At first, winter feels refreshing and a bit exciting but as the cold days drag on, the season can soon become dreary and the sunny warmth of spring can seem so far away. Luckily, winter is a great time to travel, being a time of less crowds and lower airfares. Beautiful beaches around the world beckon you with warm, welcoming sands and adventurous activities. Possible on any budget, cheap winter beach vacations present an exciting opportunity to get away from the chill of winter and top up your fading tan! The best winter beach vacations may be the ones that you least expected. To help you in find your perfect beach getaway, we’ve compiled an extensive list of our favorite winter destinations to get your thinking started...
Escape on a Budget: Remarkable Yet Cheap Winter Beach Vacations
Close to home, the Florida Keys is still one of the best Winter beach vacations and can feel a world away from the rest of the country. A legendary American road trip on Highway 1 takes you a meandering 113 miles to the most southernmost point in the continental states. There are several beloved state parks along the highway route and abundant opportunities to enjoy water sports, snorkeling, and fishing. An offshore reef protects the coastline in the keys, meaning that the beaches are narrow but there are several popular sheltered areas on the major islands with easy access to shallow swimming waters.
Another convenient winter beach destination is Southern California, where surfer and beach culture is a year round attitude. Sunny and warm throughout the winter months, towns such as artsy Laguna Beach can serve as your home base to explore the Los Angeles/Orange County areas and their numerous attractions. Laguna boasts more than a dozen different beaches in town with one of the most well known ones being the picturesque ‘Thousand Steps’. Near San Diego, La Jolla is an active beach with swimming, tide pools, surfing, and kayaking. Anchoring a full scale resort area, La Jolla is known for its dramatic scenery.
A bit further south, Mexico's Pacific Coast is one of the perfect destinations for cheap winter beach vacations and home to many popular winter getaways such as Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan, both of which enjoy convenient flight services from nearby American cities. Sitting where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas is known for unique rock formations and massive dunes. The beaches here are highly swimmable as well as being frequented by surfers. Mazatlan has often won awards for its golden sands and it’s certainly a busy, urban beach scene. Calm waters and reliably sunny days make Mazatlan beaches a favorite for many, including families and students.
You really can’t go wrong with a visit to Hawaii anytime as it’s always going to be a popular locale and one of best Winter beach vacations but it’s especially pleasant in the winter when it’s guaranteed to be warm and tropical. Being a group of islands, Hawaii has 750 miles of coastlines and many types of beaches to suit all tastes. Enjoy an abundance of water activities on Hawaii’s beaches such as swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. All of the islands offer a plenitude of other attractions if you do decide to step off the beach at any time.
Thailand is often claimed king of cheap Winter beach vacations. The many picture perfect islands of Thailand are beloved by divers and beach goers with well known names including Koh Samui, Phuket, Koh Phangan and Koh Chang. The islands all have their own style (often related to how easily they can be reached) with some accommodations catering to backpackers, others to couples, families, or party-goers.
TOP PICK: The Best Winter Beach Vacations are Easily Found on Belize’s Ambergris Caye
With such an abundance of excellent beach getaway choices, it’s difficult to declare what are the best winter beach vacations. And yet, when you consider cost, convenience, and what is available to the visitor, Ambergris Caye in Belize easily can top any list. Belize is close to the United States, English speaking, affordable, and has something for everyone. On Ambergris Caye you’ll have the chance to relax on uncrowded beaches, dive and snorkel the renowned Belize Barrier Reef, and enjoy many types of water sports. Opportunities also exist to trek in tropical jungles, explore Mayan ruins, and explore an extensive underground cave river system. Winter is the dry season in Belize with both air and water temperatures reliably in the mid-70’s.
We hope that our article on the best Winter beach vacations has inspired you and helped you pick out the destination for your next vacation! Don’t feel blue during winter, when you could book yourself an affordable getaway and enjoy the sun.