Wintertime across the United States can mean snowy winter wonderlands, mild weather for city exploration or outdoor adventures, or even sunny and warm beach weather. Find out the best places to visit in winter in the USA in our complete destination guide!
We’ll show you the top 16 destinations to visit between December and March, whether you’re looking to escape the chill or embrace the cold weather with snow sports and cozy vibes.
16 of the Best Places to Visit in Winter in the USA
Winter might be a bit dreary or cold where you are, but in the 16 best places to visit in winter in the USA, this season really comes to life with something special for travelers.
You’ll find places to visit with tropical weather that make you forget it’s winter, cold and mountainous spots with excellent skiing and cozy winter vibes, mild cities for sightseeing, and natural areas to explore without so much as a flurry getting in your way.
Here are the 16 best places to visit in winter in the USA!
1. Miami, Florida
Funky, colorful Miami beckons visitors year-round with its sunny, warm weather and amazing beaches down in South Florida. It’s one of our favorite places to head during winter to escape the chill.
Average winter highs range from 76°F to 79°F — you won’t be shivering in Miami! From North Beach to South Beach, you’ll find tons of spots to settle on the glistening white sand and watch cruise ships come in at the bustling Port of Miami.
Winter isn’t really the low season in Miami because it’s such a popular place for snowbirds to come and enjoy the warmth and sunshine this time of year. But it won’t be as crowded as the summer months and you’ll find it a great time to really explore the city.
Miami’s vibrant culture means you’ll be able to visit countless museums, galleries, live music venues, restaurants, bars, markets, and unique shops while you’re here in the wintertime.
Make time to stroll the amazing Miami Design District to see cool galleries and modern architecture, tour the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and make room for world-class international food at the huge array of restaurants on Brickell Ave.
Read Next: Where to Stay in Miami in 2024
2. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the hub of Arizona’s warm Valley of the Sun region, promising warm, dry weather, cool desert landscapes, and massive selection of restaurants, spas, clubs, and championship golf courses.
With daily highs ranging from a mild 68°F in December and January to a warm 77°F in March, it never really feels like winter in Phoenix. The city sees very little rain this time of year (2-3 rainy days each month).
It’s easy to see, then, why people head here during the winter months to keep that summer feeling alive. See the colorful Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo (through mid-January) or tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West, in nearby Scottsdale.
James Beard award-winning restaurants should be on your Phoenix winter list, like Barrio Cafe and The Arrogant Butcher steakhouse downtown. Grab delicious drinks at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour or Huss Brewing Downtown PHX.
If you’re a nature lover, the Desert Botanical Garden is particularly nice to visit this time of year. It’s a prime time to hike Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve or climb Camelback Mountain between Phoenix and Scottsdale.
To really drive home the endless summer vibe, stay at a hotel with a heated pool — even motels around here have them — and be sure to check out the Arizona Renaissance Festival (1 hour southeast) if you’ll be here between February and March!
3. San Diego, California
Sunny San Diego is a prime destination during the winter months, offering warm and dry SoCal weather with gorgeous beaches and piers, tons of family-friendly attractions, and endless places to dine, drink, and explore in the downtown area.
San Diego’s location on the Southern California coast means it has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters. You can expect daily highs around 66°F between December and March, making it balmy and enjoyable to spend time outdoors.
Hang out on miles of beaches from Coronado to Encinitas. Oceanside City Beach is one of the most popular with a long wooden pier that you’ve probably seen in photos! For cliffside seclusion, head to La Jolla Cove. Imperial Beach has great fishing and lobstering if you’re down to catch dinner for the night.
Don’t miss out on seeing the famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park and see its festive winter performances and light displays. Balboa Park’s architecture, museums, and restaurants can easily be your destination for the day.
Grab lunch or dinner in Little Italy (northwest downtown) and stroll its Waterfront Park with stunning bay views. Beer lovers can appreciate the wide variety of breweries and craft beers in the city, especially around the East Village neighborhood.
For a more rugged itinerary, you can hike your pick of 8 miles of trails in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, head to Sunset Cliffs for amazing views of the ocean, or don a wet suit to surf the big winter swells.
Read Next: The Best Areas & Hotels in San Diego in 2024
4. Vail, Colorado
If you’re hoping for a white winter but aren’t seeing the right conditions at home, Vail is an awesome, snowy locale in Colorado known for its ski resorts and majestic scenery of the surrounding Rocky Mountains.
Vail sees anywhere from 12″ to 21″ of snow during the winter months with daily highs that range from 29°F (December and January) to 43°F (March) in winter. It’s absolute perfection if you’re ready to ski, snowboard, sled, or enjoy a winter wonderland!
Vail has all kinds of activities for the snowy season, like sleigh rides and dog sledding through alpine forests, snowshoeing and snowmobile tours, winter fishing, and ice climbing for the adventurous.
There are dozens of luxe ski resorts in Vail, from Beaver Creek Lodge to Four Seasons Resort. Take a refresher ski class if it’s been a while or it’s your first time hitting the slopes!
Even those who just want to enjoy the cozy side of Vail with a snowy backdrop can check out full-service spas, shopping at boutiques and winter markets, art galleries, snow sport museums, and breweries and distilleries.
Vail is a huge foodie town and you’ll find international to local favorites here, from casual diners to reservations-required gourmet restaurants. Exploring the charming villages of Lionshead and Vail Village will lead you to tons of tasty options!
5. New York City, New York
Winter in New York City is easy to romanticize — the glittering lights, shopping or dipping into a cozy restaurant with snow falling, and palpable holiday buzz come together to make NYC an incredible place to visit in the winter.
Highs struggle to get past 39°F (January) to 52°F (March), making conditions pretty chilly in the Big Apple this time of year. But with a warm coat, gloves, and scarf, you’ll be all set to take on the city and sightsee, dine, and visit attractions this winter.
All the famous attractions can be visited this time of year, but some are more pleasant than others. Skip the observatories on the top floors of the Empire State Building, but do bundle up for the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty (and grab your tickets well in advance).
No visit to New York City is complete without a Broadway show, and it’s a great chance to duck out of the cold! You’ll appreciate visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim on the chilliest days, too.
Seasonal ice rinks are set up throughout the city at Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Brooklyn, and Governor’s Island and make for an enchanting evening activity when you’re all bundled up.
The city goes all-out for winter, with fun seasonal events like dining in “igloos” at the City Winery or hanging out on a covered, heated rooftop bar decked out like an alpine lodge. The massive Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and holiday markets should be on your list, too!
6. Seattle, Washington
Seattle, the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, is one of the best places to visit in winter in the USA. You might see a little snow as you take in views over the serene Puget Sound, wander downtown and the Central Waterfront district, and check out a grand selection of eclectic global restaurants, shops, and museums.
Seattle sees anywhere from 4″ to 10″ of snow each winter with highs from 46°F (December) to 52°F (March) keeping things chilly, but far from frigid. You’ll have great views of the snow-capped Mount Rainier framing the city’s backdrop with a wintry scene.
Your first winter stop should be Pike Place Market in central downtown, where you can dine at international and unique eateries, try cocktails and brews, shop at 100+ boutiques, and check out goods from local crafters and artists.
The Space Needle is awesome for views over the city and Puget Sound (cheaper rates Monday-Thursday). Head into Fulcrum for locally-roasted coffee to warm up or embrace the chill with nearby skiing and snowboarding at Crystal Mountain.
There are countless museums and galleries that can get you out of the cold, like the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. Even kids will appreciate the Museum of Pop Culture!
Get pampered with massages and sauna time at one of Seattle’s luxury spas, then grab lunch or dinner at an international restaurant for Asian, Mediterranean, French, African, and Middle Eastern food, along with tons of seafood and American options downtown.
Read Next: What a Trip to Seattle Costs in 2024
7. Austin, Texas
If snow and beach weather are too extreme for your tastes in winter, head to Austin, Texas for a perfectly balanced winter experience that’s mild with plenty of activities, attractions, and cool spots to eat, drink, and explore around the city.
The weather hovers between 61°F to 73°F highs during the winter months here with 4-5 rainy days each month, making conditions ideal for making your way through the bustling downtown district and strolling the scenic boardwalk by Town Lake.
The music scene here is great! You can catch live music at Broken Spoke and Carousel Lounge on weeknights and weekends to get a taste of the local sound. And to honor the “Keep Austin Weird” theme, check out the Museum of Weird!
Exploring downtown will lead you to lots of small venues and dance halls in between local-favorite restaurants like WU Chow (Chinese food) and 24 Diner for farm-to-table bites and a big wine selection.
The nightlife in Austin is vibrant, especially along 6th Street and Red River where bars and dance halls are packed in tight and good times are always rolling, even in winter!
If you’re into hiking, the Barton Creek Greenbelt winds along the creek and is close to the Terrace Hiking Trail for a little wilderness and breath of fresh air away from downtown. Zilker Park is a nice green space with gardens, a theater, trails, and a spring-fed pool.
8. Taos, New Mexico
Looking to head somewhere a little more secluded and laid-back for your winter trip? Taos, New Mexico is one of our favorite places to go during the winter months with mild weather, cool adobe architecture, and gorgeous desert and mountain scenery.
You can expect temperatures to tap out around 41°F to 54°F in winter here with 2-3 rainy days per month, making it a welcome reprieve from cold areas or those that are still stiflingly hot in winter. It’s perfect weather for hiking and exploring!
The really cool thing about Taos is its proximity to the famous Taos Ski Valley. While Taos sits in the foothills of the mountains, the Ski Valley is a different world with colder temperatures and lots of powdery snow packed on steep, thrilling slopes.
Taos has a lot of historic architecture to see, like the Taos Pueblo (UNESCO World Heritage Site) built by natives over 1,000 years ago and still standing today! Pueblo Revival architecture is all around the city, mirroring the ancient style.
Walk through the Taos Plaza in the Downtown Historic District to see landmarks, browse local shops and galleries, and catch live music or farmer’s markets on weekends.
The tiny La Cueva Cafe has a great mole and Guadalajara Grill is known for their soft, pillowy homemade tortillas. You’ll find tons of Mexican spots and American-style grills with street carts selling tamales and tacos.
9. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is one of the best places to visit in winter in the USA if you’re down to bundle up and enjoy the Windy City when it’s blanketed in snow and decked out in holiday fashion!
Winters can be pretty brutal in Chicago with highs from 32°F to 45°F and lows dipping to 22°F in January, but it’s no concern if you’re here for indoor attractions or throw on your warmest coat, hat, and gloves.
Millenium Park and its famous Bean takes on a sparkle with a seasonal ice rink that makes for a fun afternoon in the chill. Christmas markets around the city in December mean local craftsmen, restaurants, artists, and bakeries set up with holiday-themed goodies.
The Lincoln Park Zoo comes to life with ZooLights Chicago that puts a wintry sheen and glow on its exhibits and botanic gardens. The Navy Pier is also decked out in lights during winter, making the city seem a little more magical.
Pequod’s Pizza is a Chicago deep-dish pizza institution that locals flock to on N Clybourn Ave, while Fatso’s Last Stand in Ukrainian Village serves up burgers, dogs, and Italian beef until the wee hours of the morning.
When you’re ready to get out of the cold and snow, Chicago’s museums and galleries, restaurants, and bars make great stops on your trip. From the Art Institute of Chicago to the Field Museum of Natural History, culture and history is abundant in the city.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
One of the oldest cities in America, Boston makes a fantastic place to visit this time of year with its cold and snowy Northeastern winters, huge array of restaurants and shops, interesting historic sites and landmarks, and beautiful views overlooking Massachusetts Bay.
Temperatures range from 37°F to 46°F between December and March, but lows can be below freezing and 6.5″ to 20″ or more of snow can fall each month during this season.
Put on your warmest gear and walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail on a guided tour starting in downtown Boston, checking out places like Paul Revere’s historic home and the Bunker Hill Monument along the way.
Check out Boston Common for sculptures, fountains, and memorials with great little cafes and shops nearby you can walk to. If you’re into history and want to take a deeper dive, there are some great museums around the city!
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, USS Constitution Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts are all excellent places to spend the better part of a day.
In winter, Boston is really in its element food-wise — steaming bowls of chowdah, warm lobster rolls with melted butter, fried clams and clambakes, and lobster Mac and cheese.
You’ll be able to hang out in cozy pubs, bars, and coffee shops like the Irish Black Rose, the Corner Pub, or famous Emmets to grab a drink and good food, while the Quincy Market makes indoor shopping and dining much warmer than walking downtown.
Read Next: Where to Stay When You Visit Boston in 2024
11. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont makes an ideal place to visit in the winter for powder-covered streets, trendy eateries and bars, breweries, museums, and thrilling snow sports nearby. The charm and coziness of this Northeast city is unmatched!
It’s always chilly in Burlington during winter with highs between 27°F to 40°F, but you’ll be able to duck indoors to browse museums like the waterfront ECHO Science Museum on Lake Champlain (great sunset views here) or the Fleming Museum of Art.
There are tons of winter events at the outdoor Church Street Marketplace, like hot chocolate festivals and family art workshops on weekends. And if you’re here during the holidays, you’ll see the place all decked out in lights and decorations!
This is your chance to grab a hot coffee and fresh bagel at Burlington Bagel Bakery & Cafe, dinner at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill, or catch a game (and a buzz) at the Yard House. There are so many great places to eat and drink, including popular local craft breweries and wine bars.
Snow sports are a favorite day trip for adventurous visitors, so head roughly an hour away to hit the slopes at Smugglers’ Notch, Stowe, or Bolton Valley.
12. Las Vegas, Nevada
Hear us out — Las Vegas is typically a place you think of visiting during the spring, summer, or fall, but a winter visit to Sin City just might be the best of all the seasons. The weather is milder, crowds are smaller, and you can enjoy Vegas with a more laid-back vibe.
You couldn’t ask for better weather than Vegas experiences during the winter, with highs ranging from 59°F to 72°F this season. It’s perfect weather for walking the famous 4-mile Las Vegas Strip and taking in the bright lights, casinos, and shows along the way.
Everything’s going full speed during the winter months because the weather’s still nice. Watch illuminated fountain shows at the Bellagio, tour the Venetian and half-size replicas like the Eiffel Tower and Sphinx, or enjoy great food at hotels and restaurants across the city.
Bring some extra money to gamble at table games, slot machines, and betting on games and sports while you’re here — maybe Lady Luck will be on your side! You can enjoy heated swimming pools at your hotel or resort and check out entertaining shows all day and night long.
Be sure to stop by Fremont Street, an indoor experience with amusement rides, shops, restaurants, and bars that are perfect for bar-hopping and spending an afternoon or evening in the warmth of the indoor setting.
13. Orlando, Florida
If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in winter with your family, don’t sleep on Orlando, Florida! The Theme Park Capital of the World provides endless enjoyment for all ages with multiple famous parks within its bounds.
Located in Central Florida, Orlando doesn’t get cold in the winter. Talk about mild weather erring on the side of warm — with daily highs between 72°F and 79°F, Orlando is absolutely balmy and enjoyable this time of year. You’ll forget it’s winter!
These are ideal conditions for visiting some of the city’s biggest theme parks for a week or more of fun, like Walt Disney World, LEGOLAND, Universal Studios Orlando, and SeaWorld.
Each park is divided into smaller parks or sections that make sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Not a big fan of classic Disney? You’ll appreciate Animal Kingdom or Epcot. Struggling to dig Universal? You might love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside.
Every theme park in Orlando is built for your convenience and ease, with tons of restaurants, booked character meals and interactions, rides, games, and vendor carts with ample shade, restrooms, and facilities throughout.
Even the water parks, like Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, are open during the winter with the water kept at a comfortable 82°F (according to PlanDisney) so you won’t feel chilly in the 70°F air when it’s time to get out.
14. Naples, Florida
Naples is another city in Florida that makes for an incredible winter trip. With comfortable temperatures, great views over the water, and cool restaurants and shops to check out across town, Naples is a laid-back place to spend a week or so in winter.
You won’t need to bundle up one bit while you’re here as you arrive to weather hovering between 74°F and 79°F. From December to March, there are only 2-3 rainy days each month!
The city sits on the warm, calm Gulf of Mexico. The water’s a tad chilly for swimming, but hanging out and walking along Lowdermilk Beach or at Clam Pass Park is still an awesome way to pass the time during the colder months of the year.
Fishing from the Naples Pier is always a success, and you’ll double your good times if you come by around sunset to see the colorful skies overhead from this great viewing spot.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens makes it seem like summertime with its botanic gardens and gives you the chance to get up-close and personal with lions, giraffes, zebra, black bears, orangutans, cheetahs, tigers, and more.
Head down to the local main street, Fifth Avenue, to walk to trendy eateries, old-timey ice cream shops, boutiques, theaters, galleries, and more in the heart of Naples.
15. Los Angeles, California
Whether you’re coming for the celebrities, the scenery, or the food and entertainment, Los Angeles is an amazing place to visit in the winter in the USA. This star-studded city is home to world-class restaurants, movie star homes, film studios, and gorgeous California coastal scenery.
Los Angeles is a massive city, spanning over 500 square miles. The temperatures here top out around 68°F to 70°F during the winter months, making it nice and mild for walking the streets, strolling the beach, or hiking just outside of town.
You’ll have the chance to tour real movie studios, like Paramount or Universal Studios, in the entertainment district of Hollywood. The famous Hollywood sign up in the hills is always a great photo op!
Follow the Downtown L.A. Art Trail to pop into unique galleries and artist displays, murals, and outdoor sculptures on the way. Festive events regularly take place downtown during the holiday season, like cocktail classes, movie screenings, and concerts.
This is a foodie city and you’ll find everything from classic California bites (avocado everything) to Mexican fare and international dishes alongside good ol’ American favorites at restaurants with breezy outdoor seating.
You won’t find better views of L.A. and its beaches than from Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park. And if you’re all about celebrities, this is your chance to hop on a celebrity home bus tour and cruise down Rodeo Drive.
16. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson often gets overlooked as a destination for the winter months, but it’s truly one of the better places in the USA to go this season. With mild temperatures and a small-town vibe that meets metropolitan convenience, Tucson is easy to fall in love with.
From great architecture, like the Spanish Catholic San Xavier del Bac Mission, to outdoor recreation and military museums, there’s something for everyone in Tucson.
Temperatures are comfortable this time of year with highs from 67°F to 77°F, a far cry from summer’s 100°F+ heat and rain. There’s no better time to get out and explore the lay of the desert land here or to sightsee around the city.
One of our favorite things to do in Tucson is the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, where you’ll see pint-sized replicas of famous homes and historic figures in this whimsical attraction.
Shopping at Trail Dust Town is a great experience with old-time saloons, breakfast restaurants, general stores, and a fun train ride in this pioneer-themed district of town.
The Gaslight Theater and Tucson Museum of Art are other great options if you want to spend the day out of the sun and filling up on local culture, artwork, and films.
The Saguaro National Park, filled with otherworldly giant saguaro cacti, is just outside the city and makes for the perfect photo opportunity. Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Zoo are just north and west of the city.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even the best winter destinations can be less than perfect if you’re arriving without knowing the basics. Take a look at the most frequently asked questions below to study up before your trip!
Where is the best warm place in USA in winter?
Miami, Florida is one of the best warm places in the USA in winter. This colorful beachfront city's white sand shores, international food scene, vibrant nightlife, and shopping make it a hot destination year-round!
Other warm places to travel in the USA in winter include San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, Naples, Los Angeles, and Tucson. You'll enjoy winter temperatures in the 60s and 70s in these cities!
What states are beautiful in the winter?
Beauty is subjective, but many consider Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont to be the most beautiful states in winter.
These states see considerable snow and feature scenic landscapes with mountains, forests, oceans, rivers, and historic cities that look gorgeous blanketed in snow.
Which winter vacation is the best?
The best winter vacation in the USA to escape the chill is heading to Florida (Miami, Orlando, or Naples) for warm, dry weather in the 70s, lots of entertainment, abundant bars and nightlife, and family-friendly theme parks.
Foodies and culture vultures will enjoy California (San Diego or Los Angeles) more for temperatures in the upper 60s and a wide array of global cuisine options in a beachfront setting.
Where is the cheapest place to vacation in the US?
In general, the cheapest places to vacation in the US are smaller towns outside of major cities since they offer the most affordable accommodations within close proximity to big attractions.
Places that are off the beaten path and cheap to visit can also provide their own attractions to visit, like Taos, NM (adobe architecture, ski resorts, and great food) or Tucson, AZ (excellent hiking and cool museums).
Which are the best trips with low budget?
The best trips to take with a low budget are primarily outdoor recreation and sightseeing trips, focusing on free or inexpensive parks, preserves, museums, and galleries that won't cost more than $5-$10 to visit.
You'll be able to fill your time with enjoyable activities, great scenery, interesting history, and thought-provoking artwork on experience trips like these, especially during the winter months.
Our Favorite Places to Visit in the Winter in the US
From the heat of Miami, Florida to the chill and thrills of Vail, Colorado, the USA is packed with interesting destinations to visit during the winter months.
With this master list in mind, use your budget, trip goals, and travel style to help you pinpoint the perfect place to spend a week or two this winter — whether that’s enjoying cozy strolls and sightseeing in snowy cities or forgetting winter exists on a sandy shore somewhere coastal!