Six Ways to Escape the Cold in Boston This Winter
Here’s your step-by-step winter playbook for getting out of town and into the sun.
Hop on a Direct Flight
Pack your bags, take an Uber to Logan, and let the getaway begin.
San Diego, California
Flight Time: 6 hours, 40 minutes
Avg. January High Temp.: 66°F
WHY GO: Less traffic and pretension than L.A., better weather than San Francisco.
STAY: Set in the Gaslamp Quarter, the 317-room Pendry oozes luxury with custom furnishings and marble-clad bathrooms. Relax at the rooftop pool by day and tip back a pint or two at Nason’s Beer Hall—the on-site pub—at night.
DO: Paddle your way through seven sea caves at San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, an ecological and marine wildlife reserve and literal hidden gem. Have kids in tow? Check out the rides and live shows at Sesame Place, which debuts this March.
EAT: Portside Pier at the Embarcadero opened in 2020 with four eateries, including the well-loved Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar. Might we suggest the swordfish tacos? —D.G.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Flight Time: 12 hours
Avg. January High Temp.: 75°F
WHY GO: Audacious skyscrapers, dazzling nightlife, and resorts that offer uncommon luxury.
STAY: One of Dubai’s newest resorts is Th8 Palm, which
features floor-to-ceiling windows and full kitchens in its all-suite accommodations. Bonus points for the outdoor bar– and food truck–equipped beach club.
DO: Journey to the top of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, for 360-degree views of the city. Not into heights? Find your next Insta post at the Miracle Garden, home to more than 150 million flowers, instead.
EAT: Steal away to Shanghai Me, where you can tuck into modernized East Asian dishes such as crispy duck salad and sweet-and-sour prawns in the company of bamboo and banana trees on the restaurant’s jungle-like terrace. —D.G.
Flight Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
Avg. January High Temp.: 63°F
WHY GO: Killer live music, even better barbecue, and spectacular natural attractions including the Barton Springs Pool, a natural swimming hole warm enough to splash in year-round.
STAY: Set in a Greek Revival–style mansion, the 47-room Hotel Ella balances historical charm with quirky touches such as the former owner’s extensive pistol collection (because, Texas).
DO: Before hitting the funky boutiques in Austin’s SoCo neighborhood, embrace the city’s legendary weirdness at the Cathedral of Junk—a delightfully strange sculpture of discarded car parts, tools, toys, and other found items.
EAT: Fill up on brisket, pulled pork, or ribs at Franklin’s, Salt Lick, or La Barbeque. You’ll need the fortification for a night of carousing on “Dirty 6th” Street, from which you can recover with breakfast tacos at Rainey Street Burgers the next morning. —J.S.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Flight time: 4 hours
Avg. January High Temp.: 83°F
WHY GO: Sun-kissed beaches, stunning fortresses, and exciting nature adventures.
STAY: Check into the 43-room Palacio Provincial, which opened in 2021. Nestled inside a restored 19th-century building with high ceilings and Juliet balconies, the boutique hotel features sweeping San Juan Bay views from its rooftop pool.
DO: They call Puerto Rico “La Isla del Encanto,” or the island of enchantment. Experience its wonders firsthand with a guided hike and waterfall tour in El Yunque National Forest, a tropical oasis set in the Luquillo Mountains.
EAT: Exceptional cuisine is easy to come by in San Juan, which celebrated its 500th anniversary last year. Raise a glass to the town—and feast on such dishes as salmon confit with local pumpkin—at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel’s renowned 1919 Restaurant, helmed by Michelin Star–winning chef Juan José Cuevas. —D.G.
Key West, Florida
Flight time: 4 hours
Avg. January High Temp.: 76°F
WHY GO: Epic sunsets, world-class seafood, and carefree island vibes.
STAY: The new oceanfront Margaritaville Beach House features 186 coastal-chic suites, plus a lagoon-style pool and lawn games, among other amenities.
DO: Stroll down bustling Duval Street on your way to Sebago Watersports, where—as part of the Bugeye Backcountry Adventure Eco Tour—you’ll sail, kayak, and snorkel while peeping blue herons, dolphins, sea turtles, and more.
EAT: Milagro Restaurant and Bar is arguably the hottest new place in town, but then again, no one argues here. Sip on a pineapple mojito before indulging in wood-grilled octopus or beef-shank pozole. —D.G.
2. Hit a Hole in One
Perfect your golf game—and score a tan while you’re at it.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing setting for golf than Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Exhibit A: We-Ko-Pa Golf Club near Scottsdale, owned and operated by the Yavapai Nation. The two 18-hole championship courses—the award-winning Cholla and the newer Bille Coore– and Ben Crenshaw–designed Saguaro—wind over painted desert ridges, shadowy canyons, and gently flowing arroyos. The recently refurbished resort and casino, meanwhile, features a spa, horseback riding, off-road tours, and more. Want to switch it up? Book a tee time just down the road at the Grand Canyon State’s newest golf destination, Sterling Grove Golf & Country Club in Surprise, home to Arizona’s first Jack Nicklaus–designed course for public play since 2016. The tree-lined, par-72 beauty has been open since January 2021, but Sterling Grove’s clubhouse—complete with a spa and a fitness studio—is slated for its big reveal in early 2022. —D.G.
3. Take the Kiddos to a Nickelodeon Resort
Family time in five-star accommodations? Yes, please.
Until now, slime has never been a selling point of any luxury resort, but things change. Opened in August 2021 along a gorgeous stretch of beach on the Yucatán Peninsula, the five-star Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya includes 280 oceanfront and swim-up suites, six restaurants, plus a wealth of additional Nick-specific touches (think: themed décor and character meet-and-greets). The resort’s true jewel, though, is the 6-acre AquaNick waterpark, where you’ll find lazy rivers, an activity pool, and 21 thrilling slides for all ages. To that end, rest assured: There are plenty of diversions for the 21-plus crowd as well. Indulge in a couple’s spa treatment or venture to the Bikini Bottom Bar, where mixologists are at the ready. For live music and games, there’s even an orange-couch-equipped Snick Lounge—the perfect spot for Gen-Xers and older millennials to try to explain the ’90s to their kids. —D.G.
4. Embrace Nature at an Eco-Lodge
Say “yes” to sustainability without sacrificing luxury at these Earth-friendly resorts.
Consistently named one of the world’s top all-inclusive resorts, this jungle lodge near Arenal Volcano features a sloth preserve, gardens that give Eden a run for its money, and on-staff naturalists to guide you through the rain-forest canopy. Looking for a different kind of excursion? The surrounding area offers opportunities for horseback riding, kayaking, ziplining, and more.
An all-inclusive, five-star resort overlooking a pristine beach, Antigua’s Hermitage Bay was specially designed to blend in with its environment. Its pared-down suites, accented by dark-wood finishes, help keep the focus on stunning ocean views. Natural detergents and bath products, meanwhile, affirm the resort’s dedication to sustainability.
It’s easy to feel connected to Mother Earth at this Relais & Châteaux resort, set in the Atlantic Forest. With walls of oversize windows, wrap-around wooden decks, and private plunge pools, each of the property’s dreamy villas—built on stilts to curb environmental impact—offers a front-row seat to the sights and sounds of the jungle. Admire any number of bird or plant species from the comfort of your pad or hop into your personal 4×4 vehicle to get closer to the action; it’s included with your stay. —J.S.
5. Revisit the Revitalized Caribbean
It’s safe to say lots has changed since your last island vacay.
With Hurricane Irma in the rearview, the hardest-hit area of the Caribbean took the past few years to reboot and rebuild. On St. Barts, the legendary Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf—a five-star resort in the island’s capital city—reopened in 2020 with an outpost of the beloved Paris eatery Fouquet’s and a private beach club. Similar luxury awaits at the brand-new Oil Nut Bay in the North Sound area of Virgin Gorda; accessible only by boat or helicopter, the plush property features rentable villas and a marina complex popular among the super-yacht set. You’ll also find fresh digs at the Aerial. Located on a 43-acre private island near Tortola, the wellness-focused resort—which began welcoming guests last May—offers tranquility and solitude via five swoon-inducing lodges. The U.S. Virgin Islands, meanwhile, now boasts Lovango, a self-contained oasis near St. John with outdoor-shower-equipped treehouses, posh glamping tents, and the region’s first beach and pool club. —J.S.
6. Dip into the Hot Springs
What could be more relaxing than kicking back in nature’s own Jacuzzis?
Glenwood Hot Springs
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Spanning more than 40,000 square feet, this Colorado mainstay is the largest hot-spring pool in the world. Spend the day lounging or swimming laps in its toasty waters, which also include a splash zone for the little ones in your crew, then head to the historical Hotel Denver. With roots stretching to 1915, the soon-to-be-renovated hotel charms with hardwood floors, exposed-brick walls, and antique furnishings.
Yellowstone Hot Springs
Towering conifers, snow-capped mountains, and bald-eagle sightings are all part of the experience at this literal hot spot in Montana, located just under 15 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. Once you’re done exploring the two warm-water pools (plus the cold plunge pool, if you’re feeling brave), retire to Sage Lodge, opened in 2019 in nearby Pray. Gas fireplaces, freestanding soaking tubs, and an on-site steakhouse await.
Crystal Hot Springs
These pleasantly warm Utah waters, which bubble to the surface from a depth of 8,000 feet, boast the highest mineral content of any hot spring on the planet. Soak up all of the benefits from elements such as calcium and iron before making the one-hour trek to Salt Lake City; that’s where you’ll check into the plush Grand America Hotel, bedecked with Italian glass-enclosed showers, handcrafted cherry-wood furniture, and down bedding. —Andrea Timpano