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Escape the Cold: Top Winter Getaways

UPDATED December 16, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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Is the numbing cold and wintry weather getting on your last nerve? There are many getaways inside and outside of the U.S. that offer a great escape from the doldrums of winter.

Yuma, Arizona: Yuma is ranked as the sunniest place on earth with an average winter temperature in the middle 60s to middle 70s. The nearby Colorado River offers kayaking and cruises. There are also plenty of golf courses, several parks to hike trails and the Yuma Crossing State Historic Park for the history lover.

South Padre Island, Texas: The weather in the winter is warm with an average high temperature of 68 degrees. It offers watersports such as surfing, boating and even deep-sea fishing in the nearby Gulf of Mexico. Also popular activities: kite boarding and dolphin watches. Horseback riding on the beach and ecological tours through Padre Island National Seashore provide some fresh air in the great outdoors.

San Diego: Highs are typically in the middle 60s and lows in the 50s during winter. Besides its beaches, vacationers can take in a trip to SeaWorld or the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Whale-watching cruises are popular in mid-January with year-round sport fishing expeditions.

Orlando, Fla.: This is a great winter getaway spot for the entire family. The kids will enjoy world famous theme parks like Walt Disney World and SeaWorld. Orlando has a large collection of malls, outlets, boutiques and galleries within 15 minutes of the city. There are also more than 170 golf courses catering to every player`s skill level. The average high temperature is in the lower 70s with nighttime lows around 50 degrees. Beachgoers are only an hour away from two popular Florida beaches; Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach.

Playa del Carmen: Located along Mexico`s Yucatan Peninsula, temperatures during the day are 70 to 80 degrees with overnight lows dropping into the 50s to lower 60s. The weather is generally dry from October to March. The beach offers a quiet place to relax while golfers can hit the links at the many courses located here. In addition, some of the best diving spots in the Western Hemisphere are located offshore near Isla Cozumel. The fun doesn`t stop at dusk; restaurants, bars and nightclubs keep the nightlife hopping. Travelers should be aware that since safety is a concern in Mexico it`s best to enjoy these activities in groups and always let someone know where you are going at all times.

Puerto Rico: The average high temperature all winter is in the lower 80s with overnight lows around 70 degrees on the island. Puerto Rico`s driest period is January through March with an average of 2 to 3 inches of rain each month. Besides sunbathing, the beaches of Rincon offer snorkeling and surfing. History buffs can take in the sights at the 500-year old walls of El Morro fort. Another fun adventure is visiting the underground caves of Rio Camuy Cave Park. Athletic thrill seekers can hike the 13 trails at El Yunque while the family can enjoy seeing the world`s third-longest known subterranean stream that created a sinkhole deep enough to cover a 30-story building. For gamblers, the casino resorts stay open until 6 a.m. Americans do not even need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico and enjoy all these fun winter activities.

Hawaii: This is a popular winter destination hotspot due to the warm weather and the Aloha State`s family-friendly activities. Kids can learn how to surf at the popular Waikiki Beach on Oahu Island. For couples, Waikiki Beach becomes an outdoor movie theatre at night with food booths and free movies. Kids can enjoy swimming in pools, waterfalls, salt-water lagoon with water toys and snorkeling at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. In Maui, you can explore the largest dormant volcano in the world at Haleakala National Park. Temperatures during the day are usually in the 80s with lows from the middle 60s to lower 70s. Winter is Hawaii`s wet season, averaging about 2 to 3 inches of rain each month from December to March. The amount of daylight all through winter is comparable to what you would expect for the first day of spring in the Lower 48, about 11 hours.

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Story Image: WeatherBug user Barb submitted this winter vacation photo from Jacksonville, Fla.

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