Another warm vacation question
January 20, 2016 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Where can we go that is warm (80s), DRY, and beachy that is within the U.S., will avoid El Nino, and is within 2-4 flight hours of STL in the middle of February?
posted by Ms Vegetable to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know that there is such a place. Within 2-4 hrs of STL and still in the USA means you're looking at the Gulf coast or eastern seaboard. These areas are all affected by El Nino, which makes them wetter and cooler than they would be otherwise. Even Key West (the southernmost point in the continental US) has an average high of 76 in Feb. Phoenix is dry and warm (70s) and within 4hrs, but not beachy. Palm Springs is a bit outside your 4hr radius, and is also in the 70s, but should be dry-ish); it's not beachy but is vacation-y and the Ace Hotel has a great pool for laying out and relaxing.

Puerto Rico or USVI are a bit outside your range, but beachy and warm (St Thomas will be in the 80s, and moderately humid with 25% of the days seeing some rain; San Juan will also be in the 80s but slightly more humid and twice the chance of rain).

Google Flights has an explore map where you can specify your departure city, length of flight, desired vacation features (beach, nature, etc), # of stops, etc.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:12 AM on January 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

I face this every January, as the Midwest temps plunge. I've decided that southern Florida is about the only place that has reliable warm temperatures (not right now though! Not that reliable) and a lot of beach. I'm not a Florida lover, but I've tried elsewhere on the Gulf, and Southern California too, and Georgia, and they're just not summer-like when you're near the ocean. So Florida it is, winter after winter.
I haven't been to Padre Island (Texas), but I hear that is usually pretty warm.
Second the idea of Puerto Rico and USVI. No passport or visa needed, and the flight won't be much longer than to Miami or Tampa. And they're more interesting than south Florida. Of course, all that warmth comes at a price-- lots of rain. But at least it's not snow!
posted by Pippip at 10:22 AM on January 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think you'll have to compromise on something.

If you look at a map of average high temperatures in the continental US in January (which is going to be pretty similar to February), you'll see the only place in the US that has an average high > 70 F is South Florida, as Pippip says -- even in Miami the average high is only 78 in February. South Padre Island will average in the 60s/low 70s in February which I would imagine is too cold for beachy weather.

If you want truly warm (> 80 F) you'll have to leave the continental US with the Caribbean the most likely option. The US islands of Puerto Rico or the USVI are probably your best bet, though you'll have to then compromise on flight times.
posted by andrewesque at 10:47 AM on January 20, 2016

Sometimes you can get charters (tour groups) to the islands. They'll be direct and fast (if all goes well!).
posted by Pippip at 10:51 AM on January 20, 2016

Well, I'd say Hawaii, even though it's a bit longer flight. Kona averages 80 in February, and there's amazeballs whale watching in February.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:40 AM on January 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Los Cabos? The weather there right now is amazing!
posted by saradarlin at 1:49 PM on January 20, 2016

If you're limiting yourself to within the U.S., there are simply very few places that meet your "warm, dry, beachy" criteria in February, no matter how far you're willing to travel. Your best bet is going to be South Florida if you want to minimize travel time, though even then, as others note, there's always going to be the risk of rain. There's simply no escaping El Niño unless you're willing to leave the U.S. or travel to Hawaii.

Still, as someone who used to think he hated Florida, it's not bad. I've visited Miami Beach a few times in the past couple of years and have enjoyed it. Gotten some good weather even in February.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:32 PM on January 20, 2016

There a big difference in Southern Florida between early February and late February. You're much more likely to get a warm day in late February.

Unfortunatly, this year? El Niño means the chances of it being wet, and therefore cooler, are higher. It won't be very cold -- that happen in La Niña years when the Polar Jet is forced southwards. It's cooler because there's just more clouds and rain, with the Subtropical Jet pushing straight across the southern tier. Here's the overall Dry Season forecast for central Florida, which states precipitation and storms will be well above normal, and temperature will be below (but not well below) normal. Again, that's more a factor of the extra rain/cloud cover than actually cold air coming in from the north.

Also, what we think of as warm will change as it stays cold. 65F is heavenly after it's been -10F for a while. Even better, you can mock the natives for wearing parkas.
posted by eriko at 11:09 PM on January 20, 2016

I just had family in Daytona (central FL) report temps in the upper 30s so don't count on Florida for warmth.
posted by irisclara at 9:37 PM on January 21, 2016

« Older Favorite fruit trees in pacific northwest   |   Mutant basketball / "tactical" / "military" style... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.