Winter Sun: Near-bys and Savvy Buys

As you fill up that hot water bottle or pull on those flannel pajamas, thoughts of warm weather winter escape are probably creeping into your head. But because of the economy, you might be looking to get some rays during the cold months without breaking the bank. And the idea of helping our country’s economy with your tourism dollars is likely appealing too. Of course, you could head to the usual hot spots like Hawaii, Las Vegas or Orlando, but now could be a great time to explore some of the less popular getaways and score great deals in the process.

All the destinations listed below have three star hotels available in January for two adults for under $90 per night and plenty of activities that are easy on the budget.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Average January daily high temperature: 62 degrees
Five inexpensive area activities:

  • St. Charles streetcar line through the Garden District: $1.25
  • Great views on the ferry ride to Algiers: Free
  • Mardi Gras history at the Backstreet Cultural Museum: $8
  • Frenchman Street on a weekend night for jazz: Several thrifty options
  • French Quarter Walking Tour by the National Park Service: Free

Tucson, Arizona
Average January daily high temperature: 65 degrees
Five inexpensive area activities:

  • Too many beautiful hikes to even mention here: Free
  • Miniatures houses at the Mini Time Machine Museum: Adults $9, kids $6
  • Wildlife at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Adults $14.50, kids $5
  • Soaring at the Pima Air and Space Museum: Adults $13.75, kids $8
  • Spanish colonial architecture at Mission San Xavier del Bac: Free

Orange Beach, Alabama
Average January daily high temperature: 61 degrees
Five inexpensive area activities:

  • Walks along the gorgeous white sand beach: Free
  • Eye candy at Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach: Free
  • Natural beauty at the Backcountry Trail: Free
  • Evening stroll on The Wharf: Free
  • Go-karts, mini-golf or laser tag at Adventure Island: All under $8

St. Simons Island, Georgia
Average January daily high temperature: 60 degrees
Five inexpensive area activities:

  • Maritime history at St. Simons Lighthouse Museum: $10
  • Military lore at Fort Frederica: Adults $3, kids free
  • Spookiness at the St. Simons Ghost Walk: Adults $13, kids $7
  • Bike rentals for pedal power island exploration: Thrifty options available
  • A quintessential local experience at Christ Church: Free

Florida Keys, Florida
Average January daily high temperature: 74 degrees
Five inexpensive area activities:

  • Unique driving experience on the Overseas Highway: Cost of gas
  • Street performances and amazing sunsets at Mallory Square in Key West: Free
  • Flora and fauna marvels at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center: Free
  • Tropical botanical garden at West Martello Tower: Free
  • White sand beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: Free

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