Winter in much of the United States is a pretty dreary ordeal. For those of us who can’t afford a vacation to Fiji to get away from the cold, we have little choice but to tough it out in the ice and snow. But if you’ve saved up some money for an stateside getaway, here are the three best winter destinations to consider if you want to beat the cold.
You don’t have to be a gambler to enjoy the dry heat of Sin City. In fact, you don’t have to gamble at all. If you’re a weapons aficionado, you might check out Front Sight Academy for some self-defense training with guns and tactics of all sorts. Or if you’d rather just hang out in the heat, check yourself into Mandalay Bay, which frommers.com says is Sin City’s best swimming pool getaway.
Of course, if you’d rather see some Ocean’s Eleven action, or if you’re a fan of the Rat Pack, opt for a classic casino hotel, like Caesar’s Palace. Since Las Vegas hotels plan on their guests gambling at the tables, they don’t charge high rates for reservations. That means you can book a Las Vegas hotel for a surprisingly low rate. According to their website, you can book a classic room for just $99 during the winter season, depending on the exact dates. The luxury rooms begin around $269 per night.
Looking for a family vacation as your winter destination? Try Legoland in San Diego – it’s not just about the Lego’s. Legoland features an interactive amusement park, an aquarium and a waterpark that are more kid-oriented than some of the leading entertainment havens found at Disney World or Six Flags.
Legoland isn’t exactly cheap, however. Admission ranges from $20 per person for general admission and can cost as much as $89 if you want to experience every nook of the park. That’s why you need cheap reservations at a hotel to keep your winter destination low budget. Legoland recommends staying at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa, where admission during the winter months is priced around $159 per night for a family of four.
South Padre Island
If you feel like becoming a Winter Texan, then there’s a trip to South Padre Island, Texas with your name on it.
Now, you might hear the name “South Padre” and automatically connect it with spring breakers. But if you visit in the winter, there’s no spring break college kids to be found.
You might want to check out a vacation rental or condo instead of a hotel. With prices starting at $99 a night for a condo that sleeps six people, you can enjoy some added privacy for a fairly inexpensive cost. Other perks include convenient beachfront access that’s not available at all South Padre hotels.
The downside is that you either need to hit the grocery store and make your own meals or find a restaurant for each meal, rather than relying on the in-house hotel restaurant for your dining needs. And if your family is the messy type, you won’t get daily maid service. But beyond that, the extra space and peace and quiet a vacation rental in South Padre affords you is well worth the compromise.
There’s plenty to keep you busy besides the South Padre beach as well. It’s a golf haven for the avid golfer in the family, plus, beach and ocean activities like surfing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling and jet skiing are sure to put enough a dent in your pocketbook to last the entire year.
With so many winter destinations to choose from, it’s hard to put your finger on which one is the best for your family. Try to include the kids in the decision making process (if you plan to take them) so that everyone gets to do something they enjoy during your winter holiday.