Get Your Vitamin Sea.
No Passport Required For These 10 U.S. Winter Beach Vacations!
The freezing cold temps across the country this year have us all craving a winter getaway. If your body is feeling a need for sunshine, sundowners and salt water, but you’d like to stay in the U.S., here are our top picks for your best chances to see the sun, get your vitamin D and a healthy dose Vitamin Sea during the last months of winter.
We chose these 10 locations for their mix of ocean-close proximity, the most consistent weather as well as tourism activities and global traveler reviews. Pack your bikini and see below for our West Coast to East Coast picks plus two in Hawaii.
Average Temps Feb-March High 60’s, low 70’s during daytime, mid 50’s at night.
1. Laguna Beach
Vibe: Artsy, quaint.
The arts still play a big role here, thanks to the Laguna Art Museum, galleries along the waterfront, and the Laguna Playhouse. Still, the seven miles of classic California coastline are the big draw. During the winter months beaches are blissfully crowd-free. The waves are perfect for boogie boarding, and the views – golden cliffs and multimillion-dollar houses – are pure SoCal.
2. La Jolla
Vibe: Upscale, quaint, lots of surf, kayaking, shopping and dining.
La Jolla in Spanish means The Jewel, and it definitely lives up to its names with an upscale energy (some of the most expensive homes in the state are here), sparkling coves teeming with a colony of seals and other sea life, plus ocean view shopping, dining and close proximity to famed Torrey Pines Golf Course and stunning cliffside hikes.
3. San Diego
Vibe: Family friendly with world famous attractions like Legoland
San Diego is a big city with lots of enclaves and depending on what you want, all are within easy driving distance of each other. Coronado Island is our favorite for families with long, kid-friendly strips of sand and fire pits to make s’mores. Pacific Beach attracts younger crowd and the night scene is downtown in the GasLamp district. Water sports are everywhere including yachting, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing.
4. Dana Point
Vibe: Whale Watching haven, harbor scene and boating galore.
About half way between Los Angeles and San Diego is Dana Point, North America’s only Whale Heritage Site and is the self proclaimed Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World. March is the best time to see the Gray Whale migration right off the coast with a local Festival of Whales plus you'll find endless surfing, golf and yachting opportunities.
Vibe: Wineries, beaches, vintage shopping and culture collide.
Santa Barbara is a stunning area with lots to explore and loads of charm. Gorgeous wineries, stretches of beaches, early California architecture and smaller beach towns dot the coastline. February is their annual red-carpet worthy Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the town is a mere 4 miles from Montecito, the home of the rich and famous like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow and more.
The sunshine state with winter temperatures in the low to high 70’s and high 60’s at night.
6. Miami Beach
Vibe: See and be seen. Vibrant Night life, party atmosphere, arts and stunning beaches.
South Beach is Miami’s most famous beach with a picture perfect strand, vibrant art-deco architecture and upscale hotels. It’s a playground for the party-goers, and insta-lovers, so if you’re traveling with kids, enjoy a night or two in the area before you hit more family friendly places like Universal Orlando.
7. Key Largo, Florida Keys
Vibe: Serene, family friendly, small town Island feels.
Set halfway between Key West and Miami, Key Largo is a secluded stretch perfect for a serene getaway. It’s a favorite among snorkelers and scuba and is the self-proclaimed dive capital of the world and home to the largest artificial reef. In addition to the teeming sea life including parrotfish, damselfish, barracuda, brain coral, sea fans, you’ll find a Spanish shipwreck and even an underwater statue of Christ. Plan a visit to the nearby Everglades or swim with dolphins.
8. Key West, Florida Keys
Vibe: Fun, free spirited and slightly quirky mixed with turquoise water and endless sun.
Key west is only 90 miles from Cuba on the southern most tip of the US, thus it gets it local nickname: The Floribbean — a mash up of Florida with Caribbean energy that makes you feel a million miles away from the U.S. The island imbues a free spirited energy, has a rowdy history, a lively nightlife and slightly quirky attitude. Its uniqueness is a powerful draw for all kinds of visitors, whether you're into water-sports, night-life, nature, or art or just relaxing with a sundowner.
Daytime temperatures are in the low 80s, nighttime temps can drop to mid 60s.
Vibe: Magical landscapes, water activities, hiking and exploration.
We chose Kauai because it’s a little more under the radar than other Hawaiian Islands. Kauai is called the Garden Island, and with its lush green mountains, taro fields and daily rainbows, Hanalei, a small town on the North Shore, is a magical destination. Swim in the protected horse-shoe shaped cove of Hanalei Bay, explore sea caves by motorized raft, snorkel, watch dolphin, take a helicopter ride over the island or hike along the stunning Na Pali Coast. Don’t forget your daily dose of shaved ice to round out the trip.
Vibe: From surf to luxury shopping and monster waves; the Island that has it all.
First time travelers to Hawaii may want to start with the Oahu, considered to be an island that has it all. You won’t have to add any island hopping flights to your itinerary and you’ll experience everything from world famous Waikiki Beach, hikes around famed Diamond Head for sweeping views, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, to a thriving nightlife and luxury island shopping. Take a historic visit to Pearl Harbor, or if you want a more laid back Hawaiian vibe, take a drive to the North Shore, famous for monster waves and surfing competitions.