Where to Go in the USA Winter

  • 01 of 03

    Winter Travel in the USA

    New York's Rockefeller Center Ice Rink Opens For Winter Season
    ••• New York's Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. Andrew Burton / Staff/Getty Images

    There are two types of winter travelers. On the one hand, there are those that welcome cold, snowy days because they love hitting the slopes or cozying up next to a warm fire. On the other hand are "snowbirds," or travelers who escape the blustery weather in favor of warmer climes when winter comes in order to feel the sun on their face and their toes in the sand.

    The USA is a big, beautiful country with many different types of climates, so the weather can vary wildly. Check out what the typical weather is like in  DecemberJanuary, and  February.

    Though many of you may look forward to those summer vacations, keep in mind that a few factors make winter travel in the U.S. ideal:

    • Airlines and hotels dramatically lower their prices in January and February once the holiday rush has passed, save for a few exceptions, such as travel to some destinations at Christmas, New Year's Eve in New York City, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
    • There are a number of holidays (think:...MORE Valentine's Day) and long weekends during the months of December, January, and February. In addition to Christmas and New Year's, there are two long travel weekends during the winter. The holiday to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., takes place on the third Monday of each January. The third Monday of February is Presidents Day.
    • There are also winter-themed festivals, like Bend, Oregon’s ​Winterfest and Steamboat Springs, Colorado’s International Snow Sculpture Championship that happen throughout the colder months. 

    Whether you're the type of winter traveler who seeks out the snowy weather or wants to head south to sunny skies, this winter travel guide for the US gives you all the tools you need to start planning your ideal getaway.

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  • 02 of 03

    Winter Travel in the USA - Cold Destinations and Skiing

    Skiing at Jackson Hole
    ••• Rob Hammer/Getty Images

    Some travelers can't wait for the ice and snow—and actually seek it out—because they love winter sports (think: skiing and snowboarding). If this is you or a loved one, here is what you need to know to book a trip.

    Where to Ski in the Western US

    The United States has no shortage of winter resorts for every type of skier. Some of the best ski resorts in the world are located in the United States, particularly in the West, where the Rocky Mountains, Cascades, and Sierra Nevada ranges dominate the landscape from Colorado to California. The ski towns of the West are almost as famous as the mountains themselves. For a taste of the Old West, head to Jackson, Wyoming or try out Aspen, Colorado for a more glamorous atmosphere.

    Where to Ski in the Eastern US

    In the East, there are popular ski resorts in Maine, New York, and south along the Appalachians. There are even ski and snowboarding resorts in the Southeast in the Smoky Mountains. In the Midwest, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have...MORE the most opportunities for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. For family and friends who don't ski, there are other options: Large ski resorts on both coasts typically offer other activities like snowshoeing and tubing. Or head to an urban oasis such as New York City to shop for post-holiday sales, ice skate in Bryant Park, and marvel as the city lights.

    Finding Your Perfect Ski Resort

    For skiers on a budget, check out these tips on how to find ski deals. Check out these other resources for choosing where to go and stay.

    Top USA Cold Weather Destinations

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  • 03 of 03

    Winter Travel in the USA - Warm Destinations and Beaches

    Puerto Rico
    ••• Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico. Michael Runkel / robertharding / Getty Images

    For those fleeing the cold temperatures of winter, the United States has several options, including Florida, southern California, and a few islands in the Caribbean.

    Florida in Winter

    Florida has long been a place of pilgrimage for "snowbirds" from the north, particularly Canada, because of its sunny days and mild temperatures. North and Central Florida are prone to chillier weather from December to February, but southern Florida, including Orlando and Miami, is typically blessed with temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s throughout the winter. Because Florida is such a winter hotspot, traveling there can be expensive at this time, but there are Florida deals to be had. Read more about top Florida fall and winter getaways then book your Florida hotel!

    California in Winter

    The Golden State is a popular winter getaway for those who like to ski, as we mentioned earlier, as well as those who like to stay warm. Southern California is where to go for mild temperatures and sunshine...MORE throughout the winter months. Great places to visit in California in the winter include Death Valley, which is cool enough to enjoy at this time of year, and Palm Springs. Read more about California in Winter and get ideas for California Winter Getaways.

    The Southwest in the Winter

    Winter's milder temperatures make this time of year ideal to visit the stunning desert landscape in the Southwestern United States. From visiting national parks such Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon to celebrating in Texas with the Charro Days festival, lower temperatures and a steady supply of sunshine will be waiting for you when you head to this region. Find hotels in Arizona and Texas.

    U.S. Caribbean in Winter - Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

    Winter is the high season in the Caribbean. The weather is warm and hurricane season has passed. Therefore, Caribbean island destinations are very popular winter getaways for those who crave warmth and a little sand between their toes. Furthermore, U.S. Caribbean islands are excellent vacation escapes for American travelers as no passport or visa is required. Non-U.S. travelers to the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico are subject to the same entry procedures that they would be on the mainland. Find hotels in the ​US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico and start planning your vacation today!