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Flee the winter woes to destinations where the climate is balmy, the sun is shining and the trees are still wearing green

By Suzanne McMinn

Brrr-ing on the sunshine! We know that our bodies react to the sun with a boost of serotonin that makes us feel happy, and exposure to the sun also increases the production of vitamin D, which strengthens our bones, muscles and immune systems. Here are five winter getaways for couples and families that are more than just a good time—they’re good for you, too! So crank up the air-conditioning in your Traverse and hit the road.

Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa

For an authentic taste of sunny Key West, check in to the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa. Located on the Gulf of Mexico with its own private beach, this historic resort is surrounded by tropical gardens that invite a sense of seclusion while still leaving you only steps from all the excitement of the island. Nightlife, arts and entertainment are just a walk away—if you even desire to leave your room! Island-style furnishings lend laid-back luxury, and on-site amenities include a full-service spa with steam rooms, aromatherapy massages, mud wraps and more. Enjoy live music and a piano bar while ordering from the award-winning sea-inspired menu.

Enchantment Resort

Soak in views of a different kind at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. Set in over 70 acres of Boynton Canyon, accommodations include your choice of studio or suite with options of full kitchens, soaking tubs, beehive fireplaces and private pools. A full-service spa is on site, along with classes in cooking, art, photography, organic gardening and Native American culture. Swimming, tennis, mountain biking and hiking can be found at your doorstep, and the finest in seasonal and Southwestern dining is yours to enjoy while surrounded by spectacular scenery. “Camp Coyote” offers supervised adventures for kids, with sand painting, pottery sculpting and even kiddie cooking classes.

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club, and Spa

Exquisite yet family-friendly, the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club, and Spa in Point Clear, Alabama, provides a dream vacation for travelers with eclectic interests. Whether you’re searching for outdoor adventure, relaxation or an opportunity to learn, this historic resort has it all. Situated on over 550 acres, two challenging golf courses are at your disposal along with tennis, pools, biking, boating and kayaking. A 20,000-square-foot European spa welcomes you with body scrubs and wraps, facials, fitness training, steam rooms and more. Bay or marina views are available in the spacious guest rooms, while six on-site restaurants offer the best in local seafood and seasonal cuisine. Local attractions include tours of the U.S.S. Alabama, Bellingrath Gardens and river delta sightseeing cruises. Special golf, spa or Civil War packages are available.

The King and Prince

Find Southern charm island-style at the historic beachfront resort of The King and Prince on one of Georgia’s famed Golden Isles. Adventures in shrimping and dolphin-watching await you at this restored coastal hotel, as well as ghost and historical tours, not to mention sports like kayaking, sailing, fishing, biking, horseback riding, tennis and golf. If you prefer a less active vacation, settle into the soothing environs of salt marshes, tunnels of live oaks, and unspoiled beaches. Accommodations range from beachfront suites to villas, and even private guest houses. Dining is Southern coastal cuisine, and “Coastal Adventure” camps are offered for children.

Isla Grand Beach Resort

Go sub-tropical to the southernmost tip of Texas to the Isla Grand Beach Resort for an island getaway geared to watersports. Surfing, fishing, parasailing, shelling, deep sea fishing, dolphin cruises, jet skiing and horseback rides on the beach are all at your fingertips in this lush and tropical beachfront resort. Supervised activities for the kids include arts and crafts and water games. The resort’s own live entertainment venue brings in bands from Las Vegas, Nashville and New York, while the on-site restaurant, serving fresh seafood and Mexican specialties, overlooks a waterfall. Stay in a condo or a cabana room with views of the lush gardens and beach.

All these resorts offer one thing in common: warmth! So stop shivering already. The sun is shining somewhere. Step into the light.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

This is the sixth in a series of Winter Getaways stories on Chevy Culture.

Suzanne McMinn lives with her three children on a farm in West Virginia, where she writes the blog Chickens in the Road, about finding “the true meaning of home—and life—beyond the noise of suburban sprawl and suburban convenience.”


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