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Need to use your vacation time? Want a post-holiday escape? Looking for some sunshine? Regardless of the question, a winter vacation is the answer! We rounded up the absolute best winter vacations in the US for this year!
Why Take Winter Vacations in the USA?
Summer trips are all the hype, but we think winter vacations in the US are exceptional! In fact, there is a slew of really good reasons to take off on winter getaways in the USA.
If you live in a cold-weather locale, dreary days can affect your mood and bring you down. Traveling to one of the warm vacation spots in the US and getting some natural vitamin D can help you beat the winter blues.
The end of the year – and the start of a new one – can be a stressful time. At the best USA winter destinations, you can de-stress and de-compress.
Use It or Lose It
Many companies require that employees use their vacation days in a ‘Use it or lose it’ policy. Do not – I repeat, do not – let your precious earned vacation days go to waste! Use your paid time off to visit one of the fabulous winter vacation spots in the US.
Winter travel lends itself to incredibly unique experiences. During the wintertime, you can go for a hike in the open desert, ski down an epic mountain, immerse yourself in natural hot springs or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of the ocean.
In December, travelers can experience the magic of Christmas in a new locale. Winter months can also mean snow, which transforms familiar summer scenes into sparkling white landscapes.
Less is More
Another additional benefit to traveling in winter is that it could cost you less money. It will depend on your destination, but some of the best winter places to visit in the USA offer significant discounts over summer travel. Additionally, airports are less busy (compared to the summer travel season, with the exception of the week of Christmas), and crowds tend to be lighter, as well.
The Gift of Travel
Winter trips make great gifts! We think travel is one of the best gifts to give (and receive!). When you gift someone travel, you are gifting an experience filled with future memories. We share more ideas on our lists of the Best Unique Travel Gifts and Top Useful Travel Gifts.
Warm Winter Vacations USA vs Snow Vacations in the US
The geography of the United States is immense and diverse. From mountains to beaches to deserts, the USA is home to an outstanding array of landscapes and climates. Travelers have a wide choice of winter destinations in the US – and can easily find at least one that fits their style!
Whether you are seeking warm places to visit in December for the USA or snowy winter vacations in the US, we’ve got it covered!
Planning a Winter Vacation 2023
The first step to planning winter vacations in 2023 is deciding where to go! Our list of the Best US Winter Destinations below will help you find the perfect place for your winter trip.
That said, choosing where to go for winter getaways 2023 is just the first step in trip planning. You also need to determine how to get there, where to stay and what to pack. We cover these details at the end of the article.
As you begin to make your travel plans to the top winter vacation spots in the US, staying organized is key! We recommend using a travel planner – like our Printable Travel Planner – to stay on top of all the details.
BEST WINTER VACATIONS IN THE US
We are detailing the Best Winter Vacations in the United States. We kick off our list with the best warm vacation spots in the USA and follow it up with top US destinations for snow vacations.
Looking for the perfect winter getaway somewhere else in the world? Use our tips for the Best Places in Europe for Christmas.
#1 Phoenix, Arizona: Best Winter Vacations USA
Without a doubt, Phoenix, AZ is one of the best winter destinations in USA! The sun shines bright on the desert city year-round, but in the wintertime it’s sublime. During the winter months, temperatures in Phoenix reach the high 60s and there is very little precipitation, which is absolutely phenomenal…especially if you live in a cold, northern state.
With ideal weather, visitors can get outside and experience many of the best things to do in Phoenix, AZ.
Golfing and hiking in Phoenix are top outdoor activities that make the Valley of the Sun one of the best places to visit in the US during winter – but there are so many more things to do! We particularly like the al fresco dining opportunities, city exploration on two wheels and festive wintertime events.
Winter events, like the Desert Botanical Garden Holiday Las Noches de Las Luminarias and the downtown New Year’s Eve Block Party, are why Phoenix is one of the best places to visit in December in USA.
January kicks off the multi-month Arizona Musicfest and ends with the Arizona Hot Air Balloon Classic. In February, as temps start creeping up, Phoenix sees a flurry of events – like Arizona Beer Week, the Arabian Horse Show, the Native American World Championship Hoop Dance Contest, The Phoenix Open PGA golf tournament and the start of MLB Cactus League Spring Training.
With so much going on, it is easy to understand why Phoenix is one of the best winter places to visit in USA!
Looking for more New Year’s Eve destinations? Use our tips for the Best Places to Go for New Year’s Eve.
#2 Key West, Florida: Top Warm Winter Destination USA
Florida has long ranked as one of the best US states to visit in the winter – and for good reason! With abundant sunshine and more than a thousand miles of shoreline, Florida is hard to beat!
Key West, in particular, is one of the best warm winter vacation spots in the US. Temperatures top out in the mid-70s, which is ideal for the best warm weather activities, like spending time on the beach or out on the water.
Whether you are looking for warm places in January in the USA for family trips or the best places to visit in February in the US for a little romance, Key West is a fantastic destination.
Visitors can walk on the beach, explore the mangroves by kayak or set off on an epic dolphin spotting and snorkeling cruise.
Entertainment for kids can also be found at the Shipwreck Museum, the Butterfly Conservatory and the hands-on Key West Aquarium. Meanwhile, couples can cuddle up on a Sunset Sailboat Cruise – complete with an open bar, live music and tasty appetizers.
Stop dreaming about beautiful places to visit in winter…and book a trip to Key West, FL!
#3 Malibu, California: Warm Winter Travel Destination USA
Home to celebrities, fashion boutiques, chic eateries and superb surf and sand, Malibu, CA has it all! The wonderful warm weather and outstanding outdoor activities make it one of the best destinations for winter in the US.
Malibu sits on a long and gorgeous stretch of coastline, sandwiched between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Trekking in the mountains and surfing in the sea are two of the top things to do in Malibu – and the weather is pleasant enough in the wintertime to do both!
The Southern California Coastline has a temperate climate, with average highs in the upper 60s throughout the winter months and little chance for rain, which is why it ranks as one of the best winter getaways in the USA.
Malibu also marks a great starting point for a multi-day California coastal drive. Take an adventure north to Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Monterey and perhaps even as far as San Francisco.
#4 Maui, Hawaii: Best Winter Destination in the US
There may be no better place to take a US winter vacation than tropical Maui, HI. The Hawaiian Island destination is popular throughout the year, but there are a few reasons why visiting Maui in wintertime is a top choice.
First, the weather tops out at a balmy 75 degrees, which – let’s face it – is perfection. Second, the winter is whale watching season…and it’s spectacular! Beginning in mid-December, Humpback whales make their migration to the warm Hawaiian waters.
Finally, Maui ranks as the best place for winter vacation in the USA for fun, festive events. Christmastime in Maui is made special with the annual lighting of the Banyan Tree in Lahaina, appearances by Santa, and holiday concerts. The biggest event in January is the PGA Tournament of Champions and in February, visitors can partake in the celebratory Chinese New Year festival.
Like we already mentioned, Maui is a top destination in every season – so there are many things to do on the island during a trip. Top activities are to drive the Road to Hana, visit Haleakala National Park, walk on the black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park and hike the Pipiwai Trail to stunning waterfalls.
#5 Gulf Shores, Alabama: Best Winter Getaways in the US
Going to the pristine beaches in Gulf Shores, AL is one of the best winter vacations in the US for families, couples and retirees. Although the water is generally too cold to swim – high temperatures only get to the low 60s – there is still plenty of fun to be had for all.
Golfing, fishing and hiking are top activities during a winter trip to Gulf Shores. Of course, when the sun is shining, head to the beach for a day in the sand. Although it might not be ideal for sunbathing, you can certainly take a relaxing walk or play beach games.
For family fun, go to The Wharf in Orange Beach. A hub of entertainment, The Wharf boasts top attractions, like the Hummingbird Zipline Course, a Ferris wheel, dolphin cruises and an array of performances at The Wharf Amphitheater.
#6 Las Vegas, Nevada: Top Warm Winter Destination for USA
It’s true; there is no other place on earth quite like Las Vegas, NV. The oasis in the Mojave Desert is nicknamed the Entertainment Capital of the World – and it is one of the best places to visit in the winter.
While the legendary pool parties are on hiatus during the winter season, there is still plenty to see, do and eat in Las Vegas.
At Christmastime, the city’s resorts rev up for the holidays with phenomenal holiday displays. Seriously, Vegas is one of the best places to visit in the US in December just for the abundant Christmas decor.
Throughout the winter in Vegas, the evenings do tend to be cool, but you can always warm up in the casinos or – if that is not your style – go out for an entertaining evening and watch one of the fabulous Las Vegas shows.
That said, Vegas winter travelers don’t need to be stuck indoors. With daytime temps in the 60s, the mild winter weather is the perfect for exploring the outdoors in Vegas…or even just walking The Strip.
#7 Orlando, Florida: Best Winter Trips in the US
Ranked as one of the best warm winter vacations in the US with kids, Orlando is a top fun-in-the-sun winter destination for families! The city’s amusement parks – like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Legoland and SeaWorld – are top attractions all year round, but we think they are even better to visit in the wintertime.
December Florida theme park visitors get to experience the magic of Christmas in the days leading up to the holiday – and Orlando is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve, too!
However, the absolute best time to visit Orlando’s theme parks is in the winter months of January and February. Not only can visitors get the best off-season deals, but the parks are less crowded and the weather in Florida is much more agreeable in winter.
With days that warm up to the mid-70s and outdoor attractions galore, it’s hard to find a better warm winter family vacation in the US!
#8 New Orleans, Louisiana: Top Travel USA Winter Destination
New Orleans is a top pick for fun US winter vacations. The city excels at entertaining its guests, serving up comfort food feasts, splashing out with jubilant parades and living it up with live music.
Visitors can partake in a Creole Christmas tradition during the month of December and indulge in a Reveillon dinner, a big hearty meal. Otherwise, warm up with gumbo or slurp down some oysters (they are in their prime in early winter). To be honest, the food alone is a solid reason why New Orleans ranks as one of the best winter vacations in the south – and you can take a food tour to get a bite of the best.
The Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras parade is the pinnacle of NOLA entertainment (and debauchery), but the New Orleans parade season actually kicks off in January…and the parades are incredible. The first parade is on King’s Day – celebrated on January 6 – which marks the official start to the Carnival season. There are several parades in February, with New Orleans’ biggest parades taking place the weekend before Fat Tuesday.
Live music played in cozy enclaves is another reason New Orleans is one of the best places to go in the winter in the US. In fact, when the weather is warm enough (as it often is…high average temps range in the mid-60s), it is likely that you will hear jazz music floating down the streets. Be sure to check out all of our top tips for a New Orleans trip.
#9 San Diego, California: Warm Places to Visit in the US Year-Round
When it comes to the best vacations for winter, San Diego, CA is a top choice! The temperate climate – with highs in the mid-60s – is ideal for enjoying the top sights in San Diego.
The coastline at Sunset Cliffs is a favorite winter spot. Obviously one of the best places to watch a stellar sunset in San Diego, it’s also a fantastic vantage point for spotting migrating gray whales. Naturally, one of the best experiences on a winter trip to San Diego is setting off on a whale watching cruise.
Visiting Balboa Park makes our list of the top things to do in San Diego any time of year – but the park’s festive December Nights event is a good reason why San Diego ranks as one of the best December vacations in the US.
The many festivals – specifically, food festivals – are yet another reason why San Diego is one of the best places to visit in winter. Of course, the local cuisine (hello, fish tacos!) is always appealing – and we think it tastes even better when you savor it al fresco.
#10 Savannah, Georgia: Best Winter Vacations in US
Savannah, Georgia – with all its seductive southern charm – certainly ranks as one of the Best Winter Vacation Destinations USA. The winter weather is mild and pleasant, as high temperatures typically reach into the low 60s.
The city is steeped in history, features fantastic ghost stories and excels at a classic comfort cuisine (which is simply divine during the cooler winter months). We highlight the best things to do in our Savannah Travel Guide.
Savannah is one of the top destinations for the best vacations in December, too – as the festival-loving city hosts numerous Christmas celebrations.
Not only is the entire town is bedecked in twinkling lights and extravagant decorations, but visitors can partake in the fun Holly Days activities, attend an entertaining holiday performance at the famed Savannah Theatre and spend an evening at the Botanical Gardens light show.
The ample activities, fine weather and warm welcome combine to make Savannah one of the top Winter Vacation USA Destinations!
#11 Hot Springs, Arkansas: Best Places to Go in Winter USA
The namesake springs are the top reason why Hot Springs, Arkansas is one of the best places to visit in the winter. Although wintertime temperatures only climb to the low-50s, visitors can warm up with the naturally hot thermal waters.
The town, which is nicknamed ‘The American Spa,’ is home to traditional and luxurious spas where visitors can dip into the healing waters. Additionally, the hot water is potable from the fountains in town – just bring your own thermos, a tea bag and enjoy!
Active travelers rank Hot Springs as one of the Best Winter Travel Destinations USA for the miles of hiking trails and mountain biking trails within the Hot Springs National Park. Plus, winter is a great time to watch for American Bald Eagles.
After a day at the spa or in the outdoors, visitors can relax at the historic Ohio Club bar, which dates to 1905, or sample the locally produced craft beer at Superior Bathhouse Brewery – the only brewery inside a US national park.
#12 Charleston, SC: Top Winter Vacation Ideas USA
While not as warm as some of the other cities on our list of best winter vacation spots in the US, Charleston, South Carolina is absolutely charming and well-worth a winter visit!
The city experiences mild winters, where high temperatures hover around the low 60s. Even though many people might not consider that to be ‘warm’, we still think Charleston, SC is one of the best places to visit in the winter in the US.
To start, the winter weather in Charleston is much more palatable than in most of the country. What truly makes Charleston so appealing in the wintertime, however, is the off-season offers.
By December, the hordes of beach-bound visitors have long gone – leaving cheaper hotel rooms and open restaurant reservations in their wake. Winter visitors to Charleston, SC will also notice far fewer crowds at the city’s museums and monuments.
Winter is also an ideal time to take a famed carriage tour to see the city’s mansions, churches and gardens – or a Cooper River boat tour to Fort Sumter National Monument.
Charleston, SC is also one of the best places to travel in the winter in the US for foodies – as the city hosts heaps of culinary events between January and March. Top food-based events are Charleston Restaurant Week (mid-January), the Lowcountry Oyster Festival (late January) and the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (early March). If you miss one of those Charleston festivals, join a popular food tour to get a taste of the town.
#13 Portland, Oregon: One of the Best Winter Getaways in the US
The crisp and often rainy weather deters many travelers from visiting Portland OR over the holidays and into the new year, but we think it is one of the best winter US vacations.
Sure, the temperatures are cool, but they are not frigid (highs are in the upper 40s, while lows tend to stay at least a few degrees above freezing). The rain can put a damper on things, but rainy days are the best days to cozy up in a famous Portland cafe for a cup of coffee, dive into the regions renowned cuisine, belly up to the bar for a pint of locally produced craft beer and visit the world-famous Powell’s Bookstore.
We won’t kid you, taking a winter vacation in Portland is not the best time for outdoor activities. However, the Portland Japanese Garden and Lan Su Chinese Garden – two of the top things to do in Portland – are both beautiful in the wintertime.
With the right hiking boots, exploring the Columbia River Gorge is a fun winter activity – in fact, in some ways it is even better than summertime, as it is void of the heavy crowds. Likewise, a trip to the Oregon Coast can be a bit dreary, but you will practically have the road to yourself…plus it is the perfect time for watching migrating whales.
#14 New York City: Best Winter Christmas Destination
Without question, New York City is the best winter vacation in USA for travelers who want to get into the holiday spirit. Yes, it gets cold (expect highs in the low 40s and freezing temps overnight), but the city is a stunning sight with NYC holiday lights and a blanket of snow. In fact, we rank NYC as one of the most beautiful winter destinations in US.
Brightly lit Christmas trees and creative department store holiday windows decorate the New York streets. Visitors can shop at the best NYC holiday markets and feast at restaurants decked out in holiday garb. Christmas shows and Broadway plays entertain throughout the holiday season. During Christmas in NYC, the jolly atmosphere is so intense that it is palpable.
That said, visitors who plan a trip to New York after the holidays are in for an equally enthralling treat. The outdoor ice-skating rinks stay open until spring. Central Park is gorgeous covered in snow and other top attractions are less crowded. Perhaps best of all, hotel prices plunge after the New Year celebrations, making it the best time to take a budget trip to NYC.
#15 Breckenridge, Colorado: Top Winter Destinations in USA for Snow
An absolute winter wonderland, Breckenridge, CO is one of the best places to visit in the US during winter. Snow covered mountains rise around the quaint and picturesque town that beckons visitors during the winter season.
Breckenridge endures freezing temperatures throughout the winter – which is exactly what you need to be able to play in the snow. The mountain town also experiences an abundance of sunshine during the winter months…and there’s nothing better than a snowy landscape under a brilliant blue sky.
Downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and dog sledding are reasons why Breckenridge ranks as the best winter vacations with snow. However, those a just a few of the fun outdoor activities in Summit County.
Breckenridge is also one of the great winter vacations in the US for the relaxing spas, local galleries and shops and an incredible craft beer scene that visitors can imbibe in. In fact, active travelers can combine a fat tire bike ride with a brewery hop!
Visitors traveling to Breckenridge for a winter getaway will likely fly to Denver (which is a fun place to spend a day or two, as well!). To get from Denver to Breckenridge, we recommend taking the reliable and top-rated Summit Express – we offer more tips on transport options to all of our recommended winter destination and the end of the article.
#16 Washington DC: Best Places to Travel in Winter USA
Although chilly and sometimes snowy, Washington DC is a wonderful wintertime destination. With few crowds and an astounding number of museums and attractions, it is one of the best places to travel in the US during winter.
Let’s start with the biggest reason why Washington DC is one of the best places to see in Winter in USA: Christmas in the US Capital is enchanting. From the family friendly Enchant Christmas event to the National Christmas Tree to dazzling light displays to the Downtown Holiday Market, there is plenty to see and do in DC in December.
January and February in DC can be great as well! All of the best things to do in Washington DC are open in the winter – and there are far fewer crowds to contend with. Booking a tour at the White House and getting tickets to the National Archives Museum to see the Declaration of Independence are much easier in the winter months.
Temperatures may only rise to the mid-40s, but visitors can warm up in the many free Smithsonian Museums (the National Air and Space Museum is our top pick!). While we typically enjoy walking in Washington DC, wintertime visitors can get out of the cold and snag a free ride on the DC Circulator to get to the top attractions.
#17 Whitefish, Montana: Best Places to Visit in the USA for Winter
As far as the best snowy places to visit in USA, it doesn’t get any more magical than Whitefish, MT. The region sees more than 300 inches of snow during winter – and Whitefish is a quintessential wintery resort town.
The highly rated Whitefish Mountain Resort is the place for downhill skiing, but it’s not the only winter attraction. Fat Tire biking, snowmobiling, dog sledding, sleigh rides and snowshoeing in nearby Glacier National Park are top activities during the cold and snowy winters.
Outdoor snow activities are top attractions, but there are more things to do in Whitefish. Visitors can go shopping in downtown Whitefish, visit the local history museum and sip Montana craft beer.
Enjoying a spa treatment or the area’s natural thermal waters is another fabulous way to spend time around Whitefish. Quinn’s Hot Springs and the eccentric town of Hot Springs (which we recommend in our Montana Road Trip) are two top destinations just a short drive from Whitefish.
#18 Anchorage, Alaska: Cold Winter Places to Visit in USA
Not often touted as one of the best winter destinations in North America, Anchorage, AK is downright frigid during winter. Despite the freezing cold, however, there are heaps of reasons to explore Anchorage in the wintertime.
For us, the mysterious and beautiful Northern Lights are what make Anchorage one of the top US winter destinations. We were lucky enough to see the glowing green aurora borealis dancing in the sky during our trip to Iceland in winter. From our experience, we can confirm that it is well worth braving the cold to see the natural phenomena on a Northern Lights tour.
Other epic wintertime experiences in Anchorage are walking on the Matanuska Glacier, and joining a local guide for the Wonders of Anchorage in winter.
Wintertime is also when Anchorage puts on it quirkiest and most fabulous events. The month-long Fur Rendezvous events – called Fur Rondy by locals – have been taking place during January and February in Anchorage since 1935. Visitors can expect outrageous competitions, such as outhouse races, snow sculptures and the running of the reindeer.
With the proper winter gear, Anchorage is one of the best winter vacation destinations in the US for adventurous travelers.
#19 Louisville, KY: Winter Getaways in the US
Like many mid-western cities in the United States, Louisville gets cold in the wintertime. Regardless of the chill, it is still one of the best places to visit in the winter in the US.
One of the best things to do in Louisville is discover the plethora of museums, which provide a fantastic cold-weather escape. Top museums include the famous Louisville Slugger Museum, the inspiring Muhammad Ali Center and the fabulous Speed Art Museum.
The city’s most unique attraction, Mega Cavern, is ideal during a winter visit. The underground theme park – inclusive of a thrilling zipline – boasts a year-round temperature of 58 degrees.
On the flip side, a fun and freezing Louisville event is the annual Polar Plunge. The February event encourages people to take a plunge in the Ohio River, all in the name of raising funds for charity.
Furthermore, while Louisville is not one of the warm places in the US during winter, there are plenty of opportunities to warm up with the city’s best drink: Bourbon. Visitors can get a taste at one of the distilleries on Whiskey Row – or head to one of the Louisville craft breweries where they pour local craft brew alongside craft cocktails.
#20 Bend, Oregon: Best USA Winter Vacations
Bend, OR is surrounded by striking mountains that host the region’s best ski resorts…but the city itself gets relatively little snow. The combination of the snowy mountains and navigable city make Bend one of the best US winter vacation destinations.
Playing in the powder on the mountains in Bend is the biggest draw for winter visitors. From skiing to sledding to snowmobiling to ice skating, there are a copious number of ways to get out in the snow. After a long day on the slopes, visitors to Bend can stay outdoors, but warm up in natural hot springs.
In fact, most of the top things to do in Bend are in the great outdoors – and, with the right gear, they can be just as lovely to visit in the winter months as they are in the summertime. Take the hike to Tamolitch Blue Pool, explore the lava caves in Deschutes National Forest, take a walk in Smith Rock State Park or go see the epic Sahalie and Koosah waterfalls.
When it gets too cold outside, head into one of the Bend craft breweries. Pop into one or two of the best spots – like Bend Brewing Company – or get an official Bend Ale Trail map and route your way to the more than 20 brewpubs.
#21 Burlington, Vermont: Cozy Place in the USA for Winter
A fairytale winter wonderland, Burlington, VT is one of the best winter destinations in the USA for city exploration and a cozy retreat.
Skiing is a top winter activity in Vermont – and there are incredible ski resorts just an hour drive from Burlington. Visitors who find snowshoeing more their speed have numerous nearby trails to choose from; the Vermont State Parks are a top choice. If snow activities are purely the reason for your winter trip to Vermont, Stowe might be more your style!
That all said, we think Burlington is one of the best places to visit for the winter in the US for the town of Burlington itself.
The picture-perfect town is built of red bricks and cobblestone lanes. The pedestrian Church Street and Church Street Marketplace mark the heart of the city – with Waterfront Park and Lake Champlain to the west and the University of Vermont and the campus scene to the east.
Even in the freezing winter weather, the town is idyllic – especially when it is draped in a blanket of snow. Top winter activities in Burlington include watching a theater performance at the Flynn, sipping craft beer at some of the top Vermont breweries, relaxing at a spa and feasting on farm-to-table fare.
#22 Door County, Wisconsin: Underrated Winter Destinations USA
Although Wisconsin is not one of the typical states to visit in the winter, Door County in the northeastern reaches of the state is an exceptional winter retreat.
Winter is the quiet season in Door County…and it is very quiet. However, with ample outdoor adventures, we think it is one of the best places in the US to visit in the winter.
Temperatures rarely rise above freezing, but that is half the fun (really!). The cold is necessary for cross country skiing, snowshoeing through the forests, outdoor ice skating and playing pond hockey.
Moreover, it’s in the ice-cold winter weather that the best ice sculptures form along the 250 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Cave Point County Park, with its rock formations and lookout points, is breathtakingly beautiful when covered snow and ice.
#23 US National Parks: Best Winter Vacations for Families
America’s best parks get all the love during the summertime, but they can also be one of the best places to visit in the US for the winter.
We have already mentioned Hot Springs National Park for its fun winter activities, but we wanted to mention a few more top US parks for winter visits.
Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park are exceptional places to travel during winter in the United States. The parks experience abundant sunshine, comfortable temperatures in the upper-50s to mid-60s and there are far fewer crowds in the wintertime – making both of the parks ideal for the best winter vacations for families.
Wintertime at Grand Canyon NP and Monument Valley is a bit cooler, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s – which is ideal for hiking. However, with overnight lows that can creep below freezing, there is a chance for snow in these parks, too – and, oh my are they beautiful with a dusting of snow!
The temperatures are a lot colder in Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Glacier NP. In fact, due to heavy snow, the major roads in these parks are closed for the winter. Even with closed roads, they can be absolutely wonderful places to visit in the winter. Practically void of crowds, visitors can enjoy these parks in solitude. Plus, it’s a great time for snowshoeing and it’s much easier to find accommodations.
Tips for the Top Places to Travel in Winter USA
Now that you know the best places to travel during winter in the USA, it’s time to start planning your trip! We are sharing our tips for finding flights, booking hotels and packing hacks to help make planning your trip as easy as possible.
Flights and Transportation
One of the things we love about wintertime trips in the US is that airfare is often cheaper than during the busy summer travel season (with the exception of travel during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve).
While it is possible to score a last-minute deal to top winter vacation spots, it is best to start searching for your plane tickets as early as possible. We recommend using SkyScanner to find the best prices on flights for your winter destination. Read our complete article on Finding the Best Flights for more tips.
If you take a plane to your winter retreat, you will likely need to rent a car on arrival. Just like with flights, it is best to book as early as possible for the cheapest car rates.
Keep in mind that not all cities on our list of Winter Vacation Destinations USA will require the use of a car. For example, there is no need for a car in cities like New York City, San Diego and Las Vegas.
However, in places like Phoenix, Hot Springs and Door County, having a car to explore the area is essential.
Traveling to wintery places poses its own problem. Renting a car requires that you know how to drive in the snow – and renting a 4-wheel drive may be required. On the other hand, a car might not be necessary at all. If you plan on staying put once you get to your destination, then a convenient and safe shuttle might be the best option.
Hotels and Accommodations
A highlight of winter trips is that travelers can often get rock-bottom deals on accommodations.
Some of the best places in US for winter vacation – like Orlando and Anchorage – offer significant discounts on hotel rooms during the winter months.
However, some of the wintery destinations with ski resorts, like Breckenridge and Whitefish, can see prices go up during the winter ski season.
Regardless of your winter trip destination, the earlier you book your accommodations, the more likely you will get a good deal.
Start your hotel search on Booking – and use our tips for Booking with Airbnb and Finding the Best Hotel Deals.
Packing for Winter USA Trips
The key to good winter vacations in the US is packing the right clothes and gear!
Even the warmest winter destinations in USA can be cool on your visit – especially at night. It is best to bring a coat, pants and a couple long sleeve shirts for your winter US trip.
That said, when traveling to warm places to visit in winter, you will also want to bring sunscreen, your favorite sunglasses, shorts and a bathing suit.
When visiting snowy winter places in the US, you will need to be outfitted with proper winter gear. Waterproof shoes, a heavy winter coat and hats, gloves and a scarf are essential items to pack for your trip.
It’s best to check the weather before you depart – just to make sure you pack enough wintery or summery clothes for your winter trip! Find more of our tips for what to pack on our Packing Page – and get your FREE Packing Checklist here!
Pro Tip: Get (and stay) organized for your Best US Winter Vacation by using our Travel Planning Printables!
Looking for more ideas to plan your US Vacation? Great! Be sure to read our posts on the Top Weekend Getaways and Best Underrated US Destinations!
We Want To Know: What destinations are on your list of the Best Winter Vacation in the US? Share with us in the comments!
Start planning your winter US trip! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing! Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!
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