#1 Best Winter Vacation spot by US News
photo credit: Alan Light via photopin ccWhen temperatures drop into the single digits, the sidewalks get icy, and gallons of hot chocolate don’t seem to do the trick, why not indulge in a bit of wishful thinking and imagine yourself somewhere warm?

Let’s start with the obvious… Hawaii. Voted the #1 Best Winter Vacation spot by US News, Kauai boasts average January temperatures in the mid 70 degrees (F) and is known as the Garden Island thanks to lush forests and 50 miles of beaches, including Poipu Beach and Hanalei Bay.  The oldest of the Hawaiian islands offers historic towns where no building is taller than a coconut tree, and luxury resorts on the North Shore where you will be pampered like royalty. If shopping is more your style, consider the town on Lahaina on the beautiful island of Maui, voted “Best Island” by Conde Nast Traveler for the past 17 years. If you feel bold and don’t mind getting up early, take a pre-dawn drive to the top of a dormant volcano in Haleakala National park to watch the sunrise. It wont be warm up top, but you will certainly appreciate the warmth of the ocean once you drive/bike back down the mountain. If you like it really hot, head to The Big Island, home of one of the world’s most active Volcanoes, the mighty Kilauea, where you can view the lava flow into the water from boat or helicopter.

If you’re escaping winter on the East Coast, consider a short hop on a plane and head down to Belize,  a Central American country the size of Massachusetts with the exotic flavor of the Caribbean. This English speaking country has the longest continuous barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, making it a hot destination spot for snorkeling and diving year round. Once home to a large Mayan populations, there are fascinating ruins to explore, and small offshore islands called cayes that range from remote to resort. Belize is a great place to forget about your winter coat!

Further South is the not to be missed Capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. Named one of the 10 Best Winter Travel Spots by Elle Magazine, Buenos Aires enjoys summer weather this time of year and is one of the most affordable international cities, thanks to the current exchange rate of nearly 5 Argentine Pesos to every US Dollar. If you love food, Buenos Aires is the place to be. From world famous steaks to creamy dulche de leche,  the quality and variety is unsurpassed. Home to a myriad of Free Tours and Cultural Attractions in “The Paris of  Latin America” put Buenos Aires at the top of the list.

If your friends are tired of hearing you complain about the cold and they tell you to “take a flying leap”, why not heed that suggestion and book a trip to New Zealand? Made famous by the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, New Zealand is known as a great place to find out what you’re made of by bungy jumping off Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge, or the jaw dropping 134 metre Nevis bungy plunge.  But  did you know that New Zealand is home to hundreds ( if not thousands) of geothermal hot pools? Situated on the fault line of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates, New Zealand is atop the Ring of Fire, and offers an abundance of terrific soaking options with mud pools, hot springs and geysers.

If you love the idea of a good hot soak, but are one of the lucky few who actually LIKE the cold winter weather, why not head to Utah? The Deer Valley/Park City region offer famous ski slopes and the chance to hob nob with Celebrities during the Sundance Film Festival. After a day of skiing or snowboarding , visit The Crater, a geothermal spring hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock .Over 10,000 years in the making, The Crater formed when melting snow on the Wasatch Mountains seeped deep within the earth. Two miles below the surface, the earth’s interior heated the water. As it percolated upward, it picked up minerals, which were then deposited on the surface — eventually forming the volcano-shaped limestone deposit called The Homestead Crater.