With everyone home from summer break and thinking forward, there’s a new conversation making the rounds: what to do in February. With the Zika virus making landfall in the Caribbean, Mexico and even south Florida, it’s a strange time to be planning a trip there. Even if you’re not pregnant. There are some rare but scary symptoms of Zika. But I’ll let you read more about the virus and how it spreads here.
If you’re feeling jittery about heading to some of the above locales with kids, here are a few alternatives for sun seekers. (None of these places have Zika infection from local mosquitoes, just travel-related infection.)
There are enough gorgeous spas and resorts (think: amazing pools!) in this stretch of desert, like the Phoenician Resort, to rejuvenate any family. Hike Camelback Mountain, take a day trip to Sedona, with its natural hot springs, and go eat real-deal Mexican food in Tucson. The weather is often in the high 60s/low 70s that time of year. Not Caribbean warm, but warm enough to get a rosy glow on your vacation.
Santa Monica, California
It’s the perfect beach town from which to explore L.A. Check in to Shutters on the Beach (where we recently spotted Adam Sandler and his young kids) and leave your room every morning to run the boardwalk along the ocean. (There’s also the coolest playground, with extra long swings for grown ups!) Rent bikes at the Santa Monica Bike Center, which has dozens of kid-friendly options, and bike all the way to Marina Del Ray. If you go, don’t miss Dogtown Coffee, where locals in board shorts and backpacks hop off their skateboards for their morning fix.
Charleston, South Carolina + Savannah, Georgia
There’s a reason why Charleston is often named one of the best cities for a vacation: it’s gorgeous. With myriad beaches and a foodie-centric downtown, you may start considering a move south. About two hours away is Savannah — another charming southern city steeped in history, with gorgeous town squares and parks aplenty. The weather could be in the 70s or it may be in the 50s, but at least you can ditch your coat for your lightweight fleece. (Nearby is Amelia Island, Florida, where there happens to be an amazing Ritz-Carlton. Pitstop? Yes, please.)