If you're anything like me, by the time January rolls around you have a serious craving for some warm sunshine on your skin. Here are nine family travel destinations with enough sun to carry you through the winter, no passport required.
St. George Island, Florida
St. George Island is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico with a laid-back vibe. At just 22 miles long, this island is known for its pristine beaches, diverse waterways, lush natural spaces, and a wealth of culture and history, with more than 900 historical structures, from lighthouses to antebellum homes. You won't find any high-rises here, just unspoiled nature, uncrowded beaches, and an average of 241 sunny days each year -- the perfect place to soak up the sunshine.
You'll find plenty of sunshine in Tucson, located within the Sonoran Desert and averaging 286 sunny days every year. The city is home to hundreds of miles of trails to explore, including The Loop, a 131-mile network of trails and paths. And don't forget to stop by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a fusion experience with a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.
photo credit: Jay Pierstorff
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Are hot air balloons or aerial tram rides up your alley? Then you'll want to head to Albuquerque, boasting an average of 310 sunny days each year. The Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway will take you to the top of the Sandia Peak on the longest double reverse aerial tramway in North America, while a hot air balloon ride showcases panoramic views of Albuquerque’s deep canyons, diverse terrain, and native flora.
photo credit: Jay Blackwood
Beaufort, South Carolina
With an average of 211 sunny days each year and a subtropical climate, the charming South Carolina coastal town of Beaufort marries Southern hospitality and gentle outdoor adventure. Try a horseback ride on the beach, catch fresh seafood, hit the trails for a bike ride, or climb the 167 steps of its lighthouse.
photo credit: Visit Beaufort
If you are considering San Diego but looking for a more relaxing, family-friendly environment, Carlsbad is a perfect choice. With an average of 266 sunny days each year, Carlsbad offers seven miles of beaches, world-class dining, and easy access to family attractions, including LEGOLAND.
photo credit: Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a city rich in history and bursting with culture. With an average of 220 sunny days each year, it's the perfect spot for your next family vacation. Don't miss the San Antonio River Walk -- an urban waterway lined with restaurants, biking trails, and museums.
photo credit: Visit San Antonio
Coastal Mississippi offers a temperate climate, phenomenal natural beauty and an average of 219 sunny days per year, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Take the family on a kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, or boating adventure, or check out the marine life shrimping trip to learn exactly how shrimp and other marine life live and end up on your dinner plate.
photo credit: Coastal Mississippi
With tropical weather year-round and all the conveniences of traveling within the United States, Puerto Rico provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable family vacation. Here you'll find over 300 miles of beautiful beaches, 4,000 restaurants island-wide, three glowing bioluminescent bays, and El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. Forest Service.
photo credit: Discover Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
With an average winter temperature of 77 degrees, the U.S. Virgin Islands offer easy access to the sunny Caribbean with no passport required. Exquisite culinary options, magnificent scuba dive sites, pristine beaches, fascinating historical sites, and plenty of family attractions make this a perfect choice for a winter getaway.