Temperatures are dropping and there’s a smell of snow in the air that can only mean one thing. Winter is upon us and as magical as it can be it only takes one below-freezing morning or afternoon of shoveling snow before you’re daydreaming of a warm weather getaway.
There’s something extraordinary about sitting at your computer, realizing you need a break, booking a hotel, packing a bag, and hopping on a flight without a second thought. And while getting away this time of year, especially at the last-minute, can be frightful, it is possible. Whether you want to be at the beach by the end of the day or want to wake up to the desert sun, satisfy your winter wanderlust at one of these spots.
Mexico is a no-brainer for a last-minute getaway but if you’re thinking Cancun or Cabo, stop right now. Yes, they’re beautiful but they’re also crowded and expensive. Instead, opt for often-overlooked Costalegre. Located on a 150-mile stretch of the Pacific coastline, it’s only a two-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta. Rent out a villa or stay at one of the numerous oceanfront hotels and prepare to post Instagram pics that will leave all your followers jealous.
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
With more than 91,000 acres to explore, Saguaro National Park is a hiker’s paradise. Prepare to see everything from desert tortoises to real horned lizards to roadrunners. While not as warm as a beach in Mexico, winters are mild, averaging in the 60s during the day. From ranches offering a detailed list of activities, to smaller inns that are simply a place to rest your head, to one of the park’s six designated camp sites, there is a place to stay near or in this park for every type of traveler.
Key West, Florida
Settle into a hammock and let all thoughts of snow fade away. For those seeking sun and sand without needing a passport, look no further than Key West. The city’s peaceful, laid back vibe makes it perfect for a last-minute vacation. You don’t need an itinerary here. Hop a flight and head to the The Marquesa Hotel for a romantic getaway or the Pier House Resort & Spa if you need to be as close to the beach as possible. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is if you want to spend your day lounging in that hammock, jetskiing, or shopping in town.
No list of warm weather destinations would be complete without a mention of Hawaii. While Hawaii can be expensive and require some planning, especially if you’ve never been, it is possible to do it last minute. Book an AirBnB on beach-bum favorite Maui for sun, surf, outdoor adventures, and food. You can spend your days wandering past waterfalls, sampling local food, or learning how to surf, and forget all about winter in the process.
Nestled in the heart of San Pasqual Valley, the city of Escondido literally means “hidden” in Spanish, and while it’s only 30 minutes outside of San Diego, it feels truly off the beaten path. It’s a localvore paradise full of wineries, breweries, and restaurants and the mild Southern California weather means you can work up your appetite hiking. For a truly remote last-minute getaway, make The Ranch at Bandy Canyon your destination, where you can choose to stay at the main-lodge or in one of the cottages with 144 acres of nature surrounding you.