As winter chills creep closer, it is now the perfect time to start dreaming of your beach weekend escape. You can almost feel the warm breeze in your hair, hear the crash of the waves off the shore and taste the frosty piña colada in your hand (even in January). But which beach city is right for you? Should you travel west to Los Angeles, CA, the movie-making capital of the world or should you journey down south to the orange-scented city of Jacksonville, FL?

The Beaches

Both Florida and California are known for their beautiful beaches and warm temperatures all year round. Jacksonville boasts four distinct beaches within a 22-mile radius including ideals spots for surfers and sun soakers alike. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is well known for miles of picturesque coastline and famous locales like Malibu, Santa Monica Pier, and Venice Beach.

Outside of the sand dunes, both cities also boast gorgeous vegetative plant life that will have you dreaming of the waves; from the palm trees Jacksonville FL to the redwoods of Los Angeles, CA.

The City Life

Not only is Los Angeles the most populous city in California, it is the single most populated city in the entire United States with over 10 million inhabitants. Meanwhile, Jacksonville holds the title for the most populous city both in Florida and the southeastern United States. The ethnically and artistically diverse populations of both cities present infinite possibilities for how to spend your time off the beach. From distinctive amusement parks to unique museums; there is no lack of activities in either city.

The Culture

Everyone know that Los Angeles is one of the culture capitals of the world. From being the background of your favorite shows and films to becoming the home of the tech gurus of the world, LA is the place to be for those fascinated by today’s media. Meanwhile, while Jacksonville is a little lesser known, it is currently up-and-coming as a walkable and drivable city seeped in arts, culture and incredible food.

Be sure to step off the beaten path and explore the hidden gems of both cities. Leave the beach for a night on the town or wake up early for a morning hike to catch the views.

Whichever city you choose for your northern winter escape, you will have the time of your life soaking up rays on the any of the beautiful sandy beaches of the west or south.