At some point during the dreariest days of winter, you're bound to feel an urge to escape. But migrating south for the whole season probably isn't practical. Luckily, it doesn't cost a fortune to take these cheap winter vacations, which break down into two categories: warm climates where you can remind yourself what sunshine looks like, and cold places where you can lean into the weather and do some skiing, sledding, and skating.
Here's our list of best winter vacations you can book on a budget.
Trying to escape the cold? We don't blame you. There's no better feeling than laying out on a sunny beach while it's snowing back home. Not only will you get some much-needed vitamin D, but between the sand, the water, and the sun you have just about everything you need.
Enjoy the tropical fun of Mexico without the spring breakers crowding the beach. Head to Playa del Carmen for some of the most gorgeous environmental features, like cenotes, crystal-clear water underground caves. You can also hop aboard a ferry to take a day trip to Cozumel.
Three words: white sand beaches. Opt for a fun and relaxing getaway in South Beach, Miami. The shoreline is lined with hotels, family-owned restaurants, and Caribbean-style marketplaces for a stay rich in culture.
Land low airfare and lodging prices by vacationing in Dallas during the winter. The climate typically ranges from 50 to 60 degrees during the winter, which makes it perfect walking-around weather. The town is full of accessible and affordable features, like botanical gardens, art galleries, and live theater.
Visit Arizona for a trip full of heat, hikes, and history. Tempe allows you to easily get to and from all of the popular spots like Phoenix and Scottsdale. Once you've had enough sun, head indoors to all of the local culture, like Heard Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum and the Arizona Science Center—all of which have budget friendly admission fees.
Bask in winter weather by vacationing in a colder climate. Make the great outdoors your playground by snowboarding, skiing, tubing, and more. Or, take a more relaxing route with cozy sleigh rides or indulgent spas.
With aspen trees and snow-capped mountain peaks, Vail is the winter wonderland of your dreams. Spend the weekend snowboarding and skiing if you're feeling active. Or, take the backseat of a horse-drawn sleigh ride for all the sights without much effort on your part.
Enjoy some midwestern charm with a historic inn known as a getaway for gangsters like Bugs Moran and Baby Face Nelson during Prohibition. The area is ideal for outdoor winter fun like sledding, cross-country skiing, or ice-fishing.
Utah is a primary winter draw for all of the fun cold-weather activities, but this lodge in Alta has gained the reputation of being "by and for skiers." Only a couple of minutes from ski resorts, your family can enjoy both the in and outdoors during your stay.
If you're looking for a fun and quick trip for the family, check out your local indoor water park. Your kids can enjoy slides, rides, and wave pools while you float in the lazy river with a piña colada in hand.