The Florida Keys from The 25 Best Destinations for Winter Sun

The 25 Best Destinations for Winter Sun

Winter is right around the corner, and with that comes cold weather, snow and wind chills. If this doesn’t sound like something you want to be around for, you’re in luck because there are plenty of destinations you can escape to with warm weather and winter sun.

The Florida Keys

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The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago of tropical islands. They form about 120 miles of the southernmost portion of the country between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. With warm temperatures and sunny weather year-round, they Keys are the perfect destination for winter sun. Some adventurous things to do while you are there include scuba diving, snorkeling, skydiving, kayaking and parasailing.

Dubai

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The winter months in Dubai are said to boast the most comfortable climatic conditions of the year. The temperature is around 75°F compared to the summer months when the temperature gets to about 106°F. The city is one of the most lavish places in the world. Go shopping in the Dubai Mall, visit the Gold Souk, watch the world’s largest dancing fountain – the Dubai Fountain, and catch spectacular views from the top of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa.

Nicaragua

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Gorgeous colonial cities, wildlife encounters, incredible food, remote beaches and spectacular volcanoes, are some of the many reasons why you should visit Nicaragua. If you are looking for a tranquil getaway, stay at the Aqua Wellness Resort. It is located in a tropical forest within a private beach cove. Enjoy relaxing services like yoga, meditation and spa treatments, or opt for more adventurous activities such as surfing, kayaking, hiking and fishing.

Tanzania

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Thrill seekers, who are looking for a wildlife destination, look no further than Tanzania. It is home to many of Africa’s iconic wildlife species, with lions, elephants and giraffes roaming the Serengeti and black rhinos, zebras and buffalo gathering to drink in Ngorongoro Crater. December through March is the best time of the year to visit Serengeti National Park to meet lions. You’ll likely see all these animals and more on a great migration safari by Gondwana Ecotours.

Seychelles’

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Escape the cold and spend time island hopping Seychelles 115 islands. Enjoy their rich marine life and nature reserves, as well as luxuriously lounging on the white-sand beaches of the Seychelles’ North Island. If you’re up for it enjoy some adventure activities. Embark on an 8 day North Island Escape Tour and spend time kayaking, hiking, fishing, cycling and diving.

Punta del Este, Uruguay

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If you’re looking to escape the cold and relax on the beach, look no further than Punta del Este, South America’s premier beach resort. The long sandy beaches and gorgeous islands off the coast will make for a peaceful getaway. If you’re more of the adventurous traveler, you’re in luck because watersports are very popular in this destination – surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing, beach volleyball, swimming and beach fishing, to name a few. Other recreational activities you can participate in include horseback riding and sailing.

Costa Rica

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Incredible beaches, spectacular jungles and beautiful national parks, are just some of the many reasons you should visit Costa Rica during the winter months. It has a year-round tropical climate. Enjoy the sunshine and embark on adventures; go zip lining, surfing, whitewater rafting, cliff jumping, hiking and skydiving.

Maui, Hawaii

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The average temperature in Maui during December is 82 degrees. Maui is known for its spectacular surf spots and incredible surf conditions. Enjoy the best of both worlds; a laid back atmosphere, but also extreme adventure. Relax on the beach and catch some rays or embark on something more adventurous – hiking, zip lining, snorkeling, rappelling and biking, to name a few.

Cayman Islands

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For little rain, sunshine and a refreshing cool breeze visit the Cayman Islands from mid-November to April. The average temperature during this time is between the low 80s to high 70s. The islands make for an incredible active vacation. Go snorkeling like you may have never before at Stingray City – touch, feed and swim with stingrays. Go hiking, diving, sailing and make sure you visit their famous Seven Mile Beach in the Grand Cayman.

California

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Winter may just be the perfect season to visit California. There are fewer tourists compared to the summer months, so you don’t have to worry too much about the crowds. Visit their beautiful beaches, admire San Francisco’s iconic bridge – the Golden Gate Bridge, go wine tasting in Napa Valley, visit Disneyland, and explore one of our countries most famous national parks – Yosemite National Park. During your visit to Yosemite don’t forget to visit Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point. Also go rock climbing, downhill skiing, rafting and horseback riding.

Tulum, Mexico

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The best time to visit Tulum is between November and December, according to U.S. News Travel. Temperatures fall to around the low 80s and hotel prices are reasonable. Visit the Mayan ruins, swim in their gorgeous bright blue waters, go diving in El Gran Cenote – an underground cavern, and go snorkeling in one of their spectacular swimming holes.

Galapagos Islands

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The Galapagos Islands encompass some of the most pristine beauty in the world. Winter is the perfect time to visit, as you will be able to explore its mix of tropical and polar species, as well as volcanic rock landscapes. The average temperature in the Galapagos Islands during the winter months is 72 degrees. While you are there make sure you relax on their gorgeous beaches, explore the lava tunnels, go snorkeling with sea lions, and go scuba diving on Darwin Island.

Charleston, South Carolina

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People go to warm Charleston for the food, golf courses, and historical sites. The coldest month is January and the temperatures during that time are in the upper 50’s. The nearby Cape Romain National wildlife Refuge is one of the largest overwintering sites for American oystercatchers and marbled godwits, two popular species for birdwatchers, according to Vacation Made Easy. Kids love the dolphin sightings and pirate quests on the Palmetto Breeze Catamaran. Wander the cobblestone streets, lined with buildings that date back to the 1700s. Visit Sullivan’s Island for beautiful beaches and unique shops.

Austin, San Antonio, South Padre in Texas

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You won’t make a mistake whichever city you choose. There is a lot to do and see in San Antonio – River Walk, the Alamo and SeaWorld are just a few. Taste some of the best Mexican food in all of the U.S. Explore the history at the Spanish colonial missions, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas. Austin is absolutely beautiful year-round, and a perfect destination for people who love sailing. On hot and warm days people will cool off by kayaking on the river, or they’ll take their boat to the lakes nearby. South Padre Island is one of the best beach “towns” in America. Enjoy powder-soft beaches, 34 miles of beautiful white sand and clear emerald water, sun-soaked shores, and postcard-perfect settings.

Florianopolis, Brazil

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This is one of the coolest surf towns in the world. Florianopolis is characterized by the kinds of powerful waves that most surfers can only dream of catching. With 25 ocean-facing villas, for surf-lovers in search of a beach adventure mixed with a bit of luxury, the Ponta dos Ganchos makes for the perfect escape. Dubbed “a haven from the crowds” of more central destinations, among other astounding amenities, the resort features private hikes that lead to secluded beaches accessible only by foot and serves as a recluse for activities like kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing, too.

Madagascar

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The best time to go is between September and December for warm weather and fewer people. The isolated island is home to spectacular biodiversity—many of the plant and animal species that live there can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. People who like to get remote will love Madagascar because of its copious wildlife and local culture. Explore the rainforests to see diademed sifakas, indri and tenrecs; visit desert landscapes for while baobabs. Some of their top attractions include the Ranomafana and Masoala national parks, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve and the Ile Sainte Marie.

Turks & Caicos, Virgin Islands

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Travel 550 miles southeast of Miami to the islands of Turks and Caicos. Hitch a ride to Conch Bar Caves National Park on Middle Caicos where brave souls conquer 15 miles of stalactites and stalagmites. Spelunkers navigate through colonies of five different species of bats, white owls, and a limestone jungle. Tours from Dive Turks and Caicos will pair your caving adventure with a snorkeling session on the barrier reef. Also available in the area: Catamaran sailing, horseback riding, parasailing, and SNUBA excursions. This is a form of shallow water diving achieved without certification.

Barbados

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Barbados has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean. The towering cliffs on each end of Crane Beach and the coral reef in the ocean make for stunning views. The warm and lively waves make it an ideal spot for boogie boarding. The island attracts over half a million people every year, and it’s not just for its gnarly waves. Central Barbados is full of rolling terrain and scenery from its fascinating colonial past.

Belize

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Belize is a true paradise for people who like warm weather and water sports. The best time to visit is between December and April when the temperature is are regularly between 80 and 85 degrees. See the Blue Hole, if you don’t dare to dive under. This will be one of the craziest adventures you can embark on. It is one of the most stunning scuba diving locations on Earth. It’s beautiful underwater as well – clear waters, rich sea life, lots of sunshine. Other popular attractions include Xunantunich, Caye Caulker, Lamanai archeological site, and Guanacaste National Park.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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As the Cajun French say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler”—let the good times roll. New Orleans is a destination unlike any other, steeped in history, famous fare and good times. Best known for Mardi Gras, the city has earned a wild reputation and Bourbon Street is always worth a stroll, but there’s more to the city than a stretch of bars. Visit the historic French Quarter, tour the Garden District and take one of the amazing ghost tours that winds through bars, alleyways and cemeteries.

Vieques, Puerto Rico

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This Caribbean island is also known as Isla Nena or Little Girl Island. The glowing Mosquito Bay is a vision of bizarre beauty. Thanks to a bioluminescent microorganism, the water is a cool electric blue, looking somewhat like a fantastical sci-fi lagoon, according to Trip Advisor. Go kayaking or get on a boat glide along the neon waters. Snorkelers love the clean and undeveloped beaches.

Ko Samui, Thailand

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“Ko Samui is like a well-established Hollywood celebrity: she's outrageously manicured, has lovely blonde tresses and has gracefully removed all of her wrinkles without more than a peep in the tabloids,” according to Lonely Planet. What else do you need in order to escape the winter cold and catch some sun? Go on a sunset tour and take the snorkeling trip to Angthong Marine Park by speedboat. Another popular activity is the 4WD Jeep Jungle Tour.

Cyprus

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This is a destination where the weather is always just right. The long summers from May to October can get quite hot, but the air remains dry and there are plenty of cool breezes to be caught by the sea. Thanks to its Mediterranean location clouds are uncommon and the island is veiled in sunlight nearly every day of the year. The best time to visit is October-December. Cyprus is home to breathtaking beaches, adventurous mountain trails and championship golf courses.

Byron Bay, Australia

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Breathtakingly beautiful beaches give way to some of the best waves you’ll find anywhere. Two of the most notable spots—The Pass and Wategos—are popular among suffers of all experience levels, but spots for the more experienced surfers aren’t far off. The water sports in this sandy paradise are endless. When you want a break from surfing, hike to the lighthouse at The Pass for stunning worth-your-time views, try new things at the impressive Stone and Wood Brewery, and get a massage at one of the many spa centers in town.

Cartagena, Colombia

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This coastal fishing village will delight you with history, adventure and of course, warmth. Walk the City Walls and enjoy the magnificent view. Take a tour of the old city, Visit Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, and spend a couple of days at Rosario Islands. You can choose from adventurous activities like snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking, biking and more. Check out Cartagena’s famous museum, the Museo del Oro y Arqueología, Visit the El Viajero hostel and take free salsa lessons with the experts.