The Best Winter Vacations for U.S. Tourists During COVID-19

Now that winter is rearing her frosty head; we’ve all about had it with COVID-19. We’re still doing all the things to keep ourselves and others safe because the alternative isn’t acceptable — but it’s time to feel like we have some semblance of normalcy again.

And for many of us, this means a proper winter vacation. We’re not talking about slapping a pretty bow on a staycation and calling it a day. In this post, we’re going to explore the best winter vacation for U.S. tourists this winter. Spoiler alert: It’s outside of your literal backyard. 

Now, we can’t precisely predict what will happen in the time since this list is assembled. So that means you’re going to have to check up-to-date restrictions for your intended destination before you book anything. But as of now, these winter destinations are your best bet for a real vacation.


Winter is the best time to visit the Bahamas, and COVID-19 hasn’t changed that. Before November 1, 2020, visitors were welcome to “vacation in place,” which meant they were welcome to visit but must quarantine themselves. And who wouldn’t want to be quarantined on a white-sand beach with pristine turquoise waters? But the rules have recently changed to allow visitors to skip quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 within five days of departing for the Bahamas. You’ll also need to apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa, but once you get there, it’s vacation as usual. 

And if you’re on the fence about taking a beach vacation this year, consider that it may be exactly what your body needs. Research shows that sunlight can boost immunity, improve mood, and lower your risk of developing certain types of disease. Sunlight is a cure or preventative measure for COVID-19, but it certainly won’t hurt. And as you’re relaxing on the beach in relative privacy, the stress and worry about the pandemic will seem many miles away.

Saint Lucia

At the time of this writing, many islands in the Eastern Caribbean experience some level of COVID-19 surge, and caution is highly recommended. But Saint Lucia remains one of the safest destinations at a current Level 2 travel advisory. You should know that bars are mandated to close by 9 pm, and masks are mandatory everywhere. Gatherings are also limited to 25 people, so don’t expect to participate in any large group events. You will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days before entry, and you can expect to be met with increased safety protocols at the airport. 

Once you arrive in Saint Lucia, it’s not strictly business as usual. Visitors coming from the United States must stay in COVID-certified accommodations and not be permitted to leave the property unless they go on a certified tour or excursion. 

Face masks are required in all approved resorts except in restaurants, the pool, and guest rooms.

And while all the precautions may sound like a deterrent, Saint Lucia is worth visiting for the views alone. As you approach the island, you’ll be met with volcanic peaks and stunning coastlines. You may spend your entire winter vacation enjoying the black-sand beaches, or you may go on an excursion within the rainforest or to volcanic ruins.

With COVID restrictions, you can expect your visit to be more structured than it would under normal circumstances, but once you know your limits, you can still have the vacation of a lifetime. 

Granada, Caribbean

Granada is currently one of the safest places you can travel as it does not have a community spread of COVID-19. As with Saint Lucia and many other destinations, you can expect to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test and undergo additional security measures at the airport. But once you get there, you’ll find that Granada is the most beautiful destination you never knew you wanted to visit. 

Indeed, Granada isn’t the top destination on everyone’s list, but there are plenty of reasons why this may instantly become your favorite winter vacation. The most common reason to visit Granada is for its beaches. Grande Anse is the best-known beach, and it features two miles of white sand and turquoise waters. A Levera beach visit will get you up close and personal with nesting leatherback turtles and many exciting bird species.

For snorkeling, check out the nearby Sandy Island Marine Park, where you may feel like you’ve just landed on your very own private island — a significant benefit in this pandemic.

Cancun, Mexico

For this winter vacation, why not a throwback to spring break days and head to Cancun, Mexico? As of this writing, Mexico doesn’t have any travel restrictions or mandatory quarantines for U.S. residents, but you should know that there’s a Level 3 warning in place. Tourism isn’t encouraged, but it’s possible and can be safe as long as you follow precautions. 

Before you go, expect to stay within the resort and spend most of your time at the beach. This is how you’ll be able to stay safest and prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may be able to snag an excursion, but know that there are restrictions on interstate and intercity travel. 

If you’re feeling the urge to travel, the good news is that you have options. Some beautiful destinations around the world are welcoming visitors from the United States with open arms. Just be sure to practice appropriate safety measures and enjoy your vacation!