Best Winter Travel Destinations in the US
Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to snowbird or just want to find the best skiing in the nation, we have the perfect destination for you. Winter might not be in full swing yet (though you might not believe that if you’ve been hit by the polar vortex already this year), which makes now the perfect time to plan your winter getaway. Looking for a new New Year’s party spot? Looking for a Christmas vacation that won’t be as terrible as all the movies make it out to be? Try one of these destinations.
- Hawaii – If you’ve never been to Hawaii before, winter is the perfect time to go. It’s still blissfully warm, but it won’t be packed with other travelers like it is during the summer. You’ll still be able to swim, enjoy the sun, and even hike a volcano. It will make for a truly unique winter vacation and can be a great reprieve from that pesky polar vortex.
- Salt Lake City – Utah is so big that the climate varies wildly from the northernmost point to the southernmost. Salt Lake City, in the north, will already have plenty of skiable snow by mid-November and will just keep getting it until March. This makes it a great location for anybody interested in skiing or snowboarding. Salt Lake has plenty of great attractions if you don’t want to be on the slopes every day, and it’s one of the most affordable destinations on the list.
- Santa Fe – While New Mexico doesn’t exactly have the same desert credentials as Arizona (it actually does get cold there and they get plenty of snow), Santa Fe can still be a great cultural escape. There will be a little snow and cold, sure, but just about nothing beats curling up in your hotel and watching snow fall over the adobe buildings. Post-Thanksgiving, the city is beautifully lit, and if you’re willing to take a little drive, there’s lots of great skiing and snowboarding close by.
- Orlando – Florida is always a good bet for winter travel and it’s extra good because you can squeeze a quick trip to Disneyworld into the package. Winter temperatures may be “too cold” for the natives to hit the beach, but if you’re coming from somewhere that is already experiencing sub-freezing temperatures, you’ll likely have no trouble at all enjoying the milder temperatures.
- Aspen – Another ski and snowboard-haven, Aspen has incredible slopes and plenty of other activities for those not interested in spending their entire holiday in skis. With high end shopping and fascinating historical museums, there are plenty of “other” things to do—including getting your holiday shopping done. Aspen is a resort town, so things can get a little expensive, but the powder is worth it.
- Austin – While Texas does get the occasional cold snap, for most of the season, Austin will be perfectly warm, warm enough even to go and see some of the best outdoor live music in the country, especially for this time of year. For the exercise-minded traveler, there are always great places to workout, in between tasting the great Tex-Mex and hearing your favorite bands play live.
- Philadelphia – If you’ve always wanted to see some of the United States’ most historical landmarks, but haven’t wanted to be mobbed by other travelers, winter is a great time to hit this history-rich city. You can see the Liberty Bell and where the Declaration of Independence was signed, all without having to fight the crowds, making your winter vacation as pleasant as it is informative.
- New York City – There really is nothing like New York City in the winter. Even the commercial district will get you in the mood for merriment, which holiday-themed store fronts and decorations. The New Year’s celebration in Times Square really cannot be beat, but there’s also ice skating and Broadway productions, and great shopping and food. Plus, if you’re worried about unfriendly locals, you’ll find that the holiday season really infuses even the most curmudgeonly of New Yorkers with cheer.
- Anchorage – For a truly unique winter vacation, there is no place better than Anchorage. Known for midnight sun during the winter, this city will delight with northern lights during the long stretches of winter darkness. This astrological phenomenon is not one that can be missed, and there is no place better for enjoying the snow and a little cold.
- Chicago – Friendlier than New York City, with a bounty of beautiful architecture, Chicago is a great destination for your winter travel. After you’ve been thoroughly chilled by exploring the city’s beautiful buildings and landmarks, step into just about any pizzeria for a delicious, warm slice and then hit the theater to see a show.