Great Beaches, Great Ski Destinations for the New Year

Looking for a great start to the New Year? Choose your own brand of fun – skiing or basking in the sun – and we’ll show you some of the most popular destinations along with information on how to get there for the least amount of money.

Wait for the January Dead Zone

Wait to travel until about Jan. 7 or so, which marks the start of one of the best money-saving dead zones of the year (dead zones are periods when flights are especially cheap). These zones work for Europe too where we’ve seen deals to Ireland for as little as $499 round-trip but for strictly local color, you can’t beat some these favorites.

Popular Beach Cities

Click the city to find the best-priced airline deals (and check out the other links for beach and ski info).

  • Los Angeles: The water may be on the cool side but there’s always Hollywood, and plenty of competing airlines and airports like LAX, Burbank and Long Beach to keep prices down. And don’t forget Orange County’s airport, the closest one to Disneyland.
  • Honolulu: This is not one of the cheaper destinations because it’s such a popular winter getaway but deals can be found especially from West Coast cities.
  • Miami and Fort Lauderdale: These two Florida cities seem to take turns being the cheaper destination; no problem, since they are only about 25 miles apart.
  • Tampa: Lots of low-cost competition at this airport. When you’re done enjoying the beach, check out the food and clubs in historic Ybor City.
  • Fort Myers: Family friendly beaches plus nicely priced flights thanks to carriers like JetBlue, Southwest and Spirit.
  • Cancun: Mexico’s resorts have been relatively cheap in the past few years and Cancun remains a favorite. Tip: Enjoy it before the kids take over during Spring Break.
  • San Juan: Puerto Rico is usually the cheapest Caribbean destination from the U.S. and has all the bells and whistles of supposedly more exotic islands.
  • Kahului (Maui): What used to be one of the more expensive Hawaiian Islands have come down thanks to increased competition and always be sure to compare prices of all airlines because despite its name, Alaska often has very good deals.
  • West Palm Beach: Glittering boutiques, bars and beaches – take your pick or choose them all.

Popular Ski Destinations

  • Denver: The Mile High City is your gateway to some of the best skiing in the U.S. from A to V (Aspen, Vail). And for the past couple of years, Denver has been one of the cheapest destinations overall domestically thanks to a surge in airline competition.
  • Seattle: Ticket prices to and from Seattle have dropped in the past year, making it easier than ever to access the many resorts throughout the Cascades and Olympic Mountains.
  • Portland, OR: This beautiful city is close to dozens of popular resorts including Mt. Hood Skibowl which boasts the largest night ski area in the country.
  • Toronto: This Canadian city brags that it’s where families go to ski but there’s plenty of excellent dining and nightlife for the adults.
  • Salt Lake City: With eight resorts within an hour’s drive of the airport, you’ll be snowboarding or schussing in no time.
  • Charlotte: You may not think of this subtropical city as a center for skiing but Sugar Mountain Resort is just a two-hour drive away – plus Charlotte’s hub-status with US Airways makes it a cheaper getaway.
  • Vancouver: One of the prettiest towns in all of Canada (and that’s saying a lot!), it offers skiing for everyone just minutes away or take the two-hour drive to the legendary Whistler resort (2 million visitors a year can’t be wrong).
  • Anchorage: This Alaskan destination offers something for skiers of all abilities as well as snowboarding, backcountry and heli-skiing.
  • Reno: If you love winter sports, the Reno/Lake Tahoe area offers it all from skiing to ice skating and even snoeshoeing. Plus cozy lodges and an eclectic nightlife. Yes, casino action, too.
  • Albuquerque: 310 days of sunshine a year make for beautiful ski conditions. Nearby gems include Sandia Peak, but if you get tired of skiing, there’s always golf on award-winning courses.

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Published: December 23, 2013