When considering ‘warmth’ over the holidays, a glowing fireplace comes to mind for most folks, however, warmth from the sun can be a much more appealing proposition.
Spending the holidays in a tropical location is an experience you’ll not soon forget. The Santa Clauses found here are shirtless, with flat rather than fat bellies. The trunks of palm trees are wrapped tightly with festive lights while boats are not only illuminated but many are elaborately decorated for water parades.
The smell of salt air trumps the grit of rock salt spread on snowy roads. And then there is building sand castles while barefoot. Perhaps better than lacing up boots to construct a snowman, after all, if you live in a cold climate, you’ll have all winter to do that.
Leaving home for the holidays may also help you leave behind the stress they can sometimes create. If you’re considering a tropical holiday getaway this season, consider these destinations for unique festivities, warm beaches and the right combination of celebration and relaxation.
A Key West tradition, Sushi (portrayed by Gary Marion) is lowered to Duval Street at midnight on New Years Eve. — Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO
1. Key West, FL
From brilliantly decorated historic homes to the New Year’s Eve party on Duvall Street where a drag queen in a 6-foot tall, red high heel shoe, is lowered (picture Time Square ball drop) as the clock strikes midnight.
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Old Town is especially festive this time of year, with millions of lights.
3. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The town square comes alive on Christmas Eve with lights and a nativity scene, while the New Years celebration is quite festive.
4. Grand Cayman Island
Listen to Jingle Bells with a reggae beat while touring the grounds of the Mission House and stopping by the Crighton Family Home, with thousands of lights and holiday displays. The historic Mission House is a must see on a holiday stop in the Cayman Islands — Photo courtesy of Courtney Platt/Mission House
5. South Beach Miami, FL
Here you’ll find girls wearing boots with fur along with bikinis, strolling down Ocean Drive and lots of excitement surrounding the annual Orange Bowl (New Years Day) one of the oldest college football bowl games in the U.S.
6. Nassau, Grand Bahamas
Holiday celebrations known as "Junkanoo" can erupt in the streets as late as 2am and last until dawn, with heart pulsing music, dancing and bright costumes between Christmas and New Year.
7. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Enjoy the beautiful beaches AND watch the whale migration that occurs each December.
8. Caribbean Cruise
A fantastic way to visit more than one island and enjoy a variety of entertainment, while leaving the cooking and cleaning to someone else.
9. Captiva Island, FL
Golf cart parades, boat parades and fireworks are some of the many highlights of the holiday celebrations on this quant Southwest Florida island. Caroling at Chapel By The Sea is a holiday tradition on Captiva Island — Photo courtesy of Captiva Holiday Village
10. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
With beaches, jungles and big city action, find the best holiday festivities along the the "Malecón," a waterfront promenade.