Winter is coming! We’ve partnered with travel expert and umbrella-drink connoisseur Angie Orth from Angie Away to explore a few warm destinations for easy winter getaways where you can leave your coat behind and defrost your frozen fingers and toes.
A bitter winter is forecast for the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s likely we’re just a few weeks away from the first blizzard of the season. If you’re anything like me, you’re already daydreaming of fleeing the snow and sleet for somewhere with pretty turquoise water, miles of palm-lined beaches, and colorful tropical beverages.
The Florida Keys
I’m a Florida gal, so I don’t have much cold to escape from. But when the winter winds blow in North Florida, I head south to the laid-back Florida Keys, a coral archipelago of islands with their own quirky heritage and vibe. On my last visit I stayed at Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, known as the sport-fishing capital of the world. You honestly forget what snow feels like on this island. In the evenings, palms sway and cotton-candy clouds bob on the horizon. Snorkeling, diving, fishing, and boating are some of the Keys’ main attractions, so if you love the salty sea, this might be the perfect place to beat the chill. Fly into Miami or Key West and rent a car for an ice-free winter road trip.
I love everything about Hawaii’s Garden Isle. It’s small enough to explore the highlights in a week’s time, yet offers a shockingly diverse landscape for such a small island. Wild, lush, and filled with its own history, legends, language, and cuisine, I recommend spending half your time on the North Shore and half on the South Shore. The Westin Princeville Ocean Villas on the North Shore is an ideal base to catch Hanalei Bay’s epic winter surf break (advanced surfers only, please, but it’s so fun to watch), hiking, and some of the most stunning views in the world. Later in the week, head south to sunny Poipu for snorkeling, fishing for peacock bass in the Waita Reservoir, or my favorite, relaxing in a hammock by the Grand Hyatt Kauai‘s saltwater lagoon with a coconut, a straw, and a good book.
From the West Coast, Kauai is only a 6-hour flight. A small sacrifice for a winter getaway in this paradise!
The Caribbean is filled with distinctive island nations, a mash-up of cultural influences, a consistent warm breeze, and overwhelmingly friendly residents. St. Kitts is one of the Caribbean’s under-the-radar treasures, set in the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. Formerly a sugar production powerhouse, now St. Kitts is a sunny place to get away from bone-chilling weather back home.
Stay at Belle Mont Farm, which features farm-to-table dining options, thoughtful green practices, and clever architecture, or check out intimate 23-room Ottley’s Plantation Inn at the foot of Mt. Liamuiga. With multiple cruise ships in port each week, easy flights from Miami, and some of the most interesting accommodations in the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers the choice to do it all—or maybe better yet, to do nothing at all.
Did you know Cancun is less than a two-hour flight from Miami? In the same amount of time some folks spend commuting to work each day, you could be chilling in a private infinity pool overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea or hiking the ancient ruins of Tulum.
Choosing a hotel in Cancun is really the hardest part of a visit—there are so many great options. For an adults-only, all-inclusive experience, I liked the Live Aqua Beach Resort with beachfront terraces for everyone, tasty food options (Tip: Breakfast chilaquiles are divine) around the clock, and a blissfully kid-free environment, if that’s your desire. For a more a la carte experience, the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun certainly has the WOW factor: It’s luxurious but affordable, overlooks one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen, and has a reputation as the best spa in Mexico. The Coral Beach also has an outstanding kids’ club, so it’s a win for all ages.
Whether you cruise or fly on any of the recently opened commercial air routes, Cuba is balmy, fascinating, and more or less open for American business this winter. I’ll warn you in advance—the beaches are beautiful, but the history, culture, and people may keep you from the sand and sea and lure you into the cities. Hotels can be a little more challenging to come by, so for a winter getaway, Cuba won’t be the easiest option. If you want to escape the cold into a completely different world, Cuba is worth a look.
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