m4s0n501

As I mentioned last week, we are trying to plan our next vacation. We’re thinking about going at the end of January or beginning/middle of February (to beat the spring break rush and price gouging).

We’d like to go someplace warm… at least warmer than here. By mid-winter, we really need a break from the cold. I’d love beach time, but it seems like that might not really be possible unless we go REALLY far away. So we’d be happy just going to a fun city, with mild weather, with a lot to do. We’re thinking we’ll have about 7-8 days. And we don’t want to spend a ton of money.

Here are the current front-runners:

1. South Florida
We’re thinking about flying into Miami (or Fort Lauderdale), spending a few days there, and then driving down to Key West and spending the rest of the time there. From my internet research, sounds like the average high temperature for this time of year is 75 degrees. Not exactly beach weather, but a hell of a lot warmer than it’ll be here. And even though I know there are other things to do, we keep asking ourselves… is it really worth going to Florida if you can’t go to the beach??

2. San Diego/Los Angeles, California & San Antonio, Texas
With this trip, we’re thinking about flying out to San Diego or L.A. (whichever is cheapest for airfare), spending 4 days there, then flying to San Antonio to spend 3-4 days there before heading back east. Average temperatures in San Diego/L.A. are only about 65 degrees. Not sure about San Antonio, but since they don’t have beaches, it doesn’t really matter all that much. I’ve been to SoCal (multiple times, actually), but it’s obviously beautiful, and Michael has never been. San Antonio is one of those cities I’ve always wanted to go to. But again, I ask… if you take the beach out of SoCal, is it worth going to? I’ve only ever been in the summertime.

3. Costa Rica
This one is obviously a lot more expensive than our other options. Weather should definitely be warm. Budget plays the biggest role in the decision on this one. Airfare alone is approximately twice as much as the other options. We might have a hook-up for a good deal on accommodations, but we’re really not sure. Anyone ever been? What did you do there? Where did you stay? Do you recommend?

4. Options yet to be discovered
Are there other places we should be considering? Originally, I really wanted to go to the Caribbean, but I researched a few places and they’re either really expensive, or the weather is iffy that time of year (or both). We really don’t want to go on a cruise… I’m not sure why exactly, but the idea of one has never appealed to us. Just not our “thing,” I suppose?

We’re obviously not really set on any one place. We’re open to suggestions and reviews. We’ll appreciate any information that can be provided by people who have actually been to these places. I’ve found this little blog community to be so helpful for past trips, so I figured… who better to ask? :)

Give us your best shot!

 
m4s0n501

30 Responses to Destination Unknown

  1. Julia says:

    I’m not going to be much help, but I’ve wanted to go to Puerto Rico ever since I saw them there on Top Chef one season. I looked at airfare and from Columbus (where I am) flights at the end of January are around $250 to $300 each. The weather averages are high 83 and low 70 for that time of year. There are beaches, mountains, and a rainforest!

  2. Krystie says:

    I wouldn’t recommend CA during that time of year, especially so cal. the weather is sort of grey and so not the peak for sunshine. Florida sounds fun. North Carolina? myrtle beach? Not sure about weather. San Antonio is awesome, for a few days. Louisiana? I’ve always wanted to walk down the main street and see the beaches there. What about an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean? they have some awesome deals floating around.

  3. jenn says:

    I’m not into cruises either. I go to Florida all the time and never see the beach :) My parents are looking into going to the Virgin Islands and St Thomas- look very cool! Happy Planning!

  4. leenmachine says:

    How about Charleston, SC? It has a few accessible beaches including Folly Beach. Lots to do, history, Spanish moss framing great scenery, variety of great restaurants (now I’m starting to sound like my sister that lives there!). It’s cold to us around January, but I’m sure nothing like your winters – we get no snow. :(

    Also, Savannah, GA is just two hours away from Charleston. Cities like Beaufort and Hilton Head Island are on the way.

  5. Amy says:

    Have you considered New Orleans? There is a lot to do, good food and it’s not very expensive. :)

  6. Andrea says:

    I have two suggestions for the Caribbean.

    First, have you thought about Jamaica? We stayed at the Sandals Inn for one of our more recent vacations and liked it a lot. It’s considerably cheaper than other Sandals locations and is also much smaller the other Sandals resorts. It’s still all-inclusive and has a much more ‘bed and breakfast’ type feel to it. Jamaica wasn’t our favorite place ever but we would consider staying at Sandals Inn again if we were looking for a budget friendly vacation.

    The other option is staying at Maho Bay in St. John. Maho is an eco-resort that is affordable, comfortable, and very green. In the winter accommodations range from $175-$235 a night for double occupancy. St. John is my favorite place to visit – 2/3 of the island is National Park so it is very undisturbed and just gorgeous! We were just there in July!

  7. Cara says:

    I love San Diego any time of year. I think there are plenty of other things to do besides the beach, also. San Antonio is a really cool city with lots to do, also! That’s my vote for your vacation I wish I could go on!:)

  8. Cheryl says:

    Heather,

    Northerners and Europeans are at the beach ALL winter in Florida. In fact, the first Christmas we spent in Florida, we went to the beach…I live on the gulf coast and I swear the gulf water doesn’t ever get cold. That being said, Miami is relatively close to the last place I want to visit…unless they’re playing the Colts (and the Colts win…)

    Just FYI, there is a month or so of insane European takeover of our Florida beaches…but I think that’s more February right before spring break. And of course, as soon as ANY of the FL schools think about spring break, the airline prices shoot up.

  9. What about a cruise to the Caribbean? I have been on 5 and have enjoyed every single one! Check out Royal Caribbean , if you have flexible dates you can get reservations cheap. We went to the Bahamas for 5 days and paid $300 a person. That was for our room AND all our food. Just and idea!

  10. Christy says:

    San Antonio is hit or miss during that time of year. Could be 40 or could be 90!

    Ditto some of the other posters on the Caribbean – you should be able to find some great off-season rates

  11. Cara says:

    Savannah Ga is a really nice place to visit. Key West is nice. I don’t know what it would be like in January though so I’m not much help there. I know you said you weren’t interested in a cruise but it is a budget friendly way to see the Caribbean especially in the winter. We went on a cruise recently to Key West, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. It was nice to be able to spend a little time at each place and then have time to relax on the ship. Also, check out Sandals resorts like the previous post said. I know I would enjoy warm weather in Jan/Feb! Good luck!

  12. I’m from Miami and I honestly prefer going to the beach in January or February. It’s so hot in the summer that I can barely layout for an hour before it gets unbearable. Lincoln Road on South Beach has great food and shopping and there are lots of newly renovated hotels with great restaurants in them too. Happy Planning!

  13. Jen says:

    We went to Puerto Rico the last few days of our honeymoon, and loved it!! You can get a really reasonable (nice) hotel, the beaches are gorgeous and the weather is hot! Airfare also looks pretty reasonable (I don’t know what it actually costs since our trip was a stopover from St. Lucia so our airfare wasn’t any different). Plus, not only are there beaches, rain forests and old forts, but tons of really great outlet shopping. We had a blast and would really like to go back at some point!

    Also, my friend lived in Miami for 3 years and was usually able to make it to the beach during the winter months. You can still get some pretty warm days!

  14. Mrs. D says:

    I’ll throw in another vote for Puerto Rico. Granted, it was about seven years ago that I was there, but it was in February/March and it was gorgeous. Lots of sightseeing to do, or beach lounging. Good food. Really friendly locals.

    Good luck planning!

  15. Pie says:

    Puerto Rico is my favorite vacation spot ever! Last time we went there was around Christmas time, and we spent about a week there. They have so many different types of scenary to see on a small island. Also, if you do go to Puerto Rico, make sure you make an effort to go to Island Culebra, it is out of this world!!

  16. Pamela says:

    Every year my husband and I go to Riviera Maya Mexico for a week at the end of January. 2010 will be our fourth year together and while we always go to the same resort we’ve yet to run out of places to visit and sights to see. Plus it averages 80 degrees and the beaches are stunning. Good luck!

  17. Lynsey Kaye says:

    My husband and I went to San Antonio 2 years ago around November. It is an awesome city to visit. I definitely suggest it. I have never been during the late months of winter, but the early months of winter are a nice time to go so I would assume it would be similar. Good luck planning.

  18. Staci says:

    Well, I must say there are many choices. I want to go to Jamaica…have never been, but have heard great things from friends that have. lots of waterfalls and photo opts. I have been to many other places, in and outside of the US however, and Key West is one of my absolute favorite. I stay at the Ocean Key resort. It’s affordable, beautiful, and in walking distance to everything Duval Street has to offer. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else! On our last visit, we did an all exclusive “lunch cruise excursion”. It was $150 a person, but included breakfast, lunch, wine, beer, snorkeling, parasailing,jetskiing, kyaking, water rock climbing…many photo ops w/ an underwater camera. The nightlife is fantastic, and the hotel is ajacent to Mallory Square, where a daily “sunset celebration” is held. I have many pics if you would like to take a look. dominican Rep is beautiful too, but a bit pricier. Hope I helped a little :)

  19. Staci says:

    Well, I must say there are many choices. I want to go to Jamaica…have never been, but have heard great things from friends that have. lots of waterfalls and photo opts. I have been to many other places, in and outside of the US however, and Key West is one of my absolute favorite. I stay at the Ocean Key resort. It’s affordable, beautiful, and in walking distance to everything Duval Street has to offer. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else! On our last visit, we did an all exclusive “lunch cruise excursion”. It was $150 a person, but included breakfast, lunch, wine, beer, snorkeling, parasailing,jetskiing, kyaking, water rock climbing…many photo ops w/ an underwater camera. The nightlife is fantastic, and the hotel is ajacent to Mallory Square, where a daily “sunset celebration” is held. I have many pics if you would like to take a look. dominican Rep is beautiful too, but a bit pricier. Hope I helped a little :)

  20. Alicia says:

    I went to Jamaica for my honeymoon. We stayed at a Sandals resort so it was more expensive, but there are cheaper resorts. We stayed in Ochos Rios, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes from the airport, but it was really nice! We had a lot of fun. Definitely check it out.

  21. etta says:

    I’d love to go on a trip this winter. I think we’re planning a trip to Hawaii in June. A friend is getting married in New Mexico in May, but I’m not sure if we can go. :(

  22. Jennifer says:

    I was going to recommend Charleston, SC too. I’m not sure what the weather is like in January/February, but my husband and I just spent our anniversary there and it was awesome! We stayed in Historic Charleston, rather than the beach areas. We loved it there!

  23. Juls says:

    We just got back from Punta Cana in the Dominican if you looking it was very resonable and a great time!!

  24. Tiffany says:

    Hi there. I know you said that a cruise is not your thing but I almost think that if you took one, you might change your mind. They are an extremely cost effective way to spend your time seeing wonderful sights and relaxing. I’ve followed your blog since Road to the Aisle, and it seems as though you like to get the most from your money and you are an excellent planner. Because with a cruise comes an itinerary, there will be new sites to see each day, and also down time, while you’re sailing. Prices for cruises are not bad at this time of year and the weather in the carribean is great. You’ll also be avoiding hurricane season! (Also, it’d be good to do this option before having kids, as carribean vacations might be slightly more difficult with a little one in tow.) Hope you like random two-cents!

  25. Sarah says:

    My vote is for Riviera Maya, Mexico. My husband has been on many vacations, and Riviera Maya was his favorite. It was absolutely breathtaking, and there are quite a few things to do while you’re there.

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  27. I’ll be the first to scream for Puerto Rico… I get to go in July for my honeymoon…

    However, rather than going to San Antonio, have you considered Austin? Between the live music EVERYWHERE, the fantastic food, and the feeling like you might actually be in a small city (these people are amazingly nice…) you can’t go wrong!

    As for the weather, I moved from Chicago two years ago, so I completely understand the need to get OUT of the cold around that time of year… and Austin is always warm. After all, lets face it… even a 60 degree day in January is a million times better than a -10 degree day up north!

  28. Erin says:

    Costa Rica is beautiful. Perfect. And you can make your trip as gringa-ized as you like or totally go for an authentic Costa Rican experience. It’s nice to have that option for your first time travelling out of the country which you cannot get in many Central and South American countries…and often places like Jamaica and such only offer way touristy resort style options for travelers And there is lots of English spoken there. I’d also recommend Belize..highly recommend…for a first trip to Central American. World class diving, opportunities to venture out of your comfort zone, and still lots of English spoken.

  29. Elise says:

    Key West and the Keys in general are GORGEOUS in February/March. My vote is for Southern Florida :)

  30. Katie says:

    To be honest, the BEST time to come to South Florida is Jan-Feb…the weather is comfortable (mid 70s-80s every day), rain is to a minimum, and the humidity drops significantly. You can still go to the beach most days and walk around, but it’ll be a little “chilly” in terms of trying to swim. Fort Lauderdale is a beautiful area to check out (lots of parks, museums, great food, etc.), as is Naples (about an hour west of Fort Laud). You’ve got Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay National Park, and the Florida Keys are fantastic. Definitely worth checking out.

    That being said, avoid SoFla like the plague for the month of March. We get overrun with college and high school students for spring break. Even us locals hide. Scary!

    If you decide to go with SoFla and want some restaurant/sightseeing recommendations, feel free to shoot me a message, I’ll be happy to lend some recommendations! :)

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