For non-skiers, warm destinations will fit the bill this winter. Direct flights from U.S. gateway cities make vacations more relaxing right from the beginning. Here are some picks with beaches and bright sunshine.
Hawknest Bay in St. Johns, U.S. Virgin Islands — Photo courtesy of Flicker user Reinhard Link
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands–St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas–is warm all year with temperatures rarely dropping below 70 degrees. Now is an especially great time to visit as the U.S. territory engages in a multi-year observation of the 2017 Transfer Day. This means more parades, more festivals and more cultural celebrations all the way into 2017. For foodies, the territory is also a growing cuisine hotspot now featuring acclaimed events, like A Taste of St. Croix. With new events and beautiful surroundings, the USVI has plenty of cool things to experience without a winter coat. All this and no passport is required.
Known for its sun-kissed beaches and stunning views, Miami Beach has also become a quintessential winter getaway, with its perfect weather and diverse offerings during the winter season. Visitors can rest easy that Miami Beach is full of top-notch hotels, restaurants and warm weather. There are cultural events which round out the bustling nightlife including the Miami City Ballet, the New World Symphony and the Bass Museum. The beach only gets hotter during the winter with cultural events like Art Basel, SCOPE and Design Miami in December and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February. For shopping, try Lincoln Road, an outdoor mall with a trendy mix of traditional retail stores, art galleries, thrift shops and book boutiques. A few blocks away, shoppers on Espanola Way are transported to another world. Stroll through European-style, pedestrian-friendly streets, known to be the former hangout of infamous gangster Al Capone. Miami Beach is a real foodie haven with the perfect blend of weather and amazing cuisine. Nearby Miami is just as fun and a neat hotel to try is Conrad Miami. While in South Florida, consider sailing Norwegian Cruise Line's new ship, Norwegian Escape which is based in Miami.
Aruba's signature Fofoti tree on the sugar white sand of Eagle Beach — Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Celebrated as one of the most revisited destinations in the Caribbean, Aruba boasts year-round cooling trade winds and an average 82 degree temperature. Aruba is also the sunniest Caribbean island, located on the outside fringes of the hurricane belt. Beyond the award-winning beaches, Aruba boasts rugged and desert-like terrain, 90-plus nationalities and culinary influences, a lively nightlife and evening events including the weekly Carnival-style Carubbian Festival, signature sports like Beach Tennis and windsurfing and hidden gems such as the secluded Natural Pool (Conchi) and ancient Guadirikiri and Fontein Caves. Aruba is also the “Ultimate Sand Bar Island” with 25 restaurants located on the water, allowing visitors to enjoy every sunny day and stunning sunset dining with their toes in the sand or on floating docks above the turquoise water.
With picturesque, sweeping white sand beaches, sparkling cerulean waters and home to three unique islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the Cayman Islands promises an idyllic island escape. World renowned for its pristine beaches, stunning underwater scenery, impressive culinary scene, endless attractions and distinctive charm, the Cayman Islands offers an irresistible getaway for a perfect vacation. Caymanians are known to be warm and friendly people who love to share their culture with visitors. Not to mention, travel to the islands is convenient and hassle-free with nonstop flights from several U.S. cities and more being added daily.