Editors' Picks: Hot Winter Vacations

Heat things up! Our staff chose 10 picturesque destinations for travelers to escape cold winter weather. Plan your next vacation to one of these hot spots.
Related To:

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Danita Delimont/ Gallo Images/ Getty Images

Photo By: Jane Sweeney/ AWL Images/ Getty Images

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Kathleen Rellihan

Photo By: Thinkstock

Greek Isles

What’s not to love about the Greek isles? With 227 islands to choose from, you’ve got plenty of options. Santorini is best known as a romantic honeymoon destination with breathtaking sunsets, while Mykonos and Crete showcase some of the world’s most beautiful beaches -- and of course, pulsating Greek nightlife! Can’t decide which island is for you? Take an Aegean Sea cruise and see what each has to offer!

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Perched over the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Amalfi Coast is a great winter getaway. You may not be lounging poolside in your bikini in the dead of winter, but the temperature along this rocky green coastline rarely drops below 50 degrees. For a dose of history, visit nearby Pompeii, and take the hydrofoil to Capri to see the sunlight stream into the fabled Blue Grotto. Oh, and don’t leave without at least a few sips of limoncello!

South Beach, Miami

Head to South Beach, FL, this winter to see the sexiest sunbathers in the US. Known as the second home to several celebrities, this Miami hood is also revered for its warm winter weather, pastel Art Deco architecture, exclusive nightclubs, hip boutique hotels and high-end shops. Don’t leave without sampling the cuisine at popular restaurants like Joe’s Stone Crab. Take an oceanfront bike ride to burn off the calories. Note: If you really want to let it all hang out, take a short trip to Haulover Beach to sunbathe au naturel.

Kauai, Hawaii

There's a reason this waterfall was featured in the opening credits of the classic TV show Fantasy Island -- Wailua Falls is a fantasy come true. Venture off the beaten path for an up-close look at the 173-foot falls that Hawaiian men in times past would leap from to prove their manhood. Nowadays, the less adventurous of us can enjoy the falls from the safety of Maalo Road.

Los Angeles

There is no place like La La Land, home to the nation’s best weather and to Hollywood's biggest stars. Drive 10 to 15 minutes in any direction, and you'll more than likely be dipping your toes in the sand in no time. People watch on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, where you'll never know what sideshow you just may see, or venture down to Manhattan Beach to spot a celebrity. 

Dominican Republic

Taste a slice of paradise in the Dominican Republic, the small island in the Caribbean just west of Puerto Rico. The "DR," as it’s often called, is filled with great people, food and culture. For a savory late-night snack, head to Barra Payan, an eatery that sells hot sandwiches 24 hours a day. Hungry for an ocean view? Swing by Boca Chica Beach, and enjoy the waves like the local children do each day. 

San Diego

San Diego isn’t called “America’s Finest City” for nothing. Sure, you may have to bring your parka come winter, but you’re not likely to see any white flurries in this coastal haven -- snow’s only been seen here 5 times over the last 150 years. Hang 10 at San Diego’s Black’s Beach, and hightail it to Cabrillo National Momument to see gray whales migrate through the area beginning in mid- to late December.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

A short flight from LA, Los Cabos has become a winter playground for the rich and famous. Thirty miles of beautiful beaches, accompanied by watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as world-class resorts, golf courses and hip nightlife, are all reasons why Cabo San Lucas attracts an A-list crowd.

Costa Rica

It's easy to see why Costa Rica has been named the happiest country on Earth. With its beautiful beaches, warm water, rainforests, exotic wildlife and laid-back culture -- who wouldn't be happy here? Costa Ricans have a saying, "Pura vida," which loosely translates as "Life is good." And in Costa Rica, it certainly is.

Rio de Janeiro

Escape to Brazil’s hot spot, Rio de Janeiro, this winter. You’ll be able to fully enjoy the beaches, luxurious hotels and all the sights without the summertime crowds sure to accompany next summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup. Check out the tall and tanned and young and lovely girls and guys from Ipanema, stay at the Copacabana and experience Christ the Redeemer -- one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.