Winter sometimes gets a bad rap: chilly, wet weather, very little sunlight, and short days. But it’s actually the best time to take a vacation or go on an exotic adventure. After all, you do not want to go to a steaming rainforest or a roasting Greek island at the height of summer when temperatures can be well over 100 degrees!
So whether you are a winter warrior looking for a new spot to enjoy some outdoor challenges, a beach bum dreaming of lapping blue water and soft sand, or someone searching for more of a peaceful, cultural experience, with our list of the best places to vacation in winter, you are sure to find the perfect spot to break up the dark nights of this dark season.
The U.S. has some nice beaches, but to really get away from it all, we recommend hopping on a plane to some of the more far-flung, glamorous seaside spots such as New Zealand or Brazil where you will be out of cell phone range but most definitely within range of the best waterfront locations in the world.
To ensure you arrive rested and energized after your long flight, and ready for all the swimming, snorkeling, and dancing the night away that you will ultimately partake in, take along one of our revolutionary travel pillows, such as the Evo Microbead™ which has a convenient media/storage pouch for your smartphone, and our Bamboo Compression Socks™.
- Phuket, Thailand – While the high season is winter, and therefore more expensive, prices are still relatively low compared to Europe and the U.S. at this time of year. The 90-degree sun-filled days are perfect for lazing at any number of the island’s diverse beaches (from upscale resorts to family-oriented beaches with play parks) and you bypass the July-October monsoon season.When not sunbathing, you can explore the gorgeous, lush wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, blue lagoons, aquariums, gardens and Buddhist temples around the island, or head to the large towns and cities for outstanding cuisine, first-rate hotels, and relaxing spas.
- Zanzibar & Serengeti National Park, Tanzania – In addition to being one of the best places to vacation in winter, Tanzania is also one of the best holiday vacations for families. The famous spice island of Zanzibar, right off the coast, is permeated by alluring smells and glorious beaches. There are five main roads on the island, but you will want to spend most of your time in or near the water, scuba diving in the barrier reefs, sampling the fresh seafood, and lazing on the sugar-soft sand. Of course, you will want to go inland to check out Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore the small forest populated with adorable red colobus monkeys.After relaxing on the island, head to the mainland of Tanzania to witness one of the most stunning natural phenomena on the planet: the Great Migration, in which more than one million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles embark on the largest and longest migration on earth. Serengeti National Park, “the place where the land moves on forever,” is a wildlife retreat in which the oldest roads are ancient elephant paths and you can stay in tented camps (at any level of economy or luxury) right on the planes among the animals.
- Auckland, NZ – In the third most livable city on the globe, the natural world and metropolitan life go hand in hand. Take to the air with its world-class skydiving and bungee jumping, or explore on foot and kayak the 48 volcanic cones, more than 50 beaches, and 18,000 miles of picturesque coastline. At night, head into the heart of this multicultural city for some exquisite cuisine and magnificent accommodations. Go on a sampling tour of the local, award-winning wineries and see why this city is at the top of our list of some of the best places to vacation in winter.
- Costa Rica – The happiest country on Earth! And how could it not be as it is steeped in constantly-warm, soothing water, dazzling beaches, lush rainforests, fascinating and colorful wildlife, and laid-back culture. In fact, the most common phrase you’ll hear is pura vida, literally translating to “pure life,” but most often imbued with a sense of stress-free, relaxed living.And there are always things to explore, no matter how long you travel or live there: caves filled with bats, misty volcanic peaks, farm-to-table restaurants, white-water rapids. Next to relaxing, adventuring is the national pastime, whether it’s hiking, biking, ziplining, or rafting.
From cozy cabins to world-renowned ski resorts, New England to Iceland, the resorts and enclaves listed below offer some of the best places to vacation in winter, whether for a long, romantic getaway or a family day of fun. And to stay cozy and warm on your adventures, bring along our ultra-soft, ultra-convenient 4-in-1 Fold ‘N Go™ blanket and case.
- Winvian Farm, Morris, CT – It’s hard to beat the charm of New England in winter. For a secluded, delightful getaway, head to this 113-acre resort with its own five-star, farm-to-table restaurant, 18 uniquely decorated bungalows, exercise classes and loads of outdoor activities, from snowshoeing to sledding. The modest little town of Morris becomes a snowy fantasy in winter that will banish any hint of the seasonal blues.
- Methow Valley, WA – If cross-country skiing is your passion, then the Methow Valley is definitely your best place to vacation in winter. With more than 125 miles of well-marked trails through the foothills of the tranquil North Cascade mountains, you can traverse the entire breadth of the valley one hut at a time.It is no wonder this is the Northwest’s most popular recreation destination as it’s full of fun little towns, genuine old west museums, art galleries, country markets, community plays and a sport unknown to most of us, snowshoe softball! There’s also a wonderful 3-day winter hot-air balloon festival each year so you can take a peaceful float over the snow-capped summits.
- Reykjavik, Iceland – The world’s northernmost capital astonishes all who visit with its famous geothermal spas (with waters temps averaging 100 degrees), rumbling volcanos and stunning northern lights. And winter is off-season so prices and crowds are at their lowest. Fortunately, the music and art scene is just revving up at the same time, so if you love festivals, Reykjavik should be your winter destination.Starting in January with the Dark Music Days festival, you can find something for everyone, including foodies (don’t miss the Food and Fun Festival), kids (the Children’s Culture festival is a delight for “kids” of all ages), film-lovers (the Stockfish Film Festival shows a wide variety of international award-winners), and of course, music fans (too numerous to list, but some favorites are the Reykjavik Folk Music Festival and the Reykjavik Blues Festival).
- Breckenridge, CO – A list of the best places to vacation in winter would be incomplete without a world-class ski resort. The charming town of Breckenridge is one of the most beloved ski destinations for a reason: aside from it’s gorgeous slopes and scenery, it’s brimming with enjoyable and amusing outdoor entertainment and activities, such as the international snow sculpture competition and the Ullr Fest which celebrates the Nordic god of snow.And if skiing is not your thing, there’s plenty of fun to be had sledding, shopping or visiting some of the more than 250 buildings on the National Historic Register. After a day out exploring or hitting the slopes, curl up next to a warm fire with a cup of the best hot chocolate in town from the Blue Moose restaurant.
Sand or snow… or something in between? Not all of the best winter vacation places are obvious choices, and sometimes you want something a little different than the typical winter destinations filled with either slopes or beach umbrellas. So on our list we have included some spots that might not come to mind at first when one thinks of the best holiday vacations, but are perfect for relaxing while being immersed in unique cultures.
- Savannah, GA – For a taste of Southern charm and some of the best regional food this side of the Mason-Dixon, Savannah can’t be beat. With its cobblestone streets, impressive and diverse Federal, Victorian Regency, Greek, Gothic Revival, and Italianate architecture, and Spanish-moss covered Live Oaks, it’s also one of the more beautiful cities in the South.While winter is the off season, meaning lower prices and less crowds, the list of activities and sites to see is no less impressive than during the summer months. Witness Civil War reenactments and the Cannon Firing at Old Fort Jackson, follow along on a Second Saturday Art Walk, or meander through one of the many colorful winter farmers’ markets held regularly throughout the season.
- Amalfi Coast, Italy – Ready to put your passport to use? If you haven’t yet visited the Amalfi Coast in Italy, don’t hesitate as this is one of the best places to vacation in winter. Book your tickets and rental car now and go drive the most amazing panoramic road trip in Europe.The low season means not only better prices and less crowds, but most importantly for this particular location, no huge tour buses blocking your lane! You can zip through the ridiculously picturesque villages clinging to the jagged cliffs, pull off to explore charming harbors, sample fresh-from-the-Tyrrhenian-Sea fish, and stock up on local limoncello and olive oil. With all this and more, you will never want to say “Ciao!”
Winter can be a wonderful time of year to spend time with friends and family, explore new destinations, and enjoy the quixotic climate. Whether heading to the beach or the mountains, Cabeau wants to help you travel better in comfort. With our list of the best places to vacation in winter and award-winning travel neck pillows and comfort accessories, you will see that winter may just turn in to your favorite season!