By Stephanie Antin

If you think Southwest only flies within the U.S., think again. Did you know that Southwest Airlines destinations don’t just include domestic cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York City, but also more exotic destinations with fantastic sites, beautiful beaches and blue seas?

Southwest currently serves more than 100 cities in 10 countries, giving you abundant options for your next vacation. 

Here are my picks for the top 5 amazing places that you can visit by flying Southwest.

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Top 5 Amazing Southwest Airlines Destinations 

1. Cuba

Southwest Airlines Destinations - Cuba
My husband and I in Cuba 

My No. 1 amazing place to fly on Southwest has to be Cuba. Southwest started flying to Cuba back in 2016, but many Americans still don’t realize that you can fly to Cuba from the United States.

When you book a flight to Cuba on Southwest, they will even prompt you to buy your visa and give it to you when you check in!

I visited Cuba last summer on Southwest using my Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you for up to two years, to fly my husband FREE. We enjoyed a week learning about the history, culture and politics of this country and talking with the very warm and friendly people. We even got a chance to ride in a classic car!

BONUS: Cuba is cheap for Americans to visit, so if you have 2 for 1 flights, it’s a total no-brainer.


2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Explore the vast natural beauty of Costa Rica with your Southwest Companion Pass

Monkeys, sloths, volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs and beautiful beaches … okay, need I say more? Costa Rica is full of natural wonders with plentiful wildlife, natural parks, rainforests and tons of adventure activities from hiking and zip-lining to surfing and white-water rafting.

Southwest flies into both San Jose, one of its major cities inland that’s close to a volcano and several national parks, and Liberia, the capital, which is further north and closer to the ocean. Everyone says the people are friendly and the country is gorgeous!


[Read What Team Member John C. Had to Say About Visiting Costa Rica]


3. Belize

Southwest sale
Enjoy snorkeling in Belize!

This small country on the Caribbean coast of Central America tops the list for diving. Even if you’re not scuba certified, the massive Belize Barrier Reef offers tons of opportunities for snorkeling, caving and fishing. The country also features Mayan ruins and lots of wildlife.

Southwest flies into Belize City, and you can usually grab flights as low as $69 from Ft. Lauderdale.


4. Niagara Falls

To visit Niagara Falls, you can fly into Buffalo, New York, which is about 20 minutes away. If you haven’t visited the falls, it should top your bucket list. Plus, Toronto is right across the bridge.

The town of Niagara is not much to see, but the falls are amazing. We visited them at night when they were lit up in a rotating display of colors, and then we went back during the day to experience their immense power.

You can also buy a tour where you take an elevator down to the bottom of the falls and feel the spray. Don’t worry, they give you rain boots and a poncho ;-).


5. San Diego

Southwest sale

It’s called America’s Finest City, and it lives up to its name. I call it home!

[Read my top tips for local-favorite things to do in San Diego]

In San Diego, you’ll find beautiful beaches, water activities, museums, parks, restaurants and more. Plus, Disneyland is only one hour away, Disney fans!

It’s one of Lyn’s favorite destinations, too (here are her tips on What to Do in San Diego).

And of course, San Diego has nice weather year around. 70 degrees sound OK? If you can fly to San Diego, then it should top your list.


Other Southwest Exotic Destinations

Though these cities made my top 5, there are so many awesome places you can travel on Southwest Airlines.

Other Southwest Airlines destinations that could easily have made the list include:

Whether you’re looking for sun, snow, big city, small city or countryside, Southwest has you covered, and if you can get there 2 for 1 with a Southwest Companion Pass, it just makes it that much sweeter.


  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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