I don’t know about you, but when it’s time to put on the long underwear, heavy coat, hat and gloves here at home, my mind starts wandering to visions of warm weather, beautiful sand beaches and the ocean waves lapping at the shore as I sleep with the lanai doors open wide to let in the salty breeze.
Well, I-and you, too-are in luck! All of the winter snowbird spots are rolling out their sun-drenched mats to warm your mind, body and soul this winter. So grab that swimsuit, sunscreen and, where necessary, a passport and hit the road!
The Caravelle Resort in Myrtle Beach offers guests a wide variety of accommodation options, including oceanfront and ocean-view efficiency units, oceanfront executive suites and two- and three-bedroom condos. Resort amenities encompass their block-long poolscape with a Wild Water Pool, large heated pool, kiddie and family lazy rivers and whirlpool, Awaken Your Senses Spa Studio, Caravelle Kids Club, game room, several dining options and a golf department to help you plan a day at any of the over 100 Myrtle Beach-area golf courses. (800) 507-9145, www.thecaravelle.com
Located on the eastern shore of the island in Punta Cana, the Occidental Grand Punta Cana is enticing vacation-goers with their mega, Spanish-style resort encompassing nine restaurants and seven bars, nightly entertainment, live music and merengue dance classes, pool and beach volleyball, snorkeling, land and aqua aerobics, a fitness room and Kids Club, among other amenities. The rooms (deluxe, deluxe oceanview, grand concierge deluxe and a variety of Suites) feature 300-thread-count bed linens with nightly turndown service, bathrobes and slippers, refrigerated minibars, cedar-lined closets and ceiling fans, energy efficient and eco-friendly air conditioning systems and 32-inch flat-panel LCD TVs.
(800) 858-2258, www.occidentalhotels.com/grand/PuntaCana.asp
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would not enjoy a weekend escape at the Grand Panama Beach Resort in Panama City Beach. From their state-of-the art-fitness center to their two outdoor pools and two heated indoor spa pools, soft, sugary white sand beachfront and a bevy of water sports, the Grand Panama has something for everyone. The soaring towers encompass one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom condos overlooking the beautiful water and inviting sand, where water and beach sports are plentiful. (866) 687-1244,www.grandpanamabeachresort.com
A great, all-inclusive option south of the border is the Melia Cabo Real Resort in Los Cabos. The resort offers garden view rooms with private balconies, a zip line on the beach, tennis courts, an ocean-front Jacuzzi, lagoon-style swimming pool, rock climbing wall, golf course, children’s Mini Club, four unique dining experiences, a shopping arcade and a fitness and massage center. The resort also offers four different dining locales with “the flavors of the Mexican Pacific.” (866) 436-3542, www.meliacaboreal.com
If a quaint bed and breakfast inn is what you crave, try the Puako Bed & Breakfast on the Big Island. Situated inside of a remodeled Kama’aina home (island beach home), the Puako is a quaint, four-suite accommodation where guests enjoy a Hawaiian continental breakfast every morning with oodles of peace and quiet away from it all. If you do want to get out and about, they are close to fine dining, golf, beaches and other area activities.
(800) 910-1331, (808) 882-1331. www.bigisland-bedbreakfast.com
Another great B&B option is the Bellavista Bed & Breakfast. A beautiful island estate overlooking the harbor and historic town of Charlotte Amalie on Denmark Hill, the Bellavista is a favorite for its tropical gardens, swimming pool, sunbathing deck and Caribbean charm. Encompassing four unique guestrooms, it is the perfect place for you and your significant other (if you are travelling with family or friends, there is an option to book all four guestrooms under a villa rate) to relax and enjoy all that the island has to offer. (888) 333-3063, (340) 714-5706, www.bellavista-bnb.com
The Gulf Shores of Alabama is not often at the top of the mind for a beach getaway, but the area offers one of the most spectacular stretches of white sand beach in the world, as you will find at the Gulf Shores Plantation. Choose from their fully furnished cottage and condo rental options with outdoor charcoal grills, shuffleboard courts, a putting green, exercise room, basketball and tennis courts and several indoor and outdoor pools. And, of course, there is the sand and surf just outside your door! (800) 211-5053, gulfshoresplantation.com
For the ultimate in luxury, Sandy Lane is one of the premier resorts in the Caribbean. Their upscale accommodations range from villas to ocean rooms, suites and penthouses to suit your every vacation taste and desire. The world-class spa offers a variety of treatment and water therapies, in addition to a state-of-the-art fitness center. Dining options encompass exceptional cuisine at four restaurants plus a culinary school and private dining for that special evening celebration. The resort’s three golf courses offer stunning views of Barbados’ platinum coastline. (246) 444-2000, www.sandylane.com
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at email@example.com.