30 Unforgettable & Beautiful Places to Visit in Winter in USA

Beautiful Places to Visit in Winter in USA

The US is a land of staggering proportions, as its vastness encompasses everything from sun-drenched beaches to snow-capped peaks.

With such geographical diversity comes an equally diverse winter experience.

While some regions in the north get covered in layers of snow, plenty of regions in the south still enjoy golden sunshine throughout the day, and this is what makes winter in the USA so exciting!

So, if you’re looking for the most amazing places to visit in winter in the US, this guide will have you covered with the best destinations to consider during your winter escape, whether you’re seeking snowy landscapes, warm and sunny retreats, or anything in between!

Top Winter Vacation Experiences in the USA

When it comes to winter vacations in the USA, some places are considered the top spots for a good reason.

These places strike an excellent balance between having good weather and offering plenty of landmarks and destinations to visit, so let’s check them out!

1. New York in Winter

New York is beautiful year-round, but the atmosphere becomes pure magic in the winter when days become shorter and you can truly see its lights shining!

That is especially true in December when the city dresses up for Christmas. Yet, New York City reaches pure perfection when it is under a blanket of snow.

⭐ Recommended tour during winter: 2-Hour New York Christmas Holiday Small-Group Walking Tour, discovering New York’s Christmas sights with a guide.

New York during Winter

If you are traveling to Christmas in the winter months (end of November to March included) you’ll find no shortage of things to do to keep busy and entertained in all of the five boroughs of New York.

Should you be in town in time for that, make sure to attend the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s been a constant parade since 1924 – almost 100 years! – and screams New York through and through.

Starting at 77th Street and Central Park West at 9:00 am, the parade goes all the way to Central Park and Columbus Circle, where it turns on 7th Avenue to get all the way to the store.

If you have a chance, make sure to also go for a Thanksgiving meal. Many restaurants in town will serve that – head to Market Table, in the Village, for a delightful experience.

If you happen to visit during Christmas, you can’t miss the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Rink. New Year’s Eve in Times Square is another must!

If the day is particularly cold, you can escape the extra chill by visiting one of the many museums in town. The Metropolitan and the MoMa certainly are two you should not miss, as well as the 9/11 Museum.

Finally, in a city with so many skyscrapers and picturesque viewpoints, you’ll have plenty of stunning views to capture if you’re into photography.

Head to Brooklyn Heights Promenade for some of the most impressive views over Manhattan.

“New York is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA!” – Claudia Tavani, My Adventures Across The World

2. Seattle in Winter

Seattle, a seaport city on the West Coast of the US, is famous for its coffee culture and its tech industry.

Its unique location between the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountain range is well worth a visit at any time of the year, but it’s particularly rewarding to head there during the winter months.

Seattle in winter

The city and surrounding areas have a reputation for rainy weather, which is why it’s filled with greenery all year round. In fact, thanks to its evergreen trees, it’s nicknamed “Emerald City”.

This lush landscape near the city makes it perfect for various activities, such as winter hikes. However, you can also spend your time visiting some of the city’s most popular landmarks!

Top sights include the Space Needle, Pike Place Market Foundation, and the Museum of Pop Culture.

In addition to hikes, winter-specific activities can include a visit to the Winter Wonderland of Leavenworth, the slopes at Stevens Pass, and Teatro ZinZanni.

The city also has a thriving culinary scene with exotic foods to try that include fresh oysters, chicken teriyaki, and triple coconut cream pie.

“Definitely, one of the best places to visit in the winter!” – Raihaan Is’rafael, A Rai of Light

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Cool Things to do in Seattle for the best trip ever.

3. Maui, Hawaii

Maui has always been a warm winter getaway from the mainland as a short respite from the cold, which makes it one of the top destinations to consider during American winter.

You can enjoy a ton of activities here from eating local foods like fresh papaya, mangoes, and coconuts, to trying delicious warm-weather foods like Kalua pork, poi, and kabocha pumpkin, prepared in a variety of ways.

Maui, Hawaii - Warm places to visit in december in USA

There are many places to be considered on the island depending on where you want to be.

For example, if you love being in the heart of action, Lahaina (the main city) should be your way to go. It combines the waterfront, historic harbor, downtown area, and lovely beaches, all in one place!

Maui is also an outdoor lovers’ paradise with adventure sports, gorgeous natural landscapes, fabulous beaches, and endless possibilities for water activities like snorkeling, diving, whale watching or even surfing!

All in all, while a vacation in Maui can be a bit pricey, it’s a unique experience you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re all about staying warm in winter!

In this post, I share with you how often it snows in Hawaii and Maui. For more inspiration, check out my post on the top 20 things you can do in Lahaina here for fun things to do and see in town and around the area.

“You’ll love visiting Maui in winter and not want to leave back to where you came from, I promise.” – Noel Morata – This Hawaii Life

4. Washington DC in Winter

The nation’s capital is one of the best cities in America to visit during the winter, as there is a wonderful mixture of indoor and outdoor activities to keep you occupied for days on end.

Washington dc in the winter

In the center of the city lies the National Mall, where some of the country’s most recognized monuments are located, including the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial.

There, you can also find some of the world’s most famous and impressive museums where you can escape the cold.

Additionally, you can head to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which is one of the world’s most visited museums. The best part is it’s free to enter!

Across the river from the National Mall is the Arlington National Cemetery, where some of America’s most influential and important figures have been laid to rest.

There are also plenty of unique things to do in Arlington during winter, with the downtown city center turning into a winter wonderland throughout the festive period.

One of the biggest winter attractions is the various ice-skating rinks dotted throughout the city.

“If you’re looking for a fantastic city to visit in the US in winter, definitely plan a trip to Washington DC.” – Megan C. Starr – Virginia Travel Tips

5. Philadelphia in Winter

The historic city has a very lively and colorful vibe in winter.

Philly, as popularly called, has so much to offer in winter, thanks to its lively and colorful vibes in the cold season. 

For instance, if you want to go Ice skating, you can find famous ice skating rinks at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest overlooking the Delaware River and at the Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth’s Park.

Winter in Philly

You can also enjoy the spectacular decorations in Center City during the Holiday season. Walk up to the City Hall for a huge Christmas tree display and other activities.

Even Macy’s has a beautiful Magic Christmas tree display lit by about 35,000 tiny lights for Christmas.

Apart from the lights, there is Dickens Christmas Village which has displays based on the theme of ‘A Christmas Carol’. So even if you don’t intend to shop, you can still enjoy the glitz on the go!

If you have a knack for Christmas markets, you can stop by the Christmas Village in Center City where you can find hundreds of national and international vendors.

Another popular highlight is at Comcast Center where you can check out the holiday special video at the World’s largest state-of-the-art wall screen. Keep in mind that the spot gets a bit overcrowded, as many people gather during Christmas to watch the 15-minute show.

If you’re planning on a long trip, you should also consider a visit to Longwood Gardens. They make for one of the best day trips from Philadelphia around Christmas. The garden is sparkling with half-million lights and exotic flowers during that special time of the year.

“Philadelphia is one of the best places for a Christmas vacation in USA” – Neha –  Travelmelodies

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 32 Best Christmas Destinations: Top Places to Spend Christmas & New Year’s Eve.

6. San Francisco in Winter

Located in Northern California, San Francisco is easily one of the best winter destinations in the US.

This iconic city is known for its majestic Golden Gate Bridge, dynamic waterfront, diverse cultures, cable cars, and colorful Victorian houses.

San Francisco receives millions of tourists each year, but visiting in the winter means fewer crowds and slightly more affordable hotel rates with plenty of things to do and explore.

“The City by the Bay” definitely has no shortage of things to do during your winter visit, whether it’s to:

  • Go see the barking sea lions at Pier 39 or the migration of gray whales
  • Marvel at world-class holiday performances and impressive light displays
  • Experience the festive Chinese New Year parade.

San Francisco has beckoned food lovers for decades due to its culture of culinary excellence.

The diversity of cuisine is unmatched whether it’s coming from a food truck or a Michelin-starred restaurant.

It’s a place where you can enjoy authentic Thai street food, world-class dim sum, amazing Mexican food, and even fresh Peruvian ceviche in a 7×7 mile-square area.

Wine enthusiasts will also enjoy visiting the city in the winter as it’s a time when multiple notable wine events are typically held, such as The San Francisco Chronicle wine competition and Uncorked Wine Festival.

You can experience an incredible amount of varietals from different wine producers in one place.

“With average temperatures resting in the high 50s, make sure to pack layers to stay warm as well as a comfortable pair of walking shoes in order to enjoy this beautiful city in the winter.” – Kristel and Gabriel Glasier, Chef Travel Guide

Beautiful Snowy Places to Visit in USA

If winter for you means a cozy cabin nestled amidst snow-laden pines and enjoying a variety of winter sports, this section will have you covered with a remarkable variety of snowy gems across the nation.

7. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder has gorgeous views of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, mouthwatering local cuisine, and lots of winter activities to enjoy an unmatched winter trip. This makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit during winter in the USA!

Ideally, you should consider exploring the city by foot, as this allows you to experience everything the city has to offer first-hand. 

The best things to do in Boulder Colorado in winter include:

  • Shopping at the Pearl Street Mall (an outdoor street mall), located in the heart of downtown Boulder)
  • Having a walking tour around the University of Colorado Boulder’s college campus
  • Staying at the Eldora Mountain Resort and skiing in the nearby mountain.

⭐ Recommended tour during winter: 3-hour Off-Road 4×4 Adventure to see the wilderness on the Switzerland Trail, enjoying the amazing mountain scenery and views from the top.

Boulder, Colorado is one of the best places to visit in winter in USA

If you like hiking, Flatirons would be an ideal spot for you to spend a winter vacation. From the top spot, Lost Gulch, you have an absolutely stunning view of the Rocky Mountains to the west and an unbeatable overlook view of Boulder laid out to the east.

However, if you’re all about the food, I highly recommend trying local burgers at The Sink, which is one of the most famous restaurants in the region.

Do you know that Boulder has a well-earned reputation as a beer crafting capital?

Its Winter Craft Beer Festival is really popular, so don’t forget to give it a try as well!

All in all, Boulder is an excellent winter wonderland, but don’t forget to pack warm clothes!

8. Lake Tahoe in Winter

For many people, Lake Tahoe is the best winter destination in the US, as there are so many things to do there in winter. It’s also one of the places where it snows the most in California.

Lake Tahoe is an adventure-lovers playground and has the perfect mix of snow and sunshine. In other words, it’s a place to forget gloomy cold winter days and enjoy bluebird ski days!

On average, Tahoe gets around 300 days of sunshine a year and has some of the best ski resorts in the US.

Snow in Tahoe

The region surrounding the lake has over 13 ski and snowboard resorts around its perimeter. My top recommendation is to stay in North Lake Tahoe.

Beyond the slopes, these resorts buzz with seasonal activities for all ages. Kids can conquer tubing hills, explore the Truckee Kidzone Museum, and join festive events. Adults get their groove on at concerts and festivals featuring both renowned and local talents.

Depending on the time of year and the amount of snow, a drive around the lake would also be a great non-skiing activity.

While you’re there, make sure that you also visit Emerald Bay, one of California’s top-photographed points.

Most of the late-night events happen on the eastern side of the lake, in Nevada where you’ll find casinos open all night long.

Tahoe City’s dining scene shines with Californian flair, particularly south-of-the-border gems. Don’t miss Hacienda, a local favorite offering a phenomenal happy hour, perfect after a long day on the slopes!

“Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places to visit in winter on the USA East Coast!” – Erin Morris, Curiously Erin

9. North Pole, Alaska

The North Pole is one of the best places to visit in the US during Winter.

Especially if you love snow, beautiful landscapes, frozen lakes, and cozy cabins.

Besides, winter in the North Pole, Alaska is the best time of the year to see the Northern Lights, thanks to longer hours of darkness and clear night skies.

Northern Lights in winter

If you want to know where you should go for a winter vacation in the USA, consider Alaska. You’ll love it!

10. Jackson Hole in Winter

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the perfect US winter vacation destination for adventure lovers.

Often billed as one of the most challenging ski resorts in the United States, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is known for its extreme skiing and snowboarding runs with steep slopes, rugged terrain, and dangerous drop-offs.

But even if visiting Jackson Hole with kids, there is still plenty to do both on and off the slopes.

The resort has a world-class ski school that caters to each person’s unique ability level.

Things to do in Jackson Hole in winter

Off the slopes, there are lots of other activities to entertain you in Jackson Hole.

Go snowmobiling on the Continental Divide for breathtaking, panoramic views of the snow-capped Teton Mountain Range.

You can also take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge.

The refuge is home to thousands of wild elk that roam freely in the pastures and valleys. 

For those seeking more of a relaxing mountain escape, Jackson Hole has some of the most stunning views you’ll find anywhere in the United States.

“The Wild West town of Jackson, Wyoming also has a great variety of locally owned shops, restaurants and breweries to keep visitors entertained.” – Melissa, Parenthood and Passports

11. Vail, Colorado

Winter excites me every year as I always love visiting snowy, fun winter destinations.

One of my absolute favorite destinations to visit in the USA in winter is Vail, Colorado.

Located in a state that is typically quite popular for winter travel, Vail offers the perfect snow-lover experience!

Things to do in Vail in winter

Obviously, skiing is Vail’s top past-time winter activity and there are definitely ski slopes galore from the bunnies to black diamond runs.

However, there are also things to do for non-skiers in Vail as well.

These highly recommended activities include dog-sledding (with learning to mush), and snowmobiling up to 12,500 feet to catch a gorgeous view of four mountain ranges and the Continental Divide.

In addition, stay in a ski-in, ski-out resort for the full winter effect.

S’mores around the fire pit, building snowmen, and even dinner at Zach’s Cabin where you will arrive and depart via an open-air sleigh ride will complete your memorable winter vacation! – Heather – Trimm Travels

12. Fairbanks, Alaska

The term ‘Winter Getaway’ evokes images of sunshine and beaches… but why not consider a little snow and Fairbanks, Alaska magic?

There is an 80% chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis in the winter sky during a 3-night Fairbanks stay.

Local hotels even offer “Aurora Wake-up Calls.”

Specialty hotels have northern lights viewing rooms, domes or shuttles to prime Northern Lights viewing locations.

Fairbanks in winter

There are so many things to do in and around Fairbanks.

The Alaska Pipeline Viewing Point is less than 15 minutes away.

Local kennels offer hourly or half-day dog sled rides.

Day trips along the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle can be booked in advance. Fairbanks also features its own brewery and distillery.

Santa’s House at the North Pole is a 30-minute ride from Fairbanks.

Outside is a winter wonderland of ice carvings, reindeer and glowing ice slides.

Chena Hot Springs Resort is about an hour from Fairbanks and has everything a winter fun seeker needs.

Chena boasts a Northern Lights viewing room and nighttime tours to nearby dark viewing parks.

Dogsledding is available at their on-site dog kennel.

The famous Aurora Ice Museum dazzles with illuminated frozen carvings and appletinis served in an ice glass.

After braving the elements, there is nothing like soaking in the hot springs outside under the stars when the weather is 4° and the water is 104°.

Watch out for hair icicles!

“Fairbanks, Alaska is truly one of the best winter vacations in the US!”

  • Pro tip: Battery-powered socks
  • FYI: December daylight = about 5 hours Carol Vasel – Isthisevenaroad

13. Olympic National Park, Washington

Combining some of the unique ecosystems such as the temperate rainforest, lakes, beaches and snow-blanketed mountains, Olympic national park is probably the most distinct national park in the whole of the United States. 

The greatest part about visiting this place in the winter is that you wouldn’t find the usual crowds, so you can have a more intimate travel experience.

Olympic National Park in winter

Most of the areas of the park remain accessible, although there are some ranger-led programs.

While working in the USA, I visited it a few times and I loved it in winter. 

Lake Crescent can be your first stop if you are coming from Seattle. It has many picnic areas with a great view.

You can rent a kayak or canoe, and go for a scenic paddling experience.

The charm of the otherworldly Hoh rain forest is the highlight of the Olympics, which has more than 130 species of mosses, lichens and ferns.

A hike to the Sol Duc Falls is something I would definitely recommend.

Olympic National Park has a long coastline with wild beaches, out of which the Ruby and Shi Shi beaches are everyone’s favorite. 

And you can’t miss the snow-blanketted Hurricane Ridge. This is where you can go for tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing and snowboarding. 

“There might be road closures sometimes, so do check about it before planning your visit.” – Deb Pati – The Visa Project

14. Keystone, 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.

If you are lucky, in early winter you can still enjoy the breathtaking fall drives in Colorado.

This ski town is less than an hour away from Denver and will take you to a literal Winter Wonderland!

Keystone Colorado - best winter vacations in the US

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. The nearby town of Breckenridge is an especially great destination for foodies.

To get a little taste of winter, you can also ice skate, snowmobile or go tubing at multiple spots in the area.

At night, you can relax at the spa or warm up in a hot tub under a starry sky for an especially unique experience. 

“Whether you’re into winter sports or you’re a known foodie, Keystone, Colorado is one of the winter destinations in the USA you’ll love!” – Amy Gilbride, The Florida Travel Girl

15. Breckinridge, Colorado

A great winter destination in the U.S. is Breckenridge, Colorado (90 miles from Denver).

It isn’t only a ski town; it is an authentic mountain town with a long history of fur trading and gold mining since 1859.

Breckenridge is one of the most popular ski resorts in Colorado.

Breckenridge winter activities

Besides the 2,300 acres of terrain for advanced skiers and snowboarders at Breckenridge, it also boasts some of the best terrain parks in the world, as well as the highest lift in North America.

🎿 You can find the best Ski Rental Packages here.

But there is more to do here in Breckenridge than just skiing. During the winter, you can come and see the International Snow Sculpture Championship or the ULLR Fest.

ULLR is the snow god from Scandinavian folklore that protects those who participate in winter sports.

For those who don’t ski, there are plenty of town activities from walking history tours, dog sledding, tubing, self-guided snowshoe tours, wine tasting, or enjoying a microbrew.

And after a day well-spent, nothing beats walking into town to sit down at one of the 80 restaurants and enjoy a delicious meal, or shop in over the 200 stores all lined up around the town in colorful wooden buildings.

“Breckenridge is a fabulous destination if you are looking for a winter getaway in the U.S.” – Heather Raulerson, RaulersonGirlsTravel

Underrated Winter Destinations in USA

16. Joshua Tree in Winter

Joshua Tree is located in southern California near the Mojave Desert. It is named after the trees found in the park, which are a species of yucca. 

January is a great time of year to visit the Joshua Tree National Park, as the peak season for visiting is from December to May. During that time, it’s much cooler than in the summer months when the temperatures reach well over 100 degrees.

⭐ Recommended tour during winter: 5-Hour Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tour, finding places deep in the backcountry, away from the national park crowds.

Joshua Tree in December

One of the best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park in Winter is to go hiking.

Most people recognize the Joshua Trees but there are also other varieties in the park that you can see on the Ryan Mountain Trail, which is much easier to hike in winter than in the heat of summer.

The hike is usually two hours and you will gain 1000 feet in elevation at its peak. Once you get to the top you will have expansive views of the park and the mountains surrounding the area, so don’t forget your camera!

Another favorite hike of mine is to Skull Rock. This hike is only 1.8 miles round trip but you can see this rock that looks like a skull. 

Like Ryan Mountain Trail, it’s a perfect photo op in Joshua Tree and quite an easy hike.

Joshua Tree is also known as a light pollution-free zone. This means that you can spend your evenings there stargazing!

“There are several places to go glamping in Joshua Tree that are perfect for stargazing.” – Nicole LaBarge, American SW Obsessed

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Where to Stay in Joshua Tree National Park – Best hotels, Camping & Glamping.

17. Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington, a tiny Bavarian-themed town nestled in the Cascade Mountains, is one of the best winter getaways in the US.

Besides, it’s one of the best Christmas towns in USA!

⭐ Recommended tour: 1-hour Historical Walking Tour in Leavenworth to see the top spots in this beautiful city.

Leavenworth in December

Leavenworth in winter is absolutely gorgeous; every building in the city’s downtown, from the gas station to the Starbucks, looks straight out of a fairytale German village.

During the holiday season, the town becomes even more magical as it transforms into a winter wonderland, festooned with over 500,000 twinkling lights.

The town leans into the holiday spirit, with chestnut roasting, carolers strolling the streets, and a very beloved Gluhwein tent.

Even if you happen to miss visiting Leavenworth during the holidays, you can still soak up all the wintertime vibes here during the rest of the season

Gaze at the snowy Cascade Mountains surrounding the town, mug of mulled wine in hand, next to a roaring fire.

Got those wintertime comfort food cravings?

  • Pick up a bratwurst (with a comically sized self-serve vat of sauerkraut) at München Haus
  • Snag some flaky strudel at the Danish Bakery
  • Wash it all down with a pilsner from Icicle Brewing Company.

“Proust!” – Jessica Schmit, Uprooted Traveler

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Best Things to do in Leavenworth: A Guide to Washington’s Bavarian Village.

18. Whitefish, Montana

One of the best USA winter destinations is a small little mountain town called “Whitefish”, Montana. It’s literally a paradise for all things fun and nature!

For instance, “Glacier National Park” is right next to the town of Whitefish, which makes it a perfect destination to visit.

Whitefish Montana in winter

You’ll be surrounded by lush alpine meadows, rugged mountains, forested backdrops, and a huge alpine feature that looms over the sky.

And being how it is winter time, you obviously have to do some winter activities right?

This is perfect because the town of “Whitefish” has a place called “Whitefish Mountain Resort”, where you can do everything from snowboarding to skiing or even playing in the snow.

If nature isn’t to your liking, you might also be interested in the small mountain town itself as it’s still filled with all sorts of fun things to do. For example, you can find all kinds of stores in the downtown area selling various handmade arts, jewelry, gifts, and more.

Nearby, you can even catch some awesome theater performances at Whitefish Theatre Company.

However, one of my favorite things to do here is use the spa, as Whitefish has a wide range of unique spa choices for you to choose from.

And if you’re hungry, you might even want to stop by the town’s most famous restaurant, called “Loula’s Café”, and grab a bite!

“If you get the chance, definitely come check this place out.” – Wayne Dang, The Traveling Asian

19. Utah National Parks

Utah is home to five National Parks: Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion, collectively known as the ‘Mighty Five’.

With a huge variety of winter-friendly trails, low crowds, and less expensive accommodations, the Utah National Park is an awesome winter destination in the US.

Things to do in Utah in winter

Although visitors may need to work around snow closures, southern Utah and the lower elevation parks are fantastic year-round destinations.

These iconic trails are accessible throughout the winter, including:

  • Angels Landing and the Narrows in Zion,
  • Delicate Arch in Arches,
  • Hickman Bridge in Capitol Reef and
  • Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

Bryce Canyon, with an elevation of over 8,000 feet, has the greatest chance of snow but the opportunity to see its signature hoodoo rock columns with a covering of snow is truly magical.

With lower crowds, the trails are often a place of solitude and a welcome contrast to the high crowds at other times of the year.

Accommodation prices tend to be much lower during the winter months and there are lots of cozy and traditional options both in and close to the parks.

“With so much to see and do, Utah National Parks are indeed some of the best places to visit in winter in USA!” – Elaine & David – The Whole World is a Playground

20. Steamboat Springs

For a Colorado winter destination away from the major tourist towns like Vail or Aspen, head to Steamboat Springs.

The town is a beautiful three-hour drive from Denver or 20 minutes from the Hayden airport.

Steamboat Springs in winter

If you are looking to learn to ski, the Howelsen Hill Ski Area is probably the most affordable place you can find to go skiing.

For more advanced skiers, the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort has six peaks and 169 named trails with a large range of difficulties.

Around town, you can access many other winter activities like snowmobiling, snow tubing, or ice fishing, or you can simply relax at the Old Town Hot Springs, in a hot tub or around a fireplace.

For a truly unique experience, check out Vista Verde Ranch.

The all-inclusive luxury ranch has private cabins, gourmet meals, and tons of activities.

“The staff and facilities will make your winter getaway one you will never forget.” – Dan Bagby – HoneymoonAlways.com

21. Wisconsin in Winter

Wisconsin is a very popular winter destination in the United States. The state is best known for its winter activities such as downhill skiing, snowboarding, winter ziplining, sledding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing.

Wisconsin winter getaways

The Cascade Mountain located in Portage is one of the best places in Wisconsin to enjoy these adventurous winter activities.

Venturing to Apostle Island would take you through some amazing ice caves.

Ice skating and snow sculpting on Lake Geneva are some of the unique activities to enjoy in Wisconsin.

The magical Wisconsin Dells, commonly dubbed as the world’s waterpark capital, as its theme parks and temperature-regulated indoor water, give you an excellent escape from the winter blues.

Wisconsin is also a brilliant choice if you are not a fan of snow or would like to stay indoors on a chilly day. 

You can do this by checking out some of the city’s many indoor attractions, including its many museums, live show theaters, and cultural institutions.

The Milwaukee Art Museum which is popular for its gorgeous architecture designed by the Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava is definitely a must-visit and one of the fun things to do in Milwaukee for couples.

Additionally, the beauty of Wisconsin’s state parks is simply unmatched, thanks to their well-groomed trails where you can enjoy hiking or leisure walks around the lakes.

Copper Falls State Park, Mirror Lake State Park, and Devil’s Lake State Park are among the top recommendations for their mesmerizing and serene landscapes.

Also, do not miss out on savoring Wisconsin’s specialty fried cheese curds and butter burgers from Culver’s.

And if you want to relax after a day full of activities, I recommend one of these Milwaukee hotels with hot tubs in the room!

Anjali Wadhwa – Cheerful Trails

Read next: 10 Most Romantic hotels in Milwaukee, WI.

22. San Antonio in Winter

San Antonio, Texas is an ideal US destination during winter for temperate weather and festive events. 

Since winter is off-season, many San Antonio hotels are cheaper. Also, attractions like the Alamo and local museums are significantly less crowded.

Even the famed Riverwalk is more open, but with the mild climate, you’ll still be able to sit outside and enjoy local Tex-Mex with a margarita!

San Antonio - Top winter destinations in USA

During the winter and the holidays, the Riverwalk is adorned with 200,000 holiday lights strung from the bridges and trees.

Other festive events take place, as well.

You can enjoy the festive decorations at the historic Market Square or watch the Mexican-inspired New Year’s Eve events in La Villita and HemisFair Park.

If visiting San Antonio with kids, spending some time at the local zoo would also be a great idea, as it would be decorated with plenty of lights and host a variety of events, including the surrounding theme and water parks.

While San Antonio may not be covered in a blanket of snow, its affordability and festive, Mexican-infused holiday events, along with traditional decor and shopping, make for a unique and fun winter escape.

Cheap & Warm Winter Vacations in USA

23. Captiva and Fort Myers Beaches, Florida

24. Savannah, Georgia in Winter

Even during the coldest months of the year, the highs can sometimes reach into the mid-70s. You’ll love winter in Savannah!

River Street makes a classic spot to catch a sunset, and Broughton Street is the place to get your shopping fix in.

The Paris Market is a must-visit, especially during the holiday season when they go all-out with fanciful window displays.

⭐ Recommended tour during winter: 3-Hour Savannah First Squares Culinary & Cultural Walking Food Tour, visiting up to 6 local eateries and specialty food shops to sample foods.

Savannah is one of the best places to visit in winter in USA

Savannah is also known for being quite a foodie destination!

Stop by Six Pence Pub, Crystal Beer Parlor, or The Olde Pink House (always a classic) for a hearty winter meal.

For dessert, head to Leopold’s Ice Cream (its line stretches down the block even when it’s cold outside).

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is an attraction year-round, but it’s particularly stunning to see its beautiful nativity scene on display during the Christmas season.

The Holiday Tour of Homes is one of Savannah’s most popular holiday events.

It’s where you’ll see some of Savannah’s finest homes all decked out in their seasonal best.

Luckily, January is typically considered the off-season in Savannah, so it’s a good time to look for travel deals.

The tulip trees begin sprouting their giant pink blossoms by early February to usher in the warmer spring weather.

In case you hit a rare day where it’s too cold to stroll the Historic District, head to E. Shaver bookseller, and curl up in a comfy chair with a steamy cup of tea to read one of their suggested locally authored books.

“With all this, it’s clear to see why Savannah is one of the best places to visit in the USA in winter.” – Erin Terrell Clarkson, Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Cool & Unusual Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia.

25. Key West, Florida

There are those who enjoy snow sports, but for most people looking for a place warm to shake off the winter chill, there’s no better place to warm up than in the Keys in Florida.

Key West is simply one of the best places to go to in winter if you’re looking for warm weather and cool beaches.

Key West in the Winter

The region enjoys a year-round subtropical climate so the water is always warm and enjoyable.

If your idea of cool things to do in Key West includes getting in, on, or under the water, you’ll love it there.

Going snorkeling on a sunset champagne snorkeling cruise is also a must. You can easily find all the gear you need for the cruise, and on the way back, you’ll sip a glass of champagne to toast the sunset.

If you’re seeking something a bit more adventurous, you can opt for scuba diving in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Many dive operators offer a PADI certification to help get you started.

Additionally, options for anglers seem endless in this fisherman’s paradise. 

You can book both inshore and offshore fishing trips. Alternatively, you can rent a boat or a jet ski to cruise around the inshore waters

When it comes to local food, there’s no limit to dining options in the Keys. Cafes, upscale restaurants, and bars serve just about anything found in the local waters!

Be sure to also try the local pink shrimp, and of course, a slice of the best Key Lime pie in Key West.

For the best experience, you should plan your stay for at least a long weekend and make accommodations well in advance.

“Key West is popular as the perfect warm winter destination in the USA.” – Lori Sorrentino, Travlinmad.com

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26. Fort Lauderdale

When looking for winter destinations in the US there is no reason why Fort Lauderdale shouldn’t be on your list.

It’s one of the most beautiful warm places to visit in winter in the USA!

Whether you’re into beach life, nature, or interested in the arts and entertainment scene, Fort Lauderdale has something waiting for you during the winter.

Fort Lauderdale - Warm winter vacations USA

The months between December and April are the best time to visit for anyone looking to get some winter sun, and you can expect temperatures in the high 50s to the mid-80s.

For those who adhere to sustainable travel ideologies, you’ll find that Fort Lauderdale provides an incomparable experience for its visitors.

One of the best things to do here is to spend your time exploring the Fort Lauderdale Beach area.

The region has almost the same luscious white sands as Miami Beach but with much fewer crowds.

You’ll also find all the typical amenities you’d expect in a tourist attraction, such as hotels, restaurants, and even a bike rental service.

The boardwalk area is safe and boasts some exuberant nightlife vibes as well as things to do with the family if you’re traveling with children.

“All in all, Fort Lauderdale makes a great location for anyone looking to escape lower than average temperatures.” – Daniel James, Urban Abroad

27. Tucson, Arizona

Snowbirds have long enjoyed the warm dry winter climate of Tucson Arizona.

But, in addition to the weather, Tucson offers a wide range of activities to enjoy in winter.

The variety of options allows you to pick between a relaxed luxury resort stay or one that is full of adventure.

Perhaps you’re a history buff, an art lover, or a foodie. Well, Tucson will satisfy any of those interests as well!

winter trips in the us

For example, those who are looking for a bit of indulgence will want to stay at the Hacienda Del Sol Resort.

The resort offers top-notch dining experiences, horseback riding, and hiking.

Artsy types can take an on-site tour of the sculpture gardens. If you just want to chill, book an in-room spa service or lounge by one of the pools. 

Those choosing to venture off-site will want to take this amazing 3-hour Saguaro National Park East E-Bike Tour.

This is a fun way to get to know the history and infamy of this western town while pedaling through the city’s barrios.

Art lovers should also visit the Gallery in the Sun. This is the home of Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, best known for his images of Puebla children popularized on the 1960 UNICEF Holiday Cards.

If you’re an adventurer, you’ll surely want to head to the Saguaro desert for some hiking. 

While out there, keep your eyes open. You may find some ancient petroglyphs inscribed on the rocks!

Visitors to Tucson will be pleasantly surprised by all this southwestern city offers.

“With a mix of both art and outdoor experiences, Tucson, AZ is truly one of the best winter vacations in the United States not to miss.” – Susan Decoteau-Ferrier, GenXTraveler.com

28. San Diego in Winter

If you’re looking for the absolutely perfect winter destination in the USA, you absolutely cannot go wrong with San Diego.

As California’s southernmost city (and second most populous), San Diego is a thriving metropolis with a lot to offer its visitors.

Everything from great restaurants to great beaches is accessible year-round.

things to do in san diego in winter

Though travelers could easily spend weeks here and not get bored, spending 2 to 4 days in San Diego is also an ideal length of time to get a feel for the city.

It may be a bit too chilly to go for a swim in the Pacific. Luckily, however, the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the city’s lovely beaches with a fraction of the tourist crowds of summer.

If you’re more interested in the cosmopolitan city vibes, don’t miss the opportunity to explore downtown’s historic Gaslamp Quarter and enjoy the restaurants in Little Italy.

And if it’s too cold or rainy, there’s no better plan than shopping at Fashion Valley!

If you’re interested in learning a bit while on your holiday, then head to Balboa Park.

This lovely park is home to countless beautiful gardens, seventeen fantastic museums, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

“All in all, San Diego makes for the absolute perfect winter getaway in the United States.” – Maggie Turansky, The World Was Here First

29. Death Valley in Winter

The hottest and driest national park in the USA, Death Valley National Park is the ideal winter destination.

The Southern California desert park boasts winter daytime temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s, just perfect for getting out of your car to explore.

Death Valley national park winter

Winter sunsets in the park are spectacular, and hopefully, you will get to enjoy the colorful skies at dusk.

Plus, if you enjoy stargazing, Death Valley National Park hosts an annual dark sky festival in February.

Hiking is also one of the best things to do in Death Valley National Park, and winter is a great time to venture on longer, more challenging adventures, such as the epic climb to the top of Telescope Peak.

Exploring Death Valley’s colorful canyons, such as Desolation Canyon and Golden Canyon, is also a must-do.

You can also walk on the salt flats in Badwater Basin, explore the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and check out the vibrant colors at Artist’s Palette.

“In winter, you can enjoy all of these popular Death Valley attractions in pleasant temperatures!” – Dhara, Roadtripping California

30. Red Rock Canyon National Park, Nevada

The area surrounding Las Vegas, Nevada may be best known for bright lights and casinos, but it also holds some of the most picturesque nature and desert attractions in the Southwestern United States.

Red Rock Canyon - best places to go in the winter in the US

The main attraction here would be the Red Rock Canyon National Park, located just 25 minutes outside of Sin City.

Winter is the best time to visit the park because triple digits are a distant memory and the air is cool. 

While in summer, the 13-mile one-way loop road around Red Rock might be all you can enjoy from inside your air-conditioned car.

However, winter will open up a number of hiking options through the park’s beautiful trails. 

You could easily spend several days exploring the breathtaking rock formations and streams around the park.

Another must-see that is found just 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas is the public art installation in the desert called Seven Magic Mountains.

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone created this piece from locally sourced boulders which he painted in vivid neon. 

You can easily hit both of these desert attractions in one full day!

“It’s amazing to see two vastly different sights made of stone in the Nevada desert!” – Monica, This Rare Earth

Other Winter Destinations you’ll love

Best Winter Destinations in the US

What is your favorite winter destination in the USA?

Have you visited other beautiful places in the USA during Winter?

Let me know in the comments and I will add them to the post!



places to visit in winter in USA

Sara Rodríguez

A passionate traveler with a mission: Help you plan your next trip easily and enjoy it to the fullest.

In this travel blog you will find everything you need to get inspired and organize your next adventure. Read more about my story here.

4 responses to “30 Unforgettable & Beautiful Places to Visit in Winter in USA”

  1. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

    San Antonio in the middle of Cedar Fever Season? Think I’ll pass. Seattle and San Francisco? Deserved to be on the lists 20 years or so back, but not these days.

  2. Addison says:

    so many great places in Colorado to visit. Bishop castle,Royal George, Cliff house and more. The history of the state stretches back thousands of year and alive on fully displays in some of these town.

  3. citra says:

    USA is my dream. still in my bucket list. Thank you for sharing, this is for my reference in the future. hope i can go here with my lovely family.

    Best regards

  4. Joshua Goodwin says:

    Beautiful places I’ve really been looking towards my next vacation a lot of good places in here love the info any vacation spots near Gainesville? Looking for some type of hot spring. Would really like some insight!

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