Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Island Life in the Caribbean
Who doesn’t dream of sun-drenched days on a tropical island, sipping fruity cocktails on the beach while steel drums play softly in the background? The Caribbean offers the quintessential island escape, with pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant cultures.
There’s a reason the islands are such a popular winter getaway spot. “After the dreary, cold days back home, arriving in the Caribbean just takes your breath away,” says Sophie J., who escaped for two weeks in the Bahamas. “The water is so impossibly blue and warm. All your troubles just melt away.”
Most islands have very affordable accommodations, from charming guest houses to all-inclusive mega resorts. Flights can be pricey during peak season but you can often find great last-minute deals on sites like Mighty Travels Premium. “I found roundtrip flights from NYC to Aruba for just $280 over Christmas break one year,” recalls Chris W.
Once you arrive, prepare to immerse yourself in island life. Get up early and wander the local fish markets as fishermen arrive with the catch of the day. Sample fresh tropical fruits you’ve never experienced before. Take sailing or snorkeling excursions and spot sea turtles, dolphins and whales.
In the evenings, listen to live music while sampling local Creole cuisine at open-air beach bars and restaurants. “The grilled mahi-mahi I had in Antigua was simply outstanding,” raves Mark D.
Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, and many other islands have casinos if you want to try your luck. Or simply relax under the stars on the beach, feeling the warm breeze.
Most islands have rich cultural traditions, with colorful carnivals and festivals celebrated year-round. “Attending the annual Carnival in Trinidad was an incredible experience,” says James C. “The music, dancing and costumes were amazing.”
What else is in this post?
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Island Life in the Caribbean
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Beach Bliss in Mexico
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Tropical Treasures in Hawaii
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Safari Adventures in Africa
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Coastal Charm in California
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Sunny Spain Beckons
- Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Dubai Delights
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Beach Bliss in Mexico
Mexico is famous for its idyllic beach destinations, offering the perfect remedy for chilly winter weather up north. From the Caribbean coast to Baja, you’ll find miles of pristine white sand lapped by warm azure waters.
“I’ve vacationed all over but Tulum is hands down my favorite beach escape,” says Sally T. “You have these incredible ancient Mayan ruins right next to gorgeous beaches. It’s a magical combination.”
The vibe in Tulum is very laid back, with a mix of boho-chic hotels and beach clubs. Days are spent lounging in a beach bed or palapa while having your shoulders massaged. At night, candles flicker at open-air restaurants dishing up freshly caught seafood and tropical cocktails.
Over on the Pacific coast, the beaches have a different personality. “I absolutely loved the rustic, artsy vibe of Zipolite,” shares Mark J. “The beach is incredible, with huge crashing waves and surfers catching barrels at Puerto Escondido just down the coast.”
The beaches here have an edgier, more alternative feel, attracting creative types. There’s world-class surfing, yoga retreats, and a booming arts scene in charming mountain towns like San Cristobal de las Casas.
Those seeking classic resort luxury should head to Los Cabos. “The beaches at Cabo blow away anything in Cancun,” opines Lauren C. “The beach clubs, hotels and restaurants are just stunning, on par with a Hawaiian resort.”
Los Cabos hotels like the Esperanza or Montage offer swanky oceanfront rooms, with butlers to cater to your every need. Desert mountains serve as the backdrop while whales frolic offshore. After indulging in a beachside massage, go snorkeling or diving, then enjoy sunset cocktails on your private balcony.
Over on the the Caribbean side, don’t miss the Costa Maya, south of Cancun. “We took a day trip to Costa Maya and couldn’t believe how amazing the beaches were,” recalls Amanda G. “Blindingly white sand, crystal clear water in every shade of blue and green. It was paradise.”
Once a barely inhabited fishing village, Costa Maya is now home to several large resorts. But development has been careful to preserve the area’s natural beauty. Spend your days beach-hopping, then sample seafood cerviche and sip margaritas beachside while pelicans glide by.
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Tropical Treasures in Hawaii
Hawaii's tropical treasures offer the ultimate respite from winter's chill. Its idyllic islands are blessed with warm weather year-round, yet peak season from December to March brings reliably sunny skies and temps in the 70s and 80s.
"After surviving another brutal Chicago winter, my wife and I treated ourselves to two weeks in Maui,” shares AvidTraveler23. “Stepping off the plane felt like entering paradise. Lush green peaks, fragrant tropical flowers, warm ocean breezes - it was heaven."
Beyond the perfect weather, Hawaii wows visitors with its stunning natural wonders. Each island has its own unique landscape, from Kauai's dramatic cliffs and waterfalls to the world's most active volcano on Hawaii Island.
"I'll never forget watching the Kilauea volcano glowing bright red against the night sky on the Big Island," recalls NatureNut82. "Seeing lava flowing into the ocean was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Of course, Hawaii is synonymous with beautiful beaches. Oahu attracts sun-seekers to the famous sands of Waikiki, while Maui boasts idyllic spots like Kaanapali, Kapalua and Makena. The island of Lanai claims to have the best beaches in Hawaii, with miles of untouched golden sand.
"My ideal Hawaii beach day starts by watching sea turtles swim in the clear waters off Poipu Beach on Kauai," says BeachBum71. "Then I find a shady palm tree to nap under, before digging into a plate of fresh poke and chilled mai tais."
Of course, no trip to Hawaii is complete without a classic luau, where you feast on kalua pork, poke and poi while Polynesian dancers perform. Laid-back beach bars like Duke's on Maui are also popular spots to sample local cuisine and sunset cocktails.
With nonstop flights available from major U.S. hubs, getting to Hawaii is easier than ever. And the islands offer accommodations for every budget, from oceanside campgrounds to ultra-luxe resorts.
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Safari Adventures in Africa
"From the moment our guide spotted a leopard lounging in a tree above our jeep, I was hooked," declares NatGeoFan. "Seeing these majestic animals roaming free in the wild was life changing."
One of the biggest thrills of a safari is that incredible closeness to wildlife you just can't get anywhere else. Massive elephants wander by just feet from your open-top jeep. Mischievous monkeys scamper across the hood. Hundreds of wildebeests and zebras stampede across the plains.
"We drove right into the middle of a herd of wildebeests during the Great Migration in the Serengeti," describes AmazingAdventures. "With thousands of them surrounding us, the ground actually shook - it was unreal!"
A safari also provides the chance to see Africa's famed "Big Five" - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo - all in their natural habitats. Spotting that first lion pride napping under a tree or hearing a rhino grunt nearby is a feeling like no other. But a safari offers so much beyond the iconic species too.
"I was blown away by the diversity of wildlife," notes SafariLover33. "Seeing hundreds of exotic birds, families of hyenas, even a pack of wild dogs with cute puppies was amazing."
"Our Maasai guide explained how dung beetles keep the savanna healthy, and that every animal has a critical role in the ecosystem," describes Ecotraveler56. "It gave me a whole new appreciation for this fascinating web of life."
A safari often includes cultural experiences too, like a visit to a Maasai village to learn about indigenous lifestyles. “Spending time with the Maasai, seeing how in tune they are with nature was really inspiring,” says CulturalAdventurer44.
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Coastal Charm in California
California's stunning coastline stretches over 800 miles, offering endless opportunities for wintertime fun in the sun. From surfing and whale watching to wine tasting and museums, the Golden State’s coastal cities and towns provide the perfect warm weather escape.
"I used to think California was all about L.A. and San Francisco, but there are so many charming smaller spots up and down the coast," says SoCalFan81. "It's ideal for a winter road trip!"
Wander the boardwalks and harbors of classic beach towns like Santa Barbara, known for its Spanish-style architecture, palm-lined shores, and funky surf vibe. Pismo Beach wows visitors with its nine miles of wide sandy beaches perfect for ATV rides.
Up north, Mendocino's dramatic seascapes and quaint inns set the scene for ultimate romance and relaxation. "I'll never forget watching the sunset over the Pacific from the cliffs of Mendocino on Valentine's Day," swoons RomanticGuy. "Pure magic."
For a dose of culture, head to Monterey to tour the famed Cannery Row, setting of John Steinbeck novels. Nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea charms with its storybook cottages, boutique shops, galleries and restaurants.
Nature lovers flock to Big Sur to marvel at its rugged coastal scenery and trails. "Hiking to McWay Falls and watching the 80-foot waterfall empty right onto the beach was breathtaking," describes HikerChick.
When you've had your fill of beaches and sightseeing, indulge in some world-class dining. "The farm-to-table food scene in L.A. and San Diego completely exceeded my expectations," declares FoodieGirl33. "I'll dream about the uni pasta I had at Mister A's in San Diego for years."
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Sunny Spain Beckons
“I used to only think of Spain for summer beach holidays, but was amazed at how delightful it was even in February,” explains Susan M. from the UK. “Coming from dreary Manchester, arriving in Seville felt like I’d stepped into a whole different world.”
Spain’s southern Andalusia region enjoys pleasant highs around 60°F even mid-winter. Stroll palm-lined plazas in Seville, take in a flamenco show at a local tablao, and wander the fragrant orange groves. Nearby Cordoba entices visitors with its grand mosque-turned-cathedral and quaint patios bedecked in flowers.
Over on Spain’s eastern coast, Alicante province offers another alluring winter escape. “A friend suggested visiting Calpe on a whim and I absolutely loved its beautiful beaches and charming Old Town,” shares beach lover Julie C.
Calpe’s seaside promenade and pristine blue-flag beaches will cure any winter blues. Take scenic coastal drives to cliff-top castles and fishing villages like Altea. End the day savoring fresh paella at a beachside restaurant as the sun sets over the Mediterranean.
Carlos S., an art enthusiast from Chicago, recommends making time to visit the Salvador Dalí Triangle while in the region. “Touring Dalí’s theaters of the absurd in Figueres and Cadaques was a surreal experience I’ll never forget,” he says.
Beyond sand and sea, Spain tempts winter travelers with enticing cities like Barcelona. Stroll leafy boulevards lined with Modernist architecture. Wander the warren of streets in El Born and Barri Gòtic. Take in a concert under soaring vaulted ceilings at the Palau de la Música.
“Nibbling jamón serrano at a tapas bar in Barcelona while people watching on Las Ramblas was such a quintessential Spanish experience,” says Matt L. “It made me fall in love with the relaxed vibe.”
Madrid also charms visitors with its stately plazas, lively tapas scene, and world-class art museums like the Prado and Reina Sofia. After touring royal palaces and cathedrals, join locals relaxing with cervezas in cozy caverns.
Foodies flock for the chance to indulge in Spain’s delectable cuisine. “The pintxos crawl we did in San Sebastian was such a feast for the senses,” raves Gail C. “All those incredible bite-sized morsels paired with Txakoli wine was foodie heaven.”
Chase the Sun: 10 Warm Weather Escapes to Book Now for February - Dubai Delights
Dazzling Dubai beckons sun-seekers with its alluring combination of ultramodern luxury and rich Arabic culture. This man-made oasis rises from the desert to offer visitors warm Gulf breezes, iconic architecture, world-class dining, and plenty of wintertime vitamin D.
“After a dreary Berlin winter, walking outside the airport into Dubai’s balmy open-air warmth felt heavenly,” explains Dietrich H., an architect who explored the city. “The sunny weather and visual feast of shapes and textures was a designer’s paradise.”
Beyond sunshine, Dubai wows with its larger-than-life structures seemingly plucked from the pages of a sci-fi novel. “Taking a ride to the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa and looking out over the sprawling city was just breathtaking,” shares globetrotter Amanda J. “It perfectly captures the ambitious spirit of Dubai.”
The towering 828-meter Burj Khalifa also offers the swanky Atmosphere restaurant on the 122nd floor, where visitors dine on contemporary cuisine amidst 360-degree vistas. Nearby, the mammoth Dubai Mall boasts every luxury brand imaginable, plus an aquarium and ice rink for when you need a break.
Taking a desert safari is a must to experience Dubai’s Bedouin roots. “Bumping over rolling dunes in a 4x4 then watching a fiery sunset from atop a sand peak was magical,” says Lucy B. falafel. Many tours include camel rides, henna tattoos and feasts under the stars with Emirati dances.
Back in the city, Dubai’s old merchant quarter Bastakiya transports visitors to another time with its labyrinth of alleys, Arabian architecture and cute cafes. History buffs also appreciate the Dubai Museum’s exhibits on pearl diving and Bedouin culture.
But Dubai also offers thoroughly modern accommodations, dining and nightlife. “Sipping innovative cocktails 100 stories up at the SushiSamba lounge was the perfect spot for a glamorous evening out,” explains VIPAccess32. Five-star hotels line the palatial Dubai Marina, offering luxe amenities and offices waterfront views.
Foodies flock to Dubai to sample Arabic, Indian, and international cuisine. “The outstanding Yemeni and Lebanese restaurants in old Dubai proved street food can be Michelin-star worthy,” declares SamanthaW, a self-proclaimed “flavor chaser.”
Astute travelers like Mighty Travels Premium members know Dubai doesn’t have to break the bank either. “Between using miles for my Emirates flight and scoring a luxury hotel for just $60 on the Premium Beat the Timers page, Dubai proved a five-star escape for an economy price,” shares bargain hunter KimJ23.