Destinations Travel Tips

Best Warm Winter Vacations in the USA That You’ll Love

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on
November 13, 2022

Looking for a list of warm winter vacations in the USA that everyone in the family will love?

Beat the winter blues with a family trip to one of the warmest US states in winter!

While some chilly festivities can be fun, winters can get long and gloomy.

If you’re looking for a break from the cold and snow, try traveling to one of the mildest US states that will provide you with a bit of sunshine (even in the dead of winter). 

In this post, you’ll learn about nine of the warmest US states and get our list of which cities and activities to explore during the winter months.

Then…use our guide to plan the best warm winter vacations ever!

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Here's our list of the best warm winter vacations in the USA from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Miami, Florida

Warm Winter Vacations in the USA

Sunny weather can do wonders for us and our kids after weeks of cold weather and early sunsets.

It can boost our moods (and our vitamin D levels!), get us out of seasonal ruts, and give us more opportunities for outdoor activities rather than being stuck inside.

Along with finding extra warmth in the cold frigid months, you’ll also avoid crowds at most US bucket list destinations.

Being that the summer months are the high seasons for the most popular tourist destinations – this makes traveling in the winter a win-win!

Throughout the year, the hottest states in the US are concentrated in the south and southeastern corner of the country.

Year-round, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii are consistently among the top four hottest states, with Florida being the warmest state year-round.

Hawaii rises to the top of the list during the winter months, however, with average monthly temperatures well above those of any other state.

Warm vacation spots in the US
Tempe, Arizona

Here’s a quick look at the top 5 warm winter vacations in the USA each month:

Warmest places to visit in November in the USA

  1. Hawaii (highs of 84 in Honolulu)
  2. Florida (highs of 79 Miami )
  3. California (highs of 79 in Palm Springs)
  4. Arizona (highs of 76 in Phoenix)
  5. Texas (highs of 77 in San Antonia)

Warmest places to visit in December in the USA

  1. Hawaii (highs of 82 on the Big Island)
  2. Florida (highs of 78 in Key West)
  3. California (highs of 72 in Palm Springs)
  4. Arizona (highs of 68 in Phoenix)
  5. Texas (highs of 63 in Houston)

Warmest places to visit in January in the USA

  1. Hawaii (highs of 82 on Kauai)
  2. Florida (highs of 76 in Fort Lauderdale)
  3. Arizona (highs of 71 in Tempe)
  4. Texas (highs of 68 in Laredo)
  5. California (highs of 60 in Santa Rosa)

Warm places to visit in February in the USA

  1. Hawaii (highs of 83 on the Big Island)
  2. Florida (highs of 78 in Ft. Myers)
  3. Texas (highs of 72 in Corpus Christi)
  4. Arizona (highs of 74 in Tempe)
  5. California (highs of 68 in Santa Barbara)

Warmest US States in Winter & Which Cities to Visit 

Wondering which US states are the warmest winter alternatives to your home state?

The temperatures we’ve listed for each US state are based on their average temperature in December…the month when most people take their winter holidays.

Temperatures vary each year and throughout various regions of the state, however, so be sure to use a weather app to check the temps on your exact date and location.

Here are our favorite warm winter destinations!

Underrated winter destinations USA
Sedona, Arizona

1. Arizona

Average winter temperature –  59°F

Arizona is a great place to experience year-round natural beauty!

This state is filled with deserts, canyons, and plenty of other opportunities for outdoor exploration.

It’s also one of the warmest states in the winter with daily highs of 67°F. 

For instance, places such as Saguaro National Park in Tuscon feature averages temperatures of 65 degrees in the month of December.

Winter activities in Phoenix 

  • Enjoy the Arizona Snowbowl.
  • See the Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • Spend a day at the OdySea Aquarium.
  • Explore the great outdoors with a hike!

Winter activities in Sedona

  • Take a helicopter tour.
  • View the Festival of Lights.
  • Experience a hot air balloon ride.
  • Enjoy incredible shopping!

One of our favorite winter vacation destinations is Scottsdale, AZ!

We love all of the many things to do in Old Town Scottsdale, as well as the multitude of golf courses and fantastic resorts!

To make it even easier to go, use our 3-day Scottsdale itinerary to help you plan your trip!

*Find out what to wear in Scottsdale during all of the different seasons, here.

Consider visiting California in winter for a winter vacation in the USA!
Big Sur, California

2. California 

Average winter temperature – Ranging between 60°F-80°F across the state

Some people claim that the best time of year to visit California is during the winter months.

This is when you can enjoy California’s wonderful warm weather without major crowds!

Head to California in winter to explore beaches, big cities, gorgeous nature, and some of the best amusements for toddlers and families in the entire U.S.

Winter activities in Santa Monica

Winter activities in Los Angeles

For more ideas on visiting California in winter, check out our detailed itineraries to some of our favorite places:

Finally, nature lovers will adore the natural beauty and outdoor activities that Joshua Tree National Park has to offer!

Winter in Joshua Tree National Park is wonderful with high temperatures still hitting the mid-60s, along with abundant sunshine, and fewer crowds. 

It’s a great option for a weekend trip and is only a 2 ½ drive from Los Angeles. 

*Read about our favorite places to stay near Joshua Tree National Park, here!

Best places for winter vacations in the USA - Hawaii!
Hawaii USA

3. Hawaii 

Average winter temperature – Mid 70s – low 80s F

If you’re in the market for a little slice of paradise, visit the Hawaiian islands this winter.

This is one of the warmest places in the country during the winter with highs of 82°F (on the Big Island).

Experience incredible 30-foot waves, stunning views, and rich cultural history in Hawaii. 

Additional planning tip: Winter does tend to be rainy in Hawaii, so while you can safely leave your cold-weather gear at home, bring along a light jacket and umbrella for rainy days.

Winter activities on Big Island

  • Catch major waves with a surfing tour.
  • Go whale-watching.
  • Chase waterfalls! 
  • Go ziplining over breathtaking scenery.

Winter activities on Maui

  • Experience a holiday luau.
  • Visit the art festival in Lahaina.
  • See the Lahaina Banyan tree lighting.
  • Go on a snorkeling tour.

*Looking for an amazing kid-friendly resort option in Hawaii? Check out our overview of Disney’s Aulani resort located on the island of Oahu.

Sunset in Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

4. Florida

Average winter temperature – 64°F – 76°F

Florida is the hottest state in the U.S. year-round.

In the summer months, the heat and humidity reach the 100s, making it essential to learn how to beat the Florida heat.

Though the temperatures do cool down considerably in the winter months, if you’re looking for some guaranteed fun in the sun, Florida should still be a go-to choice.

Escape the cold winter in order to enjoy world-class theme parks, incredible ocean views, and year-round outdoor activities in the beautiful state of Florida.

Rain or shine, hot or cool…get our complete Florida packing list here!

Winter activities in Orlando

Winter activities in Miami 

  • Attend the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
  • Hike the Everglades.
  • Experience the International Chocolate Festival (Yum!). 
  • Enjoy a day at the beach (without the crowds).

Winter activities in the Florida Keys 

  • Visit the Dry Tortugas National Park in Key West.
  • Enjoy an African Queen Canal Cruise in Key Largo.
  • Witness the Holly Jolly Holiday Lights Tour.
  • Experience the Key West Holiday Parade.

As our absolute favorite state for a warm winter vacation in the USA, we’ve written several guides to help you plan your trip!

Check out our first-hand guides, itineraries, and personal photos, for the following locations!

Charleston in winter
New Orleans, Louisana

5. Louisiana 

Average winter temperature – 63°F

In addition to being one of our favorite spring break ideas for families, we love visiting Louisana in winter too!

After all, with winter highs of 78°F, Louisiana can get steamy, even in the coldest months of the year.

It’s the perfect place to enjoy family fun with rich ecosystems, fascinating history, and amazing food.

Winter activities in New Orleans 

  • Have a great time caroling in Jackson Square. 
  • Enjoy live music at a jazz club. 
  • Explore the fascinating French Quarter. 
  • Hop aboard the Steamboat Natchez for dinner and a night cruise. 

Winter activities in Baton Rouge 

  • Go ice skating on a frozen river at the Baton Rouge River Center. 
  • View the Christmas parade downtown Baton Rouge.
  • Enjoy a stunning rendition of The Nutcracker: presented by the Baton Rouge Ballet Theater.
  • Experience festive music at the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra
Cheap warm winter vacations USA
Las Vegas, Nevada

6. Nevada

Average winter temperature – 60°F

As one of the most underrated warm vacation spots, Nevada is a destination powerhouse within the holiday season and beyond!

This state boasts mild winters with show-stopping entertainment and beautiful nature. 

Quite simply, you can always find something fun and exciting to do in the state of Nevada!

Winter activities in Las Vegas

  • Visit the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • Take a trip to Red Rock Canyon for scenic views and hiking trails.
  • Enjoy dinner and a show with a night out on the town!
  • Go ice skating on the rooftop of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Winter activities in Reno 

Additional planning tip – Take a road trip to Death Valley National Park to visit one of the hottest places on earth!

View of Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

7. South Carolina

Average winter temperature – 46°F – 60°F

A trip to South Carolina can help you escape the cold weather with mild temperatures and a whole lot of charm.

Enjoy beaches, golf courses, theme parks, and more during your warm winter getaway to South Carolina!

Winter activities in Charleston

Winter activities in Myrtle Beach

San Antonio riverwalk
San Antonio, Texas

8. Texas

Average winter temperature – 56°F

Texas is one of the best warm places to beat cold temperatures with average highs of 72°F in December!

Enjoy fabulous hikes (i.e. at Big Bend National Park), entertainment, and festivals, all without the winter chill. 

For instant winter vacation inspiration, check out our 3-day Austin, Texas itinerary, here!

Our other favorites include:

Winter activities in San Antonio 

Winter activities on South Padre Island 

  • Visit the Holiday Sandcastle Village to see festively decorated sand sculptures.
  • Enjoy a dolphin watch or eco-tour on the bay (bring your jacket in case the waters get chilly!)
  • Stop by the South Padre Island Convention Center for The Holiday Light Show. 
  • Soak up some Vitamin D on the beach!

Conclusion: The Warmest US States In Winter

I hope you find these warm destinations helpful in chasing the sunshine!

So how are you planning on escaping cold temperatures for your winter holidays? 

Let me know your favorite places to find sunny days during the cold winter months in the comments down below!

-Jen

More Family-Friendly Winter Travel Content 

Here's our list of the best warm winter vacations in the USA from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
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Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

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