5 Warm Destinations to Escape the Winter Chill

5 Warm Destinations to Escape the Winter Chill

Escape the winter chill by visiting one of these family-friendly, warm weather destinations.

By: Jon B.

There’s a reason they call it “the dead of winter.” As we shiver under blankets by the fire, icicles forming on the barren tree branches outside a fogged window, life can scream for a jump-start. It’s natural to start dreaming of warmer climates and, thanks to the magic of modern travel – it’s possible to escape the winter chill without delay.

There’s no shortage of escape destinations for you and the family to enjoy. Here are a few ideas to help start turning those warm weather dreams into a reality.

With winter daytime temperatures that regularly average in the 70s, San Diego is a favorite destination for winter escapees. Although the wide sandy beaches are alluring and iconic, the San Diego area offers a broad range of accommodations beyond the sand. For travelers with a hipster bent, try the fun and funky Lafayette Hotel, conveniently walkable to the North Park neighborhood’s vibrant craft beer and artisan food scene. Family restaurant favorites include Waypoint Public and its kid-friendly indoor play area complete with age appropriate movies on the big screen or El Zarape for the most delicious seafood tacos on the planet.

If arts and culture are more your scene, the museums and galleries of Balboa Park are a must-see for all ages. Hilton San Diego Bayfront is close to the park, which blooms beautifully year-round due to San Diego’s temperate climate. Right across the street, kids and parents alike are drawn to the world-class performance at the Old Globe Theater, old masters paintings at the San Diego Museum of Art, animatronic dinosaur exhibits at the Museum of Natural History, or an impressive collection of historic airplanes and aeronautical gems at the Air & Space Museum. Because there is so much to see, plan to make a day of exploring Balboa Park and grab lunch at the hip Panama 66 restaurant adjacent to the sculpture garden, where the kids can run freely around the grass area while parents sample a few local specialties.

There’s a reason so many snowbirds flock to Scottsdale, Arizona. While the warm winters attract many, the desert beauty is what keeps them coming back. Saguaro cactus pitch odd angles against the orange and red Western sunsets, and golf courses punctuate the landscape with bits of green against the rocky desert floor. For a great combination of these elements, try Hilton Scottsdale Resort.

With such great weather, anyone can feel comfortable outdoors in the middle of winter. Golf, tennis, backpacking, horseback riding and more outdoor adventures make Scottsdale an easy decision for families traveling with kids, as well as honeymooners and empty nesters. The shopping options are endless and legendary, featuring everything from traditional desert-inspired creations to luxury designers. For a cool outdoor experience, visit the Desert Botanical Garden for a walk through paradise. Kids’ activities, educational seminars about the desert flora and fauna, and the occasional wine tasting event can all be found here.

From the 1940s to the 1960s, Palm Springs was a playground for Hollywood stars, who were drawn to the warm sands surrounded by majestic blue mountains. Just a two-hour drive from the movie studios of Los Angeles, Palm Springs still attracts its share of the glitterati, along with families who love the swimming pools, warm desert nights and retro cool architecture that harkens back to those famous celebrities like Jean Harlow, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Liberace.

Now a favorite destination for family vacations, Palm Springs is home to an epic trampoline park, the world-renowned Palm Springs Film Festival, more golf courses per capita than most places in the world, a wonderful Living Desert animal and plant preserve, and some of the best shopping including the luxury shops of El Paseo and the Desert Hills Premium Outlets.

If you are feeling fancy, try the luxurious guest accommodations at La Quinta Resort & Club, which promises to wow with more than 40 pools and famous golf, tennis and spa facilities. Closer to downtown Palm Springs, the Riviera Hotel has a funky retro vibe, a groovy beat by the pool and fun fire pits scattered around the property.

So obvious, yet so magic - Hawaii is the king of tropical destinations, particularly in the winter. Warm island breezes blow gently across the islands as palm trees sway and umbrella drinks magically appear next to your poolside chaise. The wonderful thing about visiting Hawaii is that you can’t really go wrong with time of year or location. All of the islands are special and unique in their own right, but our family loves Kauai the best.

On Kauai, popular activities include tubing on the old sugar plantation waterways, hiking in Waimea Canyon, snorkeling at Tunnels Beach and boating along the magnificent Na Pali Coast.


While many flock to the East Coast beaches of Florida around Miami, Fort Lauderdale and environs, the beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico are a nice alternative for a calmer, less crowded experience. Sarasota is an ideal choice because of its mix of water sports, white sand beaches stretching for miles and eclectic creative community. Originally the winter home of Ringling Bros. Circus, Sarasota benefits from that legacy with the highly regarded Ringling College of Art & Design and impressive Ringling Museum of Art. This artistic theme has inspired a variety of art galleries, shows and colorful weekend fairs like the one at St. Armand’s Circle.

Clearly, there are plenty of choices to escape the winter blues without a long haul to a foreign country. Whichever destination matches your desires, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit!

You may also enjoy:
Fun in Balboa Park, San Diego for Kids of All Ages
Downtown Scottsdale Restaurants and Shopping
So Many Reasons to Visit Palm Springs This Year
6 Days in Kauai with Kids and Chickens
Things To Do In Sarasota With The Family

Jon B. is a San Diego-based writer who loves to travel the world with his family in tow. Read more of Jon’s travel adventures at Hilton Mom Voyage, San Diego Magazine or his family blog, 2DadsWithBaggage.com.

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