The United States has plenty of incredible destinations to visit, whatever time of time. But if you want to know the best places to visit in the winter in the USA, you’re in the right spot. Read on to learn why we love the 16 destinations below, hand-picked by our travel experts.
16 of the Best Places to Visit in Winter in the USA
Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun, a wintertime wonderland, or something in between, there’s something in the USA for everyone.
With so much varied geography, diverse weather patterns, and an abundance of incredible destinations to choose from, the only problem is making up your mind.
Visiting during the winter can provide a completely different experience than the summer months. That’s why this list solely focuses on the best places to visit in the winter in the USA.
We’ll go through many of the most popular attractions, plus some relatively unknown spots that are still worth visiting. Our list will feature cultural landmarks, irresistible restaurants, and natural beauty spots, among other incentives to take a winter vacation.
1. Miami, Florida
Unlike many places in the United States, Miami stays relatively warm throughout the year. Visiting here, even in the heart of winter, means you can have tons of outdoor fun.
Hit the famous Miami Beach, or head indoors to find a gluttony of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Miami is known for its vibrant nightlife as well as its delicious cuisine. KOMODO Restaurant is one of the top choices for Asian dishes.
Read Next: Where to Stay in Miami in 2023
2. Phoenix, Arizona
When the snow starts falling elsewhere in the country, many go to Phoenix for warm relief. Phoenix and the surrounding metropolitan area, including Scottsdale, is massive, with tons of different enclaves offering something unique.
But one thing that binds Phoenix is its relentless love for golf and pools. Throw a rock in any direction, and it will likely land on a golf course.
3. San Diego, California
As the southernmost city on the western coast, San Diego has year-round comfort. There are multiple museums and military installations, plus miles of stunning beaches stretching for Coronado to Encinitas.
In addition, San Diego is well known for its surfing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Torrey Pines has a bit of it all. San Diego is the place to go for fun in the sun, even while the snow is falling elsewhere.
Read Next: The Best Areas & Hotels in San Diego in 2023
4. Vail, Colorado
Winter escapes don’t have to mean avoiding the cold. Instead, you can embrace the snow and all it offers by visiting Vail, Colorado. The mountain town is well-known for its world-class ski resort.
But it’s also packed with boutique shopping, such as The Golden Bear jewelry shop. And it has high-quality restaurants and plenty of other outdoor activities besides skiing and snowboarding.
5. New York, New York
The weather might be a little cold or even downright frigid, but with the proper clothes, New York City can be an enchanting winter destination.
From Christmas celebrations to the New Year’s Eve blastoff in Times Square, there’s no shortage of events and activities to lure those willing to tackle the cold. New York has nearly any cuisine with incredible points of interest, museums, and art galleries around every corner.
Central Park looks like a movie scene with a blanket of snow, as does the Statue of Liberty. There’s no such thing as a dull day in The City That Never Sleeps.
6. Seattle, Washington
Way up in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find the bustling city of Seattle. It’s nestled right on the stunning Puget Sound coastline, filled with natural beauty in all directions. Head to the Pike Place Market for some of the freshest seafood around.
Or go up the iconic Space Needle to get one of the most spectacular views in town. If you prefer more grounded exploration, check out the town’s countless shops, restaurants, and local outlets that will pique your curiosity.
7. Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, has to be on the list of the best places to visit in winter in the USA. The mild climate makes it a fun destination, even during the heart of winter. Austin is well known for its music scene, with some of the finest live music venues, including the Broken Spoke and Carousel Lounge.
Austin has also built a much-deserved reputation for its natural beauty. Stumble into the latest trend just by strolling around town, or take a stroll in Zilker Park to catch a sprawling greenspace with tons of recreation.
8. Taos, New Mexico
While it’s a little off the beaten path, Taos is a special place that has a lot to offer. Its main attraction is Taos Ski Valley, well known as the most impressive ski resort in New Mexico and one of the best in the nation.
Taos Pueblo is a World Heritage Site that takes a peek back into the area’s history. Plus, you can find stunning artwork and delicious food with green chiles nearly anywhere.
9. Chicago, Illinois
A snow-covered Chicago is one of the most exciting winter destinations to experience. There’s no doubt the weather can be brutal in the Windy City, but if you layer up, you can head around town to enjoy tons of fun.
The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the finest collections in the world, while the Museum of Science and Industry can fill your mind with knowledge. Grab a slice of Chicago’s deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s. It’ll keep you warm and satisfied for hours.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Another city magnificent in the winter weather is Boston. It’s the northernmost large metropolis on the eastern coast of the US and has a rich history.
Take a walk down the Freedom Trail to pass by some of the most significant points of interest in US history, such as Faneuil Hall and Bunker Hill Monument. Or go to the North End for some of the most delicious Italian food on this side of the country.
Read Next: Where to Stay When You Visit Boston in 2023
11. Burlington, Vermont
While many people head west to explore the Rocky Mountains, there’s a little spot in Vermont that is worth checking out. Burlington is a charming city located on the shoreline of Lake Champlain, with awe-inspiring views in every direction.
If you want to strap on the skis or snowboard, a handful of resorts are only a short drive away. They include Smugglers’ Notch, Stowe, and Bolton Valley.
12. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas might not be the first place that comes to mind as a winter destination but the comfortable temperatures make it a pleasant spot. Still, you could go your entire trip without venturing outside.
Hang out in some of the massive casino resorts, such as MGM Grand or Ceasar’s Palace, and you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips. Fine dining, world-class entertainment, and, of course, more gambling than you’ll know what to do with.
13. Orlando, Florida
Bringing the little ones along for a trip? Orlando is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. These mega resorts will keep you busy for a very long time, likely leaving plenty to do for your next trip.
The weather in the winter is moderate, and best of all, it avoids most of the rainy summer season.
14. Naples, Florida
Naples and the surrounding area are gorgeous in winter. Located on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Sunshine State, Naples is comfortable year-round.
Fifth Avenue always has something going on, with many mouth-watering restaurants, ice cream parlors, and boutique shops. The area is a golfer’s delight and is packed with outdoor activities like the Botanical Garden and Naples Zoo.
15. Los Angeles, California
There’s nothing quite like a visit to Los Angeles. It’s a city full of Hollywood stars, so you never know who you’ll rub shoulders with.
Shop until you drop on Rodeo Drive, see the iconic Hollywood sign, or eat at one of the many upmarket restaurants around town. Griffith Park is a great place for a stroll, and The Broad contemporary art museum will expand your mind.
16. Tucson, Arizona
If you’re looking for winter fun, Tucson, Arizona, is the place to be. While smaller than the nearby city of Phoenix, Tucson, is a more eclectic city with a lot going on.
The Saguaro National Park, with its giant saguaro cacti, is just outside town and makes for the perfect photo opportunity.
Things to Consider
When visiting the USA in the winter, you might face cold weather in the northern states. For places like Chicago, New York, and Boston, the temperatures can be snowy and freezing.
It’s still worth visiting then but prepare with warm clothes, including gloves and hats. Other states, like Florida and California, will still be relatively warm.
But it still might not be the ideal time to sit on the beach for hours. It’s better to plan outdoor and indoor activities that don’t rely on the weather too much, no matter where you go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the best places to visit in winter in the USA:
Where is the best place to vacation in the winter?
One of the best places to vacation in the winter is the warm state of Florida. Choose between Miami nightlife, Orlando adventure parks, and Naples golf outings. Major cities like Chicago, New York, and Boston can be great too, as long as you pack warm clothes.
Where is the cheapest place to spend the winter?
Finding the cheapest place to spend the winter means going where the demand is low. Since many people flock south to states like Florida, Arizona, and California, it can help to go north instead. But avoid the major ski resorts as they’re expensive and likely to be crowded.
What is the most beautiful place in the winter?
The most beautiful place in the winter depends on your desires. For some, it means going deep into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Others prefer the warmth and golfing prevalent in Arizona, even deep into the winter.
Where to road trip in the US in the winter?
Taking a winter road trip in the US can be a blast. Head south from Texas to Florida to enjoy southern hospitality and warmth. Or go through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Washington to pop from ski resort to ski resort.
So, What’s the Best Place to Visit in Winter in the USA?
Listen to your heart to find the best place to visit in winter in the USA. Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California have great options for those who want to stay warm and enjoy the sunshine.
Or head north to enjoy big city charm in Chicago or New York. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, going to Vermont or Colorado could make for a vacation like no other. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!