Jessica Thiefels
palm trees and sunset

In the middle of the winter, your apartment goes from being a cozy winter getaway to a small, dreary hole in the wall – and that's when it's time to get out of town. The best place to go? Somewhere warm, with sunshine for days and miles of beaches, nature trails and palm trees.

That means it's time to find your next tropical destination. Instead of guessing about the best spot to visit, choose an award-winning location, where you're sure to make memories that you'll cherish while you wait for winter to melt into spring.

Check out these eight top-rated winter vacation spots and get ready to leave the polar vortex behind for a few much-needed days of fun and sun.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

punta cana DR

The Pearl Beach Club on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic was a recipient of Travel Weekly's 2017 Magellan Award due to an abundance of entertainment. The resort is one of Punta Cana's newest premier hotspots where both the locals and tourists can mingle on white-sand Caribbean beaches with traditional merengue music in the background and tropical beverages in hand.

From an infinity pool to foodie eateries and themed events like a Brazilian Fiesta, the Pearl Beach Club has dozens of options for a sun-drenched vacation in ultimate modern luxury.

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Montego Bay, Jamaica

montego bay jamaica

The Rose Hall Estate – a historic colonial mansion – is tucked into the verdant bluffs of Montego Bay and was dubbed the Caribbean's best wedding and ceremony location of 2018 by the Jamaica Tourist Board.

And the honor is well-deserved. In addition to its outstanding event spaces, Rose Hall Estate also boasts panoramic views, private beach and waterfall access, and championship golf courses. And don't forget to take in the true beauty and history of this location with a Great House and Garden Tour between trips to the beach and rounds on the course.

Kauai, HI

Kauai Hawaii

The Koa Kea Resort is a tranquil and pristine Hawaiian retreat with the essence of “aloha spirit," which earned it the 2018 Conde Nast Traveler reader's choice pick for the number-one resort on Kauai.

With ocean view accommodations, an outdoor fireside lounge, poolside bar with thatched roof, locally sourced Polynesian cuisine and a broad menu of wellness amenities, Koa Kea Resort is the true definition of relaxation in paradise. Not to mention, the villas are mere footsteps away from the irresistible, palm tree-fringed Pacific shores that draw countless vacationers to Hawaii in the first place.

And if you decide you never want to leave, there are apartments in Kauai with your name on them.

Siesta Key, FL

siesta key florida

The Hyatt Residence Club, with its condo-design motif and customized pampering touches, was voted one of the top five locations to unwind in Siesta Key, according to USA Today. Nestled on the Gulf of Mexico just minutes from the cultural and artistic vibrancy of downtown Sarasota, the Hyatt Residence Club is a nexus of all the Sunshine State has to offer.

Whether your idea of recreation includes dining at the poolside cabana, exercising at the fitness center, reading on a beachside hammock, sipping cocktails on a private terrace or soaking in a Jacuzzi bathtub en suite, this property is Florida living at its most idyllic.

Or, you could always just make this beautiful island your forever home by renting an apartment on Siesta Key.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Imagine an oasis of boutique-style bungalows that combines the natural, rustic elements of Mexico with the innovative accents of upscale refinement. The Telegraph UK describes Amalys Luxury Resort as “astounding" in its “attention to detail."

Each guesthouse is furnished with regional parota wood décor, outfitted with plush bathrobes and linens, and treated to the panoramic scenery of cacti, agave and emerald water. The destination of Oaxaca is even more alluring with its consistent 80-degree weather, immaculate beaches, sunrise yoga culture and brackish mangroves.

Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach california

Right in the heart of Southern California's designated Surf City, U.S.A., you'll find the Pasea Hotel & Spa, which has been touted as one of the 10 most colorful hotels nationwide, according to the Travel Channel. It's undoubtedly an accurate distinction, given the sea foam blues, lime greens and sunset oranges that adorn the Pasea Hotel & Spa interior.

This aquamarine locale is accompanied by exclusive creature comforts such as Balinese-inspired massage or facial treatments, a 24-hour access fitness studio, a pool that overlooks Huntington Beach, and a rooftop bar with fresh, handcrafted drinks and live music.

And remember, if you lived in Huntington Beach, the surf's always up.

Havana, Cuba

Havana Cuba

Since the travel embargo has been lifted, Cuba has been a hot destination for vacationers looking for something different in the Caribbean. Just walking distance from Havana's urban center filled with restaurants, museums, theaters, the famed Capitol Building and other attractions, the Iberostar Parque Central is your launch pad to both the historic sites and modern thrills, all of which Cuba has become known for.

From onsite leisure activities like the roof terrace and pool to spirited nightlife down the street, this locale is not to be missed. Plus, this five-star hotel was ranked the most popular resort in Cuba by U.S. News & World Report.

Canary Islands, Spain

Canary Islands, Spain

The GF Victoria Resort is a newly debuted haven on Tenerife Island of the Canary Archipelago and has been included among the 10 most sustainable resort properties in Spain at the 2018 Grupo Habitat Futura exposition.

Recognized for its advancements in eco-tourism and corporate responsibility, the GF Victoria Resort appeals to the conscious traveler who prefers a brand of luxury that upholds green initiatives.

With its emphasis on natural, organic and ecological features in all areas from the bio-wellness center to the nutritionist curated dining to the solar powered suites, the GF Victoria is both chic and efficient.

Whether your travels take you around the nation or across the globe, the inviting sunshine and luxurious accommodations of these top-rated destinations are exactly what you need to thaw out and decompress. Don't take a chance on your next vacation, choose a spot that's guaranteed to wow!

Header Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

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About The Author

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting and has been writing for more than 10 years. She's been featured in top publications like Forbes and has contributed to Lifehack, Reader's Digest, AARP and more.

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