13 Sunny-Weather Getaways That Aren’t Florida
We love Florida as much as the next Disney fanatic, but there are other spots to explore for sun, sand, and gorgeous weather.
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Escape the cold!
It’s that time of the year when you’re not sure how you can get through another few months of sub-zero temperatures, slushy sidewalks, and dark days. Translation: It’s time for a sunny-weather getaway. And while Florida may be your go-to, there are plenty of other affordable choices that aren’t as crowded and are just as lovely—maybe even lovelier. For more trips to book throughout the year, check out these 20 places you need to go in 2020, according to travel experts.
Enter the gated Mayakoba community in Riviera Maya, where there’s sand, surf, and sustainability. The Fairmont Mayakoba was actually the first property of its kind in the region to preserve and promote indigenous wildlife and culture. While there, you can take an ecology boat tour, visit the rare, stingless Melipona beecheii bees (cultivated by the Maya more than 3,000 years ago), go snorkeling in the clear blue water, and simply chill. If you have a few extra vacation days, you should also explore these other stunning spots along Mexico’s Pacific coast.
This is the place to go if you simply want to relax. The beaches are absolutely perfect, the water is the ideal temperature, and there are tons of all-inclusive resorts, including Couples Negril, so you don’t have to plan a meal or think about, well, anything. But if you do decide to rise from your cabana, try snorkeling, go scuba diving, or take a glass-bottom boat tour—there are so many species of beautiful fish here, and you won’t want to miss this experience. If you’re traveling with that special someone, check out these 10 romantic couples resorts around the world, including one in Port Antonio, Jamaica.
It’s always a good time to visit New Orleans! (Well, it may be a bit too hot and sticky in August, but otherwise, it’s always good.) There are hurricanes to drink, cemeteries to explore, blues to hear, tarot cards to read, oysters to eat…we could go on, but you get the idea. This is simply a fun vacay for travelers of any age. In fact, New Orleans made our list of the 30 must-see places around the United States to take your kids before they fly the coop. No, it’s not your typical beach holiday, but you’ll still return refreshed and happy, which is the whole point, right? You can stay smack in the middle of the French Quarter, of course, or just a short distance away from it all at a hotel like Lyric in the Central Business District.
The rain forests, the coffee, the monkeys, the beaches! We can’t get enough of Costa Rica. There are so many activities, you could seriously spend all year here. On the flip side, you could plant yourself on one of its stunning beaches and rise only to snag another coconut water (fresh from the coconut, obviously). Once you’ve gotten to Costa Rica, the rest is a bargain: It’s inexpensive to stay, to eat, and to play here. La Ramona Charming Hotel is a great option near Tamarindo Beach, or you could find a spot near Utiva Beach, which made our list of 10 beaches that are actually better in winter.
San Antonio, Texas
Head to this major city in Texas, where you’ll get out of the cold and have plenty to do. Take a River Walk cruise, wander through the Alamo, stroll in the Japanese Tea Gardens, visit the famous zoo, take a wine tour, and check out the Guinness World Records Museum (a must-see). But the best part about San Antonio may be that there really is something for everyone—from the thrill seekers (take the kids to Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island) to the culture questers (the Witte Museum and the San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral are wonderful). It’s as much fun for families as it is for honeymooners. In addition to San Antonio, here are some other affordable U.S. cities to add to your bucket list.
Charleston, South Carolina
It’s all about the cobblestone streets, the pastels, and the horse-drawn carriages here. Whether you’re drawn to Charleston because of Bravo’s Southern Charm (no judgment here) or because of its elegant, old-fashioned, historic beauty, this is a fantastic choice any time of year. In December and January, temperatures reach 60, so it’s pleasant walking weather. Stay in the historic district neighborhood to be close to the shops, the South Carolina Aquarium, and tons of restaurants. Must-eats in Charleston include fresh oysters, barbecue, and lobster rolls. (Yum!) No matter where you travel, make sure you know the one food you have to try in every state.
This is a true beach vacation—and it’s relatively easy to get here. There are tons of inexpensive flights from the United States to this Dutch island, which is located just off the Venezuelan coast. Once there, you’ll be treated to lush coral reefs, white-sand beaches, turquoise water, and many cool spots to explore if you can tear yourself away from the beach. Our fave is hiking through Christoffel National Park, which was once the home of three plantations. It now houses barn owls, white-tailed deer, and hundreds of species of plants. Also check out the Hato Caves, which were formed millions of years ago and now have spectacular limestone formations and statues. Don’t miss these other cheap beach vacations to take with your family.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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It’s a quick flight to tons of inexpensive all-inclusives. Choose from adults-only, family-focused, and many more. Punta Cana is one of the most sought-after Caribbean destinations not only because of its beaches, which are pristine, but also because of its prices. Even during the holidays, it’s significantly less expensive to go here for a fancy vacation than nearly anywhere else. While you might be wary of traveling to the Dominican Republic after 2019’s mysterious tourist deaths, the country’s tourism ministry has a new initiative aimed at making travel to the area safer, with a particular emphasis on food and beverage safety. Here are 5 more sunny Caribbean destinations to help you beat the winter blues.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Why travel to Vegas in the winter? Because you know you’ll have a good time here—at any time of the year. There’s a pool if you want to relax, there’s gambling if you want to lose some dough, there are museums, stores, shows, buffets, high-end restaurants, fancy hotels, zip-lining, helicopters, and essentially anything you can imagine. The best news: Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, of course. So be free, have fun, and try something new. If gambling’s not your thing, here are 13 things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve casinos.