Anyone else starting to feel that winter chill creeping in? It’s time to fire up your favorite booking platform and search for somewhere warmer.
Thankfully for Americans, searching for a warm and welcoming beach for the winter doesn’t have to mean an expensive trip overseas – there are plenty of relaxing beaches with pleasant climates right here at home.
But where are the best places to go? Some new data from vacation rental expert HomeToGo may be able to help with that.
It recently reported that 72 percent of American travelers are planning trips for this winter and revealed the top three most-searched U.S. destinations in its annual Autumn Winter Travel Forecast.
They may not be as exotic as Bali or Cancún, but these three beach towns within a 130-mile stretch of the Gulf of Mexico coastline are definitely winners when it comes to winter warmth.
Grab your swimsuit and check out these trending beach destinations:
Gulf Shores, Alabama
The short stretch of the Gulf Coast that belongs to Alabama makes up for its modest size with stunning beauty.
With pure white sands, clear turquoise waters, and average winter temperatures between 50-65F in the months from November through to February, there’s a lot to like about Gulf Shores.
The beautiful beaches along the seafront in this town are well-served with public access points, including several well-maintained boardwalks.
Away from lazing on the beach, you can enjoy taking a chartered boat out into the Gulf, sample the thriving local art scene, or take in some history at attractions such as the nearby Swift-Coles Historic Home.
Gulf Shores has no shortage of places to stay, and it may surprise you to learn that it recently ranked as one of the U.S. beach towns with some of the cheapest vacation rentals.
Median nightly price according to HomeToGo: $385.35
Destin, or the ‘world’s luckiest fishing village’ as it’s sometimes referred to, is another magical spot blessed with white sands and blue-green oceans.
This slightly smaller town has no shortage of things to do. Fishing is naturally a star attraction, as is tackling the course at the Emerald Bay Golf Club.
Like many spots in the Florida Panhandle, Destin is known for high-quality seafood, which you can enjoy from one of its numerous beautiful waterfront restaurants.
Another of Destin’s big attractions is Crab Island, a shallow sandbar that is a popular place for boats to hang out and for revelers to enjoy the warm waters on sunny afternoons.
It can only be reached by boat, but there’s no shortage of companies you can rent one from if you’re just visiting.
If you want to get afloat in a slightly more active way, then hiring a stand-up paddleboard is another great option to explore the warm waters around Destin.
It’s a great town for solo travelers, couples, or families alike because there is so much to do packed into a small area.
Median nightly price according to HomeToGo: $287.66
Panama City Beach, Florida
From Destin, drive out east along the coast for about 50 miles, and you’ll reach Panama City Beach.
The shoreline between these two spots is part of the Emerald Coast and is regarded as one of the best places in the Florida Panhandle for a getaway.
Panama City Beach has previously been named as one of the top three beaches in the United States by TripAdvisor, and it’s easy to see why.
Lounging around on the pristine sands or dipping into the invitingly warm oceans is one thing, but there’s much more to this town, including several impressive piers, which are surrounded by some fantastic shopping outlets.
There’s also no shortage of beachfront restaurants, but for a truly memorable experience, you could hit up a dinner cruise.
There are several vessels that can take you sailing across the shores here while enjoying fine dining and spotting the abundant wildlife in the waters, including dolphins and sea turtles.
Median nightly price according to HomeToGo: $271.38
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com