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2021 Warm Winter Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Sunset over Marco Island, Florida
Allianz - Sunset over Marco Island, Florida
Sunset over Marco Island, Florida

Ahh, winter travel. Snowy peaks, roaring firepits, cozy cabins… Aren’t you totally over it?

You want to be somewhere sunny. You want to trade boots for flip-flops. So you start to wonder: Where are the warmest places to visit in the U.S. in January or February? And how soon can you get there?

We have a few ideas for you. Whether you’re longing for beach time, outdoor adventure or family fun, these six winter destinations won’t disappoint. You won’t need a passport, but you will need trip insurance — to safeguard your vacation investment and protect you from common travel mishaps.

Compare the best travel insurance plans for domestic trips and get a quote 

A note for travelers in early winter 2021: COVID-19 restrictions may be in place at these destinations. Check local visitor websites before you travel, and make sure you follow the requirements and guidelines.

Twentynine Palms, California

Average winter high temperatures: 62-72 degrees1

The city of Twentynine Palms — named for the palms that once surrounded the Oasis of Mara — is best known as the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. This mystical landscape where the Colorado and Mojave deserts meet is known for its windswept rock formations, cholla cacti (don’t touch!) and namesake Joshua tree. There’s a lot to do in the area as well! Take a tour of its well-known murals. Spend an evening stargazing. And catch a live show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a former Wild West movie set.

Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys, Florida

Average winter high temperatures: 75-79 degrees2

The best known destination in the Florida Keys is, of course, Key West. But if you’re looking for serenity you should explore the neighboring Lower Keys instead. Big Pine Key and the smaller islands around it are known for natural beauty, wildlife and sport fishing.

Sunbathe on the public beach at Bahia Honda State Park. Look for the delicate, endangered Key deer and Lower Key marsh rabbits at the National Key Deer Refuge. Dive or snorkel in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, then kick back at a beach bar.

Marco Island, Florida

Average winter high temperatures: 71-75 degrees3

Gently lapping waves, white-sand beaches, and luxury resorts: That’s what you’ll find on Marco Island, off Florida’s Gulf Coast. Part of the Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is a popular warm winter vacation spot. It’s just about 20 miles from Naples, and an easy drive from the Southwest Florida International Airport.

Favorite activities include taking a kayak eco-tour of the mangroves and tiny islands in the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; fishing for kingfish, grouper and snapper; sailing and golfing.

Luquillo, Puerto Rico

Average winter high temperatures: 83-85 degrees4

Luquillo’s nickname is La Capital del Sol — The Sun Capital. Doesn’t that sound like a delightful change from winter weather? Playa Luquillo, its most famous beach, is a long stretch of pristine sand and palms. If you get hungry, visit one (or many!) of the 60 food kiosks lined up along the highway, selling everything from burgers to bacalaitos (fried codfish fritters).

Luquillo is also the gateway to El Yunque National Forest, a breathtaking rainforest filled with waterfalls and wildlife. Best of all, it’s a short hop from San Juan, which is just 30 miles north of all these wonders. You can get off the plane, rent a car and be on the beach before you know it. (Don’t forget: You can save a lot by purchasing your rental car insurance ahead of time!)

South Padre Island, Texas

Average winter high temperatures: 68-72 degrees5

In southernmost Texas, South Padre Island offers 34 miles of sandy beaches and tropical breezes. While it’s earned a reputation as a raucous party town, South Padre is an ideal warm winter destination for families if you avoid college spring break weeks.

Book a sandcastle lesson with an expert builder and learn how to construct an ornate, multi-towered palace. Climb the five-story observation tower at the South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary and spot ducks, shorebirds and raptors. Or try a new watersport: parasailing, kitesurfing, snorkeling or stand-up paddleboarding.

Golden Isles, Georgia

Average winter high temperatures: 60-69 degrees6

The Golden Isles are as romantic as their name suggests. This collection of barrier islands in southern Georgia, just north of Jacksonville, are known for mystical marshes, live oaks draped with Spanish moss, and history spanning the centuries.

St. Simons Island is dotted with quaint villages and offers golfing, shopping, historic sites and fine dining. Over the causeway is Sea Island, home to two fabulously luxe resorts: the Cloister on Sea Island and The Lodge at Sea Island. Jekyll Island is a favorite getaway for families, with dolphin tours, horseback riding, bike trails and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Little St. Simons Island is privately owned and accessible only by boat. Stay in one of six cottages and enjoy perfect seclusion.7 

What are you waiting for? Shed your winter coat, grab those flip-flops and head south like a snowbird. Allianz Travel Insurance can protect you on the journey. Find your plan!

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Dec 31, 2020