Winter doesn’t have to be cold and grey! There’s always time to take a break in paradise. Break better this winter with 10 Impossibly Sublime Places to Travel to this Winter.
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
December is the PERFECT time to hit the beaches of Rio; it’s the start of the summer in Brazil, and the warm weather means there’ll be plenty of fun and beach parties, including the outrageous and spectacular Reveillon on New Year’s Eve. What better way to escape the bleak winter weather than with colorful festivals, hikes in the nearby rainforest, and relaxing on the sands that inspired “The Girl From Ipanema”?
2. Tulum, Mexico
That’s right: ancient Mayan ruins overlooking white sand beaches and water that’s bluer than blue. Tulum is on the Yucatan Peninsula, which means it’s close to both Cancún and a number of gorgeous cenotes to swim in. History, scenic vistas, luxury, and adventure all rolled into one area.
3. Oahu, Hawaii
Honolulu is right on Oahu, making the island awesomely accessible for a winter break. Winter’s when you’ll want to check out Oahu’s legendary North Shore, where big wave surfing happens between November and February. Catch a surfing festival, eat at the North Shore’s food trucks, and drive down the coast to Waikiki and the calmer beaches where you can simply kick back and chill.
4. Nha Trang, Vietnam
The dry season in Nha Trang starts in January, making it a great time to visit the Vietnamese coastal resort city. Nha Trang is full of fun and relaxing activities, from historical pagodas to mud baths, but it’s most famous for scuba diving and snorkeling in the gorgeous Nha Trang Bay, which is full of awesome coral and marine life.
5. San Juan, Puerto Rico
The holidays are a jam-packed and exciting time to be in Puerto Rico, and you don’t even need a passport to travel there from the U.S. The entire month of December boasts activities from open-air food festivals to holiday bazaars and parades, and January is the month of the San Sebastián Street Festival. Regardless of what month you visit, there’s nothing like taking a stroll along the colorful streets of Old San Juan and enjoying the sunny beaches to take the winter blues away.
6. Hong Kong, China
December may technically be winter in Hong Kong, but temperatures are warm thanks to its subtropical climate. (Summers are outrageously hot and humid!) It’s the perfect time of year to hike to Kowloon Reservoir while enjoying panoramic views of the city, ferry around the islands, and to do what locals love to do most: eat.
7. Death Valley, Nevada/California
It may not be a beach oasis, but Death Valley is a surprisingly fantastic break from the winter. The valleys are warm and moderate, while the mountains receive sprinklings of snow, making for a beautiful contrast. Plus, the low-angled light means your pics are going to be on point. And if you like to hike, there’s absolutely no better time (and you can avoid the three-digit temperatures in the spring and summer)!
8. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a beachy paradise starting in December, and it’s also home to a beach unlike any other in the world: Boulders Beach. An African penguin colony calls the beach home, and you can call it your vacation paradise. There’s also plenty of other stuff to do in Cape Town, from riding a cable car up the iconic Table Mountain to diving with sharks.
9. Turks and Caicos Islands
There are plenty of great winter escapes in the Caribbean, and Turks and Caicos should be at the top of the list. The waters are crystal clear, the beaches are pristine, and there are a number of uninhabited islands and beaches you can enjoy. Oh, and the official language is English, and the currency is USD, so it’s amazingly convenient for travelers from the States.
10. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne may be one of Australia’s largest metropolises, but it also happens to be an unparalleled vacation spot. There are plenty of great beaches in the city, like St. Kilda — but for the real good stuff, take a drive along the Great Ocean Road. It’s a 151-mile stretch of coastline, rugged scenery (including the stunning Twelve Apostles an hour or two outside of Melbourne), deserted beaches, and prime surf spots, putting every other road trip route to shame.