In Kauai, Hawaii, winter temperatures remain in the high 70s. The horseshoe-shaped, secluded Hanalei Bay is the best beach for swimming and lounging on the golden sand. This stretch is located near casual Hanalei Inn, with rooms from $139.
(Courtesy Hanalei Inn)
Kauai has managed to stay a little more under the radar than other Hawaiian islands, and that's what makes it so appealing. At the northernmost point of the island sits Kilauea Lighthouse, built in 1913.
In the midst of winter, nothing seems cheerier than the idea of Puerto Rico, where temperatures rarely dip below the 83-degree mark. On the west coast, Rincón's beaches are the surfing community's best-kept secret.
Casa Isleña Inn, in Rincón, Puerto Rico, is a Spanish-style house with nine guest rooms and a terrace overlooking the water—perfect for spotting humpback whales in the winter.
(Brendan Basham/courtesy Casa Isleña Inn)
Ocean Beach, in San Diego, where temperatures stay in the 60s all through the winter and the crashing waves of the Pacific create a quintessential-American-beach-town vibe.
(John Francis Peters/Getty Images)
With its modern, glass-box look and hip indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar, Tower23 Hotel on Pacific Beach is a welcome departure from the outdated beach shacks that dot San Diego.
(Courtesy Tower23 Hotel)
In Laguna Beach, Calif., La Casa del Camino has a range of accommodations, from a Craftsman-style cottage to the impossibly cool rooms designed for the 2010 Casa Surf Project, including the Billabong Suite shown here.
(Courtesy La Casa del Camino)
Done the right way, Laguna Beach (made famous by a reality show of the same name) can be incredibly down-to-earth. Beaches fill up during the summer, but in the winter months they're blissfully crowd-free.
(Courtesy Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau)
"Pier 61 in Galveston, Tex., where winter temperatures hover in the low 60s and savvy travelers head to secluded West Beach to troll for shells or soak up some sun."
(Matthew Wakem/Aurora Photos)
The historic tall ship Elissa in Galveston, Tex. Nearby is the revitalized Strand district, where buildings from the 1800s have been restored and now house restaurants, antiques stores, and many galleries full of fine art and photography.
(Courtesy Mitchell Historic Properties 6134)
Nine-mile Orange Beach, Ala., has everything you need—lots of room to spread out your beach blanket, warm waters as blue as any you'll find in Florida, and snow-white sand that's 95 percent quartz.
(Courtesy Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)
The beachside, 346-room Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala., is like a community unto itself, with four restaurants, an indoor/outdoor pool, hot tubs and tennis courts.
(Courtesy Perdido Beach Resort)
One of four islands that make up Georgia's Golden Isles (a collection of barrier islands just off the southeastern coast), St. Simons Island is known for its historical landmarks, white-sand beaches, and 99 holes of golf.
(Courtesy Brunswick and The Golden Isles of Georgia)
The oak trees on St. Simons Island, Ga., are so treasured that the charming Village Inn & Pub was built around them—not one tree had to be cut down during construction.
(Courtesy Village Inn & Pub)
Clearwater Beach, near St. Petersburg, Fla. The warm Gulf waters are a popular hangout for dolphins—spot one from a three-person WaveRunner, a Hobie sailboat, or a kayak.
(Katya Kreder/age fotostock)
The year-old Postcard Inn on the Beach has been the talk of St. Petersburg, Fla., lately. In the courtyard, a fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs is the perfect place to wind down after a day at the beach.
(Courtesy Postcard Inn on the Beach)
In the winter, the population of Grand Isle, a barrier island off Louisiana's Gulf Coast, shrinks back down to 1,600 permanent residents from its summer high of 14,000. But temperatures remain warm enough to sunbathe, and you can do so without the crowds.
Anglers adore Grand Isle, La., thanks to the more than 280 species of fish in the surrounding waters, and many flock to Grand Isle State Park to fish in its calm waters.
Smack in the middle of the Florida Keys, you'll find tiny Long Key, just over two miles long from end to end. The isolated island is made up almost entirely of Long Key State Park, where the one-mile beach is perfect for tent camping.