Dreaming of Sunshine and Palm Trees

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Miami Beach

It’s the end of a very long week in Atlanta. After the rare snowfall on Sunday a deep freeze set in, creating a pattern of slow melting and re-freezing — black ice on the roadways and dangerous driving conditions. The kids have had five snow days in a row and the dogs have been staring longingly out the back window, silently willing their yard back. After the initial thrill of “Yeah, snow,” the kids haven’t ventured out. Neither have I.

Instead, I’m thinking about warmer places to help ward off the chill of near-record lows. Florida, for example — the only state without any snow on the ground. Miami will hit 70 degrees today, after an overnight low of 55. Imagine sinking your toes into white sand warmed by the sun as you stroll along the shoreline, pelicans nose-diving into the water and a dolphin’s back slightly visible just past the breakers as he frolics in the clear, blue-green water. A breeze ruffles the tall, spindly palm trees and they bow slightly toward the surf. All you need is a light sweater as you watch surfers in wetsuits run across the sand, splashing in the white foam as they swim out toward the waves. In the background, the pastels and neon lights of this active city sparkle as the sun bounces off the light colors and tile roofs.

Now, let’s head to another warm location. How about El Paso, Texas? It is a sunny, warm 60 degrees in this dynamic city — recently named one of the safest. Rugged mountains against a crisp, blue sky surround El Paso, perfect for hiking. Franklin Mountain State Park, one of four state parks in El Paso, is one of the largest urban parks in the country. You can see the Rio Grande River or venture into the rich desert landscape. The sunny days are endless here in the Sun City, perfect for exploring this city’s wealth of history, art, and culture.

It is an amazing 77 degrees in Palm Springs, California. There is so much to do in this beautiful city. Feel as though you’ve traveled to a unique, other-worldly location and visit Joshua Tree State Park. The landscape in this desert oasis is both puzzling and beautiful. Another natural area near Palm Springs is Mt. San Jacinto State Wilderness Area, a great hiking location. Or, if you prefer shopping, art galleries, and funky shops, gorgeous and walkable downtown is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. Stroll along the palm-tree-lined streets, soak in the beauty of the lush landscape and amazing views, and enjoy the pampering of sparkling pools, spas, and resorts.

Maybe you are lucky enough to live in one of these warm locations. If not, do a little virtual traveling and escape the snow shovels, icicles, and slick roads — if only for just a little while.