When the weather gets chilly, you may start thinking about a getaway to a warm beach, or you may want to enjoy the absence of crowds and explore the winter treasures of a beautiful coastal area. Either way, there's no need to head to the Caribbean when there are so many places where you can enjoy a winter beach holiday right here in the United States.
Winter Beach Getaways in America
South Padre Island, Texas
This little island feels like a tropical island but it is situated in Texas. At 34 miles long, South Padre Island is practically all sandy beaches and clear blue water for everyone to enjoy. Hang out in a lounge chair and enjoy the scenery or get into the gentle blue waters. Watch for birds and dolphins while soaking up the sun. Head to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center to learn more about the animals that you see. For dinner, tuck into the amazing Gulf shrimp.
Palm Beach, Florida
For a more upscale, luxury beach vacation, Palm Beach really delivers. With restaurants, museums and mansions, there is a lot to do and see when you're not on the beach. This area will give you a taste of the Gilded Age, with mansions such as Henry Flagler's famous Whitehall palatial home. Wander down Worth Avenue for a selection of luxury shops and fine dining. The Colony Hotel, which has been operating since 1947, provides a true taste of culture and high end living. But don’t forget the many beaches that allow you to lounge and just soak up the scenery. Of course, you can’t make a trip to Palm Beach without a stop at The Breakers to enjoy tea in the lobby of this iconic and legendary hotel.
One of Florida's lesser known beachfronts is the Emerald Coast, a gorgeous thirty miles along the Gulf of Mexico. The beach highway connects party towns such as Destin and Panama City, and many smaller and quainter destinations. Seaside is the most quirky, impossibly charming, the setting for Jim Carrey's Truman Show movie. The private beach is sugar-white sand bordered by teal green waters, and the town is designed for walking and slowing down. Eclectic shops, gourmet eateries, and the luxury cottages behind white picket fences that serve as Seaside vacation rentals, all combine for a magical vacation bubble outside of the rest of the world. Temperatures in winter are mild to balmy, and the surrounding countryside is pristine.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
For a very southern flavor, try Grand Isle, Louisiana. While many choose New Orleans to escape to a city, Grand Isle is the answer for a beach vacation. For this barrier island off Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, the weather tends to be around 60 degrees in winter, making it perfect for hiking, fishing or simply exploring the beaches. The Grand Isle State Park is well known for its excellent fishing opportunities.
You might not think about a colder climate like Maine or the East Coast for a winter beach vacation. But these are places where you can enjoy watching the water, strolling along the beach looking for shells or other treasures. During the winter season, these beaches give you the perfect times for walks with no one bothering you. Look into the white sand beaches of Wells, Ogunquit, Kittery or Old Orchard for the best experiences.
While you do need to dress warmly, you will still see surfers out in the water looking for the perfect wave. There are many beaches to choose from. At Old Orchard Beach, you’ve got seven miles of white sand to explore. Seapoint Beach located near Kittery lets you stroll through the dunes. Birding and whale watching are also fun activities.
St Simons Island, Georgia
The beaches on this Georgia island make it the perfect getaway. You’ll find quiet beaches where you can enjoy gazing at the water, or spend time watching for whales and sea turtles at East Beach. For those who enjoy golf, there are many opportunities to spend time on the course. The area is filled with trees draped with Spanish moss to add to the moment. When you’re ready to explore, there are several plantations where you can learn about the past, and also a historic lighthouse to explore.
Orange Beach, Alabama
There are other Gulf Coast beaches besides Florida, and Alabama is a prime contender. The beach sand here is high in quartz so it sparkles in the sun and moonlight. With nine miles of white sand along Orange Beach, there's plenty to do even in the winter. When beach time is done, explore the Wharf which has many restaurants, shopping and even an amphitheater. You and your family can even take a cruise to go dolphin watching. That’s wintertime fun at the beach.
Edisto Island, South Carolina
Close to Charleston, this island is a place where you can explore both the beach itself and the many outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing and boating. The beaches are relatively untouched and much of the area is marshland and wetlands which means that there are a lot of birds to be seen. When not at the beach, you can learn the history of the still vibrant Gullah community and sample their indigenous food.