Jetting off to sunnier climates is a big temptation when the days start to get shorter and the temperatures begin to drop. Many Americans will begin to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as the US approaches the darker, shorter days of winter. Escaping to a sunnier location can help increase vitamin D production and boost your mood and overall well-being.
Whether it’s snorkeling in the Caribbean, trekking through a lush rainforest in search of sloths and exotic birds, or visiting Florida’s theme parks, escaping winter allows you to break free from your indoor prison and get back to enjoying life outdoors again.
If you’re looking to escape winter in the US, there are several fantastic destinations both within the states and abroad that offer plenty of warmth and sunshine. So don’t be left out in the cold this winter and book yourself a 2023 winter escape with one of these top getaways.
The Best Destinations for Winter Sun in 2023
While many people visit Las Vegas during the summer, temperatures can reach almost unbearable levels and are often well over 100 degrees. In winter, average temperatures are much milder, making outdoor activities like hiking in Red Rock Canyon or boating and fishing on nearby Lake Mead much more enjoyable.
The winter months also provide ideal conditions for golfing, with numerous world-class golf courses set against the backdrop of the surrounding desert. And while taking advantage of outdoor activities may be high on the list, Las Vegas also offers numerous indoor attractions.
You can explore the city’s many world-famous casinos like the Bellagio or Venetian, shop in high-end boutiques, and visit unique attractions like the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, and Luxor’s Titanic Artifact Exhibition.
The city’s famous Las Vegas Strip offers more than just gambling as well, being a hub of nightlife and entertainment. You can also avoid the busy physical casinos altogether and simply play online slot games from the comfort of your hotel room after a long day of enjoying outdoor recreation in and around Vegas.
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Winter is a fabulous time to visit the Caribbean and the US Virgin Islands are a top destination for Americans to visit. St. Thomas enjoys a tropical climate year-round, making it an excellent choice for those looking to escape the winter cold. During the winter months, the weather is typically warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s.
St. Thomas is known for its beautiful, pristine beaches that include Magens Bay Beach, Coki Beach, and Sapphire Beach where you can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing. The island features a vibrant culture that blends influences from Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. You can experience local music, dance, and cuisine, including delicious seafood, exotic tropical fruits, and delicious island cocktails.
St. Thomas is conveniently located within the U.S. Virgin Islands, allowing for easy access to neighboring islands like St. John and St. Croix. You can easily plan day trips to explore other islands once you’ve had your fill of St. Thomas’s historic sites like Blackbeard’s Castle and Fort Christian.
St. Thomas is easily accessible from mainland US, with regular flights from several major airports and U.S. citizens do not require a passport to visit, making travel relatively straightforward.
Boracay is another destination that offers a year-round tropical climate for those looking to escape the winter cold. Boracay is famous for its stunning white sandy beaches, particularly White Beach, which stretches along the island’s west coast.
The coral reefs around Boracay are teeming with vibrant marine life, making it a fantastic destination for underwater exploration. You’ll also enjoy vibrant nightlife, with beachfront bars and clubs that really come alive after the sun goes down.
Boracay is an excellent base for island-hopping adventures to nearby islands like Puka Island or Crocodile Island, where you can snorkel or simply relax in secluded coves. Be sure to also take advantage of some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world and sample some traditional Filipino cuisine like inasal, pancit, and sinigang.
Beyond your normal water sports, Boracay also offers more adrenaline-pumping activities like cliff diving, hiking to Mount Luho for panoramic views, and ATV tours through the island’s interior.
December is one of the most ideal times to visit Dubai, with temperatures ranging from the low 70s to mid-80s from November to March. This is in stark contrast to the scorching summer temperatures Dubai normally sees.
Dubai has no shortage of stunning sandy beaches along its coastline, with the most popular being Jumeirah Beach. Visitors can relax on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, swim in its warm waters, or engage in water sports like jet-skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding.
Dubai is of course famous for its world-class luxury resorts, many of which feature private beaches, lavish 5-star accommodations, and top-notch amenities. Dubai is also a shopper’s paradise, with a range of high-end malls like the Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall, various traditional souks, and boutiques to explore.
If you want to escape the sun for a while, Dubai offers a range of indoor attractions. You can visit the indoor ski resort at Ski Dubai if you find yourself actually missing the snow and cold for some reason, explore the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, or have fun at indoor theme parks like IMG Worlds of Adventure.
Dubai even hosts a variety of events during the winter season, including the Dubai Shopping Festival. Add in the fact that Dubai is well-connected to countless major international cities, which make it convenient for travelers to reach Dubai from virtually anywhere, and you really can’t go wrong.
While the northern parts of Florida can experience cooler temperatures during the winter months, southern Florida in cities like Miami or Key West offer up plenty of warm weather. Like some of the other destinations mentioned in our roundup, Florida is famous for its picturesque coastline with miles of sandy beaches along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida is a golf lover’s paradise with countless golf courses and resorts, many designed by renowned golf architects. Some of the most famous golf resorts in the state include PGA National Resort & Spa, TPC Sawgrass, and Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort.
Florida’s golf resorts and clubs frequently offer lessons and clinics with professional instructors, making it an attractive destination for golfers looking to brush up on their game during winter instead of getting out of practice.
Florida is home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. These parks offer a wide range of entertainment options for visitors of all ages, making it a great family-friendly winter escape.
Florida hosts numerous events and festivals during the winter season including Art Basel Miami Beach, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, and the Edison Festival of Light in Fort Myers.
The fact that Costa Rica is a top winter escape destination isn’t lost on the masses, as the winter months mark the high tourist season where accommodation and popular attractions are much more crowded. That being said, you are almost guaranteed to enjoy great weather since it’s the country’s “dry season” which runs from December through April, with minimal rainfall and plenty of sunshine.
Costa Rica is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, including lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and biodiverse ecosystems that are home to a wide range of exotic wildlife. Costa Rica is a leader in ecotourism and sustainable travel practices. The country is home to numerous national parks, wildlife reserves, and protected areas, making it an ideal destination for eco-conscious travelers or wildlife photographers.
Costa Rica is also an adventure lover’s paradise, with opportunities for zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, white-water rafting, surfing, mountain biking, and exploring active volcanoes.
Costa Rica has both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, each offering stunning beaches with warm waters and world-class surfing spots. Popular beach destinations include Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, and Puerto Viejo.
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