Winter Vacation Ideas to Escape the Cold

Can we all agree on something? Summer is always a good idea!!! When those cold days are approaching fast (and if you’re like me), you are wishing for more warm days! It’s time to start planning a warm winter vacation.

So, I asked some of my fellow bloggers their best winter vacation ideas, and here’s the list that will help you plan out your travels for this winter. There are so many amazing international trips out there. I also added some of my own favorites to this list. There’s nothing better than escaping the cold to somewhere that’s warm and sunny so start planning with these winter vacation ideas.

Table of Contents

Winter Vacation Ideas in the Caribbean

1. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Probably my favorite island in the Caribbean (tying with Cuba and St. Maarten), Puerto Rico has so much to offer and San Juan is the perfect place for a warm getaway. San Juan is a colorful city rich in history and delicious drinks; my favorite, the Pina Colada, was invented here. There are also lots of things to do in Rincon which is a quieter town with some beautiful beaches and surfing you want to check out (stay at Hotel Villa Cofresi while there!).

While in San Juan, check out the fortresses that are around the old city, the colorful streets, and great shopping. Road trips around Puerto Rico are one of the best ways to see the island. You can head over to the beaches for the day and relax in the sun at a great spots. You also must check out one of the coolest parts of Puerto Rico – the bioluminescent bay you can kayak in at night. Don’t miss out on all these unique experiences on such a beautiful island.

2. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Daniel James of Layer Culture

When looking for a new travel destination with warm weather all year round, Montego Bay in Jamaica is a prime location. If you have ever dreamt about sunbathing in the Caribbean, Montego Bay is a place that should easily make it on your list. With a selection of beautiful beaches and an average temperature of 85.6F, all year round you will not be disappointed when it comes to warm weather.

Montego Bay, known as MoBay by the locals, is a popular travel destination with many tourists who search for sun, sea, and sand during those winter months. The atmosphere is relaxing and you can find everything from exclusive duty-free shopping, private parties, to local food joints and plenty of outdoor activities.

It is not unusual for newcomers to the island to question the safety in Jamaica however, safety should not be an issue for you in Montego Bay. Places like the Hip Strip are designed for foreigners and is one of the safest areas for travelers. The whole zone is well developed and as tourism in Jamaica continues to grow, you can expect to be well accommodated, even on a modest budget. Hence why many people return to Jamaica, year after year. So, what are you waiting for? Add Montego Bay to your winter vacation list today.

3. Havana, Cuba

Havana is one of the most unique cities I have ever visited. I spent three days walking, exploring, and discovering the best spots in the city. It has beautiful weather year-round, and the architecture there is incredible. Havana is the capitol of Cuba and offers everything you could want from a city on your winter vacation.

Havana’s colorful old city will wow you with the way it pulls you in. Make sure you spend plenty of time walking around the old city, checking out the cathedrals and colorful buildings, and don’t forget to drink a daiquiri at El Floridita, where Hemmingway was a regular. Classic car rides are a must while you’re here and riding along the Malecon at sunset will put a smile on your face. Then, stop by the rooftop bars in Havana that are everywhere. You’ll want to spend time sipping on a drink while you watch a gorgeous sunset.

4. St. Maarten

If you’re looking for an awesome warm winter vacation, St. Maarten will wow you with it’s fun beach spots and beautiful clear blue water. Our favorite beach was Maho Beach where you can watch huge planes fly just above you at one of the most dangerous airports to fly into in the world!

There’s definitely more than beaches though, Loterie Farm will give you the chance to get close to nature and relax for the day in the jungle. There you can zip line and lounge by the pool for the day in the mountains. Nature also can be found at the Nature Reserve and butterfly farm that will let you get even closer to nature! St. Marteen is also a hub for shopping with a huge downtown with every shop you can possibly think of. You will definitely enjoy the finder things in life in St. Maarten.

5. Tulum, Mexico

If you haven’t figured it out already, there are some amazing places in Mexico that are warm destinations year round. Tulum is located in the Yucutan Penninsula of Mexico and is known for it’s gorgeous beaches. While some think Tulum is touristy, if you love the outdoors and want some truly unique experiences, Tulum is the place to go.

I chose to visit Tulum not because of the beaches, although Akumal Bay has some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever done, but because of the cenotes. Cenotes are underwater caves/sink holes filled with fresh, clear water. There are amazing underwater worlds to explore that you won’t want to miss out on. The Mayan ruins of Tulum, Muyil, and Chitchen Itza are all incredible to check out as well.

6. Merida, Mexico

Laura Bronner from Eternal Expat

In my humble opinion, Merida is one of the best cities in the Mexico, and not just for the year-round beach weather. It’s a bustling city with great restaurants as well as amazing street food. From sopa de lima to juicy cochinita pibil on top of salbutes, you’ll be waddling back home after your trip, but I promise it’s worth it.

It’s not just all about the food though, there’s a cool cantina culture which doesn’t exist quite the same anywhere else in Mexico. Hello buckets of beer, life music and free snacks, what more do you need in life?!

When you’re not eating or drinking, you’ll also find great museums, amazing Maya sites nearby, fresh-water cenotes to swim in, and it’s a stone’s throw to really awesome beaches.

Winter Vacation Ideas in Central and South America

7. Panama City, Panama

Panama City is a destination that I think is completely underrated. It’s the perfect spot to visit for warm weather year round. In Panama City you’ll find the famous Panama Canal and so much more. One of my favorite things about Panama City were the amazing rooftop hotel pools at such an affordable price. There’s nothing better than enjoying the sunset while drinking a tropical drink in a pool? I don’t think so!

Panama Viejo is the center of the old city and you’ll find tons of colorful buildings, cute shops, and great rooftop bars. It’s full of history and culture that is wonderful to explore. It was my favorite part of the city and you’ll love all the old buildings with a mix of new and old throughout the old city streets. There’s so much to do in Panama City you will stay warm and happy exploring this vibrant spot.

8. Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Or from My Path in the World

If you think that Rio de Janeiro is just about the Carnival, think again. With its relaxed and happy vibe, this vibrant city offers something for every type of traveler, and the bonus is that you can visit it all year round.

Rio is home to many important landmarks like the colorful Selaron Steps, the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, where you can also enjoy the most spectacular views of the city, the mountains, and the ocean. If you feel like doing something a bit extreme to enjoy some more amazing views, try hand gliding. It’s an experience like no other and a classic activity to do in Rio.

Rio is also an amazing city to have a fun night out. From street Samba parties to clubs to open-air bars where you can sip some Caipirinha and enjoy live music, they know how to party in Rio.

Last but not least, don’t forget about Rio’s beaches. Although Copacabana is the most famous one, it’s actually not the best beach in Rio at all. Its promenade is beautiful and fun to stroll by day and by night, but if you want to soak up some sun, go to beaches like Ipanema, Leblon, or Joatinga.

9. Cartagena, Colombia

Catagena is a vibrant, beautiful city with warm weather year round. If you are a fan of delicious food, wonderful beaches, and history then you will love this city.

While in Cartagena make sure you spend time in the old city. The old city is still completely surrounded by the city wall that was build during the 16th century (you can still walk all along the wall today). Grab a drink along the city wall at Cafe Del Mar. The best view of Cartagena that you’ve got to take in can be found at the Movich Hotel. Get there early and enjoy the sunset from a comfy lounger while sipping on a drink.

Cartagena is also famous for it’s nearby beaches that are just incredible. Take a day trip to the Rosario Islands for amazing blue water and snorkeling you won’t want to miss.

Winter Vacation Ideas in Asia

10. Bali, Indonesia

Charvi and Jaymine from Love with Travel

There is no other beautiful place like Bali, Indonesia in this world. This Island of the Gods has very eye-catching beaches, countless huge waves for surfing lovers and amazing natural sites to visit and explore all and various colorful ceremonies. Bali is popular for a very high value-for-money-ratio, which allows every traveler to enjoy and afford the wonder of this island, regardless of their budget throughout the year. Bali is warm throughout the year which makes this destination a year-round destination for all travel lovers.

But, Bali is always much more than that! There is a very special vibe, something authentic that is quite difficult to describe, which has inspired many visitors from across the world for long. May be it has something to do with the Balinese people themselves and their welcoming character. You have to experience all the things to do in Bali to believe it.

Bali is home to Exotic temples and palaces which are set against very stunning natural backdrops of the top attractions. After sunset, all the famous nightspots come to life offering very exciting clubbing and packed dance floors for all nightlife lovers. Inland, towering volcanoes spots and pristine jungles greet you with plenty to see and do.

11. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Jackie Szeto & Justin Huynh from Life of Doing

Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), Vietnam is one of the liveliest places that you’ll visit. From the honking of thousands of motorbikes on the road to the smells of grilled pork and chicken at local rice restaurants, your senses will go overboard when exploring this city. We love the high-energy and the warm temperatures of 31°C (88°F) year-round. It’s no surprise that visitors spend a few days here during their Vietnam itinerary.

Some of the top things to do here include visiting the museums to learn about the Vietnam War at the War Remnants Museum and seeing the French architecture at the Central Post Office and the Opera House. If you crave the nightlife, head to Bui Vien Street which is Ho Chi Minh’s version of Las Vegas and/or hang out at the rooftop bars. Our favorite part about the city is the food.

While you can get any type of cuisine, you must try the local Vietnamese food. Expect to pay between $1-$2 USD for a hot bowl of noodle soup or a plate of rice with veggies, meat, and soup at a local shop. It’s even better if you get the chance to sit on the small plastic chairs and tables for the full experience.

12. Doha, Qatar

Nadine Maffre from Le Long Weekend

Winter is the most pleasant time to visit the middle-eastern country of Qatar. You’ll be able to experience the best of what the country has to offer, without having to deal with the unbearable summer temperatures. Winter in Qatar is mild, with very little rain, and sunny days ranging between 14-22 degrees Celsius.

Immerse yourself in the culture by heading along to the Souq Waqif. It’s the historical marketplace in Qatar’s capital city, Doha, and a must-do for anyone visiting the country. Pick up a souvenir or two, stock up on your favourite spices, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere that continues well into the night. For a cultural fix of another variety, visit the ultra-modern Museum of Islamic Art on the waterfront. Here you’ll be able to marvel at the collections of traditional ceramics, enamel and glass artworks, and luxurious textiles – and that’s not to mention the fascinating building they’re housed in!

Take advantage of the warm days to relax at one of the city’s pristine beaches, or take a stroll along the corniche before paying a visit to the Katara Mosque. With so many things to do in Doha (many of which are free!), you’ll be spoiled for choice. But don’t stop at the city limits, Qatar has many largely undiscovered gems to explore such as the Al-Jassasiya Rock Carvings, the Al-Zubarah Fort and the incredibly fascinating “East-West/West-East” giant sculpture by Richard Serra.

13. Sri Lanka

Ellis from Backpack Adventures

Sri Lanka is a tropical island and the weather is warm all year round. Basically you can visit any time of the year and have great weather. The only thing you need to take into account is the monsoon. Between May and September, there is rain in the southwest, while the northeast sees more rain between October and January.

For a year-round destination, Sri Lanka has a lot of things to offer. There are so many pretty beaches that it will be difficult to choose where to go. In general, the further you get from Colombo, the quieter the beaches get. My favorite is the southern coast where you can visit turtle hatcheries, go whale watching and see the colonial history in Galle.

But Sri Lanka is not just sun and beach. It is also one of the best destinations in Asia to go on Safari. The best National parks are Yala, Udawalawe and Minneriya. You can see elephants, peacocks, leopards, bears and lots of birds.

For culture and history head inland to explore Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle with ancient Buddhist temples in Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura. You can also take the Kandy to Ella train to visit the tea plantations. One of the most scenic train journeys in Asia.

14. Cambodia

Emily from Wander-Lush

Like many destinations in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is hot and steamy year-round. The country’s tropical climate produces two seasons: dry and wet. In the dry season (approximately April until October), temperatures soar into the high 80s. April and May are usually the warmest months. The sun is searing, and it can be very dusty on the roads, making it difficult to get around. December and January are the coolest and busiest months of the year in terms of tourism.

When I lived in Cambodia, I traveled all around the country throughout the year. While I could always count on warm weather, I found September and October – the tail end of the rainy season, which peaks in July/August ­– the most pleasant time to be in Cambodia. Temperatures dip to the high 70s, and afternoon rain showers clear the dust from the air. Rice fields are verdant and green, and without peak-season crowds, tourist attractions such as Angkor are much more bearable.

If you’re planning a warm weather getaway to Cambodia, make sure you come prepared. Choose a hotel in Siem Reap with a pool to chill by after a morning exploring the temples. Kampot and Kratie are lovely riverside destinations that are usually a bit cooler. In Phnom Penh, scout out a few cinemas and air conditioned cafes where you can get some precious relief from the heat.

15. Bohol, Phillipines

Linsday Davies from I’ve Been Bit!

The Philippines is known for having two seasons – dry and rainy. Luckily even in the rainy season, temperatures are nice and toasty warm so braving the rain isn’t so bad! I can say from experience that it won’t dampen a trip to Bohol, the tenth largest island in the country.

Whether you have a week or only a day to explore Bohol, you can’t miss out on visiting.

Why? Not only is this where you’ll find the famous Chocolate Hills (which look more minty in the rainy season with lush green vegetation) but Bohol is also home to the incredibly adorable Tarsier! Their huge eyes in proportion to their tiny bodies will melt your heart.

Combining these bucket-list worthy experiences with a lunch cruise along the Loboc River, amazing historical sites and even snorkelling with sea turtles, it’s easy to see why Bohol is an amazing destination in The Philippines! Hop on a tour if you’re short on time so you don’t miss out on the island’s highlights. I guarantee though it’ll leave you wanting more!

The best part about visiting Bohol? It’s always warm enough for shorts and flip flops, you just might need an umbrella from June to October.

16. Singapore

Matilda from The Traveling Sisters

For those that enjoy warm temperatures year round, Singapore should be on your list of places to visit.  Some of the many reasons to travel to Singapore include its unique attractions, beautiful city skyline and tasty street food.

A must on any Singapore itinerary are the Gardens by the Bay which has both indoor and outdoor gardens. Its Supertree Grove made up of large futuristic looking tree-shaped vertical gardens is especially beautiful and magical at night when it is lit up and even has free light and sound shows daily.  The nearby Marina Bay Sands complex is one of the most popular spots for amazing city views which you can enjoy from its observation deck, restaurants and bars or the hotel’s famous infinity pool if you are a guest.

For those that prefer nature, Singapore has several natural attractions including the large Singapore Botanic Gardens which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Make sure to explore one of more of Singapore’s ethnic neighborhoods including Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam to experience the diverse cuisine and visit temples and mosques.  If you enjoy street food, then you will love eating at one of Singapore’s many inexpensive hawker centres.

17. Timor Leste

Lisa from TheHotFlashPacker

If you want year-round warmth, deserted beaches, excellent snorkeling, and friendly people, look no further than Timor Leste (also called East Timor).  Timor Leste is the newest country in Asia.  The capital Dili is only a 2-hour flight from Bali or an hour and 20 minutes from Darwin, Australia but it’s still way off the beaten path.  You need a real sense of adventure if you want to visit Timor Leste – with few visitors there is little travel infrastructure.  I could count the number of tourists I saw in a week on both of my hands.

A drive that might only take a few hours in a car might take all day on a bus.  Top sights and things to do in Timor Leste include the Christ Statue near Dili, climbing Tatamailau mountain, taking a ferry to Atauro Island for great snorkeling, and making the adventurous trip to Jaco Island.   There’s also culture and history – from visiting the Tai market (market for traditional textiles) to visiting the Resistance Museum in Dili.

18. Maldives

Suzanne Easton from Meandering Wild

The Maldives is a perfect location for sunshine whatever the season.  This small island nation spans the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  While the journey to reach the islands is a long way from anywhere once you arrive it is like stepping away from all your worries and commitments.  Time floats by and the year round sunshine helps.   There are seasons in the Maldives and you need to select where you go depending on the monsoon season, but even when it rains it is warm and transient.

While the Maldives are usually seen as a honeymoon destination they offer so much more to those who want winter sun and warmth.  The extensive sandy beaches are perfect for beach combing and each evening almost without fail there is a perfect sunset.  Being surrounded by water the islands are perfect for snorkelling, diving, and liveaboard too.

There are few places that you can dive reliably at any time of the year, but the Maldives are one of these places.  The wildlife on the reefs is varied from small corals and shellfish through to manta rays, whale sharks and a range of large pelagic fish.

Winter Vacation Ideas in Africa

19. Uganda

Bella from Passport and Pixels

If you’re looking for a destination that’s hot all year round, Uganda is an excellent choice. Because it’s right on the Equator, it doesn’t have a traditional hot summer and cold winter, but instead maintains very pleasant temperatures typically falling between 20-30 degrees C, with rainy seasons from March to May and October to November. Even in the wet season the weather is mild, and although African rain can be spectacularly torrential, it’s pretty thrilling to witness and rarely lasts too long.

If you’re looking for somewhere that offers plenty of warmth and sunshine, you really can’t go wrong with Uganda as it’s a beautiful, friendly country with masses to see and do. The main draw is wildlife – whether that’s trekking with gorillas or chimpanzees, visiting one of the many national parks to see lions, leopards, hippos and giraffes, or getting close to rhinos or baby elephants at a wildlife sanctuary. Uganda is the source of the River Nile, so whitewater sports, including rafting and kayaking, are another big attraction.

The country is also home to some of Africa’s most gorgeous boutique lodges, which are wonderful places to stay for some back-to-nature relaxation and luxury. And if the hot weather gets too much, Uganda’s stunning green hills and mountains offer plenty of chances to go hiking in the fresh air and cooler hillside climate.

Winter Vacation Ideas in the United States

20. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is known for Hollywood, palm trees, and beaches. It delivers all three to anyone who is looking for a sunny destination to get away to during winter. Los Angeles beaches are great (check out Venice Beach and Muscle Beach or nearby Santa Monica), but Malibu and Laguna Beach will offer even more beautiful beaches. There really is an endless supply of beautiful beaches! While it may be too cold to hop in the water, it is still great to sit on the beach and enjoy a beautiful view or hike along the rocky coasts of nearby Malibu.

After hitting the beach, go to downtown LA for museums and awesome views. The skyslide and UOE Skyspace will give you chills as you feel like you are soaring over the city. The LA County Museum of Art has amazing art on display and tons to view.  You can also check out Hollywood and get your celebrity fix by hiking to the Hollywood sign (something almost impossible in the summer heat).

21. San Diego, California

One of the most unique cities in California has to be San Diego. It’s a smaller city, but has tons of wildlife and things to do. Check out the beaches while here of course and hike in Torrey Pines State Park just outside San Diego for awesome beachside views. La Jolla has a huge number of seals and you’ll love seeing them hang out along the cliffs.

The San Diego Zoo is a must while here and feels like a theme park all on it’s own. While it has a high pricetag it is an incredible zoo and a must while visiting. Another beautiful outdoor space in the city is Balboa Park where you can enjoy tons of flora and fauna around ponds and fountains.

22. Naples, Florida

Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad

Naples, Florida is one of those warm weather destinations that’s perfect to visit any time of year. Located in southwest Florida near Everglades National Park, Naples enjoys 260 days of sunshine every year, even on days that it rains. Though it’s a perfect destination any time of year, the winter months are undoubtedly the most popular, drawing thousands of visitors from around the world and American “snowbirds” looking to escape the harsh winter up north from November through April.

Whiles it’s famous for beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, that’s just one of the exciting things to do in Naples, Florida. The year round sunshine is perfect for most any kind of watersports, boating, and saltwater fishing, and there are more golf courses in Naples than any other city in Florida. Outdoor lovers may not have hills to climb, but the nearby Everglades offer incredible wildlife, ecotourism, nature trails, and kayaking opportunities, even during the greener summer months. Naples also has an excellent selection of dining and world-class shopping, making it a great destination for just about everyone in the family.

If you’re looking for a year round warm weather destination without leaving the continental US, Naples and southwest Florida are the perfect choice.

23. Miami, Florida

I can’t make this list without including Miami! Miami is warm enough to swim in the water year round (at least for this East Coast gal), and you can enjoy so many things beyond the beaches and pool parties here.

Miami is a hub for art and culture with a vibrant and diverse history. In the Wynwood Arts District there are murals all over the walls and tons of artist spaces to enjoy. The cute cafes around every corner will give you the chance to enjoy a space to sit and relax as you walk from studio to studio. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a truly unique spot located right on the water. Once the mansion of a famous James Deering, it is now a museum with art and beautiful gardens distplaying the families art in a gorgeous setting.

Miami is so fun to explore in the winter without the crowds. I highly recommend taking a trip for your next winter vacation!

24. Orlando, Florida

Home to both Disney and Universal, you can keep busy throughout your whole vacation.

Disney has special events year-round and is extremely popular to visit, especially over new years! But you can find some great deals by going in January or February when things begin to die down.

Universal is also an incredible theme park you’ve got to check out! Harry Potter World is even more magical than you can imagine if you’re a fan of the series. Get a multi-park pass and have a blast exploring the world of Harry Potter.

Consider taking a trip to the Emerald Coast or Tampa for Gasparilla for the day too!

25. Key West, Florida

Key West is a perfect getaway! From the incredibly blue water to amazing history, Key West has something for everyone.

At just two miles wide, Key West feels like a small home town with plenty of unique things to do. Historic homes abound in Key West and my favorite has to be Earnest Hemmingway’s house! Spend time exploring the streets and walking through the cute shops, stopping in for a bite to eat here and there.

One of the best ways to spend time in Key West is on the water. While there are only a few beaches in Key West located in Fort Zachary and on the Atlantic coast. Instead, consider snorkeling the only active coral reef in the US. Looe Key Reef is one of the best places for snorkeling and diving that you don’t want to miss either. Key West is truly a gem!

Looking for warm winter vacation ideas? Explore this list of warm and sunny destinations to escape the cold and plan your dream vacation.
Looking for warm winter vacation ideas? Explore this list of warm and sunny destinations to escape the cold and plan your dream vacation.

With all these winter vacation ideas, you will be able to find that perfect warm escape youve been dreaming of. Whats your favorite warm getaway? Share in the comments below!

Meghan

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