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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Winter Vacations

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Winter never seems too bad at first. But after a while, when the cold prevents your car from starting and the snow turns to gray, this season starts to get the better of us. Don't worry: U.S. News has come up with a list of vacation destinations to help you defeat your seasonal doldrums and cure the wintertime blues. Use these ideas to start planning your getaway and vote for your favorite spots to help solidify next year's ranking.

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Costa Rica

#1 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: In December, Costa Rica ushers in its dry season, leaving only 70-degree temperatures to accompany you on your hike through the rainforest. And if you visit in January, you'll find the tiny country basking in la pura vida while reveling in fiesta time. Read More

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Bora Bora

#2 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: If you are regularly slammed with sub-zero temperatures, you may dream of Bora Bora's turquoise lagoons and overwater bungalows. But beware: This paradise is expensive and winter doesn't guarantee tropical weather. You won't combat many tourists, but you may encounter some rain and mosquitoes. Read More

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Kauai

#3 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Winter ushers in tourists and inflated room rates, but the cost is worth it. Relax on the golden sands of Po'ipu Beach or enjoy the scenery along Lumahai. And though the hike along the northwest Na Pali Coast is strenuous, the landscape is glorious. Read More

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Lake Tahoe

#4 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Lake Tahoe is beautiful no matter the season, so you'll want to bring a camera to capture the sparkling snowy scenery. When you're not admiring the powder, tackle it at one of the massive ski resorts. After the slopes, scope out the area's top dining and nightlife venues. Read More

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Whistler

#5 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: With more than 8,100 acres and 200 trails, Whistler Blackcomb Mountain is a skier's paradise. Even if you're not one to schuss the slopes, you can still hit the buzzing après-ski scene. Just make sure you book in advance — this is the resort town's busy season. Read More

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Playa del Carmen

#6 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: In Playa del Carmen, the beach atmosphere is laid-back, the mixed drinks are strong and the golf courses are plentiful. But ensure the price is right before you book — the warm temperatures attract snowbirds, and the hotel rates can fluctuate dramatically. Read More

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St. Martin - St. Maarten

#7 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: You'll get two cultures for the price of one island vacation. Visit French St. Martin for some duty-free shopping and fine dining. Then, hop over to Dutch St. Maarten for the lively clubs and casinos. Or forget about picking sides and focus on the island's white-sand beaches. Read More

St. Martin - St. Maarten View 18 photos
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Tulum

#8 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go:  For such a tiny pocket of the Yucatán, Tulum offers plenty of things to do. Visit the Mayan Ruins, of course, but also consider snorkeling through the cenotes area or scheduling a massage at one of the many beachside spas. Just bring a thick pocketbook. Read More

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Puerto Rico

#9 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: In Puerto Rico, you can enjoy the perks of the Caribbean without needing a passport. Attractions range from adventurous (exploring the underground Rio Camuy Cave Park) to historic (traversing the 500-year-old El Morro walls) to luxurious (relaxing on a beach). Read More

Puerto Rico View 15 photos
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Queenstown

#10 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: On the other side of the equator, summer is in full swing. Scenic Queenstown is chock-full of shops and cafes. And as an adventure-seeker's paradise, Queenstown teems with intense adrenaline-pumping activities that are sure to get your heart racing. Read More

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Barcelona

#11 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Winters in Barcelona are mild in comparison to other parts of Spain. If you can bare the cold, you will be rewarded with lower room rates and fewer crowds. Trust us, it's better to put on a coat than to have to elbow your way through La Sagrada Familia or Parc Güell during the warmer months. Read More

Barcelona View 26 photos
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Key West

#12 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Key West makes an ideal winter getaway for those looking for warm weather, frozen daiquiris and mellow afternoons. Snorkeling and scuba diving are big here, and you can hit one of the bike trails to shake off the cobwebs from your winter hibernation. Read More

Key West View 22 photos
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Aspen

#13 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Winter sports are king in Aspen. You'll find four main ski areas that welcome powder hounds of all skill levels, but you'll also come across plenty of high-end shopping and worthwhile museums. To miss the holiday crowds and save some cash on hotel rates, visit in February. Read More

Aspen View 29 photos
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Telluride

#14 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: This fun and funky Colorado town draws thousands of visitors each year with its array of sweet slopes. Spend your days shredding powder and your nights warming up with a drink in one of the local hangouts. But make your travel plans several months in advance for the best rates. Read More

Telluride View 24 photos
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Innsbruck

#15 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: In the winter, skiers from across the globe make the trek to Olympia SkiWorld — a network of nine ski resorts located around Innsbruck. When you're not on the slopes, do your holiday shopping at the local Christmas market along Maria-Theresien-Strasse. Read More

Innsbruck View 17 photos
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