Escape the cold and thaw out in these lovely spots in the USA for a warm winter vacation.

It’s winter time in the States, but some states are lucky enough to enjoy the sunshine all year round. If you’re looking for a relaxing break, head for these travel spots for the idyllic, dreamy warm winter vacation – whether you’re looking for the beach or an urban escape.

Santa Catalina, California

Santa Catalina is a small island just off the coast of California. This island has had many territorial claims over the years, first belonging to the Spanish and then to the United States. Originally the island was used for smuggling, otter hunting, and gold-digging. The rocky island became a tourist destination when chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr successfully developed here.

Catalina Island, 22 miles south southwest of Los Angeles, is the southernmost island of the Channel Islands of California. Made up of two towns, Avalon, and Two Harbors, Catalina is full of picturesque harbors, a vast array of wildlife, and colorful dive sites. The island is just 22 miles long and 8 miles across. Outside of the two towns lies an astonishing rugged wilderness, operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy. To travel to Santa Catalina Island, you can take a passenger ferry from Newport Beach, Dana Point Long Beach or San Pedro, CA. Swaying palms, white-sand beaches, warmest water in summer – what more can we ask for?

Catalina Island, California island vacations

tpsdave via Pixabay

Scottsdale, Arizona

Taking a trip to Scottsdale is perfect for those who want to have a very subtle and more relaxed trip. The city has activities that are very family oriented: Grand Canyon Airlines, paddleboarding, kayaking, and so much more.

Explore the farmer’s market, art galleries, award-winning craft breweries, wine-tasting rooms and boutiques in Old Town. Also explore two of the city’s most popular museums – Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Photo: Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve run by the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy dedicated to preserving the Sonoran desert and mountains. Here, you can go hiking, mountain biking, rock-climbing and trail running on more than 100 miles of trails and the award-winning Bajada Nature Trail.

sonoran desert arizona

Photo: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii is definitely the go-to state when it comes to wanting to escape the colder states. In Maui, you’ll have plenty of experiences being one with nature and the island itself. You can take a stroll among fields of lavender, or walk through gardens of indigenous plants in their botanical garden.

The sunset in Maui is definitely something to witness when coming here. You’ll be able to be wrapped in a blanket at the top of Haleakala Crater, or witness the beauty while from the water along the Kihei coastline. To admire the island as a whole, why not take an air trip? Maui offers parasailing for some breathtaking views

Maui, Hawaii

Photo: hawaii savvy via Flickr.

St Augustine, Florida

This may be the nation’s oldest city, but it doesn’t mean you’re restricted to historical museums. One of the biggest attractions here is the Hotel Ponce De Leon, which was founded in 1888 when the co-founder of Standard Oil and railroad magnate Henry Flagler opened it. At the time the hotel was the winter playground for the rich and was famous for being one of America’s exclusive resorts. Today it is home to Flagler College.

St. Augustine, Florida

Hotel Ponce De Leon. Photo: via agustininn.com

Besides the historical attractions, there are many recreational activities. Cycling and taking strolls at the park are perfect for enjoying the bright and warm sun in Florida. There are also boat tours where you can see marshlands and wildlife. If you want to be more adventurous, try the canopy zip line adventure. You’ll be soaring above ground and will feel like you’re flying!

riverfront-st-augustine-florida

Riverfront, St Augustine Photo via Publicdomainpictures

Lake Charles, Louisiana

If you want to enjoy a more community-based getaway, come to Lake Charles. Here, you’ll be able to be involved in all sorts of events: festivals, arts, and culture, parks, and even enjoy the nightlife by listening to music or just having fun dancing. The festivals have different themes that include Mardi Gras, Black Heritage Festivals, Family fun and food, and even a Christmas Lighting Festivals which are perfect for the holidays. For the arts and culture events, the 1911 Historic City Hall brings in traveling exhibits from all over the world and creates art scenes with live music, galleries, and art shows.

There are plenty of parks for the ones who really want to get their body moving. Not only can you ride your bikes, or go for a run, but you can also plan a camping trip in this area. The parks are a great area for the whole family to have some fun and enjoy some physical activities.

Lake Charles, Lousiana

Photo: Eric Hill via Wikimedia Commons

Lady Bird Lake, Texas

Planning a getaway here is definitely for those who are more into water-related activities, as well as being more active. One of the best activities to do here is to stroll, bike, and hike on their infamous the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. The trail itself is over 10 miles long and circuits around Lady Bird Lake. You can also go kayaking or canoeing. Texas actually outlawed any personal motorized boats, so you don’t have to worry about crashing into any larger boats.

Be on top of the world with stand-up paddleboarding. Test your balance and see if you’ll be able to balance on the paddleboard. Of course, if you don’t want to stand you can also lay on the board and float across the water. If you’re not into any physical activity, there are also river cruises. You can enjoy lunch or dinner while getting a beautiful view of the sunset.

Lady Bird Lake, Texas

Photo: LoneStarMike via Wikimedia Commons

Key West, Florida

This is one of the most popular destinations to relax and get away from the cold. At Key West, there are all sorts of activities for fun under the sun. Many of their activities are more mellow – like a stroll in the botanical garden. The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden is the only frost-free botanical garden in the continental United States. The centre advocates the education and protection of native plants and species in a natural conservative habitat.  It is also home to the endangered and threatened flora and fauna.

If you want a little more rigorous activities, there is kayaking and canoeing. At Key West, they offer various Eco Tours that take about three hours through the Oceanside Flats and Keys waters. There is also Sebago Watersports, where you can go on sailing tours. It is a family owned and operated, so they are very committed to their work.

Key West, Florida

Photo: OmnipresentOne via Pixabay

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

This trip is for all the nature lovers out there. If you’re into scenic waterfalls, rainforests, and being surrounded by mother nature’s gifts, then this is definitely the place for you. El Yunque is one of Puerto Rico’s and the Caribbean’s most precious natural resources. It’s 28,000 acres of thick emerald green forest with peaks that rise up to 3000 ft. You’ll be able to hike the vast wonderland and will be able to take a dip into the natural spring waters after taking a stroll on the trails.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Photo: John Marino via flickr

Escape the freezing cold states and enjoy these warm winter vacation spots in America!

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