10 Best Tropical Places To Spend The Winter (PHOTOS)

Is shoveling snow getting old yet? Wouldn’t you rather use a much smaller shovel and just help out with your kids’ sand castle instead? Living in a topical weather paradise doesn’t have to be a bucket-list dream. The editors of ISLANDS have compiled their top 10 favorite places to live during the frigid winter months, and some are closer than you think. (And truth be told, they’re all pretty great places to live year-round.)

So trade your parka for a pool towel and get ready to call a Realtor.

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  • 10. Tonga

    Tonga, like its neighbor to the west, Fiji, is not a href=”http://www.islands.com/destination/tonga?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”just one island/a, but an entire archipelago of far-flung isles. In Tonga’s case, the islands number about 170 (only about 45 are inhabited). Beaches are are one of the main attractions throughout Tonga, along with sensational snorkeling and a rich culture that finds its most lasting expression in dance and song. See more of the a href=”http://www.islands.com/article/Worlds-Hottest-Islands?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”world’s hottest islands/a here.

  • 9. Turks and Caicos

    Just an hour-and-a-half plane ride from Miami, Florida, lies the a href=”http://www.islands.com/destination/turks-and-caicos?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”Turks and Caicos/a, 200-plus miles of pure white-sand beaches, the world’s third largest coral reef system and an abundance of wildlife.

  • 8. Belize

    When visitors first started coming in numbers to this country just south of Mexico on the Caribbean a decade or so ago, they usually made a quick bead to its offshore islands. The largest of them, a href=”http://www.islands.com/articles/how-live-ambergris-caye?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”Ambergris Caye/a (pronounce it KEY, as in Key West), has a scattering of mostly low-key resorts popular with divers and fishermen and a town (San Pedro) with sand streets and a lively nightlife of dance clubs. The barrier reef that stretches the length of Belize (and continues south into Honduran waters) is the a href=”http://www.islands.com/destination/belize?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”Caribbean’s equivalent/a of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

  • 7. Puerto Rico

    Many a href=”http://www.islands.com/destination/puerto-rico?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”visitors to Puerto Rico/a never leave the streets and plazas of San Juan, and that’s understandable, because this most beautiful of Caribbean cities can charm you in a way few tropical getaways can. But there are also other, less familiar Puerto Ricos. Beyond San Juan, think a href=”http://www.islands.com/article/Live-the-Life-Prepare-for-Islanding?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”small surf towns/a, empty beaches, lush rainforests, quaint beach bars and epic diving and snorkeling.

  • 6. Jupiter Island, Florida

    Ginormous private homes with names like “T. Woods” and “C. Dion” on their mailboxes occupy the lion’s share of this private barrier island’s 3.6 miles. However, there’s plenty here to a href=”http://www.floridatravellife.com/articles/secret-island-getaway-jupiter-island?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”entice mere mortals/a beyond the gilded gates: miles of secluded white-sand beaches and the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, a breeding site for the Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle.

  • 5. Cedar Key, Florida

    Nestled in the less developed Big Bend area of the state sits Cedar Key. This a href=”http://www.floridatravellife.com/articles/secret-island-getaway-cedar-key?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”rustic Gulf of Mexico fishing village/a and artists’ colony delivers peace and quiet. Bird-watch from a kayak, fish from the town’s pier, eat fresh clam chowder made from farm-raised local clams and just kick back at one of the many cozy vacation rentals (you won’t find any high-rises here).

  • 4. St. Thomas, USVI

    Resorts, villas and homes are tucked into the lush hills of the a href=”http://www.islands.com/articles/best-islands-to-live-on-usvi-st-thomas?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”U.S. Virgin Islands/a, including here at Point Udall on the east end of St. Croix. a href=”http://www.islands.com/editorial-guide/best-islands-to-live-on-usvi-guide?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”Try out life here/a by extending your vacation. You may soon be ready to move. a href=”http://www.islands.com/gallery/best-islands-to-live-on-usvi-photos?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”See more amazing photos of this island paradise./a

  • 3. Big Island, Hawaii

    Moving to Hawaii is as realistic as moving to any other state. And the Big Island is a href=”http://www.islands.com/articles/best-islands-to-live-on-big-island-hawaii?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”equipped for a modern lifestyle/a. Small towns, big towns, hot weather, cool weather, primary schools, universities, golf, surf, volcanoes — the Big Island has it all. Check out a href=”http://www.islands.com/gallery/best-islands-to-live-on-hawaii-top-houses?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”more amazing house photos in Hawaii/a.

  • 2. The Florida Keys

    It is an island experience like no other: Rent a convertible (let’s say a red one), put the top down and point the headlights south, then drive off the a href=”http://www.islands.com/destination/florida-keys?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”edge of America/a … cruising along a ribbon of highway surrounded by blue sea, to one low-lying island after another, for more than a hundred miles. See why people a href=”http://www.floridatravellife.com/articles/fresh-take-key-west?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”make a fresh start/a in locations like Key West.

  • 1. Bora-Bora

    Bora-Bora, or Porapora as it was originally spelled, is among the smallest of the Society Islands. In fact, it is a href=”http://www.islands.com/destination/bora-bora?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”unexpectedly small/a, being only 4 miles long and 2 1/2 wide. Americans a href=”http://www.islands.com/article/Bora-Bora-Where-paradise-is-the-place-you-live?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”have been moving there/a since World War II, when the island was occupied by the U.S. military as a site for a refueling base. Check out more a href=”http://www.islands.com/gallery/bora-bora?src=huffpo” target=”_hplink”amazing Bora-Bora photos/a.


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