Are you feeling it? The winter blues are in full swing, and it might seem as if you haven’t seen the sun in days.

If you’re longing for the sun on your face and sand between your toes, we’ve got a few vacation spots to consider for a break from winter. We’re all familiar with the relaxing resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, but the world is a big place, and there is no shortage of beautiful places where you can swap snow boots for flip-flops.

Of all the great winter getaways, these are a few of my favorites that may be new to you...

Western Australia
Western Australia is perfect for the adventurous, animal-loving beach vacation. 

1. Western Australia

Even though it’s the largest state in Australia, many Americans aren’t familiar with the wonders and beauty that Western Australia provides. For a real Australian adventure, leave the big cities and head west. Located just a few hours' drive from Perth is the famous Margaret River wine region, one of the best in the country. Besides wineries, there are also some beautiful beaches and plenty of natural retreats. For something a little more exotic, drive up the Western Australian coast to Monkey Mia. It’s a funny name for a funny place. As its name suggest, the stunning Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is famous for the wild dolphins that visit every day. Add in some much-needed beach time, perfect weather and amazing desert landscapes, and you have the ideal vacation spot.

Lanai, Hawaii
Lanai, Hawaii is perfect for the overworked looking for a quiet island getaway. 

2. Lanai, Hawaii

The small island of Lanai is the hidden gem of Hawaii. This lesser known island is home to about 3,000 people, has no traffic lights and boasts only a couple of stop signs. What you’ll find here are beautiful resorts, beaches, and a laid back feeling unlike any other experienced within Hawaii. Drive just a few miles inland, and you’ll also find rolling hills covered with cook pine trees, making it look more like Washington state instead of a tropical island. The Four Seasons resorts, both in the highlands and along the beach, capture the spirit and magic of this remarkable island. I promise you won’t regret spending a few nights in each of the two hotels.

Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stellenbosch, South Africa is perfect for the wine connoisseur looking for a countryside adventure. 

3. Stellenbosch, South Africa

Our winter months serve as the height of summer for this country nestled in the Southern Hemisphere. The ocean breezes along the Western Cape make this region especially relaxing, no matter what time of year. One of the highlights of the Western Cape is the university town of Stellenbosch, famous for its rich wine lands. South African wines are growing into world-renowned products and paired with some of the best food found in the country, you will enjoy the perfect wine country escape. You can also indulge in some adventure around Stellenbosch and in nearby towns everything from mountain hikes to swimming with great white sharks. No matter what your interests, Stellenbosch has a little bit of something for everyone.

sri Lanka
The island nation of Sri Lanka is an under-the-radar vacation spot... but not for long. Creative Commons Mirissa Beach 057 by Sitomon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Sri Lanka

After years of conflict, Sri Lanka is starting to enter the world of international tourism, and with good reason. Some of the best beaches in the world can be found on this island nation location just south of India. Luckily, the secret hasn’t gotten out, but it will. It’s not just fantastic resorts and fun in the sun, inland you can join in on special safaris, see majestic elephants in the wild and immerse yourself into a vibrant culture. Add in delicious food and breath-taking sunsets and you will experience an amazing, if not unexpected, warm weather destination.

Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile is perfect for the traveler looking for a flair of Spanish culture, in a new age world. 

5. Santiago, Chile

Since it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, consider heading down south to the modern and hip capital city of Chile, Santiago. Plan on using Santiago as a home base to explore nearby wine regions, but don’t forget to spend some time in the city as well. Most first time visitors are shocked by the colorful mix of Spanish colonial architecture and cosmopolitan flair. Santiago has a long and fascinating history, all of which is easy to see on a walking tour around town. Be sure to stop off at a few of the new restaurants popping up around town, including Peumayen, which recreates ancient Mayan recipes with modern flair.

These are just a few of the more unlikely warm spots I recommend you escape to this winter, what are some of your favorites?

Matt Long

An experiential luxury traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his adventures with thousands of readers every day through his award-winning site As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Based in Washington, D.C., Matt has been to more than 65 countries and all seven continents. mat

Matt is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.