When waves of below-zero winter temperatures chill northern portions of the United States and Canada, the impulse is to get warm... really warm. The fastest (and most fun) way to do that is to book a flight, pack your bag, and travel to a warm-weather getaway without delay. The following recommended vacation destinations can help you to unthaw; all of them currently boast daytime temperatures in the 80s.
Southern United States
Where can you find hot, hot days and balmy nights? Head south. In the United States, southern Florida, southern Arizona, and southern California are best bets for quelling the shivers. Not only do those areas consistently register 80+ degree winter temps but they also contain many excellent resorts where you can frolic in the sun, play golf and tennis, and soak up warm rays on the sand. In Florida, Miami is a high-octane coastal city with plenty of glamorous rooftops and restaurants, while San Diego in southern California is a family-friendly beachfront destination.
In the Caribbean, it's high season come winter as all the snow birds flock down to the white sand and crystal-clear waters around the islands. Not only is the air warm; the Caribbean Sea remains soothing as well, making it ideal for swimming, scuba, snorkeling, and other water sports. But keep in mind that hotel rates and airfare soar, so book your vacation far in advance to get the best deals.
The West Indies island of Antigua features 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. Meanwhile, Jamaica is a top choice thanks to its all-inclusive resorts, upbeat reggae traditions, and of course, the finger-licking jerk dishes. For couples looking for a romantic getaway, St. Lucia has gorgeous mountains, an azure sea, and honeymoon-worthy villas.
Winter is prime vacation time in Mexico, where coastal areas lure couples in search of sun and fun. Cancun is Mexico's most popular tourist destination, although it tends to have a reputation for its Spring Break atmosphere (think: Señor Frog’s and bottomless margaritas). However, just an hour down the Yucatán Peninsula, there are glam resorts in Playa del Carmen and laid-back, boho-chic stays in Tulum. On the Pacific side of Mexico, Cabo San Lucas is a scenic destination at the tip of Baja California.
Linking Mexico with South America, these small countries are attracting lots of compliments from travelers. Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations for American travelers thanks to its rain forests, active volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, and lagoons. It also has an amazing surf scene along the west coast. Belize is another great vacation option. The country's barrier reef is the world's second-largest coral reef system.
You may want to consider looking farther afield to South America, Asia, Africa, and countries of the Pacific, where the seasons are reversed and you can literally fly right into summer. Exotic islands in the Pacific lure lovers to worlds of beauty and seclusion.
Fiji and Tahiti/Papeete are lush, postcard-perfect archipelagos where you can stay in elegant overwater bungalows, some of which have their own private plunge pools and glass floors so you can see the fish swim under your feet.
Asia tends to be very humid throughout December and January, so if you can handle the heat, it may be a good option for you. Expect toasty weather in the sophisticated international city of Hong Kong, but ample air conditioning chills its spectacular hotels and shops. Similarly, Southern India swelters (so all yoga there is, in effect, hot yoga). For best of both worlds, there's Singapore, with its sparkling skyline, open-air markets, and white-sand beaches.
Before you go where it's hot in winter, be sure to protect yourself from the heat and pack:
- Strong sunscreen
- Insect repellant
- Frizz-defying hair products
- Bathing suits and cover ups
- Flip-flops to protect your feet from the hot sand
- Refillable water bottles
- Sweater, shawl, or jacket for restaurants and other places with strong air-conditioning