1. Palm Springs, CA from Best U.S. Cities to Escape the Snow
Best U.S. Cities to Escape the Snow
1. Palm Springs, CA
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This water desert resort city in California is an ideal place to escape to if you’re craving for some popular summer activities such as golf, hiking, biking, horseback riding, or swimming. With about 350 days of sunshine per year, comfortable sunny weather is almost guaranteed in Palm Springs. The resort is a paradise for adventures out in the open. You can hike through ancient palm groves and along stunning scenic trails, go to the top of Mount San Jacinto, and enjoy spectacular Native American heritage and modern architecture at the same time.
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
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This vibrant city in Puerto Rico has a lot of Spanish colonial buildings, mostly in El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). You can visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site there – the El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century citadel. San Juan National Historic Site includes forts, bastions, powder houses, wall and San Juan de la Cruz, defensive fortifications that once surrounded the old, colonial portion of the region. Then you can relax your brain after processing a lot of history information at any of the city’s wonderful beaches. A free water taxi can take you to Palomino Island, a place to sunbathe, hike to the top of a small mountain, and snorkel.
3. Maui, Hawaii
The second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands has much more than beach resorts. A tourist favorite is the Haleakala National Park, which has to Maui's highest peak at 10,023 feet above sea level. If you want an authentic experience, you can visit Hana along Maui's rugged eastern coastline. The small town is among the last “unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers.” Among the most interesting diving experiences in Maui is around the tiny, crescent moon-shaped island of Molokini. Early morning is the best time to go.
4. Tucson, Arizona
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You can make it just in time for the 21st annual Downtown Parade of Lights. It is scheduled for December 19 at 6:30 p.m. and will last for about two hours. The event is fun, family-friendly and free (and there are prizes). When people think of Arizona, they usually imagine a desert, but it can be very diverse. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a major attraction with its fusion zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery. You can explore 21 acres with two miles of walking trails. If you’re interesting in something more rocket science-related activities, the Kitt Peak National Observatory has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes – 24 optical and two radio telescopes representing dozens of astronomical research institutions. But if you want to see amazing things on the ground, the Saguardo National Park is the place.
5. Sanibel Island, Florida
Golf players are going to love this place and its more than 70 scenic courses. The sub-tropical climate won’t disappoint either. The island offers plenty of water activities if you want to get off the ground for a change. Boating, kayaking and water-skiing are very popular there. Fishing can be very entertaining – you may catch a fish you haven’t seen before. There are 50 kinds of fish swimming in the island’s waters. You may be surprised, but bird watching is popular there too because of the 230 kinds of birds inhabiting the area. The island has its own shell museum (of all things!). Visiting it is perfect if it happened to be a rainy day.
6. San Diego, California
This major American city, right next to the border with Mexico, will brighten your mood with its warm weather and overabundance of fun activities from beach-front ice skating rinks, concerts, holiday shopping and even paddling. Go in time for the famous Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, the country's largest balloon parade, on December 30. You can watch whales from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma as they migrate to the warm-water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja. Your kids will most likely enjoy the San Diego Zoo (and you will, too, because there are no crowds there in January). For car fans, the San Diego International Auto Show takes place December 31 – January 3.
7. Miami, Florida
You obviously don’t want to go there in time for Spring Break, so consider a trip in the winter. It doesn’t rain often and the average temperature is around 75F. Consider going there on a safari (yes, this is not a typo). You can hug a kangaroo and hold an alligator (but maybe don’t let your kids do it). Go on a Wynwood Art Walk and explore the art district. There are over 60 art galleries, art complexes and art collections. And, of course, don’t miss the Everglades!
8. South Padre Island, Texas
This is a small resort town with about 5,000 residents but more than one million visitors a year. Camping is a fun experience there. Imagine waking up the sound of waves…ah! You don’t need an RV; a sleeping bag and a tent will do just fine. If you’ve ever wanted to try parasailing, South Padre Island is a good choice. There are several dolphin watches you can sign up for. Oh, and there are fireworks every Friday and Saturday.
9. Gulf Shores, Alabama
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This small coastal city is growing in popularity. The Alabama Gulf Coast offers something for everyone. Swimming, sunbathing, surfing and skim boarding are equally enjoyable on the beaches. Fishing is big there too. Charter fleets leave every day. The Gulf Shores has a lot of wildlife nature trails. Try a zipline course over the waters of Lake Shelby and get a break from those sugar-white clear sandy beaches. Imagine the view! As for nightlife – there is concert or another kind of music event almost every day.
10. Key Biscayne, Florida
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This south of Miami Beach island town is popular for visitors who like all kinds of water sports but it also attracts golf and tennis fans. The Tennis Center at Crandon Park is a major attraction. With its 13,800-seat stadium, the park has been hosting the Miami Open since 1987. The best players in the world have played there many times. Spending an afternoon going to the Cape Florida Lighthouse (only 109 steps) is also recommended. It is surrounded by native plants, birds and other animals – great hiking location. Boat tours are popular as well. For those of you who want to keep their fitness level high, Key Biscayne is very bike-friendly. Lanes are set up along main roads and a 1.5-mile bike trail goes through the beautiful Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
11. Las Vegas, Nevada
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Where do we begin…The city has gone through a drastic transformation. A lot of people don’t go there primarily for gambling anymore. They would rather enjoy the pools, parties and entertainment shows. Many tourists choose the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay as a must-see attraction. Hiking the Red Rock Canyon and rock climbing are other very popular activities for people who are not in the city for a bachelor/ette party. The Neon Museum with its daily and nightly tours available will fascinate you. However, it is available only through guided tours. IN a typical Las Vegas fashion, don’t miss the singing Bellagio Fountains. They “perform” every hour.
12. New Orleans, Louisiana
Music. This is the first thing most people think when they hear New Orleans. It is the birthplace of jazz. The city is famous all over the world for its jazz, zydeco, blues, Cajun & funk events. The street to listen to the best music is the Frenchmen Street. If you're not interested in Mardi Gras mania, plan to visit in December or January. The city is like an art paradise for the soul. A week vacation won’t be enough to explore all that New Orleans has to offer. The city offers a lot of history lessons. A major tourist attraction is the National WWII Museum.
13. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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Go shelling at Myrtle Beach State Park. This is among the top activities for tourists usually. Combine it with a picnic on the beach. You can’t skip miniature golf while in Myrtle Beach. It is known as the mini golf capital of the world! You can find any park that matches your taste. The city has more than 50 different courses. If you ever wanted to go on a helicopter ride, now is your time. They cost around $20. Another activity, although for adults only, is a wine tour. La Belle Amie Vineyard is an operating vineyard open to the public located in the Grand Strand area. Last but not least, visit the Oceanfront Water Park. It’s the only one in Myrtle Beach. This one is a kids’ favorite because of the speed slides and kiddie pools.
14. Sonoma, California
Wine and winter go together like mornings and bloody marys. One of the best places to go during the season to a vineyard is Sonoma. The nature in Sonoma is beautiful in the winter. Everything is still green! Try the Heart of Sonoma Valley Wine Trail. You can visit 11 wineries with one pass only. You can actually be a winemaker for the day at the DeLoach Vineyards. And you get to keep what you produced at the end of your shift, so to speak. If you love cars, you can be a sports car driver for a day at the Audi Sportscar Experience. It’s totally suitable for first timers.
15. Honolulu, Hawaii
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This is a major tourist destination. Snorkeling and scuba are some of the obvious tourists’ choices. If you want to see a mesmerizing view of Honolulu, go on a hike. The Diamond Head take an hour to climb and you are constantly going uphill (great workout, too). But don’t worry; you get plenty of chances to take a break. A must-see is the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The self-guided tour is more than enough for a memorable experience. Another famous attraction is the Koko Crater Railway Trail. Go to the roof of the old bunker for a magnificent 360-degree view of Oahu.