12 Great Beaches For Winter Sun
As the night’s length draws in and temperatures drop, you might start lusting after warmer climes. If you’re in need of a vitamin D boost, these are some of the best beaches in the world for warming winter sun.
Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico
With beach-friendly temperatures all year, Mexico is unsurprisingly a popular destination. Avoid the crowds in the small coastal town of Mazunte, where three sandy beaches—Mermejita, Rinconcito, and San Agustinillo—are backed by thatched shacks selling seafood and cocktails.
This area is home to the National Turtle Research Center, where there’s an aquarium open to the public and baby turtles are released into the ocean. If you feel like getting active, hike out to the wild Punta Cometa headland for views back along the sand and a number of secluded coves.
Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio Beach sits on the fringes of an eponymous protected forest. You can’t stay on the beach itself, but you can hike there through the national park from the main town that backs the busier Espadilla Beach. The jungle is home to some of the country’s most exciting wildlife, including sloths, which you might see dangling from the trees as you wander through the park.
Don’t miss a sundowner at the nearby El Avion bar. It’s set inside an old Fairchild C-123 cargo plane 500 feet high in the hills beyond the beach, and it has the best views out across the forest toward the glittering coastline. It’s dry season in this part of Costa Rica from December through April, so prime time for days lounging on the sands.
Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
Skip the glitzy, expensive beaches of Dubai and head north to Ras Al Khaimah, a little-visited emirate that’s home to several beaches with golden sand and shells; it also has a slightly cooler climate than its neighbors, averaging 77 degrees throughout January.
Pink Sands, The Bahamas
The sand at this beach on the eastern side of Harbour Island really is a striking pastel shade of pink, thanks to the remains of the foraminifera, tiny single-shell organisms that wash up on the shore.
Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, Australia
It’s the height of summer in Australia from December through February, but the country’s west coast sees far fewer travelers gracing its shores than the east does. Ningaloo is the highlight of this wild coastline, with a thriving coral reef just offshore that’s ideal for diving and snorkeling.
Diani Beach, Kenya
Combine a winter sun-and-beach break with an unforgettable wildlife experience at Diani Beach. This slice of white sand, backed by palms and lapped by Indian Ocean waves, sees temperatures hover around the mid-80s throughout December and January.
Arugam Bay Beach, Sri Lanka
November through March is a great time to visit Sri Lanka, but it can get crowded. Arugam Bay, on the southeast coast, is a far cry from the busier resorts on this teardrop-shaped island’s west side, which are packed at this time of year.
La Petite Côte, Senegal
The 60-plus-mile stretch of white sand that makes up Senegal’s Petite Côte is blissfully quiet. Here, you’ll find small fishing towns and villages where Portuguese and French influences mix with the energetic West African culture, plus low-key holiday resorts popular with Europeans in the summer.
Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives
The Maldives is famous for its perfect beaches, all wispy white sands and light blue waters. But after the sun sets, some of the archipelago’s beaches take on a rather different look.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
With highs regularly hitting 71 degrees in December and January, Clearwater Beach offers all the sunshine and spectacularly white sand you could want, with the bonus of big-city vibes and lots of craft beer. More than 35 small-scale breweries in Clearwater and St. Petersburg make a fantastic ale trail.
Hulopoe Beach, Lanai, Hawaii
A perfect swimming beach, Hulopoe is a pretty patch of yellow sand backed by leafy vegetation and flanked by rocky outcrops. When the tide is out, you’ll often find small crabs and starfish living in the pools that form among them.
Bacolet Bay, Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago
January brings wonderfully clear skies and sunshine (expect highs of 82 degrees), and the swimming here is excellent because the ocean floor deepens gradually rather than drops suddenly as at many spots around the island.