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10 Best Warm Places to Travel to This Winter

Escape the chill in these warm-weather destinations.

warm places to visit in winter

Sure, the winter months have their perks – skiing, sledding, snowman building, and of course the holidays. But the cold! Oh, the cold. It digs deep under your skin, straight to your bones, chilling everything from your toes to your chattering teeth. Fortunately, several year-round, warm-weather destinations can offer a much-needed respite from the frigid air.

From island getaways to sizzling cities, here are 10 of the best warm places to visit this winter.

Ambergris Caye, Belize 

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

With direct flights from several U.S. cities (including New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and Miami), getting to the Central American nation of Belize is easier than you think. The country's interior is filled with lush, verdant landscapes home to monkeys and even a few rare jaguars, but the real star is the coast. To experience the white-sand beaches at their best, make your way to Ambergris Caye. Belize's largest island is known for its water sports, including diving and snorkeling around the nearby Belize Barrier Reef. For a luxe visit, book a few nights at Alaia Belize , which not only provides easy access to the beach, but also has a swimming pool suspended six stories above the main access corridor, with portholes in the bottom that offer aerial views of the property.

Mexico City 

Jorge Castro/Travel + Leisure

Though winter in CDMX won't have the tropical heat you might expect from Mexico — temperatures tend to top out in the low 70s this time of year — it still provides a balmy alternative to snowy U.S. locales. The capital is flush with cultural attractions , including first-rate museums (like the stunning Museo Frida Kahlo ), incredible shopping at both high-end stores and local markets, and some of the best restaurants in the world (we're looking at you, Pujol ). Make Las Alcobas your home base. The luxury hotel offers lavish guest rooms and a tranquil spa in which to relax after a day of urban exploration.

Key West, Florida

Key West is a true delight in the winter months, as the average high temperature never really falls below 75 degrees. It's the perfect place for fruity cocktails on the sand, sunset strolls down lively shopping streets, and slice after slice of tangy Key lime pie. Make the most of your time here by booking a stay at the historic Casa Marina Key West , which recently underwent an extensive renovation. Through the hotel, you can book local food tours, golf outings, and sailboat cruises, or you can simply sit by the pool and soak in the Florida Keys sun.

Rangiroa, French Polynesia

Though more than a hundred islands comprise French Polynesia , just a handful (think Bora Bora and Moorea) get most of the attention. If you prefer somewhere a little less crowded, try the quiet, sparsely developed atoll of Rangiroa. Located about an hour's flight from Tahiti, it has pristine beaches and a massive lagoon brimming with sea life. Book the Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa , which boasts stunning overwater bungalows and villas with private plunge pools.

Panama Highlands

Panama is another destination with splendid coastlines, but its interior shouldn't be overlooked, especially for a winter vacation. Temperatures in the country's highlands sit in the 60s and 70s year round, creating ideal conditions for outdoor adventures. Visitor-favorite activities here include bird-watching and, for more adventurous types, criss-crossing the verdant mountains via the famous hanging bridges of Boquete. The region also has a stellar coffee scene worth exploring. Book a stay at The Haven , an adults-only wellness hotel that'll help you get on a coffee tour as soon as you land.

If you're seeking an African safari this winter without the crowds of a classic destination like Kenya, try the less-traveled terrain of Namibia . This nation on Africa's southwest coast offers seclusion, otherworldly landscapes, and near-guaranteed warm weather. It's also the perfect place to see animals like lions, elephants, leopards, and rhinos in their natural environment. There are several outfitters in the area, but Natural Selection is top-notch. It has numerous camps to choose from, including the famed Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

If you want to mix some time under the sun with some cultural enrichment, look no further than San Juan. The capital of Puerto Rico has long stretches of white-sand beaches, plus historical attractions like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Visitors will also find lots of delicious spots to eat (make reservations at Cocina Abierta ). In San Juan, it's best to go boutique, so check into the O:LV Fifty Five hotel, which features a rooftop bar and pool offering the best views in town.

When the first cold snap hits, book your flight to Dubai. This desert oasis offers not just warm weather but a mind-boggling array of things to do, from swimming in the Persian Gulf to shopping at some of the world's most luxurious stores and dining at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants. (Don't forget to visit the tallest building in the world while you're here, via an elevator that travels at an ear-popping 30 feet per second.) Try Atlantis, The Palm for your overnight stays — it's a veritable playground for those looking to indulge in the finer things in life.

Winter happens to be the best time to visit Bangkok . The weather is balmy year-round thanks to Thailand's tropical location, but the winter months offer slightly more comfortable temperatures, with highs rarely exceeding 90 degrees.

To get the most out of this massive city, it's best to book a lengthy visit or get a guide — there are tons of tour options on sites like Airbnb Experiences that focus on food, culture, and photography. Don't miss out on the city's canals, either, which you can tour on a long-tail boat. Make your home base the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok , a long-running honoree in Travel + Leisure 's World's Best Awards.

The Bahamas

Sometimes, you just need to get away and not think about a single thing. And that's exactly what you can do in the Bahamas, an island chain that's just a three-hour flight from New York City. There are a number of beautiful destinations to see here, and many of the archipelago's inhabited islands are home to some of the best all-inclusive resorts that are ideal for families, couples, and even solo travelers.

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Feeling the chill? Consider these 10 US warm winter-vacation destinations

Nov 16, 2023 • 6 min read

warm places to visit in winter

Sunset sails in Key West, Florida, are especially delightful as winter sets in further north © Ramunas Bruzas / Shutterstock

Travelers face two reasonable responses to the prospect of a long, cold winter: embrace the chill and seek out the most spectacular winter destinations , or follow the warmth – wherever you can find it.

If you’ve had your fill of icy sidewalks and overheated buildings, no one will blame you for choosing option two. And  US travelers don’t even need to leave the country to ditch the scarves and mittens.

Whether you’re after a beach escape, a wildlife adventure or a dose of big-city culture, here’s where to find fun in the sun this winter.

Santa Barbara, California

Just under two hours northwest of Los Angeles , Santa Barbara is a getaway destination perfect for beach strolls and canyon hikes. Celebrity sightings are common here (Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfrey are among the area’s most notable residents), yet the real attraction is its upscale yet relaxed beach-town energy. Stroll the State St Promenade for unique shops, artisan food and wine stores, plus plenty of outdoor dining options. Follow it all the way to West Beach , where the more adventurous can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and those just out for a great view can stroll Stearns Wharf . 

A hummingbird with its beak inside a red flower at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Phoenix, Arizona

There’s a simple reason 15 Major League Baseball teams relocate to Arizona for training before the real season starts: the weather is simply phenomenal, with  Phoenix getting 299 days of sunshine every year on average. In the middle of summer, when temperatures regularly shoot past 100°F, you might wish for some relief – but the clear-blue-sky, mid-70s days of late winter are ideal for outdoor fun.

If you’re not there for the baseball, you can at least see why it’s called the “Cactus League” at the Desert Botanical Garden , where the succulents and spiny plants of the desert mingle with art exhibitions. Or hit the trail and explore the sandstone formations of Papago Park, or pedal through South Mountain Park, a favorite among trail riders.

A woman taking a photo from a kayak in the Everglades, Florida

The Everglades, Florida

Maybe those baseball teams are onto something: while half of the league is in Arizona, the rest are warming up in Florida . The Sunshine State has the warmest temperatures on the US mainland during the winter, and the warmest national park  (outside of Hawaii ) is the Everglades . Winter is the dry season here, making it one of the most popular times of year for visitors – as well as for spotting wildlife. The drying of the marshes makes animals congregate in smaller areas, and migratory birds are doing just what you’re doing: flying to Florida in search of warmer climes. Drive the Southern Everglades Hwy south until you run out of continent at Flamingo , a great place for spotting manatees.

South Padre Island, Texas

Get to South Padre Island before spring break and you can enjoy  Texas ’ popular seaside resort town at its quietest. With multiple blinds, a viewing tower, and boardwalks through the dunes, the 50-acre South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary  is an ideal spot for watching feathered friends who overwinter here, as well as alligators and sea turtles. Isla Blanca County Park ’s beach is the most popular, thanks to access to shops and restaurants – but you can be rewarded with a bit of tranquility by exploring the dunes of Edwin King Atwood County Park or the long stretches of sand of the North End .

Key West, Florida

At the furthest end of the Florida Keys , Key West  has a celebrated culture that attracts sun seekers from all over the USA. The 7-sq-mile oasis offers famed literary history, fresh seafood and plenty of hopping bars. Don’t pass up the chance to set sail during sunset, visit the Ernest Hemingway House and marvel at the many colors at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory . 

A woman rides a bicycle down a palm-lined street in Palm Springs, California, USA

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs has its own type of cool going on year-round – but it’s rarely the type that registers on the thermometer. Winter nights can have a bit of the dry cold of the desert, yet the average high temperature never dips below 70°F. Palm Springs as a winter oasis is hardly a well-kept secret, and though it’s high season around the Coachella Valley, the variety of old-school motor court motels and mid-century-modern rentals for private pool parties means there are always accommodations options. For those craving a bit more activity than poolside lounging, breathtaking  Joshua Tree National Park and the oddball charm of the Salton Sea (with sights like the International Banana Museum ) are less than an hour away.

St John, US Virgin Islands

Looking for warm weather and the feeling that you’re a long, long way from home? St John  in the US Virgin Islands  might fit the bill. Virgin Islands National Park covers two-thirds of the island, preserving many miles of shoreline as well as underwater reef habitats. Traveling with kids? Try Maho Bay , known for its shallow, calm waters popular among snorkelers and green sea turtles.

Kenneth Terry and his jazz band perform in Jackson Square, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana

Winter in New Orleans isn’t exactly hot and sunny – January and February average in the mid-60s – but it’s certainly a welcome change from anywhere snowbound, and the crowds are at their lowest just before Mardi Gras swings into town. But since this New Orleans, there’s always a party going on, even in winter.

Bonfires are lit along the levees every Christmas Eve, a tradition that is supposed to help guide the arrival of Papa Noël, the Cajun Santa Claus. The annual Tet Fest thrown by the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year (in late January or early February) is an important day for New Orleans’ large Vietnamese population, and the festive fair is full of delicious eats for all comers. The mild days of winter also make for pleasant exploring of the backstreets on one of the Crescent City’s many bike tours.

Kihei, Maui

The Hawaiian Islands do get more rain in winter, and things do get a bit cooler, it’s true. But let’s be real: the “cooler” winter in Kihei  means an average high of 81°F instead of 87°F, with 276 days of sun a year. So a parka won’t be necessary. There are a few simple tips for visiting  Maui  in winter. Stick to the south and west coasts to maximize your chances of sunny days. Avoid stronger surf by heading to gentler beaches, like Kalepolepo Beach Park for kids or Ulua Beach for top-notch snorkeling. Skip the holiday crowds and seek out a deal in early winter, before spring break. Then sit back, and soak in the sun.

Fallen tree trunk on a beach at dawn - Jekyll Island, Georgia, United States; Best US destinations for winter sun

Coastal Georgia

Sun-seekers heading to Georgia  could do just fine by stopping in sensational  Savannah and never leaving. But head just a little further out to the coast and you’ll find a world of barrier islands and twisting waterways to explore. Tybee Island and its popular beaches are just a half-hour drive away – the start of a string of subtropical islands that hug the coast of the Peach State. All feature mild winter weather, and each has its own personality.

Sapelo Island is home to a small village of Geechee, descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the plantations on the island until the 19th century. Nature lovers can book wildlife tours of Sapelo’s estuaries through the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Visitors Center . Historic, multicultural Brunswick serves as the gateway to Georgia’s Golden Isles, including resorty St Simons, and Jekyll Island, historically a playground for the wealthiest American families.

This article was first published Sep 13, 2019 and updated Nov 16, 2023.

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She Saves She Travels

34 Incredible Warm Winter Vacations USA (Say Goodbye to the Cold)

Posted on Published: December 23, 2022  - Last updated: January 11, 2024

Dreaming of a warm winter vacation in the USA? Of course you are!

This guide has 34 of the best (and not to mention genuinely fun) winter destinations in the US that are actually warm! Check out the list below and then get ready to book your trip ASAP.

warm winter vacations picture of caribbean water with beach and hillside

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my  disclosures .

From Hawaii to Florida, Texas, California, Arizona plus a bunch of extra destinations thrown in this list of warm winter vacations USA, you’ll be digging out your sandals and ready to head to the airport.

It’s time to escape the cold and enjoy some nice weather. If you’re dreaming of sunshine and high’s in the 60’s, 70’s or even 80’s, well here you go!

Save money on travel with points: Check out the best credit card offers to save big money by using rewards points for flights and hotels. They’re so good; I regularly have 2-3 in my wallet and book most of my travel with points!

Warm winter vacations in the US

kauai hawaii view of napali coast with dense foliage beach and ocean

As someone who’s actively checking places off my travel bucket list , I can’t say I’ve been everywhere (yet!) So I recruited some of my fellow travel blogging friends to help create this huge list.

You’ll love these destinations and just might even wonder how you’ll fit more than one trip to a warm weather destination this winter. 😊

Let’s dive in!

Map of the best places to visit in the winter in USA

If you’re a visual person like I am, this map will help you locate a perfect spot and plan your trip.

Each destination includes average temperatures you can expect for the area. These temps are what’s normal for January – in the heart of winter when most of us are trying to escape the cold!

Warm winter vacations USA

Starting this list off with a few favorites…but let’s be honest, they’re all fantastic! From beaches to deserts…here we go!

1. San Diego, California

San Diego California coastline with white waves blue ocean rocky ledge

Average temp:  high 66 / low 50

Starting this list off with a bang! San Diego is a delight to visit any time of year, but it’s definitely one of the top warm winter vacations in the USA. With temperatures averaging in the mid-60’s all winter long, it’s a perfect escape from cold weather.

Whether you’re planning a weekend in San Diego or a longer vacation, there’s plenty of things to do to occupy your time. While the ocean temperature is too cold for most people to enjoy it, watching the waves and enjoying the salty air is the perfect activity.

If you’re into Mexican food and culture, be sure to check out Old Town San Diego , which is the birthplace of California. With over a dozen delicious spots to eat, you could literally eat for dayyyyys here. So good!

For a more bougie atmosphere, head on over to La Jolla Cove for an afternoon. Grab dinner and gelato with amazing views of the coast. Downtown San Diego boasts the Gaslamp Quarter, perfect for restaurants and nightlife.

History lovers will enjoy the USS Midway and art fanatics should check out Balboa Park. Of course, beaches are plentiful so be sure to enjoy Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Coronado Beach.

Recommended by me – Nikki of She Saves She Travels

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2. Sedona, Arizona

sedona arizona skyline with red rocks at sunset

Average temp:  high 60 / low 34

With high temperatures hovering at a comfortable 60 degrees in Sedona, it’s one of the best warm winter vacations in the US! The crowds have gone, prices are more affordable and the deep red rock scenes are just as cool.

Sedona is perfect for couples! At night you may want to cozy up by the fire, which many resorts and restaurants have running just for you. During the day, hit the trails! Just make sure to pack your hiking shoes with traction , incase you find any slippery spots on the slick rock surface.

Try the popular Devil’s Bridge or Cathedral Rock for excellent hikes with a good amount of challenge, both worth the views! Or take it easy at Fay Canyon Trail or Seven Sacred Pools.

Perhaps one of the coolest things to do in Sedona is stargaze at night. With the stark backdrop of the nearby cliffs, it’s a perfect spot for it!

3. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico village vibrant buildings along seashore

Average temp:  high 84 / low 66

Few destinations within the United States are warmer in the winter than the island territory of Puerto Rico. The island is pleasant all throughout the winter, but January and February tend to have the most consistently pleasant weather, with average highs around 80 degrees and lows around 75 degrees.

Plus, the Atlantic hurricane season has passed by winter, so it’s really the perfect time to visit Puerto Rico. Just be aware that these months also coincide with high season, so it’s best to reserve your hotels well in advance.

Most visitors to Puerto Rico enter through the capital city of San Juan. If you’re just visiting for a shorter getaway, the easiest thing to do is to base yourself out of the historic Old San Juan . Explore the old Spanish fortress, meander the cobblestone streets, and enjoy the many boutique hotels , shops and restaurants.

You can get just about anywhere in Puerto Rico from San Juan, so it’s the perfect base for day trips around the island . Chase waterfalls in El Yunque National Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the United States.

Go surfing at La Pared Beach in Luquillo. Visit Culebra and the stunning Flamenco Beach . Take a day trip to Icacos Island from Fajardo. Or go night kayaking in one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays, or visit the Black Sand Beach in Vieques !

Whatever you do, you’ll soon realize why Puerto Rico is one of the best places to visit in winter in USA!

Recommended by Nathaniel of Travel Lemming

4. St. Croix, USVI (one of the most beautiful places to visit in winter in USA)

warm winter vacations usa view of port at st croix USVI beach teal water hills and town

Average temp:  high 82 / low 71

A true Caribbean getaway, and yet one of the best warm winter vacations USA is St. Croix. Because it’s a US territory, you won’t need a passport if you’re a US citizen. It makes getting there quite convenient.

A lush, tropical island part of the US Virgin Islands (St. John and St. Thomas are the others you can visit), it’s a picturesque getaway when you’re craving sunshine during the dreary winter.

Visiting St. Croix, you’ll likely spend some time in the town of Christiansted. Hang out on the Boardwalk, marvel at the Danish architecture and grab a bite to eat with an ocean view.

With over 20 gorgeous beaches in St. Croix, you’re sure to have some beach fun, too. Visit the famous Rainbow Beach or the less crowded beaches at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Go snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking or take a day trip to Buck Island. There’s so many things to do in St. Croix, you certainly won’t get bored!

Book a photo shoot: The best souvenir, booking a photo shoot while traveling preserves memories of your vacation! I love Flytographer because the photo sessions are fun, easy and affordable. you can get $25 off if you book through this link .

5. Miami, Florida

miami florida beach multicolored life guard shack teal water white sand winter getaways in usa

Average temp:  high 74 / low 63

If you’re looking for the best warm winter destinations in the USA, you have to add Miami to your list. Located in southeastern Florida, this city is blessed with warm weather and sunshine all year round.

In winter temperatures average around 68°F (ranging from the lowest at 60°F and highest at 73°C) and there are as little as 6 rainfall days per month. It’s the perfect warm getaway for the cold December, January and February months.

Miami is ideal also because it has loads to offer. You can spend your days on the beach if you choose to, but there are also lots of exciting things to do in the city. From street art tours to visiting interesting museums… in Miami there is something for everyone.

Discovering the street art of Wynwood is without a doubt one of the highlights in Miami. You can do a guided cycling tour, so as to see as much as possible of the neighbourhood, while learning about the street art from local art fans.

Exploring Little Havana, and learning about the Cuban influence and history in Miami is also an extremely interesting activity.

If you want to try some delicious food you can also head to Espanola Way. Here you will find a lovely pedestrian street, with a distinctive Spanish vibe; with flamenco dancers and cute restaurants offering tasty paella and tapas.

Regardless of whether you’re planning to spend a month or  weekend in Miami , or whether you plan to relax on the beach or discover the history of this unique city, Miami is the perfect warm getaway for this winter.

Recommended by Greta of Greta’s Travels

6. Orange Beach, Alabama (a favorite on this list of warm winter vacations USA)

white sand blue water and sky with pier in alabama

Average temp:  high 63 / low 42

White sand beaches in Alabama? Yessss please! This area of the USA is often underrated, which makes it the perfect spot for a warm winter vacation. With less crowds than it’s popular Gulf Coast beach counterparts, Orange Beach is great for families, couples, solos or friends’ trips.

Pristine, white sand and temperatures in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s, it’s great for relaxing on the beach. While the water may be a bit too cool to swim, you’ll be able to soak up some rays and enjoy the salty air of the Gulf.

Make sure to check out The Wharf at Orange Beach where you’ll find tons of shopping, dining and nightlife. If you’re feeling active, the biking and hiking trails at Gulf State Park is the perfect spot for you. And before you leave, you’ll want to check out the Gulf State Park Pier, too.

Orange Beach, Alabama offers spots to stay right on the beach for the best views or find budget-friendly accommodations a little further inland.

7. Las Vegas, Nevada

view of Las Vegas strip with buildings and orange sunset winter vacations usa

Average temp:  high 59 / low 28

Las Vegas deserves a spot on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit . Picture a getaway filled with gambling, shopping, eating, drinking and seeing the world (or at least, miniature replicas of the world’s landmarks).

Sin City is a verified inferno during summer months, and your visit is bound to be much more comfortable in the milder winter. Traveling to Vegas in January or February ensures you enjoy moderate hotel rates and temperatures in the mid 60s. But make sure to pack a light jacket for when the desert nights cool off! 

Vegas is the ultimate destination for people-watching, and in balmy February weather, you can secure an outdoor table along the Strip to see what all of the city’s locals and visitors are up to. The patios at El Segundo Sol or Lavo at the Palazzo are two excellent options for prime people-watching and delicious eats.

Las Vegas has plenty more to offer beyond the air-conditioned casinos and shops. Soak up the sun at one of numerous lush golf courses, or hike along trails in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to check out Nevada’s more natural scenery.

You can even extend your trip to more sunny destinations with fabulous day trips from Vegas , like catching a bus to Los Angeles can be as cheap as $20.

Whether your winter escape is an itinerary of several Southwestern stops or a full week in one lavish resort on the Vegas strip, you’ll find a plethora of enticing reasons to head to Las Vegas.

Recommended by Lina of Bucket List Places

8. Anna Maria Island, Florida – one of the best places to visit in winter (USA)

warm winter vacations usa view of Anna Maria island beach in florida green water white sand from above

Average temp:  high 71 / low 52

With gorgeous beaches and small-town vibes, this Florida gem is perfect for a winter getaway. Fly into Sarasota for the closest airport, and you’ll be at a warm beach within the hour. Anna Maria Island is one of the best places to visit in winter in the USA, just when you need it most!

Spend days at the beaches enjoying the gorgeous views and sunsets that feel oh so magical. Visit the Anna Maria Pier, devour the tacos at Poppo’s Taqueria and hit Bradenton Beach for the best shopping on the island.

Spend your days hunting for seashells at Coquina Beach or basking in the sun and white sand at Bean Point. With so many things to do in Anna Maria Island , you’ll want to savor every moment before it’s time to leave this paradise!

It’s best to look at small hotels, condos or vacation rentals here as there aren’t big chains on the island. Because of this, book your accommodations in advance for the best rates!

9. Maui, Hawaii (a favorite on this list of warm winter vacations USA)

best place to visit in winter in usa view of rocky beach and coastline blue water and sky

Average temp:  high 70 / low 64

Of course this list of the warm winter vacations USA has to include Hawaii! One of the most popular tourist spots within this gorgeous island chain is Maui. Beautiful sandy beaches and weather nice enough for swimming in the ocean, Maui is a perfect vacation spot for couples, families, solos or even a fun girl’s trip!

And bonus: it’s more affordable than you think! There’s even a ton of things to do in Maui on a budget . Hiking the Waihee Ridge Trail , exploring waterfalls, snorkeling and enjoying the gorgeous beaches are all free!

But perhaps the very best reason to travel to Maui in the winter is because it’s whale season! Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii every winter, with February being the peak season. As someone who’s been on the island during the peak, I can tell you it’s seriously magical! Taking a whale watching tour to see them is a phenomenal experience, too!

Because it’s a popular winter destination, be sure to book your accommodations and rental car early for the best pricing. Look at spots on the sunniest and least rainy side of the island, the western side. It’s home to the famous Kaanapali Beach and Lahaina, so the western side is typically bustling with tourists.

More warm winter vacations in the US

Can you believe this list? And we’re only getting started! More underrated spots and you-gotta-see spots are right up ahead…

10. New Orleans, Louisiana

building with plants on deck in new orleans

Average temp:  high 64 / low 85

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in winter in USA, look no further than New Orleans! First, let’s talk weather! If you visit NOLA in summer, you are stuck with scorching heat.

Now, you want a warm destination, but you don’t want to be too hot! That is why visiting New Orleans in winter is the perfect time to go. Temperatures range from 60-70’s which is a great temperature for exploring outdoors, visiting historic places and dining on balconies. 

While there is no bad time to visit in winter, January and February are both great months for different reasons! January is Joan of Arc’s birthday and there is a parade each year and Epiphany also falls in January which marks the start of Mardi Gras! 

If you choose February, you will be visiting during Black History month. In a city with lots of Black history, what could be a better time to visit and enjoy some of the Black-owned restaurants the city has to offer.  

No matter what time of year you choose for your  New Orleans itinerary , there is something for everyone and the weather is great. Not scorching hot, but not cold either! 

Recommended by Victoria of Southern Trippers

11. American Samoa

warm winter destinations usa palm trees and rocky shoreline with blue water

Average temp:  high 87 / low 78

American Samoa is one of the most underrated destinations on this list, and rarely traveled to by US citizens because of it’s remote location. But when you arrive, oh goodness it’s worth every second!

To get to American Samoa in the South Pacific, you’ll need to travel to Hawaii first, with flights operating only twice weekly to the islands of American Samoa. It’s about a 6 hour flight from Honolulu to Pago Pago, American Samoa.

With a warm, humid climate, you can expect to see some rainfall which creates the beautiful greenery on the lush, tropical island. January is the most rainy, so for a warm winter getaway I’d recommend November or late February for more sunshine if you’re looking for that during a warm winter vacations USA.

Be sure to visit the  National Park of American Samoa , which is most certainly an island paradise. Protecting the local nature and ancestry of the Samoa, you’ll learn about the local culture and species that call this paradise home. Ofu Beach is a highlight within the park, so don’t skip it!

Swim in the tide pools at Poloa, take a day trip to Aunu’u, or for the most incredible beaches and scenery, head to Manu’a from the mainland of American Samoa.

It’s one of the best places to visit in winter in USA, and one that you’ll love!

12. Orlando, Florida

beautiful places to visit in whiner in usa Christmas tree inside building white balconies

Average temp:  high 72 / low 51

If you’re looking for one of the best warm winter vacations in the US, you need to add Orlando, Florida, to your list. December, January and February are 3 of the best months to visit Orlando.

Winter in Orlando means the perfect cooler weather with low humidity, no hurricanes, and less crowds at the theme parks. If you’re planning a trip to Orlando during the winter and planning to visit the theme parks, try to avoid holiday weekends and school holidays as the lines get long with everyone wanting to enjoy the nicer weather.

One of the best parts of visiting Orlando in the winter is visiting in December and experiencing all of the amazing things to do in Orlando at Christmas . While the theme parks decorate and have lots of amazing events, you can also find free community events featuring Santa, outdoor ice skating rinks, lots of Christmas lights and even “snow”.

Quick note: check out these Florida quotes to that will inspire and compliment your vacation to Orlando!

If you visit anytime in the winter, make sure to enjoy some of the natural springs in the area. While they feel cold in the hot summer sun, the refreshing 70 degree water doesn’t feel so bad when it matches the air temperature. Rent a canoe or paddleboards or just visit one of the local swimming holes such as the one at Wekiwa Springs.

You can’t go wrong visiting Orlando in the winter, so add it to your US winter vacation bucket list and start planning your trip to the happiest place on Earth!

Recommended by Christine of Live Love Run Travel

Related read: How to eat gluten free at Disney World

13. Mustang Island, Texas (one of the most underrated places to visit in winter in USA)

beach at mustang island from above lots of white waves blue water

Located near Corpus Christi is the beautiful Mustang Island. Commercial tourism hasn’t completely taken over the island, leaving more sand and surf to enjoy. In fact, Mustang Island is one of the most underrated spots on this list of warm winter vacations (USA).

Texas beaches are known for their adventure. Driving on a beach here is welcome – and encouraged! Drive up and down the coast to find a perfect picnic spot for the day.

The best place to stay on Mustang Island is Lively Beach . It’s close enough to take a day trip to the Padre Island National Seashore, where you’ll find 60+ miles of beaches to drive and roam on.

Or to the north is Port Aransas, or ‘Port A’ as the locals call it. Check out restaurants and shopping in the quaint downtown area, or the pier for the best views of the coast!

Winter is a perfect time to visit Mustang Island. Expect high’s in the 60s and way less crowds than spring break or the middle of summer – which is honestly a bonus when planning a winter getaway!

While many people traveling to Corpus Christi stay in town, venture a little further out to Mustang Island to find one of the best Texas vacation spots.

14. Savannah, Georgia

savannah georgia water fountain with mossy trees

Average temp:  high 61 / low 41

Just off the Georgia coast is the picturesque city of Savannah. Best known for its charming cobblestone streets, massive oaks and stately Southern mansions, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve stepped back in time in Savannah! 

The holiday season is a popular time to visit, especially since the Historic District looks like something straight out of a Hallmark movie. The weather is generally mild in December, but pack a light sweater in case the weather cools down at night. 

Some of the must-see highlights include Cathedral St. John the Baptist, Bonaventure Cemetery, River Street, Jones Street and the Forsyth Park fountain. This popular  one-day Savannah itinerary  includes many of the most photogenic spots within the Historic District. 

The Olde Pink House restaurant is known for its authentic Southern-style dishes, with mouth-watering menu items like their signature BLT Salad, Pecan Fried Chicken, Mac n’ Cheese Poppers, and a Praline Basket for dessert. (TIP: Make reservations six weeks in advance!) 

Of course, no trip to Savannah would be complete without a ghost tour ! The city is considered one of the most haunted places in America. Tours operate year-round, and the walking ones are usually the scariest options. 

The Marshall House  is one of the best all-around hotels within the Historic District. It’s located on Broughton Street, so it’s just steps away from restaurants, bars, shops, and landmarks. The  JW Marriott Plant Riverside  is another option, and the hotel and adjacent shops host a charming Christmas Market and numerous holiday events.

Recommended by Erin of Savannah First-timer’s Guide

15. Key West, Florida

palm trees on beach with white puffy clouds in sky warm winter vacation usa

Average temp:  high 75 / low 64

It’s the furthest south in the continental USA and it’s a perfect destination to solve any wintertime blues! Visiting Key West is a fun stop whether you’re planning cruise featuring Key West, a Miami to Key West road trip or a stay at just this island!

Key West has a bit of a reputation for being a party island…and truth be told, it is! There’s a ton of shopping, restaurants and bars. The island isn’t very heavy on beaches, although Smathers Beach is worth a visit.

And of course, tasting the famous key lime pie while you’re on the island. No judgement if you try it at all the restaurants, either…you’re on vacation!

Be sure to check out Mallory Square, the Key West Lighthouse, Duval Street and of course, enjoying water activities like a snorkeling tour and jet skiing.

If you love snorkeling and history, be sure to check out Dry Tortugas National Park, a day trip from Key West and one of the best things to do in Florida !

Pro tip: book Key West accommodations and rental car in advance as there’s limited options on the island.

Key West is one of the top warm winter vacations USA, and one that should not be missed!

16. Oahu, Hawaii (perhaps the most fun on this list of warm winter vacations USA)

view looking down at teal ocean white waves treelined coast and lighthouse

Average temp:  high 81 / low 65

As someone who’s traveled to Hawaii many times, I can tell you with certainty that it’s one of the top winter vacations in the USA. With less crowds than peak summer season, Oahu is home to beautiful sunshine, gorgeous weather and the Pacific Ocean warm enough to swim in.

If you’re up for delicious restaurants and fun nightlife, stay in the popular Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu. If you crave nature and the outdoors to explore, the North Shore sounds right for you.

From visiting icons like Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head, to beaching and Oahu hikes you’ll love , you’ll be saying Aloha to the warm weather Hawaii offers all winter long.

Pro tip: if it’s your first time to Hawaii, I recommend island-hopping to see more! Split your time between multiple islands to see what the others have to offer.

17. Tucson, Arizona

saguaro cactus in desert at sunset blue and orange sky

Average temp:  high 68 / low 38

Heading to Tucson, Arizona is one of the best places to visit in winter in USA. It’s fantastic to visit in January or February as it is not a very crowded place and the weather is perfect – warm enough to wear jeans and a shirt or light jacket. 

There are a ton of cool things to do in Tucson, with the highlight being a visit to Saguaro National Park. This is a perfect place to hang out in the wintertime as it has over 30 different hiking trails through the Saguaro cacti. You can easily spend a day or two just exploring the park. 

Other awesome things to do in Tucson include the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Franklin Auto Museum. Wine lovers will love visiting one of the tasting rooms like Sand-Reckoner or heading to Willcox for wineries. 

Food-wise, Agustin Kitchen is one of the best restaurants in Tucson for dinner. Seis Kitchen or Nook are delicious breakfast stops. Also, make sure to pop into La Estrella Bakery for the best pan dulce. 

I recommend staying at Hotel Congress as it’s in a fantastic location and has adorable rooms. You can also stay by the airport to save money. No matter what, there is a ton of fun things to keep you busy in Tucson.

Recommended by Francesca of Homeroom Travel

18. Charleston, South Carolina

Main Street Charleston South Carolina at dusk with buildings palm trees and street

Average temp:  high 57 / low 43

A great southern escape in the dreary winter is no further than Charleston, South Carolina. It’s common to see 60’s in February, which is a dream for most of the USA!

During the winter in Charleston, one of the best things to do is visit the  Magnolia Plantation and Gardens . It’s the oldest public gardens in the USA, and has won awards over and over. It’s truly stunning, and a great spot to visit, even in wintertime.

Shop, dine and find entertainment in the historic downtown district. King Street is a main stretch where you’ll find beautiful architecture and even better food. 

Of course you can’t visit Charleston in winter without seeing the beach. Although temperatures will be too cold for swimming, it’s still warm enough to enjoy the sights and sounds of the waves. Walk the beach looking for sea shells , or if you’re traveling with young kids, bring sand toys and let them build castles.

Recommended by me – Nikki of She Saves She Travels 

More winter vacations USA

Is it warm in here or is it just me?🤪 There’s some amazing places to go during winter…let’s keep exploring this list!

19. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles boardwalk with carnival rides and ocean on a warm winter getaway in usa

Average temp:  high 68 / low 49

Los Angeles, California is easily one of the best winter getaways in the U.S. You can enjoy average temperatures of 68-70 degrees and above from the months of January, February, and March. During the winter months in Los Angeles, you will also experience fewer crowds! 

Because of exceptionally warm winter temperatures, this makes Los Angeles the perfect destination to enjoy hiking and beach-going in California. 

Some of the best things to add to your Los Angeles itinerary in the winter include taking a bike ride down the Venice Boardwalk, enjoying a swim at Venice Beach, exploring the Santa Monica Pier, seeing the stars at Hollywood Blvd and taking the famous hike to the Hollywood Sign.  

Other popular hikes to enjoy in Los Angles are at Runyon Canyon and around Griffith Observatory. Griffith Observatory also offers the perfect place to experience the sunset over Downtown Los Angeles and star gazing. 

If you love theme parks, you can enjoy Disney California Adventure Park and Universal Studios Hollywood without the extreme heat of the summer or the crowds.  

Another special experience you can have in Los Angeles is viewing the Grey Whale migration. They migrate from December through April and travel from Alaska to Mexico. The Grey Whale migration is also known as one of the longest annual mammal migrations covering upward of 8,000 plus miles.

Furthermore, the months of February and March in LA are also when many award shows are happening including the Grammy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. So if you love award season or want to try to have a glimpse of the stars, the winter months in LA are for you!

Recommended by Sam of Find Love & Travel

20. Siesta Key, Florida (one of the top places to visit in winter in USA)

siesta key florida white sand beach teal water red lifeguard stand

Average temp:  high 72 / low 50

Siesta Key is a strip of land just west of Sarasota, Florida. You won’t find high rise hotels here, instead smaller, family-run hotels, condos and vacation rentals .

Rated one of the top beaches in the USA, Siesta Key, Florida is a gorgeous beach any time of year. December, January and February are exceptionally special because it’s still warm and you’ll get plenty of vitamin D with Florida’s sunshine!

Visit Siesta Key Village for the most shopping and dining options. Ride the free trolley to the many gorgeous beaches and restaurants around the strip. Or get your adrenaline pumping with kiteboarding or parasailing!

Aside from beach activities, some of the top things to do in Siesta Key are devouring Meaney’s Mini Donuts, biking the island or kayaking through mangrove tunnels .

Visit Siesta Key Florida for a weekend or week-long getaway during winter. You’ll be glad you did!

21. Channel Islands National Park, California

places to go during winter view of hillside ridge jutting up from ocean

Average temp:  high 63 / low 52

One of my favorites on this list of warm winter vacations USA is also one of the most underrated vacation destinations ! The National Park Service refers to Channel Islands NP as “Close to the California Mainland…Yet Worlds Apart.” And it’s so true!

It’s one of America’s least visited National Parks, likely because it requires a ferry ride from the mainland. However the 5 uninhabited islands of Santa Cruz, Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara and Santa Rosa more than make up for the travel there!

You can opt to ride the ferry back and forth for as many days as you’d like, or you can opt to camp on the islands. Just be sure to book your campsite in advance. Spend your days hiking and kayaking (book a tour in advance), and otherwise enjoying the views.

Pro tip: come prepared. There’s no services on the island for food, trash, etc. Potable water is available at the campsites.

I’d recommend a hotel in Ventura , as it’s the closest to the ferry. With high’s in the 60’s during winter, this is definitely one of the best warm winter getaways in the USA! Visiting the Channel Islands National park could be part of a larger California Coast road trip , or an off-the-grid national park adventure!

22. South Padre Island, Texas

places to go during winter view of pink sunset on beach with birds

Average temp:  high 69 / low 55

South Padre Island is a popular getaway and one of the best places to go during winter, especially for people who live in the southern part of the US. Situated on the coastal tip of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s the only tropical island in all of Texas. 

While spring break is an especially busy time to visit South Padre, December is a popular month for those wanting to get away to someplace warm for Christmas break. Many of the hotels fill up, so you’ll want to book accommodations in advance for your vacation there.

While the rest of the country may be experiencing winter weather, South Padre averages a balmy 71℉ and just over an inch of rain for December.

The ocean might be too chilly for some people to enjoy, but there’s still plenty to do there. For starters, be sure to check out the results of the annual sandcastle building contest that are kept for viewing year-round. 

Sea Turtle, Inc. is one of the top attractions where visitors can see them up close and learn more about what’s being done to protect them. South Padre is also a bird watcher’s paradise with a 5-story watchtower at the Birding and Nature Center where you’ll likely see many of the migrating birds to the area.

Winter is also a great time to book a tour out on the water to see the dolphins or take a sunset dinner cruise. South Padre Island is a warm-weather vacation destination that has attractions for just about everyone!

Recommended by Karee of Our Woven Journey

23. Kauai, Hawaii (an absolute favorite on this list of best places to visit in winter, USA)

best winter vacations for couples view of Waimea canyon kauai colorful ridges lush forest

Average temp:  high 72 / low 54

The most lush and impeccably beautiful of the Hawaiian islands (and my personal favorite), Kauai is a perfect retreat from cold weather. Home to the NaPali Coast and Waimea Canyon, this island is meant to be explored! Its stunning scenery is unparalleled by any other spot in the USA, with its lush greenery and gorgeous beaches.

If you’re looking to relax on the beach – choose another destination on this list. But if you’re up for adventure, try hiking first 2 miles of the the Kalalau Trail , viewing waterfalls up close and personal inside the Waimea Canyon or visiting one of the best snorkeling spots on Kauai .

By far one of my favorite experiences in Kauai was seeing it from the air. Taking a scenic flight through the Waimea Canyon and NaPali Coast is a truly unforgettable experience!

Of course there’s plenty of time for rest, too. Hang out at the palm-tree lined beach at Poipu and watch the sunset. Or see some of the best Kauai beaches on the North Shore.

Pro tip: be sure to pack right for Kauai. From water shoes to hiking poles, there’s a lot to do here and packing the right gear will make your vacation ultra smooth. Here’s a list of what to pack for Hawaii .

One of the best adventure vacations in the US , is Kauai calling your name?

24. St. John, US Virgin Islands

Average temp:  high 78 / low 67

We’re taking tropical to a whole other level here! St John is the smallest of the 3 major US Virgin Islands, and an absolutely perfect warm winter getaway. The island is covered by over 60% national park and the rest is gorgeous beaches, hiking trails and just a few businesses.

Expect temperatures in the upper 70’s for your stay in the US Virgin Islands over the winter.

Visit the Virgin Islands National Park and check out the ancient petroglyphs and epic hiking trails. Get another look into the island’s past by visiting the Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins. And when it’s time for a drink, check out the local brewery – St. John Brewers.

With gorgeous weather, be sure to visit the beautiful Trunk Bay for its pristine beach and turquoise ocean. If you’re up for some snorkeling, check out Watermelon Cay, Maho Bay and Salt Pond.

It can be a little tricky getting to St. John, but it’s sooo worth it! You’ll want to fly into St. Thomas, USVI. From there, you’ll need to take a taxi from the airport to a ferry. The ferries depart every hour, and it’s about a 20 minute ride over to St. John.

Because St. John has been really beat up in recent years with hurricanes, there’s not very many places to stay until rebuilding is complete. For that reason, accommodations tend to be pricey and they book up fast. So book your hotel early!

25. Huntington Beach, California

warm winter vacations in the US view of beach and pier white waves blue ocean sunny sky

Average temp:  high 64 / low 49

There’s nothing better than escaping cold, snowy weather for a balmy beach vacation during the winter. Thankfully, Southern California has plenty of beaches that fit the bill – including Huntington Beach!  

Huntington Beach is nicknamed “Surf City USA” because it hosts the largest surfing competition in the world, the Vans US Open of Surfing, each summer.

That said, winter is a great time to visit Huntington Beach – the weather is still warm, with temperatures averaging in the mid-60s, but the summer tourists are gone. This shift leaves the bustling beach town unusually quiet – the perfect time to explore! 

During your trip, enjoy some of the  best things to do in Huntington Beach , like watching the sunset from the Huntington Beach Pier or biking along the beach’s 8.5-mile stretch. When the weather cools off in the evenings, grab a sweater and relax with a beach bonfire at Huntington City Beach. 

When you’re ready to shake off the sand, peruse the surf shops in Downtown Huntington Beach or shop from brand-name designers and local boutiques in Pacific City.  

Plus, you can check out local places to eat, like the Sugar Shack Café for traditional breakfast items and Fred’s Mexican Café and Cantina for authentic dishes, like tacos, burritos, and of course, margaritas! 

Recommended by Brittany of Travel by Brit

Places to visit in winter in USA (continued)

Ready to pack your bags yet? I’ve saved some of the favorites for last. Let’s keep going with this epic list!

26. Austin, Texas (one of the best winter getaways in USA)

best places to visit in winter USA photo of mural greetings from Austin capitol of Texas with city

It’s a huge music city and one of the top warm winter vacations USA. With relatively moderate temperatures (ave high’s in the 60’s), this city is a perfect spot for a weekend getaway to Austin .

One of the most fun things Austin is known for is their street art. Go on a mural hunt to see how many you can find! Then hang out in the eclectic SoCo District, check out the botanical gardens and watch the sunset on Mount Bonnell.

There’s plenty of outdoor activities for those who crave it! Check out one of Austin’s many lakes for picnics or paddle boarding. Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs or Lake Travis all offer unique views and water activities.

For socialites who are looking for the party, be sure to visit 6th Street or Rainey Street for live music, dancing, karaoke and as more bars as you could visit in a night.

With great food, excellent nightlife and even a few places to hike near Austin , why wouldn’t you want to visit this cool spot?

As far as hotels in Austin , the best place to stay to be close to the action is downtown. Food and amenities are within walking distance. Or, hop on a zippy scooter to make your way around town with a bit of adventure!

27. Palm Springs, California

palm trees and pool with chairs on sunny day

Average temp:  high 71 / low 45

Grab your swimsuit, sunnies, and sandals as you jet off to Palm Springs, California for a relaxing weekend getaway or a family adventure week-long escape. Towering palm trees, thrilling outdoor adventures, luxurious poolside cabanas and trendy restaurants await. 

Highs in the mid-70s make spending daytime outside in winter a warm delight. Take a jeep tour , explore Joshua Tree National Park, or ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for spectacular views of the valley from above 8,000 feet. Just pack a jacket for the chilly mountains!

Is luxury more your style? Stay downtown at Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs for modern romantic vibes. Take a dip in the rooftop pool, and splurge on a poolside cabana for a Valentine’s trip you and your sweetheart won’t forget. 

The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa is perfect for families. Splash around their 7 pools, float down the lazy river and race your kids down the 30-foot dueling water slides. If you want to slow down for a bit, make your way over to a cabana by the adult pool for ultimate privacy. 

Regardless of where you stay, explore the renowned restaurants in downtown Palm Springs along South Palm Canyon Drive. Check out Workshop Kitchen + Bar for trendy seasonal food and cocktails, or visit Melvyn’s Restuarant & Lounge to immerse yourself in Hollywood history and enjoy live entertainment. 

If you’re looking for a warm winter vacation with loads of fun and great hotel deals, then Palm Springs is the perfect destination for you!  

Recommended by Abby of Worth Every Trip

28. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

white sands national park New Mexico winter vacations usa view of white sand dunes blue sky

Average temp:  high 57 / low 27

It’s a real town with a funny name. It also happens to be one of the best warm winter vacations in the US, as it’s one of the warmest spots in New Mexico.

With average temperatures in the upper 50’s and mostly sunny, this will feel like a true vacation, especially if you’re coming from a northern climate. 

But real quick, let’s address this funny name. Formerly known as Hot Springs, the town adopted a new name in 1950 when a TV game show was looking for a town to adopt the popular show’s name. And so it did!

Anyway, back to why you should visit in the winter. There are quite a few things to do in Truth or Consequences, and outdoor adventure lead the way. Nearby White Sands National Park is home to some pretty jaw-dropping sights.

Go hiking or boating at  Elephant Butte Lake State Park , which is just a few minutes drive from town. Soak in mountain views at Caballo Lake State Park, or check out the hiking and gardens at Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park.

In town, be sure to visit some popular hot springs, which are fun to experience in a mild winter climate. And of course, catch river views of the Rio Grande, which runs alongside the town.

29. Clearwater, Florida

view of warm beach white sand at sunset with pier and palm trees

Average temp:  high 70 / low 50

Imagine setting the alarm for 6:30 am back home where it is cold and grey in February. There might be snow piled up in the front yard. But pull on a sweater and head to Clearwater Beach, Florida!

Expect the traveler’s spirits to rise who escapes winter to soak up the sun on the Gulf Coast. Join the athletic as they run, bike and walk across the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge. Down below gaze at the yachts, boats and sandy beaches.

For sunbirds, Clearwater is a great place to land. It wins numerous accolades including USA Today’s “Top 10 Beach in America.” Clearwater is on the path for migratory birds so birdwatchers will delight. Clearwater is a short drive to St. Petersburg or Tampa Bay for dinner in the city.

Choices of entertainment are endless but be sure to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (home of Winter, star of The Dolphin Tale movie).

Spend an afternoon jet-skiing, parasailing or fishing. Clearwater is a perfect destination December through February but the warmest temperatures are in February. The average high temperatures can reach the low 70s.

Best place to stay? If price is not object, then book Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Resort . It is just a short hop to the Pier to enjoy marvelous sunsets as well as street performers and craft vendors each night. Or if you want to stay on the nearby island, book the Sheraton Sand Key Resort .

Recommended by Terri of Female Solo Trek

30. Scottsdale, Arizona (one of the hottest on this list of warm winter vacations USA)

reflective lake in Papago park with palm trees, lake and hole in rock

Average temp:  high 67 / low 36

Scottsdale, Arizona is a great choice for a warm getaway in winter. The weather averages in the 60s-70s.

There are so many gorgeous resorts in Scottsdale . With heated pools and luxurious spas, you could spend an entire weekend relaxing. Some resorts offer complimentary bikes for you to explore the resort grounds and surroundings.

Be sure to check out Old Town Scottsdale for restaurants, shops and galleries. If you’re a foodie, you’re in luck because Scottsdale is known for having some of the best restaurants around. For more delicious local restaurants, head to the Arcadia neighborhood.

For shopping, head to Scottsdale Fashion Square which is the biggest mall in Arizona and full of luxurious high-end shops. Close by the mall is the Scottsdale Waterfront, which is a stylish and upscale community in the middle of downtown Scottsdale.

Golfing is a popular activity as Scottsdale has some of the best golf courses in America! The Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale happens annually in February.

If you’re not a golfer but wanting to get outdoors, there is a variety of easy to strenuous hiking trails around the valley. If you’re feeling adventurous, head to Camelback Mountain or try Scenic Trail for a more kid-friendly hike.

Arizona host 15 MLB professional teams for spring training in stadiums across the valley, including Scottsdale. If you’re a baseball fan, visit towards the end of February to see a game!

If you’re traveling with the whole family, check out Butterfly Wonderland, the largest butterfly conservatory in America. Nearby, you can also visit the OdySea Aquarium.

As you can see, Scottsdale is the perfect place to visit in the winter in USA with perfect weather and tons of fun activities for all ages.

Recommended by Melissa of Melissa’s Travel Addiction

31. Big Island, Hawaii

multi waterfalls with lush forest during a trip to the warm places to visit in winter in usa

Average temp:  high 81 / low 66

A popular place to visit as a warm winter destination (USA) is the Big Island, Hawaii. In winter the area is active and filled with events and activities to explore around the island.

Even though Hawaii is a year-round destination, visit in December to get a different vibe to include the Christmas holiday. Festivities includes pageants, Christmas fairs, Christmas parades and other popular holiday events and celebrations around the islands. 

Other popular activities include visiting the  Hilo area attractions if you want to see lush gardens, waterfalls and gorgeous landscapes on the east side of the island.

Doing a fun road trip around the island, visiting the state and national parks or outdoor experience like hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding or sailing. A Big Island tour is one of the best winter road trips in the USA too! It’s truly an open book of adventure depending on your interests and ability to explore around the island!

Definitely keep the Big Island of Hawaii on your list of warm places to visit in winter and you’ll never run out of fun things to do and see on the island.

Recommended by Noel of This Hawaii Life

32. Port Isabel, Texas

light house at port Isabel texas

Average temp:  high 67 / low 56

If you’re looking for a beautiful warm weather getaway for winter, Port Isabel, Texas, is calling your name. This casual, laid-back Southern Texas town will welcome you with the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and the iconic Port Isabel Lighthouse. With an average daytime temperature of 71.6 degrees F, you cannot go wrong! 

Climb the 75 steps to the top of the lighthouse with a fabulous view. Explore the former keeper’s cottage after you climb to the top of the lighthouse. Pro tip: wear closed-in shoes to help make the climb safely to the top of the lighthouse. A fun fact is that this is the only lighthouse along the Texas coast that is open to the public.

After you explore the lighthouse and the grounds, take a boat cruise. History buffs will appreciate all that the Port Isabel History Museum has to offer. View the murals and learn about pirates and how the area came to be.  

Top-notch Southern hospitality is what you can expect when exploring Port Isabel. The Town Square in Port Isabel, Texas, offers shopping and dining experiences that you will be talking about after your visit. The seafood, tacos and Italian dishes are sure to win you over. 

This small town offers incredible Gulf of Mexico experiences. Plan to spend a couple of days in Port Isabel, or stay for a month! Book a stay at a traditional motel or inn in Port Isabel and enjoy the quiet that this community has to offer. 

Recommended by Sara of Travel with Sara

33. Joshua Tree National Park, California

view of Joshua tree with desert landscape smooth rocks sunny day

Average temp:  high 63 / low 38

If you’re looking for a quick winter getaway one the weekend, this is just the place! Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California, near Palm Springs.

With average temps hovering around 60 degrees all winter long, it’s going to feel real good to escape the cold! Warm up with plenty of hiking trails in and around the park, as well as many other things to do.

Visit the Keys Ranch to see how families lived in the harsh desert. Hike the Hidden Valley Trail, Arch Rock Trail, Hall of Horrors or Ryan Mountain Trails for fun views of the park.

There are a few other quirky attractions to see while in the area, like the World Famous Crochet Museum, the Glass Outhouse Gallery and the Desert Christ Park.

When looking for places to stay, check into the Sacred Sands or Adobe in the Palms. Be sure to book early because there’s not a whole lot of options really close to the park.

34. Destin, Florida (one of my favorite on this list of warm winter vacations USA)

view of beach and sand dunes with fence in destin florida warm winter vacations in the US

Average temp:  high 62 / low 46

Ending this list with another Florida beach. They’re popular for a reason! The crisp, white sand on Florida’s panhandle is unbelievably beautiful. And with high’s in the 60’s during even the harshest winter months, Destin is a great spot for a warm winter vacation.

Aside from spending time on Florida’s Emerald Coast, head over to Harbor Walk Village for outdoor activities plus restaurants and shopping. And serious shoppers will want to visit the Silver Sands Outlet mall – it’s one of the largest in the Southeast US with over 100 stores.

Destin is a great destination for couples or families, groups or bachelorette parties. Family-friendly activities like go-karts, arcades and mini golf, not to mention the beach! And for adult-only trips, Destin has a fantastic restaurant and nightlife scene.

As far as hotels go, there’s plenty of Destin accommodation options right on the beach. Or for budget-friendly places, stay a little further off the main strip. Look at nearby Miramar Beach and Seaside if you’re looking to get out of the city a bit.

Warm winter vacations in the USA – a recap

warm places to visit in winter in isa-palm tree beaches

Whew! What a list, right? Whether you love a good beach vacay or love the pace of a city, this list of best places to visit in winter in USA has something for everyone.

From sea to shining sea, the USA has so many places to discover and explore! And you gotta love escaping the cold and heading someplace warm in the middle of winter, too!

Let’s recap that list again, in a more condensed fashion…

Best place to visit in winter in the US

  • San Diego, California
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
  • Miami, Florida
  • Orange Beach, Alabama
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Anna Maria Island, Florida
  • Maui, Hawaii
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • American Samoa
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Mustang Island, Texas
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Key West, Florida
  • Oahu, Hawaii
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Siesta Key, Florida
  • Channel Islands National Park, California
  • South Padre Island, Texas
  • Kauai, Hawaii
  • St. John, US Virgin Islands
  • Huntington Beach, California
  • Austin, Texas
  • Palm Springs, California
  • Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
  • Clearwater, Florida
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Big Island, Hawaii
  • Port Isabel, Texas
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Destin, Florida

As a beach girl myself, I’m drawn to anywhere I can comfortably put my toes in the sand. But I’m curious to know where your next warm winter getaway is? Comment below – I’d love to hear!

Related content you’ll love: 28 Underrated Travel Destinations in the US 20 BIG Adventure Vacations in the US Not to Miss 100 Most Romantic Vacations in the US You’ll Love 35 Swoon-worthy Island Vacations (that are also cheap!) 26 Best Beaches on the Gulf Coast You Gotta See

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30 incredible winter destinations in the usa

Saturday 4th of December 2021

As someone who lives in Minnesota, I’m always looking for winter getaways. Love this guide highlighting 30 of the best winter destinations in the US.

Sunday 5th of December 2021

Right?! A warm winter getaway is essential when you experience cold winters. Glad you enjoyed the list 😊

Sunday 5th of September 2021

Fantastic!!! Can't wait to try some of these places. Hawaii looks AMAZING! Would love Sedona and Tuscon as well.

Monday 6th of September 2021

Yes! 🙌 All of them are lovely and make perfect getaways during the cold winter weather.

What an informative post! I'll definitely be referencing this as I plan some winter travel!

Yay! So glad you found it helpful. Happy travels!

Saturday 4th of September 2021

This is such a fun guide, so many good ideas to escape winter

Thanks Elyse! Nothing beats a good winter getaway😍

What an incredible list of the best places to vacation this winter in the U.S. I’ve been to more than so would love to check out the rest!

Yessss - time to book a vacation! ;)

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50 warm-weather winter escapes.

As winter's icy grip sets in, these alluring desert oases and tropical hot spots heat up.

Beach Chairs

(Getty Images) |

Discover classic and little-known locales to ease seasonal doldrums this winter.

When drab skies, frosty temperatures and the onset of the seasonal slump get the best of us, there's no better time to skip town for a sunny locale. Whether you're searching for a convenient, close-to-home retreat or a far-flung, off-the-radar hot spot, we tapped industry experts to direct you to 50 top getaways where you can swap snow, sleet and ice for swaying palms, sunshine and surf. Grab your shades and pack your bags for these warm-weather destinations.

Woman hiking in Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes Region, Chile, South America

Wind-swept landscapes, magnificent natural gems – from icy glaciers to beautiful fjords to the dramatic peaks of Torres del Paine National Park – and heart-pounding adventures draw thrill-seekers to Patagonia's enchanting frontier. December through February (the summer season in Patagonia) ushers in mild weather, temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, and ideal conditions for exploration. For superlative accommodations, consider Explora, which offers an ideal launching pad with daily excursions such as guided horseback riding, trekking the epic W circuit and wildlife-viewing expeditions (keep your eyes peeled for guanacos, which closely resemble llamas).

Buildings in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

With its mix of ornate mosques, sand dunes and tranquil oases, Abu Dhabi appeals to those looking for a more relaxing alternative to splashier Dubai. "Dubai and Abu Dhabi are safe, clean, warm – temps are in the high 70s and low 80s in winter – and beach-lined," says Wendy Perrin, founder and editor of travel-planning site WendyPerrin.com. If you're itching to embrace the area's sublime desert scenery in comfort, book a four-wheel-drive excursion or camel ride over dunes before cooling off in Al Ain Oasis, a 3,000-acre retreat known for its palm plantations. You'll also want to carve out some time to tour the opulent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which showcases a blend of three architectural styles and Islamic dynasties.

Auckland from Devonport, New Zealand (more than 3 logos)

Auckland, New Zealand

December to February marks Auckland 's summer travel season, translating to vibrant festivals, warm temperatures and a beautiful display of pink and red pohutukawa trees along the coast. Take advantage of the prime 50- to 70-degree temperatures as you embrace the City of Sails' passion for boating and explore can't-miss natural attractions such as Takapuna Beach and Rangitoto Island. A less-trodden alternative to sister Aussie destinations Sydney and Melbourne, Auckland offers a variety of urban thrills, adrenaline-pumping activities and a thriving culinary scene. To soak in surreal landscapes, visit the legendary Waitomo Glowworm Caves or admire the "Lord of the Rings" backdrops at the Hobbiton Movie Set.

View of resort on ocean at night, Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

If you're longing for a laid-back tropical retreat, visit Cabo San Lucas along the southern edge of the Baja peninsula. Lazing along the shores of Playa Solmar , admiring the iconic Land's End rock formations and perfecting your golf swing might be the perfect antidote to the winter blues. You'll find plenty of high-end resorts in "the Corridor," the 18-mile area between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, not to mention still-perfect weather conditions with daily highs in the mid-70s from December to March. Breaks from surfing along the Baja peninsula or delighting in tacos at local haunts like Mariscos El Torito can be spent unwinding at luxury retreats like the Resort at Pedregal.

Aerial view of Cape Town, with Green Point and Sea Point, Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Devil's Peak, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Cosmopolitan cultural scenes. Captivating beaches. Lovely vineyards. Legendary Table Mountain. Welcome to Cape Town , where you'll find awe-inspiring natural scenery at every turn. Visit between December to March (summer in the Southern Hemisphere), and you'll be rewarded with ideal conditions for exploring can't-miss attractions such as Clifton Beach and Robben Island. Aside from comfortable temperatures in the mid- to high 70s, foodies, adventurers, history buffs and culture vultures will all appreciate the city's diverse gems, from the Greenmarket Square to the District Six Museum to the charming African penguins at Boulders Beach. Wrap up your visit with a trip to nearby Constantia Valley or Stellenbosch to savor top-notch wine in beautiful surroundings.

Hawaii, Big Island, Golden Orange Sunset Mauna Kea Summit With Hualalai Mountain Distant Background Tallest 32, 000 Feet From Underwater Base

The Big Island, Hawaii

Combine a dose of awe-inspiring natural scenery – black-sand beaches, fiery lava deserts, snow-capped mountains and lush tropical jungles – with near-perfect temperatures in the 60s and 70s, and it's easy to see the Big Island's appeal. The Big Island also attracts nature lovers with its unique topography. "The best winter window for deals is early January, from right after the New Year’s rush until Martin Luther King Jr. Day," Perrin says. On the upside, there are still plenty of wallet-friendly rates. Currently, there are four-star hotels available in January and February for under $200 in Kona, says Clem Bason, CEO of goSeek, a site focused on surfacing hidden hotel discounts.

Angkor Night Market

Siem Reap, Cambodia

You might closely associate Siem Reap with Angkor Wat, the legendary complex for 11th- and 12th-century Buddhist temples from the Khmer Empire. But there's much more to embrace in this city in northwestern Cambodia than the graceful spires at the UNESCO World Heritage site. You can check out the lively Angkor Night Market, pick up souvenirs such as silk and handicrafts at the Old Market and delight in delectable culinary staples, such as lok lok (a beef stir-fry) and fish amok (a curried dish). Plus, you'll avoid the rainy season by visiting between December and March. Still, you should expect temperatures to soar into the 80s and low 90s, so arrive prepared with sunscreen.

Dramatic sky over Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

La-La Land doesn't only razzle-dazzle visitors with its bewitching Hollywood backdrops and cache of attractions for film buffs, from Paramount Pictures Studios to Universal Studios Hollywood. The City of Angels also appeals to jetsetters clamoring for a quick, sunny break with mild temperatures in the 60s, picturesque beaches (don't miss the Santa Monica Pier or Zuma Beach in nearby Malibu) and world-renowned cultural attractions, from the Getty Center to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. When you're not relaxing in a cabana along a palm-fringed pool, shop around Venice's Abbot Kinney or Rodeo Drive, grab a bite at Grand Central Market or hike through Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon.

Over water bungalows with steps into green lagoon

It's easy to swoon over Bora Bora – from its enchanting coral gardens to its enticing overwater bungalows to its picture-perfect lagoon. Apart from its romantic appeal, this tucked-away French Polynesian paradise is the place to catch up on some much-needed R & R with its sun-drenched landscapes and tropical scenery. Days here can be spent admiring the colorful marine life at the Bora Bora Lagoonarium, swimming in the warm waters at Matira Beach or exploring the breathtaking Mount Otemanu – an extinct volcano set in the heart of the island. However, you might be hard-pressed to slip away from your stilted overwater bungalow, such as those at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.

The beautiful fishing village of Camara de Lobos on the portugese Island of Madeira in warm evening sunshine light.

Madeira, Portugal

This underrated Portuguese island enchants visitors with its rocky beaches, arresting cliffs, tropical surroundings and wine-producing regions. Easily accessible from Lisbon, Madeira also offers opportunities for dolphin and whale watching, comfortable year-round conditions (temperatures drop into the 60s in winter) and plenty of alluring hiking trails zig-zagging through the countryside. Here, you can take a scenery-packed road trip winding past hair-bending twists facing the Atlantic, savor local wines or Poncha – a native liquor – and check out the area's unique flora and fauna at lovely gardens. What's more, Madiera goes all-out for the winter holidays with the world's largest New Year's Day fireworks spectacle, along with a vibrant Carnival celebration in February.

St. Lucia's Twin Pitons framed by flowers

With its lush rainforest, spellbinding Piton Mountains and palm tree-laden sands, St. Lucia attracts beach lovers and romance seekers alike. Though December to April marks the high season, with balmy weather and temperatures in the comfortable mid-70s and mid-80s, St. Lucia offers a tempting tropical escape. For snorkeling and diving, venture to Anse Chastanet, and for beachside lounging, windsurfing and water skiing, head to Reduit Beach, which also offers an ideal home base for exploring the 44-acre Pigeon Island National Park. Carve out some time for exploring the Soufrière area to snap photos of the Pitons and Mount Soufrière. Finish your days at top-notch resorts such as Jade Mountain and Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina.

Beautiful Sunset over Downtown Saigon - the biggest city in Vietnam

Want to venture further afield to a far-flung tropical destination? Visit Vietnam's idyllic southern coast, where you'll find unspoiled beaches, tucked-away bays and lavish accommodations. Before hitting the beach, make Ho Chi Minh your home base, where you should make time for admiring authentic markets, storied temples and can't-miss attractions, like the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Deck, a legendary riverside dining venue (Au Parc is another must-try eatery) and Mieu Noi, a floating temple known for its bright statues. After checking out the highlights, slip away to Doc Let, a secluded beach, or Nha Trang for gorgeous sands. November to February marks an ideal time to visit to avoid monsoon season.

Blue Lagoon, Nacula island, Yasawa island group, Fiji, South Pacific

Fiji 's postcard-worthy beaches, cerulean waters and magnificent coral reefs are the stuff of dreams. And while the chain of 300 isles is a year-round tropical hideaway, with near-perfect temperatures in the 80s and fascinating marine life, in winter you can combat the cold-weather blues with invigorating outdoor activities and a change of scenery. Take a hike in Taveuni to meander past a waterfall and charming villages, scuba dive or swim near Beqa island and explore bright fish and corals or try your hand at surfing near Tavarua. For more relaxing pursuits, horseback ride or laze along the soft khaki-colored Natadola Beach on Viti Levu, before retreating to a romantic resort like Likuliku lagoon Resort or Turtle Island.

Belize reef.

In winter – Belize's dry season – you can expect optimal exploration conditions and balmy temperatures in the high 60s and 80s. Marvel at keel-billed toucans, jaguars and howler monkeys at the Belize Zoo, check out the magnificent ecosystems and unspoiled coral at the Great Blue Hole along the Belize Barrier Reef and visit storied Mayan ruins, such as Altun Ha and Lamanai. When you need a break, visit Ambergris Caye or Placencia Peninsula, a beach town with palm-fringed sands and nature reserves. For an eco-minded retreat, stay at Chaa Creek, an ecolodge along the Macal River that offers plenty of diversions, from guided hikes along the Rainforest Medicine Trail to forays to Mayan temples to canoe trips.

Tropical Island and lagoon, Maldives, Indian Ocean

The Maldives

White sands, luminous lagoons, unspoiled coral reefs and private villas offer the perfect formula for a relaxing retreat. Escape to the Maldives' chain of 26 atolls and 1,190 isles, located roughly 500 miles southwest of Sri Lanka between Africa and Indonesia, where you can admire colorful reefs in warm, crystal-clear waters. The dry season lasts from December to April, translating to enviable conditions for snorkeling and temperatures in the comfortable mid-80s. After admiring your photogenic surroundings, you can steal away to a picturesque overwater bungalow at a world-class resort. Consider splurging for a memorable stay at Maafushivaru Resort or the Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives.

"Golf resort in Destin, Florida"

Destin, Florida

Often overshadowed by Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida's Gulf Coast is an ideal place to embrace "wide, soft, white-sand beaches," Perrin says. Even better, you can often score low-priced flights into Tampa, Perrin adds, noting it's an easy road trip to the sugary beaches of Clearwater or Siesta Key. "You'll find that same soft, white-quartz sand along Florida's Panhandle, too," she adds, highlighting the beaches in the Destin and Fort Walton Beach area. While daily temperatures drops can dip into the 60s from December to May, if you don't mind milder conditions, you can embrace quality time outdoors deep-sea fishing, golfing and strolling along aquamarine waves at Henderson Beach State Park.

View of colourful homes in Positano, Italy.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Jaw-dropping coastlines, pastel villages and lovely gardens are just a few allures of the Amalfi Coast. And while you won't see temperatures in the 70s and 80s in winter, if you don't mind mild conditions and highs in the 50s, you'll be rewarded with off-season prices and dwindling crowds from December to February. Shop for handmade ceramics and admire the graceful domed churches in Positano and Praiano, take in the dramatic views from Villa Rufolo in Ravello and cap off your adventure with memorable meals and glasses of limoncello. Just keep in mind that many cafés in Positano close for the winter season (with the exception of the winter holidays), so consider making Sorrento or Salerno your home base.

A silhouetted surfer walks down a beach in Nicaragua on sunset during a balmy June afternoon with mountains and ocean in the background. Lots of copy space.

When you think of Nicaragua, colonial towns, cobblestone streets and world-class surfing spots may not come to mind. But here's a secret: Nicaragua is an outdoor adventure-seeker's paradise. Venture to Granada to admire striking architecture, from pastel-colored buildings capped with clay tile roofs to an elaborate neoclassical-style cathedral. Here, you'll also find colonial-style shops and eateries and charming boutiques and cafés like Espressionista, a popular coffee hangout. If you're craving more activity, explore the nearby Peninsula de Asese to lounge along powdery sands or the Volcán Mombacho, where you can stretch your legs along scenic trails or visit a butterfly garden.

Village at Atlantic ocean. La Gomera island. Canary islands.

(Getty Images). |

The Canary Islands

Whether you want to soak in on the rays along the beach, traipse through a national park or break out of your comfort zone with windsurfing or surfing, the Canaries offer a prime tropical escape with mild weather (temperatures linger in the 60s and 70s from December to February) and superlative coastlines. Consider making Tenerife, the largest isle in the seven-island archipelago, your home base. Here, you can people-watch at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the isle's bustling urban center, before exploring the surreal lava- and volcano-laden Teide National Park or lounging along Alcala Beach. For more seclusion, check out Gran Canaria's Playa de Maspalomas, where you'll find rolling sand dunes.

High angle view of crater emitting smoke at sunset, Poas volcano, Costa Rica

If you're looking to get the best value this winter, set your sights on international hot spots. "Most currencies, including the U.S. dollar, stretch far in Central America," Perrin says, adding "in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, January and February are dry season, which means warm temps and little rain, but the landscapes are still lush and green." Nature lovers can take their pick from exploring turquoise waters, lush jungles and cloud-covered rainforests. Meanwhile, sun-seekers can stretch out along Nicoya Peninsula's palm-lined coastline or try their hand at surfing. For more adrenaline-pumping pursuits, hike along the 5,000-foot Arenal Volcano. If you're still yearning for wildlife-viewing opportunities, look out for howler monkeys, jaguars and tapirs at Corcovado National Park.

Sunrise framed by palm trees and rock formations

Postcard-worthy beaches, bright blue waters, gently swaying palms. Seychelles' dreamy shorelines and escape-it-all, far-off setting lures romance-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. A chain of 115 isles, Seychelles archipelago is gorgeous at any time of year. December to March is the rainy season, but temperatures stay in the balmy 70s and 80s, yielding ideal conditions for sunbathing and wildlife-viewing. While you would be hard-pressed to find a lackluster vantage point, Anse Source d'Argent and Anse Georgette are ideal destinations for soaking in the spectacular national scenery. For a stay to remember, retreat to the Raffles Praslin Seychelles or Sainte Anne Resort & Spa. Seeking more wildlife? Visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, which boasts black parrots, chameleons and unique coco-de-mer trees.

warm places to visit in winter

If you're clamoring to trade sleet and snow for sun-drenched beaches, tall palms and ideal temperatures with daily highs in the 70s, Miami offers an ideal escape. Combine a dose of R & R on the art deco-lined shores of South Beach with cultural exploration in Little Havana and Wynwood. Art lovers will also gravitate to the annual Art Basel Miami Beach and will want to tour the Design District. Foodies will also want to check out the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February. And for jetsetters simply looking to kick back and embrace the coastal scenery, there are plenty of opulent resorts to check out, from 1 Hotel South Beach to The Setai, Miami Beach.

Wooded bridge pier between sunset in Phuket.

Phuket, Thailand

Pristine beaches, lush forest-filled landscapes and superlative resorts are top draws for venturing to Phuket for a much-needed reboot this winter. You can spend your days touring Buddhist attractions (the Big Buddha is a must), unwinding at Nai Harn Beach and indulging in replenishing spa treatments. For spellbinding views framed by the Andaman Sea, venture to Karon View Point and the Phromthep Cape. For more active pursuits, venture to Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, which offers ample wildlife, including monkeys and langurs in a lush rainforest. When you need a break, savor a memorable meal at the Kan Eang @Pier or Blue Elephant or catch up on R & R at the Banyan Tree Phuket.

Phoenix Arizona with its downtown lit by the last rays of sun at the dusk.

Desert scenery, stylish shops, world-class resorts and a thriving art scene are a few draws for making the winter pilgrimage to the Valley of the Sun. But the main enticement for visiting between November and April are the comfortable temperatures in the 60s, 70s and 80s. After boutique-strolling in Scottsdale, work up a sweat hiking Camelback Mountain or visit the Desert Botanical Garden, which boasts scenic trails like the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. Afterward, get pampered at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, where you can indulge in decadent treatments and retreat to the Zen meditation garden – the perfect cure for any lingering post-holiday stress.

Dubai Marina in the evening

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In Dubai, you can blend beach breaks "with desert adventures such as sunset camel rides, dune bashing and wildlife safaris," Perrin says. Yearning for more activity? You can also enjoy shredding powder at Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort inside a shopping mall, Perrin adds. Even better, "Dubai has so many flights and hotel rooms that there are almost always deals," Perrin says, adding that from the end of December through January, you can check out the Dubai Shopping Festival, with vibrant events across the city and major savings on designer electronics and clothing. After getting your shopping fix, stroll along Jumeirah Beach, pick up some souvenirs at an authentic Gold Souk market and snap photos of the iconic Burj Khalifa.

Cities of Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. Traffic light trails belong Highway 74 at sunset on cloudy day.

Palm Springs, California

In winter, it's hard to resist a stress-free, sun-kissed escape in Southern California. Striking desert landscapes aside, Palm Springs boasts comfortable temperatures in the mid-40s to high 60s from December to March. If you're looking to splurge, consider booking a stay at the L'Horizon Resort & Spa, which boasts midcentury modern architecture, intimate surroundings and 25 tucked-away bungalows, along with decadent spa treatments such as deep-tissue massages and seaweed body wraps. After getting pampered, explore must-visit nearby attractions, including Joshua Tree National Park, the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Mountainous district of Sandy Bay on St Helena Island taken from Dianas Peak the highest point on the Island. Good example of the contrast between volcanic coastal terrain and the lush interior and the deep blue South Atlantic Ocean in background. Canon 5D MKII.

You may not have heard of this this tiny, underrated 47-square-mile isle in the Atlantic Ocean. But here's a secret: This remote island located roughly 1,800 miles east of Brazil and 1,200 miles west of Africa's coastline is positioned to become a major hot spot, Perrin says. Why? You can now book a direct flight from Johannesburg, making the island's rugged landscapes, tropical climate, marine diversity and sand dunes within reach. You may also remember St. Helena from your history books: The British overseas territory is the destination where French emperor Napoleon was relegated. Consider checking into the Mantis St. Helena in Jamestown, an eco-minded contemporary hotel with easy access to top attractions.

Sydney Opera House and its Skyline with a reflection during Golden Hour, Sunrise, 2013

From December to February, you can expect picture-perfect temperatures in the upper 70s, translating to ideal conditions for sunbathing, exploring legendary landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge and museum hopping. "In Sydney and beyond you'll find beach weather and plenty of summertime festivals and harborside celebrations," Perrin says. Aside from a spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks display, there's the Sydney Festival in January, with colorful art installations, performances and music. Venture to Coogee Beach or Bondi Beach to catch some rays, snorkel and take picturesque strolls, or for urban allures embrace Sydney's cosmopolitan gems, like the Art Gallery of New South Wales or cutting-edge restaurants such as Spice I Am and Fred's.

warm places to visit in winter

While many Caribbean islands are still recovering from the aftershock of hurricanes Irma and Irene, Aruba has been left unhindered from the damage, tempting travelers to book a warm-weather getaway and help aid sister islands to boost the economy. On this enchanting Dutch Caribbean island, you'll find plenty of upscale resorts, pristine sands and coral reefs to explore. Unwind on Eagle Beach, admire impressive underwater creatures on a diving expedition from Pedernales Wreck or hike in Arikok National Park. For a budget-friendly retreat, consider checking into the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort Aruba, which offers enticing packages. To splurge, retreat to the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, an adults-only boutique retreat with a variety of wellness offerings and indulgent spa treatments.

warm places to visit in winter

New Orleans

The Big Easy is synonymous with year-round revelry, from its buzzing blues clubs to its riotous night clubs on Bourbon Street. And if you can swing it, there's no better time to experience the Crescent City's penchant for partying than Mardi Gras – the festival of the year. "In 2018 Carnival (also known as Mardi Gras) comes in early February and is celebrated with colorful parades and festivities in countries around the world," Perrin says. If you've already experienced the annual bead-tossing, parade-watching and Sazerac-swigging, consider planning a trip from December to January, when temperatures have dipped into the still-pleasant 60s, and you can comfortably explore must-see attractions like the Garden District and City Park before delighting in a powdery beignet.

Fishing canoes docked on a river in Jamaica

"Not all Caribbean islands were impacted by hurricanes. St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and St. Kitts and Nevis were relatively unscathed," Perrin says. Golden sands, turquoise waves, melodic reggae tunes and mouthwatering jerk chicken dishes aside, Jamaica offers an enticing, convenient and fuss-free tropical escape for American visitors with its versatile all-inclusive hotels and easy accessibility, with nonstop flights from hubs in the U.S. In Negril, consider stealing away to the Rockhouse Hotel, which boasts an award-winning spa, cliff-side accommodations, painting lessons and yoga classes, among other perks. When you're feeling recharged, explore Dunn's River Falls and Park or simply unwind along the powdery sands at Seven Mile Beach.

Famous passage to the beach - Key West.

(iStockPhoto) |

Key West, Florida

"You wouldn’t have thought it after the news coverage, but in general Key West is back in business for the winter," Bason says. However, normally hotel room prices tend to soar during the peak winter months, he explains. With that said, with a little digging, you can secure affordable round-trip flights from top hubs such as Chicago and Los Angeles and book a stay at a luxurious property. GoSeek currently shows the Playa Largo Resort and Spa for under $400 from December to February, he adds. Take advantage of the area's coastal surroundings with a kayak or snorkeling expedition, before strolling along Duval Street or people-watching and catching the sunset at Mallory Square.

Diver viewing endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas agassisi), resting in reef, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

The Galápagos, Ecuador

The Galápagos archipelago of more than 120 rugged isles offers a year-round paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, but from December to May, temperatures linger in the 70s and 80s and animal-viewing is at its finest. When you're not retracing Darwin's steps at the Charles Darwin Research Station, enjoy a snorkeling or diving foray to admire multicolored fish and unspoiled waters or carve out some time to hike Sierra Negra, an active volcano on Isabela Island. And if you're still clamoring for more wildlife encounters, venture to El Chato Tortoise Reserve to admire the area's giant tortoises or head to San Cristóbal Island to spot sea lions lazing in the sun.

An aerial photo of Tunnels beach. Tunnels is located on Kauai's North Shore and is named after the 'tunnels' that snorkelers and divers can observe when navigating the reef.

Getty Images |

Kauai, Hawaii

Picture Hawaii in winter and you might conjure images of lava-filled landscapes of the Big Island or the high-rise resorts and crowded sandy beaches of Waikiki on Oahu. But that's where Kauai – with its cascading waterfalls, lush hills and dramatic cliffs – sets itself apart. While the island offers a requisite "aloha" charm, its beautiful rugged valleys, captivating Na Pali Coast and beautiful hard-to-reach beaches and trails (soak in sublime scenery on the 11-mile Kalalau Trail) appeal to laid-back travelers with a zest for adventure. With balmy temperatures in the 60s and 70s from December to March, there's no bad time to visit – though you can expect to pay a steep price during this in-demand travel period.

The Queen Isabella Causeway (bridge) leads to South Padre Island, Texas at sunset.

South Padre Island, Texas

For a wallet-friendly, warm-weather escape, venture to South Padre Island, where you'll find striking beaches and dunes beckoning outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy kite surfing and windsurfing along the beach. "The hurricane somehow missed South Padre Island completely, and the area is in good shape," Bason explains. In January, you can snag three-and-a-half-star accommodations for less than $100 a night when you book through goSeek.com, he explains. With temperatures in the pleasant 50s and 60s, December to February is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic in Isla Blanca Park or meander on the serene Laguna Madre Nature Trail. After embracing the great outdoors, enjoy a refreshing craft beer at South Padre Brewing Co.

Travel, Landscape depicting Long Haul Beach, Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis

During the winter months St. Kitts and Nevis beckons to jetsetters craving laid-back vibes, coastal scenery, tropical sea breezes and warm temperatures lingering in the 80s. And fortunately, the nation wasn't impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria, so hotels are open for business. December to April marks the high season, and though hotel rates tend to climb at this time of year, you'll be rewarded with the chance to catch Carnival celebrations in February. If you're looking for a luxurious retreat, consider splurging for a stay at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis along Pinney's Beach, which offers tennis courts, a golf course, a top-notch spa and superlative sea and mountain views.

A girl touches a stingray while snorkeling in the Cayman Islands.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

If you're looking to escape the holiday frenzy, the Grand Cayman offers pristine sands, picturesque trails and world-renowned diving spots. A quick, easy escape from the U.S., the Cayman Islands also boast luxury hotels and plenty of hidden attractions beyond the fray at Seven Mile Beach, such as the iguana-filled Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the alluring Mastic Trail. Retreat to The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, along Seven Mile Beach, to kayak, snorkel and enjoy tee times at its Greg Norman-designed golf course, before hitting the spa. If you're craving more activity, explore St. James, venture to the pirate caves in Bodden Town or swim with stingrays at Stingray City.

Looking across the Yarra river from Southbank to the city of Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Australia offers a variety of sun-drenched, stylish and cutting-edge cultural destinations, and Melbourne is certainly one of them, with its blend of heart-pounding activities, art tours and world-renowned restaurants (Attica is a stalwart). With temperatures lingering in mid- to upper 70s, December to February ushers in a prime time to explore city highlights and attend noteworthy events, including the White Night Festival in February, when colorful art exhibitions and installations illuminate the city's buildings starting at dusk. Other must-dos include snapping photos at the striking rock formations in Port Campbell National Park and exploring the National Gallery of Victoria. If you're a wine lover, consider tacking on a trip to the nearby Yarra Valley to delight in pinot noir and chardonnay varieties.

Santiago de Chile at sunset.

Santiago, Chile

Though often overshadowed by iconic South American destinations such as Buenos Aires and Rio, Santiago, with its mild 70- and 80-degree temperatures from December to March and world-class cultural attractions, merits a visit in its own right. Carve out some time to experience cosmopolitan gems in the Chilean capital, such as the staggering 65-story Gran Torre Santiago skyscraper and the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, a flourishing cultural center. Then make your way to Santa Lucía Hill to snap photos of the area's lovely statues and fountain before museum hopping on Barrio Lastarria's charming cobbled streets or strolling through the boutique- and gallery-lined Bellavista neighborhood, where lit lovers can explore La Chascona, the former residence of beloved poet Pablo Neruda.

View of beach and ocean in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Bahamas

While some of the Bahamas were affected by the recent hurricanes, there are plenty of popular places that weren't impacted. And though the Atlantis hotels will cost you a pretty penny, you can still score a discount at top hotels such as the adults-only Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island and the Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant and land low-priced flights into Nassau, Bason adds. If you're looking to spring for an upscale getaway, check into the Paradise Island's One&Only Ocean Club, where you can enjoy Michelin-starred dining at Dune Ocean Grill, beachfront yoga classes and a prime location on white-sand beaches. And though you might be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave your accommodations, the Bahamas offers plenty of powdery sands and duty-free shops to explore.

Herd of elephants walking in a jungle river

Sri Lanka, the beautiful tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, might be having a moment thanks to its rebuilt infrastructure, Perrin says. Once forbidden to travelers because of a civil war, Sri Lanka's modern development translates to increased flights, hotels, restaurants and roads, "but not too much that the overbuilding and overcrowding has started," she explains. The island country brims with arresting beaches, lush rainforests and fascinating wildlife. You can spend your morning checking out an elephant sanctuary and your afternoon exploring storied temples or learning how to surf along the southern coast. Plus, Sri Lanka boasts mild, balmy temperatures year-round. "Go this winter, before everyone else discovers it," Perrin says.

Floating market, Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao

With its Dutch colonial architecture, dramatic limestone cliffs, unspoiled coral reefs and warm waters, Curaçao offers a mix of everything. And thanks to its location outside of the hurricane belt, Curaçao wasn't devastated by Irma or Irene. Embrace the sun and splendor on Cas Abao Beach before admiring the cafes, shops and colorful architecture in Willemstad, the island's vibrant capital, or slipping away to a high-end hideaway like the Baoase Luxury Resort. Even better for East Coasters looking for a fuss-free winter break, there are quick, nonstop routes from major hubs along the East Coast.

A calm, tropical cove at sunrise

As you explore Bermuda's coral-sand beaches, cerulean waters and flowing fairways, you'll feel a world away from the icy wind chills and puffy coats at home. With temperatures in the 70s and convenient flights from major airports along the East Coast, it's hard to pass up the chance to escape frigid conditions for beach lounging, spa pampering and boutique-strolling in Bermuda. If you're looking to splurge, check into the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, A Fairmont Managed Hotel or Rosewood Bermuda, where you'll have access to the 18-hole Tucker's Point Golf Club, a private beach club and indulgent massages and body treatments at the spa.

Landscape in Paracas National Park Reserve, Pisco, Peru

Paracas, Peru

Rolling sand dunes, imposing cliffs and idyllic coastal villages are a few enticements of visiting Paracas, a lesser-known Peruvian retreat about 150 miles south of Lima. Consider staying at Hotel Paracas, where you can enjoy heart-pounding adventures and fun activities, from sandboarding to dune-side dinners. Craving more wildlife-viewing? Plan an excursion to the Ballestas Islands to spot Humboldt penguins, guano birds and sea lions. Afterward, relax on red-sand beaches, check out the 2,000-year-old geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines or venture back to Paracas Village to enjoy a legendary Peruvian pisco sour.

Aerial View of San Miguel de Allende Church

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

"There are lovely lesser-known pockets of Mexico – places with charming boutique resorts and gourmet cuisine – both along relatively undeveloped coastlines and inland in historic colonial cities," Perrin says. She highlights destinations in country's colonial interior like San Miguel de Allende as especially appealing. There, "you can find exquisitely restored haciendas, nearby cultural and archaeological sites and award-winning cuisine," she adds. Meander along San Miguel de Allende's narrow cobblestone streets to soak in its 500-year-old colonial charm, admire baroque architecture and pick up souvenirs at artisan shops, before taking a break at El Jardin, a central city plaza. Best of all, daily highs stay in the 70s and 80s in winter, yielding pleasant sightseeing conditions.

San Diego downtown skyline at sunrise with boat in harbor.

San Diego's year-round sunshine, laid-back surf-town vibes and top-notch zoo make it a superlative getaway at any time of year, but in winter the city beckons to those looking to ease seasonal blues. After checking out must-visit attractions (read: Balboa Park and Coronado Beach), savor a craft beer at crowd-pleasing local haunts like Saint Archer Brewery Co. For more outdoor adventure, kayak at La Jolla Cove, try your hand at surfing at La Jolla Shores or catch a picture-perfect sunset at Sunset Cliffs. Round out your trip with a memorable meal at Oscars Mexican Seafood. And if you're on a budget, look for flights into Los Angeles, where you'll often find lower airfares, then rent a car and drive south, Perrin says.

San Pedro Claver Church

Cartagena, Colombia

An under-the-radar hideaway in South America, Cartagena is often passed over for popular destinations like Buenos Aires and Rio. But with a rising art scene, fashionable restaurants, colorful colonial architecture and storied cobblestone streets, Cartagena offers plenty of charms. Consider slipping away to the Hotel Casa San Agustin for beautiful, bougainvilla-draped surroundings or Tcherassi Hotel and Spa, a 250-year-old home-turned-hotel. When you're not meandering through the Bocagrande district or exploring the same beautiful colonial buildings and surreal landscapes that inspired Gabriel García Márquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera," take a break at a trendy restaurant such as Donjuan, La Perla or La Mulata.

Chairs on the beach

"This might be the one winter you can afford to go to St. Barts, the chic French island that is one of the priciest in the Caribbean," Perrin says. "Its hotels are still recovering from Hurricane Irma, but many of its rental homes are in fine shape, and many of its beaches look as picture-postcard as they ever did," she adds. Days in St. Barts can be spend sunbathing and people-watching at Baie de St-Jean, popping into the high-end shops and admiring the charming cottages of Gustavia and kite-surfing at Grand Cul-de-Sac. When hunger sets in, grab a bite at La Gloriette or Maya's Restaurant, where you can take in commanding sea views and embrace the island's beautiful scenery.

Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio's glittering white-sand beaches, tropical rainforests and world-renowned backdrops, from the 125-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer to Sugarloaf Mountain, need no introduction. And December to March (Brazil's summer) offers a prime time to experience the soothing sounds of samba, laze along the world-renowned Copacabana and Ipanema shorelines and mingle with gracious residents. "If New Orleans in February isn’t warm enough for you (temps are in the 50s and 60s), consider Brazil, which of course celebrates Carnaval most famously with legendary parades and street festivals in Rio," Perrin says. Another must-see even is Reveillon (or New Year's Eve), when millions of spectators flock to Copacabana to catch brilliant fireworks displays and lively samba and rock bands.

Garden by the Bay South, located near the Bayfront MRT station in Singapore.

Thanks to its location near the equator, Singapore benefits from warm, balmy temperatures year-round with highs in the 80s. And though November to December ushers in higher precipitation than other times of year, you can check out exciting holiday festivals, including Chinese New Year in February. Apart from the festivity, there are plenty of city and natural attractions to pique your interest, from high-end department stores on Orchard Road to Gardens by the Bay, the 419-foot-long aerial walkway yielding sublime views of floral displays and 65- to 160-foot-tall "supertrees," or vertical gardens. For a stay to remember, retreat to the Marina Bay Sands Resort, which boasts a rooftop infinity pool and a prime location on Marina Bay.

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Where is hot in December? Our top 13 destinations

Where is hot in December 13 top places to visit in December

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As the cold takes firm hold of Europe , sun seeking generally requires a longer flight. True, there are spots closer to home with the good grace to linger around 20°C, but winter provides an excellent excuse for a far-flung getaway, when a powerful and prolonged dose of vitamin D is practically prescribed. Hot cities in Africa and Australia will come alive this month, as their summers finally arrive, while tropical islands and unsung corners of the world will hit their peak. See below for our edit of where is hot in December. For more travel inspiration, see our guide to the best winter sun destinations and the best holiday destinations in December .

Average December temperature 26°C  The seven hourflight from London to Dubai can just about be classed as mediumhaul...

Average December temperature : 26°C

The seven hour-flight from London to Dubai can just about be classed as medium-haul, while the time difference between the two is a jet-lag-free four hours – but this desert city in the Middle East feels worlds away from chilly England in December. Sure, there’s the glitzy side of Dubai – its mega-malls and skyscraping hotels are decked out in festive lights and ginormous trees for the season – but there’s a more laidback side to the city, too. Life’n One is a hidden yoga retreat for those hoping to end the year on a healthy note, while cultural hub Alserkal Avenue is a great place to escape the heat in arthouse cinemas and indie galleries.

Where to stay: Forget the glitz and glam, this cool new un-Dubai hotel is 25hours Hotel One Central , a hub for creatives, digital nomads, and those in the know. If you're here to venture to the pool and nothing more, Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort is a great option, especially for families. For a stay that’s unlike anything else in Dubai, book a room at the secluded five-room hotel and spa Al Faya Lodge an hour east of the city. See our edit of the best hotels in Dubai for more.

Average December temperature 21°C  We called it ‘the surprisingly cool Canary island but we werent talking about the...

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Average December temperature : 21°C

We called it ‘the surprisingly cool Canary island ’, but we weren’t talking about the weather. The fact that Lanzarote resides off Africa’s west coast means that even in December it’s still fairly sane to take a dip. Avoid the package hordes and head to fine, white-sand Papagayo Beach on the southern tip of the island, or try world-class surfing in north-west Famara. In fact, more surprises lie in store the further you stray from the tourist hotels. There’s the Jardín de Cactus in Guatiza, a surreal succulent amphitheatre; or starkly alluring Timanfaya National Park, a volcanic wilderness that starred in 1966 film One Million Years BC. And don’t forget Finca Malvasia , a seductive ranch-like retreat in the central wine region, owned by a pair of designers who swapped London for island life. After wintering in Lanzarote, you might just join them.

Where to stay: La Cabaña , a slick and earthy villa with a quote-mark-shaped swimming pool and views down to Puerto Calero. For more, check out our list of the best villas in Lanzarote .

Average December temperature 27°C  Its one of Southeast Asias wintersun kingpins for good reason  tropical Balis lush...

Bali, Indonesia

Average December temperature : 27°C

It’s one of South-east Asia ’s winter-sun kingpins for good reason – tropical Bali ’s lush rainforest and white-sand beaches tick all the boxes when it comes to a warm-weather escape. Once-scrappy beach town Canggu draws Indonesia 's thriving digital-nomad crowd, along with blissed-out surfers, while artists’ village Ubud is a hub for those seeking a more spiritual getaway.

Where to stay: Teetering on a high clifftop overlooking the Indian Ocean on Bali’s southern coast, Six Senses Uluwatu is a wellness retreat that gets it just right. In Canggu, we like The Slow , a 12-room bolthole with an achingly cool cocktail of art, music and interior design. Riverside jungle hideout Capella Ubud feels like an African tented camp from the 19th century and makes an ideal base that avoids any desert-island clichés. If you're travelling in a group, Bali has some incredible villas and Airbnbs, like Laputa Villa which sleeps four and is widely known as "The Bamboo Castle in the Sky." For more, see our pick of the best Bali hotels .

Average December temperature 20°C  When winter is in full flow dont underestimate the power of a threeandahalfhour...

Marrakech, Morocco

Average December temperature : 20°C

When winter is in full flow, don’t underestimate the power of a three-and-a-half-hour flight to another world. Yes, Marrakech is hectic, but a recent influx of design hotels – most of them reimagining glorious, red-brick riads – means there’s always somewhere more sedate to escape to. Alternatively, take up residence in a palace: La Mamounia , a grande dame of landscaped gardens, fountains, opulent tiles and velvets, is a card-carrying member of our best hotels in the world Gold List . Or book a stay at Royal Mansour , the city's most lavish hotel, which proves you needn’t plunge into the medina madness outside to get the best of Marrakech.

Where to stay: As we mentioned above there are no shortage of hotels in Marrakech . For a traditional riad stay, Riad Goloboy is a feast for the eyes (and Instagram) with kaleidoscopic walls and a gallery-worthy art collection.

Average December temperature 24°C  The citys yearround warm weather comes into its own in December when the beach...

Average December temperature : 24°C

The city’s year-round warm weather comes into its own in December, when the beach parties continue while other sun spots – we’re looking at you, California – pull on a sweater. For a calmer vibe, try the less-developed northern end of Miami Beach. It’s here that chef Thomas Keller serves elegant classics (oysters, steak tartare, lobster thermidor) at the landmark The Surf Club, among potted palms and white-coated waiters who evoke the spot’s history as the go-to of the 1950s jet set. Better yet, the recently extended, hacienda-style Four Seasons is here (Elizabeth Taylor and Wallis Simpson count among former guests). Refined might not be the word typically associated with Miami, but let this breath of fresh air change your mind.

Where to stay: Miami Beach Edition sits inside the skeleton of the Seville, one of the giant 1950s hotels, with nods to the past, a connection to the city's heritage and a bar with uninterrupted ocean views.

Average December temperature 26°C  Its peak season in the Bahamas and while that will certainly keep the beaches busy it...

Bahamas, Caribbean

It’s peak season in the Bahamas , and while that will certainly keep the beaches busy, it also means perfect weather. Our tip: strike out for Harbour Island, a three-mile-long, mile-and-a-half-wide sliver of sensational, pink-sand stretches, where there are always enough sunbeds to go around. Make camp at its smartest hotel, Bahama House , a chic cottage with retro Palm Beach vibes, a sunken tiki bar and just 11 rooms. It’s part of Eleven Experience, an experiential-travel specialist, you can also take advantage of custom adventures such as diving in secret grottoes or swimming with swines on Pig Beach.

Where to stay: Pelican Bay Hotel . Inside, waterside rooms combine Caribbean cheerfulness with classic European style. Outside, white-sand beaches, lush boulevards and beautiful seascapes.

Average December temperature 27°C  Cape Town is always a good idea but particularly in December when the fledgling South...

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is always a good idea, but particularly in December, when the fledgling South African summer sets beaches and vineyards aglow. The mere sight of beautiful crowds bronzing against its theatrical, cragged mountain backdrop will banish the winter blues in one blow. And just when you thought the Mother City’s raw good looks, smart art and design scenes and world-class food couldn’t get more appealing, it only goes and adds a pair of super-hot hotels, too.

Where to stay: The Silo , which is ingeniously set inside a former grain elevator house at the top of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. Also on our Gold List, Ellerman House is an imposing Edwardian mansion with smashing views of the Atlantic and one of the country’s finest private-art collections.

Average December temperature 22°C  Just like that lowandslow New Zealand drawl Auckland is a big beautiful city thats...

Auckland, New Zealand

Average December temperature : 22°C

Just like that low-and-slow New Zealand drawl, Auckland is a big, beautiful city that’s seldom in a hurry. Perhaps that’s what happens when there’s nature everywhere – rainforest-covered hills here; the glittering Hauraki Gulf there. And the notion that the affable country is somehow behind the times is rebuffed by the likes of the Britomart complex, a series of waterfront heritage buildings turned boutiques and restaurants, and Iko Iko, a fabulous concept store with fans such as Emilia Wickstead. Add in a ferry trip to nearby Waiheke Island’s sandy beaches and vineyard wine tastings and be totally converted to the Kiwi lifestyle.

Where to stay: Hilton Auckland is über-trendy retro futurism in a gleaming wharf shed redeveloped to resemble a cruise-liner.

Average December temperature 31°C  Tulum Cancún and Playa del Carmen are the seaside giants of the Yucatn in southeast...

Merida, Yucatan Peninsula

Average December temperature : 31°C

Tulum , Cancún and Playa del Carmen are the seaside giants of the Yucatán in south-east Mexico , but head instead for the state capital of Mérida for the best of everything: Mayan ruins, a charming colonial town, dense jungle and – if you don’t mind a short drive – beaches, too. Best of all, there’s Chablé just outside the city, an astonishingly lush estate with a spa and private cenote, a restaurant led by renowned chef Jorge Vallejo, a tequila ‘library’, a sweat lodge and a local shaman. Plus it has 40 splashy, limestone-and-glass casitas, each one with its own terrace and pool.

Where to stay: Hacienda Xcanatun for marble mosaic and coral stone floors on the verandahs, exteriors are daubed in terracotta and cream, and rough-hewn rustic tables and hammocks hung between trees that give this 18th-century Italianate estate a lived-in feel.

Average December temperature 27°C  Long the ShangriLa of feverish backpacker dreams Koh Samui has grown up. Yes its...

Koh Samui, Thailand

Long the Shangri-La of feverish backpacker dreams, Koh Samui has grown up. Yes, its raison d’être remains pure pleasure – in the shade of three million coconut palms, and on its bone-white beaches – but the packaging is more Four Seasons, less ratty bungalow. Wellness has well and truly arrived here, with yoga studios, health retreats and even monk-led mentoring for those looking to make a real change. If, however, you just want a proper, idyllic tropical break, Panacea takes the cake. The former home of one of the world’s top hedge-fund managers, this sprawling hilltop estate features five enormous residences, 82ft swimming pools, a cinema, a nightclub – and even a Muay Thai boxing ring (tattooed instructor included).

Where to stay: Set high on a hill, Panacea has a mix of four-, five- or six-bedroom villas filled with tropical hardwoods, silk fabrics and petrified wood that’s over a million years old, plus there's a kids’ room, a private cinema, gambling den and nightclub. At COMO Point Yamu a 100-metre long white-tiled swimming pool shoots out towards the Andaman Sea. Tip-top service, zingy cuisine and a wondrous spa has made this Thai hotel a favourite with LGBTQ+ Thais and travellers.

Average December temperature 27°C  No doubt Havana is spectacular. But leaving Cubas main drawcard to explore its steamy...

No doubt, Havana is spectacular. But leaving Cuba ’s main drawcard to explore its steamy eastern mountains will bring you closer to a country that, in its isolation from modernity, has much to teach. In Baracoa, the mystical hangs like a heavy mist. The city, surrounded by the Cuchillas del Toa mountain range, is a world unto itself: streets infused with music, sleepy beaches and rivers and canyons where – yes, even here – you’ll stumble upon the odd thatched bar. At the very south of the island, Santiago de Cuba, with its palatial Spanish buildings by the sea, is set to be the next It destination, but for now remains thrillingly tourist-free.

Where to stay: Casa de Miriam y Sinai is a fantastic first-floor flat that is an oasis of calm and space, with three spacious rooms, one with a street-side balcony, are spotless and have top-drawer bathrooms.

Average December temperature 24°C  Melbournes erratic climate ensures itll never hold the beachy appeal of Sydney. But...

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne ’s erratic climate ensures it’ll never hold the beachy appeal of Sydney . But December’s summer temperatures are ideal for exploring the city’s beloved laneways: narrow passages packed with street art , galleries, restaurants and bars. It’s here that trends are set rather than followed; where a cup of coffee has both a caffeine kick and global acclaim. And in Australia ’s always dynamic second city, there’s never a shortage of new and miraculous places to explore. Currently it’s Di Stasio Città, Spring Street’s Brutalist Italian restaurant, where guests eat fabulous crab capellini in a concrete-bunker-like setting as video installations play across the walls.

Where to stay: Lindenderry at Red Hill , a silver-birch-lined drive leading to a white rural hideout, with comforting, pared-back style and a restaurant that uses the with best local produce.

Volcan Arenal dominates the landscape during sunset as seen from the Monteverde area Costa Rica.

Average December temperature : 30°C

There's a lot to love about Costa Rica. The awe-inspiring nature – two coastlines, Caribbean and Pacific, which have not only distinct landscapes but distinct vibes; rainforests; volcanoes; powerful waterfalls that crash into rivers. You can surf, raft or relax in natural hot springs, spot sloths, monkeys and thousands of species of birdlife. All of this, plus Costa Rica is consistently named one of the happiest countries in the world, as well as having a higher-than-average life expectancy. December to April are the best times to visit – you can expect dry, sunny days, perfect for exploring on your own terms.

Where to stay: Aguas Claras in Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean coast has six cabanas and a handful of restaurants loved by locals. See our edit of the best Costa Rica hotels for more ideas.


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