8 Underrated Winter Getaways That Haven’t Been Overrun By Tourists (Yet)

From Florida to the Bahamas and Hawaii to Fiji, everyone has a list of perfect winter getaways when the chilly weather gets a little too cold.

Unfortunately, too many people have the same idea of ​​which places make ideal winter destinations, which can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare.

If you’re looking for a place to travel that’s as sunny as it is serene, you’ll have to look outside of the lists of the top ten winter destinations.

We’ve compiled some of the lesser-known gems you can visit this winter and avoid throwing away your money in a crowded destination.

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1. Santa Cruz la Laguna, Guatemala

Santa Cruz is a beautiful little town along Lake Atitlán, the famous volcanic lake in the Sierra Madre.

From the village you have a wonderful view of two (or three, depending on the weather) nearby volcanoes. You are also surrounded by beautiful hills topped with the houses that make up the Mayan villages.

Santa Cruz itself is the scuba diving hub of the lake, so if you want to swim in the deepest lake at the highest elevation in all of Central America, Santa Cruz is your destination.

Parts of Santa Cruz are still quite touristy, but overall not nearly as cramped as more popular Guatemalan destinations like San Pedro, San Maros, or the capital city of Guatemala City.

2. Lanai, Hawaii

The island of Maui is by far the most touristy of all the Hawaiian islands, with parts of Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii in second place.

But if your heart is set on a Hawaiian destination this winter, you can dodge the worst of winter crowds by heading to the smaller, quieter island of Lanai.

Unlike Maui, Lanai has two hotels, one on each side of the island. (You can also find the occasional Airbnb listing.)

Without all the tourists, you’re free to wander the island’s trails, see WWII-era wreckage off Shipwreck Beach, and visit the beautiful Garden of the Gods away from the noisy crowds and disruptive.

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3. Saly, Senegal

Senegal is a unique West African nation that encompasses a range of ecosystems. It stretches across arid North Africa, down to verdant Sub-Saharan Africa, and contains 330 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Although the country has no shortage of beautiful sandy beaches, the booming district of Saly is probably the most famous resort area in the country.

For being only 50 miles from the crowded capital, Dakar, Saly is still remarkably small – just 20,000 people.

Some parts of Saly are more luxurious than others, with posh resorts, helicopter rides, golf courses and casinos. Others are more rural, though you should find deliciously affordable French street food wherever you travel.

Even better, the beaches of Saly are particularly sparsely populated, especially during the winter months.

4. St. Simons Island, Georgia

Instead of flocking to the Florida Keys with the rest of the cold weather escapees, check out Georgia’s less popular but equally scenic Golden Isles.

This series of four barrier islands stretches from Savannah, Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida. St. Simons is the largest of the Golden Isles, making it big enough for a variety of restaurants, museums, historic sites, shopping, beaches, and resorts.

At the same time, it’s small enough that beaches rarely feel crowded, especially out of season.

5. Montserrat

With no more than 20,000 visitors a year, Montserrat is by far the least visited island in the Caribbean.

Thanks to its stunning scenery, it’s only a matter of time before the island becomes as touristy as the rest of the Caribbean.

Montserrat is best known for the Soufriere Hills, a multi-domed volcano. Although the volcano caused massive devastation when it erupted in 1997, this is the reason for Montserrat’s lush landscapes and fertile soil.

The island is also known for its friendliness and delicious cuisine, so even (or perhaps especially) without the typical tourists, you’ll be in good company.

6. Dunedin, Florida

Alright, we hear you – you really can’t stand missing Florida this winter.

If you fancy the Gulf Coast weather but can’t stand the Gulf Coast crowds, Dunedin is your best bet for your dream Florida vacation this winter, as it’s right next door to Honeymoon. Island, one of the most popular state parks in the state.

You can bike through Florida’s glades for dozens of miles, snorkel in clear ocean water, bask on balmy beaches, and balance your time in the great outdoors with shopping and dining. in the quaint downtown area.

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7.Sedona, Arizona

Even though Arizona is known for its scorching summer temperatures, many of its cities (including Sedona) get snow throughout the winter.

So if you’re hoping to avoid any semblance of snow this winter, avoid Arizona.

However, if you can handle balmy temperatures – think sixty degrees – and the possibility of frosty mornings, Sedona is an uncrowded and underrated gem.

Sedona is a unique place in the high desert with almost stunningly beautiful red rocks. With hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails nearby, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

If you live in a busy metropolitan area where light pollution blocks out the stars, be sure to spend time outdoors at night in Sedona: the city is one of 20 Dark Sky Certified communities worldwide (13 of which are in the WE).

8. Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia

While the Northern Hemisphere is in the depths of winter, Australians are experiencing the peak of summer.

For peak summer weather, you’ll want to visit Queensland, Australia’s northernmost state, as it’s the best access point to the Great Barrier Reef. But if you prefer to stay closer to the mainland, Queensland’s beaches are rarely crowded.

In particular, the Cassowary Coast is a long stretch of sparsely populated coastline between Cardwell and Cairns.

While you’ll find plenty of quietly spectacular nooks as you stroll along the coast, the Mission Beach four-town area stands out.

The beach itself is pristine and surprisingly empty for most of the year. You’re unlikely to get sick of it, but just in case, there’s a water taxi that can take you to one of the islands just off the coast.

You can also use a Mission Beach resort as a base camp while you plan a dive trip to the reef.

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At the end of the line

If you’re tired of other tourists ruining your otherwise perfect winter wonderland, you don’t need to resign yourself to several dreary, snowy months back home.

Instead, take a little trip off the beaten path by visiting one of these eight lesser-known playgrounds.

Since the trip will likely cost less than a vacation to a crowded, overpriced resort, your future self can look forward to an even quieter, sunnier vacation in the winters to come.

And you can even use one of best travel credit cards to accumulate points that you can cash in the next time you want to escape the winter blues.

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