Published: Nov 09, 2012 5:46 PM EST
Updated: Nov 09, 2012 5:48 PM EST

SANIBEL ISALND, Fl. - Nice weather is just one of the reasons Sanibel Island made USA Today's list of 10 great winter destinations around the world.

It's ranked with places like Hawaii, LA, and even Puerto Rico. Some Sanibel visitors say they're not surprised southwest Florida made the cut.

"What is there not to love? It's warm!" laughs Willy Lohr of Wisconsin.

He and his wife, Jean haev been coming to Sanibel every year for the past 25.

"It'll be a bout 38 degrees where we're from and there may be some snow flying when we land.  That's why we come down here," he says.

USA Today ranked Sanibel Island as one of the 10 best winter destinations in the world.  Popular for its shelling and wildlife, the Southwest Florida hot spot ranked with others like Palm Springs, California and even the Caribbean nation, Turks and Caicos.

"We found out this morning, we're thrilled to pieces, I mean USA Today, my goodness they have over 12 million readership," says Judy Durant.

She's the Director of Visitor Services for Lee County, a place that attracts more than 5-million tourists a year generating more than 2 point 6 billion dollars.  She says coverage like this only helps.

"It is so huge because it helps reinforce what we have which is not only great beach but a destination that is for families, folks getting away from the snow," she adds.

Including St. Louis visitors, the Fields.  Since Hurricane Isaac delayed their Sanibel trip a few weeks ago, they couldn't wait to get back.

"Who wouldn't want to come to such a beautiful area?  A little bit of paradise," they say.

Tourism leaders say they hope making a list like this not only encourages more people to come to Sanibel, but also to stay and spend money at areas inland.