There are two types of people in the world — those who run away from cold weather and those who flock to it and are constantly on the search for the best winter trips in the U.S.
Personally, I mostly fall into the “let’s escape winter category.” However, I’ve been opening up to the idea of cold weather more and more. There’s just something so comforting and soothing about epic, wintry backdrops in the States.
Even if you’re not on board with winter weather, there are still some gorgeous warm-weather destinations to visit in the States during winter or Christmas.
No matter where you fall on the cold weather vs. warm weather debate, you’re bound to find some epic weekend getaways or longer winter trips in the United States that suit your preferred environment. Just make sure you pack appropriately!
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In This Post:
21 Best Winter Trips in the U.S.
Here are some of the best winter trips in the U.S. from Miami to New York City. I teamed up with some seasoned travel bloggers to uncover the best winter trips in the U.S. I can’t wait to see where you choose to go!
1. Miami, Florida
By Jordan of Inspired By Maps
Miami is the hub of South Florida; political, cultural, and economical – and also happens to be one of the best winter trips in the U.S. There is a reason why so many snowbirds, as locals term them, flock here each and every year.
In winter, Miami has perfect weather, blessed with a tropical climate and plenty of sunshine. Miami is usually not too cold in December, and you won’t be getting any snowfall. Winter is also the least rainy time to visit, which explains why there are so many festivals at this time of year.
If you are lucky, you can time your winter trip to Miami to attend the Miami International Boat Show, the Calle Ocho Festival, or Art Deco Weekend. The Miami Half Marathon is also an excellent option for more active travelers.
Even if you have set dates and can’t attend one of these events, there are so many other fun things to do in Miami. You can relax with a coffee and settle in for some prime people-watching in South Beach or wander Miami’s gloriously revitalized MiMo district. There is also a wealth of luxe hotels, cocktail bars, world-class museums, and white sand beaches to explore.
What better winter escape could you possibly ask for?
2. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa (Oahu, Hawaii)
By Michael of Affordable Family Travel
They offer an adult-only pool and a selection of the restaurant’s site as well within walking distance. There are plenty of beachside chairs and a wonderful pool complex with water slides and a lazy river. The drop off kid’s club is included in the rate and provides some adult-only times for those with children.
Aulani offers many activities such as lei making, Disney animation classes, and more to keep you busy all day long. The beach shack offers complimentary sand toys and boogie boards. As a Disney resort, character meets and greets as well as character dining is available onsite.
Aulani resort offers multi-room options, some with kitchens. On-site car rental is offered for those who want to venture off-site for a day to visit some of Oahu’s many attractions such as Pearl Harbor, North Shore, and Polynesian Culture Center.
This is one of the best winter trips in the U.S. because the weather is nice year-round, and you will avoid the crowds of this popular resort.
3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
By Chris of Punta Cana Travel Blog
If you are looking for a top and unique winter destination in the USA, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is an interesting option to consider.
Particularly the combination of an idyllic and scenic national park, an authentic and western-style small town, and one of the most difficult ski areas in the entire United States makes a stay here different than in other mountain areas. Furthermore, with a base elevation of more than 6000 feet, it offers reliable snow conditions all winter long.
Jackson Hole is located in the far west of Wyoming, close to the border of Idaho. Its town, Jackson, is not the typical ski resort town, as it features historic timber buildings, wooden walkways along its streets, and plenty of Wild West style saloons, which all add up to an authentic and pleasant experience.
The local ski resort in Jackson Hole continues this wild-west vibe with playing rock and western music in its gondola or having live bands performing right in the ski area during the day.
Jackson Hole is famous for offering perfect terrain for advanced skiers as more than 50% are single- or double-diamond expert runs. The icing on the cake is Corbet’s Couloir, a legendary chute being one of the most difficult ones in the entire country.
If skiing is not your thing, the Jackson area offers plenty of snowshoeing, hiking, and cross-country skiing, particularly as it is located right inside Grand Teton National Park.
Some beginner tours are even offered for free from national park guides. As Grand Teton is open year-round, you can also explore different areas in your car. The scenery is amazing, as the snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and idyllic forests are forming an unparalleled nature symphony.
4. San Diego, California
By Maria of San Diego Explorer
Winter in San Diego is special, especially during December. Temperatures during this time range from the mid-50s to low 70s, but if you are lucky you will get some sunny days in the mid to high 70s – a great temperature to go out and explore. Do bring a raincoat and umbrella though, as we get quite a bit of rain during that time. From December to February, it is also a lot less crowded than during the hot summer months, so the slightly cooler weather is worth the trade-off.
Winter in San Diego is full of contrasts. It’s one of the few places where you can go skiing and surfing in one day. Maybe that is why we celebrate the start of the Christmas season in San Diego with the arrival of Surfin’ Santa rather than Christmas carols. Another unique San Diego thing is that we have an actual ice skating rink on the beach. There’s nothing cooler than hitting the ice while looking at palm trees and hearing the ocean waves crash in the background.
One of the best winter activities in San Diego is whale watching. Mid-January is one of the best times to see the whales as they pass along the coast on their way south. Up to eight whales per hour pass through San Diego waters during this time and your chances of seeing them are pretty high.
I highly recommend doing a whale watching tour led by a marine biologist to learn more about these amazing animals. Tip: Dress warm, even on a sunny day, as it gets much colder out on the open water.
5. Lake Tahoe (California & Nevada)
By Tatiana of Family Road Trip Guru
Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the prime winter destination in California and Nevada.
It is located at over 6000 feet elevation and is surrounded by 15 ski resorts. It offers a combination of fantastic scenery and great downhill ski terrain for all skill levels, including many black diamond trails, so much so that in 1960 it was chosen as the location of the VIII Winter Olympic Games. You definitely need to stop by the Olympic Games Museum at Squaw Valley resort.
At the same time, there are great Lake Tahoe ski resorts for beginners on the slopes offering skiing and snowboarding schools and lessons.
However, if you don’t do downhill skiing, there are plenty of things to entertain you in Lake Tahoe in winter. There are two ice rinks in the area on the California side, cross country skiing trails, several tubing hills, and even a snow play area for the tiniest guests at Soda Springs.
But, that’s not all. There are many hiking trails around Lake Tahoe with splendid scenic views and for even better panorama hop on one of the mountain gondolas in the vicinity to see the whole area from bird’s eye view.
Lake Tahoe is very popular with tourists in winter as well as in any other season and it’s one of the best winter trips in the It has plenty of great restaurants for any taste.
Whether you’re a skier or not, you cannot go wrong with a Lake Tahoe vacation in winter.
6. Mammoth Lakes, California
By Alanna of Periodic Adventures
Mammoth Lakes is one of the best winter trips in the U.S. and is only a 5-hour drive from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Hailed as a year-round adventureland, Mammoth Lakes is truly incredible in the winter where popular activities include tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and skiing and snowboarding on Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain.
When you finish snow activities, the best thing to do is soak in the abundant hot tubs at hotels and condos or treat yourself to steak at the Mogul Restaurant where your server is your chef!
Aside from snow activities, the quaint town of Mammoth Lakes has a small movie theater called the Minaret Cinemas is D’Place, and a highly recommended cow-themed brunch spot called the Breakfast Club.
From Mammoth Lakes, there are a number of great day trips if you need a change of scenery or activity without snow. First, Mono Lake is only 30 minutes away, where you’ll find huge basalt towers lakeside. Yosemite National Park is only 45 minutes away – drive through Yosemite Valley and see the epic tunnel view!
History buffs will appreciate Manzanar National Historic Site, a Japanese internment camp from World War II, which is only an hour and a half away.
Lastly, take a walk through the remnants of the Wild West and California gold rush at Bodie State Historic Park, a ghost town located an hour and fifteen minutes away from Mammoth Lakes.
7. Death Valley, California
By Monica of This Rare Earth
Death Valley National Park sits roughly 215 miles and 3.5 hours outside of Los Angeles, CA on the Eastern edge of the state. Death Valley is possibly the most well-known out of all California desert region parks and is the largest national park within the contiguous United States.
With over 5,000 square miles to cover, there is a lot to see in Death Valley! The park contains rugged mountains, white sand dunes, deep canyons, and snow-white salt flats, offering a wide range of terrain and scenery.
Winter is the ideal time to visit Death Valley National Park as it is the hottest and driest of all national parks (not to mention, one of the hottest spots in the world). During the summer months, temperatures often reach 120 degrees, making in-depth outdoor exploration nearly impossible. However, in winter months, the weather is much more agreeable and allows for hiking and sightseeing in comfort.
The famous Badwater Basin sits at 282 feet below sea level, representing the lowest point in all of North America. The Artist’s Palette hills showcase colorful peaks that occur naturally. The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes transport you to faraway lands as you hike over the tall sand dunes. And, Zabriskie Point is mesmerizing and the perfect spot to spend a sunset. It’s hard to believe that all of these very different natural formations are inside of one park.
8. Midway, Utah
By Melissa of Parenthood and Passports
Each winter, the small town of Midway, Utah is transformed into a winter wonderland reminiscent of a village in Switzerland. This quiet town nestled in the picturesque Wasatch Valley is the perfect destination for a snowy winter getaway.
Just 30 minutes from Utah’s popular Park City Mountain Resort, Midway not only has a charming Swiss village allure, but it is also home to one of the most unique attractions in the United States.
The Midway Ice Castles look like something straight out of a frozen fairy tale. The acre-sized attraction is made entirely from ice and is built one icicle at a time. This winter playground is complete with ice slides, slot canyons, ice caves, crawl tunnels, and frozen fountains that will bring out the kid in everyone. At night, the attraction is beautifully illuminated with color-changing lights.
Aside from Ice Castles, Midway also boasts a natural geothermal hot spring located inside a limestone cave. At the Homestead Crater, visitors can swim, snorkel, or even scuba dive in the warm water. Round out your winter trip to Midway with snow tubing at Soldier Hollow or head to one of the nearby mountain resorts for a day of skiing or snowboarding on Utah’s world-class snow.
If you’re looking for the best winter trips in the U.S., definitely plan your visit to Midway, Utah!
9. Kenosha, Wisconsin
By Paulina of Paulina on the Road
Traveling to Kenosha, Wisconsin, especially during wintertime, is considered one of the best winter trips in the U.S. Kenosha is a lovely spot, offering eye-capturing moments of an entirely different aura during the winter season.
Being a little more frozen than Chicago and slightly-snowier (particularly near Lake Michigan), the weather in Kenosha is pretty much freezing, dry, and windy. The whole town is covered with snow from each corner, acting as a blanket covering the trees and streets.
So, if you’re looking to spend a wondrous day doing various winter fun-activities, all in nearby surroundings, visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin, is-a-must.
Besides that, there are several other ample things to do in Kenosha, such as:
• Explore several museums like the Civil War Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, etc.
• Visit Kenosha’s breweries like- Public Craft Brewing, R’Noggin Brewing, etc.
• Wander in Petrifying Springs Park, Parkside Cross Country Trail, Jerry Smith Pumpkin Farm, and more.
• Tour Orson Welles’ birthplace, Kenosha’s Mars Cheese Castle, Kenosha History Center, Gateway Classic Cars, etc.
• Relax at Simmons Island Beach, alongside enduring a Kenosha Lakefront walk and taking a Michigan Lake cruise.
• Encounter fun-filled winter activities, including hiking near Kenosha, Skiing in Wilmot Mountain, and ice-skating.
• Shopping at the Kenosha HarborMarket and acquire souvenirs, embroideries, clothes, and others.
• Relish traditional food recipes or drinks at restaurants, like Linnea bakery, Franks diner, House of Gerhard, etc.
10. Twin Cities (Minneapolis & St. Paul), Minnesota
By Maja of Away With Maja
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota make for a fantastic winter destination in the USA. It’s not for the faint of heart—Minnesota gets very cold in winter—but that’s what makes it special.
There is plenty to do in Minnesota in winter, especially in the Twin Cities. Just make sure you’ve dressed appropriately if you’re spending time outside! Theodore Wirth Park and Fort Snelling both have fantastic cross-country ski trails to explore, and you can head to Afton Alps or Buck Hill for downhill skiing.
Many parks in Minneapolis and St. Paul will have ice skating rinks where you can skate (or play a game of hockey) for free. Parade Ice Garden is a good option for indoor ice skating. There’s also sledding, snowshoeing, and even ice climbing if you want to get adventurous in the outdoors!
One of the best places to visit in winter is Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis—this spectacular waterfall regularly freezes over during the winter season!
There are some fun winter events that take place around the Twin Cities if you time your trip right, like the St. Paul Winter Carnival and the Ice Castles (in nearby Stillwater).
If you’re looking for an authentic winter experience (complete with sub-zero temps), the Twin Cities in Minnesota is a great option!
11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
By Derek of Robe Trotting
If you’re looking for a winter getaway in the United States, you just can’t beat a weekend in Philadelphia. Philly is conveniently located between New York City and Washington D.C. and easily reached by air, train, or bus.
No matter what time of year you visit Philadelphia, it’s a wonderful city with plenty of great attractions. Christmas in Philadelphia is especially fun with Christmas Markets in LOVE Park, City Hall, and adjacent Dilworth Park. There are also beautiful light displays and holiday trees decorated around the city. One of the best outdoor displays is the Electrical Spectacle in Franklin Square, one of the city’s five original squares. A second square to visit is Rittenhouse Square which has a more subdued festive light display in one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods.
All winter long you can enjoy ice skating on Penn’s Landing. Head to the Blue Cross Riverrink and make an afternoon skating with views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Delaware River. The venue is complete with outdoor seating, firepits, refreshments, and a bar to keep you warm and entertained after you skate.
Another great place to keep warm is in any one of Philadelphia’s great museums. You may enjoy the civics museum at The National Constitution Center or the brilliant artwork in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kids love the interactive science exhibits at the Franklin Institute of Science.
From holiday attractions to world-class museums, Philadelphia has so much to offer during a winter getaway.
12. New York City, New York
By Chrysoula of Travel Passionate
New York is an absolute winter wonderland and arguably one of the best winter trips in the U.S. Many people dream of traveling to the Big Apple to see this iconic destination doused in snow. While it will be cold (read: really, really cold!) it can be a beautiful time to see the city, with its festive decorations, fun events, and cheerful holiday mood spreading far and wide.
Winter in New York kicks off with the Thanksgiving Parade at the end of November, with colorful floats and gigantic balloons lining the city streets.
It then moves into the Christmas season with holiday markets, festive illuminations, the huge Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This is the place to stock up on Christmas gifts, doing your shopping at Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Fifth Avenue.
Visitors will also want to make time to head up to one of the panoramic viewpoints (Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the One World Observatory, or the Brooklyn Bridge) to witness the majestic beauty of the city covered in snow.
Winter also sees ice rinks pop up around the city, the NYC Winter Jazzfest, and the Nostalgia Train offers rides on vintage subway train carriages, so there are loads of fun, festive NYC Christmas bucket list activities.
After Christmas, visitors can look forward to New Year’s Eve in Times Square with its iconic Ball Drop as well as Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown later on in January or February.
So, what are you waiting for? Wrap up warm and get ready to and soak up the Christmas spirit in the world-famous NYC!
13. Sandwich, Massachusetts
By Vicky of Buddy the Traveling Monkey
One of the best winter trips in the U.S. is the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts on popular Cape Cod. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Boston and an hour drive from Providence, Rhode Island.
Many people drive right through Sandwich on their way onto Cape Cod and on to other towns. However, Sandwich itself has quite a few things to do. You should definitely stop to visit some of the museums, restaurants, and natural areas in Sandwich. And visiting during wintertime means fewer crowds to deal with.
One of the most popular attractions in Sandwich is the Sandwich Glass Museum. The town of Sandwich is what it is today because of its rich history of glassmaking. There are exhibits that show how glassmaking evolved and every hour visitors can see live glass blowing presentations.
You can’t visit Sandwich without eating a sandwich there! And the best sandwiches can be found at Cafe Chew. They’ve received multiple awards over the years for their healthy and organic breakfast and lunch options. Guests will enjoy the delicious flavors and big portions.
To explore the natural side of Sandwich, visitors should take a walk on the Sandwich Boardwalk. It’s not a long walk, but it crosses over Mill Creek and ends at Town Neck Beach. This means you get to see views of both the marsh and the beach. It’s also a great place to bird watch. Make sure you wear a good jacket though, as it does get windy out there.
14. Sugarbush, Vermont
By Keri of Bon Voyage With Kids
New England is known for its hearty winters, and one of the best places to enjoy it is the wonderful state of Vermont. Known for some of the best places to ski in the Northeast, Sugarbush Resort is a favorite among visitors. With its challenging ski hills, family-friendly environment, and many winter activities, it is one of the best winter destinations in the USA.
Located about a three and a half-hour drive from Boston, Sugarbush Resort is a great spot for a weekend getaway or a longer winter break. It’s signature red barn base area is just one of the many features of this beautiful resort. It also has a little European-style village area, cozy restaurants, and many ski-on-ski off properties for rent. Whether you hit the slopes or enjoy watching in front of the fire, it is a great place to enjoy the mountains covered in snow.
Sugarbush is known for being one of the most family-friendly resorts in New England, but don’t be fooled. It offers quite a variety of ski terrain that ranges from easy for beginners and kids to quite challenging for adults and very experienced skiers. With a renowned ski and ride school for kids ages three to 12 years old, as well as adult programs, Sugarbush is great for those learning to ski. An onsite daycare is also available for non-skiing children ages six weeks to six years old.
Apres-ski activities at Sugarbush are plentiful! For families, it has an indoor kids adventure zone with a bouncy house, trampoline, games, toys, and more. You can also book a sunrise or sunset cabin cat ride and watch the sunset over Lincoln Peak.
Not a skier? Not a problem! Sugarbush also offers snowshoeing indoor/outdoor year-round pools and hot tubs, and a family-friendly mad scientist escape room.
Foodie alert! Vermont is not just known for its winter activities, it is also known for signature, high-quality foods! Local maple syrup is a must as is enjoying delicious Vermont breakfasts. You will find a great one at the Rumbles Bistro and Bar located in the heart of the Sugarbush property. For a real treat, visit the original Flatbread Pizza Company at the nearby Inn at Lareau Farm. It is a great family-friendly restaurant option après-ski, with high-quality ingredients in a very cozy ambiance.
With something for everyone, Sugarbush Resort is one of the best winter destinations in the USA for your winter bucket list!
15. Joshua Tree National Park, California
By Ale of Sea Salt & Fog
Joshua Tree National Park is an amazing place to visit during the winter months when the oppressive desert temperatures finally begin to fall. Visiting Joshua Tree in the winter months will not only give you wonderful weather, but it’ll also give you thinner crowds.
The park has something to offer for everyone, including miles of hiking trails, beautiful stargazing, and of course the out of this world Joshua trees, for which the park is named after.
One of the best things to do in Joshua Tree is to do the leisurely half-mile walk through the cholla cactus garden. The fuzzy teddy bear-like cholla extends for acres as far as the eye can see, standing in sharp contrast to the harsh desert landscape.
For more strenuous, but still, beginner-friendly hikes, make the trek out to Barker Dam through the stunning landscape of rocks and Joshua trees.
For the more adventurous types, Joshua Tree is a great place to go rock climbing. The Hall of Horrors provides many established rock-climbing routes. For the less experienced, check out Arch Rock for an easy scamper up this famous rock formation.
Plan to spend at least one day in Joshua Tree National Park to get the best experience.
16. Kauai, Hawaii
By Nikki of She Saves She Travels
One of the best winter trips in the U.S. is Kauai, Hawaii. The island chain is the perfect getaway at any time of year, but it’s especially refreshing during the winter months.
The weather in Hawaii is pure bliss year-round, and the winter conditions on the islands beat the weather in much of the USA. The island of Kauai has 7 micro-climates ranging from rainforest to desert, so there’s always a part of the island with perfect weather!
Kauai, Hawaii gets fewer visitors each year than Oahu and Maui, yet boasts some of the most dramatic scenery in all of the USA. Beautiful beaches meet vast canyons while rugged coastlines go untouched.
There’s plenty of things to do in Kauai and it makes a great winter getaway for any type of traveler. These are just a few of the best things to do on Kauai:
- Hike the Waimea Canyon, known as the grand canyon of the Pacific
- Visit the NaPali Coastline, where the best views come from the air or a boat
- Whale watching – peak whale season is January and February
Visitors will need a rental car on the island of Kauai as transportation options are extremely limited. As for accommodations, there are plenty of options from luxury hotels to quaint vacation rentals.
Kauai, Hawaii is a great spot for a winter vacation and can truly be enjoyed by all!
17. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
By Jenny of Limitless Hiker
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most perfect and best winter trips in the U.S. The entire park transforms into a winter wonderland.
Make sure to dress appropriately for your winter adventures. Leave the tennis shoes at home and opt-in for insulated winter boots that will keep your feet warm and dry. If you’re going hiking, wear microspikes or snowshoes to add some traction to every step. It will help keep you from slipping around on ice or slippery snow. Or if you don’t want to hike or snowshoe, you can go backcountry or cross country skiing.
Part of Rocky Mountain National Park is closed during the winter months, but there are still many hikes to do. One of the prettiest winter hikes is to Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lake. The trail is 3.8 miles round trip. It starts from Bear Lake and continues to the first lake, Nymph Lake. From there keep going to Dream Lake and it opens up views of the peaks above and the frozen lake. If it’s not too windy, you can continue on to Emerald Lake which is also worth the views.
You can also hike to Lake Haiyaha which is 4.4 miles round trip or the 2 miles round trip to Alberta Falls and see them frozen over. Both trails also start from Bear Lake.
Even in the winter months, you might see wildlife activity in the park. Elk and bighorn sheep are common. Make sure to keep a safe distance from wildlife!
18. Key West, Florida
By Victoria of Follow Me Away
Key West, Florida is one of the best places winter trips in the U.S.! First, winter is a wonderful season to visit Florida, especially the islands, because it is not hurricane season anymore! The weather is dry with only some rain here and there so that you can enjoy the outdoors, beach, and the ocean even more!
There are so many things to do in Key West! There are museums, bars, tours, and of course, the world-famous key lime pie! Stroll the quaint and historic streets of Key West while the mild winter air chills your face. This is the perfect place to go if you want to escape the cold of other states and prefer a warmer winter destination.
There are so many cute hotels and Airbnbs in Key West if you are looking for somewhere to stay. Alternatively, you can camp or stay in an RV if you are looking to save some money. Either way, you can’t go wrong in Key West.
19. Charleston, South Carolina
By Apryl of Southern Hospitality Magazine Traveler
Charleston, South Carolina is mesmerizing with its rich history, various cultural experiences, and a thriving culinary scene. From visiting Fort Sumter to checking out one of the nation’s oldest city markets, Charleston City Market (be sure to get a biscuit from Callie’s Biscuit) to tracing Edgar Allan Poe’s footsteps, this quintessential southern city offers something for all interests.
One of the best times to visit is during the winter when the weather is mild (read: barely any humidity), providing the perfect opportunity to explore.
Start in downtown with either a carriage ride or walking tour. For those wanting to set out on their own, by foot or on a bike, don’t miss places along Charleston’s Museum Mile on Meeting Street that include The Charleston Museum, Washington Light Infantry, and Gibbes Museum of Art.
Among the many points of interest include strolling (or riding along) The Battery, viewing Rainbow Row with its colorful houses, and checking out Waterfront Park with the pineapple fountain. Don’t overlook King Street with its shopping and dining opportunities.
Edgar Allan Poe fans may want to visit the Unitarian Church Cemetery, the city’s second-oldest church, whose cemetery, opened to the public, is said to be haunted by his “Annabel Lee.” For more Poe, check out Sullivan’s Island, where he was stationed, and grab a quick bite (and photo) at Poe’s Tavern.
It’s well worth the time to venture out to the well-preserved plantations, like Magnolia Plantation & Gardens and Boone Hall Plantation. For something unique, consider touring Charleston Tea Garden.
Leave enough time to head over to Folly Beach and enjoy the sun, sand, and waves.
20. Padre Island, Texas
By Stephanie of History Fangirl
A great place to go in the U.S. during winter is Padre Island. The largest of Texas’s barrier islands (and one of the longest barrier islands anywhere!), the island has a lot to offer since there is a diversity of communities along that are great for different kinds of travelers.
Families will want to head to Port Aransas. While it’s not swimming season during the winter, you can get a great deal on beachfront rentals and enjoy the quiet off-season. You can see the protected Padre Island National Seashore, which is overseen by the National Park Service and is one of the National Parks in Texas. Here you’ll find miles of beautiful beaches that are perfect for morning walks or runs. If you get up early, you can enjoy the sunrise coming up over the water.
If you want to enjoy some cultural experiences you can visit the USS Lexington, nicknamed the Blue Ghost, which is a World War II-era ship that has been turned into a museum. This is a great activity for families visiting the area with school-aged children. Besides simply the awe of climbing onto a real ship, there are aircraft on the deck that you can see up close.
If you want more of a party scene, head south to Port Isabel and South Padre. While it’s more famous as a spring break destination, there are clubs here that operate year-round.
21. Las Vegas, Nevada
One of my favorite winter destinations in the States is Las Vegas for several reasons. Tourists usually flock to Sin City during the spring and summer for pool parties, festivals, and more. But, Vegas is equally fun and more comfortable during the winter.
First of all, you won’t have to deal with the sweltering Vegas heat. This alone makes the area more enjoyable to explore. The evenings do get a little chilly after the sun goes down, but the daytime temperatures are just perfect. Be sure to pack a jacket though.
The cooler weather also means that you can add outdoor activities in your life without sweating and feeling like you’re going pass out. I’m not even exaggerating this statement. I’ve visited Vegas in the summer and the heat was miserable. There are several hikes, trails, and parks in the area such as Valley of Fire State Park, Mount Charleston, and more.
Like I mentioned above, the summer months are busier. Winter in Vegas is surprisingly chill. Are there still lots of people? Yes. However, there are fewer people. I’m all about visiting places during the off-season.
My absolute favorite reason for traveling to Vegas in the winter is because of the winter theme display at the Bellagio. You will seriously be left in awe. It will feel like you’re walking through a winter wonderland.
Las Vegas is one of the best winter trips in the U.S. and you won’t go wrong regardless of what you do.
Disha Smith is the founder of Disha Discovers. She quit her job in 2017 to travel the world to explore new cultures and experience new adventures. She has since been to 95+ countries and counting and has lived in South Africa, Thailand, Croatia, and Australia. She has done all kinds of travel ranging from luxury to budget backpacking, and her mission is to inspire others to discover their own sense of adventure and to help them plan a life full of meaningful experiences through travel.