I visited my parents in South Dakota this holiday and was reminded of how harsh the Great Planes can be in the winter. As the whole US seems to be in a deep freeze right now it’s only natural to look out that frosted up window and dream of the warm sun hitting your face and basking in the golden glow. We made it through the holidays, and through the shortest day of the year here in the US and now it’s time to start thinking of the year ahead…and how we can escape winter!
Escape North America Now!!
I might be the only person who doesn’t really dream about beaches, I actually like traveling to places when they are at their harshest, so winter doesn’t bother me that much. As long as the sun is out, I’m happy; which is a great reason to live in sunny Denver! But I know I’m pretty unusual that way – most people dream of warm places to travel in the winter.
I have put together a few of my favorite warm weather destinations for those of you who have the frosty winter blues. Since it’s me, and you know I like to always be a little different – this isn’t your normal list of Caribbean islands or Aruba like destinations. Instead they area mix of active, warm, unusual, cultural destinations where you can get a tan, and get a much needed break from winter. Some are more of a trip than others, but unlike most roundup lists, all have been tested out by the author – me!
Best Places to Travel in Winter
Mexico’s Sea of Cortez
Are you looking for a winter getaway to Mexico? Don’t go where everyone else goes, do Mexico differently by small ship cruising through the Sea of Cortez with UnCruise Adventures! This isn’t some big stuffy cruise – this is a small ship adventure cruise and it was one of my favorite winter getaways I’ve done! It’s such an unknown place full of snorkeling, kayaking, beaches, hiking, and whales! This was the absolute best whale watching I’ve ever done…and I’ve done a lot.
Check out the Uncruise Adventures Sea of Cortez trip and just tell them Ottsworld sent you!
I’ve actually been to all of the Hawaiian islands – so if you are trying to decide which one – let me help you! When I go to Hawaii I love to find unusual tours and local experiences that you wouldn’t normally associate with Hawaii. That’s what I love about Hawaii – it’s surprising – it’s not just about beaches.
Here’s a few of my favorite unusual things to do on each island:
Big Island: Become an authentic Hawaiian cowboy and drive cattle with other paniolos! This is one of my favorite experiences on the Big Island and even beginner riders can participate. You’ll also enjoy Eexploring caves, lava tubes and craters at Volcanoes National Park.
A Big Island Itinerary
Kauai: My first thing I recommend on Kauai is to go to Thursday Poi day and have a complete local experience and get introduced and welcomed into the Hawaiian culture. After that, get out your hiking boots and your camera and go explore. And check out the photography hiking tours so you can really get the most out of your Kauai adventures!
Things to do in Kauai
Lana’i: This little known island is packed with things to do and with a small town local culture that you will fall in love with! This is a great island to slow down on – there is no glitz and glamour here (except for the 2 Four Seasons Hotels!) The landscapes there will surprise you from the orange moonscapes to the towering pine trees!
Things to do on Lana’i
Maui: Maui was my water playground, it was where I first learned to surf, and row a dugout canoe. But my favorite thing I did on this adventurous island was to take a drive on the Kahekili Highway full of twists, turns, views, and the simple Aloha culture.
Things to do on Maui
Molokai: Molokai is a gem among the islands, and it isn’t for everyone; it’s not like the rest of Hawaii. It’s slow, it’s not touristic, it’s the original Hawaii. It’s for people who really want to slow down and experience the old Hawaii and it’s culture. For those people, they will fall in love with Molokai. But if you are looking for tours, resorts, and decadent restaurants – you won’t find it here.
Things to do on Molokai
Oahu: You can do adventure, war history, and incredible food (high end and budget) all on Oahu. But most of all I just love to drive around this island, find secluded beaches, and stop for some of those incredible hikes!
Things to do on Oahu
You’ll find lots of sand in Morocco to make you forget your winter blues! I went to Morocco solo but traveled with a small group tour with Intrepid Travel. It was a great way to really experience the culture of Morocco without worrying about the logistics or being on my own! I find Morocco to be high on everyone’s travel list these days and for good reason. It’s a colorful, vibrant country with a culture vastly different than ours in America. It’s safe, and full of bucketlist experiences like wandering the streets of Fez, seeing the leather dying vats, and taking a camel safari into the Sahara. Not to mention spectacular hiking!
Check out all of the great Morocco offerings by Intrepid Travel – I loved my tour there and made some lifelong friendships out of it!
The perfect mix of beachy turquoise waters, and green, lush jungle, Belize has a variety of warm weather adventures to take. I went with my teenage niece as part of the Niece Project, where we did caving, hiking, snorkeling, and biking; all while sweating profusely soaking up the sun. Palm trees hanging over the water, little sand islands full of white sand, glowing sunsets with a margarita in your hand – this will make your winter blues disappear! We did a mix of jungle and beaches on our trip, but I can easily see how you might just get stuck on the beach and never want to leave!
Adventure Life can help you recreate this trip and more! See their customizable tours and travel to Belize!
This little island has a little bit of everything for the winter months. Warm, sandy beaches with surfing, turtles, and golden sunsets. Enjoy the tropical life and foods or go inland for ancient culture and spiritual hikes. Plus, you can get your safari fix in Sri Lanka at one of their safari parks and spot leopards and see hundreds of elephants migrate. I’ve been there 3 times and still love it! I’ve done it luxury and I’ve done it budget – both are great.
Learn more about Sri Lanka Intrepid Travel Tours!
I’m sorry, you read that right – the Arctic for a winter getaway. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw this into the mix. Why not consider EMBRACING THE COLD! Be Different and go north…far north to the arctic to herd reindeer and drive on ice roads! When most people think of going to the Arctic, they normally think of Scandinavia, Iceland, and Greenland in the summer. However, you don’t have to cross oceans to get to the Arctic, you can simply go north to Canada and Take a Real Arctic Adventure Tour!
Learn more about how you can take an Arctic Adventure Tour with Tundra North Tours.
Now you can throw away those mittens for a bikini and board shorts and escape winter!