By December or January, those of us experiencing winter weather are ready for a break. But is it possible to find warm-weather destinations that won’t break the bank? In a word, yes! We’ve put together a great list of cheap, warm-weather vacation ideas. Below, find three U.S. destinations and three international destinations that will warm you up while saving you money.
Inexpensive U.S. Warm-Weather Destinations
The nice thing about seeking sunny getaways in the U.S. is the lack of travel time and lower airfare (if any at all). You don’t have to cross the globe to find warm water and blue skies!
1. Palm Springs, CA. An easy flight from most parts of the U.S., the city of Palm Springs, CA is a new favorite getaway for me and my family. What it offers: desert beauty and outdoor recreation, world-class spas and golf, excellent cuisine, and perfect lounge-by-the-pool weather. What it lacks: the showiness of Las Vegas or the harried atmosphere of Southern California. While in Palm Springs, rent a villa instead of booking a hotel room: not only will you be more relaxed, but these getaways (some of which even include a chef!) are more affordable than you’d think. Spend your mornings hiking, golfing, or riding the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway and your afternoons by the pool.
2. Ojai, CA. Yes, another California destination… I can’t help it if there’s sunny skies here! If you haven’t heard of Ojai, however, you’re not alone. This sleepy artist community in the hills above Los Angeles likes its privacy, as will its visitors. Stay at the Blue Iguana Inn to surround yourself with lush gardens and tranquil desert mountain views in all seasons. In the winter months, travelers stroll through the art galleries downtown or visit the area olive oil farm in mildly pleasant temperatures, and feel a million miles away from the city.
3.Gulf Shores, AL. You don’t need to go to Florida for white sand beaches and sunny weather. Gulf Shores offers miles of sand, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and dolphin cruises. There are plenty of Alabama Gulf Shores oceanfront hotels to choose from, and families will love the laid-back atmosphere so far from the spring break hotspot of Orlando, Florida.
Budget International Warm-Weather Destinations
4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Caribbean waters meet budget-friendly accommodations in the Dominican Republic. For easy Punta Cana travel, Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa is family-friendly, with onsite beaches, pools, kids’ clubs, and dining. The Punta Cana Ecological Reserve is an easy distance from all lodging, and offers 12 freshwater lagoons and tropical habitats.
5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s not exactly a secret that Mexico is a great destination for warm-weather travel, but Puerto Vallarta gets my top vote due to its affordable access from most U.S. airports. The lush mountains overlooking the city are perfect for Puerto Vallarta horseback tours, and while the hotels closest to town can have a party atmosphere, lodging north and south of the boardwalk area — such as our pick, Velas Vallarta – are affordable and quiet.
6. Costa Brava, Spain. Located on the Mediterranean Sea above Barcelona, Costa Brava may not be the most affordable destination to get to from the U.S., but once there, the abundance of hotels, restaurants, and beaches make it a discerning traveler’s dream. Known for its fresh cuisine and fun shopping, Costa Brava offers affordable fun in the form of beaches, hiking, and daytime excursions.
Where do you flock for sunny winter weather? Do you take budget into consideration? What are your cheap vacation ideas for winter?