The period between the end of winter and when it really feels like spring isn't the most beloved. Sure, buds appear on spartan tree branches and shoveling ceases, but clouds hang low and there's a perma-drizzle. What to do? Skip the gloom and get a preview of the coming warmth. Here are three of our favorite sunny picks.

By Jessica Ware

Dominican Republic

Early spring is the sweet spot in Punta Cana. Sunny and 80-degrees, it's a perfect reminder of what's waiting on the other side of March and April's showers. Kick back on Tortuga Bay's beach and savor the sun—wonderfully, winter's peak season crowds have now vacated the lounge chairs. The DR's an easy direct flight from many cities in the U.S. so popping down for a weekend refresher can easily be in the cards.
Tortuga Bay
W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

Puerto Rico

Just a 2-hour flight from Miami (passport not required), Puerto Rico is ideal for a weekend escape—when you land in San Juan, though, skip the main island and take a 20-minute flight to Vieques. The W Retreat & Spa has set up shop on the sleepy, laid-back island and when spring comes around, the snowstorm-averse go home, prices dip and the pristine beaches clear out. Make sure you take advantage of spring's other perk: the humidity-clearing breezes. The W can set up private picnics on Media Luna Beach, morning yoga classes and kayaking excursions to Vieques' bioluminescent bay.

Arizona

Dry heat, tons of sunshine, gorgeous spas in even more gorgeous deserts, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and of course, Spring Training—it's not hard to see why Scottsdale is one of the new must-go spots. Where to stay? The newly opened Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. With Camelback Mountain and the desert as a backdrop, an in-house artist's residency program, a sprawling spa and organized day trips, the Andaz brings Scottsdale right to your fingertips.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa