13 underrated warm-weather destinations for the holidays

SHansche/iStockSantorini, Greece may be less crowded during winter months.
  • In the US, warm-weather destinations like Edisto Island, South Carolina and Dunedin, Florida typically have fewer crowds in the winter.
  • The Caribbean island Anguilla is more private warm-weather travel destination.
  • Panama City, Panama and Santorini, Greece are also popular warm-weather destinations that can be bit less crowded during the winter time.

Whether you’re looking for a warm-weather travel destination to escape from cold winter weather or you simply want to explore somewhere new during the holiday season, there are plenty of travel options out there if you want to avoid the crowds.

Here are a few underrated warm-weather travel destinations to check out this holiday season.


Edisto Island in South Carolina is a beachy destination that’s close to Charleston.

iStockYou can rent a house along the beach.

Get two trips in one by visiting Edisto Island in South Carolina – it’s only about an hour away from Charleston, so you can visit the popular destination and also get to relax by the beach.

You can have a low-key trip, or you can explore a bit by going dolphin and whale watching, taking a boat tour to beautiful Shell Island.


Head to Cartagena in Colombia for beautiful sightseeing.

Shutterstock/Jess KraftThere are plenty of colourful buildings.

Pretty much any place in South America will be a warm-weather destination, but if you want a somewhat less crowded destination, check out Cartagena, Colombia.

This coastal city features amazing food, beautiful architecture, and quaint cobblestone streets.


Explore nature at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Simon Dannhauer/ShutterstockSanta Cruz La Laguna is the lake’s scuba capital.

The shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan offer you a view of three volcanoes. Plus, you can visit the village of San Marcos for some quiet relaxation or head to Santa Cruz La Laguna to explore – it’s the lake’s scuba capital that’s also known for diving. San Pedro also offers plenty of delicious restaurants to check out.


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Go to Dunedin in Florida for some relaxing beach time.

Flickr/jonathanw100There are plenty of beaches to enjoy in Florida.

Florida is obviously a very popular place to go during the winter, as it’s pretty warm year-round. But, the state is big – you don’t have to go to popular spots like Miami or the Keys to get your sunshine state fix.

Try visiting Dunedin, located on the Gulf Coast, this destination offers pleasantly warm beach weather.

While you’re there, you can take a boat ride over to Caladesi Island or Honeymoon Island to explore white sand beaches or you can even bike through Dunedin on a 42-mile Pinellas Trail. If you’re looking to kick back and relax, head to Dunedin Brewery for world-class beers.


Enjoy a seriously luxurious vacation in Martinique in the French Caribbean.

Darryl Brooks/ShutterstockThere are a lot of colourful houses to enjoy.

If you want to really relax by a beautiful beach during the holidays, the Caribbean is the place to be. Instead of hitting up very popular winter destinations like the Bahamas or Jamaica, try Martinique.

Go to Fort-de-France, the capital of the island, for wonderful restaurants and gorgeous sights to see. Lay on the white sand beaches of Grande Anse des Salines, check out the Jardin de Balata for a stunning botanical garden experience and enjoy all of the colourful buildings.


Escape to Kauai, Hawaii for warm weather.

Gjorcheski/ShutterstockThe weather is typically very warm.

If you’re looking for adventure and idyllic beach days, you can’t go wrong with Kauai in Hawaii. You can hike Waimea Canyon to see the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, hang at the beach at Hanalei Bay, hike the Kalalau trail to see the rugged Nāpali Coast, and, of course, cool down with shaved ice, which is a local favourite.


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Go to Roatán in Honduras for something really unique.

iStockThe island overlooks a coral reef.

Roatán in Honduras is a tiny island off the coast that overlooks one of the largest coral reefs in the world and is known for its scuba diving.

It’s small and laid-back, with delicious food, stunning beaches, and plenty of exotic animal sightings. Try local rum at the Roatán Rum Company in West Bay, take drum lessons at Steel Pan Alley, or take a boat tour through the beautiful Mangrove Tunnels.


Visit Palm Springs in California if you want to do some exploring and shopping.

welcomia / ShutterstockIt’s a gorgeous destination for those who don’t want to lounge on the beach.

Not into the beach scene, but still want to go somewhere where the temperature is warm? Try Palm Springs. The weather makes it a popular holiday retreat and there’s a lot to do.

Go to San Gorgonio Wind Farm Park to see one of the nation’s largest wind farms, check out the art galleries and antique galleries to find something interesting, or take in gorgeous views on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Plus, check out a unique hotel like The Monkey Tree Hotel in North Palm Springs, which has hosted celebrities like the Beatles and Lucille Ball.


Travel to Panama City in Panama for total paradise.

GTS Productions/ShutterstockYou can enjoy a view of the Panama Canal.

Panama City offers so many attractions to check out, as well as beautifully warm weather. You’ll probably want to get a glimpse of the Panama Canal, but you can also explore Casco Viejo, a UNESCO protected district of colonial houses, restaurants, and coffee shops; Soberania National Park, which will give you a jungle experience; and Panama Viejo, a UNESCO heritage site that is all that remains of the original city of Panama.


Visit the Caribbean waters in Anguilla.

EQRoy/ShutterstockThere are white sand beaches.

There are so many island options when it comes to the Caribbean, but Anguilla features white sand beaches, ridiculously blue waters, and plenty of things to do.

It’s also very relaxed and private, so it’s a perfect escape if you really want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Take a boat ride to Sandy Island to enjoy crayfish and relax on the beach or sail to Little Bay for peace and quiet. You can even visit nearby St. Maarten.


Explore the Golden Isles in Georgia.

Flickr/moultriecreekThere are plenty of historical monuments to see.

Georgia offers gorgeous coastal cities and beaches to explore and the Golden Isles are worth mentioning. They’re comprised of the islands of St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Jekyll, and Sea Island and you can check them all out by highway or boat. Visit historical monuments, hang at the beach, and the see the gorgeous sites.


Head over to Santorini, Greece during a less crowded season.

Flickr/Joe deSousaIt’s a bit less crowded during winter months.

Santorini tends to be more crowded during the summer, but it gets much quieter in the winter months and it’s still a paradise to explore.

Visit the city of Akrotiri, which was buried by a volcanic eruption centuries ago, or hike from Fira to Oia to really get some gorgeous views. Definitely make time to see a Greek sunset, and of course, eat all of the tasty Greek food you’d like.


Do something different in Grand Isle in Louisiana.

PixabayYou can even take a road trip.

Instead of visiting the popular travel destination New Orleans, check out Grand Isle, which is a barrier island off of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. The temperatures are warm enough to hang in the sun and it’s considerably less crowded than it is during the summer. You can fish at Grand Isle State Park or head to the beach to relax.

There’s plenty of fresh fish and food to enjoy and you can even take a two-hour road trip to New Orleans if you’d like to do some more exploring.

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