Warm Weather Destinations for Late Winter (or Early Spring) Retreats
The harsh winter storms battering much of the country this March have many people looking for a last-minute retreat in the heat. Beaches are always an attractive option for-sun worshippers, but we’ve mapped out our favorite cities with extended warm seasons and places to stay in each as part of this Starwood Hotels & Resorts sale offering 15% savings. For reservations, click the hotels below.
The climate of this coastal town just north of the Mexican border hovers around 75 degrees no matter the month. Book a trip between March and May to see why San Diego is known as “America’s Finest City” when the weather is mild and schools are still in session, meaning the landmarks aren’t overrun by families. Come to surf the waves off La Jolla and whale watch on Mission Bay but stick around for fish tacos, locally brewed beer and some of the best sunsets on the planet.
We’re finding the best rates (often under $175 per night) on Friday-Sunday nights at the Westin San Diego. The AAA 4-Diamond downtown hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Waterfront Park and Embarcadero Marina. Guests can unwind at the outdoor pool or on the restaurant’s terrace after a day of sightseeing or walk just five minutes to catch the Coronado Ferry for a day at the island’s waterfront marketplace.
For the perfect balance of mild temperatures — for Miami — without the expense of peak winter hotel rates, visit the Magic City in the sweet spot between March and May. Due to its position just above the Tropic of Cancer, the barrier island heats up quickly, as do the surrounding waters, and visitors can expect the Fahrenheit to reach 80 degrees well before Memorial Day weekend. A favorite tourist destination for nearly a century, Miami Beach’s popular is still evident with rising 5-star resorts along the shoreline and revamped boutique properties opening on Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive.
Many April and May dates at the 4-star Royal Palm South Beach Miami are less than $200 per night, and June travel is discounted even further. The Art Deco property bellies up to the beach, and guests have complimentary access to chair and towel service as well as the palm-shaded outdoor pool.
Hot, sticky summers earned Houston the nickname, “the most air-conditioned city in America.” Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico means Texas’ largest city experiences warm weather almost all year, and those looking to enjoy outdoor attractions like its famous zoo, waterparks or baseball stadium should arrive before Memorial Day weekend crowds, and the season’s humidity, settle in. In March, Houston hosts its largest annual event, the Livestock Show and Rodeo, which brings thousands of visitors to town.
Spring weekends at the Westin Houston Downtown are less than $200 per night. Sports fans can catch a baseball game at Minute Maid Park, across the street from the hotel or walk 10 minutes to see the Houston Dynamos MLS team in action at BBVA Compass Stadium. Discovery Green, a 12-acre park featuring a lake, jogging trail, outdoor theater and gardens, is a five-minute walk from the hotel.
Although winters can freeze in North Carolina’s largest city, the spring thaw begins in early April when highs climb into the mid-70s before reaching 90 degrees in summertime. Charlotte Wine & Food weekend kicks off April 19 offering tastes of local chefs and nearby vineyards. Outdoor enthusiasts can raft the rapids on the largest manmade river in the world at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, boat and fish on Lake Norman, or spend out a picnic in Freedom Park, a 100-acre greenspace in the bustling Uptown neighborhood. For alfresco family fun, visit the 20-acre Carowinds amusement park and watch a NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Weekends at The Ballantyne Hotel, a AAA 4-Diamond resort, are discounted with some stays under $175 for travel starting in April. Guests have access to tennis courts, an outdoor pool and the property’s 18-hole golf course including the Dana Rader Golf School.
Blue skies and highs in the mid-70s are typical when visiting Arizona’s largest city in springtime. The desert heats up in late May, roasting the roadways and anyone on them with midday Mercury readings above 100 degrees. Coming at the end of the “cool” season means temperatures are starting to climb, but rates at the luxurious spa and golf resorts begin to fall in preparation for the brutal summer.
For under $85 per night, guests can stay at The Four Points by Sheraton South Mountain, looking out at the city from its perched 2,300 feet up. On-site amenities include a pool, hot tub and tennis court while those looking to explore beyond the property grounds are just 20 minutes from downtown and less than one mile from the hiking trails of South Mountain Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America.