As fall turns into winter, the chill in the air just keeps getting colder. It won’t be long before you’re faced with ice on your walk and falling snow on the roads.
As winter’s icy grip tightens, the thought of fleeing to a warmer destination becomes increasingly tempting. Fortunately, there are plenty of warm places right here in the United States where you can escape the winter blues and bad weather. Here are 12 fabulous destinations to use as your winter refuge:
1. Miami, Florida
There’s a reason that all those snowbirds out there keep flocking to Florida every year. Miami, in particular, seems to be a big draw. With average temperatures in the mid-70s during the day and 60s at night, it’s the perfect winter destination if you like it comfortably warm but not too hot.
Miami practically beckons you to experience its famous Art Deco architecture, indulge in Cuban cuisine and dance the night away in world-renowned clubs.
2. Key West, Florida
Taking “island paradise” to another level, Key West offers a laid-back haven at the southernmost city within the continental United States. This idyllic locale boasts breathtaking beaches, crystalline waters and an atmosphere so relaxed it’s practically horizontal. Dive into water sports, explore unique bed-and-breakfast spots and pay homage to the legacy of Ernest Hemingway at his historic home (currently a museum). Key West is where time slows down, and the sunsets are pure magic.
3. San Diego, California
Hailed as “America’s Finest City,” San Diego boasts near-perfect weather year-round – making it an ideal destination for thawing out your toes when its frosty out. Delve into the cultural delights of Balboa Park, visit the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and unwind on more than 70 miles of pristine beaches, like Coronado or Del Mar. Don’t forget to savor the flavors of Mexico in the city’s many authentic eateries, which offer the perfect blend of Southern California and Baja cuisine.
4. Charleston, South Carolina
If you like a touch of enchantment and a ton of Southern charm, head to Charleston. The historic streets welcome leisurely strolls, while antebellum plantations whisper tales of the past. Immerse yourself in Lowcountry cuisine and visit iconic sites like the Battery with its waterfront views or go on a daytime horse-drawn carriage tour through the historic district. The winter temps during the day are around the mid 60s, but pack warmer clothes for night.
5. Honolulu, Hawaii
If an exotic tropical getaway is your desire, the capital of Hawaii could be your paradise. Head to Honolulu and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Waikiki Beach, snorkel in Hanauma Bay’s coral gardens, and hike to the summit of Diamond Head for panoramic views. The islands are a treasure trove rich in island spirit and local culture, and you’re invited to explore.
6. Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, with its desert oasis backdrop and iconic mid-century modern architecture, is a mecca for those in search of a little serenity under the sun. The city is renowned for its luxury spas, world-class golf and the nearby Joshua Tree National Park, a desert wonderland for nature enthusiasts and stargazers. You can soak in therapeutic hot springs and revel in the tranquil desert landscape, well away from winter’s chill.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
Have you really lived if you haven’t seen New Orleans in person? While the summer heat can be suffocating, the city’s winter temps are mild enough for a hoodie or a shawl while you’re out. You’ll feel like you’re wandering through history when you walk the French Quarter and listen to live jazz music right where it was born. Be sure to check out all the Cajun cuisine, including local po-boys, gumbo and Bananas Foster (prepped right at your table).
8. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix has long been a paradise for people who want to get away from their lives for a bit, no matter what the time of year – where it’s not unusual for winter temps to be in the low 70s. Explore the unique flora and fauna in Saguaro National Park, witness the wonders of the Desert Botanical Garden or embark on day trips to some of the best spas or shopping centers in the nation.
9. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a dynamic mixture of the past and the present, with a famously Tex-Mex flair on everything. Head downtown to the San Antonio River Walk with all its charming cafes and specialty shops, check out the incredible Botanical Garden or take the whole family to nearby SeaWorld or Six Flags Fiesta. Just don’t forget to indulge in all the Tex-Mex cuisine you’ll find there, including mouthwatering barbecue dishes that you just can’t find anywhere else.
10. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, with its enchanting historic district full of moss-draped oak trees and cobblestone streets, is an ideal destination for those fleeing winter weather. Take a scenic riverboat cruise along the Savannah River, uncover the city’s rich history and check out the famous Mercer-Williams house or the hauntingly beautiful (and supposedly haunted) Bonaventure Cemetery. While you’re there, don’t forget to indulge in Southern comfort food like shrimp and grits or pecan pie.
11. Las Vegas, Nevada
Dive headfirst into the ultimate neon-lit vacation that is Las Vegas. The city has long been synonymous with escapism, and it’s filled with an endless array of nightlife and casinos. Catch world-class shows and performances, and dine at some of the finest restaurants in the world. If you’re not interested in casinos, warm up in one of the state’s natural hot springs or check out the hiking trails and petroglyphs in Red Rock Canyon.
12. Tucson, Arizona
Situated amidst the majestic Sonoran Desert, Tucson is a haven for outdoorsy folks and sun worshippers alike. The sun shines nearly every day in this desert gem, making it an ideal destination when you want to drive away the winter blues. Check out the historical mission at San Xavier del Bac, sample the Southwestern cuisine or stroke through the adobe buildings and shops at Barrio Viejo.
These 12 destinations across the United States all offer their own unique charm and warmth – and when you’re sick of the chill in your bones, they’ll welcome you with open arms. When the cold weather gets you down, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey.