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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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.
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
- Hawaii (highs of 84 in Honolulu)
- Florida (highs of 79 Miami )
- California (highs of 79 in Palm Springs)
- Arizona (highs of 76 in Phoenix)
- Texas (highs of 77 in San Antonia)
Warmest places to visit in December in the USA
- Hawaii (highs of 82 on the Big Island)
- Florida (highs of 78 in Key West)
- California (highs of 72 in Palm Springs)
- Arizona (highs of 68 in Phoenix)
- Texas (highs of 63 in Houston)
Warmest places to visit in January in the USA
- Hawaii (highs of 82 on Kauai)
- Florida (highs of 76 in Fort Lauderdale)
- Arizona (highs of 71 in Tempe)
- Texas (highs of 68 in Laredo)
- California (highs of 60 in Santa Rosa)
Warm places to visit in February in the USA
- Hawaii (highs of 83 on the Big Island)
- Florida (highs of 78 in Ft. Myers)
- Texas (highs of 72 in Corpus Christi)
- Arizona (highs of 74 in Tempe)
- 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!
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.
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
- Visit the Santa Monica Pier.
- Experience Miracle on Main Street.
- View the Christmas tree at the 3rd Street Promenade.
- Try ice skating at the Fairmont Miramar.
Winter activities in Los Angeles
- Enjoy Grinchmas at Universal Studios.
- Road trip to Anaheim and enjoy Disney Land’s holiday celebrations!
- Visit Knott’s Merry Farm.
- See holiday lights at the Los Angeles Zoo.
For more ideas on visiting California in winter, check out our detailed itineraries to some of our favorite places:
- Our 6-day San Diego California vacation itinerary.
- A recap of my girls’ weekend getaway to Palm Springs.
- The most memorable things to do in La Quinta, California.
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!
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.
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
- Plan the perfect Magical Kingdom experience!
- Visit ICE! at Gaylord Palms.
- Take a ride on the Orlando Eye (with Santa!).
- Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
- Plus, enjoy dozens of activities for adults 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!
- Marco island
- Siesta Key
- Anna Maria Island
- Daytona Beach
- Tampa (close to Florida’s beloved Honeymoon Island State Park)
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.
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
- Spend an afternoon exploring the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum.
- Enjoy a stroll down the Truckee River Walk (just steps away from downtown Reno!).
- Take a peek at the National Automobile Museum.
- Visit the Sierra Exotic Animal Park.
Additional planning tip – Take a road trip to Death Valley National Park to visit one of the hottest places on earth!
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
- Visit America’s oldest public garden: The Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.
- Explore Historic Charleston for tons of holiday festivities!
- Take a horse-drawn carriage tour; view Christmas lights while sipping hot cocoa.
- Enjoy a Charleston Harbor Tour Holiday Dinner Cruise.
Winter activities in Myrtle Beach
- Visit the Myrtle Beach Art Museum.
- Go to Alligator Adventure for thrilling shows, live alligators, and more!
- Do some holiday shopping at the Market Common.
- Enjoy a Christmas show of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol aboard the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.
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
- Take a visit to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.
- Enjoy holiday celebrations at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
- Experience Light the Way, a Christmas light show put on by the San Antonio’s University of the Incarnate Word.
- Take the San Antonio River Walk (one of the best river walks in the entire country!).
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
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