For those who abhor winter, thankfully, our country is a diverse place. Sometimes, this works against us -- I'm sometimes of the mind that we are too large to really be one single governing entity. Nevertheless, since it's rare that the South sees snow in winter, those seeking an escape may be pleased to know there is no shortage of cheap, last-minute flights to these Atlantic Ocean-facing, cold weather-resisting Southeastern states.
Expedia (tel. 800/EXPEDIA; www.expedia.com) has a fare sale on holiday travel, but you must book by November 22 in order to take advantage of its discounted rates. Sample roundtrip flights include Atlanta-Cincinnati route, $183; Miami-Raleigh or Miami-Richmond, $233; New York-Jacksonville, $233. YO u must travel by January 8, 2007, and book your tickets at least 7 days in advance. The only blackout dates are November 26 and December 22 & 23.
Jet Blue (tel. 800/JETBLUE; www.jetblue.com) currently has some fare specials that include a couple of Southern destinations. Its New York-JFK to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina route is available starting from $49 one way. The low price represents midweek departures or returns. New York-JFK to Charlotte, North Carolina, is also available from $69 one-way. These deals are subject to change based on availability.
Spirit Air (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) is a good budget airline to investigate regularly for this part of the world, often offering ridiculously low one-way fares. Right before this story posted, Spirit was offering a red-light special from $29 one way to various destinations, including Myrtle Beach and Atlanta. Although the deal expires at 11:59 ET Tuesday, November 21, it's worth keeping tabs on Spirit.
Hotels & Resorts
Hotels.com (tel. 800/246-8357; www.hotels.com) is offering a holiday travel 2006 sale to a number of destinations across the country, including cities in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Rooms in Brunswick GA, for example, start at $75 for the three-star Park Inn, until December 30. Rooms in Charleston SC, are available from $63 for the three-star Charleston Riverview Hotel, or the Sheraton North Charleston starts at $98; both are available at this rate through December 29. Charlotte NC's availability includes the Best Western Sterling from $60 through December 29. In Savannah GA, the Best Western Savannah in the historic district starts from $91 through December 30, but the Mansion on Forsyth Park, a four-and-a-half star hotel, is priced from $199.
For last-minute deals, the site also offers special rates on a number of city hotels, including the four-star Omni Charlotte, from $129, if you book by November 24, or the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, with its well-known, circular panoramic bar on the top floor, available from $95,
Bluegreen Rentals (tel. 800.456-0009; www.bluegreenrentals.com) has a special on property rentals in South Carolina, starting from $94 for a studio at the Harbour Lights, located right on the Intracoastal Waterway in Myrtle Beach. One-bedroom rentals are available at the Shore Crest Vacation Villas in North Myrtle Beach from $124. Other properties are on special through Bluegreen as well, including Lodge Alley Inns in Charleston SC from $99. All three of these specials in South Carolina are valid for travel through December 20, with a two-night minimum stay.
With a grounds consisting of more than 2000 acres, Pinehurst Resort (tel. 800/487-4653; www.pinehurst.com), in Pinehurst NC, has opportunities for golf, spa, tennis, and other leisure activities. The property has several escapes available now through March 2007, many of which are based on holiday events. Its "Evergreen Escape" is priced at $225 per person and includes a round of golf or a 50-minute spa treatment, plus accommodations and the breakfast and dinner, good through February 28.
The W Hotel, part of Starwood Hotels (tel. 888/625-5144; www.starwoodhotels.com) always has promotions running, and the W Atlanta at Perimeter Center (tel. 770/396-6800; 877/822-0000) has a few special packages available through the end of the year There's a shopping special running called "Wrap up the Year in W Style," available at the W Atlanta from $185 per night, as long as you book by December 31 and stays November 17 through December 31. You'll receive a $50 Bloomingdale's Gift Card and tote bag, and a mess of W-related swag: $50 off at the W Hotels The Store, a limited edition gift wrap set, two Wraptinis and a "wonderful" room you'll love.
Another offer, called "What Says Thanks Like a Reward," gives Starwood Preferred Guests triple points for stays through December 3, provided you book by December 3, with rooms available from $115.
If you're looking for a smaller-scale, charming experience, one that gets you in the holiday spirit despite the weather, Savannah GA (tel. 877/SAVANNAH; www.savannah-visit.com), might suit you. Its City Market -- home to artists studios and galleries, restaurants and nightclubs, and boutiques -- has holiday events running through December 31, which will also put you there in time for the city's second annual Southern Lights holiday celebration, with twilight tours, holiday dining, and Christmas décor on full display. There are some special packages offered, too, by select properties. At the Armstrong Inn, (tel. 912/232-9175; www.armstronginns.com) your fifth night is free with its holiday package, valid through December 31, 2006. The property is located in the historic district and rooms feature period furnishings, gas fireplaces, and in room full continental breakfast. The DoubleTree Hotel (tel. 912/790-7000; www.historicsavannah.doubletree.com) in the historic district is available from $129 per night plus tax, and includes luxury accommodations, deluxe continental breakfast for two, complimentary valet parking and holiday trolley tour passes.