Why sit at home nursing your winter blues when you can pack your bags and have the vacation of a lifetime? And it doesn’t matter what type of trip you’re looking for, there’s a destination to check out. Craving warm weather and a dip in the ocean? Consider the Caribbean or a sunny Florida beach. Don’t mind the cold? Check out some of the world-class ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies. Urban escapes are also on the list, so no matter which type of getaway you’re seeking, you definitely won’t be lacking for options.
Nassau — Bahamas
Cable Beach is one of the top beaches on Nassau, the main island in the Bahamas chain. It’s known for its pure white sand and its aquamarine water (perfect for swimming and snorkeling).
You’ll find plenty of resorts along the beach, including the recently opened Baha Mar Complex, home of three fancy hotels, a dazzling casino, and trendy restaurants.
Where to Stay: SLS Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
St. Petersburg — Florida
Best for White-Sand Beaches
In St. Petersburg, on Florida’s west coast, the sun is always shining and the beaches are always welcoming. Dip your toes in the Gulf of Mexico on St. Pete Beach, then visit some of the barrier island’s many art galleries and shops. The most iconic place to stay is the pink-hued Don CeSar Hotel.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Hotel Zamora, The Don CeSar Hotel
Princeville — Hawaii
Best for Tropical Beaches
Located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Princeville has so many Insta-worthy swimming areas to discover, including the famous Queen’s Bath, a natural tide pool surrounded by lava rocks, and Kauapea Beach, also known by locals as Secret Beach.
Where to Stay: Kauai Shores Hotel, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
Clearwater Beach — Florida
Best for Award-Winning Beaches
Clearwater is known for its wide, shallow beaches, ranging from the central Clearwater Beach to the more remote Caladesi Island, which was recognized as one of the nation’s top strands in 2018, according to Dr. Beach. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants, where you can sample fresh Gulf seafood.
Where to Stay: Sheraton Sand Key Resort, Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
Best for Pink-Sand Beaches
The island of Bermuda, off the coast of North Carolina, is famous for its pink-sand beaches, and one of the most spectacular is Horseshoe Bay, located on the south shore. Visitors can expect bathtub-warm turquoise water and pink-hued sand while at this crescent-shaped beauty.
Where to Stay: Fairmont Southampton, Grotto Bay Beach Resort & Spa
Cocoa Beach — Florida
Best for Active Types
Along Florida’s east coast, Cocoa Beach has plenty of wide, sandy stretches, as well as water activities like kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. Plus, for all those Mickey Mouse fans, Disney World is just an hour’s drive away, making it an ideal day trip.
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral, Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront
San Diego — California
Best for Family-Friendly Beaches
Families love San Diego because of its miles of lifeguard-patrolled beaches and proximity to attractions like SeaWorld. Favorites strands include Coronado Beach, a wide, sandy stretch with calm water, and Mission Beach, which is famous for its oceanfront amusement park with rides and arcade games.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency La Jolla, La Valencia Hotel
Telluride — Colorado
Best for a Rustic-Chic Vibe
Nestled in an alpine valley in the Colorado Rockies, Telluride is more secluded than many of Colorado’s other ski resorts, which is what makes it so special. After spending the day on the slopes, head to the New Sheridan Hotel, dating from 1895, for craft beers in the old-timey saloon, which features original mahogany and brass detailing.
Where to Stay: New Sheridan Hotel, Lumière Hotel
Aspen — Colorado
Best Luxury Ski Resort
One of Colorado’s most fabled ski resorts, Aspen attracts plenty of Hollywood celebrities and Fortune 500 types, who come for the skiing on Ajax Mountain, the lavish après-ski at high-end hotels just steps from the slopes, and designer boutiques selling everything from cowboy boots to fur coats.
Where to Stay: Limelight Hotel Aspen, The St. Regis Aspen Resort
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort — Wyoming
Best for Serious Skiers
Jackson Hole ski resort is known to have some of the most challenging terrain in the country, so it’s no surprise that it attracts top-notch skiers from all over the world. It also has jaw-dropping views of the Grand Tetons and authentic Western-style bars and restaurants — don’t miss the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Where to Stay: Mountain Modern Hotel, Hotel Jackson
Lake Placid — New York
Best for Winter Olympics Fans
This charming Adirondack village has hosted the Winter Olympics twice (1932 and 1980), and the famous Miracle on Ice took place here (where U.S. went on to win the gold in ice hockey after beating the formidable Soviet team in one of the most dramatic upsets in sports history) — you can actually take a tour of the ice rink.
When you’re ready for downhill skiing, head just out of town to Whiteface Mountain, with 87 trails for all levels, including plenty of black diamonds.
Where to Stay: Mirror Lake Inn, The Haus
Vail — Colorado
Best for Varied Terrain
This adorable Bavarian-style resort, 100 miles west of Denver, has top-notch skiing for all abilities. You’ll find 200 trails across 5,000 acres of ski and snowboard terrain, including its famous Back Bowls. Vail also has an excellent ski school for group or individual lessons, and lots of good restaurants and bars in the village.
Where to Stay: Hotel Talisa, The Sebastian – Vail
Park City Mountain — Utah
Best Main Street
After an exhilarating day on the slopes, kick back in the former silver-mining town of Park City. Its Main Street is lined with independent boutiques, trendy restaurants, and buzzy bars, many of which are housed in historic Victorian buildings.
Where to Stay: Park City Peaks Hotel, The Chateaux Deer Valley
Stowe Mountain Resort — Vermont
Best East Coast Resort
While at Stowe, you can not only ski and snowboard down Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s tallest mountain), but you can also try fun outdoor activities like dogsledding and snowmobiling. In nearby Stowe Village, shop for local maple syrup and cheddar cheese at Stowe Mercantile.
Where to Stay: Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, Stowe Mountain Lodge
Miami — Florida
Best for Celebrity-Spotting
Was that A-Rod and J.Lo? Wait, is that Rihanna? Yes and yes. Celebrities flock to Miami for its year-round sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, art deco buildings in South Beach, and see-and-be-seen restaurants. They stay in trendy waterfront hotels like Faena and The Setai, and dine in restaurants like Byblos and Prime 112. Plus, the city was named one of the top places to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet.
Where to Stay: Faena Hotel Miami, The Setai
Charleston — South Carolina
Best for Historic Charm
Charleston, known for its antebellum mansions, horse-drawn carriages, and cobblestone streets, is one of the country’s most charming cities. This southern gem also has a first-rate dining scene, with chefs adding modern twists to classic Southern dishes, such as Sean Brock at Husk.
Where to Stay: French Quarter Inn, Zero George
Austin — Texas
Best for Live Music
Austin’s music scene is legendary. Try to see a taping of Austin City Limits, where everyone from Willie Nelson to Ed Sheeran has performed, and stop by some of the city’s rocking bars, saloons, honky-tonks, and clubs to catch established and up-and-coming bands.
Where to Stay: Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin, W Austin
Las Vegas — Nevada
Best for Nightlife
You know the saying … what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Plan on getting a little wild while you’re in Sin City. See a Cirque du Soleil show, play a few hands of poker or a few rounds of roulette, party hard at one of the many pool parties, dine in see-and-be-seen restaurants, and dance till dawn in mega-clubs.
Where to Stay: The Palms Casino Resort, The Venetian Las Vegas
New Orleans — Louisiana
Best for Foodies
While you can definitely get your drink on in New Orleans (you’ll be hard-pressed to walk down Bourbon Street without being offered one), the Big Easy also boasts delicious cuisine. Expect everything from gumbo and jambalaya to po’ boys and beignets.
Where to Stay: New Orleans Downtown Marriott, Ace Hotel New Orleans
San Francisco — California
Best City for Selfies
Whether it’s the hilly streets, the famous streetcars, the Victorian homes known as the Painted Ladies, or the views of the bay and the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, you won’t be lacking for scenic spots to snap a few selfies while in San Francisco.
Where to Stay: Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
New York City — New York
Best for Shopping
When it comes to shopping, it’s hard to beat the Big Apple. Charge up a storm in the designer stores on Madison Avenue, trendy boutiques in Soho, posh department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, and bargain emporiums like Century 21 across from the World Trade Center. Trust us: You’re gonna need a bigger suitcase.
Where to Stay: Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, The Michelangelo Hotel
Martha’s Vineyard — Massachusetts
Best for New England Charm
For a laid-back getaway, catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Cape Cod. Stay in the ridiculously charming village of Edgartown, filled with historic inns like Kelley House, steps from the harbor. After a lobster roll lunch (naturally!), rent bikes to explore the village of Oak Bluffs and the stunning Aquinnah Cliffs.
Where to Stay: Kelley House, The Charlotte Inn
Jekyll Island — Georgia
Best for Nature Lovers
What was originally an exclusive destination for America’s most elite to vacation, Jekyll Island now attracts nature lovers, who appreciate its gorgeous beaches, world-class bird-watching, and nature center, which offers island walks and ecology programs.
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island, The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club
Pahoa — Hawaii
Best for an Affordable Escape
Pahoa, on the Big Island, offers the best of Hawaiian living but at affordable prices. Snorkel in the Kapoho Tide Pools, take a scenic hike through Lava Tree State Park, pick up local produce at the Maku’u Farmer’s Market, and stroll along Kehena, a beautiful black-sand beach.
Where to Stay: Hilo Reeds Bay Hotel, Hilo Seaside Hotel
Aruba — Caribbean
Best for Duty-Free Goods
If you like to do a little shopping while chilling on a tropical island, then Aruba is the place for you. In addition to top strands like Palm Beach, the town of Oranjestad has duty-free shops, where you can purchase items like jewelry, electronics, liquor, and perfume.
Where to Stay: Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort
Key West — Florida
Best Party Vibe
On Key West, happy hour starts at 3 p.m., so you know you’re in for a good time at this tropical getaway just 90 miles from Cuba. Have drinks in some of the island’s famous Duval Street watering holes like Sloppy Joe’s, and make sure you get a prime viewing spot in Mallory Square for the nightly sunset.
Where to Stay: The Gates Hotel Key West, The Marker
Pawleys Island — South Carolina
Best for Anglers
Pawleys Island is known for its top-notch fishing. From inshore fishing to surf fishing, Pawleys has angling options for all levels. After a day of reeling in flounder and trout, unwind on Litchfield Beach or stroll through pretty Brookgreen Gardens.
Where to Stay: The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn, Best Western Pawleys Island
Turks and Caicos — Caribbean
Best for Snorkeling
Turks and Caicos has some of the best snorkeling in the entire Caribbean. While you can see rainbow-hued fish while snorkeling in the waters of Grace Bay Beach, the most colorful marine life can be seen during a half- or full-day catamaran snorkeling cruise.
Where to Stay: Grace Bay Suites, The Oasis at Grace Bay
Palm Springs — California
Best for Architecture Buffs
Relaxing, golfing, and sunning yourself by the pool are all musts when spending time in this laid-back resort town, but be sure to save time to see its famous architecture, too — Palm Springs boasts the largest concentration of mid-century modern buildings (tours available).
Stay in places like L’Horizon, named the top resort in Southern California by Conde Nast Traveler‘s Readers’ Choice Awards.
Where to Stay: The Riviera Palm Springs, L’Horizon
Santa Fe — New Mexico
Best for Art Lovers
Santa Fe is known for its desert landscapes, adobe architecture, and Southwestern cuisine, but it also has an incredible art scene. Stroll Canyon Road, lined with art galleries and pop into museums, such as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (the turquoise jewelry display is not to be missed!).
Where to Stay: Drury Plaza Hotel, Inn and Spa at Loretto
Sedona — Arizona
Best for Red Rock Viewing
The red rocks of Sedona are some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the Western United States. Many get quite spiritual while gazing at these rust-hued mesas and buttes, so it’s little wonder that the town has a decidedly New Age vibe. But it also has fun spots for margaritas and chips and guac.
Where to Stay: Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona, Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock
Taos — New Mexico
Best for Culture Lovers
Taos, which inspired Georgia O’Keeffe, is home to dozens of art galleries, showcasing everything from Native American sculpture to contemporary paintings. In the Millicent Rodgers Museum, check out the stunning turquoise jewelry collection.
Where to Stay: Hotel La Fonda Taos, El Monte Sagrado
Phoenix/Scottsdale — Arizona
Best for Glamorous Pools
The desert heat can get intense, so being near a swimming pool is a must. Phoenix and Scottsdale resorts go all-out with their pools, offering guests everything from comfy cabanas and poolside dining to family-friendly waters slides and lazy rivers.
Where to Stay: Hotel Valley Ho, Arizona Biltmore
Tucson — Arizona
Best for Outdoor Adventures
Tucson, named one of the top places to go in 2019 by Fodor’s, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers love the cacti-lined trails in Saguaro National Park, mountain climbers challenge themselves on Mount Lemmon, and horseback riders can saddle up at local guest ranches.
Where to Stay: The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
La Quinta — California
Best for Avid Golfers
With more than 20 golf courses, La Quinta is one of the premier spots in the country to whack that little white ball down the fairway. Play on courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, then quench your thirst with a beer in the clubhouse, aka the 19th hole.
Where to Stay: Indian Wells Resort Hotel, La Quinta Resort & Club
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