Much to most of the northern hemisphere’s chagrin, winter is not over. Flakes are still falling and there’s no suntan in sight. If you’re about to take to the tanning beds – hold off.
There are a few sunny spots around the globe that promise golden days of grandeur, whether you’re looking for a relaxing resort or a vibrant city.
Check out our top 10 favorite places to escape the winter right now.
Few travelers need convincing that Hawaii is an ideal sun destination. Year round, Maui is a romantic retreat for couples, and a luxurious escape for families. Beaches make it relaxing, and adventurous activities like windsurfing, whale watching, snorkeling diving and hiking make it all the more exciting. Explore jungle landscapes or volcanic craters, and be sure to partake in authentic Hawaiian cuisine, like pig, lomilomi salmon
and coconut prawns.
A nest for celebs and wannabes from around the globe, Los Angeles’ sunny beach locale is unique in its entertainment industry bragging rights. Flock to the sun in SoCal, and get a few celeb-spotting and shopping sprees in on the side. Surf’s up in Malibu, so if you feel like reinventing yourself (much like many others here) then go right ahead and try something new.
Truly, this is a tourism hub – so if you’re looking for ancient history, this isn’t exactly the spot for you. But if you’re looking to hone in on sun time, and utterly relax, reconsider this Caribbean hot spot. Catering to travelers of all kind, Punta Cana has more hotels than imaginable, and takes good care of families, groups of singles, and couples galore. For sunny activities, try golfing or one of its many available water sports.
These limestone landscapes don’t lie. The Bahamas is made up of 700 gorgeous islands and thousands of cayes, so wildlife abounds as much as the tourism does. It’s fairly easy to get around here, so if you’re looking for quality beach time you’ll get it at a resort, casinos and shopping, in Nassau, and sailing, diving, and kayaking pretty much anywhere the sand meets the water. Paradise Island’s behemoth resort, Atlantis, is known for its signature ongoing promotion that offers a fourth night free, so relax in style and save a little cash while you’re at it.
Yes, Cancun can be campy. But believe it or not, it attracts more than just spring breakers and college students. A handful of luxury adults-only resorts make it easy to soak up solitude, and an elaborate nightlife scene makes playtime perfect for singles and partiers. Family resorts? Cancun’s got that too, and while it’s a haven for tourists in general, it’s currently safer than a few other Mexican destinations.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Add a side of history with your tropical sunset in San Juan. An eclectic mix of colonial architecture, 15th-century Spanish forts, rainforests, shopping centers and casinos all happily coexist inland – to visit while you’re not sunbathing on the shoreline, of course. Old San Juan picks up at night with plenty to do, and is perfect for exploring colonial artifacts by day.
Tenerife Sur Reina
The Canary Islands’ Tenerife is a popular place – especially for active travelers. If you’re looking for a little altitude with your sunny days, try Pico del Teide, which is Spain’s tallest peak. Around it are rock formations and picturesque volcanic splashes of color. Wander through a tropical forest, or take a stroll through the designer shops and boutiques.
Another Canary Island makes the list – and this one accounts for almost half of the population of the archipelago. Here, serenity of the mountains is well-mixed with the sprawling sandy beaches that call for total enjoyment. Love the sun, but need more than nature? Discover Gran Canaria’s historic towns, and the beautiful museums and churches within them.
Cape Town is a lot of things. A wine-laden destination, a mountainous paradise, a beach-goers dream, and a surfer’s secret, the Mother City rarely disappoints. Explore Stellenbosch and Franschoek, dine and shop along the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, take a hike up Table Mountain, or have a drink on Long Street. The options are endless, and so are the sunny days.
Rio de Janeiro
Sunshine and parties are just the start of Brazilian allures. Mountains, beaches and rainforests make this cultural paradise a natural one, too. Enjoy the beaches of Copacabana, tropical cocktails at its nightlife locales, and flavorful cuisine around every corner.