When the cold weather hits in winter, there’s no better time for a trip to a sun-drenched beach. If you’re looking for sunny weather, hot temperatures, crystal-blue waters, and palm-lined sands, take a look at the best cities for a winter escape to the beach and get ready for a break from the cold and snow.

Siesta Key, Florida

Known as one of the best beach destinations in the country, Siesta Key, Florida, is a great place for an escape from the winter cold. Plenty of beaches can be found on the Gulf of Mexico, such as Siesta Beach and its fine white sand, and Turtle Beach, a popular kayaking beach, so you can relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun and the smell of the sea. If you’re looking for some adventure, you can try a variety of watersports like parasailing, boating, canoeing, windsurfing, and more.

Bright blue shade umbrellas on white sand Siesta Key Beach with sunbathers and a clear, azure Gulf of Mexico

Siesta Key Public Beach

South Padre Island, Texas

Located off the southern coast of Texas, South Padre Island is a resort destination with beautiful beaches and plenty of opportunities for fun and excitement. In addition to its nearly year-round warmth and sunshine, South Padre Island is known for its wildlife and animal attractions. You can take a boat tour with the South Padre Island Dolphin Reserve & Sealife Nature Center, or you could visit Sea Turtle Inc. to see rehabilitated sea turtles and learn about conservation. South Padre Island has many amusements for the kids as well, such as Gravity Park.

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Located in the paradise of the Caribbean, St. John is the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands and boasts the massive Virgin Islands National Park and its native wildlife. This destination is an excellent choice for animal lovers, thanks to the abundance of migratory birds, dense forests, mangroves, and the native population of dolphins and turtles in the island’s waters. St. John offers plenty of opportunities for swimming and snorkeling, as well as pristine beaches for relaxing in the sun and enjoying the heat.

Barrier island seen off shore at Trunk Bay on St. John's Island with sunbathers and turquoise water

Trunk Bay

Lahaina, Hawaii

Offering a combination of history, culture, and beach fun, Lahaina is one of the best beaches for a winter escape. There are 8 beaches in the area, all with clean sand and calm waters for swimming and snorkeling. The historic town is now a hub of art, shopping, and dining, as well as fun in the water. You can take in the Polynesian culture with shows at the Maui Theatre, learn about seafaring in a canoe, hike in the jungle, or sail from the harbor to spot migrating whales.

Negril, Jamaica

The town of Negril draws visitors to its miles of soft, sandy coastline and shallow bays with clean, turquoise seas. The beaches offer a little something for everyone, from Seven Mile Beach and its resorts and nightlife to Long Bay and its protected lagoon for diving and snorkeling. Negril has no shortage of things to see and do, from the historic Negril Lighthouse and its ocean views to Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden and its exotic hummingbird and tropical plant collection.

Miami Beach, Florida

With its immaculate beaches, premier golf courses, and exciting nightlife, there’s no better place for a winter retreat than Miami Beach. The famous South Florida island city boasts wide, sandy beaches and palm backdrops for the ultimate beach paradise, such as the famed South Beach. If you want a change of scenery from the beach, Miami Beach is also home to spectacular art deco architecture along Ocean Drive and the Art Deco Historic District, as well as fine dining, high-end spas, and unforgettable nightlife near the water.

Dining al fresco at Espanola Way and Washington Avenue with colorful restaurants lit up at night in Miami Beach

Espanola Way and Washington Avenue

Huntington Beach, California

As one of the most famous surf destinations in the country, Huntington Beach is an ideal retreat destination for surfers and watersports enthusiasts. It gained the nickname “Surf City USA” for its abundance of excellent surf beaches, such as Huntington State Beach and Bolsa Chica State Beach, but there’s plenty more to this destination. You can enjoy fabulous world cuisine, lush parklands, fun nightspots, and the International Surfing Museum, a nostalgic surf museum with memorabilia and artifacts of the sport’s history.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

With beaches bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Punta Cana is a beach lover’s paradise and the ideal escape from the winter cold. The waters surrounding the beaches are calm and clear, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Watersports are also popular in Punta Cana, including windsurfing, sailing, and kayaking. If you want a little luxury, Punta Cana also has an array of resorts, fine restaurants, and clubs for indulgent evenings after long days sunbathing and swimming at the beach.

A catamaran prepares to set sail at Cortecito Beach on Punta Cana Island, and yachts are seen in the distance

Cortecito Beach

Ready to plan your trip?

Nothing breaks up a cold, bleak winter like a trip to a sunny beach paradise. With so many options to choose from, you can get ready for a winter break with a visit to Expedia. Browse Punta Cana vacations or Huntington Beach vacations to get great deals on a beach trip and prepare for your fun-filled trip!