Where to Go to Escape the Cold This Winter—No Passport Required

Planning a vacation with your significant other? Swap your beanie for a sun hat and a ticket to one of these dreamy domestic destinations.

A couple hiking through the lush mountains of Hawaii.

 Maridav / Getty Images

Winter is great: The snow, the cozy nights nestled by a roaring fire, the hot cocoa, and the holiday festivities. But there comes a time—for some, it’s around March, for others, it’s as soon as the temperature drops below 60—when you’re ready to bid adieu to the cold and seek out a healthy dose of vitamin D. 

Luckily, traveling somewhere warm doesn’t necessitate leaving the country. The U.S. is home to plenty of sunny destinations that boast balmy temperatures and sunny skies even during the depths of winter, from the deserts of Palm Springs all the way to the sandy shores of Puerto Rico. So pack your swimsuit, your sunscreen, and a good book. If you and your partner want to escape the frigid weather this winter, these are our favorite domestic getaways to consider for your next trip.

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For the City Slickers: San Diego, California

A beach on a warm day in San Diego, California.

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While it won’t be jump-in-the-ocean-hot in San Diego during the winter months (the average winter temperature is in the mid-60s), you’ll certainly get your fair share of sun and mild temperatures in this coastal SoCal city. Visitors will be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a hotel, but since we have a penchant for all things romantic, our editors recommend checking into the Fairmont Del Mar, an elegant establishment with Old Hollywood vibes and a Michelin-star restaurant to match. And while you could certainly spend your entire vacation at the Fairmont (ahem, swaddled in a cozy robe at the spa), there are a few things in San Diego you shouldn’t miss—especially if you’d like to maximize your time in the sun. Make time to explore the San Diego Zoo, and don’t miss a stroll past the manicured gardens and 20th-century architecture of Balboa Park, one of the city’s most beautiful attractions. A day exploring nearby La Jolla is a day well spent; along this striking stretch of coastline, you can soak in the breathtaking ocean views at La Jolla Cove and even say hello to the local sea lions.

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For the Social Butterflies: Palm Springs, California

A golf course on a sunny day in Palm Springs, California.

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Those who are used to long, rainy winters may be particularly drawn to Palm Springs, which boasts a prime location in the Sonoran Desert, yielding that enviable dry climate year-round and, consequently, lots of uninterrupted sunshine. With average temperatures in the low-70s, there’s no reason not to spend your days lounging poolside at one of the dozens of stylish hotels (we’re partial to the retro vibes and party scene at the Ace Hotel, or a stay at Korakia Pensione to unlock your desert romance). Those in search of a good round of golf will not be disappointed; Palm Springs is home to a bevy of big-name Golden State fairways, like Indian Canyons Golf Resort and La Quinta Resort & Club at PGA West, both of which offer stellar views of the surrounding San Jacinto Mountains. And while there’s plenty of socializing to be done poolside at the hotel or out on the course, you shouldn’t miss a visit to town to explore the area’s famously vibrant art scene, local bars and restaurants, and boutiques aplenty.

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For the Adventure-Seekers: Maui, Hawaii

An aerial view of black sand beaches in Maui, Hawaii.

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While other islands in Hawaii will see more rainfall and larger winter sea swells during these months, Maui’s waters remain relatively calm, which is ideal for swimming. Winter is also the ideal time to spot humpback whales off the coast of Wailea—worth the trip alone, in our book. Plus, the fact that daily temperatures hover in the low-70s doesn’t hurt, either. Those with a heightened sense of adventure might even want to try their hand at surfing, snorkeling, and sea kayaking while the waters are gentle and temperate. For a particularly romantic experience, consider booking a room at The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea; here you’ll find luxurious accommodations, peerless service, and all the White Lotus vibes you could ever dream of.

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For the Escape Artists: The Florida Keys

A couple snorkels in the ocean in the Florida Keys.

 Stephen Frink / Getty Images

Make your way down to one of the southernmost points in the U.S., where the sun shines bright and temperatures in the winter months rarely dip below 75 by day. For those in search of the ultimate restorative getaway, Little Palm Island, reachable only by boat or seaplane, is known as the singular adults-only private island resort in the U.S. If you’re really itching to get off the map Castaway-style, this hideaway is just the ticket. Guests can spend days on the private island’s white-sand beaches sipping signature cocktails between spa appointments and then enjoy fresh seafood in the Dining Room before tucking into a private thatch-roofed bungalow. Keep in mind that while the resort does have WiFi access, there are no TVs or telephones in the guest rooms, so this getaway is ideal for just that: really getting away.

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For Nature Lovers: Vieques, Puerto Rico

A beach and lush vegetation on a sunny day in Puerto Rico.

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If warmer weather is what you’re after, Puerto Rico’s sweet Isla de Vieques is the spot to visit—the average temperatures are in the low-80s, but there’s plenty more on offer here than just heat. Home to the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, Vieques couldn’t be more inviting. Just seven miles off the east coast of the mainland, the Caribbean’s largest natural wildlife refuge calls this little island home—and it’s apparent from the moment you step foot on Vieques’s shores. Make your way inland to check in at Finca Victoria, a farmhouse-style hotel tucked into the lush vegetation and blessed with a location that promises a natural cross-breeze and stunning views of the sunrise and sunset. You’ll find that each guest room is unique, and outfitted with local, vintage decorations, art, and furniture. Guests can look forward to complimentary morning yoga classes, fresh farm-to-table meals, a glistening swimming pool, and on-site Ayurvedic services. When you’re ready to wander off-property, there are dozens of nearby hiking trails, opportunities for horseback riding, and—of course—beaches. La Chiva Beach is known for some of the island’s best snorkeling, and Escondida Beach is so tiny that people say it was made for two—does it get more romantic than that?


A Guide to Romantic Winter Getaways

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