The Getaway
Warmest American Cities for a Winter Getaway

If you’re organizing your itinerary for a cold-weather getaway, dreaming of an escape from snowfall, ice, and frigid temperatures, you’re probably opting for places with warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine. While a majority of America’s warmest cities are in the southern half of the country, some tropical island spots are making the list, too. Luckily, these popular destinations are prepared for the arrival of winter travelers, providing tons of entertainment, outdoor events, and fabulous scenery.

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01 Daytona Beach, Florida

With average temperatures of 61 degrees in December, Daytona Beach is an ideal destination for a holiday retreat. While the summer months tend to be wet and humid, the weather conditions in winter are dry and cool, making it ideal for outdoor fun. Spend the day at the Spring Garden Ranch Training Center and watch experts train standardbred horses for harness racing. At night, the Daytona Beach shores light up, and the merriment begins with all sorts of after-dark activities, from dancing to brew pubbing.

taarnes / Getty Images

02 Kula, Hawaii

Thanks to typical temps hovering between 56 and 62 degrees during the winter, Kula is the coolest place in Hawaii. It’s a perfect spot for those who are escaping cold weather but don’t love tropical climates. You’ll find this gem in the higher elevations — or the Upcountry region — of Maui. It has earned high accolades for its culinary excellence and sustainable farming practices. If you’re hoping for some great photos for your social media, head to the Kula Botanical Gardens, where exotic orchids, birds of paradise, and carnations fill the landscape with eye-popping color.

03 Savannah, Georgia

If you like cooler, pleasant temperatures and lower-priced accommodations for your winter sabbatical, you’ll discover both in Savannah. Between December and February, high temps reach the low 60s, creating the perfect weather for strolling through the Savannah Historic District. And prices drop for stays at local hotels, including the historic ones. Choose from dozens of special celebrations throughout the holiday season, starting in November. One of the most popular is Christmas on the River, which begins in early December.

Savannah, GA Photo by Sunira Moses on Unsplash

04 Brownsville, Texas

Each winter, snowbirds from around the country make their way to the beaches, palm trees, and cool coastal breezes of Brownsville. This city sits on the western Gulf coast of Texas, in the southern part of the state, and enjoys a tropical climate with 235 days of sunshine each year. The area is significant to the state’s history and culture, with an array of authentic cuisine choices, historical landmarks, and architectural tours.

05 Tampa, Florida

If you dream of throwing on some shorts and playing volleyball on the beach in December, then Tampa is a great choice for your winter getaway. Daytime temperatures here linger around 64 degrees on average between December and February. Foodies can enjoy every type of food across the city, from five-star restaurants to cozy diners serving home-cooked fare. Enjoy seasonal fun without the cold temperatures at the Winter Village in Curtis Hixon Park, where you’ll enjoy an ice skating rink, streetcar rides, boutiques, unique pop-up shops, and more.

Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa Photo by Itai Aarons on Unsplash

06 San Diego, California

Visitors will enjoy beautiful weather year-round in San Diego, with temperatures averaging around 70 degrees. You’ll find lots of winter activities here, including ice skating with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop and the Holiday Bowl Balloon Parade in late December. If you’re a beer connoisseur, you won’t want to miss out on the San Diego Brew Festival, an annual January event featuring 70 local and international breweries, food trucks, cover bands, and lawn games.

beachgoers in San Diego Photo by Andres Garcia on Unsplash

07 Captain Cook, Hawaii

Stunning aerial drone view the Captain James Cook monument in Kealakekua Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

Just 12 miles south of the Big Island city of Kailua-Kona sits a small town called Captain Cook. With a population of around 3500 people, this charming destination has both historical and cultural significance for the area. Take a 4-mile stroll on the picturesque Ka’Awaloa Trail, visit a historic Kona coffee farm, or watch the dolphins play in the Kealakekua Bay. Explore Napoopoo Park to see an ancient Hawaiian temple honoring the god of fertility, Lono. You’ll enjoy temperatures of 67 degrees, along with plenty of sunshine during your visit.

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08 Puerto Rico

Winter is the best time to visit this island paradise, where you’ll discover balmy weather conditions and delightful Caribbean sunshine. Temperatures seldom fall below 65 degrees. The rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico is the main draw for winter visitors. You’ll discover a UNESCO World Heritage Site if you visit Old San Juan, the historic center of the capital city. Arrive in mid-January, and you can join in on the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, one of the biggest street festivities on the island.

Old San Juan Photo by Zixi Zhou on Unsplash

09 St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you’re seeking a mixture of peaceful surroundings, beautiful ocean views, historic charm, and 70-degree temperatures, St. Croix is a magical place to visit in the winter. Scuba diving enthusiasts from around the world say it’s one of the best diving sites in the Virgin Islands. If you’re seeking a plethora of five-star resorts to choose from, this isn’t the place for you, though you will find beautiful accommodations here. Ecotourism is a major St. Croix attraction, along with amazing food, music, and cultural traditions you can explore.

10 Orlando, Florida

The subtropical climate in Orlando makes it a perfect choice for a winter getaway. While a light frost sometimes finds its way into the area, the average winter temps hover around 70 degrees. You won’t have to fight the larger crowds at popular attractions like Disney World and Epcot in the off-season, though they return for the holidays. Nearby beach options include the 13-mile stretch of white sand at New Smyrna Beach and the famous surfing locale Cocoa Beach.

christmas as disney world Photo by Jocelyn Hsu on Unsplash

11 Palm Springs, California

Few winter locations match the bright blue skies and beautiful sunshine found in Palm Springs. Temperatures range from the mid-60s to the upper 70s through the winter. This city is famous for its luxurious, upscale accommodations and unique options for dining, relaxing, and shopping. Take a horse and carriage tour of celebrity homes, spend the day on one of the many golf courses, or plan a weekend camping trip at Joshua Tree.

wind turbines in palm springs Photo by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash

12 Scottsdale, Arizona

Most people think of Scottsdale as a golfer’s paradise, but this warm locale offers much more for those escaping from cold weather states. In historic Old Town, you’ll find the Museum of the West, where you can see the works of renowned Western artist Edward S. Curtis along with special exhibits focusing on American railroads and rare Native American artifacts. Leave your coats at home. Temperatures range from the mid-70s to upper 60s all through the winter.

hikers in scottsdale Photo by VC on Unsplash

13 Waikiki, Hawaii

Golden sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and a bright blue ocean make this resort locale one of the top getaways in the country, but if you’re seeking a quiet place to relax, Waikiki isn’t a great choice. It’s crowded with tourists year-round. Expect temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees throughout the winter. While the beaches are the main draw, there are also parks, an aquarium, and a 42-acre zoo.

beach surfing in Waikiki Photo by Nakul on Unsplash

14 San Antonio, Texas

Winter in San Antonio provides comfortable temperatures that average between the mid-50s to low 60s. The famous River Walk is a bustling hub of restaurants, bars, sidewalk cafes, colorful lights, and lots of people. Theme parks, festivals, light shows, and Tex-Mex cuisine are just some of the reasons visitors make the trek to this culturally rich city.

15 Key West, Florida

It’s not surprising that the southernmost city in the continental U.S. is also one of the warmest winter destinations. With temperatures in the 70s, there’s plenty of sunshine and pleasant weather to explore the white-sand beaches, Bahamian architecture, markets, and museums. Shark fans can get an up-close look at these finned marvels, along with puffer fish, snappers, and angelfish, at the Key West Aquarium. Spend a day at the Dry Tortugas National Park, just 65 miles southwest of Key West.

sailboat on the gulf of Mexico Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash

16 Sedona, Arizona

Travel in Devil's Bridge Trail, scenic view panoramic landscape, Sedona, Arizona, USA

Escape to Sedona, Arizona, where the majestic red rocks create a stunning backdrop for a rejuvenating winter retreat. While some areas may see a dusting of snow, the weather generally stays pleasant, with highs often reaching the 60s and 70s in February. Sedona is not just a feast for the eyes; it's a haven for wellness enthusiasts. Indulge in a yoga session amidst the awe-inspiring landscape, unwind in luxurious spas like Civana Wellness Resort Spa, or embark on a spiritual journey at a local wellness retreat. The town's vibrant outdoor scene is perfect for hiking enthusiasts, with trails leading to breathtaking vistas. Whether you're seeking spiritual rejuvenation or just a break from the cold, Sedona's unique blend of natural beauty and wellness-focused activities makes it an ideal winter getaway.

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17 Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk. (Mountaintop "A" for "Arizona")

Discover the vibrant heart of the Southwest in Tucson, Arizona. This city is a melting pot of cultures, offering a rich tapestry of experiences from its stunning natural landscapes to its bustling downtown area. Winter in Tucson is mild and sunny, perfect for exploring the great outdoors. Hike through the iconic Saguaro National Park, where the giant cacti stand like sentinels in the desert, or delve into the city's Native American history at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. Foodies will delight in Tucson's authentic Mexican cuisine, offering a taste of the city's diverse heritage.

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18 Joshua Tree National Park, California

A grove of Joshua Trees fill a desert meadow in front of dramatic layered rocks in Joshua Tree National Park.

Experience the surreal beauty of Joshua Tree National Park, a winter haven for nature lovers and adventurers alike. With its unique rock formations and the iconic Joshua trees dotting the landscape, the park offers a serene escape from the winter chill. February and March are ideal for visiting, with daytime temperatures comfortably in the mid-60s. Explore the park on a day trip, taking in the stark beauty of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Whether you're an avid hiker, a photographer, or just someone seeking a peaceful retreat, Joshua Tree's otherworldly landscape provides the perfect setting for a winter adventure.

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19 Death Valley National Park, California

Zabriskie Point's signature rock formations, Death Valley National Park, California

Venture into the dramatic and stark beauty of Death Valley National Park, where winter brings a milder climate to one of the hottest places on earth. With daytime temperatures hovering around a comfortable 70 degrees, it's the ideal time to explore the park's vast sand dunes, salt flats, and unique geological features. Winter nights can be chilly, offering a stark contrast to the daytime warmth and a chance to gaze at the star-filled sky. Whether you're an experienced hiker or just looking for a scenic drive, Death Valley's diverse landscape offers a captivating winter escape.

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20 Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, the city of angels, transforms into a winter playground with its diverse neighborhoods and mild weather. Even in winter, you'll find the city bustling with outdoor activities, thanks to the sunny skies and temperatures that rarely dip below 60 degrees. Explore the cultural richness of neighborhoods like Santa Monica and Boyle Heights, each offering a unique slice of L.A. life. The cooler weather is perfect for hiking in the nearby mountains or enjoying the city's famous beaches without the summer crowds. From holiday events to outdoor adventures, Los Angeles offers a vibrant winter getaway with a touch of Hollywood glamour.

the skyline of los angeles during sunset

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