Brrrr! Tired of looking outside at the snow? Dreaming of sand and surf and sun? Then it’s time to take a vacation to the beach! A simple change in scenery (and climate) may be just the thing you need right now.
Below are some ideas for where you can vacation this year in the USA. I’m going to stick with mostly warm destinations which get plenty of sun, but I’ll share a cold one as well for those of you who are more interested in avoiding the crowds than the chilly weather. Afterall, a beach vacation might be just what the doctor ordered during those frigid winter months!
Laguna Beach, California
We will start out with one of the more obvious destinations. It’s hardly off the beaten track, but sometimes the classics are the best!
You’ll find Laguna Beach in Orange County, CA. All year round, the climate here is phenomenal. If you drop by in December of January, you can expect the temperatures to hold in the upper 60s. That means you won’t be too hot and you won’t be too cold.
You will of course want to hang out by the water, but make sure to take some time to also head into town. Laguna Beach is famous for being a center of the arts. It is home to the Laguna Art Museum as well as the “oldest continuously running theatre on the west coast,” called the Laguna Playhouse.
Recommended for: This beach is perfect for basking in sunlight as well as the luxurious culture of Orange County. It is an ideal destination for art lovers.
Another destination to add to your winter beach vacation bucket list is Clearwater. This beautiful city puts you within reach of several first-class beaches. At Clearwater Beach, you can swim in warm, shallow water and lounge on dazzling white sand. You also can take a stroll along the Beach Walk Promenade under the palm trees.
Nearby, you’ll find Sand Key. At this park, you can enjoy the convenience of bathhouses, beach cabanas, a playground and a park where you can walk your dog. Finally, there is Caladesi Island. You can only reach this beach by boat, which means that you can look forward to truly getting away from it all.
Recommended for: Visit Clearwater if you are in search of beautiful beaches which the whole family will love.
South Padre Island, Texas
Travel to this barrier island and enjoy 34 miles of beaches. Go surfing, fishing, swimming, or sunbathing, or take a cruise along the coast. Head into town and you will find that there are ample opportunities for shopping, dining, and nightlife.
The community which makes its home on South Padre Island revolves pretty much exclusively around tourism, so you can be sure that there are plenty of vendors in town to cater to your every need. Many are mobile vendors selling their own personal items from under a pop up canopy.
Recommended for: Those looking for a resort atmosphere in a secluded location will be thrilled with all that South Padre Island has to offer. Because this is a popular spring break destination for college students, it also is a great place to party.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
Like South Padre Island, Grand Isle in Louisiana is also a barrier island. The town of Grand Isle is small, but its population swells during peak season (summer). For this reason, it is better to come by during the winter time when you can experience all that the isle has to offer in tranquility and solitude.
Beaches to enjoy on Grand Isle include the seven-mile Grand Isle Beach, the 230-acre Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge, and the stunning Grand Isle State Park. At these beaches, you can fish, hike, camp, bird-watch, and more.
Recommended for: Bird-watching is a very big deal here; there are even trails specifically for spotting warblers, robins, thrush and other species. So this is a wonderful beach destination for nature-lovers to visit. For culinary travelers, Grand Isle also offers a great opportunity to indulge in some delicious authentic Cajun seafood.
The Oregon Coastline
The beach destinations which we have gone over so far are in warm, sunny climates which remain temperate even during the wintertime. While these beaches tend to be less crowded during the winter than they are during the summer, you might be looking for a little extra seclusion. If that is so, consider a trip to the Oregon coast.
The Oregon coast is not particularly well-known, but it is lined by a series of spectacular sandy beaches and jaw-dropping sea cliffs, with Highway 101 running alongside the water. With majestic sea stacks, powerful surf, and spectacular forest trails, it is a world-class destination that often is virtually empty during the colder part of the year. You will definitely want to bring your camera with you. Breathtaking sunsets are common during the fall and winter months.
Take note that if you wish to camp while you are visiting the coast, you will need to be very selective about where you do it. You cannot camp within city limits or adjacent to a state park, and you are expected to head to a remote location to pitch your tent. But as that is probably your goal in visiting the Oregon coast for your winter beach vacation, that should work out perfectly.
Recommended for: If you truly want to escape from the crowds and head to a place where it is just you and nature, the Oregon coastline is a great winter beach destination. You will have your pick of lovely beaches, and should have them more or less to yourself. Just be ready to bundle up against the wind, cold, and rain.
Any one of these USA winter beach destinations can make for a marvelous holiday. As you can see, the US is home to a number of stunning, inviting beaches, any one of which can make for an amazing winter getaway. Whether you head to a famous sunny spot like Laguna Beach or you pick somewhere colder and more off-the-beaten track like the Oregon coastline, you can look forward to an escape from the ordinary which you will never forget. Before you make a trip to any of these destinations, be sure to check out our recent article on beach essentials to make the most out of your trip!