Places to Visit in Winter in the US
Adventurer & Creator
Winter getaways mean something different to everyone. Some desire idyllic snow globe scenes and others dream of beachfront views far from freezing temperatures. We’ve rounded up some of the best winter vacations in the US, from winter wonderlands to warm-weather places to visit in winter.
Cold Weather Places
1. Missoula, Montana
To begin, get the full experience of winter the American west in Montana. The college town of Missoula sits at the crossroads of several national forests and has plenty of cultural attractions and outdoor adventures. Try snowmobiling or Nordic skiing then catch a live show. The range of options for activities makes Missoula one of the best winter getaways in the US.
2. Snowshoe, West Virginia
Next, hit the slopes in Snowshoe, West Virginia, which is conveniently close to several major cities like Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. This ski resort town is perfect for the whole family, with a variety of activities including snow tubing, fat tire biking, shopping and dining. At Snowshoe, the party never stops thanks to stylish lighting designed for night-time skiing and exploring terrain parks and snowy secluded glades.
3. Portland, Maine
Appreciate the arts and warm indoor places to thaw out in Portland, Maine. The city is teeming with cultural attractions, from history to breweries to a professional ballet company. Portland is a quintessential New England destination; don’t miss Acadia National Park while you’re in the area.
4. Fairbanks, Alaska
If it’s your dream to see the Northern Lights this winter, then plan your winter getaway to Fairbanks, Alaska. The entire region, especially nearby Denali National Park, is known for its Aurora Borealis viewing and has spectacular stargazing year-round. Fairbanks is one of the best places to visit in winter for its ice sculptures, dog sledding, glacier expeditions and ice fishing. No matter when you visit, be sure to explore the Native Alaskan cultural experiences, as well.
5. Syracuse, New York
In upstate New York’s idyllic Finger Lakes region, you’ll find the city of Syracuse. Locals are used to bracing themselves against winter’s chill, and they’re experts at retreating to cozy cabin life along the beloved frozen lakes. Syracuse is one of the best winter vacations in the eastern US but experiences four distinct seasons, so there’s never a bad time to visit.
Warm Winter Vacations in the US
1. St. Augustine, Florida
America’s oldest city also happens to be one of the best warm weather winter vacations in the United States. St. Augustine, Florida, was a Spanish colony established in 1565 and played a significant role throughout American history. Remnants of the stylized colonial architecture are still evident today in the pedestrian-friendly city. Be sure to hit the beach and visit the lighthouse.
2. Southern California
Southern California is renowned for its incredible weather and West Coast sunsets. In major cities like San Diego, visitors can avoid the summer rush and rates by visiting in the winter. Explore the city’s numerous parks and gardens or head to nearby Joshua Tree National Park. Winter is also a great time to catch a ferry to Channel Islands National Park and spot some unique marine life, include whales and sea lions.
3. The Florida Keys
To be honest, the Florida Keys are a popular destination in winter, so you might be fighting for elbow room by visiting during the cold season. On the flip side, you’ll dodge hurricanes, spring breakers and scorching summer heat. We can see why winter is such a *hot* commodity. Key West’s best kept secret? Dry Tortugas National Park, which is one of America’s least-visited national parks and can only be accessed via boat or seaplane.
4. Sedona, Arizona
From wineries to mountain biking to world-class spas, Sedona has it all. Natural beauty abound, this area of Arizona enjoys comfortable daytime temperatures and cool nights in the winter. It’s the perfect season for huddling around a campfire after a day of exploring one of the many nearby state or national parks. Opt to stay in one of the smaller nearby communities like Clarkdale or Prescott for an authentic local experience.
Tropical year-round, there is truly never a bad time of year to visit Hawaii. Epic hiking, surfing and local culture is always in-season. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation, romantic couples trip, or solo excursion, Hawaii is always a favorite warm winter vacation spot. For a real island adventure, opt to venture away from the crowded resorts and backpack your way through Hawaii, staying overnight at hostels and campsites.
6. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is so easy to get to, there’s no excuse not to make it your next stop for a warm winter getaway. American citizens only need a verified driver’s license or photo ID to enter the tropical US territory of Puerto Rico. Visit at the end of January to catch the San Sebastian Street Festival held in old San Juan, a neighborhood in the capital city.
The best places to visit in winter in the US vary from winter wonderlands to warm retreats. Which one are you headed to this winter season?