We have already experienced our first snowstorm of the season and about now we begin to think about a warm weather escape. There are so many locations to do this I can’t suggest them all, but I will discuss a few here.
In the good old USA we can consider several locations in Florida. Orlando stands out as a winner because it not only has warm winter weather, but also offers Disneyworld, the Universal Theme Park and so much more. When you have had enough sun, the theme parks are fun to visit.
Orlando also has fine hotels to stay in as well as interesting dining opportunities. You might even consider Orlando during the Christmas holidays and take the kids. There is good air service into the city from just about everywhere.
Miami and Fort Lauderdale also offer outstanding beaches and resorts/hotels. Here, you want to rent a car and drive around the area in addition to soaking up the sun on the beach. Again, there is fine dining in many locations. Resorts and hotels vary in price range and you may check them out on the Internet.
A feeling of old Florida can be found in Apalachicola, Fla. This is a laid back town located along the panhandle coast. They harvest wild oysters here and you can enjoy eating them at several restaurants. You can even book an oyster boat and harvest a few yourselves. Don’t like oysters, then just find a cozy spot on the beach and enjoy the heat.
Palm Springs, Calif. is another popular spot to soak up the sun this winter. It has just about everything you might want in a winter escape with fine resorts and hotels which with fair prices, good dining opportunities including Sherman’s Deli and warm desert sun.
You also want to get tickets for the Palm Springs Follies, which is a great show presented by a cast of show people that are over the age of 55. This is a bit of old time burlesque and song and dance, which recaptures an older era of show business. Sometimes the cast includes a famous star from the ’50s. It’s a lot of fun and you will enjoy it all. It has a rather large cast and live pit orchestra.
Palm Springs is only a four- or five-hour drive from the Valley.
If you are not looking for warm beaches, San Diego is always popular. The climate usually offers nice days with temperatures in the 60s. There is so much to do in and around San Diego that you will never be bored. There is always live entertainment playing at night someplace as well as live theatre and concerts. Balboa Park is a must including the world famous zoo.
Just south a few miles is Mexico if you want to drop in for a day’s visit to the shops and perhaps have lunch. If you don’t wish to drive into Mexico, you can take the train from downtown San Diego to the border and walk across.
In San Diego there are naval exhibits, museums, and a host of other activities to fill the days.
Southern California is interesting with so much to do. From San Diego north to Santa Barbara you can find many opportunities to enjoy. The temperatures will not be good for beach sunning, but there are other things to do including Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.
Los Angeles is the home to Hollywood and the movies. You might wish to take a studio tour one day.
Santa Barbara is a special city 90 miles north of Los Angeles, which is beautiful and interesting. It is an art colony among other things with beautiful homes and gardens plus good hotels and great dining.
Hawaii always pleases with exceptional beaches, hotels and resorts and temperatures in the high 70s and 80s. Hawaii has everything you might want in a winter getaway. You have a selection of islands close to one another. If you want day and night action then Honolulu’s Waikiki beach is the place.
If you desire a more quiet beach experience consider Maui and Kauai. Many fine hotels and resorts are located here and again, check them out on the Internet. There is also good air service into Hawaii from the Mainland. You might speak with an experienced travel agent for advice before booking any travel plans to Hawaii and their counseling costs you nothing. They receive commission from the airlines and hotels.
You might even enjoy the relaxation of a cruise ship traveling from Los Angeles or San Diego to the four Hawaiian Islands and return. The ships do this in two weeks time. You experience more than nine days at sea, plus you stop for a day in each of the four islands.
Princess Cruises is operating these two-week Hawaii cruises departing Feb. 4, March 19 and April 14. Holland America Line does the same from San Diego on Jan. 14, Feb. 4 and Feb. 25 as well as March 17 and March 31. Ask your travel agent about booking a 14-day Hawaii cruise from Los Angeles on Cunard Lines luxurious Queen Victoria early next year. If you like to dress in formal clothing many evenings for dinner, this is the way to go. The Queen Victoria was commissioned in 2007 and still feels new.
Speaking of cruising, the Caribbean is always popular this time of year with many popular ships offering seven-, 10-, 12- and 14-day cruises from Florida. Various types of ships are available for this area. Consider four-masted sailing ships, yacht-like vessels, ultra luxury ships and the popular ships of Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, NCL, Princess and Holland America Lines. Prices vary according to the class of ship chosen and the type of stateroom booked. I suggest your reserving a cabin with a private veranda.
There are also cruises to Central and South America as well as Panama Canal 14-day cruises and cruises to the South Pacific including Tahiti. All are enjoyable and await your choice.
If you enjoy Mexico, try one of the wonderful resorts in Cancun. Here, there is daytime sun and perfect beaches and at night live music and great dining.
Many travelers also enjoy Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta as well as all the action in Cabo San Lucas.
Costa Rica in Central America is becoming popular with Americans with its good beaches, interesting tours into the jungle and sights of volcanoes. San Jose is the capital and you may wish to stay here a couple days to get acquainted before you head for the beaches and jungle. Again, there is good air service now to Costa Rica from the U.S.
If you just want a good island to relax, consider Barbados in the Caribbean. The Almond Beach Village at Heywood’s, Barbados is a 32-acre family-friendly resort set on a former 18th century plantation. It offers a soft-sand, mile long beach. Included in the rate are golf, sailing, water skiing and you can take off-site picnics and more. Phone 800-425-6663 for more information.
Still in the Caribbean is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. This is a good adults only resort with all-suites. Included is one horseback ride per visit. You also have not only fantastic beaches, but also waiter service and complimentary bar. Phone 866-540-2585.
You might also consider Club Med, Columbus Isle at San Salvador Island, Bahamas. This is an exciting resort having excellent food, nice rooms and a beautiful beach. Activities include group sailing and windsurfing lessons, fitness classes, tennis and water sports. Phone 800-258-2633.
Couples Swept Away at Negril, Jamaica offers sports facilities as well as fitness classes, snorkeling cruises, tennis, golf and scuba diving and more. Phone 800-268-7537.
Out in the Atlantic is the beautiful isle of Bermuda. This still has the flavor of its British past and you enjoy pink hotels and assorted buildings, great shopping opportunities, fine beaches and friendly people. The temperatures will not be as high as in the Bahamas or Caribbean, but it’s still a wonderful location for a winter getaway. You can take a bike on the paths, stroll the beaches and reefs, and play good games of golf. Wonderful hotels and resorts here also.
If budget is an issue, why not consider a few days in the Phoenix area. Here, you have a great selection of hotels and resorts that are right up there with the best in the world. Granted, during the winter months the rates will not be inexpensive, but your costs of getting there will be minimal. Soak up the sun, enjoy some golf or tennis action and gain a couple pounds on fine dining available all over the Valley.
Have a great time wherever you go.