A good vacation spot? Try anywhere but here

February 12, 2010|By Michelle Deal-Zimmerman | michelle.deal@baltsun.com

Put down the shovel. Pick up your suitcase. Enough with the snow - it's time for a winter escape. Here are 10 destinations that would make a perfect sun-filled vacation, even if it's only just a fantasy:

1. Bermuda Go by boat, go by plane - whatever it takes, just get there. The island of pink sands is ideal for beach lovers and golf fans. When you book a trip by April 26 and stay three nights, the fourth night is free at select hotels. The "Golf-Around Getaway" offers three nights and three rounds of golf starting at $599 per person. Details: bermudatourism.com

2. Puerto Rico You don't even need a passport to visit the white sand beaches of this Caribbean island and U.S. territory. If you prefer to go green, the tropical oasis of the El Yunque National Forest awaits with awaits with waterfalls and mountain views. CheapCaribbean.com offers $100 savings off vacation packages for travel through June. Details: gotopuertorico.com

3. Sydney, Australia The city is often among the "best" lists of the most desired destinations for travelers. Plus, it's bloody hot there right about now. Sydney's seasons run the opposite of ours. Fall begins there next month, but it will still be warmer than it is here. Qantas airline has a fare sale with flights from Los Angeles starting at $798 round trip, plus taxes and fees. Book by Feb. 23. Seats are limited. Details: australia.com

4. Miami Beach Even without the Super Bowl, it's a perfect wintertime place. Hang out in Little Havana, check out the art scene in Coconut Grove or sample the goods at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (Feb. 25). Details: miamiandbeaches.com

5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil You'll miss Carnival, which begins this weekend, but the city's profile is reaching beyond that signature event as it prepares to host the Olympics in 2016. And summer nights here, where the seasons are the opposite of North America's, have been especially warm this year. Take a dip in the cool sea at Ipanema for relief. Details: braziltour.com

6. San Diego This Southern California city has perfect weather just about all year. Take a tour of the Gaslamp Quarter or visit the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Enjoy the sands of nearby Coronado Beach, frequently named among the best beaches in America. Right now, San Diego area hotels are offering "Happy Deals" worth 20 percent to 40 percent off. Details: sandiego.org

7. Cape Town, South Africa Botanical gardens, wineries, a ritzy and historic waterfront, and amazing views from Table Mountain all make this resort city an ideal destination. It's also a place for sports and will host events during the 2010 FIFA World Cup for soccer this summer. Details: capetown.travel

8. Waikiki, Hawaii Really, any beach or island in Hawaii will do, just so long as you don't get "Lost." Oahu, where Waikiki is located, also is home to the major airport in Honolulu and offers memorials and museums paying tribute to the victims of Pearl Harbor. Details: gohawaii.com

9. Cancun, Mexico A hurricane devastated the resort five years ago; next came drug violence; and, last year, swine flu. Cancun's gleam might have dulled a bit, but its beauty refuses to be outshone. It has nearly 20 miles of beaches lined with resorts and fronting turquoise waters. Nearby attractions include Mayan architecture and the second-largest reef system in the world in Cozumel. Expedia.com has a sale offering up to 30 percent off Cancun hotels when you book by Feb. 28. Details: cancun.travel

10. Montego Bay, Jamaica MoBay has beaches, caves, snorkeling, river kayaking and more. Last week, AirTran began offering service from BWI to this Caribbean destination. Flights start at about $214 each way. Details: visitjamaica.com

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