As fall starts to usher in colder days and longer nights, the season’s pumpkin-flavored charm starts to fade into anticipatory dread. Winter is coming, and the outlook is bad for the ice-and-snow averse. If you’re already counting down the minutes until next spring, resolve to give yourself a break from the cold-weather blues. Plan a mid-winter trip to some warm and sunny location: Once you return, the anxiety around Punxsutawney Phil’s potential prediction might be a little easier to handle.
Here are five locations that make for the perfect escape from snow drifts and icy roads:
This chain of islands is one of the most iconic tropical destinations in the world, and for good reason. Whether you’re exploring the forests, learning about the islands’ volcanoes or just relaxing on one of the many sunny beaches, you’re bound to have a great time. If you’re up for adventure, check out one of the many zipline tours offered throughout the state. Looking for pure tranquility? Head to some natural tide pools and swimming holes for an utterly relaxing experience.
2. The Bahamas
Located in the Caribbean, the Bahamas are the perfect set of islands to explore on a winter cruise. The advantage of visiting these islands during a cruise is that you don’t have to pick just one – your itinerary will let you get a glimpse of each island’s unique charm. This is particularly great for the Bahamas because every isle in this chain has something new to offer. For example, New Province holds Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. This is an absolutely bustling place with lots of luxurious experiences for travelers. Cat Island, meanwhile, is known for being relatively untouched. Your experience here will be more low-key, but no less special.
Although the Mediterranean isn’t exactly a tropical winter destination, the temperatures in this region are considerably milder than they are further north. A cruise that stops at various ports in Italy, Spain and Greece will give you the south European tour you’ve always dreamed of. Because winter is a less popular time to travel in general, you’ll also find these locations contain far fewer tourists than they would during other seasons.
4. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s location near the equator means the island is warm all year round. Winter is actually the most popular time to visit this destination, since summer is the archipelago’s rainy season. U.S. travelers can visit this territory without a passport, so it’s a great option for people who want to relax on a tropical island without spending months waiting for documentation – or indeed, the better part of a day on a flight. Once you’re there, you can swim, lay on the beach or hike on some of Puerto Rico’s exciting trails.
Close your eyes and picture an island paradise. Whatever you’re imagining, the odds are good it looks a lot like Fiji. This Pacific island’s gorgeous coral reefs make it the perfect spot for snorkeling, and the white-sand beaches are a stunning sight all on their own. There are few places in the world that offer as much beauty and relaxation as Fiji. The only disadvantage: Traveling to Fiji can be a long journey. It’s location in the middle of the Pacific makes it a super-isolated experience, but it also means it’s somewhat hard to reach. You should expect to spend many hours in air for this one, but know that once you step into the warm sunshine, you’ll think every minute was worth it.