Winter in NYC can be a grim experience. From perpetually wet feet to relentlessly cold temperatures, the need to escape the city is a feeling many of us know well. Whether you are in the grips of the winter blues or planning ahead this season, here are 25 warm-weather destinations that beckon you to shed your parka and bask in the sun.
1. Atlantis, Paradise Island — A fantasy destination for many kids, thanks to its out-of-this-world water park, budget-minded Comfort Suites hotel provides free admission to Atlantis Resort, so you can slip and slide the day away and return to your clean and simple room in the evening for a fraction of the price.
2. Palm Springs, California — Welcoming Palm Springs is a popular destination for LGBT families, design and architecture buffs, or anyone who enjoys stylish mid-century hotels with giant swimming pools shaded by palm trees. Family favorites include The Saguaro and the Ace Hotel, both popular for their hipster-meets-diaper poolside scenes.
3. San Diego, California — With its near perfect year-round climate, world-class zoo, miles of beach and cute Old Town, San Diego is loaded with personality. Take a scenic cruise around San Diego Bay before you enjoy some fresh Pacific seafood for dinner. The Hotel Del Coronado is an iconic resort that caters to kids.
4. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — There's so much to do in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico's Baja California, especially for families. During the winter season, guests can get up close and personal with whales migrating from the arctic to the warm, calm waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula. You can go zip-lining, rock-climbing, swimming with dolphins and even camel riding in the dessert! A stay at Grand Solmar Land's End Resort will leave you sun kissed, relaxed and well fed.
5. Cayman Islands — This chain of three islands features glorious shallow water and calm sea, so all ages may enjoy a dip in the Caribbean. Diving and snorkeling are popular activities, while young naturalists will enjoy visiting Cayman Turtle Farm. Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort has recently completed an extensive transformation, making it an excellent choice for families staying on Grand Cayman.
6. Grand Lucayan, Bahamas — This beachfront family resort is everything you've dreamed of. The Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort is the largest hotel on the island and considered by many to be the finest. The hotel offers the sandy beaches, warm sun and ocean breezes that the Bahamas are known for, along with lots of amenities, dining options and planned activities. It's in the the island's touristy Lucaya district, making it easy enough to take in some of the local sights if you want.
7. Palm Coast, Florida — This quiet little northern Florida beach area is the perfect place to let your stress melt away. The beach may be cold during winter, but you can enjoy Hammock Beach Resort’s Fantasy Pool Complex, golf, tennis, a huge spa, kids club and more. There’s lots to do within a few hours drive including Orlando theme parks, Kennedy Space Center, and Marineland Dolphin Adventure.
8. Hollywood, Florida — While Miami’s South Beach glitters, Hollywood’s oceanfront Broadwalk and laid-back family-friendly vibe are a great budget beach getaway. There are plenty of hotels offering affordable suites with bedrooms and kitchenettes, perfect for larger families.
9. Scottsdale, Arizona — Scottsdale is a golf, tennis and spa mecca, and families are welcomed with open arms. The dry desert air works magic on winter-weary bones of all ages. The Westin Kierland Resort offers tweens and teens nonstop fun with the FlowRider, a machine that lets you pseudo surf in the desert. Giant swimming pools and numerous children’s programs are also on the menu.
10. Tree House Lodge, Costa Rica — Costa Rica offers so many unique and wonderful experiences. We’ve raved about the new Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica before, but how about taking an Into the Woods adventure, sleeping in a beachside treehouse in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge with a visit to the nearby Jaguar Rescue Park? Tree House Lodge is a fairy tale getaway to be sure.
11. Aulani, Hawaii — The Hawaiian Islands is a fantasy destination for many. Whether you want to learn to surf on popular Waikiki Beach on Oahu or visit the volcanic wonders on the Big Island, this chain of islands is paradise. Families are flocking to Aulani, A Disney Resort that has garnered numerous accolades.
12. Circus Circus, Las Vegas — Love it or hate it, Sin City has succeeded in become a family town. Yes, there have been a few cold snaps this year, but a stay at Circus Circus brings all the fun indoors. Its perks include thousands of hotel rooms right on the Strip, America’s largest indoor theme park, live circus acts and cheap and cheerful buffets. If you’re feeling Lady Luck on your side, there’s an onsite casino.
13. Disney Fantasy Cruise — If running around a theme park isn’t your idea of fun, taking a Disney Cruise can be a great way to get your Disney on. The magic makers pull out all the stops from impressive theme restaurants, magical entertainment and, of course, one-on-one time with your favorite characters. With lots of grown-up only areas to enjoy while your kids are busy at the incredible kids clubs, this is a lux vacation everyone will enjoy. Ships now depart from several ports including Miami, Port Canaveral, Galveston, and San Diego.
14. Rome, Italy — The Eternal City is fabulous for families. Most of the greatest sights, fountains, antique ruins and piazzas are outdoors and most require no admission. Don’t miss living La dolce Vita family-style. Sunday afternoon is when Roman families hit the town’s many glorious parks and gardens for a walk, so why not join the dapper crowd? The Villa Celimontana is a lush, centrally located garden with a large playground. It’s just far enough off the tourist map to feel totally authentic. End the afternoon with gelato and you’ll be feeling positively Roman.
15. Punta Cana — The Dominican Republic is easy to reach, thanks to numerous nonstop flights from many East Coast cities. The Grand Palladium in Punta Cana is a huge beachfront property. It’s all-inclusive, and you’ll feast on over a dozen dining options. There is a Baby Club for guests ages 1-3 and a Mini Club for kids 4-12. If you tire of the white sand and blue water, a spa and casino are adult diversions.
16. San Juan, Puerto Rico — Old San Juan has the charm, history and culinary delights of a foreign destination without the hassles of needing a passport. Plus, nature seekers will enjoy hiking in nearby El Yunque rain forest. The Condado Plaza Hilton gives you the best of the beach with the culture of Old San Juan just outside your doorstep.
17. All-Inclusive Jamaica — Whether you want to relax at your resort or crave active adventures, Jamaica’s beauty is legendary. The island has perfected the all-inclusive resort concept. You can‘t go wrong with Beaches Negril or the more budget-friendly Hotel Rui Palace.
18. Cancun, Mexico — You could grab a lounge chair and never leave the silky sand and Caribbean Sea at one of the dozens of hotels in Cancun, like Azul Beach Hotel which makes travel with kids as seamless as possible, but it would be a shame to miss out on excursions to places like the Mayan ruins in Tulum and many other unforgettable destinations nearby.
19. El Conquistador, Puerto Rico — El Conquistador makes a splash with its on-site water park, a private resort island, Arthur Hills Golf Course, deluxe Waldorf Astoria Spa and more, making an ideal vacation spot for the whole family.
20. Marco Island, Florida — This island is the pride of Florida’s Paradise Coast. If beautiful Gulf beaches strewn with colorful seashells and proximity to the Everglades and its natural beauty sound good, you’re in the right place. Marco Island is located very near Naples and it’s easy to reach when you fly into Southwest Florida International Airport. The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort has a great pool if you’re not feeling the ocean. Rooms are large and lovely, plus they offer children’s activities and babysitting.
21. San Antonio, Texas — This charming Texas town is loaded with appeal. Take a narrated cruise or stroll River Walk, visit the Alamo and enjoy delicious Mexican food. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, head indoors to the San Antonio Children’s Museum. The Witte Museum is a fabulous place to discover Texas heritage with a smattering of science and natural history thrown in for good measure. Embassy Suites River Walk and the Mokara Hotel and Spa are fine hotel options on the River Walk.
22. Clearwater, Florida — Located very near the Tampa airport, Clearwater Beach is a relaxed beach town where you'll find loads of amusements and casual dining options. The Gulf Coast is great for families; sprawling white powder-sand beaches, gentle waves and water that tends to be a few degrees warmer than the Atlantic on the other side of Florida make the beaches great for families with young children.
23. Beaches, Turks and Caicos — It’s hard to beat Beaches Resorts for a family vacation. These all-inclusive resorts are designed from top to bottom to ensure that every member of the family has a spectacular time. Turks and Caicos is a jewel in the Beaches family crown with stunningly blue waters and a long coral reef with amazing aquatic life to take advantage of the only resorts where scuba diving is included.
24. Mall of America, Minnesota — It may seem counterintuitive to head to a state which gets over 70 inches of snow most winters, but sometimes the coldest places do thawing-out best. Mall of America isn’t just one of the largest shopping malls in the US, it houses the largest indoor theme park, Nickelodeon Universe, an aquarium, plus experiential exhibits like Star Trek and Barbie The Dreamhouse Experience, flagship stores and lots more. You can even stay right on site so there’s no chance of catching a chill.
25. Great Wolf Lodge — If airfare isn’t in your budget this year, a drive to the closest Great Wolf Lodge might be just the ticket to thaw out your bones. This national chain of resorts offer indoor water parks that kids go ga-ga for. Make sure to check our tips for saving money and enjoying a Great Wolf visit.