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Between plummeting temperatures and ever-shorter days, one thing is very clear: winter is here. And our favorite way to beat the winter blues? Travel.
Enlisting the help of our 2017 Design Blog award winners, we’ve uncovered five warm-weather destinations that are sure to stop the wintertime wallowing. “I always travel for more sun,” says UK-based Medina Grillo, winner of the Pinner’s Choice Award. “The weather here can be dull, and it can definitely have an affect on your mood.”
If you’re traveling to combat a winter slump, or just looking for some-much needed inspiration, like Ashley Rose, creator of the Best DIY Blog Sugar and Cloth, and Anita Yokota, winner of the Best New Design Blog (“I literally come home wanting to design a space from my experiences,” says Yokota”), these five destinations have so much to offer. The best part? You don’t need to leave the US to have a sun-filled, scenic getaway.
Our winners span the globe, and many of them travel all the time for business, so in addition to asking them for tips on the best things to do and see, we picked their brains for the must-have essentials that make traveling a breeze.
For Niki Brantmark, whose blog My Scandinavian Home won Best International Blog, her top five items are a sleep cushion, super cozy trousers, as well as her mobile phone, laptop, and various chargers since she’s often working on the go. Erin Boyle, founder of the Best Small Space Living Blog Reading My Tea Leaves, who travels mostly for pleasure, is less focused on the technology that she needs, but she always brings her camera. Other comforts include her favorite pajamas, and oil blend for the face and body, and practical, but good-looking shoes.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Any design-savvy traveler needs to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, and with more than 300 sunny days a year, it is the perfect destination if you’re trying to combat gloomy weather. The city has a thriving culinary scene, a rich culture of arts (don’t miss the OTA Contemporary gallery and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts), and a stunning landscape (enjoy it on a walk through the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary).
Stay at La Posada de Santa Fe for an added dose of history—some of the rooms in the adobe-style hotel date back more than 230 years. La Posada was used as an artists’ colony in the 1930s and ‘40s, and today, the Tribute Portfolio hotel celebrates Santa Fe’s heritage through art and decor. Each of the casita-style rooms is different, featuring original hardwood or Saltillo tile floors and Southwestern art.
Even the food reflects the local history: The in-house restaurant, Julia, pays homage to Julia Staab, a 19th century Santa Fe socialite and matriarch of the prominent Staab family.
There’s also a relaxing pool, spa, with a salon and yoga classes, and a fitness center.
Miami Beach, Florida
What better way to fight off those winter blues than heading down to the sunshine state? Miami Beach boasts temperatures that stay in the mid-70s throughout December and January, making it the best place to go to satisfy your winter beach craving.
Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive is known for its early-20th-century architecture complete with some of the prettiest pastel colored Art Deco buildings, and the Royal Palm South Beach Miami channels those Art Deco vibes while paying homage to the original Royal Palm Hotel, one of the first hotels in Miami.
Miami is a beloved destination for Sarah Gibson, the creative mind behind Room for Tuesday, winner of the Best Lifestyle Blog. Her traveling advice is one everyone should heed: “Pack light and always remember your SPF!”
Las Vegas, Nevada
Designer Shavonda Gardner, whose blog SG Style nabbed the Modern Maverick Award, says it best, “Be prepared for non-stop action! Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps, and there's action at every corner.”
As a hotspot for some of the best food and entertainment in the county—not to mention that dry, mild weather—it’s the kind of getaway we’re looking for this winter. Stay at the SLS Las Vegas for super sleek, luxe interiors and an upscale take on the famous Vegas nightlife. Located on the north end of the famous neon-soaked Strip, the hotel is home to two entertainment venues for live performances and concerts, two nightclubs, plus two restaurants and bars. But the highlight is definitely the pool: Book a cabana, order some cocktails, and find your bliss.
If you need a break from the casinos and constant party, rent a car and head to Red Rock Canyon for a relaxing hike through one of the country’s most stunning natural landscapes.
Costa Mesa, California
Explore this vibrant, internationally acclaimed arts and theater district tucked in the heart of Orange County, southern California. Just one mile away from the Pacific Ocean, you can replenish some of that much-needed vitamin D with one of the location’s top-rated beaches, or take a day trip to Downtown Los Angeles or San Diego, both equidistant to Costa Mesa.
Stay at Tribute Portfolio’s Avenue of the Arts hotel to be in the center of the action. With a prime location in the Theater District, you’ll have easy access to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the three-stage South Coast Repertory theater, the Arts Plaza, and the 1.6-acre Noguchi Sculpture Gardens.
Designer Amber Lewis, whose site Amber Interiors was just named the Best Interior Design Blog, also suggests hitting up Lido Village for great shopping, taking a spin class at Grit Cycle, and grabbing lunch at Cafe Gratitude.
Rancho Santa Fe, California
“Traveling to beat the winter blues isn't always an option for me, but my last wintertime escape was to Southern California,” says Erin Boyle, “and I enjoyed every minute of soaking in early March sunshine.” For many, the go-to SoCal destinations of choice are likely to be Palm Springs or Los Angeles, but there is plenty of sunshine, and relaxation, to be had in smaller, off-the-beaten path towns.
Case in point: Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County. Stay at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for a truly serene escape. You’re just four miles from the coast, so you can still enjoy everything that the bustling city of San Diego has to offer, but chances are, you won’t want to leave the Inn. Set on 21 acres, the Inn is a luxurious countryside retreat, where you can stay in one of the charming cottages or detached homes tucked into a eucalyptus grove.
Guests looking for a little physical activity can enjoy the distinguished Rancho Santa Fe Tennis and Golf Clubs, take a horseback ride through the bucolic landscape, or hop on a bike and cycle through the historic town. The Inn also has a salt water pool, a 3,000-square-foot spa, live entertainment on the weekends, a fine dining restaurant, and craft cocktail bar.