Warm Beach in Southeast ?

Old Jan 7th, 2024, 08:18 AM
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Warm Beach in Southeast ?

I'm in the frigid Central US region looking for a January/February stay on a warm beach. Has anyone made this trip and can walk me through how they pulled it off ? I see Southwest Airlines has flights for around $500 to big cities like Savannah, Charleston SC, Jacksonville & Miami but not sure which beaches near those airports (Uber ride, I assume) would have furnished rooms for rent. I think the hotels/motels would be too expensive so wondering if craigslist/Airbnb is a cheaper option ? I'd be solo/without a car so I'd like to be around people and hopefully be able to find food/groceries or at least public transit. Thanks for any help in advance.
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 09:46 AM
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I might not be reading this right, but are you looking for a beach with warm water for swimming? If so, the farther South you go, the better. I just ran a Google search for water temperature in Tybee Island (near Savannah) and the current water temperature is 53 degrees.

If swimming is not an issue, I will defer to locals for winter weather info. I love Savannah dearly, but I'm thinking they have at least a mild winter. But probably not as cold as where you live.

Last edited by P_M; Jan 7th, 2024 at 10:32 AM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 10:11 AM
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It's too cold in Northern FL for swimming, Miami probably the only option on that list. You need to go to Puerto Rico, it's the US and water temp is 78 to 80 in winter (lower 70s near miami). Probably cheaper than Miami, I bet. SwA flies to San Juan PR.
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 10:46 AM
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I once had a job in Miami Beach & was shocked to see one morning in January on a bank sign on the way to work that it was near freezing. I don't think anywhere in the continental US is reliably warm in January or February. Yes, Puerto Rico is, lived there for 5 years, or my current favorite, Mexico. You'll find inexpensive places to stay & I'll bet airfare is little, if any, more expensive than flights you're considering. Good luck, I feel for you. I think long stays in Mexico are in my future.

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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. Swimming is not my thing-I just want to escape incoming single digit temps and enjoy walking on the sand. I did look into Mexico a while back but seems the US (recently) set up a passport requirement and mine is expired. Also considered PR and unbelievably the flights seem cheaper than flights to the Southeast. But I was put off by the flight time/travel time of 8 or 9 hours to get to PR. As for Tybee and even Charleston, it looks like the only beachfront is on barrier islands. Would those be sleepy/sparsely populated places where finding a temporary apartment becomes even more difficult ?
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Old Jan 7th, 2024, 06:59 PM
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Look at SW Florida, Gulf Coast, Tampa area, Clearwater, etc. We have had great weather in Clearwater and Tampa in late January.
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Old Jan 8th, 2024, 05:50 AM
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You might try Sarasota. It features a vibrant downtown with an equally vibrant bookstore and cafe culture. Attractions include the Selby Botanical Gardens (with 6,000 orchids), Ringling Museum of Art, Circus Museum, and Towles Court Artist Colony. Nearby are lovely powdery white-sand beaches (such as South Lido Park Beach). Bicycle or walk on the Legacy Trail to Venice. Take a wildlife cruise and view dolphins and manatees. There are many nature preserves in the Sarasota County. Inexpensive lodging may have already been taken if you are going this year.
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Old Jan 8th, 2024, 08:07 AM
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We had a wonderful trip last February to Sarasota. We didn't spend much time at the beach although we did drive over to check it out. Our hotel had a lovely pool area and it was warm enough to swim. Friends in SE Florida and relatives on Hutchinson Island, near Vero Beach have told us that the weather this year has been unseasonably cool and as with most of the East Coast, very rainy. Puerto Rico is a great destination. In addition to the beach areas, Old San Juan is so interesting to tour as is El Yunque the national park. There was much destruction of El Yunque during the hurricanes a few years ago and haven't been there, so can't say how much it has recovered. Savannah and Charleston are lovely destinations but you cannot count on warm weather enough to relax by a pool in January/ February. We once drove down to Florida and stopped in late January for Sunday Brunch in Savannah where it was a balmy 24 degrees and once in Charleston we toured around on a sunny day in which it was in the high 30's.
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Old Jan 8th, 2024, 09:26 AM
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I did look into Mexico a while back but seems the US (recently) set up a passport requirement and mine is expired.

Actually the requirement went into effect back in 2007 I believe you can still travel to Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands without one.
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 09:53 AM
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I'd renew my passport and go to Mexico. You can do this in pretty quickly if you expedite (the renewal)

I am in southeast Florida now and there ids no way I would swim in the ocean--too cold. Plus it has been almost eternally cloudy for the past month. AND there is VERY little public transportation although there is UBER. If your budget is low you could not stay near the beach so would have to take UBER or wait AGES for the occasional bus, schlepping. your towels and "stuff." Some beaches rent chairs and umbrellas but it is not inexpensive to do that.

Mexico is your best bet. PR would be good but without a car and staying far away from the beach due to budget....problematic, but I do not understand the hours you think it takes to fly there from the midwest......in 8-9 hours you could probably be in Europe unless you are counting in driving a long distance to your nearest airport. If you do consider PR, look at the area around Cabo Rojo in the SW....I loved the beach there and there are decent prices on rentals not far away.





USVI..too expensive unless you want to stay in a local neighborhood which would be far from the sea and then how would you get to the beach?

Renew your passport! Get a cheap flight to Mexico. Take a look at Nayarit or the beaches in Oaxaca for budgetary reasons.not at the big resorts. If you don't care bout swimming, Zipolite, for example, but not sure if that would suit.

Jamaica--outside the tourist zones?

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jan 9th, 2024 at 10:00 AM.
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the passport "expedite" idea-I did read that is available for a additional fee. As for travel time to PR, Southwest only makes connecting flights so 7.5-11 hour range w/layover. Then as far as rentals go, you mentioned beachfront would be expensive. Any idea of what pricing is like for a month's stay (Jacksonville/Oxaca/Cabo Rojo) ? I'm assuming craigslist/Airbnb would be more economical than the hotels. Hotels I'm guessing would be hundreds of dollars per night ?
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by beachbum22
Thanks for the passport "expedite" idea-I did read that is available for a additional fee. As for travel time to PR, Southwest only makes connecting flights so 7.5-11 hour range w/layover. Then as far as rentals go, you mentioned beachfront would be expensive. Any idea of what pricing is like for a month's stay (Jacksonville/Oxaca/Cabo Rojo) ? I'm assuming craigslist/Airbnb would be more economical than the hotels. Hotels I'm guessing would be hundreds of dollars per night ?

Forget Jacksonville...too cold, for one thing. And beach hotels are pricey.

Take a look at AirB&B nd VRBo and see what the prices are like. What kind of accommodation do you need? Is a rustic bungalow on or near the beach ok? they used to have those In Zipolite and Mazunte but by now those places are pretty well known so surely prices are far higher than when I was there last..take a look online. But remember that those beaches have big waves and strong currents. I spent a lot of time on that coast but it was many years ago, before all the development....look also at Puerto Escondido, and at Melaque..again it's been a long time for me so no idea of prices now but it is easy enough to take a look online. Look at a map of the Oaxaca coast and some of the smaller towns along there....

What is your home airport?

Cuba might work, too.....if you are willing to do that. Beaches are nice. It depends of what level of comfort you need.
Can you do a home exchange?

What are you willing to pay per night? Are you ok with a room in a nice guesthouse? I see a few in Pro Escondido with private bath for about $30 a night.

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jan 9th, 2024 at 02:01 PM.
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 02:24 PM
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well, I've been to San Juan PR and didn't have a car and didn't have any problem getting around by bus (or walking). You can get a place near the beach for less than $100 a night, just go look at Airbnb or whatever. YOu can get places near the beach (studios) for about $100-125 a night (and that's including all the fees). Of course you can just get rooms cheaper than that. Just go look.

Maybe it would be helpful if you were clearer as to what you want to pay and how long you want to stay.

Personally, I would never plan a long stay this way for such a reason (I love winter anyway, but I still would never go to some random country for a long time without really having a desire to go there -- for PR, I'd want to know some Spanish but of course you can get by without it, it's just more fun to have it. Same for Mexico, I've been there a lot but I do speak fundamental Spanish. I wouldn't go for a month without that.

I also don't know why a flight connection is a deal breaker if you plan to be there a long time. Sounds like you can't go many places with a nonstop flight.

I've been to Sarasota a couple times, it isn't cheap.

Unfortunately, travel to Cuba is illegal for US citizens, if it is for tourism. That's another place I sure wouldn't go without speaking Spanish. Maybe you do.
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 02:50 PM
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We need to learn the OPs budget before we can give any meaningful responses.

How to travel to Cuba as an American citizen

U.S. law states that those who want to go to Cuba need to qualify for a “general license” based on one of 12 approved categories.

The 12 categories currently authorized by U.S. government, for travel to Cuba are:
  • Family visits
  • Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  • Support for the Cuban people..>>
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
  • Certain authorized export transactions
Licenses are self-qualifying, meaning that when you purchase your airline ticket, you’ll be asked to state your category in a signed affidavit before check-out.

An appropriate “support for the Cuban people” itinerary could including staying in casa particulares (locally run guesthouses), visiting Cuban-owned businesses, going on tours (like classic car rides or architecture walking tours) run by Cubans, visiting independent museums and galleries, partaking in cultural dance and music classes, and eating at locally owned restaurants and markets.
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 04:02 PM
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Cannot do a home exchange-landlord would not permit it. Just looking for anything on the beachfront. Would stay a month, maybe two to escape the winter. Closest airport to me is STL. Budget...hmmm...maybe 1k to 1500 a month is doable. When you say "Are you ok with a room in a nice guesthouse? I see a few in Pro Escondido with private bath for about $30 a night." Did you find that on craigslist ? Airbnb ? I've only checked out cl so far bc I've heard a lot of gripes about Airbnb fees getting out of hand. Could only find one listing for Jacksonville (around 60 degrees in January) on "Ponte Verda" for $800 a month.
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 04:07 PM
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"You can get places near the beach (studios) for about $100-125 a night (and that's including all the fees). Of course you can just get rooms cheaper than that. Just go look." Thanks for the estimates. May I ask what website has the studios ? And what site to research for just a room ? My only travel out of the country has been to visit friends so I'm new to the rental game.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 04:29 AM
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I apologize if I overlooked this in an earlier post, but is there a reason you must fly SW? They aren't always the least expensive.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 04:42 AM
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With Southwest I've got frequent flier miles, 2 checked bags+carry on for free, no change fees, etc. Also had good luck w/on time performance. But tbh, would give it all up if I found a reasonably priced nonstop on another airline.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 08:09 AM
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Christina, just curious: You would not travel for a month to any country where you don't know the language? So that leaves out most of the world for you, no?


Look at AirB&B for the room only.....

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jan 10th, 2024 at 08:48 AM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 09:09 AM
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You can swim off the lovely beaches of Grand Bahama Island. They speak Bahamian English but you need passports. Lots of adventurous things to do on the island. "Here you can swim through huge underwater caves, traipse through forests with 18 bird species found nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere, and paddle through mangrove forests in Lucayan National Park near Freeport, the country’s second city."
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