There’s snow on the ground in much of the United States, with some areas seeing several inches and below-freezing temperatures in the past couple of days. Visions of sandy beaches and rays of sun seem like far-fetched daydreams while staring at mounds of snow and icy streets. But why not treat yourself to a quick getaway to a warm destination? We’ve rounded up a few beach locales—some splurges and several steals—that will probably have you booking your next trip to paradise before the next snowflake falls.
Soul Train Cruise
This is a three-in-one-beach getaway for the last-minute ballers out there. The Soul Train Cruise leaves the U.S. on Feb. 23 and features performers such as the Isley Brothers, Roberta Flack and Charlie Wilson. The cruise makes three stops after leaving Fort Lauderdale: St. Maarten, St. Barths and Half Moon Cay. Book your trip ASAP here.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
When travelers think of the Dominican Republic, the island’s main tourist destination, Punta Cana, probably first comes to mind. But why not venture elsewhere? On the island’s North coast, Puerto Plata boasts jungles and golden beaches. Looking for a deal? Try this Living Social voucher for a four-night stay for two for $480 (with all meals, drinks and taxes included), and you could go as soon as tomorrow.
Negril is ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the world by Frommer’s for its turquoise water, coral reefs and white-sand beaches. Jump off cliffs, go snorkeling and enjoy the sun in Jamaica. Don’t want to search for a deal? Try the Legends Beach Resort with this deal from Living Social.
Barbados isn’t just a beautiful island that pop singer Rihanna calls home. For a five-star experience, check out the Sandy Lane Hotel in St. James Parish. On Friday nights, check out Oistin’s for the island’s weekly fish-fry party. And don’t forget to try one of the isle’s favorite dishes: flying fish and cou-cou.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Don’t have a passport, but still want to escape the cold? The U.S. Virgin Islands are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the mainland. Visit one of the three main islands of St. Croix, St. John or St. Thomas and enjoy more than 7,000 acres of land that’s home to beautiful nooks, but also a place full of historical landmarks.
Say aloha to the beaches of Waikiki with this deal from Living Social. Stay four nights at the Waikiki Gateway Hotel for less than $400 for two and enjoy scuba diving or a hike up to the top of Diamond Head, a volcanic cone that’s more than 200,000 years old.
White sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and beautiful coral reefs engulf the small island of Culebra, Puerto Rico, which is just off the mainland. Get this Groupon deal for less than $200 for a quick two-night getaway in a junior suite at the Sea Breeze Hotel.
Costa Rica has both white and black sand beaches along its coast. It’s a great destination for families to enjoy a vacay or couples who want a quick romantic getaway. This deal from Living Social offers a $78-night for a room at the Radisson. For a splurge, stay at the Wyndham for $134 a night.
Want to vacation like Jay Z and Beyoncé? The couple, and several other celebrities, often visit the island to get away from the stress of their daily lives. Living Social is offering a $400 deal for three nights at a boutique hotel in Anse Marcel.
If you’re looking to splurge on a trip, head to Aruba. At $205 a night with this deal, this’ll be quite a pricey trip, but you’re worth it, right? Plus, if you’re lucky you might get to win some of that money back by playing the slots at the hotel’s casino. For those adventurous vacationers out there, Aruba is known for being a great place for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Erin E. Evans is a writer and editor in Brooklyn, N.Y. Follow her on Twitter.