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The Best Months for Beach Vacations

When it comes to beach vacations, maximizing your time in the sun—or the shade of a palm tree—is priority number one. So when is the best time to travel to get as much beach time in as possible? A lot depends on your budget, as well as how you feel about weather and crowds. But whatever your preferences, a cruise is one of the most effective ways to bank a whole lot of beach in a short amount of time. Here are some tips on the best months for beach vacations when you take a cruise.

beach in Kauai, hawaii

Summer: July and August

You know the drill: everyone wants to hit the beach in the summer, when school’s out and the sun is high. But not all beaches are created equal and many people prefer tropical beaches, like those found in the Caribbean in the winter, when it’s also less likely to rain. If you can handle the heat, you may find better deals for cruises to these hotter islands in July and August. For less humid beach vacations in summer, consider Bermuda cruises or look to Europe: Mediterranean cruises offer beautiful, sunny sailing conditions and the chance to visit some of the most iconic beaches in the world (think: the Amalfi Coast or Greek islands). However, like with cruises to Hawaii, summer is the most popular time to visit Bermuda and European destinations, so be prepared to share at least a little of your sand with fellow travelers.

beach in mexico

Fall: September, October and November

While there are some parts of the world where you can cruise year-round, and have summer-like conditions lingering past August, the fall months are not quite as reliable for beach vacations as other times of year. There are less crowds in Europe, but the more moderate weather makes it a better bet for city exploration than sun-drenched beach days. In the Caribbean and Mexico, fall is the rainy season (and, yes, hurricane season), which often deters sun-seekers. That said, there are still often glorious days in these parts of the world during the fall, and many deals to be found. Of course, September through November is prime time for New England cruises, and you’ll certainly visit some dramatic coastlines on your trip—but that’s an entirely different beach proposition than sunshine, sand in your toes and a warm breeze!

Winter: December, January and February

Come winter, thousands of travelers from the Northeast and Midwest, as well as Canada, are hankering for sunshine. Which makes January and February beach vacations in particular, extremely popular. Caribbean cruises and cruises to the beach areas of Mexico during these months mean you’re more likely to be joining the throng (and potentially paying more, although you can save by planning in advance.) The weather conditions in the Caribbean and Bahamas are as good as it gets all year in January and February, and you’ll enjoy it so much more if you’re escaping snowfall or chilly temps back home. After the holidays, Hawaii cruises may be a good option to consider for your winter beach escape.

tiki beach umbrellas in cozumel, mexico

Spring: March, April, May and June

Springtime is an almost guaranteed mood-booster after the depths of winter, and what better way to celebrate than hitting the beach? Here’s even better news: the early spring until April is typically a dry period in the Caribbean, and there may even be good cruise deals you can snag. Spring weather in the Mediterranean can also be pleasant (warmer the closer you get to June, of course) and since this is a “shoulder season,” you should be able to save on your cruise as well as any flights you may plan for your trip.

palm trees in oahu beach


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.