By Hristina Byrnes
Everything has a limit. Even the biggest winter lovers have had enough of snow at one point. Carrying 20 pounds of layers of clothes, hats, gloves, and big boots can be discomforting. Suddenly warm-weather trips for the holidays sound very appealing as opposed to going to a ski resort.
This winter is likely going to be similar to last year’s, according to Farmers’ Almanac. So if you have bad memories from 12 months ago, pack your bags. Most of the North Central States, the Great Lakes, New England, and parts of the Ohio Valley will be snowier than usual (again).
We’ve compiled a list of cities in the U.S. – so you don’t have to spend a lot on traveling abroad – where you’re most likely to find refuge from the cold and unpleasant winter weather.
1. Palm Springs, Calif.
This water desert resort city in California is an ideal place to escape to if you’re craving for some popular summer activities such as golf, hiking, biking, horseback riding, or swimming. With about 350 days of sunshine per year, comfortable sunny weather is almost guaranteed in Palm Springs. The resort is a paradise for adventures out in the open. You can hike through ancient palm groves and along stunning scenic trails, go to the top of Mount San Jacinto, and enjoy spectacular Native American heritage and modern architecture at the same time.
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
This vibrant city in Puerto Rico has a lot of Spanish colonial buildings, mostly in El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). You can visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site there – the El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century citadel. San Juan National Historic Site includes forts, bastions, powder houses, wall and San Juan de la Cruz, defensive fortifications that once surrounded the old, colonial portion of the region. Then you can relax your brain after processing a lot of history information at any of the city’s wonderful beaches. A free water taxi can take you to Palomino Island, a place to sunbathe, hike to the top of a small mountain, and snorkel.
3. Maui, Hawaii
The second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands has much more than beach resorts. A tourist favorite is the Haleakala National Park, which has to Maui’s highest peak at 10,023 feet above sea level. If you want an authentic experience, you can visit Hana along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline. The small town is among the last “unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers.” Among the most interesting diving experiences in Maui is around the tiny, crescent moon-shaped island of Molokini. Early morning is the best time to go.
4. Tucson, Arizona
You can make it just in time for the 21st annual Downtown Parade of Lights. It is scheduled for December 19 at 6:30 p.m. and will last for about two hours. The event is fun, family-friendly and free (and there are prizes). When people think of Arizona, they usually imagine a desert, but it can be very diverse. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a major attraction with its fusion zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery. If you’re interested in something more rocket science-related activities, the Kitt Peak National Observatory has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes – 24 optical and two radio telescopes representing dozens of astronomical research institutions.
5. Sanibel Island, Florida
Golf players are going to love this place and its more than 70 scenic courses. The sub-tropical climate won’t disappoint either. The island offers plenty of water activities if you want to get off the ground for a change. Boating, kayaking and water-skiing are very popular there.
6. San Diego, California
This major American city, right next to the border with Mexico, will brighten your mood with its warm weather and overabundance of fun activities from beach-front ice skating rinks, concerts, holiday shopping and even paddling. Go in time for the famous Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, the country’s largest balloon parade, on December 30. You can watch whales from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma as they migrate to the warm-water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja.
Check out more of the best places to escape this frigid winter.
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