18 Incredible Winter Getaways to Book Now

Whether you dream of fresh powder, sandy shores or city streets, here are our top winter destinations for when the temperature drops. Warning: You may not want to come back.

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Miami, Florida

Every winter, the promise of sunny, 72-degree weather beckons visitors to Miami, Fla. Beyond the requisite Cuban sandwich in Little Havana, foodies will find memorable cuisine at the annual, star-studded South Beach Wine and Food Festival. With the high season in full swing, you'll see many a scantily-clad European spending the nights dining at 9 p.m., traipsing along Ocean Drive and sleeping the days away in cabanas — that is how Miami is meant to be enjoyed.

The Bahamas

If blue skies and tan lines seem like a distant memory, a quick Caribbean vacation may be what you're craving. Consider the Bahamas, a chain of more than 700 islands, cays and reefs, which will feel downright balmy compared with East Coast temps. This year-round island paradise just off the Florida coast is in its peak season, allowing you to choose to splurge on a luxurious resort with all the trappings at Atlantis Paradise Island or escape to one of the more remote Out Islands.

Phoenix + Scottsdale, Arizona

Sun worshippers, take heart; you'll find your oasis in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Greater Phoenix area has earned the nickname "Valley of the Sun" honestly. Most come to hit the links, as the area is dotted with more than 200 golf courses. But the Desert Botanical Garden is another year-round highlight. Like a relic of the Wild West, Old Town Scottsdale lures tourists, but most visitors will value a relaxing stay filled with shopping, golfing and lounging at the spa.

Orlando, Florida

When you think of Orlando, Fla., you likely think of theme parks — and for good reason. The city ishome to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, each with several parks and resorts. Whether it's a special parade or fireworks display over the holidays or a much-needed break from frozen temperatures back home, there are countless reasons why winter is an ideal time to visit. The period just after the holidays and before spring break is the least crowded and will have the shortest lines.

Savannah, Georgia

While chilly during the winter months, visitors will find Southern charm in spades in Savannah, Ga. The low-season prices also mean it's a great time to splurge on a romantic Valentine's stay at the Green Palm Inn. Indulge in comfort food, including cheesy grits, fried green tomatoes and Lowcountry cuisine, as well as cocktails. Thanks to lenient open-container laws, you can take that hot toddy to go as you stroll through the historic district downtown.

New Orleans

There are good times to be had in New Orleans year-round, but things get kicked up a notch when Mardi Gras and college bowl games roll through town. Not that you need added reasons to visit — snacking on beignets at Café du Monde and listening to jazz on Bourbon Street should be reason enough to check into the elegant Hotel Mazarin in the French Quarter.

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.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

A short flight from Los Angeles, 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.

Salt Lake City, Utah

For those who check ski conditions on the daily, you don't have to leave the country for world-class skiing. Get on a direct flight to Salt Lake City, and you'll be minutes from Utah's premier ski village of Park City. At the site of the 2002 Olympics, you'll find black diamonds fit for the U.S. ski team, which has made Park City its permanent home base. Stroll along the main street, and you'll see that it's not lacking in century-old buildings, twinkling lights or exceptional restaurants.

Paris

While the chilly temps in Paris may keep throngs of tourists at bay, put on your rose-colored glasses and take advantage of cheaper rates for an extra-long-weekend stay — to make up for the travel time — at hotels such as the intimate (and conveniently located, near the Louvre) Hotel Relais Saint-Germain. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast over café au lait and a chocolate croissant (clichés for a reason) before strolling along the light-strung Champs-Elysees and taking advantage of the semiannual soldes, or sales. Longchamp or Hermès at 50-percent off, n'est-ce pas?

Methow Valley, Washington

Take ski-in/ski-out lodging to a new level and experience the European tradition of hut-to-hut skiing in northern Washington's Methow Valley, near the U.S.-Canadian border. For novices or those more familiar with its downhill sibling, cross-country skiing is a thrill in its own right, and Methow Valley is home to more than 125 miles of tranquil, well-marked trails. If indoor plumbing is a must after a long day on the trails, you may want to trade camping for other mountain accommodations, such as the Sun Mountain Lodge, where you won't sacrifice the scenery or vast view of the stars.

San Diego, California

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 five times over the last 150 years. Hang 10 at San Diego's Black's Beach, and hightail it to Cabrillo National Monument to see gray whales migrate through the area beginning in mid- to late December.

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!

Kauai, Hawaii

There's a reason this waterfall was featured in the opening credits of the classic TV show Fantasy IslandWailua 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.

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.

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," loosely translating to "Life is good." And in Costa Rica, it certainly is.

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 may see, or venture down to Manhattan Beach to spot a celebrity.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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. Stay at the Copacabana and experience Christ the Redeemer — one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.