You deserve to celebrate the holidays a little differently this year. Your days of shoveling snow are to be rewarded with surfing, swimming and satisfying cocktails. That’s why we’re unpacking some of the hottest destinations that are proficient in Vitamin D and beachside bliss. Replace your beanie with a sun hat and swap your snowsuit for a swimsuit during a holiday getaway that is sure to melt your winter blues away.
You don’t have to go far to find your beach. Florida is home to the bustling metropolis of Miami, a place where a wide variety of travelers can find just what they’re looking for when they aren’t in search of snow. Miami is home to the vibrant nightlife of South Beach, the Art Deco District and Little Havana, making this an ideal vacation for a group of friends. However, Miami is also a great place for family fun. Pack the kids in the car and get ready for salty beach days and maritime adventure. Miami offers an assortment of fine Cuban cuisine, well-curated museums and access to hidden gems along the coastline. Miami is chock-full of things to do, so what are you waiting for? Stuff your bags and add these must-see attractions to your to-do list.
Adventure right outside of Miami to the Everglades National Park, home to the largest tropical wilderness in the United States.
The Art Deco Historic District is most powerful for its 1930’s architectural style, large neon signs and pastel buildings housing hotels, food, shopping and more.
What once was James Deering’s subtropical winter home in the 1910s is now the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark that offers a peek inside the world of European-influenced architecture, fine interiors and a history of prominent visitors.
Find the heat in South Beach. Soak up the sun on this popular beach or go for a stroll down the vivacious Ocean Drive.
“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you!” The Beach Boys comes to mind when we think of Aruba. This Caribbean island is perfect for escaping cold winters and heading to a destination where rainfall is rare, making it the ideal vacation spot all year long. The beaches are crystal clear with soft sand, especially at a true treasure such as Eagle Beach. But when you’re not in the mood to beach bum it up, venture deep into Aruba for a thrilling day spent soaking up all the culture. Deemed as a sleepy little island, Aruba actually has much to offer all year round. From the first Bonbini to the wave goodbye, you can experience culinary delights, wild hiking trails, hidden pools and perfect weather. And if you haven’t been before, you’re sure to return for more. Aruba prides itself on having more repeat visitors than any other Caribbean Island. Learn why when you visit these attractions.
Home to indigenous gems, Arikok National Park is full of caves, original Indian rock drawings, unusual land formations and guided nature walks. Pay it forward with the small entrance fee that goes towards the preservation of wildlife.
Retreat to Eagle Beach for gorgeous white sand and pristine blue waters. This beach is rumored to be one of the best places to spend the day in the Caribbean.
If you want to take a break from beachfront relaxation, head to the charming city of Oranjested. As the capital, this city features a cruise port and Dutch-Colonial architecture, making this place extremely rich in history.
Dive deep into the culture of Aruba when you head to Alto Vista Chapel. This Pilgrim’s church is a cherished landmark that was built in 1750 by the Spanish Missionary, Domingo Antonio Silvestre. The chapel sits high on a hill with unforgettable views of the north shore.
Aloha! Located on the south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach has become a prominent destination and humble host to Oahu’s hotels and resorts. Waikiki, known in Hawaiian as “spouting waters,” became a hot spot on the map when it opened its first hotel, Moana Surfrider, in 1901. Since then, Waikiki has become notoriously known for its gorgeous beaches, world-class shopping and endless entertainment. If you’re in the hunt for adventure, try something new when you ride the waves during a surf lesson. With surf culture being a staple in the Waikiki community, you can read tidbits of Waikiki history jotted down on the surfboards along the Waikiki Beach Trail. When you’ve outgrown the wetsuit, Waikiki will be ready to show you all it has to offer from delectable restaurants, high-end shopping and a sunset that you can’t get anywhere else. Check out some of Waikiki’s best attractions below.
Visit one of the most historic locations in the United States at Pearl Harbor. Embark on a walkthrough history with four distinct destinations including the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine & Park, Battleship Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
Spend the day indulging in the boutique shops, live performances, award-winning restaurants and locally made products offered at Waikiki Beach Walk®.
Take a walk on the wild side when you head to see the various animals at Honolulu Zoo with the kiddos.
The Nuuanu Pali Lookout is a Historical Landmark with astonishing panoramic views. Coast up the Pali Highway and through the trees to find yourself perched among the mountain peaks over a thousand feet above the Oahu coastline.
The Bahamas is your playground for maritime adventure. From San Salvador and Rum Cay to The Exumas and The Abacos, the Bahamas offers 700 subtropical islands that will let your summer live on forever. Atlantis is an obvious choice when planning your getaway to the Bahamas. However, there is so much more beyond secluded resorts and beachside cabanas. The country’s capital, Nassau, offers a diverse marketplace filled with cultural trinkets and treasures, a haven for the bargain shopper. For the history buff, there’s much to discover from the ruins and artifacts left behind from the colonial era and indigenous peoples such as the Lucayan and Arawak Indians on San Salvador and Cat Island. Voted as One of the Best Winter Family Vacations, you’re going to want to put your swimsuits to good use here. Filled with friendly and humorous people, johnnycakes and the Junkanoo festivals, there is much to do during your time in the Bahamas. Check out some of the attractions that will bring heat to a blistering winter.
Grab your snorkel gear and head to the gorgeous Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park for an impeccable experience. The pristine water is an oasis to the ecological preserve and wildlife refuge. While you’re here, treat more than just your appetite for adventure when you feed the endangered Bahamian iguanas.
Embrace the world of looting pirates and ruthless revenge. The kids will love the interactive pirate experience at Pirates of Nassau in Old Town Nassau.
Located in a restored Victorian-era family home, the Albert Lowe Museum preserves the unique history and development of Abaco. Browse the collection of ships carved by Albert Lowe, historical artifacts, photographs, paintings, writing and more.
Atlantis is a destination within itself. A place for copious amounts of resort-style cocktails and endless relaxation for all involved. Atlantis features the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, a 141-acre water park, 11 pools and 5 miles of glorious beaches.
It’s the magical place where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. As one of the Caribbean region’s longest white sand coastlines, Punta Cana has been the sanctuary for blissful beach days and winter getaways. The town is nestled in the Dominican Republic, offering fabulous resorts, boutique hideaways and crystal-clear water accompanied by soft, luxurious sand. As one of the most diverse Caribbean countries, the Dominican offers cactus-lined landscape, fishing villages, unique foods and the highest peak in the region, Pico Duarte. However, the town of Punta Cana offers an oasis for the golfers, notorious as a golfer’s destination with 10 different courses located all along the strip. Whether you’re teeing up on the green or hiking at Hoyo Azul, Punta Cana is sure to please. Made for sun-seeking vacationers, beach bumming and Bachata, you’re not going to want to miss out on these glorious Caribbean treasures and attractions.
Hike through the trails of flora and fauna in Scape Park to land at the spectacular lagoon, Hoyo Azul. The lagoon features turquoise waters and a depth of 37 meters. When it’s time to dry off, clip in for a zip-line adventure at Scape Park.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the Punta Espada Golf Course is a difficult par-72 course unlike any other with its access to stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Rated #1 Golf Course in the Caribbean by Golfweek Magazine, you’re not going to want to miss teeing up at this special course.
Swim with the dolphins or simply shake hands at Dolphin Island Park. If you’re on the wild side of thrills, snorkel with the sharks or gear up for a ride on the radikal jet boat.
If you’re content with sitting beachside all day, Playa Arena Gorda is the place for you. This beach is dressed in soft sand and beautiful blue waters, shallow enough for all to enjoy. If you want to add an excursion to the agenda, Isla Catalina is another gorgeous beach known for its coral reef, the perfect destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Ready to put the shovel back in the shed? Book your tropical getaway this winter using exclusive rates on airfare and accommodations through Vacations by Marriott.