Experience the best places to winter in the USA with stunning beauty and adventure

If you are looking for a winter getaway, there are so many inspiring places around the USA that you can visit during the winter season, some maybe just a short drive away and worth a quick getaway. Check out all of the best places to winter in the USA from travel bloggers and journalist. They share some of their favorite places to visit around the country in warm and cold USA environments that hopefully will inspire you to go out and explore.

Where to enjoy winter destinations in the USA

Cold winter destinations around the USA

Salt Lake City Winter

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is undoubtedly home to the best snow in the United States. So if you are heading there in winter, the possibilities of having a good time is endless, especially if you love the outdoors. If you are visiting America in winter, Salt Lake City should be on your list.

To start with, Salt lake City is home to some of the best ski resorts. Usually, the ski season at the resorts in Salt Lake City lasts for 5 months, from late November to late April. If you are a beginner then Solitude is the place to go. It is also cheaper than most others. But Brighton is my favorite since I am more into snowboarding. Also, it has great lodging options.

And although Salt Lake City is way more popular with hikers during other times of the year, if you would like to explore some backcountry trails, then snowshoeing is the way to go.

Love independent movies? Then head to the Sundance festival. It is held every January in Salt Lake City, park City and the Sundance Resort.

Going in December instead? Then don’t miss the Christkindlmarkt, a traditional German Market, with hundreds of vendor booths, a gnome fest and a lot of entertainment. Do have a sip of the delicious glühwein there.

Want to stay indoors? Then go for an action-packed basketball evening at the Vivint Smart Home Arena and watch Utah Jazz in all their glory.

For indoor lovers, Salt Lake City also has a lot of great museums. The Natural History Museum of Utah is totally worth it. The Living Planet Aquarium is a great escape from the cold as well.

Deb with The Visa Project

Utah Park City in winter

Park City in Winter

If you’re looking for a great winter getaway that’s full of adventure and great scenery, then you absolutely must visit Park City Utah. It’s only 30 minutes away from Salt Lake, but it feels like you’ve discovered a perfect mountain escape. Year round, you’ll love the Olympic Park ropes course, the Swaner Nature Preserve, and a free trolley ride down main street, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Normon Rockwell painting with all the historic buildings and charm.

Of course, a winter visit to Park City wouldn’t be complete without a few days of skiing Utah’s powder. With Deer Valley and it’s 5 star hotels and high end service all around, and Park City Mountain Resort as the largest ski resort in the United States, there’s no shortage of great places to ski. In the winter, you’ll also be treated to the world famous Sundance Film Festival as well as the World Cup mogul skiing competition.

When you’re not on the ski hill, there is so much to do in the winter in Park City. Hit the trails for a while on cross country skis or snowshoes if you want some solitude, or if you want something a bit faster paced, head out on a dog sledding trip with Lunas Lobos (a bucket list adventure you’ll never forget!). If you want to experience some small town charm, drive 20 minutes to the town of Midway and enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink, Ice Castles, and of course swim in the geothermal Homestead Crater. While you’re there, stop in at the Midway Bakery for their famous sweet rolls!

Submitted by Jessica Averett from Skiing Kids

Visiting Bethel Maine in winter time

Visiting Bethel, Maine

Bethel Maine is one of the best winter USA destinations, especially if you love the great outdoors and have an affinity for charming New England towns.

Located about an hour-and-a-half north of Portland ME by car, you’ll discover Bethel and the surrounding towns offer your choice of winter sports including alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow tubing, Ice-skating, and snowshoeing.

Sunday River, one of the largest ski areas in the Northeast, is within minutes of Bethel in Newry. If you’re really adventurous, you might like to try ski-biking, dog sledding, or ice-climbing there!

If you prefer to take in the stunning scenery from the comfort of a warm car, there’s no shortage of picturesque country roads and breathtaking views of the White Mountains. Bethel is is a scenic explorer’s dream come true.

Perhaps the best scenic route in the region is Mount Washington Road. While it’s closed to private cars over the winter, you can take the SnowCoach or gain access to the route with a trail pass and free-heeled skis or snowshoes.

Alternatively, you can appreciate the view from The Mount Washington Hotel in nearby Bretton Woods. The hotel is the gold standard for luxury lodging in this region.

Right in the heart of Bethel, you’ll find another beautiful historic inn worth the visit: The Bethel Inn. This highly recommended bed & breakfast across from Bethel’s quaint town common has the added benefit of a heated outdoor pool. It’s also an excellent option for dining, with a lovely dining room with a view to the snow covered landscape and a cozy historic tavern below.

Bethel is a great weekend take within the foothills of Maine’s mountain region and lakes if you are local to the region. But to fully take advantage of all this beautiful winter destination in New England offers, we recommend you plan to spend the week.

Jackie Gately at Enjoy Travel Life

minnesota gunflint lake frozen

Lake Superior’s North Shore

The road from Duluth to Grand Marais, Minnesota along Lake Superior’s North Shore is a great route for a mini winter vacation. Whether approaching from Minnesota, Wisconsin or Ontario, Canada, this stretch of scenic drive offers a great assortment of rest stops, day hikes, nature and wildlife, friendly towns and good places to stay and eat.

The drive up the North Shore goes quickly. From the Twin Cities, it’s a little more than two hours to Duluth, and then two more hours to the wonderfully hospitable Grand Marais.

Aside from its many good restaurants and lodges, Grand Marais is a great base for exploring the North Shore. Forty more miles up Highway 61 is Grand Portage, at the Canadian border, and home of the highest waterfall in Minnesota on the Pigeon River which forms the border at that point.

Grand Marais is also the starting point for the scenic drive up the Gunflint Trail into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. No canoeing in the winter, of course, but plenty of trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing cross the area.

Near the end of the Gunflint Trail is Gunflint Lodge, one of the few places “up north” that remains open year-round. Gunflint Lake is one of the Boundary Waters. The other side of the lake from the lodge is Canada. There’s more skiing or snowshoeing to be done there as well.

On your way back to the Twin Cities, take in two more State Parks. Tettegouche State Park is a great alternative to the more popular Gooseberry Falls State Park further south. Trails to Tettegouche’s high waterfalls are closed in the winter, but you can walk out to Shovel Point for a stunning view of the shore of Lake Superior. If you do want waterfalls, the Gooseberry Falls path is open in the winter, and, if it’s cold enough, you’ll see the falls frozen solid.

Tom with MNTrips

Visiting nyc central park winter

Winter holiday in New York City

New York City doesn’t slow down in the winter.  In fact, many people think it is when the city is at its best.  You can’t beat the holiday spirit or the winter scenes when it snows.
During the Christmas season, you can’t miss the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  Check out the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for some family-friendly entertainment.  The department stores all have special holiday window displays which get better every year.  There are several festive markets where you can find unique gifts and tasty treats.
When you visit NYC in the winter, you can go ice skating outdoors.  While the most iconic spots may be Rockefeller Center and Central Park, head to Bryant Park if you are on a budget.  Speaking of Central Park, it may be its most beautiful when it snows.  It’s a great place to go sledding, but if you want to ski plan a day trip to nearby Hunter Mountain.
If you want to stay out of the cold, there are plenty of things to do indoors.   Check out one of the city’s world-class museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, or the National September 11th Museum.  In the evening, enjoy one of the fantastic restaurants like db Bistro Moderne, Blue Fin, or Carmine’s.  Then catch one of the popular Broadway shows.

Anisa with Two Traveling Texans

Jordan-Valley-clairevoix visiting in winter

Discover Charevoix in Winter

When it comes to Michigan winter adventures and beauty, the west coast near Charlevoix is at the top of my list.  This region is fantastic for downhill and cross-country skiing, winter rafting, hiking and photographing beautiful icy views of Lake Michigan.

Boyne Mountain Resort, located in Boyne Falls, is an outstanding place to downhill and cross-county ski, ride fat tire snow bikes, go ice skating, and experience the rush of tubing.  Boyne Mountain also offers a once in a lifetime winter experience of horseback riding!  Enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area while riding a mild-mannered horse!

When it comes to downhill skiing, Boyne Mountain is hard to beat.  The views are incredible from the top of the lifts and you can choose numerous ski hills depending on your skill level.  The chalet at the top is also a great place to enjoy hot chocolate and a snack while resting and warming up.

Another exciting adventure is winter rafting with Jordan Valley Outfitters located in Jordan Valley.  The snow-covered trees and icy banks of the river are majestic in January through March right after a hard snowfall.  If you are lucky, you might see deer grazing along the wooded banks as you silently raft past.  Each bend and turn in the river reveals new breathtaking scenery.  The guilds will also pull the rafts onto the bank for a snack and a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider.  This was one experience you will never forget.

While visiting this region, I recommend staying in nearby Charlevoix.  The Weathervane Terrace Inn and Suites is located in the heart of the downtown area and is walking distance to restaurants, shops and evening activities.

Sherry with Travel MI

jackson hole in winter time

Winter at Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is a stunning valley with mountain peaks and several towns to visit, including Jackson, Kelly, Moose, and Teton Village. The early settlers found this beautiful place in the 1800s and, these days, Jackson Hole continues to attract people who love the outdoors.

One of the top things to do in and Jackson Hole is to go snowboarding or skiing during the winter at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Grand Teton National Park nearby is full of wildlife and an excellent place to see elk, sheep and coyotes.

Another attraction is the town of Jackson, which has a cowboy vibe and plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels. Take a photograph at the famous antler arch, and a walk along the boardwalk will remind you of the wild west. The saloons, shops, boutiques and galleries are fun to explore. If you love art, make sure you allow a few hours here as Jackson is a famous centre for the arts.

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is not to be missed as it’s the most well-known bar in Wyoming. Since 1937, this Western saloon has attracted visitors from around the world who flock here to soak up the atmosphere, join in the western dancing, eat steak and listen to music.

Another place to eat in Jackson Hole is the Silver Dollar Bar in the historic Wort Hotel, which was named after the uncirculated 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars that you’ll see inlaid in the bar’s surface. If you’re a keen skier, stay on the mountain at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but it’s also fun to stay closer to the center of town for a night or two at the Snowking Resort or the Parkway Inn.

Christina with Travel2next.com

visiting Asheville, NC in winter

Beautiful Asheville, North Carolina

If you’re looking for a beautiful mountain town that’s easily accessible in winter then look no further than Asheville, NC. You can either drive via Highways 26 North/South or 40 East/West or fly in to the Asheville Regional Airport. Average temperatures are around 50°F for the highs and 30°F for the lows. Snow is a definite possibility during your visit!

This city is known for its outdoor activities like hiking and whitewater rafting in the summer but during the latter part of the year it turns into a winter wonderland. A few of the popular winter activities are visiting the Biltmore House while it’s decorated for Christmas and taking in the beautiful lights at the NC Arboretum. While at the Biltmore be sure to tour the house, walk through the greenhouses, and stop by Antler Hill Village where the Biltmore Winery is located.

Asheville is also known as one of the top foodie destinations in the US so be sure to do your research on restaurants. A few that you shouldn’t miss are Sunny Point Cafe, Corner Kitchen, Cúrate, and White Duck Taco. The beer scene is also second to none with big names like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium but also many local breweries like Wicked Weed, Burial Brewing, and Hi-Wire Brewing.

There are many wonderful places to stay in Asheville, a few of the top being the Omni Grove Park Inn or The Foundry. For budget accommodations look no further than the ALOFT Hotel or the Hyatt Place which are both walkable to downtown.

Anna Cook with Paddling Space

Winter activities in the Poconos

Winter activities in the Poconos

America is full of incredible winter destinations, but one offbeat snowy region of the country that should be on any travel bucket list is the Poconos. In Pennsylvania’s northeastern region you’ll discover the land of forested mountain peaks and glacial lakes. It’s under two hours away from New York City and Philadelphia by car, so getting there is a breeze. The region is home to the state’s best ski slopes like Jack Frost Big Boulder and Blue Mountain. It’s also home to some of the most enjoyable skiing resorts like Camelback Mountain and Montage Mountain. Both locations have an indoor waterpark for family fun no matter what the skiing conditions. You can also find delicious dining options at the resorts like Montage Mountain’s Slocum Hollow.

Many groups of friends and families also plan their visits to include staying in a traditional mountain cabin. It’s easy to find stunning Airbnb Poconos rentals with unbelievable amenities like indoor pools, fireplaces, saunas and jacuzzis. Snowtubing, snowboarding and snowmobiling are other popular winter activities in the Poconos. One of the best natural attractions in the Poconos is the Lake Wallenpaupack which freezes over in the winter months and is surrounded by beautiful trails for winter hiking. It’s perfect to find a lake house to stay at with the people you love to travel with. For a cold-weather winter getaway, make the Poconos your next getaway.

Derek with Robe Trotting

Winter fun at Estes Park

Winter fun at Estes Park

Estes Park is one of the most popular places to visit in the country for a snowy winter vacation. This little town is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and is a must on any Colorado road trip itinerary. Estes Park is located just two hours away from Denver and can be easily reached from the Mile High City via a shuttle or rental car.

In the winter, Estes Park is a winter wonderland. Visitors can walk along the icy river-walk and admire its sculptures or head inside one of the Riverwalk spas to get a relaxing massage. You can take a stroll along Main Street and buy souvenirs, eat taffy and popcorn, or purchase winter gear for your adventures inside the national park.

The most popular attractions off course lie inside the national park. Take a scenic drive on Trail Ridge Road, see the wildlife in the park, go sledding in Hidden Valley ski area, or snowshoe around the frozen Bear Lake. Visitors can also go skiing, snowmobiling, climb to frozen waterfalls, and spot elks, deer, and moose in the park.

The best time to enjoy the winter charm of Estes Park is from November to March. Stay in any of the wooden cabins in the town and enjoy an elk steak while you are there. Pack waterproof jackets, gloves, hats, and plenty of layers and you are sure to enjoy a fantastic winter vacation in Estes Park.

Ketki of Dotted Globe

winter visit to Yellowstone

Stunning Yellowstone in Winter time

Winter is the most magical season in Yellowstone National Park. A blanket of snow covers the ground, hot springs and geysers burble through the ice and shine in oranges and blues. Waterfalls partially freeze, bison wear a coat of snow, and families cross country ski around geyser basins.
Not only is Yellowstone beautiful in winter, it’s much quieter than in summer. Most of the park roads are closed except to over snow vehicles. There are so many things to do in Yellowstone in winter. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife watching, ice skating, snowmobiling, and geyser gazing could fill many days.
The gateway towns — Gardiner, West Yellowstone, and Silver Gate — each make a good home base for different activities. Snowmobilers and those going into Old Faithful are best suited for West Yellowstone. Those wanting to cross-country ski, drive through the Northern Range, and see waterfalls and hot springs can basecamp in Gardiner. Die hard wildlife watchers and those wanting to explore the steep mountains outside the park may want to stay in Silver Gate.
For a dream trip, take a snowcoach into the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. These over-snow vehicles take tours to the interior of the park for touring and spending the night. From the Snow Lodge, one can enjoy fine dining, cross-country ski many trails, and watch Old Faithful erupt with almost no one else around.
Yellowstone National Park by Mel from YellowstoneTrips.com
Savannah in winter

A visit to Savannah in Winter

Savannah is one of the most picturesque cities located along the eastern coast of Georgia. From its cobblestone streets to the beautiful old architecture of the Historic District to its many squares filled with trees covered in Spanish moss — once you visit, you’ll find yourself wanting to return on a regular basis!

To get to Savannah, it’s best to fly into the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV). If arriving by car, it’s only a 20-minute detour from I-95. The weather in Savannah is hot for approximately 8 months out of the year and comfortably mild for the remaining months. Winter is a magical time to visit the city, and you can often find incredible deals in January and February. Once you determine the best time of year to visit Savannah, the next step is to decide how many fun things you can fit into your vacation!

River Street is the most well-known street in Savannah, but it’s just one of many historic areas you should see while you’re in town. A few other top spots include Broughton Street, City Market, the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Forsyth Park, Bonaventure Cemetery, and Wormsloe Historic Site.

Since Savannah is known for being one of the most haunted cities in America, a ghost tour through the Historic District is always a fun activity! Once you’ve worked up a hearty appetite, try dining at the classic Olde Pink House restaurant or opt for the more unique menus at Treylor Park or Alligator Soul.

Select a hotel or B&B within the Historic District, so you’ll be within easy walking distance to numerous restaurants and landmarks. The Marshall House is located centrally along Broughton Street (the city’s main shopping area) and is always a great option. If you prefer something quieter and further away from the touristy zone, try staying at the historic Eliza Thompson House on beautiful Jones Street.

Erin with Savannah First Timer’s Guide


Lake Tahoe High Sierra

Classic winter vacation at Lake Tahoe

Tahoe, located in the High Sierra in the eastern part of the state, is one of the most popular winter destinations in California. It makes for one of the easiest and most enjoyable winter weekend trips from San Francisco or the Bay Area if you love winter sports and winter scenery.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are the most popular winter sports in Tahoe. You can also go on snowshoe hikes or go cross-country skiing through the beautiful countryside, with stunning views of the blue Lake Tahoe, which does not freeze in the winter. Even if you do not ski, you should take the gondola to the top for the panoramic views!

You can drive around the lake, but make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for winter driving. You can also explore the countryside around Tahoe: Hope Valley and Highway 395 make for very scenic drives. Take a cruise on the lake, or go kayaking or canoeing.

South Lake Tahoe offers a lot of choice in terms of accommodation and dining, but you can also choose a cozy cabin on the lakeshore on the east, west, or north sides of the lake. Rooms in local hotels, and most cabins, come with fireplaces that you can enjoy on cold winter evenings.

Dhara from Roadtripping California

Lake Champlain in Burlington at winter

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington is a vibrant city in northern Vermont that is a fabulous winter destination. Snowsport enthusiasts will love the alpine and backcountry ski trails of nearby Bolton Mountain. Cross country ski fanatics can find free Nordic skiing within the city limits. Snowshoeing and winter hiking in the Green Mountains are also popular pastimes.

For those with less athletic ambitions, a visit to the pedestrian mall of the Church Street Marketplace is magical. Festive lights drape the trees and cute local shops beckon to be explored. The winter festivals in Burlington should not be missed. Ice sculptures abound. Some of the ornate structures serve as an icy bar to keep spirits and brews chilled.

The grand finale of any day spent in Burlington is to stroll the waterfront. The snow shrouded peaks of the Adirondack Mountains across the windswept frozen expanse of Lake Champlain are a magnificent view from the waterfront park.

Karen with Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Keystone getaway in Colorado

Keystone getaway in Colorado

If you are looking for a fun and affordable winter getaway in the United States, I think Keystone, Colorado is one of the best options. This ski town is less than an hour away from Denver and will transport you to a Winter Wonderland! Visiting Keystone is ideal for a skiing or snowboarding trip, as there are ski trails available for all abilities from beginner to expert. There are also tons of resorts within walking distance of the mountain with pretty low rates, especially in March.

However, you do not have to be a ski bunny to have fun here. Keystone is also home to many excellent restaurants and breweries. My favorites were Kickapoo Tavern and Inxpot, as well as nearby Outer Range Brewing. Breckenridge and Frisco do have more options than Keystone, but they are less than a half an hour drive away. I highly recommend a daytrip to Breckenridge for some snowmobiling, followed by a visit to the distillery!

You can also ice skate or go tubing at multiple spots in Keystone. I especially enjoy walking around the village with some hot cocoa for a little shopping. At night, you can relax at the spa or warm up in a hot tub under a starry sky for an especially unique experience.  A winter visit to Keystone is the perfect way to enjoy some time in snowy Colorado.

Amy with thefloridatravelgirl.com

Warm winter destinations around the USA

Winter visiting Joshua Tree National Park

Winter visiting Joshua Tree National Park

With mild daytime temperatures and fewer crowds, winter is an ideal time to visit Joshua Tree National Park. While the summer brings sweltering temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit, daytime highs during the winter months stay at around a comfortable 58-63 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Because of the heat, many hikes are not recommended in the summer months. However, the cooler temperatures of the winter months make it a perfect time to do them! One of the best hikes in Joshua Tree National Park is Ryan Mountain, a short but strenuous hike, with a 1050 foot elevation gain in 1.5 miles. The trail brings you to the 5457-foot summit of Ryan Mountain, from where you will be rewarded with impressive panoramic views of the jumbled rock formations and Joshua tree forests down below.
Other things to check out during winter in Joshua Tree include the many interesting rock formations in the park, including Skull Rock and Arch Rock, Barker Dam, the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, and the Cholla Cactus Garden. Joshua Tree is also popular with rock climbers during the winter months.
Snowfall is rare in Joshua Tree, but if you happen to be lucky enough to visit after it snows, the park’s landscape is especially magical.
Check out Caroline’s post on a Joshua Tree day trip
myrtle beach during winter season

Myrtle Beach for a warm winter getaway

For those interested in a warm weather winter experience, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a classic snowbird escape. Well known for its family fun, Grand Strand, beach boardwalk, pancake houses and golf courses, Myrtle Beach also has a natural and artistic side that is well worth exploring.

Situated on the US Atlantic coast, Myrtle Beach benefits from its wide and expansive Grand Strand of white sand beach. Extending for 60 miles, the beach is wonderful for walks, sunbathing, swimming and all-day sandcastle building if visiting with kids. Many resorts, like the Hampton Inn Suites Hilton, are right on the beachfront, so access is easy and immediate.

Enjoy a stroll along the beach Boardwalk, a 1.2 long stretch between Pier 14 and the 2nd Avenue Pier. The boardwalk encompasses amusement parks, classic arcades, shops, restaurants, and the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, which offers the best views of the Strand.

For a nature-focused day trip escape, head south to the fishing village of Murrells Inlet. Not only is this the self-proclaimed seafood capital of South Carolina, it’s an ideal spot for a kayaking adventure in the saltwater marshes, home to thousands of migratory shorebirds. Stop in to Pawleys Island, a barrier island known for its carefree lifestyle and rope hammocks, and separated from the mainland by a beautiful salt marsh and accessible via two short causeways.

Explore the ‘floral jewel’ of South Carolina, Brookgreen Gardens. This stunning Botanical Garden features a Live Oak Allée of 250-year old live oak trees, a palmetto, butterfly and children’s gardens, to name a few. Brookgreen is also home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of American sculpture work in the country.

Claudia Laroye with The Travelling Mom

A warm winter in St. Thomas

A warm winter in St. Thomas

There are plenty of great places to stay in St. Thomas, but the condos at Sapphire Bay, are located on one of the best beaches, and in close proximity to the town of Red Hook, ferries to St. John, and nearly all of the best snorkeling on the island, making them the ideal spot.  Be sure to spend at least a couple of days beach hopping to explore the world famous Magen’s Bay(don’t forget to snap an instagram worthy photo from Drake’s Seat), Coki Beach with Coral World Ocean Park, or Brewer’s Bay to watch planes land and snorkel with sea turtles.

Looking for something other than beaches?  Take the sky tram up to paradise point for dinner and incredible views of the harbor, spend the day exploring the boutiques along Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, climb 99 steps, or even zipline through the mountains.  End the day at Sunset Grille in Secret Harbor for the best views of the sunset.

For a truly unforgettable experience, charter a boat for a half or full day.  Hop along the beaches of St. John, head over to the British Virgin Islands and explore the Baths, snorkel Christmas Cove, and of course, grab a pizza from one of St. Thomas’s best and most unique restaurants, Pizza Pi, a pizza boat!

Kristin from Snorkel and Hike

Palm Springs winter escape

Palm Springs winter escape

If you’d like a sunny Christmas then Palm Springs is an ideal option. Expect sunny days and crisp nights, enjoying all that the desert town is famous for, from pool parties to high-end shopping. There are lots of hip hotels to stay in with festive packages, or you could bring the whole family to one of these beautiful Palm Springs Airbnbs.

The locals go all-out with holiday light displays, so a fun activity is to simply drive around, admiring all the palm tree strung with lights and the festive mid-century homes. Palm Canyon Drive and El Paseo also have good light displays. And The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens holds an annual Wildlights event, with amazing light installations and festive-themed animal encounters.

In the past, Kenny Irwin Jr used to host an eccentric light display called Robolights, but this was unfortunately shut down. In 2019, he had a float at the Desert Hot Springs Parade, and also held a display in Detroit, but it’s unsure what will happen in the future. Do check his site in case he’s doing anything in Palm Springs – it’s a spectacle well worth seeing.

If you fancy seeing some snow, take a trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway where it’s 30 degrees cooler and you’ll most likely see a snow-covered landscape. But, of course, the real draw of Palm Springs at Christmas is for those looking for a summer vacation-feel to their festivities. The objective here is to relax, and the city is the perfect place for it.

Victoria with Bridges and Balloons

Vanderbilt Sunset naples

Warm winters in Naples, Florida

There are so many amazing winter destinations in the USA and Naples, Florida is one of them. If you’re after warm weather and perfect beach vibes, Naples is the place for you! Whether you’re visiting Naples for a quick weekend getaway or you’re here for a longer period of time, you won’t be left disappointed!

Located in Southwest Florida, you can road trip around Florida and make your way down to Naples or you can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). Other nearby airports are Tampa International Airport and Miami International Airport.

Obviously, the best thing to do in Naples during the winter is to just lounge at one of the many beaches. Some of the best beaches in the area include Bonita Beach, Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Lovers Key State Park, Vanderbilt Beach, and Barefoot Beach. The sunsets in Naples are epic and you can also watch them from Naples Pier or any of the beaches in town. If you’re curious about exploring nearby areas, take a mini road trip to Marco Island and enjoy Tigertail Beach. Besides the beach, you can spend the day at Naples Botanical Garden and learn all about the plants of a subtropical climate. Finally, make your way over to 5th Avenue in South Naples and enjoy some shopping or grab a cup of delicious coffee at one of the cafes.

Naples also has some delicious restaurants with so many different kinds of food. If you’re after a more laid-back vibe, Zen Asian in Naples Park is an amazing place to grab some authentic Asian food. But, you can’t visit Naples without trying seafood. Ocean Prime is one of the best places to satisfy your seafood craving.

Lastly, the best areas to stay in Naples are near 5th Avenue or near any of the beaches.

Disha with Disha Discovers

Bahia Honda Florida Keys Crazy Family Adventure

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are an amazing winter destination. If you are looking for sunshine, beach and a tropical winter adventure that is in the US this is it! Pack up the car and head out on an awesome Florida Keys road trip.

From the northern keys where you can snorkel at the famous John Pennekamp beach or take a boat out to the coral reef. To the middle keys where you can rent a pontoon boat and get out of the water for a day of boating, swimming and playing. To Key West on the southern tip. The Keys have so much to offer!
If you are looking for animal encounters you can check out the Turtle Hospital to see how they are rehabilitating injured sea turtles. Or you can head to the Dolphin Research Center and learn all about dolphins and watch a dolphin show.
For those looking for a laid back vacation you can focus on beach days and happy hour watching the sunset over the ocean. We recommend Sombrero beach and Bahia Honda beach.
We highly recommend staying at the Hawks Cay resort on your stay. And make sure you get some Key Lime Pie at the Sunset Grille!
If sun, beach and ocean sound like your ideal winter vacation the Florida Keys have you covered!
Bryanna Royal from Crazy Family Adventure
Clearwater Beach Florida winter getaway

Winter at Clearwater Beach

If you are looking for a warm winter destination in the USA, look no further! 
Clearwater Beach is located on the gulf of Mexico. You can easily get there by car from Tampa. It’s only 30 minutes from the airport. December to March is the best time of the year to visit Clearwater. The weather is dry and warm which means you can fully enjoy the outdoors. January may be a bit cold to go swimming but by March it already gets pretty hot.
Clearwater is known for being home to one of the best beaches in the USA (#1 in 2019 according to Tripadvisor). Spending time on the beach is a must do but there are also a lot of fun and unique things to do in Clearwater Beach
If you love discovering hidden gems, make sure to drive or walk to Sand Key Park. The views from the bridge are stunning and the park is very cute. The beach is also less busy than the main one. 
In terms of water activities, you are in for a treat! Dolphin cruise, kayaking, scuba diving… everything you can think of, you can do it in Clearwater! 
In the evening, make sure to head to Pier 60 for the sunset celebration. It’s beautiful from there. 
After that, swing by the Shephard’s Beach Resort for a cocktail. On sunday evenings, they have international DJs coming as well! 
If you don’t mind driving 30 minutes or so, visiting St Petersburg, Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island and Tampa are also great options. 
For accommodation, opt for one of the wonderful beach resorts. They are amazing and have direct access to the beach. For budget travelers, booking a condo on Airbnb will be better.
Pauline with Beeloved City

Winter fun at Marco Island

When the winter weather in the US turns icy and cold, and you’re in need of warm climates or perhaps some Vitamin sea, you’ll find both at the southern tip of Florida on Marco Island. Located in southwest Florida, Marco is the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands between Naples and the Everglades, and makes the perfect winter destination.
From sunning on the beach to exploring the pristine nature, there are lots of things to do in Marco Island for nature and outdoor lovers, not to mention the amazing beaches that everyone will love.
Southwest Florida is known for their beaches, and on Marco, that means a trip to Tigertail Beach for an afternoon of swimming and fun watersports — stand-up paddle boarding is ideal on the calm backwaters. For beach-combing, take a shelling cruise to Keewaydin Island, a nearby island only accessible by boat.
Marco Island is surrounded by incredible natural areas where you can paddle or boat to see dolphins, manatees, alligators, and other wildlife. And of course, Everglades National Park is at your doorstep, along with other great places to explore like Big Cypress Preserve and the local Collier-Seminole State Park.
If you’re looking for a perfect winter break destination in the US, Marco Island will definitely fit the bill.
Lori at Travelin Mad
winter visit to san-diego-california

San Diego fun in Winter time

If you’re looking for an awesome winter USA destination, you need to consider San Diego, California! The weather in southern California is some of the mildest in the United States over the winter. And San Diego is especially delightful on a roadtrip or even taking an easy bus ride from Los Angeles to San Diego .

Aside from the beautiful weather, San Diego makes a great winter getaway because there’s a ton of things to do! Visit the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and check out their incredible animal encounters. Discover the best art and architecture in Balboa Park. Check out the white-sand beaches on the upscale Coronado Island.

One of my favorite spots is Old Town San Diego, home of some of the best Mexican food you’ll ever eat in your life! Old Town is actually the birthplace of California. It’s rich in history and has plenty sights to see or tours to take.

Finding a spot to stay in San Diego is easy in the sense that you really can’t go wrong. The most lavish accommodations will likely be in La Jolla or Coronado Island. If you love staying in the heart of the action, consider downtown and the Gaslamp District. For a more boho vibe, Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach might be right for you.

San Diego, California has a lot to offer any traveler. So whether you’re taking a solo trip, couples vacation, girls’ getaway or a family trip, you’ll find fun and sun in San Diego!

Nikki with SheSavesSheTravels.com 

Key West winter getaway

Key West winter getaway

The tropical islands of the Florida Keys stretch from the southern tip of Florida for over 150 miles like a string of pearls sparkling in the ocean. The best and most scenic way to get there is on a road trip from Miami to Key West, although you can fly directly into Key West. You can visit Key West as a day trip from Miami, but I highly recommend staying for a few nights.

The Florida Keys are made up of 31 tiny islands, all connected by the beautiful Highway 1 by a series of bridges, the longest of which is seven miles long! Along the route, take in the outstanding views with translucent, glistening water stretching to the horizon in both directions. Along the way, there are dozens of opportunities to see some of Florida’s unique wildlife, including the Torch Key raccoon, manatees, and mud turtles.

In Key West, make sure to explore its charming old town, home to a plethora of boutique stores, charming, quaint cafes and lively, all-day bars. Make sure to stop by the house of American writer Ernest Hemingway’s house, it’s where he lived and wrote during the 1930s. Another thing to try is a delicious slice of key lime pie, the local delicacy! You can also enjoy the beach near Mallory Square, as well as head off-shore as the surrounding waters are known for world-class diving, with interesting shipwrecks to explore and an abundance of marine life to spot.

Southern Florida and the Keys have the warmest weather in the whole of the USA during the winter months, with pleasant, sunny days and lots of rain-free days.

Claire with Stoked to Travel

Maui winter time visit and- Beach

Winter sun in Maui, Hawaii

If you are in the midst of a dark and dreary winter, escape to the always-sunny and warm island of Maui.  Heating up in paradise makes Maui the ideal destination for a winter getaway.

Look here to decide Which Hawaiian Islands is the Best?  Maui is a top choice.

The west coast of Maui is almost always dry and warm, which makes it perfect to relax on the beach and by the pool while sipping your favorite drink.  Kapalua Bay, Napili Beach or Kana’apali beach are idyllic.  You’ll hear the rush of the ocean, smell the sea and see the fishes and most likely a turtle while snorkeling.

If you want epic snorkeling take a boat to Molokini crater a few miles off shore for a marine sanctuary experience.

When you are done for the day, grab a bite to eat while sitting at the ocean’s edge in the cute town of Lahaina.  Don’t miss the massive Banyan Tree at the end of Front Street. Once the sun goes down catch a magic and comedy show at Warren and Anabelle’s.

Beyond relaxation, beach sitting and gorgeous views, Maui offers adventures and spectacular sights.

Ride a bike down Haleakala Volcano at sunrise.

Take a road trip to Hana.  Start early (this is no problem with the time zone change) and plan plenty of time to see everything!  Take a guide book to know exactly where to find the hidden gems, waterfalls, rainforests and coastal views along the way.

Beyond Hana drive to Haleakala National Park to hike into the bamboo forest and waterfall and  soak in the seven sacred pools (pools of O’heo).

If you still have time for more beauty, walk through the lust and majestic moss covered mountains in I’oa Valley State Park.

Winter on Maui feels like summer adventures in paradise.

Jamie Harper from Fly by the Seat of our Pants

Oahu-things to do in Honolulu

Winter vacation in Oahu, Hawaii

If you are looking for the ideal Hawaii getaway, consider a vacation to Oahu. First stop in Honolulu and some key attractions you can visit along with famous Waikiki beach. There’s plenty to do and see with historic sites, popular attractions like Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor, the colorful Chinatown and old section of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach. Taking a road trip or guided tour around the island to see more fascinating and wonderful attractions will give you a fantastic look at the rest of the island. Activity wise, you can do so many outdoor adventure around the island like snorkeling, sailing, surfing, kayaking and on land hiking, biking and a myriad of fun activities to keep you busy while exploring the outdoors, coastal areas and lush rain forests in the island.
For more inspiration to visiting Oahu, check out my post on the top things to do around Honolulu here for a full guide of fun and unique things to do around the city and the outskirts. You’ll enjoy visiting Oahu and having a lot of sun and fun on the island.
Winter time in Phoenix, Arizona

Winter time in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona is one of the best December getaways for a warm escape. Whether you have just one day in Phoenix or a whole week, there is a lot to discover here.
Spend a full day exploring the lively downtown area. Immerse yourself in the city’s history and art museums, and don’t miss the vibrant culinary scene and trendy breweries near the Roosevelt Row art murals. Plus, getting around the city is easy and affordable with the Valley Metro Rail.
With warm December weather ranging from 46°F to 68°F, this city is a haven for outdoor exploration. In fact, the winter months are the best time for hiking. Consider tackling the iconic Camelback Mountain for great views. Marvel at the stunning Sonoran Desert on the city’s numerous hiking trails, all conveniently located within nature parks scattered throughout the urban landscape. 
Don’t forget to stay hydrated and protect your skin from the sun, even in December. Phoenix offers the perfect combination of pleasant weather, outdoor adventures, and a vibrant cultural scene for an unforgettable winter escape.
Consider staying in downtown Phoenix for easy access to cultural sights, or in the Tempe area for lively Mill Avenue’s bars and nightlife. The street will be covered in colorful lights and decorations, creating a fun holiday atmosphere.
Keep in mind that December is a popular time to visit Phoenix, so expect some crowds, especially during the holidays. The trails and festivities come alive as both locals and visitors take advantage of the pleasant weather.
Monica from This Rare Earth

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