(45) Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda
Drop the kids at a pirate ship while you hit the beach.
Most midwinter family beach getaways end up with at least one member bored, sunburned, and otherwise resentful. Virgin Gorda’s Little Dix Bay has distractions to satiate even the most blasé teen (kayaking, snorkeling) and toddler-appropriate supervised play in a 2,500-square-foot area that includes a miniature pirate ship. Best of all, you’re not doing the supervising (there’s a staff ratio of one to three), leaving you free to get a massage under the palms or a floating nap on a raft in the sea. See you at dinner, kids! (From $900 for a suite; 888-767-3966.)
(46) The British Virgin Islands
Wake up on a different island each day.
Start from Tortola, on your staffed, chartered sailboat, and spend the next eight days hopscotching across the sapphire-blue waters of the British Virgin Islands to a different beach every day. (Salt Cay, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda are must-hits on the BVI circuit.) Snorkle, swim, eat, sleep; funny, it never gets boring (from $8,220 a week; Moorings, 888-952-8420).
(47) Todos Santos, Mexico
Lounge on a truly deserted beach.
If your vacation vocation is finding the beach that makes you most feel like you’ve been hooked up to a Demerol drip, hop on a plane to Todos Santos, a tiny village in Baja, Mexico, 60 miles outside Cabo San Lucas. Getting there is tricky; there are bandits to dodge, and plentiful crosses mark the highway fatalities. But once you see the sea, everything is forgiven. The first hundred yards is all trustafarians and fish-taco stands (don’t eat the guacamole), but walk three more minutes and you’ll hit pristine, deserted sands that make the Caribbean look like the Jersey shore.
Carve your way to the South Pole.
If you’ve got some time to kill this winter—three and a half weeks, to be precise—Quark Expeditions is launching its first-ever journey to the South Pole aboard the Kapitan Khlebnikov, a deluxe (well, there’s a pool and a sauna, anyway) Russian icebreaker. This isn’t just about penguin-spotting, though: The 26-day trip’s goal is to surpass Amunsden’s historic 1911 expedition and attain the most southernly position ever reached by a ship. Besides making history, you’ll see Hooker’s sea lions, red-crowned parakeets, and, of course, lots of those cute, family-oriented waddlers (quarkexpeditions.com).
Do laps in your bathtub.
You go to the St. Regis Temenos Villas in Anguilla because the three 5,000-square-foot villas are operated like a five-star resort (devoted butlers, private chefs, immaculate grounds, buttery sheets on king-size beds). But you may find once you get there that you don’t actually want to leave your room, even for the infinity pool and the terrace massages. With fifteen-foot ceilings, indoor and outdoor showers, and lighting provided by the sun over your head, the bathroom is hypnotic. Plan ahead if you want to take a bath: The recessed tub takes about an hour to fill (from $50,000 per week; 888-625-5144).
(50) Ramah, New Mexico
Take the family back to the old, old days.
In the early morning, when the desert cool hasn’t yet burned away, it only takes about 25 minutes to walk from the visitors’ center of Ramah’s El Morro National Monument park out to Inscription Rock. There, you can explain to the kids that the 2,000-plus birds, stars, hands, bighorn sheep, and maps that purportedly lead to a hidden pond were drawn seven centuries ago by Puebloan tribes. While you’ve got their attention, point out the various signatures and “I was here” scrawls left by passing Spaniards, settlers, and other travelers since, and then tempt them up the more strenuous Mesa Top Trail with promises of a Martian landscape (the otherworldly Chain of Craters). Reward them with a Navajo fry-bread taco with Anasazi beans at the Ancient Way Café and Outpost.