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Friday, December 5, 2014

5 Great Warm Weather Destinations in the U.S.

So, you’re already sick of the cold weather and want to head somewhere warm? I feel ya. It seems like fall whizzed by and we went straight from summer to winter. We’ve got biting cold winds to go with the rainy chilly weather, which does not make for a good combination. What’s worse is that with the holidays coming up fast, and at least four December birthdays, we’re also short on cash. If you have the same issue, then here are five destinations in the U.S. that are warm and might just be a car ride away and hopefully won’t be packed with tourists like Orlando and San Diego.

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Avery Island, Louisiana
Have you ever heard of this place? It’s just 140 miles from the much more touristy New Orleans. 
  • Avery Island is home to the Tabascofactory. Free tours are available every day, though they don’t make the sauce on Fridays. 
  • Enjoy the best of Cajun cuisine here. Anything you can get in New Orleans is dished up here. Landry’s Cajun Restaurant is a popular place for all your favorites. 
  • Explore JungleGardens, a bird sanctuary surrounded by bayous where you can also view gators, raccoons and deer.

Houston, Texas
Okay, so it’s not exactly a tropical paradise, but Houston has mild winters that are way more comfortable than you’ll find further north. It’s definitely not Michigan. 
  • With the second largest theater district in the nation, you’ll find a performance for anyone, whether you’re traveling as a family or a couple. 
  • Enjoy the weather and nature out at Discovery Green. This park hosts free weekly music performances, a permanent art installation and even two restaurants. 
  • When I think of Texas, I think of BBQ. Save on a diner favorite at Triple J’s Smokehouse, where you can order ribs, burgers, sausages and more for under $15 per person.

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Palm Beach, Florida
You won’t find theme parks here or their enormous crowds, but you will want to pack your swimsuit and sunscreen. 
  • While everyone else is staring at sad bare trees, you could be enjoying tropical plants and flowers at Mounts Botanical Garden
  • Go shopping in the historic district – which will make for awesome photos too – on Clematis Street and Downtown.
  • Gorge yourself on delicious seafood. Splurge on a meal at the fabulous Palm Beach Grill, where you’ll feel like a star.

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Santa Barbara, California
Everyone else is trying to pack themselves into Disneyland, but you can stroll along the beach instead.
  • StearnsWharf is an amazing deep-water pier. Aside from the endless dining and shopping ops here, head to the bait & tackle shop to get everything you need to fish off the wharf.
  • Find out what 2015 has in store for you when Madame Rosinka gives you a palm reading. 
  • Built along the pier, the Santa Barbara Museum of NaturalHistory Sea Center is great for all ages, from a crawl-through tidepool tank to a shark touch tank.

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Tempe/Phoenix, Arizona
The desert is just a beach with no ocean. Winter is a bearable time to visit Tempe, because it’s warm, but not scorching like the spring and summer months can be. 
  • With the ASU campus a prominent feature in town, there are tons of sporting events for visitors to take in, including baseball at the Diablo Stadium
  • Have a picnic, sunbathe and even take a paddle boat or a real boat out on the manmade TempeTown Lake.
  • Don’t miss out on all the tremendous Southwestern food in Tempe. Reserve a table at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill and order some street tacos or chile pork. If you need to save, hit up happy hour instead.
Need a place to stay in any of these great cities? Search for an affordable hotel on Hipmunk. You can also find even more to do in Tempe on my post there.  What are your favorite warm weather getaways for the winter?

Disclaimer: This post was inspired by my partnership with Hipmunk - a great site to find low hotel rates wherever you travel. #hipmunkcitylove

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