By Jeanenne Tornatore
The storm is finally over. You’ve excavated your car. You’re back to work and have restocked your food supply. All that remains is several inches of snow…and a couple more months of winter. If you haven’t already planned your escape, here are four destinations that won’t require a coat, a commute or put a hole in your wallet.
Cancun has long been a go-to destination for U.S. travelers, but as more vacationers seek quieter alternatives, Tulum is a great nearby option, thanks to new green hotels, an open-air jungle restaurant, and healing retreats like Yaan Wellness Energy Spa. It’s history, culture and charming laid-back vibe make this a great option for those seeking a fresh Mexico destination, whether you’re traveling as a family, couple or with a group of friends. Choose from small boutique hotels or many luxury all-inclusive properties.
Warm days, cool nights and plentiful sunshine beckon travelers to this southwestern destination. January and February make up the quieter season here, and the short 90 minute drive from the Phoenix airport make it an easy option for travelers. Sedona boasts more than 300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and Jeep tours, and the Grand Canyon is just a 2.5-hour drive away. Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride, a day trip to the “largest ghost town in America”, and ride the Sedona trolley. Events in February include the Sedona Yoga Festival and the annual Sedona International Film Festival.
Palm Springs, CA
This southern California oasis is known for its art deco style and former holiday homes to major Hollywood icons including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. Visitors will enjoy taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Mount San Jacinto, endless rounds of golf, plenty of hotel properties to relax poolside and a lively restaurant scene. Every Thursday, downtown Palm Springs hosts Villagefest with artists, purveyors of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, jewelry, snacks and sweets. And its museum scene holds its own with the Palm Springs Art Museum housing works by Chagall, Warhol and Lichtenstein, and the Palm Springs Air Museum, home to one of the world’s largest collections of flyable WWII aircraft.
Santa Barbara, CA
Known as the “American Riviera”, this lush and sophisticated seaside destination boasts more spas per square mile than anywhere else in the country. From shopping and wine tasting to horseback riding on the beach, if a lux vacation is on your list, this destination will not disappoint. Its cobblestone streets, bubbling fountains and fine cuisine make it the perfect warm-weather weekend. Take a food tour or head to one of many farmers markets to savor the local flavors. Try paddle boarding, surfing, yoga or simply relaxing on the beach in this always-warm outdoor paradise with year-round sunshine and a penchant for pampering.