11 Spectacular Vacations You Should Book Right Now
We know you'd rather not think about the depths of winter when the summer sun is still bright. But booking your dream deep-winter vacation now—whether it's skiing the Rockies, exploring a tropical volcano, or just hanging on a pristine beach—can nail down a price that's within your reach.
Sure, you've still got sand in your shoes. Baseball season is still in full swing. But there's no use denying it: The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting chillier, and winter is on its way. But there's good news: We've found 11 irresistible winter getaways that can put you on world-class slopes or white-sand beaches. There's just one catch: If you want a price as dreamy as these trips, don't wait for the first snowfall to make your reservation.
THEME PARK HEAVEN
There's a good reason folks around the world book theme park vacations a year or more in advance: While admission to the parks ain't cheap—often topping $80 per day for adults—you can get a break on airfare and hotel reservations by booking early. Orlando, Fla., is the epicenter for park sharks—it's home to Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando, and Walt Disney World.
Get There: Round-trip flights from New York to Orlando on Delta start at $186.
Stay: Wyndham Orlando Resort is less than 20 minutes from Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando, and Walt Disney World; it offers three restaurants, three pools, a health club, and if Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse aren't enough to bring out the kid in you, it even has its own ice cream parlor (8001 International Dr., Orlando, Fla., wyndham.com, doubles from $95).
Laguna Beach, Calif.
You're under no obligation to actually catch a wave just because you visit Laguna Beach, an iconic seven-mile stretch of sea and sand in Southern California's Orange County—most visitors are content to swim and soak up the warmth of the sun. But if you're so inclined, lessons with a champion surfer come with a money-back guarantee that you'll "get up"—surf slang for standing on the board-on your first lesson (lagunabeachsurfinglessons.com, group lessons from $75 per person). If you can bring yourself to towel off and put your shoes back on, good vibrations can also be found in nearby Laguna Village, a prime spot for browsing quality art galleries and other shops—a reminder of the town's roots as an artists' colony.
Get There: Round-trip flights from New York to Los Angeles on Air Train start at $302; round-trip flights from Chicago on Spirit Airlines start at $270.
Stay: Pacific Edge Hotel on Laguna Beach is right on the beach and walking distance from Laguna Village (647 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, pacificedgehotel.com, doubles from $132).
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Tulum invites you to do as much, or as little, as you like. On Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, the seaside community is home to pristine Caribbean beaches famous for their giant sea turtles and the site of pre-Columbian Mayan ruins, including temples and castillos dating back to the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. Admission to the cliff-hugging ruins is only about $5.
Get There: Round-trip flights from New York to Cozumel on United start at $649; round-trip flights from Los Angeles on United start at $631.
Stay: Hotel Cabanas Los Lirios Tulum offers a private beach, restaurant, grocery store, and spa; breakfast is included (Carretara Tulum Boca Paila, 52-998-8879602, hotels.com, doubles from $135).
Where can you prowl the winding streets of an old-world-style city, explore a rain forest, and pay an eerie nighttime visit to a bay that glows in the dark, all without leaving the United States? Only Puerto Rico offers historic Old San Juan, the teeming, colorful El Yunque Rain Forest, and the hauntingly beautiful La Parguera bioluminescent bay. Oh, and there's also the world-class beaches if you insist on doing nothing much at all.
Get There: Round-trip flights from New York to San Juan on Jet Blue start at $290.
Stay: Embassy Suites Dorado Del Mar Beach & Golf Resort, just outside San Juan, includes an 18-hole Chi Chi Rodriguez-designed golf course built along the rocky cliffs and jetties of Puerto Rico's Atlantic coast; complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast is included (201 Dorado Del Mar Blvd., Dorado, Puerto Rico, embassysuites.hilton.com, doubles from $154).
See the Getaways!
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