Sun Seekers: Direct Flights to Warmer Destinations

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This time of year, the itch to venture to sunnier climates becomes almost inescapable following months of dreary winter weather.

Thankfully, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport hosts a variety of direct flights to destinations all around the country. So whether you're planning a spring break vacation or simply need to skip town for a while, these warmer-weather gems to the south are sure to please.

(Feb/Mar average high temperature: 65°-73°)
Recognized as the "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin, Texas certainly lives up to its name. If escaping to warmer climates while grooving to music of all kinds sounds like your kind of jam, there are tons of options here, including live music at the ​​iconic blues venue Antone's and record shopping at BLK Vinyl.

Need to cool off? Sunbathe beside the La Piscina pool atop the Austin Proper Hotel or buy a pool day pass at the charming Austin Motel. You could even venture to nearby Hill Country for a distillery tour and tasting at Dripping Springs Vodka.

Try some genuine Texas barbecue at County Line on the Hill, catch a new release or cult classic flick at Alamo Drafthouse, shop for candles at Slow North or for Fido at Tomlinson's Feed, and take to Sixth Street for some nightlife.

(Feb/Mar average high temperature: 63°-70°)
If white-sand beaches, towering live oaks and a small town coastal vibe are what you seek, Hilton Head Island should be your next stop. Accommodations abound, from beachfront resorts to impressive vacation homes and villas. And bicycling here is super popular, so rent some wheels and enjoy the salty air.

Other can't-miss activities include respectfully learning about the island's thriving Gullah culture and cuisine; ziplining above the tree canopy; golfing on one of 26 championship courses; and dining on a classic Lowcountry boil at Skull Creek Boathouse.

It's also worth noting that a short 45-minute drive away is Savannah, Georgia—a perfect place for those interested in taking a tour centered on history, architecture or even ghosts.

(Feb/Mar average high temperature: 75°-77°)
Embrace your inner Golden Girl and head to Miami, where sunshine is a year-round luxury. From boutique to beachfront and everything in between, Miami's hotels have exactly what you seek, no matter if it's a solo trip or one for the whole family.

During your visit, try a little taste of everything with a culinary tour, explore the Everglades and admire all its inhabitants on an air-boat ride, embrace all things Cuban in Little Havana, or take part in the city's legendary nightlife scene. Of course, the whole family will love Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, a hub for hands-on learning and environmental stewardship.

Thinking of hopping on a cruise with lines like Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian? Port of Miami is right within reach, as is Port Everglades, located about 30 miles north in Fort Lauderdale.

(Feb/Mar average high temperature: 52°-62°)
Music City is a popular travel destination for trips of all kinds and it's easy to see why! There's live music and something exciting happening around every corner. And while Broadway usually gets all the love, be sure to make your way to quirky East Nashville across the Cumberland River where you'll find vintage stores, cozy dive bars and the Donut Distillery. Mini donuts, boozy shakes and prosecco? Say less.

Go bowling and catch a live show (at the same time) at Brooklyn Bowl, enjoy brunch and a "Big Ass Mimosa" served in a one-liter stein at Von Elrod's Beer Hall & Kitchen, tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, step on stage at the iconic Grand Ole Opry, and more. Remember to try some Nashville Hot Chicken, found at eateries like Prince's Hot Chicken and Hattie B's.

(Feb/Mar average high temperature: 72°-77°)
Natural beauty is easy to find in Phoenix and the surrounding area. Located in the picturesque Sonoran Desert, full of mountain terrain and iconic saguaro cacti, Phoenix has no shortage of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Open-air adventurers will bask in panoramic views after hiking Camelback Mountain, while thrill seekers will find breathtaking views aboard a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Tranquility can also be discovered at the area's many mountain-side retreats, like the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa.

Don't forget to enjoy the immersive and interactive art show at Wonderspaces Arizona in Scottsdale, the award-winning authentic Mexican cuisine of Barrio Queen (multiple locations), a tour of Taliesin West, (Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home), and more.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.

This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '24 issue of West Michigan Woman.

Photo Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.


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