"Hi there! I’m Kate, content creator for ShadyKate.com, a fashion & travel blog based out of sunny San Diego, CA.. I'm originally from the East coast and it took suffering through 28 winters before I realized it was time to relocate to one of the only places in the US where its relatively warm year round. Since this is my first year skipping the winter season, I'm taking full advantage of the warmer temps and hitting the beach or pool as much as possible.
From my years on the East coast, I totally get how frustrating it can be when the cold weather keeps draggging on...which is why the dead of winter is the perfect time to treat yourself to a warm weather vacay!
To help you get that well-deserved vacation booked, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite beach destinations : where it’s warm year-round. These recos include money-saving travel tips so you'll have more time to dust off your beach bag (making sure you’ve got all essentials packed!), and will get you ALL ready to escape the cold and soak up some sun this winter!
HERE ARE MY TOP 5 WARM-WEATHER
1. BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
Rather than hitting up the touristy (and pricey) cities of Cabo San Lucas or Cancun, try the west coast Peninsula, also known as Baja California. You’ll get uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean, local culture and its less crowded. Try Rosarito for the Villa de La Langosta (literally a village dedicated to serving the best lobster!) or hit the wineries around Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s version of wine country. Most of these cities are within an hour drive of each other. I suggest renting a car to make sure you can check them all out!
Check out Las Rocas Resort & Spa for its AMAZING beach front views, and awesome, affordable packages. Packages include wine tours, spa services, meals and more, making it easy and affordable to book your stay, transportation and fun things to do!
2. SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
After being hit hard by hurricane Maria last Fall, many hotels in Puerto Rico are back up and running, and waiting for visitors to fill their rooms! San Juan is the perfect place to experience warmth & prestine beaches year round, as well as culture, history, nightlife and amazing food (one word: mofongo). Take a day to stroll through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, get lost in El Morro (the historic fort that was once used to protect the city) and if you’re feeling adventurous, book an excursion into the rainforest with EcoQuest Tours for a three hour zip lining, hiking, rappelling adventure!
Check out the list of hotels that are up and running in Puerto Rico so you can pick the best place to stay.
3. FLORIDA BEACHES
Whether you want to hit the beach clubs in Miami, take the family to Disney in Orlando, or plan a girls/guys weekend in Key West, Florida has something for everyone! There are so many beach towns that are warm year round and offer beautiful views and sunny skies. My personal favorite is Miami for the music, nightlife, chic hotels, amazing restaurants and boutique shopping. If you’re traveling with family, or Disney is just your personal favorite destination, check out Disney’s Special Offers for up to 20% off hotel rooms and some other great packages offered during winter months!
Check out Groupon's Getaway section where you'll find resorts that'll drop their prices at the last minute to fill vacant rooms. Another great site for last minute deals is CheapCaribbean.com.
4. CARRIBEAN CRUISE
Cruises are like being at an all-inclusive resort, except you wake up every morning literally surrounded by water. There are endless activities every day, weather you’re at sea sailing to your next port, or you’re docked and ready for an all day adventure exploring on land. My personal favorite part of cruises is the food! Each night you have a beautiful meal in the main dining room where you can select as many dishes as you’d like. Cap off your evening with a musical or a comedy show in the ballroom, and spend your next morning doing yoga by the pool.
Check out CheapCruises.com, SmartCruiser.com and even Expedia! These sites offer serious cruise ship deals: you can sometimes score a four night cruise for as low as $45/night!
5. SAN DIEGO, CA
My hometown is known for its sunny skies, beautiful weather, and endless outdoor activities for all ages! If you’re the adventurous type check out the caves in La Jolla where you can go snorkeling or rent kayaks. Looking for a more leisurely activity? Hop on the ferry to Coronado for some amazing 360 views. If you’re traveling with kids, check out Sea World or the infamous San Diego Zoo. My favorite thing to do is renting & riding a bike on the boardwalk along Pacific Beach. But whatever activities you choose, just make sure you end your day watching the sunset along the Pacific Ocean - the San Diego sunset is a must-see!
Save some serious dough by camping (or glamping) instead of booking a hotel room. Check out HipCamp for some cool camping alternatives from as low as $30/night near San Diego.
You can't go wrong with any of these warm weather winter getaways, because no matter which place you opt for, you'll come back sun-kissed, refreshed and rejuvenated...and hopefully by that time, Spring will be on the horizon!
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