If you’re someone whose hometown is at the mercy of a plummeting thermometer in winter, it might be time to start thinking about where you can steal away for a seasonal thaw or enjoy a getaway during the post-New Year’s winter slump.
The Southern Hemisphere, Southeast Asia, and even many regions of the U.S. have fabulous weather in the winter months, so come that February chill, there is no shortage of warm destinations to escape to. Get ready for beautiful beaches, wine al fresco, hiking, and cultural celebrations. We hope this list of the best warm places to visit in February, which includes February highs and lows, helps when planning your winter vacation.
1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
High: 78 Degrees
Low: 62 Degrees
Catering to a mature and sophisticated crowd, Fort Lauderdale is one of the premier destinations in Florida for high-end shopping, elegant cocktails, live music, and, of course, the beach. Water is the way of life in the “Venice of America,” dubbed so as it is built on a system of canal-like waterways. This brings in a luxurious yacht vibe, shiny hotels, and A-list restaurants.
Most of the activity hums around Las Olas Boulevard, which is flanked by high-end shopping and dining. Be sure to brunch at Big City Tavern, a local rite of passage. We hear the banana Nutella French toast is to die for.
Pro Tip: Traveling with kids? Disney World and the rest of Orlando’s theme parks can be reached in just a few hours by car.
2. The Maldives
High: 87 Degrees
Low: 80 Degrees
Peppered with lagoons, luxury resorts, overwater bungalows, and sunsets that set the sky on fire, the Maldives are paradise. The best attractions in the Maldives truly are the A-list hotels, which are among the best in the world. One even has its own splurge-worthy underwater restaurant. But visitors will want to begin in the capital, Malé, which is the best place to see local life. Take in the vibrantly colored houses, the aromatic markets, and the culture at the National Museum.
Diving is an obvious attraction in a nation that is made up mostly of ocean space. Feeling adventurous? Try Hammerhead Point in the Rasdhoo Atoll for some of the best hammerhead diving. Rasdhoo Divers is a local dive shop that arranges tours to see the sharks.
3. Kauai, Hawaii
High: 72 Degrees
Low: 54 Degrees
For outdoor adventure in a deliciously warm climate, there are few better destinations than the island of Kauai. Definitely not for resort lubbers, Kauai will dazzle anyone who lives for adventure, from helicoptering through emerald valleys and zip-lining through treetops to hiking to gushing waterfalls and zigzagging around imposing cliffs.
Begin your Kauai adventure by setting the scene with a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour of the Waimea Canyon. Adventurists can also hike the 11-mile Kalalau Trail for an up-close and personal look at the rugged cliffs.
Kauai’s natural environment has remained relatively undisturbed. No town surpasses 10,000 people and no building is taller than a coconut tree, which is mandated by law.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
High: 84 Degrees
Low: 63 Degrees
When it comes to picking a winter vacation spot, none may be as perfect as Cape Town, South Africa. The weather is particularly appealing, with hot, sunny days and cooler evenings. The end of the holiday season in Cape Town also means kids are back in school and residents are back at work. It will be decidedly less crowded, and flights will likely be cheaper.
The twinkling city, a congruence of culture and cuisine, creeps up the side of the epic and iconic Table Mountain National Park. Cape Town is also a haven for surfers, hikers, mountain bikers, and more. It’s also a beautiful hodgepodge of cultures that blends the area’s traditional African heritage with its Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu influences.
5. Hong Kong
High: 66 Degrees
Low: 57 Degrees
Hong Kong is a city that hums with magnetic energy. It’s a true melange of culture and can be an incredibly approachable city for travelers who are first-timers in Asia. February is a wonderful time of year to visit this former British colony, with its dry and mild temperatures.
Hong Kong is a cross-section of traditional and modern, where towering skyscrapers rub elbows with ancient temples. Foodies flock to Hong Kong to sample everything from late-night street food to elegant, Michelin-starred meals. It is also a shopping mecca where you can get everything from night market trinkets to custom-tailored suits and dresses.
Hong Kong is also a wonderful destination for active travelers. Away from the apartment buildings and imposing steel structures is a vast network of mountainous national parks and forests veined with hiking trails that open up to impressive views over the city. In fact, 40 percent of Hong Kong is green space. Two of the best places for Hong Kong visitors are Dragon’s Back and Lion Rock Country Park.
Pro Tip: Review the U.S. State Department’s Travel Advisory for Hong Kong when considering travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
6. Tenerife, Spain
High: 69 Degrees
Low: 58 Degrees
The Canary Islands archipelago is made up of seven volcanic islands, the largest and best-known of which is Tenerife. Tenerife is the jewel in the Canary Islands’ crown, known for its white sandy beaches, beautiful resorts, and a laid-back lifestyle, even by Spanish standards. The cuisine and local wine are outstanding, with fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and the garlicky, peppery mojo sauce that accompanies pretty much everything.
Tenerife is dominated by Mount Teide, a volcano that peaks at more than 12,000 feet (the highest peak on Spanish soil) and is popular for hiking, astronomy tours, and spectacular views between the cable car and the summit. Teide National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most naturally beautiful landmarks in the Canary Islands.
7. Greater Palm Springs, California
High: 75 Degrees
Low: 48 Degrees
Vacationing in Palm Springs means enjoying the playground for the glitterati of the 1950s and ’60s. Palm Springs has a retro vibe that coexists nicely with the area’s 21st-century luxuries.
February is a wonderful time to visit Palm Springs because the weather is, in a word, perfect. Think cooler temperatures in the morning and warm and sunny conditions during the day. You won’t have to worry about the blazing summer sun. It’s a prime golf location and a haven for campers, specifically in Joshua Tree National Park. There is also camping at Lake Cahuilla, and other activities like fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Speaking of hiking, La Quinta Cove has a range of hikes that vary in difficulty, all with stunning views across the landscape.
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
High: 66 Degrees
Low: 47 Degrees
New Orleans is a foodie favorite year-round, with old-school classics (think oyster po’boys) plus elegant and refined fare at haute restaurants like Herbsaint. It’s a city of music and celebration, from the Mardi Gras festivities to Jazz Fest. It truly is one of the great American cities — with a blend of Caribbean, African, and European influences that’s just about as American as it gets.
Stroll through the historic architecture, take a streetcar through the French Quarter, marvel at the stately homes in the Garden District, and listen to the trumpets wailing into the wee hours along Frenchman Street.
9. Los Cabos, Mexico
High: 81 Degrees
Low: 61 Degrees
With so many warm weather places to whisk away to in Mexico, it can be almost impossible to choose! Look to Los Cabos this winter. Not only is it an absolutely stunning place where red rock desert meets deep blue sea, but new hotels are opening there left and right.
A couple of hotels that are worth your consideration are the Hard Rock Los Cabos and Nobu Hotel Los Cabos (a joint venture between famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro). Los Cabos is also developing the eastern side of the Baja Peninsula, known as East Cape, and a Four Seasons was opened there.
Los Cabos is an outdoor paradise. While many of the beaches are not suitable for swimming (because of the strong surf), there is jet-skiing, snorkeling, kitesurfing, diving, hiking, and more. Consider a visit to Cabo Pulmo National Park, a heaven for divers and one of the last few remaining boho beach escapes in this part of Baja California.
10. Savannah, Georgia
High: 64 Degrees
Low: 42 Degrees
Sophisticated Southern charm meets a whole lot of American history in this Southern belle of a city. Georgia was the 13th and final British colony, after all. Picture iconic antebellum mansions, oak trees draped in moss, green space, cuisine, and craft breweries. Shall we go on? Savannah is a stunning city known for its delectable soul food, vibrant arts scene (it’s home to the Savannah College of Art and Design), and eerie past. Many of its historic buildings are said to be haunted.
If you love to shop, Savannah is the place for you, especially if your tastes swing boutique. Many of the boutiques in Savannah are devoted to local products. Visit Satchel, which is SCAD graduate–owned and known for its handmade leather goods.
11. San Diego, California
High: 66 Degrees
Low: 51 Degrees
Sunny southern California beckons snowbirds with average temps in the 60s. It may be too chilly to take a dip in the Pacific, but San Diego still offers plenty of outdoor activities in February, including fascinating walks and hikes. Stroll around Balboa Park’s 1,200 acres of rolling hills, trails, hidden gardens, museums, international cottages, and — with the blessing of a mild, Mediterranean-like climate — outdoor festivals and performances year round. It is also to some of the most gorgeous gardens in the city, as well as the San Diego Zoo.
Watch the sun go down at Sunset Cliffs National Park, explore Pacific Beach, and have a cocktail at the Hotel del Coronado. Fantastic restaurants and craft breweries delight the palate. Cruise up the coast about 20 minutes to La Jolla to see the view from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
12. Phoenix, Arizona
High: 72 Degrees
Low: 48 Degrees
Known for year-round sunshine and warm temps, Phoenix is the perfect place to while away winter days. The Valley of the Sun offers stunning Sonoran Desert scenery alongside world-class spas and golf courses. February offers wonderful weather for outdoor activities, a highlight being hiking Camelback Mountain.
There are also plenty of things to see and do that do not involve hiking. Highlights include meandering around the Desert Botanical Garden, dining al fresco, exploring nearby national parks, and visiting unique museums.
13. U.S. Virgin Islands
High: 83 Degrees
Low: 74 Degrees
Looking for a tropical island escape that doesn’t require a passport? This group of Caribbean islands is just the ticket! Known for white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, coral barrier reefs, and lush green hills, the U.S. Virgin islands encompass St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, among several lesser islands.
Head to St. Thomas for hustle and bustle, nightlife, and shopping; St. Croix for laidback authentic Caribbean culture; and St. John for unspoiled natural beauty. Stay at a luxury resort on St. Thomas and soak up the winter sun at Magens Bay Beach. Each island offers activities ranging from boat tours, kayaking, snorkeling, and other watersports to shopping and dining. Take in the beautiful views by cable car — or zipline for the more adventurous!
Ready to book your getaway?