Somehow, we’ve arrived at the middle of August and that can only mean one thing: summer is nearly over and winter is winding up to pack a punch. We know it’s hard to imagine that this glorious time will come to an end (even though you’ve probably complained at least once about the heat), but it will. Your pool floats will be replaced with heavy blankets, your tiki drinks with hot chocolate, your bathing suit with a down jacket, and your flip-flops with wool socks.
Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until fall (when you start to remember how much you dislike the cold) to decide on your winter travel. We’re digging into TripAdvisor’s top spots to help you plan the ultimate escape. With locations across the United States from Arizona to South Carolina calling your name, you can add a little adventure and a lot of warm weather to your itinerary. Plus, check out the recommendations in India, South Africa, and Thailand to enjoy a tropical paradise around the world.
There’s no room for the winter blues in your luggage this year. Score the best deals on a sunny getaway by booking now. You will come back thawed out, relaxed, and ready to tackle whatever snowballs winter throws at you (or ready to plan a second vacation).
25 Lanzarote, Spain: Clear Water, Clear Mind
Camels, caves, and cacti, oh my! If there’s a more picturesque destination than Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, we haven’t found it.
Imagine peeling your eyes away from the crystal-clear waters to take in the dramatic, rolling scenery formed by volcanic activity. From your perch on the beach at Playa de Papagayo, you can easily adventure into some of the naturally formed seaside caverns and still make it back into town for an early dinner or craft cocktails.
See if Lanzarote is right for your next vacation here (hint: it definitely is).
24 Buenos Aires, Argentina: Tango Through The Streets
Argentina’s capital city has a perfect pairing of quiet parks, upbeat nightlife, and romantic side streets lined with cafes. Seek out the various neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, like Palermo and Montserrat, for art and European influences. Also, plan a stop by Teatro Colon, the famous opera house built in 1908 in the San Nicolas neighborhood.
Be sure to pack your dancing shoes. You can’t go to the birthplace of tango and not dance.
See what else TripAdvisor has to say here.
23 Dominican Republic, Caribbean: Where Tradition And Adventure Meet
Steeped in culture, the Dominican Republic boasts warm waters, traditional music, and breathtaking architecture.
Stopover in Punta Cana for one of the top-rated beaches in the Caribbean or a round of golf at a world-class course. Or, take a trip across the island to the capital city Santo Domingo to explore medieval strongholds and the Three Eyes National Park. You can even see the sights above it all on a zipline tour.
Find out if the Dominican Republic is right for your next vacation here.
22 Hilo, Hawaii: See The Other Side Of Hawaii
Interested in a trip to Hawaii, but not sure where to land? TripAdvisor recommends a ticket to Hilo International Airport and settling into Hilo on the Big Island.
Look one direction and your eyes will be met with sands of varying colors. Look another and you will see mountains and waterfalls. The high temperatures rarely waiver outside of low to mid 80s and the scenery does not disappoint.
Take it all in here and make sure you don’t miss the Rainforest Zoo.
21 Sedona, Arizona: Scenic Serenity
Dotted with rock formations, scenic byways, and hiking trails, Sedona is a perfect escape from bustling city life. The serenity of nature will surround you and the magnificent night sky will guide you.
Temperatures do dip throughout the early winter, but by March they are back in the mid-60s for daytime highs. Nights stay quite cool in the desert, making for an ideal time to schedule a spa appointment or unwind with a good book following a day of hiking.
Read more here.
20 Sunshine Coast, Australia: Dinner With A View
With so many wonderful locations and various attractions along the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, it can be hard to know where to start.
Fly into Brisbane and start exploring the southern end of the Sunshine Coast. Browse the street fair, play in the tide pools, and make a dinner reservation for tasty seafood at Tides Waterfront Dining. Then, head north toward Coolum where you can hike to the top of Mount Coolum for spectacular water views. End with a day in the sand at Noosa on a stretch of pristine beach.
Learn more here.
19 San Antonio, Texas: Remember The Alamo And So Much More
You can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing a time to visit San Antonio. With year-round warm weather, you can plan plenty of outdoor activities in the dead of winter.
Walk through a history lesson at The Alamo, stroll along the River Walk (stopping for food along the way), and take in some art at an old brewery converted to a museum. San Antonio is currently experiencing a population boom, but we think you’ll be too busy relaxing to notice the extra people.
Learn more about San Antonio here.
18 Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Unwind And Unplug
It’s called a vacation for a reason. Unwind and unplug in a town designed to cater to the overworked.
Ocho Rios lies on Jamaica’s north coast. A former village known for its fishing, it is now home to resorts and a luxury cruise ship port. When you’re not being pampered at your hotel (in-room massages, anyone?), visit Dunn’s River Falls to climb a majestic waterfall. Leave time to sample the fare at Evita’s, an Italian-Jamaican fusion restaurant.
Dive in here.
17 New Orleans, Louisiana: Food, Music, And Everything In Between
If you want to get close enough to the action without actually participating in the spectacle that is Mardi Gras, New Orleans in winter is a great option. You could spend the whole time in the French Quarter or on Bourbon Street, but make sure to check out the Garden District and live music. You’re still probably going to need a light sweater, but your stomach will be full of warm jambalaya and beignets.
Book your New Orleans trip here.
16 Bali, Indonesia: A Colorful, Cultural Coast
Channel your inner Elizabeth Gilbert circa Eat, Pray, Love with a trip to Bali. Seriously, the only bad part will be leaving.
Whether you’re going for the pristine white-sand beaches, colorful underwater corral, or wildlife-filled jungles, you can find it all on Bali’s coast. Cap off your trip with a night or two in Ubud surrounded by rice paddies and Hindu temples.
The coldest month is January, which still comes in at a whopping average temperature of 79 degrees.
Your adventure awaits here.
15 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: An Exclusive, All-Inclusive Tour
There has been an increase in things to watch out for around several parts of Mexico in the past few years, so exercise caution if traveling to those locations. That said, there are still safe ways to enjoy the boardwalk and cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta.
With many all-inclusive resort options right on the beach, you can stay in one spot and still experience the best of the city. The concierge will even help you hit the open water for guided kayak or diving excursions in the Bay of Banderas.
Check it out here.
14 Tybee Island, Georgia: Southern Hospitality On The Waterfront
Just outside of Savannah, Tybee Island offers southern hospitality right on the coast.
Unwind at one of the charming waterside Bed and Breakfast inns and watch for dolphins or herons from the shore. It won’t be warm enough to enter the water (unless you want to don a wetsuit for paddle boarding), but you can still enjoy the sounds of the waves. Stop at the Tybean Coffee & Art Bar and take your latte to the Tybee Island lighthouse.
Explore everything Tybee Island has to offer here.
13 Fort Pierce, Florida: A Beach Without The Crowds
While everyone else is headed to Orlando or Miami, you can save money and beat the crowds by traveling to Fort Pierce.
This city on Florida’s east coast is home to popular swimming and surfing locale, Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. For any military history buffs that enjoy naval artifacts, there is also the National Navy SEAL Museum (those in the group not interested can check out the botanical gardens). Winter temperatures hover in the mid-70s, so you’re sure to warm your soul at least a little.
12 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Ease Your Worries In The Sand
With gator tours, boardwalk shopping, and surfing lessons, Myrtle Beach has something for everyone. You can see it all atop the Skywheel, a nearly 200-foot tall Ferris wheel.
Skip January and February and opt for a later season winter getaway to enjoy warmer temperatures that will keep you outdoors on the many piers until the last second of your trip. If the weather doesn’t quite cooperate, take advantage of the multitude of dinner theater options or grab a pint at New South Brewing.
Find the best deals here.
11 Cape Town, South Africa: A Mix Of Nature And Nightlife
With views of the mountains and the bay, Cape Town offers a magnificent mix of daytime adventure, nature, and nightlife.
If you’re not renting your own car, consider buying a pass for a hop-on/hop-off bus to see the sights and learn about the area. You won’t want to have traveled all the way to Cape Town just to miss hearing about the city’s rich heritage (and get the scoop on the best places to eat). If you run into rain and can’t enjoy the beaches, pop in and out of local shops along Long Street.
Read more here.
10 Fort Worth, Texas: A Look Back In Time
Fort Worth today is as modern as they come, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still feel a little like a cowboy straight out of a western movie for a few days. What was originally a trading post on the Chisholm Trail still holds onto its roots. See for yourself at the Fort Worth Stockyards and catch the daily cattle drive.
Pro tip: bring your appetite and eat anything (and everything) that is barbequed.
Take a bite out of Fort Worth here.
9 Laguna Beach, California: Soak Up The Sun
There’s more to California than Disneyland and Hollywood. In fact, there’s an entire coastline.
Soak up the sun this winter in Laguna Beach, where you can aimlessly stroll up the side of the cliffs on quaint streets and trails, picnic in a park, or walk along the beach. Make friends with the locals and join in on an evening bonfire at Aliso Beach Park. Or, if you feel a competitive edge coming on, head to Main Beach for a pickup game of sand volleyball.
Check it out here.
8 Las Cruces, New Mexico: Diverse Terrain On A Budget
If you don’t care where you go as long as it’s not snowing, you don’t have to break the bank, and there aren’t many crowds, look no further than Las Cruces.
Not only will you check all those boxes, you will also get ample sunshine (blue skies 350 days per year). Plus, you’ll have the Organ Mountains and Rio Grande River as your backdrop for priceless pictures. Stroll through the New Mexico State University campus, visit a museum, and eat some of the best Mexi food around.
Learn more here.
7 Orange Beach, Alabama: Set Sail At Sundown
Alabama might not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the perfect getaway. However, the mild wintertime temperatures, low prices, and long lists of activities might change your mind.
Set sail with Back Bay Sailing Adventures to see a spectacular sunset or visit The Wharf to play some retro arcade games. Stay at one of the hotels right on the white sand beach for 24/7 views of the water.
Book your Orange Beach vacation today.
6 Pattaya, Thailand: Tourism At Its Finest
Following a recent beachfront beautification project, Pattaya is ready for tourism. High temperatures in December stick around mid-80s to low-90s with very little rain. So, this just might be the year to break tradition and do a tropical Christmas.
Several international hotel chains are represented in Pattaya, so you can choose from highrises in town to waterfront resorts. Forget all your worries while you work on your tan at Jomtien beach and embrace the cultural offerings at the Sanctuary of Truth.
All that walking and swimming will help you work up an appetite so you can indulge in traditional local foods (yum).
Read the full TripAdvisor review here.