Here are our top recommendations for warm and sunny destinations to escape the winter doldrums this year.
This tried-and-true winter escape is known for its sunny skies, impressive beaches, and lively culture. Spend your trip spotting Art Deco architecture in South Beach, exploring Everglades National Park, or checking out Wynwood Walls street art in an average balmy 77°F temperature.
Insider Tip Miami – Skip the South Beach crowds and head to Oleta River State Park to enjoy beautiful beaches, kayaking, and hiking along Biscayne Bay just north of the city.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
For an easy 5-hour flight from most US cities that transports you into perpetual summer, Puerto Vallarta is a prime pacific coast destination. December through April highs average 83°F. Split time relaxing on Banderas Bay beaches with guided hikes through the Sierra Madre Mountains and indulging in authentic local cuisine.
Insider Tip Puerto Vallarta – Take a boat trip out to the secluded beaches around Yelapa for a more laid back and authentic experience away from the resort areas.
If you want to stay stateside, it’s hard to beat Scottsdale in the winter. This Sonoran Desert city offers pleasant highs around 66°F on average during colder months along with abundant spas, golf courses, cafes and art galleries to while away afternoons in between hikes through cactus-dotted trails.
Insider Tip Scottsdale – Hike Camelback Mountain early in the morning to beat both the crowds and the midday heat when views from the summit are stunning.
Grand Cayman Islands
For one of the shorter Caribbean jaunts from the mainland US at under 3 hours air time, Grand Cayman dazzles with laidback island charm. Expect average temperatures hovering around 80°F from December through March, along with superb snorkeling and diving sites ringed by stunning Seven Mile Beach.
Insider Tip Grand Cayman – Catch a small boat out to uninhabited Starfish Point to snorkel alongside sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, and of course—starfish!
Palm Springs, California
Sitting at the northern point of the Sonoran Desert, Palm Springs boasts very comfortable average winter temperatures around 70°F, especially once the sun goes down. Take in mountain views and tour mid-century modern homes between world-class shopping and dining or soaking up consciousness at a wellness retreat.
Insider Tip Palm Springs – Rent bikes or walk to tour the fabulously preserved mid-century modern neighborhoods like Racquet Club Estates for iconic desert architectural eye candy.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
For culture and history blended effortless island living, San Juan shines among Caribbean destinations within a quick 3-hour plane ride for eastern US travelers. Alongside exploring historical sites like El Morro, the capital city’s beaches, cuisine, and energetic nightlife make winter’s average 75°F warmth even more welcoming.
Insider Tip San Juan – Escape from the historic city center to wilder Culebra island, accessible via affordable public ferries, offering quieter beaches and hilly hiking amid total serenity.
The quintessential tropical island escape, Kaua’i averages highs around 78°F even in January, with extra waterfalls owing to winter’s rainy season. Watch for humpback whales along scenic drives and trails cutting through the towering interior rainforest or pack beach days full of snorkeling, surfing or simply relaxing seaside.
Insider Tip Kaua’i – Venture out along the remote Napali Coast by boat or kayak to witness breathtaking jungle covered sea cliffs Dotting the coastline in seclusion.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Part of Spain off the coast of Morocco, Tenerife offers the European island escape Americans often overlook for winter. The island’s south remains around 70°F during cooler months while the north still nears 60°F, allowing stunning hikes through lava flows and laurel forests before hitting golden sand beaches.
Insider Tip Tenerife – Drive through verdant ancient forests on Mount Teide, Spain’s tallest peak, to access spectacular hiking with far fewer crowds than the popular cable car ride to the summit.
For adventurers seeking culture, ruins, wildlife, and ocean pursuits, Belize is Central America’s winter oasis averaging 80°F in December through February. Split time between Belize City and sandy cayes on the world’s second largest barrier reef between jungle excursions to ancient Mayan sites and natural sanctuaries.
Insider Tip Belize – After exploring bustling Belize City, escape to the ethereal Lighthouse Reef Atoll to dive the famous Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye Natural Monument.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Another quintessential Caribbean choice located just 90 minutes by air from Miami, Turks and Caicos boasts coveted white sand beaches and dazzling 80°F average temperatures even when winter’s at home are feeling their bleakest. Snorkel or sail along boasting “world’s best beaches” before sampling exquisite island cuisine at the perfect pace.
Insider Tip Turks and Caicos – Charter a boat to secluded Little Water Cay to spot rock iguanas, sea turtles, flamingos and even whales in the island’s serene protected habitat.