With record cold temperatures sweeping the nation this winter, just about everyone is ready for spring and the warmer weather that comes with it. Instead of waiting and enduring those chilly temps and dreary skies, why not make an escape? By planning it right, you can enjoy a budget-friendly vacation that offers the chance to finally feel those warm rays of sunshine on your skin, take part in fun outdoor activities, or just relax your cares away.
San Diego, California
This Southern California destination is well-known for its year-round idyllic climate that’s considered by many to be the best in the entire nation. In this seaside nirvana, you’ll find 70 miles of coastline and dozens of beautiful beaches on which to soak in the sun, watch the world’s top surfers, play volleyball, look for sea creatures and seashells, bodysurf or boogie board, and more. At Coronado, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, bonfires are legal, which means you can gather up your friends and family for a beach bonfire. Sing tunes, roast marshmallows or just enjoy the relaxing sounds of a crackling fire and crashing waves.
Besides hitting the sand, there are lots of free and cheap activities available in the city, including rollerblading, bicycling or just people watching along the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach Boardwalk, a picturesque three-mile boardwalk that runs along the coast. The city is filled with cultural attractions, including world-class museums with free admission on Tuesdays.
While you might think accommodations here would be extremely pricey, there are actually quite a few cheap hotels that offer lots of bang for the buck.
If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic that doesn’t require a passport, Puerto Rico may be ideal. Cheap flights can often be found from Miami, and you’ll find all the benefits of a tropical, Caribbean vacation without the high costs.
San Juan’s beachfront neighbor, Carolina, features beautiful stretches of golden sand beaches and warm turquoise waters just a few miles from the airport, so you won’t even need to rent a car. Many hotels offer complimentary shuttles and bus transportation is cheap and readily available. If you want to experience the capital city’s exciting nightlife, it’s still just minutes away. This magnificent region offers the opportunity to stay in inexpensive hotels steps from the beach where you can swim, snorkel or just relax and take in the beautiful scenery.
The food here is fabulous, and downright cheap, with a wide array of menu options from fresh seafood to local dishes with creative flair and lots of international flavors.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Playa Del Carmen offers spring break bargains, away from the crowds and the overpriced hotels in Cancun. Here you’ll find the same incredible stunning beaches and a more upscale atmosphere that is easily accessible from the Cancun airport. Even the most expensive resorts in the chain of Riu Hotels are less than $200 a day per person for an all-inclusive package. Selecting an all-inclusive hotel or resort means that you won’t have to worry about budgeting while on vacation, which can make it much less stressful and more relaxing. Many include alcoholic beverages as well as all of your meals, entertainment and lots of fun activities.
Spend your days sipping an exotic libation, feeling the warm sand between your toes and taking in breathtaking water views.
K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer and the author of the “ Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland.” She has traveled to nearly all 50 states and many countries worldwide and has a passion for imparting what she has learned from her experiences to others.
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Ireland Off the Beaten Path: 3 Spectacular Hidden Gems
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