Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:04

Travel | Best Winter Travel Locations

Travel // December 17, 2012

Ah, wintertime. 8 years ago, I left Cleveland in search of a warmer climate. I never wanted to endure low temps again. Lake-effect snow? No thank you. Sun and sand? Yes, please! Growing up, winter was my only free time to travel. My trips had to include tropical beaches. Now, having lived in California and enjoyed years of almost constant sunshine, my pre-requisites have changed a bit. Below I have compiled a list of my favorite winter vacation spots, and you’ll be surprised to hear that they aren’t all toasty locales.

1. Kona, Hawaii

I have some friends who aren’t convinced of Hawaii’s allure. For the record, my favorite areas are low key. Spend one week on Kona side and you’ll become a part of the community. The locals are great, it isn’t too touristy, the resorts are awesome, and Oprah even owns a home there. If Kona is good enough for Oprah, well, then, enough said!

2. New York City

Okay, NYC isn’t warm, but there is nothing like the holiday spirit in New York. Walk along Fifth Avenue, listen to Christmas music, check out the tree in Rockefeller Center, or take a carriage ride through Central Park. You may worry about the hustle of NYC residents, but fear not. There is something about the holiday season that makes even the toughest New Yorker soften up.

3. Lake Tahoe

Here’s a secret: this location made my list and I don’t ski.  I’ve made many trips to Lake Tahoe and I’ve never even set foot on a slope! Just imagine how much fun this could be if you are snow-sport inclined. Truth be told, I took a boyfriend here once for his birthday. We went during an off weekend when there wasn’t enough snow. As a result, we were the only couple dining at the high-end restaurant where I’d booked reservations. The Chef improvised our entire meal! But even if you do go during a high traffic time, there are big draws: fresh mountain air, a beautiful, cool, crystal clear lake, and plenty of outdoor activities. Bring someone to keep you warm.

4. Grand Cayman

Growing up in Cleveland, Lake Erie was the closest body of water. Sadly, I NEVER got in because the bacteria levels were too high. The waters surrounding Grand Cayman are the absolute opposite. You can swim worry-free because clean, white sand, and tropical fish are the only things you’ll see. If you head to the islands in December, you’ll just miss hurricane season.

5. Tropical Cruise

So, you can’t pick one tropical location? Take a cruise! You really can’t beat an all-inclusive trip. Drink frozen drinks all day and soak in the sun. Go and get fries at 2am without feeling guilty; it’s basically free and you’re on vacation!

These are only a few of my favorite wintertime getaways—what are yours?

Published in Travel