The 7 Best Sun-Soaked Destinations for Winter Travel

Travel & Leisure

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 will 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 hot spot 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 lying 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 east 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.

Key West, Florida

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 are 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 all the 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?

Image Sources: top12 / 3 / 45 / 6 / 7


BY Sarah Schuh - February 24, 2018

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I hardly ever go to cold places during winter – so always, always a summer destination to escape the cold! Love these options. Another excellent choice for us in Asia is anywhere in Southeast Asia. So budget-friendly! 🙂

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

February 24, 2018 11:15 am

My sister lives in Oahu and we are going to visit her this year! I can’t wait, I’ve never been to Hawaii!

February 25, 2018 5:25 pm

San Ignacio is beautiful and the food is great, but it’s not near the beach like the photo shows. It’s in the jungle. It would be easy to combine beach and jungle in one trip though, because Belize is small and easy to get around.

February 27, 2018 1:59 pm

We like Cabo Verde a lot for sunny winter holidays. It’s almost always 25°C during the winter!

March 5, 2018 3:25 pm

Ahh… this post was right on time! We’re looking for a quick getaway in two weeks. Only requirement: sun & water! Thanks!

March 5, 2018 8:33 pm

Cabo is the best place to go during the winter! Love the white sands and turquoise waters there.

Diana |

March 23, 2018 5:45 am

sadly there are no travel plans in my immediate future, but even just looking at these photos is helping me feel a little warmer! 🙂

October 20, 2018 10:45 am

Thanks for sharing

[…] and Instagram posts paint them as a loving family who enjoy a jet-set lifestyle, holidaying in sun-soaked destinations across Europe and the U.S.The couple, who married in July 2011, also take frequent trips to St […]

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