Amid one of the snowiest winters on record in the Twin Cities, it's understandable that you want to get away — like, right now. The good news is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport serves at least 25 nonstop winter destinations where you can expect the mercury to push into the 70s, or beyond.
But airfares are high this year — especially for typical spring break dates in March. So we ran a search on Google Flights for the best, fastest and/or cheapest nonstop trips that you can take to warmer climes over the next month or two. Of course, these airfares are subject to change at any moment, so book as soon as possible.
You'll notice that most of these fares are on low-cost leisure airlines such as Sun Country and Spirit. Don't worry — these airlines will not harm you, for the most part. (Travel insurance is always recommended.) But to avoid costly baggage fees, it's essential to pack light, ideally with only the small "personal item" that fits under the seat.
After all, where you're going, all you'll need is a swimsuit, sandals and a few skimpy outfit changes — plus the clothes on your back.
Phoenix from $78
Let's start with rock-bottom airfares to Arizona's Valley of the Sun, which has five airlines competing for Minnesota snowbirds. Live like a local in an Airbnb condo in the posh suburb of Scottsdale, home to Frank Lloyd Wright's winter studio Taliesin West. Or take a two-hour desert drive to the red rocks of Sedona and bask in all that New Age vortex energy.
Sample fare: $78 on Spirit Airlines from March 14-22.
Las Vegas from $126
Something always happens in Vegas, whether it's in the relatively laid-back, vintage downtown (where a new Punk Rock Museum opens March 10) or amid the nonstop stimulus of the Strip. But we like Las Vegas as a cheap base for day trips (or overnights) to national parks: California's bone-dry, below-sea-level Death Valley to the west, or Arizona's can't-miss Grand Canyon to the east.
Sample fare: $126 on Spirit from March 21-29.
Orlando from $233
For a certain kind of traveler, it's a foregone conclusion to escape to the Happiest Place on Earth for your regular dose of Mickey. Among the new stuff at Disney World is the super-fast Tron Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom (opening April 4), based on the 1982 cult classic "Tron." Or head to the Atlantic beaches of Melbourne, Fla. (also a direct Sun Country destination), or to the Kennedy Space Center for the launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour on Feb. 26 or later.
Sample fare: $233 on Sun Country from March 19-27.
Fort Myers from $233
We can't fully recommend southwest Florida this year, as the beloved island sanctuaries of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel are recovering from Hurricane Ian's devastation. Many beaches are closed, and the area just isn't ready. But there is one thing: baseball. Spring training is on for the Minnesota Twins at their fully intact Hammond Stadium. Exhibition games start Feb. 25. A running list of reopened hotels and attractions is at visitfortmyers.com.
Sample fare: $233 on Sun Country from Feb. 27-March 3; or $187 on Allegiant Air to nearby Punta Gorda on the same dates.
Palm Springs from $238
This writer's family is jetting to Palm Springs, Calif., next month on newborn-friendly Delta, a first "baby-cation" with our 3-month-old. We're staying at the hyper-modern Twist hotel, and looking forward to low-key lounging, vintage shopping, SUV-ing around the Sonoran Desert with baby on board, and maybe even a day trip to Los Angeles' Getty Museum. And of course, hot springs. As for the Coachella music festival (April 14-23)? Another time.
Sample fare: $238 on Sun Country from Feb. 26-March 4. On pricier dates, consider flying into Los Angeles (LAX) for a discount.
Austin, Texas, from $282
Even if you're not heading to the multimedia mob scene that is South by Southwest (March 10-19), early spring is the sweet spot for visiting the cosmopolitan, multicultural Texas capital. Rent a cozy bungalow on the leafy south side, get your breakfast from taco trucks, and catch a ride to the Salt Lick BBQ outpost in rural Driftwood.
Sample fare: $282 on Delta Air Lines, Tuesdays or Wednesdays through March and April.
San Juan from $367
Can you hold out until April? You can't go wrong with Puerto Rico, the beautiful island territory where you won't need a passport. San Juan has Spanish colonial history and upscale Latin cuisine, and you can drive from pristine beaches to the rainforest waterfalls of El Yunque in less than an hour. The Star Tribune's Rachel Hutton will report from Puerto Rico next week.
Sample fare: $367 on Sun Country from April 15-22.
San Jose del Cabo from $515
For Mexico, right now Cabo looks like a nice alternative to well-trod Cancun. The upscale resort on the tip of Baja is a jumping-off point for adventure, surfing and bird-watching along the Gulf of California. San Jose itself is a quiet city with traditional Mexican charm and often Asian-inflected cuisine.
Sample fare: $515 on Sun Country from Feb. 24-March 2.
Coxen Hole, Honduras, from $538
Flights to Central America are costly this year, but Coxen Hole is a curious new addition to the Sun Country lineup. We haven't been, but the town on the Honduran island of Roatán appears to be a water sports paradise, with snorkeling, diving, fancy resorts and broad beaches with swim-up, thatch-roofed bar tables. Not bad for a 4.5-hour flight.
Sample fare: $538 on Sun Country from Feb. 24-March 3.