For people still shaken — or shaking — from the recent stretch of frigid weather, an escape to a warm locale seems overdue. It may be relatively balmy today, but cold weather promises to return. Here are five places that I wish I’d escaped to last week — places to help you endure the rest of winter, if you can get there.
The Florida Keys: The red tide that has intermittently affected beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast is not present in the Florida Keys, an area known for fishing, nightlife and Hemingway’s house. Most important, though, the area promises the kind of weather winter-weary Minnesotans could relish: The forecast called for 74 degrees and sun. American, Delta and United can get you from Minneapolis-St. Paul International to Key West International with one stop.
St. Kitts and Nevis: Farther south and a passport away, this island nation offers two volcanic islands from which to choose. When a friend idly wondered where she should take her family over the holiday break, I told her that I’d been eyeing Nevis. She adopted the idea, getting to and from via Sun Country’s nonstop Saturday flights to St. Kitts, and returned raving about the island’s beauty, snorkeling and relaxed vibe. (If I couldn’t get there, I am glad others could.)
Austin, Texas: If ever there was a Brooklyn of the South — plus barbecue and warm weather — it’s Austin. With a population of nearly 1 million, it has hip boutique hotels, a robust music scene and parks where biking, hiking and boating abound. Plus, the surrounding Hill Country, rich with German heritage, makes a nice day trip.
Phoenix: This city never fails to offer dry desert air, pure sunshine — and plenty of direct flights from MSP.
Cancun: The all-inclusive hot spot of Mexico has long lured Minnesotans. And why not, when beachside resorts range from luxe (think Ritz-Carlton) to bargain?