16 Affordable Winter Trips Close to Home


Photo by Getty Images. Design by Erik Mace for Yahoo Travel.

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello

From the beaches of Florida to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, from Puerto Rico to Hawaii—not to mention secret islands that stay warm all year—America is second to none for winter fun. Here, some of our favorite places to warm up or get your ski on—all at a price you can actually afford.

Key West, Fla.


Courtesy: eschipul/flickr

Key West has a party-hearty rep, and it won’t disappoint those who come here seeking the hard-drinking spirit of Ernest Hemingway. But it also offers Victorian homes, kayaking, art galleries, and beautiful beaches. The price and style are right at Parrot Key Hotel & Resort.

Puerto Rico


Courtesy Copamarina Beach Resort

Puerto Rico offers old-world style, sizzling music and food, a bioluminescent bay, colorful El Yunque rain forest, and miles of beaches—all without having to leave the U.S. Copamarina Beach Resort has lovely rooms starting at well under $150 per night!

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Keystone, Colo.


Courtesy Keystone Resort

Kids ski free at Keystone Resort. No exceptions, no blackout dates. The resort offers a range of reasonable lodgings, and lovely River Run Village is like a charming small town tucked into the foot of the mountain. The comfy gondola lets you ride to the summit in style.

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Tybee Island, Ga.


Courtesy bodycoach2/flickr

The lighthouse on Tybee Island stands sentinel over five miles of perfect beach, an old-timey boardwalk, and affordable low-key lodgings like Hotel Tybee (formerly known as Ocean Plaza Beach Resort)—all just 17 miles from Savannah!

Las Vegas


Courtesy Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau

Believe it or not, Las Vegas may be America’s new Christmas city, with incredible displays at the Fremont Street Experience and at the casinos. You can find lodging here for less than $50 per night, and the city is welcoming families like never before with kid-friendly entertainment and events.

Orlando, Fla.


Courtesy Pop Culture Geek/Flickr

Hogwarts? Well… not exactly. It’s Universal Studios in Orlando, where you can visit the new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Diagon Alley—and find Potter-focused deals at the Hilton Orlando.

San Diego


Courtesy The Zoological Society of San Diego 2007

You already know that the zoo in San Diego is packed with polar bears, pandas, gorillas, hippos, and tigers. Betcha didn’t know that you can purchase combo tickets that get you into not only the zoo but also museums and other parks. SD’s Pearl Hotel is a stylish steal with rooms under $100 per night.

Stratton, Vt.


Photo: Hubert Schriebl

Stratton is not only one of the Northeast’s most beautiful ski resorts, but it also boasts amazing terrain and one of the most reasonable lift ticket programs in America.

New Orleans


Courtesy mirelisp/myBudgetTravel

Do you know what it means to miss fresh beignets at Café Du Monde? New Orleans is calling your name with cobblestone streets, hot jazz, and unforgettable cuisine. Visit before Mardi Gras season and save big at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place.

Scottsdale, Ariz.


Courtesy mlboyer1/myBudgetTravel

Hurry! Scottsdale is a steal in December. Nab the desert sun, spa treatments, and golf before the crowds hit the lovely Wyngate by Wyndham and the prices go up after the holidays.

Catalina, Calif.


Courtesy mrkahtika/flickr

Catalina is about 20 miles off the Southern Cali coast. A ferry will drop you in Avalon for browsing and relaxing, and you can rent a golf cart if you have the urge to move any faster. The Hermosa Hotel is incredibly reasonable during winter months.

Big Bend National Park, Texas


Photo: RIRFStock/Dreamstime

The gorgeous Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend is right on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Visit in winter for a temperate climate and sparse rain and sparser crowds. Bunk down at the El Dorado Hotel in nearby Terlingua.



Courtesy Butch25/myBudgetTravel

The weather in Honolulu is always awesome, but winter is slightly rainy. That means misty mornings, rainbows, and bargains at lovely Hotel Renew on Waikiki Beach, where winter rates can be 25 percent less than in summer.

St. Croix


Photo: Krothapalli1 / Dreamstime.com

America’s easternmost point is in the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix is a tiny island that packs a big punch with peerless swimming, snorkeling, dining, and golf. Hotel Caravelle, in historic Christiansted, offers a restaurant, bar, pool, and spa onsite.

Caladesi Island, Fla.


Photo: Jian Huang

A short drive from Tampa, Caladesi Island is one of America’s “secret islands” that stay warm all year long, with three miles of beach, no hotels, and a boardwalk nature trail. Stay in nearby Clearwater Beach—Sea Captain Resort on the Bay is reliable and affordable.

Related: Surfing the Skies Over Clearwater Beach

Bridger Bowl, Mont.


Courtesy Bridger Bowl

Bridger Bowl, in the heart of the Rockies, has beginner-to-expert terrain, tons of fresh powder, and affordable lift/lodging packages with area hotels. Nearby Bozeman is home to the exceptional Museum of the Rockies, where you can delve into Montana history and ogle immense dinosaur fossils.

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