After 60-70 mph winds and bone-chilling temps, it seems like the warm weather might never arrive. Fortunately, with these island getaways just a few hours’ nonstop flight from the major airports on the East Coast, you can get yourself to the warmth without too much trouble.
Leave in the morning and by afternoon find yourself stretched out a long pink or white beach. Hit the links at one of the island’s many top-flight golf courses. Try your hand at sailing in the waters that were to last year’s America’s Cup races. Fish for all manner of species in the clear waters off the beach, over the reefs or out in the deep sea. Or just get an eyeful of the colorful aquatic life by diving or snorkeling around the more than 350 shipwrecks offshore.
Jump on a nonstop flight to Nassau and you’ll be soaking up the sun in no time. There you’ll find a treasure trove of nautical and colonial history best explored on a tour of the defensive forts that ring New Providence island and in the Pirates of Nassau museum. Kids of all ages will enjoy the wonders of Aquaventure, Dolphin Cay and marine habitat at Atlantis on Paradise Island. Those of legal age will equally enjoy the gaming at casinos and sportsbooks, as gambling is legal throughout the islands for nonresidents ages 18 and older.
Fly into Montego Bay in the north of the island, and you’re right in the middle of an array of great resorts. The northern coast of the island, especially the 120-mile stretch from Oracabessa in the east to Negril on the western tip, is a playground of white-sand beaches, lush forests and rushing rivers. Rafting on the White River or the Martha Brae is a must. Reggae music and the smell of jerk chicken and pork fill the air, while smooth Blue Mountain coffee gets you energized for another day of adventure.
Turks & Caicos
Having avoided major damages when Hurricanes Irma and Maria came through last fall, Providenciales and the Grace Bay area are still a top destination for beautiful beaches and turquoise waters. The Columbus National Marine Park off Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and the coral reef right there in Grace Bay are a few of the great dive spots home to all kinds of marine life. If you prefer to keep your head above water, Provo Ponies has morning and afternoon horseback rides along trails and across Long Bay Beach.
Jet into Punta Cana and you’ll find yourself just a few hours removed from home but in an oasis of all-inclusive resorts straddling the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. While the beaches are great for lounging, activities abound, from ATV rides to horseback riding to day trips to nearby Isla Saona. Work with your travel advisor to pick the resort that’s right for you and you’ll find a haven of relaxation, entertainment and dining all within easy reach.
Chase away the winter blues in just one flight. Maybe it’ll warm up by the time you get home.