Best Winter Vacations USA for Warm Weather, Ski Trips & Holiday Events

Best winter vacations USA blog cover image.  Text overlaying two images; the left image showing two people on a ski lift and the right image showing deckchairs on a beach with a palm tree leaning over them.

This guide will reveal the top 10 best winter vacations in the US for all trip types and categories.

This means that whether you are looking for warm weather and beaches, snow-dusted mountains for skiing, or charming towns filled with holiday cheer, you will discover the best in the US.

In addition, we will direct you to the best places to stay and more information for each featured destination.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links 🙂

Best Winter Vacations in USA for
WARM WEATHER & Beaches

Blue sky day in December at the Florida Keys, one of the best beach destinations for winter vacations in the US.
Key West on a sunny winter day in December.

Let’s face it, most people’s version of the best winter vacation spots are the places that don’t feel like winter at all!

Fortunately for Americans, there are dozens of options for warm weather winter vacations in the US.

Most of the best of these tropical destinations are on islands, but California and Florida in particular also offer some respite from the cold.

The following are the top 10 best winter vacations in the US for warm weather and beach seekers:

  1. Hawaiian Islands
  2. Florida Keys
  3. US Virgin Islands
  4. Puerto Rico
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Palm Springs, CA
  7. Phoenix, AZ
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. New Orleans, LA
  10. Savannah, GA

Each of these USA warm weather winter vacation destinations are covered in detail below.


1. Hawaiian Islands

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 81°F (27°c) / Low 67°F (19°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Cheaper prices, perfect weather, smaller crowds.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Snorkeling, paddle boarding, sunbathing, sunset sails, hiking, & tasting local flavors.

Tall palms create tropical aloha vibes at Kaaawa Beach on the Oahu North Shore of Hawaii on a winter vacation in Hawaii.

There is truly never a bad time to visit the aloha state of Hawaii. There are, however, times where the warm sun and tropical vibes are especially welcome, and the winter months are among them.

All of the islands provide perfect weather and conditions in the winter months, but most first-time visitors tend to prefer the pristine beaches of Oahu or Maui. However, Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii is the most budget-friendly option.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN HAWAII

📚 SUGGESTED GUIDE: PLANNING A TRIP TO HAWAII – FROM START TO FINISH


2. Florida Keys

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 76°F (24°c) / Low 66°F (19°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Avoid hurricane & peak season, mild temperatures.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Snorkel, scenic drives, relaxing, Michelin-star dining, & sunset sails.

Harbor Walk in Key West adorned in holiday lights for the Christmas celebration in the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys is the best mainland winter vacation destination in the US.

Not only is the climate the definition of perfect, but it is late enough in the year to not have to worry about hurricanes!

While all are good options, Key West is the most popular choice for a winter holiday, featuring the highest end hotels, restaurants, and resorts. It also features an airport, which makes out-of-state travel significantly easier.

That said, Key West is also the most expensive of the Florida Keys.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

📚 SUGGESTED GUIDE: 101 DREAM DESTINATIONS: ULTIMATE TRAVEL BUCKET LIST


3. US Virgin Islands

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 83°F (28°c) / Low 75°F (24°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Warmest US winter destination.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Beach combing, pirate history museum, snorkeling.

A photo of a stunning gold sand beach with crystal clear waters from the US Virgin Islands in the winter.

The US Virgin Islands are, on average, the warmest place you can visit in December or January as an American citizen without a US passport (tied with Puerto Rico).

This alone makes a compelling case for why you may want to book your winter vacation in the Virgin Islands.

Add in some of the incredible things to do in St John such as the Pirates Treasure Museum, multiple national parks and monuments, and world-class snorkeling, and it may just jump to the top of your list.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS


4. Puerto Rico

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 83°F (28°c) / Low 73°F (23°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Tied for highest average winter temperatures for US states and territories (with the Virgin Islands).

🏖 Best Things to Do: Beach days, hot springs, waterfalls, and food tasting.

A fiery winter sunset fills the sky over a beach in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is the warmest place US visitors can go to in the winter months without a passport, tied with the US Virgin Islands.

While all of the top mentions in this list feature spectacular beaches, Puerto Rico also provides a more cultural and culinary experience.

Old San Juan is world-renowned for its unique flavors, colorful culture, and rich history. Exploring this area may appeal to some vacationers more than spending a week on the beach.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN PUERTO RICO


5. Miami, Florida

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 75°F (24°c) / Low 65°F (19°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Warmest major US city and coincides with dry season.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Miami Beach, Everglades NP, downtown Miami.

Aerial image of Miami Beach at sunset showing the high rise buildings nestled along the coast.

Miami is the first city to appear on the list of the best places to visit in winter, as well as the first non-island. That is because it is the warmest major city in the US in the winter and built with tourism and vacations in mind.

There is something for everyone in Miami, making it the most well-rounded vacation option to appear so far.

Want to learn to salsa? Relax on the beach? Go shopping? Explore local nature and ecosystems? Whatever sounds like your ideal vacation, Miami has it all as well as an ideal high temperature of 75°F.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN MIAMI


6. Palm Springs, California

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 72°F (22°c) / Low 46°F (8°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Warmest winter destination in California.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Up-scale dining, outdoor adventures, resort-life.

Palm trees and mountains decorate the scenery of Palm Springs in Southern California.

Palm Springs is a famous tropical-destination in Southern California renowned for it’s upscale, fine-living.

In other words, it is the best to go for a winter vacation that feels like a true vacation.

Whether you want to rent a bike and hit some trails or stay by the pool and never leave the resort, your wish is a command in Palm Springs.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN PALM SPRINGS


7. Phoenix, Arizona

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 68°F (20°c) / Low 48°F (9°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Warm days, cool nights, reliably dry weather, best winter weather in the Southwest.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Golf, shop, dine, and nightlife.

Panoramic photo of sunset over Phoenix, Arizona

Representing the American Southwest as the best winter vacation city is perpetually-sunny Phoenix.

November through February tend to be the driest months of the year and the average daily highs are right around the ideal, comfortable temperature of 70°.

If the islands or coastal cities featured in this guide are too far, Phoenix is your best option for a poolside holiday.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN PHOENIX


8. San Diego, California

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 66°F (19°c) / Low 50°F (10°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Reliable, temperate sunny weather. Closest destination for west coasters.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Surf, Balboa Park December Nights, Parade of Lights.

Boats line up with the city of San Diego in the backdrop on a sunny winter vacation day in Southern California.

If you’re looking for a bit of holiday festivities while seeking a warm weather winter vacation on the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is the place for you!

While San Diego is a bit chillier than the other top locations on this list, the weather is very reliable year-round so rain is unlikely.

What’s more, San Diego has a much calmer, surfer-like vibe than other SoCal cities like LA, making for a more relaxed and enjoyable winter holiday.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN SAN DIEGO


9. New Orleans, Louisiana

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 65°F (19°c) / Low 46°F (8°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Less humid, warm weather, incredible culture.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Eat, dance, party, and explore the local cajun culture.

Night photo showing the winter holiday lights of New Orleans.

New Orleans is home to the most fun, colorful, and festive culture in the United States.

The region’s mild winters make it a premier place for a winter vacation for people who seek culture and spirit over relaxation and resorts.

While you could spend it by a pool, a true vacation in NOLA is one that delights all the senses. Every night is an excuse to dance, eat incredible local fare, and celebrate life.

Louisiana is a fun place to visit any time of year, but the sticky-hot, humid summers can be a constant burden. This problem disappears in the milder winter months.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN NEW ORLEANS


10. Savannah, Georgia

☀️ Average Winter Temperature: High 64°F (18°c) / Low 45°F (7°c)

🌴 Why You Should Visit in Winter: Mild weather, quiet season, great vibes.

🏖 Best Things to Do: Ice skating, old house tours, holiday trolley tour

A horse and carriage next to City Market in Downtown Savannah at Christmastime

Savannah is one of those USA bucket list cities that everyone falls instantly in love with. Unfortunately, it can be crazy busy and crazy hot much of the year.

The winter months bring relief from both of these enjoyment-hurdles!

While the up-and-down daily highs tend to be less predictable, the temperature is generally dry and pleasant. Expect it to be warm enough for T-shirts during the day, with crisp nights.

There are certainly warmer places to visit in the US for a winter vacation, but none provide the history and charm that you will discover in Savannah, Georgia.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN SAVANNAH


Best Winter Vacations in USA for
SKI TRIPS

Gorgeous lighting glows around skiers on a lift enjoying a snowy winter vacation in the US.

Not everyone in search of amazing winter vacations is seeking warmer climates. For some of us, winter means hitting the slopes with fresh powder and hot cocoa!

This section ranks the best winter vacation destinations in the US for ski trips and other snow activities. This factors in the quality of available resorts, beauty of the region, holiday spirit, and slope quality according to an advanced ranking system performed by Powderhounds.

The top 10 best winter vacations in the USA for skiing, snow sports, and mountain trips are:

  1. Telluride, CO
  2. Park City, UT
  3. Jackson Hole, WY
  4. Breckenridge, CO
  5. Big Sky, MT
  6. Vail, CO
  7. Sun Valley, ID
  8. Aspen, CO
  9. Bend, OR
  10. White Fish, MT

Each of these destinations is covered in detail below.


1. Telluride, Colorado

🌨️ Average Snowfall: 167 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Noel Night, Holiday Prelude Event, Christmas at Schmid Ranch, Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade.

This photo shows the town of Telluride in Colorad against the snow covered Rocky Mountains on a cold winter day.

Telluride is ranked the #1 best ski resorts in the United States.

It is an incredible place to visit any time of year, but is undoubtedly the most popular winter holiday destination in the USA for snow sport and alpine lovers.

In addition to the snowy winter wonderland conditions, the city goes all out for winter festivals with a variety of lighting ceremonies, concerts, special events, and more.

If you are seeking a winter vacation in the US with skiing, sledding, snowboarding, and holiday cheer in mind, Telluride is the best there is.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE BEST HOTELS IN TELLURIDE


2. Park City, Utah

🌨️ Average Snowfall: 320 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Tree Lighting Ceremony, Electric Parade, Holiday Sing-a-long, Snowfest, Christmas with the Celts, Torchlight Parade, Santa’s Ride.

A panoramic photo of Park City Utah taken during a colorful sunrise.

The charming downtown of Park City becomes a dazzling display of lights and cheer around the holidays. It is one of the best places in the US to visit any time of year, but it truly shines in December.

Come for the world-famous powder and stay for the many fun holiday events. Watch Santa come down from the mountain, tap dance with the Irish, watch Christmas movies in the park, and so much more.

Learn more about the winter festivities at the official Park City events website.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN PARK CITY


3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 526 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Tree Lighting, Santa on Square, Sleigh Rides, Torch Light Parade & Fireworks, Ski with Santa.

Antler gateway to Jackson Hole, WY.

Jackson Hole is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

This charming tourist town is tucked into the Grand Tetons mountains which add an incredible backdrop to the beautifully manicured village.

Of course, the reason it is one of the best winter vacations in the USA is the world-class skiing and snow sports!

Jackson Hole receives more average snowfall than any other ski resort and is considered one of the best runs in the country.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN JACKSON HOLE


4. Breckenridge, Colorado

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 300 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Lighting of Breckenridge, Race of the Santas, Holiday Dog Parade.

A streetlight bathes the snowy town of Breckenridge in this Christmas photo.

Breckenridge is packed with that small town holiday charm, but turns it up another notch in the winter.

For a truly unique holiday celebration, try to attend the kick-off event on the first weekend of December. Visitors will find hundreds of Santa look-alikes running down Main Street in a race to start the holiday season. 

Afterward, a massive lighting ceremony begins with over 250k holiday lights! This has become one of the most popular winter photography events and is one you will never forget.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN BRECKENRIDGE


5. Big Sky, Montana

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 400 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Christmas Stroll (multiple weekends with a dozen short events).

Photo of the Big Sky Mountains in Montana on a winter vacation ski trip.

The view from main street in Big Sky is perhaps the most beautiful single frame on this list. A handsome ski town opens up to snow-capped mountains that beg to be visited.

Big Sky receives more snow than any other ski resort with the exception of Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

The reliably fresh powder makes for incredible conditions whether you are just wanting to sled with the kids or strap in for some advanced mountain shredding.

While Big Sky does not put on the holiday extravaganza as other more famous destinations, each weekend is filled with fun events such as ugly sweater parties, Santa visits, and more.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN BIG SKY


6. Vail, Colorado

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 190 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Kris Kringle Market, Ugly Sweater 5k, Tree Lighting, Magic of Lights, Winterfest.

Pano photo from a drone of Vail on a snowy winter day.

Vail is the third ski resort town in Colorado to make the list of the best places for winter vacations in the US, and it won’t be the last!

Like so many other Rocky Mountain retreats, Vail is a snow-lover’s paradise with charm and cheer, especially around the holidays.

The Vail holiday festivities begin the first weekend of December and don’t stop until New Years Eve. This is one of the best winter destinations for families as there is something for all ages, as well as a variety of stay-in family experiences.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN VAIL


7. Sun Valley, Idaho

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 102 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Tree Lightings, Christmas Bazaar, Jingle & Mingle, Holiday Markets, Torch Lighting Ceremony, Ice Shows, NYE Fireworks.

A snowboarder goes airborne on a winter vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho.

It is somewhat ironic that a place called Sun Valley is considered a top 10 snowy winter vacation destination.

However, this is a reputation that is well deserved!

Sun Valley is the best mountain town in Idaho. While popular year-round for various events and activities, it transforms in the winter months and puts on a light and holiday show that truly dazzles incoming snow chasers.

With the seasonal snowfall and holiday season, Sun Valley transforms into a true winter wonderland.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN SUN VALLEY


8. Aspen, Colorado

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 179 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: 12 Days of Aspen.

Twilight photo from the Aspen slopes capturing the town of Aspen tucked into the Rocky Mountains aglow at night.

The final Colorado resort on the list, Aspen, receives a bit less snow and has a lower ski rating than most others on this list.

That said, there are certainly plenty of people who favor charming Aspen over any other option.

The most notable holiday “event” is actually a series of small events that take place throughout the final 12 days of the year known as “The 12 Days of Aspen.” These include everything from festive arts and crafts to concerts and Christmas feasts.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN ASPEN


9. Bend, Oregon

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 34 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Letters to Santa, Tree of Joy, Old Fashioned Christmas.

A photo from the snowy slopes at Mt Bachelor in Bend, Oregon.

Bend is a beautiful, thriving town in Central Oregon quickly climbing the ranks as one of the premier year-round destinations in the United States.

This once-small town has been growing exponentially lately, propped up by its location in a region of stunning natural beauty, a beacon for all things craft and artisan, and the year-round outdoor activities.

While the city of Bend may not quite be as big on the holiday cheer as the more famous and highly-ranked destinations on this list, the winter snow on Mt Bachelor is tough to beat and the town itself has an energy that one must experience to understand.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN BEND

📚 SUGGESTED GUIDE: BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN OREGON


10. Whitefish, Montana

🌨️ Average Winter Snowfall: 73 inches/year

Powderhounds Ski Resort Ranking: 4.5/5 ⭐

🎄 Winter Holiday Events: Holiday Extravaganza, Christmas at the Fairgrounds, Yuletide Affair, Holiday Post.

Morning on a freshly powdered Whitefish, Montana.

Rounding out the list is Whitefish, the younger-sibling of the more famous and popular Montana ski destination of Big Sky.

While Whitefish does not get the same snowfall nor publicity as the other options, it still has a very-high powder ranking and less fame means smaller crowds!

If you are looking for a more quiet and/or budget-friendly option, consider a winter trip to Whitefish.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN WHITEFISH


Best Cities for Winter Vacations in USA for
HOLIDAY FESTIVALS

City light glow in the valley of a large mountain in this winter vacation destination photograph.

While most people looking for the best winter vacation spots in the US are seeking warm weather getaways, some are just in search of holiday cheer!

These cities are the most world-famous destinations for celebrating the holidays and all the tastes, sights, sounds, and displays that go with them.

From iconic tree lighting festivals to off-the-wall events like Santa races, these 10 towns and cities are the best winter vacation destinations in the US for celebrating the holidays:

  1. New York, NY
  2. North Pole, AK
  3. Santa Claus, IN
  4. Bethlehem, PA
  5. Park City, UT
  6. St Augustine, FL
  7. Franklin, TN
  8. Duluth, MN
  9. Jackson Hole, WY
  10. Leavenworth, WA

More information for visiting each of these festive towns and cities is below.


1. New York, New York

🎄 Holiday Events: Too many to list, and all varieties. See the most popular here.

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 42°F (6°c) / Low 30° (-1°c)

Ice skaters fill Central Parks rink on a winter day in New York, NY.

Perhaps the greatest city in America gets a little extra special for the winter holidays.

Between the nationally-televised and world-famous Thanksgiving Day Parade, the endless Christmas festivals and shop displays, and the New Year’s Eve Countdown in Time Square, there is no more iconic city for a winter vacation than New York.

It is hard to describe and overstate the palpable energy that charges the frigid air in the winter here.

If you have never visited New York and want to experience it, align your visit with a winter vacation and experience the magic of the Big Apple.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN NEW YORK


2. North Pole, Alaska

🎄 Holiday Events: Winter Solstice Celebration, Winterfest, Daily Xmas events.

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 0°F (-18°) / Low -16°F (-27°c)

Welcome to North Pole (Alaska) sign post at night
Photo: WikiCommons

Imagine telling your kids or Christmas-loving spouse that you’ll be spending the holidays at the North Pole!

While it isn’t that North Pole, you may forget from time to time it isn’t! North Pole City is in Alaska and celebrates Christmas year-round. That said, things ramp up a bit around December 25th for the real thing.

This tourist town has a permanent Santa Claus with real reindeer, candy cane street lights, and even a town mayor by the name of… you guessed it, Santa!

Combine the festive celebrations with the chance to see beautiful Alaska and glimpse the Northern Lights and there can be no doubt that the North Pole is one of the best cities for a winter vacation in the US.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN NORTH POLE

📚 SUGGESTED GUIDE: HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS


3. Santa Claus, Indiana

🎄 Holiday Events: Santa Claus Flyer, Winter Chant Workshop, Lighting, and More.

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 45°F (7°c) / Low 28°F (-2°c)

Welcome to Santa Claus Indiana welcome sign.
Photo: tengrrl

As you might expect, the city of Santa Claus in Indiana is pretty into the holidays!

As you also might expect, this otherwise unassuming town sees a massive influx of tourists in the winter season.

The city of Santa Claus is often referred to as America’s Christmas Hometown. The city post office, complete with a merry band of elves, receives and answers thousands of children’s letters to Santa each year.

Of course, they also go big with the holiday ceremonies. There is a candy castle, live reindeer encounters, annual chestnut roasting, and most famously, a 1+ mile drive-through Christmas lights show known as Santa’s Land of Lights.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN SANTA CLAUS


4. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

🎄 Holiday Events: Trees of Historic Bethlehem, Tree Lighting, Daily Christmas events

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 40°F (4°c) / Low 25°F (-4°c)

A view of historic Bethlehem in the snow in Pennsylvania.
Photo: WikiCommons

Being able to tell friends and family that you spent Christmas in Bethlehem seems like reason enough to go, but there is far more to this Pennsylvania town than just its name.

Better known as “Christmas City”, Bethlehem is world-famous for its festivities and culture surrounding Christmas.

Each season, this small town becomes a bustling tourist destination. The city itself is decorated entirely in its Christmas garb with plenty of amazing festivals to complement that holiday spirit.

Some of the best events include the Saturday children’s breakfast with Santa Claus himself, Christkindlmarkt with live music and vendors, and the 1.2 million bulb Christmas light display known as the “Winter Light Spectacular” at the Lehigh Valley Zoo.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN BETHLEHEM


5. Park City, Utah

🎄 Holiday Events: Tree Lighting Ceremony, Electric Parade, Holiday Sing-a-long, Snowfest, Christmas with the Celts, Torchlight Parade, Santa’s Ride

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 35°F (2°c) / Low 14°F (-10°c)

Sunrise pano of Park City in Utah.

As well as being a premier ski trip destination, Park City is also one of the best places to go to enjoy the holidays.

This ski town has more holiday cheer than perhaps any other place in the United States. It has become a popular photography destination, particularly in December when the town is aglow in holiday lights.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN PARK CITY


6. St Augustine, Florida

🎄 Holiday Events: Night of Lights, Luminary Lights, Christmas Parade, Lighthouse Light-up, Colonial Nightwatch, and many more

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 69°F (21°c) / Low 50°F (10°c)

Christmas lights flood the rame from floor to tree to rooftop in this Christmas photo from St Augustine.
Photo: Om

If you are seeking a place with warm weather, beaches, and Christmas spirit to spend some time this winter, St. Augustine may be your new favorite place.

While temperatures are not warm enough for sunbathing, they are certainly comfortable for walking along the coast and for beach days.

Most importantly, few places in the US celebrate the holidays like St Augustine! The city is known for the sensational Nights of Lights events, wherein white lights glow from the sidewalks to rooftops.

This annual event features more than 3 million white lights to create an unforgettable experience.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN ST. AUGUSTINE


7. Franklin, Tennessee

🎄 Holiday Events: Tree Lighting, Christmas Parade, Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt, Dickens of a Christmas

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 51°F (11°c) / Low 30°F (-1°c)

A photo of the famous Dickens of a Christmas festival parade in Franklin, Tennessee.
Photo: Jason Coleman

The major appeal of Franklin, TN is the annual Dickens of a Christmas event.

This annual festival recreates the time of Charles Dickens, using the historic downtown of the city and its Victorian architecture to set the stage.

During this event, more than 200 musicians, dancers, performers, and costumed characters fill the streets in one of the most impressive public performances you will see in your life.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN FRANKLIN


8. Duluth, Minnesota

🎄 Holiday Events: Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Christmas City Express.

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 23°F (-4°c) / Low 7°F (-14°c)

Lights from the Bentleyville Tour of Lights in Duluth, MN.
Photo: WikiCommons

A winter visit to Duluth means either braving the cold or embracing it! Fortunately, there is plenty of holiday cheer to warm you up!

The most famous and crowd-drawing holiday event is the Bentleyville Tour of Lights Christmas theme park. This annual attraction brings in tourists by droves during the holiday season.

However, that is not the only notable event this time of year! Duluth’s take on the Polar Express, titled Christmas City Express, is another extremely popular event that delights kids and adults alike.

In addition to these fun events, Duluth is a fun town in a beautiful setting that has a little extra magic in the winter.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN DULUTH


9. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

🎄 Holiday Events: Tree Lighting, Santa on Square, Sleigh Rides, Torch Light Parade & Fireworks, Ski with Santa.

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 28°F (-2°c) / Low 7°F (-14°c)

Antler gateway to Jackson Hole, WY.

Jackson Hole is not only one of the best ski-trip destinations in the US, but one of the best cities for celebrating the holidays as well.

In the winter months, the snow falls and this beautiful mountain town becomes a thriving hub of powder enthusiasts.

As Christmas nears, the events ramp up with tree lightings, visits from Santa, fireworks, and all sorts of other fun events that are as enjoyable for the kids as the adults.

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN JACKSON HOLE


10. Leavenworth, Washington

🎄 Holiday Events: Leavenworth Holiday Lights, Festhalle Activities

⛅ Avg Winter Temperature: High 33°F (1°c) / Low 20°F (-7°c)

A photo of the Leavenworth Holiday Lights Festival during the Christmas holiday season in Washington.
Photo: Pictoscribe

Known as the “Village of Lights” and “Christmastown”, this tiny Washington town truly transforms in the winter months.

From December through February, the entire town is lit up 7-days per week with over half a million bulbs, drawing crowds from hours away.

This little place may not have the same luxury, and resort vibes as some of the bigger names, but it can hold a candle to any city in terms of charm during the winter!

🏠 WHERE TO STAY: BROWSE THE BEST HOTELS IN LEAVENWORTH


Best Winter Vacations in USA FAQs

Use the drop-down arrows to reveal answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the best US winter vacation destinations.:

Where is the best place to spend the winter in the US?

The best winter vacation spots for warm-weather seekers are Hawaii and Florida, or Colorado for those who prefer outdoor snow sports such as skiing.

Which states are fun to visit in the winter?

Colorado is the best place to visit in the winter if you are into skiing and snow sports, but beach lovers and warm weather seekers will love Florida, Hawaii, and California.

Which cities are the best to visit in the winter?

New York City is the best city to visit in winter for holiday festivsals. Park City in Utah or Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen in Colorado are the best cities for winter visits with a combination of snow adventures and Christmas spirit.

Where are the warmest winter vacation destinations in the US?

The warmest winter places US citizens can get to without a passport are Hawaii, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The warmest mainland US destinations are in Florida and Southern California.

Where are the best Christmas events and festivals in the US?

North Pole (Alaska), Santa Claus (Indiana), New York, Bethlehem (Pennsylvania), and Park City in Utah are home to the best US Christmas festivals and events.

Share Your Thoughts on the Best US Winter Vacations

A skier shreds the slopes on the best US winter vacation.

You’ve seen the list, now share your thoughts!

Is there a place we have missed for any of the featured categories that you think deserve to be mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!

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