Winter Getaways

Direct Flights to the Sun from PDX

Maui, Guadalajara, and Phoenix are among the easiest and best-value destinations for sun seekers within a quick, nonstop flight of Portland.

By Sam Stites

Snorkeling in West Maui.

The darkest days of winter are behind us, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a break from the million shades of gray the next couple months may have in store for Portland.

Whether you enjoy a tropical retreat, basking in the dry desert, or soaking in some culture, these direct flights from PDX are perfect for trading in Portland’s dreary winter climate for a bit of sunshine.


There’s a lot to love about Hawaii in February, particularly the fact that the average temperature is around 82 degrees, and the water is nearly as warm. But one of the biggest draws to Aloha State this time of year is the spectacular whale watching to be had as migrating humpbacks move through the islands. There’s no better base camp for whale watching than Maui, which is home to hundreds of local charter and guide companies to take you on a tour via boat, kayak, or snorkeling. Maui also a literal hiker’s paradise. The island has more than 100 trails—many of them rated as difficult terrain—that allow visitors to explore two volcanoes, dozens of waterfalls, and serene coastline. Winter roundtrip fares from approximately $430

The cathedral in Centro, Guadalajara.


The second-largest city in Mexico is also the state of Jalisco’s economic and cultural hub. It is known for its lively nightlife and Mariachi music, as well as its Tequila which was invented in the nearby town of the same name in the 1600s. Blue agave—one of the main ingredients in Tequila—grows best above 5,000 feet elevation, making the Jaliscan highlands surrounding Guadalajara the perfect climate for production of this precious nectar. Guided tours are offered daily to historic distilleries such as La Rojena, where Jose Cuervo was established in 1812. When evening falls, head to Avenida Chapultepec, to explore dozens of restaurants, cantinas, dance clubs, and music venues. The neighborhood is also home to some of the city’s best pop-up markets on weekends, plus, the entire area is car-free on Sundays. Winter roundtrip fares from approximately $470

Encanto Park golf course, Phoenix.


Let’s face it, golfing during the offseason in Oregon sucks. Even for die-hard golfers, frost delays, mushy fairways, and slow greens make it hardly worth your dime. But in Arizona, it’s an entirely different story. Winter is primetime for golf in Phoenix and its suburbs like Scottsdale where the annual PGA Waste Management Open is held each February. But you don’t have to be a pro to go enjoy great courses in the Valley of the Sun like TPC Scottsdale and Troon North. If you’re vacationing on a budget and don’t want to spend upwards of $300 on a round of 18 holes, Phoenix is also home to six municipal courses such as Encanto, Aguila, and Cave Creek that offer a variety of challenge in length and design. They’re also well taken care of, particularly in the cooler winter months when green grass can flourish in the desert. Phoenix and Scottsdale are also home to a thriving restaurant scene for all types of cuisine, as well as vibrant nightlife just about any day of the week. A night gallivanting through the streets of Old Town Scottsdale will have you forgetting its 35 degrees at home. Winter roundtrip fares from approximately $190