawaii and has a diversity of landscape, so visitors can spend their days hiking or with a book next to the ocean. As a bonus, visiting Maui in the winter means a chance to see humpback whales in migration.
Barbados boasts beautiful beaches and activities to keep visitors busy, including paddleboarding, diving and exploring a wildlife reserve. It’s also packed full of culture and history, as the country has been home to Native Americans, British colonizers and West Africans who were originally brought to the island as slaves.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Travel + Leisure readers voted San Miguel de Allende as the world’s best city last year, based on its culture, friendliness, value, and sights, among other criteria. It’s not hard to see why San Miguel de Allende took the title. The city is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, and chock-full of culture, dining and history. Temperatures hover in the 70s and 80s in the winter months.