10 Beautiful Sunny Destinations to Help Ease the Winter Blues
I suffer from the Winter Blues. Some may not consider this an ailment or a condition that should be taken seriously, but my friends, it should. You lack Vitamin D due to the hiding sunshine, the air is cold, you have to fight your way through thick fog to see where you are going, and you become a coffee addict so you can focus at work as you pull in your parking spot in the dark. I’m down in the dumps writing this. Those who must endure months of winter weather are encouraged to vacation in hot climates during this frosty season to get a Vitamin D fix and assist with bringing the mood from somber to sunny. There is nothing like arriving in a beachy environment away from the drizzle. And from one winter blues sufferers to another, here are 10 destinations that will easily give you that boost you need to survive until Spring.
So, what are the Winter Blues?
The Winter Blues is a mood disorder that strikes individuals during the dark winter months. The change of season triggers symptoms of depression, coupled with the lack of vitamin D naturally received from the sun.
For most people this disorder begins when the clocks fall back to Standard time and the days get shorter. You begin to feel more tired, moody and less willing to engage with others. Some treat the symptoms with mild anti-depressants and therapy, while others take Vitamin D supplements. One of the most effective ways to ease the blues is to take a getaway to a warmer climate to refuel.
And now to our Top 10…
Located just 50 km off the coast of Venezuela, Bonaire is a beautiful Dutch municipality within the Caribbean sea. With a population of just under 19,000 this little gem will provide a welcoming community to all curious travellers.
Bonaire is a blessed island of beaches and pristine waters. It has become a diver’s haven with its unique marine life and interesting history beneath the tide. You will feel Bonaire’s magic upon arrival to ease those winter blues and boost your Vitamin D. Meet the people, enjoy the peaceful ambiance, and take in the gorgeous sunset by the sea.
This beautiful paradise offers a variety amenities including beach-side accommodations, scuba diving trips, and incredible island cuisine. Why not kick your blues in the ass with some fun aquatic activities including kite surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling? Or, if you are able, why not try a scuba diving expedition? Bonaire has now been recognized as one of the top diving destinations in all the Caribbean. Don’t believe us? Well, The Readers’ Choice Awards designated Bonaire as the #1 shore diving destination in the area! (*Stay tuned for a more thorough destination guide coming soon to the blog!)
The second largest of all the Hawaiian islands, Maui is a lush paradise, perfectly placed for an escape from the cold and dreary. Give your winter blues a kick as you land surrounded by waterfalls, beaches, and palms. Upon arrival, receive your complimentary lei and enjoy the beautiful gardens, hula dances, and sweet coconut milk under your umbrella.
If you are not a complete beach bum, there are many activities available on the island. One of the most famous is the Hana Highway. One of Hawaii’s most scenic routes, this road takes you along the shoreline with hairpin turns and gorgeous cliff side views. The drive is just over 50 miles and boasts gorgeous scenery, plant life, and dozens of waterfalls.
Book a Tour: Maui Breathtaking Sunset Cruise
“Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” – Bob Marley
Ah, Bob Marley, an incredible artist and icon who died too soon. A reggae superstar who took pride in his heritage and inspired millions to pursue their dreams.
This incredible artist helped bring Jamaica to the traveller’s radar. And where better to stay than the gorgeous town of Negril? A prosperous town on the west side of Jamaica, Negril has world renowned multi-mile sandy beaches with shallow bays and shoals awaiting footprints. Come stay on an all-inclusive resort and rejuvenate with days at the beach, water sports, spa treatments, and delicious Jamaican cuisine.
Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
Cuba is such an incredible destination. It has everything a traveller could want – sandy beaches, incredible history, and a uniqueness that brings visitors back every year. What I love about this nation is the incredible people who have been able to live through history and continue in this fashion to this day with vintage 1950’s vehicles, rustic buildings, and a way of living that most nations would not be able to adopt.
Cayo Santa Maria is accessible through vehicles down an exclusive motorway surrounded by ocean. Its resorts are exclusive with locals forbidden to cross without proof of resort employment. Its beaches, amenities, and exclusivity will have you wanting repeat trips over and over again. Your winter blues will definitely get a Vitamin D boost here. I personally have a love for this place as it was the scene for my unbelievably romantic honeymoon.
Book a Tour: Welcome to Havana: Private Tour with a Local
Koh Samui Thailand
Of all the places I visited while in Thailand, Koh Samui was definitely my favourite hot spot. The locals, the beaches, the amenities, the cuisine, it has everything a traveller could want and more. As Thailand’s second largest island, it welcomes thousands of visitors yearly. There must be something to this beautiful island don’t you think!?
Grab a beautiful island villa, eat deliciously cooked Pad Thai on the beach, and sip pina coladas from coconuts. Book a snorkeling trip to explore the Siam sea, and take in a fun dancing show in the evening. The island is a Thai treasure. If this does not ease your winter blues, I don’t know what else to suggest 🙂 It worked for me when I went. If I could return yearly, I would!
Book a Tour: Koh Samui: Snorkeling and Kayaking by Speedboat
The Happiest Place on Earth – Disneyworld!
Now, Disneyworld would probably be my top choice right now for a bit of relief of the drizzly grim skies. Seeing my favourite characters upon parade floats, riding the Snow White Mine Train, and enjoying Beauty and the Beast on Stage after eating Mickey-shaped waffles for breakfast sounds like the perfect remedy for my symptoms. If you are considering a trip to Orlando to enjoy Disney, do check out our 1 and 2 day itineraries for the Magic Kingdom, and our guide to the World Showcase at Epcot!
Book a Tour: Orlando: Disney World Magic Kingdom Full-Day Ticket
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
A favourite all-inclusive destination for North Americans, Dominican Republic offers beautiful beaches, water sports, friendly locals, and that Caribbean Island charm. Hard to believe that it shares its land with Haiti, Dominican Republic has shaped itself into a great escape from the cold weather.
If you are more of an explorer type, why not enjoy a Santo Domingo city tour. Running several times daily, get an inside scoop on many landmarks upon the island. See such sites as the Catedral Primada de América (First Cathedral of the Americas) and the Parque Colón (Columbus Park), then pass by the Presidential Palace- the Government’s headquarters on the island. End your trip with a beautiful walk down the Malecón, a lovely path along the seashore.
Book a Tour: Saona Island Full-Day Boat Tour
The Rock Islands, Palau
Just a 3 hour flight from the Philippines, Palau is an exotic paradise waiting to be enjoyed by travellers.
The Rock Islands bring a secluded collection of limestone rocks and coral, combined with beaches and ancient ruins to visitors. What makes this island such a popular destination is the infamous Jellyfish Lake. A densely populated lake of millions of jellyfish, swimmers can enjoy interactive experiences without getting stung! Yep, you read that right. As the lake only has jellyfish within its waters, the stingers are not needed and therefore have lost their ability to harm you. It is the only place where you can swim with jellies and not get stung! Still swim with caution, though the chances of meeting a jellyfish with a functioning stinger is extremely remote.
Andros Island, Bahamas
The Bahamas are an incredible island nation with such inviting beaches, resorts and scenery. A frequent choice for film crews, the Bahamas brings not only an exotic refuge from the winter weather, but also a beautiful backdrop of movie sets and sites. Did you know that the Black Pearl was seen just off the coast of the Bahamas? Jack Sparrow left it there for a few months….
Book a Tour: Nassau: 4-Hour Guided Buggy Ride & Swim Tour
Maho, Sint Maarten
My family loves this island so much, that we have been returning yearly since 1993. A friendly island half Dutch and half French, Sint Maarten brings to travellers glorious beaches, incredible diving conditions, and top-notch cuisine. Maho is my area of choice on the island as the streets have a wonderful night life, a fun casino should you wish to try your luck, and the most infamous airport in the world.
It is such a sight to see when the large 747’s arrive as they actually fly above you on the beach. It is a risk to take photos of take-offs though and the dangers of sandblasts is quite serious. Do yourself a favour and not take this chance as the sand is very harmful and will leave you with serious injuries. A photo from this distance (photo above) is just fine to capture the incredible island airport.
Book a Tour: St. Maarten: Private Island Sightseeing Tour
Maho is also home to the Sunset Beach Bar – a place to go in the evening to catch the most incredible view of the sunset on the island. Enjoy a drink as you marvel at the sun’s dramatically coloured evening sky.
Before sunset, be sure to enjoy the gorgeous beaches while sipping pina coladas at happy hour. The beaches are pristine and resorts along the shore offer fun water sports for all ages.
There you have 10 recommendations to ease the winter blues. We hope that your symptoms are under control and that you take care of yourself. Should you be able to take a trip to these locations or otherwise, we hope your trip helps your seasonal condition and that you return refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed.