If you’re dreaming of white sandy beaches rather than snowy slopes for a family vacation this winter, consider visiting sunny states in the U.S. or neighboring places like Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Swap cold weather gear for swimsuits, flip-flops and sneakers to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, hiking, biking and other outdoor activities with your family.
As the East Coast and Southeastern states are experiencing frigid temperatures (brrr), many parts of the U.S. and neighboring countries are basking in 80-degree weather. California, Hawaii and Florida are among the sunny states where residents and visitors hike, bike, swim and surf year-round, even now in winter. Want to join them? Hop on a plane and thaw out at the following sunny-side-up destinations recommended by TravelingMoms.
Favorite Sunny Destinations to Escape the Cold
Scenic Route TravelingMom took a trip down memory lane with her sons when she brought them to San Diego – a top SoCal destination for its beaches and numerous kid-friendly attractions.
Families visiting the Los Angeles area typically flock to Santa Monica and Malibu, a couple of California’s most popular beaches. But there are miles of family-friendly beaches up and down the coast. Los Angeles TravelingMom shares where L.A.-area locals go to escape the crowds: Ventura.
Winter is prime time to visit California’s scenic deserts. Located 110 miles southeast of L.A. is iconic Palm Springs, a favorite getaway with celebrities, couples and families.
Speaking of deserts, Arizona is another great winter destination that provides unique family fun activities. Desert TravelingMom shares a bit of Arizona’s wild side.
One of Midwest TravelingMom’s favorite island getaways are the Florida Keys, the southernmost point in the U.S. that’s easily accessible from Florida.
Key West, a popular port stop for cruise lines, is just 150 miles from Miami. For Smarty Pants TravelingMom, Key West is a fun, laid-back island that provides entertainment without breaking the bank.
Technology TravelingMom has visited San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco – California’s most popular tourist cities. But she was pleasantly surprised to find that San Jose, in Northern California, has a lot to offer families too.
RV TravelingMom Silvana Clark celebrated her daughter’s graduation with a trip to Hawaii – her family’s first visit to this top winter getaway.
Los Angeles TravelingMom, who visits Hawaii two to three times a year, shares some of her favorite eco-friendly activities with kids on Oahu and the Big Island.
International Sunny Destinations
A short flight from Los Angeles, Puerto Vallarta is a charming city with warm ocean water, sandy beaches and a pedestrian-only waterfront boardwalk. For Angelenos, it’s an ideal weekend getaway.
TravelingMom guest author Connie DeMille and her family booked a boat cruise to explore unique rock formations in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Los Angeles TravelingMom is a fan of all-inclusive resorts, where everyone in her family of five can find their happy place. She recommensd Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Atlantis Paradise Island boasts the Caribbean’s biggest water park and casino. Despite the property’s vast size, Midwest TravelingMom had no problem navigating this fun-filled resort with her kids.
A historic capital city with massive forts, gorgeous beaches and mucho family adventures make Puerto Rico a terrific destination for families. And you don’t need a passport to visit this Caribbean island.