After all those boxes are unwrapped and the holidays are all said and done, it can feel like a bit of a letdown, especially when combined with cold, dreary weather. If the thought of at least two more months of winter leaves you craving warmth and sunshine, this is a perfect time to plan a fun getaway. Whether you’re looking for something near or far, we’ve got some great options for you.

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Siesta Key, Florida Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key, Florida

The powder sugar-like sands and turquoise waters in Siesta Key, an eight-mile-long barrier island just south of Sarasota and Longboat Key, are ideal for a winter retreat, with temperatures averaging in the mid-70s, significantly warmer than most of the country. Get your vitamin D while relaxing, taking peaceful strolls and enjoying all types of sports out on the water from boating and dolphin watching cruises to parasailing under that beautiful Florida sunshine. It’s just a short walk from the village, so you can easily walk into town for lunch and shopping.

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico Playa Balandra near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Credit: K.C. Dermody
Playa Balandra near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

While Cabo San Lucas tends to draw big tourist crowds over the winter, just two hours north cosmopolitan La Paz offers an ideal, laid-back spot to enjoy the warmth and sunshine among Old World beauty. You can look forward to strolling the palm-lined promenade popping into galleries and quirky little shops, visiting lively squares, and dining on delicious cuisine, including lots of fresh seafood. Less than a 30-minute drive away you’ll find what’s often been called Mexico’s most beautiful beach, Balandra, with its incredibly clear, bathwater warm water and soft sands.

Kauai, Hawaii Secret Falls, Kauai
Secret Falls, Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii

Winter on Kauai means sun and spectacularly lush tropical beauty with scenic hikes leading to secret waterfalls and idyllic beaches for melting any post-holiday stress away.  It’s also the season for whale watching with humpback whales migrating to the warm waters to birth their young. If you’re into surfing, this is the best time to come with powerful swells on the island’s north and west shores, but great snorkeling can be enjoyed too. The reef-protected beaches provide ideal spots for experiencing the dazzling underwater world with colorful fish and sea turtles, acting as a barrier to create calm and shallow pools.

Bali, Indonesia Bali
Credit: bigstock.com
Bali

Bali, Indonesia

You can enjoy warm temperatures on Bali year-round, but as the winter season is the rainy season, it also means cheaper airfare and accommodation. With rainfall typically coming in short, tropical bursts, you’ll get to experience plenty of sunshine for enjoying the beautiful beaches that are backed by the vibrant greenery of the lush jungles. Get blissed out by taking advantage of the myriad of heavenly spas, shop the chic boutiques, dance the night away at full-moon raves and visit places like the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed Monkey.

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Trunk Bay, St. John
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Trunk Bay, St. John

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. John is the ultimate paradise for those who truly want to escape the modern world. While the island experienced considerable damage from the hurricane in 2017, it’s managed to recover significantly, but tourist numbers are still down which means enjoying it without the crowds. Spend time on the white powdery sands of Trunk Bay Beach, often named one of the world’s most beautiful, hiking the scenic Reef Bay Trail and exploring the history and ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. You can snorkel in the underwater national park with its vibrant coral and tropical fish, and look forward to breathtaking sunsets that offer the perfect finale to every day.

Ko Lanta, Thailand Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta
Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta

Ko Lanta, Thailand

Thailand’s islands are what you picture when dreaming of a castaway fantasy, complete with idyllic white sands lined with swaying palm trees while turquoise water gently laps along the shore. There are dozens to choose from, though Ko Lanta is renowned as one of the best with many fabulous places to stay on beaches that stretch for miles. Enjoy world-class diving and snorkeling, mouthwatering cuisine and the warm welcome you’re sure to get in this “land of smiles.”

São Tomé and Príncipe, Africa Banana Beach, Sao Tome and Principe, Africa.
Banana Beach, Sao Tome and Principe, Africa.

São Tomé and Príncipe, Africa

The two-island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located in the Gulf of Guinea. While it may not be often talked about it offers an interesting history and lots of spectacular natural wonders that attract eco-tourists looking for a more off-the-beaten-path destination. Unspoiled Principe is particularly ideal with its jungle canopy broken with spires of jagged rock, a “lost world” for enjoying snorkeling, fishing, bird watching and jungle exploring.

St. Lucia St. Lucia, Caribbean
Credit: bigstock.com
St. Lucia, Caribbean

St. Lucia

One of the most picturesque Caribbean islands, St. Lucia offers the perfect places to de-stress and enjoy pampering, home to some of the world’s most luxurious resorts where your every whim is catered to, opportunities for decadent spa treatments and relaxing under the sun surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Blissfully sip cocktails with your toes in the sand while enjoying the mesmerizing views of the island’s green Pitons that rise out of the sea, and when you’re in the mood for exploring, hike one of the trails in the interior rainforest that lead to waterfalls like Toraille, which spills 50 feet over a cliff into a garden.

San Diego, California San Diego from Coronado
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San Diego from Coronado

San Diego, California

California’s most southerly city is famous for its year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, rarely dropping below 68 degrees. Enjoy urban delights in the popular Gaslamp Quarter with its many art galleries, shops, trendy eateries and bars, along with some of the best beaches in the country along the Coronado peninsula. There are a wealth of famous attractions here like the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, home to more than 3,500 animals and a safari park providing a unique safari experience with a variety of adventures like zip lines and caravan truck rides for viewing herds of animals that roam in their natural habitats.

The Bahamas Exuma, Bahamas
Credit: Bigstock.com
Exuma, Bahamas

The Bahamas

With its strikingly clear blue waters and deserted stretches of pristine white sands, the Bahamas make for a dream vacation any time of the year. After the major devastation of Hurricane Dorian, the islands need tourists now more than ever to help in the recovery efforts. The hotels and resorts in Nassau and Paradise Island as well as in destinations like gorgeous Eleuthera, Andros, The Exumas and Cat Island, among others, are open providing all sorts of delights from snorkeling and diving to relaxing with a cool tropical drink in hand.

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