Escape to the Coast
Siesta Key, FL
Leave your cares and your coats behind. Many consider Siesta Key the Sunshine State's most romantic getaway. Others consider it the hidden jewel of Florida's West Coast. Head to this 8-mile-long barrier island for a paradise of crystal sands, blue water, and golden sunshine.
This year, try a whole new take on Christmas. Swap snowmen for sand castles, sweaters for swimsuits. Sail through the season on a cruise. It'll be the easiest―and most memorable―holiday ever.
Seven days for the family. No decorating. No cooking. No cleaning. Sound like a fantasy? Not on a Disney cruise. It's perfect for a newlywed couple, a family with kids, or a sprawling multigenerational clan.
If you're looking for an easygoing beachfront escape, then Tulum on the Maya Riviera is the spot. Winter never touches Tulum's aqua waters or its white-sand stretches, as temps rarely dip below 70 degrees, even in February. At this carefree Caribbean village, unplugged Atlanta execs mingle with Austin artists on sabbatical. And everyone packs lots of linen because the moonlight breeze down here is the real draw.
St. Pete Beach, FL
Find your perfect spot along the miles of fluffy white sand beaches for a kicked-back, who-cares-it's-winter getaway. Friday night shuffleboard games lure young couples, families, and empty nesters, and everyone rides beach cruisers along shady bike trails. Best of all, St. Pete prices still make you smile, and it's easy to find a straight-shot flight to this sunny side of Florida.
St. Augustine, FL
Take a shore-hugging ride on Florida's scenic A1A. Stroll the beach, inhale the salt air, and warm up in the Sunshine State.
Bald Head Island, NC
A leisurely pace is awfully important on this relaxing island, a dot near the southern tip of North Carolina's coastline. You better leave your desires for an up-tempo weekend on the mainland, because your fastest mode of transportation is a golf cart.
Palm Beach, FL
You want fabulous? When a guest turns into the long driveway that leads to The Breakers, shoulders relax, and a smile starts. This anticipatory feeling of ease and fun is only the beginning. The relaxation process that captures a visitor at The Breakers―the oceanside gem of Palm Beach, Florida―works like a gentle massage. A total of 140 acres await the person hopeful for a luxurious yet comfortable vacation. And no matter which way the weary wayfarer turns, there's something different to see, do, and enjoy.
St. Thomas: U.S. Virgin Islands
Situated between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the perfect gateway. Although known for its duty-free shopping, there's plenty more to see and do. Take home a heart full of memories instead of a suitcase packed with trinkets. You can book a tour guide or plan your own itinerary to spend your time as you like it.
Key West, FL
President Harry S. Truman once said, "I have a notion to move the capital to Key West and just stay." After visiting the nation's southernmost town, who wouldn't want to pack it up and make this magical place home? Especially this time of year when the temperate 75-degree days are followed by 65-degree evenings.
Cruise from Galveston, TX
Find blue water, sunshine, and warm breezes with a bargain four-day getaway to Cozumel, Mexico and beginning in Galveston, Texas.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
This time of year, sunshine, sea, and sand beckon. So why not grab your passport and answer the call? Playa del Carmen, Mexico, about an hour south of Cancún, offers everything you'd want in the sunshine, sea, and sand department--minus the wild reputation. Easily reachable by way of direct flights to Cancún from Atlanta, Houston, and other Southern hubs, this area promises a fun vacation with a Spanish accent and temperatures in the low 80s.
There's a lot to love in the emerald isles, 650 miles from North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. Now, during the off-season, you'll like Bermuda even more for lower prices and smaller crowds.
Without summer's tourist crush, you can enjoy the friendly toot of ferry horns on the harbor and the call of the kiskadee, a local songbird. Lush gardens bloom in the winter, too, with displays of oleander and poinsettia trees.
Green Oaks Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place for a great Gulf Coast getaway. This historic home along busy U.S. 90 in Biloxi, Mississippi, is certainly one of the most beautifully maintained and preserved structures along this stretch of coast. With all the development along this major highway, it's getting harder and harder to see the glorious remains of the way things used to look here.
Looking for an antidote to cold weather? Grab a long weekend tropical cruise out of Miami. You'll find the best rates on the oldest ships, such as Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas. Cruise-goers revel in their adventure at two different ports in the Bahamas.
Although it is more than 2,000 miles away from South Carolina, Barbados is accessible through several airlines, and offers a variety of hotels and restaurants.
Coconut Grove, FL
This place sings its own kind of music. In Coconut Grove, sailboats sway on Biscayne Bay. Traffic stops for peacocks. When you visit the colorful neighborhood south of downtown Miami, you don't need a car to get around anyway. Make like the free-ranging birds, and walk. Strut over to galleries, shops, and restaurants.