When you are tired of the cold, ice, wind, and snow, try something different this year and consider taking winter beach vacations in the US so you do not have to suffer needlessly through the long and dark winter months anymore. If your idea of paradise in December through March centers on finding the warmest places in the States, then read on to learn about the top spots to go!
South Padre Island – Texas
Texas has its own worthy entry in the category of warm winter beach vacations in the US in the form of South Padre Island. The island is both long and slender and optimal for a winter beach getaway from the cold, ice, and snow.
South Padre is surrounded by idyllic powdery sandy beaches in the pristine Gulf of Mexico, and graced by an ideal kind of climate. You can take out a kiteboard or go sky diving, take in a dolphin watching boat excursion, or just hang out blissfully by the gulf or the resort’s pool.
SeaSpiration Tip: Need more tips on how to plan a perfect holiday? Check our beach vacation planning guide!
Laguna Beach – California
California should not surprise readers for being on this list for the best winter beach vacations in the US. The southern third of the state is warm and sunny year-round even while there is snow in the northern half.
Laguna Beach on the sunny southern coast provides a perfect winter beach themed getaway break. You can take long walks on the coast, enjoy the gently swaying palm trees, and be mesmerized by the shining blue Pacific Ocean, replete with migrating whales at this time of year.
Miami – Florida
Miami is a hard city to beat for an international, cosmopolitan feeling, sunny wintertime destination, moreover it is one of the best choices if you are looking for the warmest place in the United States in December. You will never lack for sexy good times in this balmy city of sin. You can party like its 1999 all over again every night in South Beach or appreciate the color-filled Art Deco frontages.
Take in the sights from the thrill of a speedboat or take dancing classes and boast a salsa move. Do not forget to enjoy shopping in the mega malls like Bayside here or to go to Little Havana for a Cuban sandwich and a real Cuban coffee.
SeaSpiration Tip: Need more information? Read our complete Florida beach vacation guide!
Grand Isle – Louisiana
Most people may not think of Louisiana when it comes to warm winter beach vacations in the US, but the secret is officially out on Grand Isle in Louisiana’s south. In fact, the weather on Grand Isle is warm enough in the winter for people to not only walk the beautiful beaches, but also to sunbathe on them in revealing bikinis. The crowds are also less as an added bonus.
SeaSpiration Tip: Would you rather travel to the Europe? Read what are the best winter vacation destinations in Europe!
Another little-known secret about Grand Isle is that it is rightly famed for being among the top fishing places in the country. More than 280 individual species of fish can be found in these waters surrounding the state’s biggest sport fishing-themed resort town here. This may be the best season of the year in which to fish on Grand Isle. If you do not relish waiting in long lines and fighting off huge crowds of fishermen and tourists alike, then you will actually prefer the quieter, more tranquil fishing offered here during the winter months.
Panama City – Florida
The winter month’s weather is sunny and warm with typical temperatures of about 65-70 degrees/18-21C in Panama City of the Florida Panhandle. The sunsets will take your breath away while the warming ocean breezes glide in off of the gulf. Panama City Beach has a long and storied reputation (think spring break week) for providing more than its share of fun-filled activities to do for visitors of all ages.
The wintertime fun includes ZooWorld, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, Shipwreck Island, WonderWorks, and much more. Foodies will love their world-famous fresh seafood in the area local restaurants too. Panama City Beach also delivers hugely on a wide range of international fare in the cuisine department. You can dine on the waterfront and make it a perfect end to an ideal winter vacation evening.
Siesta Key – Sarasota
The hardest thing about going to Siesta Key in Sarasota is deciding what to do first! No matter what time of the year you visit this heavenly destination, there are numerous water- and land activities available throughout the year.
You should not ignore the opportunities for going Full Moon Paddling on the Sarasota Bay under the stars. Thanks to the Monte Aquarium found on Ken Thompson Parkway, you can actually do this with your certain special someone. Or how about walking over the forest? The Myakka Canopy Walkway literally puts you above the trees. You can walk the various ramps and sky walkway during the hours of 8 am through 7 pm. It may be a relatively short walkway, but the views will take your breath away. You can access this from the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota to reach the interesting activity.
Do not miss the Big Cat Sanctuary while in Sarasota area either. This nature sanctuary provides refuge and home for the numerous big cats they have gathered from across the globe here. These big cats were taken out of the hands of abusers and smaller zoos that could not afford to properly care for and feed them and then introduced into a happy environment with plenty of space, nature, and food enough to not just survive but to thrive.
Key West is the perfect winter getaway destination in the US if you wish to escape the cold and grey weather and definitely a top choice if it comes to the best Christmas beach vacations in the US. The sun will shine and balmy ocean breezes will help to keep the air temperature pleasantly warm and mild offering perfect conditions for beach activities, moreover there are even more special holiday seasonal events here than during the rest of the year too.
A great way to take in the beautiful winter sunsets here is on a beloved Fury Water Adventure Commotion cruise on the Gulf of Mexico. This comes with fun and live music deck side that enables you to dance all night after hunting down that world-famous sunset.
In December, you won’t want to miss the Holly Jolly Holiday Lights Tour, the Lighted Boat Parade, the Key West Holiday Parade, and the Historic Conch Tour Train. This month also spotlights the yearly Key West House and Gardens Tour of historic Key West properties. Then there are the New Year’s Eve parties that include the famous Shoe Drop Celebration and the legendary New Year’s Eve Conch Shell Drop.
You cannot go wrong any Hawaiian Islands you choose for a winter beach vacation, but probably Oahu has the most to offer for those looking for a jolly-joker destination. Here you have the incomparable Iolani Palace of the Hawaiian monarchs, the splendid China Town (one of the largest on the Pacific Ocean), the fantastic food markets with their delicious fish tacos, and the stunning Waikiki Beach. For nature activities, you can start with a long and lovely hike up to the summit of Leahi to take in the stunning vistas overlooking Waikiki Beach and Honolulu.
In the December to spring months, the Makapuu Lighthouse telescopes are open for watching the whales as they play in the Pacific Ocean. Snorkeling beckons you as do the historic and unforgettable tours of Pearl Harbor’s World War II Japanese sneak attack disaster. If you have still more time on your hands, take a short island hopper over to Kauai, Maui, or Hawaii the Big Island for still more fun in the winter sun.
SeaSpiration Tip: Read these Hawaii beach vacation tips that include all the information you need to know before your trip!
US Virgin Islands
America’s own island group in the Caribbean Sea has only season, summer! With incomparable endless expanses of powdered white sand, memorable waterfront restaurants, and sunset sailings, this is the destination you need to visit if you dream of an exotic winter vacation in the US.
St. Thomas Island is always the most popular, with good reason. The port in Charlotte Amalie is not only a Danish neo-classical architectural delight for the senses, but also the dining and shopping capital of the Lesser Antilles. You can snorkel, dive, eat, shop, take in world-class picture postcard perfect views on this island, and enjoy the history, architecture, and ambience that ooze from practically every stone here.
All the fans of Jimmy Buffet and the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle that he so happily touts should not miss a chance to stay at his part-owned Wyndham Margaritaville St. Thomas. This Caribbean island-themed resort also includes a Margaritaville Cafe down below. T-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, and flip flops are pre-requisite gear on this lovely four-star property that sits invitingly on the bay.
There are two other magical islands to enjoy in the USVI too. St. Croix is the largest one that is beloved for its incredible foodie loving scene best characterized in the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, for its beautiful tropical foilage ambience, and the luxury ridden accommodation choices found around the island. Meanwhile on St. John, you can relish the last unspoiled island in the Caribbean that they say is the only one Christopher Columbus visited which he would still recognize today, thanks to nearly two-thirds of it being protected as a state park that is untouched. World-leading and top-ranked beaches here include Trunk Bay Beach.
The ultimate gateway to the Eastern Caribbean, the incomparable heritage of Puerto Rico merges rich Spanish architecture and tradition with that of Africa cultures to mix up a unique island personality that you simply cannot find anywhere else. Since it is an unincorporated U.S. territory, technically you are not leaving the States if you decide to vacation in Puerto Rico.
The weather is pleasantly warm and mild here all winter long too, best of all. The beaches are powder white sand-covered and the food scene is thriving. Puerto Rico is the original home of the world-famous and beloved cocktail the Pina Colada.
Beat the crowds and the heat by coming down to San Juan in the winter months. You have rainforests like El Yunque here to experience and perfect surfing sites along the coasts. An added bonus for those who come at the end of December is that the island is justifiably renowned for celebrating Christmas longer than anywhere else in the world. The holiday feasts here are legendary. All of this, plus you can hop on a short ferry from San Juan to St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands for an idyllic day trip cruise.
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