35 Warm Destinations Where It's Always Summer
Sure, winter has its charms, but sometimes, you just need a little sun and warmth and the ability to leave the house without layers. If you get hit hard by the winter blues or don’t feel like you relaxed enough this summer, a tropical vacation is the answer. Since some places near — or within! — the U.S. are blessed with year-round warm weather, it’s easy to hop on a plane and be on the beach in a matter of hours.
To help you fantasize about or plan your next warm getaway, we’ve gathered a list of 35 places that you can easily get to from the U.S. They are all within five hours of a major American airport. Most of them are in the Caribbean, but each has its own distinct features, so you can definitely find somewhere that fits your travel style.
So, go ahead and pack your beach bag for a visit to these top destinations that enjoy summer temperatures all year long.
35. Costa del Sol, El Salvador
Less than an hour away from San Salvador, El Salvador's capital, Costa del Sol is a popular beach getaway for city dwellers looking for a break. Boasting the largest beach in the country, you’ll find fresh seafood restaurants, boating activities and cocktails with a sunset view.
If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can also do some horseback riding and enjoy the wind in your face.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Costa del Sol: Minimalist raffia tote
34. Miami, Florida
You know we couldn't have this list of hot cities without including the city that brings the heat in more ways than one. Head to South Beach just to say you did, but then spend time in the much-better Haulover Park beach. At night, hit some of the world’s most exclusive nightclubs, go alternative chic at Wynwood Walls and enjoy the extreme fusion of a city mostly made up of first-, second- and third-generation immigrants.
Other not-so-cliché activities include kayaking through mangroves at Oleta River State Park and getting deep into the Everglades on a hike or airboat ride.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Miami: Personalized canvas resort bag
33. Panama City, Panama
Want Miami without U.S. prices? Head to glitzy Panama City. High-rise buildings make up the skyline, and nightclubs are the place to be once the sun sets.
But besides the cosmopolitan perks of diverse gastronomy, thriving nightlife and luxury hotels, the Panamanian capital also offers a well-preserved colonial center, complete with cobblestones streets and landmarks like the Presidential Palace. As a bonus, the city has views of the country’s most famous feature: the Panama Canal.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Panama City: Cream terrycloth tote
32. Trinidad & Tobago
This two-island nation is one of the only places in the Caribbean with an economy that does not primarily rely on tourism. This means that you won’t find the typical island vibe that seems to exist for the purpose of hosting travelers.
Port of Spain, the capital, is filled with dance halls blasting soca and pretty urban beaches. Outside the city, you’ll find small towns and hills that roll into the ocean. On its part, Tobago is where nationals vacation, taking advantage of its forests, waterfalls and the Nylon Pool, a natural shallow pool within the ocean. Then, there’s also what’s probably one of the best and most underrated food scenes in the continent.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Trinidad & Tobago: Black straw bucket bag
31. Loja, Ecuador
If you want to escape the cold but don’t love the idea of a boiling beach break, set your eyes on Loja. Nestled in a valley, Loja hits the perfect weather of 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Never too hot or too cold, the town has a reputation for being one of the happiest places in Ecuador.
And it’s not just the weather that is just right. Loja is relatively small but offers music festivals, art galleries and beautiful colonial architecture. The locals are friendly, the mountain views astonishing, and the vibes are always relaxed.
Buy the perfect bag for Loja: Handcrafted wicker bag
30. Tulum, Mexico
The jewel of the Yucatan peninsula may not be a secret anymore, but it’s still worth a visit. Besides perfect beaches and warm water, you will find seaside Mayan ruins overrun by resident iguanas.
You can easily spend your days doing nothing but drinking beer in a hammock, but you can also join one of the several yoga and wellness retreats that are always being offered or explore sacred cenotes. Tulum is also near Xelhá, an eco-friendly waterpark that only uses natural water and is committed to sustainability.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Tulum: Bohemian tote bag
Tell people you're going to Dominica and they'll probably reply by asking if you mean Dominican Republic.
Largely ignored by tourists who seek the warm waters of the Caribbean, Dominica remains the region's "Nature Island." This nickname speaks to the island's commitment to preserving its diverse natural beauty. Besides near-perfect beaches, you'll find volcanic hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, gorges, tropical rainforests and mountains.
Buy the perfect bag for Dominica: Basketweave leather bag
28. Havana, Cuba
The Cuban capital has long been held in the collective North American imagination as a land where time has stood still. Of course, this is in part due to the island’s economic conditions, and locals might not be as excited as foreigners to drive 70-year-old cars.
Nevertheless, Havana’s charm is simply undeniable. The temperature is almost always perfect, the food is even better than you can imagine, and the beats of salsa, blues and son cubano fill the air at night.
If the city didn't place higher, it's because of travel restrictions that make it difficult for U.S. nationals to visit, though citizens of the country can still travel under certain conditions.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Havana: Unique mesh and raffia bag
27. Key West, Florida
To get to the heat any time of year without leaving the U.S., head to Key West. Most people fly into Miami and then go on a road trip through the Keys to get to this town at the tip of Florida, but you can also fly directly into Key West International Airport.
Besides the weather, pastel-colored houses and massive coral reefs, Key West is famous for being an LGBTQIA-friendly destination. Other attractions include visiting the closest point to Cuba and Hemingway’s house.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Key West: White and yellow beach tote
26. The Bahamas
This collection of islands is internationally known as a tropical paradise. All-inclusive hotels abound here, but we encourage you to get out of the resort zone and learn more about the local culture, including the history of its indigenous people.
Life — and tourism — here centers around the ever-present ocean, so fill your days with scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and other water sports. You can also take advantage of the many duty-free shops found in the larger islands or shop for handmade souvenirs at local stores.
Buy the perfect beach bag for the Bahamas: Flamingo tote bag with matching pouch
25. Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
Though not the hottest item on this list, Ometepe Island is nevertheless blessed with a temperate climate year-round. And that’s one of the reasons why its tropical forest has been able to thrive, along with the numerous species of flora and fauna that live within it.
Other natural features include twin volcanoes, waterfalls and springs. Located inside Lake Nicaragua, there are also numerous archaeological treasures such as petroglyphs found in Ometepe.
Buy the perfect bag for Ometepe Island: Belted bucket bag
24. Roatan, Honduras
Roatan is arguably one of Honduras’ most beautiful and popular destinations. This small but mighty island is surrounded by the great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system, making it a prime spot for snorkeling and diving.
Expect to see turtles, rays, tropical fish and maybe even sharks!
Buy the perfect beach bag for Roatan: Drawstring raffia bag
23. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
A year-round beach destination, Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula is one of Central America's most popular seaside vacations. The peninsula is home to famed beach towns like Tamarindo and Puntarenas, where surfers and laid-back travelers come looking for the pura vida lifestyle.
You can also visit Las Baulas National Marine Park, a nesting site for leatherback sea turtles. As Central America’s safest and most stable country, Costa Rica is a great destination for both first-time and seasoned travelers.
Buy the perfect beach bag for the Nicoya Peninsula: Classic tote beach bag
22. Santa Marta, Colombia
This city on the Colombian Caribbean coast is filled with luxury hotels, trendy bars and busy beaches. If you want an escape to the sea without giving up any modern comforts, this is your place. But Santa Marta is also the gateway to some of the most interesting natural landmarks in Colombia — namely, the Tayrona Natural Park and the Lost City.
The first is an escape into rugged wild beauty. You’ll get beaches surrounded by jungle topped with the Santa Marta snow peak in the distance. The latter is an archaeological treasure set so deep within the jungle that you can only arrive on a two- to three-day guided trek — rest assured, the effort is worth it.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Santa Marta: Handwoven Wayuu tribe bag
If you want the Caribbean but don’t want to share it with thousands of other people who had the same idea, head to Guadeloupe. Part of the French Overseas Regions, the island has mostly managed to save itself from overcrowded beaches and an invasion of foreign resorts.
It’s also a great eco-tourism destination, as the vast majority of the island is protected natural land.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Guadeloupe: Woven leather bag
20. Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos offers the quintessential Caribbean experience: deep blue water, soft-sand beaches and a laid-back attitude.
To this, add the third-largest reef on the planet, so avid divers and curious snorkelers can enjoy exploring an underwater ecosystem that never fails to leave them breathless.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Turks & Caicos: Radiant nylon tote
19. Puerto Rico
If international travel isn’t possible, Puerto Rico can make you feel like you’ve left the States without really leaving. This unincorporated territory is technically part of the U.S. but has managed to maintain its own culture and language.
Most travelers head to the picturesque capital of San Juan, which dazzles with its colonial architecture, Spanish forts, beautiful beaches and selection of international food. San Juan also has numerous museums that showcase the island’s thriving local arts scene. For more active traveling, hike or zipline in El Yunque rainforest.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Puerto Rico: Cotton bag with wooden accents
18. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We don’t need to tell you about Rio’s Ipanema Beach and iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. Head to this sprawling city for urbanity with amazing natural views, non-stop parties and constant sunshine.
As Brazil’s most-visited city, you’re bound to share space with crowds wherever you go, but that never seems to take away from the magic of the experience.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Rio de Janeiro: Woven leather print tote
17. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If warmth doesn't cut it for you, come enjoy the sizzling hot Dominican Republic. Its capital city, Punta Cana, is mostly famous for massive all-inclusive resorts and the never-ending stream of cruise ships that dock on its port.
But do yourself a favor and step out of the ready-made mold to explore the city outside of the resorts. You can also engage in myriad incredible outdoor activities like scuba diving, ziplining, hiking and windsurfing.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Punta Cana: Rope tote bag with seashells
Willemstad, the capital of Dutch island is constantly listed as one of the most colorful places on Earth because of its beautiful rows of pastel houses. Located outside of the Caribbean's hurricane belt, strong storms rarely rain on the island's figurative parade.
Scuba diving around the island’s reefs is probably the most popular activity for tourists and locals, matched only by lying on the beach while soaking up the sun. If you’re wondering how good the nightlife is, we’ll just emphasize that this is a combination of Dutch and Caribbean culture, and leave it up to your imagination.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Curacao: Simple canvas and leather tote bag
15. Placencia, Belize
Off the coast of Placencia, you’ll find the Belize Barrier Reef, part of the second-largest reef in the world! Within it, you’ll also find the famous Great Blue Hole, a gigantic sinkhole that is considered one of the greatest diving spots on the planet.
Besides these two great features, Placencia is filled with still-quiet beaches, mangroves and tall palm trees.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Placencia: Cyprus tote bag
14. Antigua & Barbuda
This twin-island destination is extremely attractive to budget travelers that want a Caribbean vacation without the usual prohibiting prices.
Besides having hundreds of beaches, the islands are surrounded by beautiful corals, boast interesting museums and cultural spaces, and offer food that you’ll be talking about for weeks.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Antigua & Barbuda: Large woven tote bag
13. St. Barthelemy
St. Barts is the Caribbean’s answer to St. Tropez. The island has thrived on branding itself as exclusive and luxurious — a status it flaunts as proudly as millennial influencers flaunt their vacations.
You’ll find the harbor dotted with private yachts, the beaches lined with five-star resorts, the streets decorated with designer boutiques and the restaurants lauded by top chefs.
Buy the perfect beach bag for St. Barthelemy: Striped straw market tote
12. Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Given its status as the largest British Virgin Island and that the capital of the territory is here, it’s no surprise that Tortola is a popular destination for tourists from mainland Britain.
White-sand beaches surround its perimeter, calling sailors and boaters to shore. Since it’s a volcanic island, Tortola’s topography is made up of contrasts, which can be best appreciated by hiking up Sage Mountain for astonishing panoramic views.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Tortola: Adjustable paper straw bag
One of the most popular destinations for Americans and Canadians wanting to escape the harshness of winter, Aruba has something for everyone.
Those who want to spend their time in all-inclusive beach resorts are more than welcome to, but there’s also casinos for people who want a less traditional thrill, as well as lush national parks for lovers of the outdoors and active travelers.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Aruba: Fan-shaped woven bag
10. Merida, Mexico
If you want Yucatan the way the locals live it, skip Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and head to the state capital. With Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial architecture, Merida is a testament to the history of Mexico and the mix of cultures that have defined the country.
Visit centuries-old churches and landmarks, enjoy high-end Mexican cuisine, and bargain at one of the many markets around the city.
Buy the perfect bag for Merida: Personalized large tote bag
9. Cayman Islands
Part of the British Overseas Territories, the Cayman Islands are a truly unique Caribbean destination. Of course, you will get pristine beaches, miles of coral reefs and great dive sites.
But you can also do things like visiting the famous Pig Beach. Here, you'll swim with cute piggies who have conquered an island of their own and spend their days floating in the warm sea, sleeping in the sun and drinking rum. Ok, maybe not drinking rum, but we’d love for that to be true.
Buy the perfect beach bag for the Cayman Islands: Nautical tote bag
8. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
Made up of more than 30 islands, you’d have to dedicate years to be able to explore the entirety of this Caribbean nation. Its most-frequented city is Kingstown, the capital, located on the island of Saint Vincent.
From here, it’s fairly easy to do day or overnight trips to some of the other islands, depending on how isolated you want to be.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: Polka dot tote bag
For some reason, Grenada doesn’t get the same hype or number of tourists as neighboring island nations. This could be one of its advantages, since you’ll see fewer crowds and won’t have to share the beaches with as many people. Not that that would actually be a problem on the main island of Grenada, which has about 45 beaches.
When you’re ready to leave the sand, you can tour several plantations to see why the main island has been nicknamed “the Spice Isle,” or visit Fort George, an iconic colonial landmark.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Grenada: Freestanding woven beach bag
6. St. Martin/St. Maarten
Like the Dominican Republic and Haiti, this island is divided between two different nations — both of which gave their side the same name (just spelled differently). The French side, St. Martin, is filled with the fragrance of French-Creole cuisine, while St. Maarten, the Dutch side, inevitably has a different flavor.
But besides good food (which, honestly, can be found on either side), the island is filled with first-rate beaches, luxury resorts, duty-free shops and colorful reefs.
Buy the perfect beach bag for St. Marthin/St. Maarthen: Leather trim classic tote bag
Rihanna’s home country is filled with calypso beats, good rum and, of course, idyllic beaches. Besides the quintessential Caribbean experience, Barbados offers features like limestone caves that you can explore, beautiful gardens and numerous golf courses.
Its duty-free shops also attract international tourists looking for bargains with a side of tropical weather.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Barbados: Cabana tote
4. Cartagena, Colombia
Don’t get Cartagena wrong: Way before Americans realized it was the place to be, it was already Colombia’s most-visited city. Adorned by colorful colonial architecture, the walled Old City is a pleasure to walk around, even if all you’re doing is taking pictures with the ornate wooden doors and looking up at the balconies filled with plants and flowers.
Seafood and fruit abound here, and the latter can famously be found on the heads of the traditional dress-wearing Palenqueras, who come from the nearby town of Palenque (the first freed-slave town in the Americas) to sell fruit. If you want to escape to an even more secluded tropical paradise, plan a trip to the nearby Rosario Islands.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Cartagena: Pink knit bag
The home of a genre that has reached every corner of the world, this island evokes images of a laid-back lifestyle that is the dream of many. Besides reggae, you can always find jazz, blues or dance-hall venues.
The turquoise water that surrounds the island and its white-sand beaches create a perfect contrast with the deep green of its mountains and rainforest. All of this combines to make Jamaica one of the best English-speaking countries in the world.
Even if you love laying in the sun, save time to trek into the forest looking for waterfalls and natural pools.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Jamaica: Lanai tote bag
The 50th state has never lost its native culture, which is alive in the language of the locals, their wonderful aloha spirit and the soul of the islands. There are six major islands that receive tourists, and they each have a distinct personality.
Go to Oahu for big resorts and the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, to Big Island for the most food options, to Maui for the largest dormant volcano in the world, to Lanai for a truly laid back experience, to Kauai for dramatic cliffs covered in a tropical forest and to Molokai for an intimate look into native Hawaiian culture.
Buy the perfect beach bag for Hawaii: Sandless beach tote bag
1. St. Lucia
This astonishing Caribbean island stands out from other countries in the region because of its Pitons, two majestic mountains that create a truly breathtaking backdrop. Like most volcanic islands, St. Lucia has unique natural wonders, most notably its Sulphur Springs, a volcano you can actually drive to.
Of course, you’ll also find perfect beaches and several opportunities for adventures within the rainforest. Not surprisingly, the country is one of the most-popular honeymoon destinations in the world.
Buy the perfect beach bag for St. Lucia: Circled straw bag