10 Best Destinations for Snowbirds This Winter Slideshow
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Go snorkeling at the Hol Chan Marin Reserve while in Ambergris Caye and see manta rays, nurse sharks, and possibly manatees. There is also the Mayan site Marco Gonzalez to visit; it’s one of the smaller Mayan ruins in Belize but still incredible to see. If you want to take a day trip to other Mayan ruins, go on a tour that will take you to a few different sites. With so much to explore in Belize, don’t forget to check out the caves! Make it a point to go cave tubing during your time there; you won’t be disappointed.
Charleston is cool in the winter months, dropping into the high 30s (Fahrenheit) at times, but overall staying in the brisk 50s. The water might be too cold for swimming, but if you’re brave and the day is warm you should check out Folly Beach, about 12 miles from downtown Charleston. If you still want to see the water but find it to be too cold for a dip, go by the Charleston Harbor for a look at the Southern-style mansions that overlook the water on Battery Street. There is plenty more to do in the area with Waterfront Park nearby and White Point Gardens, not to mention the city’s plethora of first-rate restaurants.
Now is the time to (finally) travel to Cuba. Escape from the cold weather to a hot sunny beach on Playas del Este in Havana, or walk through the squares of Old Havana to see beautiful architecture and old cars. A must-see attraction while in Old Havana is the Plaza de la Catedral home to not only the city’s Cathedral but also the Colonial Art Museum and several restaurants.
Hilo is a wonderful winter escape destination for snowbirds who enjoy the outdoors. Must-do activities include visiting Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls and making the scenic drive on the Hamakua Coast toward Waipi’o Valley. Spend the day in Waipi’o on a serene horseback ride through streams and family farms.
Panama City, Panama
The winter months in Panama City are ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling because underwater visibility is best at this time of year. If you still want to be outdoors but don’t want to be in the water, take a scenic bike ride along Amador Causeway, which connects four small islands on the Panama Canal.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Take a stroll down Puerto Vallarta’s El Malecón boardwalk and be sure to get a picture of Los Arcos, the stone arches that create an amphitheater. There are stores to shop at, great restaurants overlooking the bay, sand sculptures, and cultural performances during the week. The boardwalk is a one-stop-shop with sightseeing, eating, entertainment, and a vibrant nightlife. You can also step away for daytrips to take an ATV tour or an Outdoor Adventure Tour where you can repel down waterfalls.
San Diego is a great winter destination, with comfortably sunny days and cool nights. Kayak, surf, bike, or lie out on one of San Diego’s many beaches. The possibilities are endless with boat tours, national parks, a lively nightlife, museums, art galleries, and great dining options. The winter months are also the best for whale-watching, which is an exciting activity for all the snowbirds visiting.
San José, Costa Rica
For the adventurous snowbirds, San José is filled with outdoor activities and water sports. Take a day trip and go zip lining above the rainforest canopy at a thrilling 459 feet above ground… or at 2,297 feet above ground with Rainforest Adventures for the adrenaline junkies. If that’s not your style, explore the nature and wildlife at Tortuguero National Park, or take a tour of the Teatro Nacional, Costa Rica’s national theater.
Sanibel Island, Fla.
Stay by the water on Sanibel Island and spend your morning strolling and shelling the Gulf Coast beach. Catch some rays, bike around the island, and eat a delicious dinner as you watch the sunset from your table. Mad Hatter restaurant has a fun Alice in Wonderland theme, complete with an upside-down tree in the entrance during the holidays; it’s one of the best places to eat for quality food and sunset views.
If you’re one for the outdoors, Tucson is where it’s at. There are a number of parks with beautiful views and wildlife worth hiking, such as Saguaro National Park, Catalina State Park, and trails off the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, which is a must-visit in Tucson.
Another must while you’re there is to stop by the eighteenth-century Spanish Catholic Mission San Xavier del Bac. When you need a break from the sun, go to marvel over its beautiful white exterior and ornate interior.