For many Americans, the holiday season marks the start of cold weather and snow. It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit when you’re bundled in three layers of clothes and shoveling snow out of the driveway.
If the weather outside is frightful, give yourself the gift of a last-minute warm holiday getaway this holiday season.
1. St. Augustine, Florida
An affordable getaway right on the coast of Florida. St. Augustine has beautiful beaches, friendly locals and a rich history. It is, after all, the oldest city in the nation.
Visit the iconic St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, or book a sailing adventure. Enjoy an afternoon of fishing, or play a round at Anastasia Miniature Golf. At Black Raven Adventures, you can be a pirate – or just act like one – on their interactive cruise.
History buffs will love the Colonial Quarter, Fountain of Youth, Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas.
Whether you’re looking to escape the big city or enjoy a weekend of adventure, St. Augustine has something for everyone.
2. Pensacola, Florida
Offering beautiful beaches, a rich history and diverse culture, Pensacola is the perfect place to escape winter weather. Enjoy their world-famous beaches – and have them all to yourself. With tourists gone for the winter, Pensacola is much quieter. You won’t have to fight the crowds to enjoy all this city has to offer.
Go snorkeling or sailing at Pensacola Beach, or climb 177 steps up the historic Pensacola Lighthouse.
Downtown Pensacola has a laid-back vibe, with a diverse culture and fascinating history. During the holiday season, you’ll find many fun events to enjoy. At night, take a stroll downtown to see the city illuminated by 400,000 lights.
Pensacola is an affordable, last-minute getaway that will please the whole family.
3. Miami, Florida
Miami has the warmest winter weather on the mainland U.S. Highs in December range from 75-77F, with evening temperatures hovering around 60F.
Unlike other beach destinations, winter is one of the busiest times of year for Miami. The roads are the most crowded – as are the beaches and hotels.
Miami is probably your best bet for a warm holiday, but you’ll need to book fast. Expect to pay more to travel to this bustling city.
The city’s art deco buildings and beautiful beaches won’t disappoint. With vibrant nightlife, a thriving art scene, tropical gardens and award-winning restaurants, Miami is the place to go if you want to see and be seen.
4. Galveston Island, Texas
Galveston is a popular cruise port of call, but it’s also home to stunning beaches. Winter flights are cheap, and hotels start at under $100 a night.
The barrier island is just 30 miles long and 3 miles wide. Beaches are far less crowded, and the locals are warm and friendly.
The city hosts many holiday-themed events. The 36-block historic district will sparkle with lights and lasers. The Grand 1894 Opera House will host several events, including The Nutcracker, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Christmas Carol.
Texas is a big state, and Galveston Island is all the way south – not far from Houston. If you’re planning a road trip to Galveston, be prepared for traffic. In one recent year, 262 billion miles were traveled in Texas. Although winter is off-season, you can still expect to hit a lot of traffic on your way to town.
5. Savannah, Georgia
Romantic and historic, Savannah has great weather this time of year. And because most of the tourists have gone home, the city is quieter and more accessible.
Visit the 22 squares in the city, each offering its own piece of history. Savannah is home to many wonderful monuments, statues and beautiful places to sit. Check out the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, known as the “Sistine of the South.”
Visit some of the many art galleries in town, or jam out at a music festival. Savannah hosts several music festivals throughout the year.
If you’re up for a drive, you can head over to Tybee Island – just 20 minutes from Savannah. The island has beautiful beaches, great shopping and excellent food.