Hot spots in the American south without the heat this winter
This state has the mildest winters in the US, lots of sun and an enticing subtropical climate; in addition, it has lots of attractions for the whole family. The Florida Everglades National Park is a treat for lovers of nature, with more than one million acres of wetlands and rivers and programmes to help protect the sensitive ecosystem of the ‘Sunshine State’. This park is a dream for photographers who want to capture some wildlife in their lenses. There is also the vibrant city of Miami, with its beaches, designer hotels and lively nightlife featuring some of the hottest nightclubs in the country, where adults can go out and play. There are restaurants and a wide variety of shopping outlets, including the Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile, which is regarded as one of the top retail areas in the States. The children will love anyone who takes them to Orlando with its smorgasbord of theme parks. There is Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios, just to mention a few. When you are done with these, it is time to explore the ‘Space Coast’ and pay a visit to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or the Kennedy Space Center. Do you want to get close to the equator? Head for the Florida Keys for lots of sunshine and soothing ocean breezes. Scuba dive or snorkel in the warm waters of the Keys, or try sailing or jet skiing - there are plenty of water sports to keep everyone entertained.
The ‘Lone Star State’ is big enough to encompass a range of climates and satisfy the need for whatever weather the traveller is looking for, whether this is some sun or some frost. As a state of contrasts, Texas has it all. Join the millions who visit the chapel each year that marks where the Battle of the Alamo took place. Austin has become a hip urban centre with a popular film festival and the Texas State Capitol, which was once the world's seventh largest structure. In Dallas, there are malls with underground tunnels to help people avoid the summer heat; in winter, you can wander around and explore this city, its vibrant music scene and take the children to see the Dallas World Aquarium, which has its own version of the Orinoco Rain Forest with toucans flying about. There are lots of cattle to look at, of course, and delicious Tex-Mex food to try. Houston is another large city in Texas and the fourth largest in the country. Close to the coast, it offers plenty of attractions, including the Space Center Houston and a museum district with 19 to visit in a small area. There is also a zoo set in 55 acres, which is home to more than 6,000 gorgeous and exotic creatures.
Some people think winter is one of the best times to visit this cosmopolitan home of jazz in the state of Louisiana. In summer, the humidity can be so high it is like walking through soup; in winter, the weather is pleasantly warm and the city is not only less crowded but also decorated for the holidays. Winter is a great time to consume Louisiana's famous oysters, while Magazine Street has all kinds of chic boutiques, homewares and cafes. As it is flat, New Orleans is a terrific place to explore by bicycle. See the exquisite architecture of the French Quarter, listen to jazz in Bourbon Street, tour a bayou, and explore the city's heritage at its many museums.