While the winter months have their own charm, more time spent indoors can leave some travelers itching for their next getaway. Escape the often dark and gloomy winter months with one of these five inspirational and seasonal travel destinations.
Between the sunshine, pristine beaches, warm temperatures, and beautiful palm trees, Hawaii is a favorite winter destination for many travelers looking to escape the cold. With temperatures averaging around 80 degrees from December through February, Hawaii is home to eight national parks, more than 400 beaches, and countless scenic hiking trails. Not only is winter whale-watching season, but there are also several islands to choose from and each has its own attractions.
In Maui, visitors can road trip to Haleakalā National Park to view nesting seabirds, take a walk along its superb beaches, or hike through its volcanic landscape. When visiting Honolulu, travelers can snorkel among the brightly colored fish, surf the large winter waves, or even relax poolside. It’s also home to the only royal palace in the United States, ‘Iolani Palace. Oahu is also an excellent destination for epic surfs, but it also offers the chance for visitors to learn about Hawaiian history and culture at its Polynesian Cultural Center.
2. Costa Rica
The dry season in Costa Rica is from mid-November through May, making winter the perfect time to visit for minimal rain and sunny beach days. This destination offers a volcanic landscape, misty waterfalls, deserted beaches, and protected jungles. In terms of activities, Costa Ricca offers many inspiring activities from ziplining through the rainforest to horseback riding along a scenic trail. And, if you’re lucky enough to visit in November, you’ll be there for arribada season when 20,000 sea turtles appear for their annual nesting along the beaches of Playa del Coco and Tamarindo.
For winter travelers who don’t need to escape somewhere warm, Zermatt, Switzerland is surrounded by some of the Alps’ tallest peaks and has 223 miles of runs in four major ski areas. Not only do these runs or hikes offer stunning scenery, but some have an altitude of 10,000 feet and snow lingers there all season. This alpine village is located at the foot of the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s most famous mountain, this destination also offers an array of winter activities including ice-skating, skiing, and snowboarding. Hotels such as the Riffelhaus 1853 offer an exclusive luxurious spa and an outdoor hot tub which overlooks Matterhorn mountain.
Another warm winter escape, the cities in Mexico offer a wide range of activities and sights perfect for any kind of traveler. Cancun, for example, offers white sand beaches, turquoise waters, indulgent hideaways, and an array of nightlife activities. It also offers an array of day trip options such as visiting the nearby bohemian beach town of Tulum. For travelers looking for a quieter and less crowded experience, a visit to Isla Mujeres is ideal. The main beach, Playa Norte, is made of crushed coral and contains warm shallow waters. And, for fearless nature enthusiasts, this island is also home to the largest concentration of whale sharks in the world.
Though it’s widely known as the destination of famous parks Disney and Universal Studios, Florida is one of the most affordable and warmest winter escapes. Miami, for example, is particularly popular in early December during its Art Basel Miami Beach event, which is an attraction for both fashion and art enthusiasts. The city contains a luxurious hotel and restaurants that specialize in delicious Latin-American-inspired cuisine. Also known for its booming nightlife, Miami days also fly by with activities like shopping at Lincoln road, taking photos of the graffiti walls, the art galleries of Wynwood, and relaxing on South Beach.
A three-and-a-half-hour road trip across 42 scenic bridges will land you in Key West, Florida’s southernmost point and another excellent destination for the winter. Temperatures in the 70s, water sports, and historical sites make this a hot spot for winter travelers around the world. During the day, spend some time diving and snorkeling among Key West’s coral reefs or taking in historic architecture at the Key West Cemetary or Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. While it doesn’t offer the nightlife Miami does, Key West’s lively Duval Street restaurants and bars provide a charming Carribean-style atmosphere.