The 7 Best Sun-Soaked Destinations for Winter Travel
When the beauty of the first-holiday snowfall has worn off, and you’re dealing with the realities of winter, that’s your cue to book a vacay. Sure, there’s some coordination involved (PTO, dog sitters, or babysitters at that) but once you take a step into any of these Vitamin D rich destinations, it’ll totally be worth your time — and PTO. So put that procrastination to the wayside and scroll down to check out these must-visit sunny spots.
1. Oahu, Hawaii // Whether you’re a surfer (hey, you can take lessons too) or seeking some time in the sand, the third-largest Hawaiian island and home to the state’s capital, with bring you a taste of paradise — no passport required. Spend a day with a good beach read at the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, capped off with a taste of the area’s most popular treat, shave ice. Or, take a tour of the historic USS Arizona Memorial or Pearl Harbor. With something for everyone to do, we’re a little (beach) bummed we didn’t think of this place sooner.
2. Palm Springs, California // If a Cali getaway is calling your name, head to this dessert hotspot where good weather is almost always in the forecast. With over 354 days of sunshine, Palm Springs offers plenty of opportunities to soak in some color by staying at the vibrant Saguaro or simply relaxing poolside. Since it’s home to many luxurious golf courses and spas, a little R&R is almost always guaranteed.
3. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico // Beyond laying on a white sand beach with a tropical drink in hand (which, to be honest, sounds real good right now) this spot down south offers some of the most scenic backdrops around. With a full range of activities available in Cabo (think snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, horseback riding, and more) we’re fairly convinced this place is a good bet for anyone up for an adventure.
4. Willemstad, Curaçao // Lonely Planet named this one of the “most affordable Caribbean getaways,” but that’s not the only reason we’re eyeing Curaçao. This Dutch island just west of Aruba features colorful architecture, rich culture, and beaches, lots and lots of beaches. If this area wasn’t on your radar before, it certainly should be now.
5. Auckland, New Zealand // Take things a bit further by traveling to New Zealand’s sunny North Island and home to its largest city. This diverse place caters to both nature-lovers and city-dwellers alike, with miles of coastline to hike and explore and a vibrant urban area to take advantage of. A personal fave for me includes a The Lord of the Rings tour, although this Zipline and Wine combo seems pretty compelling for any adrenaline junkie, too.
6. Key West, Florida // Head to the southernmost tip of Florida and you’ll find a taste of the tropical life while the rest of the country is dealing with winter (*sigh*). Key West is collectively comprised of more than 800 islands, so there’s plenty of drives and day-trips to take advantage of. The area is also most famous for its water-sports (perfect for any MN natives) and lively nightlife on Duval Street. If something more low-key is top of mind, this destination has great boutique shopping and restaurant options one could want, so you can plan the vacay with your own agenda in mind.
7. San Ignacio Town, Belize // With temperatures ranging from 70°F to 95°F, it’s pretty much always summer in Belize. San Ignacio Town, in particular, is located in the hub of an eco-tourism area that features cabanas and cuisine like something out of a screensaver. Bonus: The gorgeous spot was also ranked as one of the most affordable winter travel spots. In that case, when can we go?
Sarah Koller is a freelance writer and blogger. When she’s not taking a hot yoga class or seeking out the best brunch spots in town, you’ll find her rambling away on her website.