When there’s constant slush on the sidewalks and you’re wearing three layers of clothing but you’re still cold, is right about when you wish you were on a sunny vacation.
So this season, plan ahead by booking a trip out of town. Whether you’re just looking for some place that won’t require your heavy winter coat, or you want to spend the whole time in your bikini, here are six places to consider. And no matter where you go, it’s still likely to be warmer than it is in New York.
LEAVE THE HEAVY WINTER COAT AT HOME
This Southern city reeks of charm and offers plenty to keep those interested in history, shopping, architecture or dining out occupied. It also typically has a short, pleasant winter. Stroll the line of waterfront shops along River Street, or hit the Savannah River on a riverboat cruise. Bonus: Because it is the off-season for the city, hotel rates drop in the winter.
Thousands will be making plans to head to the Texas capitol of “weird” for the annual South by Southwest music festival in March. But with a mild winter, you can experience the college town before then — without the crowds. Take in a show or two at the Continental Club, get your fill of queso, breakfast tacos and BBQ and go two-stepping at the legendary honky tonk Broken Spoke. The locals will think it’s cold, but you’ll know better.
Sanibel Island, Florida
This quiet Florida island on the Gulf Coast offers a laid-back respite from the typical crowded beach town. Shelling is a major activity here, so make sure to walk the white sands and, if you’re really a fan, visit the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. You can also hit the hiking and canoe trails, go bird-watching at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, visit the historic lighthouse or hit the main land for the Edison and Ford estates in Fort Myers, the former homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
LAY ON THE BEACH
Turks and Caicos
December to March is peak season for this group of Caribbean islands, the most popular being Providenciales. It was even named the world’s best island by TripAdvisor this year, with miles of coral reefs making it a snorkeling and diving destination and its world-famous Grace Bay Beach and Chalk Sound National Park both the picture of paradise.
Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
Less than 3 1/2 hours away by plane — and no passport required — it’s no surprise why Puerto Rico is such a popular destination for New Yorkers. And if you’ve already been to main island sites like Old San Juan, Vieques is great for a more remote destination to enjoy the beaches. One of Puerto Rico’s three islands (the other two being the main island and Culebra), Vieques is accessible via a 90-minute ferry ride from Fajardo on the main island’s east coast or a short flight from Isla Grande Airport or Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
This Mexican resort town on the Yucatán Peninsula, about 80 miles south of Cancun, has been rising in profile in recent years, drawing visitors seeking a stay in paradise without the coeds. It’s also more expensive than other Mexican seaside spots, especially during its peak season from winter through spring break. So for laid-back luxury, this is the spot. Explore the Mayan ruins, dine at the downtown restaurants, practice yoga outdoors or just relax on the white-sand beach.