Looking for the best places to visit in January in the USA? These are the places you want to travel to this month whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland, special events, or you’re running from the cold.
The holidays are over, but winter adventures are just getting started. Have you written out a travel bucket list? After being cooped up at home, I’m excited to see some new places.
January is a great time to travel if you have the flexibility. In most cases, you get to avoid the large crowds from winter break, and you’ll get better hotel deals.
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Last Updated: November 8, 2022
15 Best Places to Visit in January in USA
|| Winter Activities ||
1. Aspen, Colorado
Weather Avg: 36° / 10° F
If you love snow, Aspen is one of the best places to visit in January in USA. You’ll find groomed runs or fresh powder. Since school break is over, it will be much less crowded, and hotel prices will be more reasonable. Plus, there are some notable events!
- TO DO: Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, Tubing, Snowcat Dinners
- EAT: White House Tavern, Meat & Cheese Restaurant, French Alpine Bistro
- STAY: Limelight Hotel Aspen, Hotel Durant, Hearthstone House Aspen, Search all Aspen Hotels
- EVENTS: Wintersköl, Gay Ski Week, X-Games
Local Tip: During the big events, like X-Games, it will be crowded and prices will be higher.
2. Vail, Colorado
Weather Avg: 29° / 6° F
Vail is another magical spot in January. The crowds have thinned, while the snow is still excellent. You’ll find better travel deals, and you can hit the slopes, go dog sledding, have a spa day, and more.
- TO DO: Sleigh Rides, Snow Activities, Dog Sledding
- EAT: The Little Diner, Annapurna Nepali and Indian Cuisine, Mountain Standard
- STAY: Stizmark Lodge, Austria Haus Hotel, The Landmark, Search Vail Hotels
- EVENTS: Annual Vail Winterfest
3. Big Sky, Montana
Weather Avg: 32° / 9° F
Big Sky has earned the nickname The Biggest Skiing in America with 5800 acres of skiable terrain and 4350 feet of vertical drop. It’s also a great launching point to discover Yellowstone National Park during the winter.
- TO DO: Skiing, Yellowstone National Park, Ousel Falls
- EAT: Riverhouse BBQ & Events, Buck’s T-4 Hopitality, Horn and Cantle
- STAY: Residence inn by Marriott, Big Sky Resort, The Lodge at Big Sky, Big Sky Hotel Deals
Pro Tip: If you plan on visiting Yellowstone, be sure to check what closures there are or go on a guided visit.
4. Breckenridge, Colorado
Weather Avg: 31° / 19° F
Breckenridge in January means it’s either snowy or sunny, both making for fun outdoor adventures. The average snowfall for January is 20+ inches, so you’ll find fresh powder often. Just bundle up since it’s the coldest month of the year.
- TO DO: Snowcat Tour, Sledding at Carter Park, Skiing and Snowboarding
- EAT: The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern, Hearthstone Restaurant, Giampietro Pasta & Pizzeria
- STAY: Welk Resorts, Crystal Peak Lodge, Mountain Thunder Lodge, Search Breckenridge Hotels
- EVENTS: International Snow Sculpture Championships
Local Tip: You don’t need a car. There are shuttles from Denver International Airport to breezily get to Breckenridge, and there is a free bus system throughout the town. Most hotels also offer free shuttles to and from town.
Weather Avg: 28° / 5° F
Jackson Hole is another beautiful destination for outdoor winter adventures, like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. You can also explore the town, take a dip in the hot springs, or sleigh rides at National Elk Refuge. Grand Teton National Park is right there too.
|| Warm Destinations ||
Weather Avg: 67° / 40° F
Death Valley is of our favorite national parks because of the variety of landscapes. You can walk the dunes, check out the lowest point in North America, or hike along colorful hills. It’s unbearably hot during the summer, but you can comfortably spend all day outside in the winter. Just be sure to bring layers since the temperatures drop significantly when the sun goes down.
Weather Avg: 72° / 51° F
January is one of the cooler months, perfect for spending all day at the parks (it’s historically the least busy time at Disney World), checking out the local festival and events, or exploring outdoor activities.
- TO DO: Disney Parks, Stetson Mansion Holiday Tours, New Smyrna Beach
- EAT: Chi-Kin, Hungry Pants, Delaney’s Tavern
- STAY: Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, SPOT X, Wyndham Garden, Orlando Hotel Deals
- EVENTS: Mecum Auction Collector Cars, Busch Gardens Mardi Gras, Epcot Festival of Arts
Local Tip : Weather can be unpredictable in January so it’s best to pack in layers and a rain jacket.
Weather Avg: 71° / 45° F
The winter is prime time for desert travel. You get beautiful sunshine and reasonable temperatures making it perfect for exploring Palm Springs. There are also plenty of delicious restaurants, bars, and concerts happening throughout the month.
- TO DO: 15 Best Things to Do in Palm Springs
- EAT: Farm, Trio, The Tropicale
- STAY: Inn at Palm Springs, Alcazar Palm Springs, Korakia Pensione, Search All Palm Springs Hotels
- EVENTS: Palm Springs International Film Festival, The American Express Golf Tournament
9. Miami, Florida
Weather Avg: 74° / 63° F
While the water temps aren’t ideal for swimming, you can still soak in the sun on the beaches, check out clubs, or explore other city attractions without crowds. You also get better hotel prices throughout the city.
- TO DO: Boat Tour, Charter a Fishing Boat, Everglades National Park
- EAT: CVI.CHE 105, The Salty Donut, KYU
- STAY: The Guild Downtown, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Miami Hotel Deals
- EVENTS: South Beach Jazz Festival, Miami Festival of Laughs, Art Deco Weekend
Weather Avg: 74° / 65° F
January is a beautiful time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park and the Florida Keys area to beat the crowds. However, the downside is that weather can be unpredictable, making it harder to get to Dry Tortugas. If you can’t make it out to the National Park, there’s a lot to see and do in Key West and the rest of the Keys.
- TO DO: Fort Jefferson Tour, Snokel / Dive, Camping
- EAT: Blue Heaven, Santiago’s Bodega, DJ’s Clam Shack
- STAY: Perry Hotel, Douglas House, Hyatt Residence Club, Search Key West Hotels
- EVENTS: Key West Artisan Market Market, Key West Kingfish Mayhem, Florida Keys Seafood Festival
Local Tip: Have back up plans in case the weather causes delays or cancellations of outdoor activities.
Weather Avg: 66° / 50° F
San Diego is still one of our favorite cities in the US we lived in. If you visit during January, you avoid the holiday crowds, and the weather is great year round.
- TO DO: San Diego Bucket List, Best Photo Spots
- EAT: Carnitas Snack Shack, Hammond’s Ice Cream, Steamy Piggy
- STAY: Hotel Z, Pendry San Diego, Crown City Inn, San Diego Hotel Deals
- EVENTS: Farmers Insurance Open (PGA)
Local Tip: It gets chillier at night and closer to the ocean, so pack layers.
|| Special Events ||
Weather Avg: 66° / 43° F
January is extra special because of the Annual Havasu Balloon Festival where hot air balloons fill the skies.
During the summers, Lake Havasu is a giant party and the lake if filled with boats. In the winter, it becomes more relaxing and laid back. You still get sunny days but cooler weather.
- TO DO: Lighthouses, London Bridge, Sara’s Crack
- EAT: La Vita Dolce Italian Bistro, Mudshark Brewery and Public House, Cha-Bones
- STAY: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Hampton Inn, Heat Hotel, Search Lake Havasu Hotels
- EVENTS: Annual Havasu Balloon Festival, Polar Bear Day, Annual Festival of Lights
13. St Paul, Minnesota
Weather Avg: 23° / 6° F
Winter Carnival happening Jan 28 to Feb 6, 2022, is the main attraction of St Paul this month. It celebrates all things cold with an Ice Sculpture Park, Ice Fishing Tournament, parades, and more. And the best part is that a lot of the activities are free.
- TO DO: Winter Carvinal, Sledding, Ice Skate
- EAT: Casper’s and Runyon’s Nook, Red Cow, The Buttered Tin
- STAY: The Saint Paul Hotel, Drury Plaza Hotel, Canopy by Hilton, More Hotels in St Paul
- EVENTS: Ice Fishing Tournament, NHL Winter Classic, Winter Carnival
14. McCall, Idaho
Weather Avg: 30° / 12° F
Another Winter Carnival happens in McCall, Idaho, throughout most of January. You’ll find snow sculpture events, dog sled challenges, special dinners, concerts, and more.
- TO DO: Skit / Snowboard, Annual Ice Sculpture Contest, McCall Hot Springs
- EAT: My Father’s Place, Hometown Pizza, Steamers Steak & Seafood
- STAY: WorldMark, Rustic Inn, Best Western Plus, Hotel Deals in McCall
- EVENTS: Winter Carnival, Snow Sculpture Contest, Dog Sled Challenge
Local Tip / Pro Tip / Note: dsfsdfsd
15. Park City, Utah
Weather Avg: 35° / 14° F
Park City has world-class skiing and snowboarding. We went snowboarding here a while back, but we’re due for a trip soon. If you aren’t into either, there are plenty of other winter activities like ice skating, sleigh rides, dog sledding, and more.
At the end of January, filmmakers, actors, and fans gather here for the largest independent film festival in the US.
- TO DO: Snowmobile, Ski / Snowboard, Sleigh Rides
- EAT: High West Saloon, Freshies Lobster, Five5eeds
- STAY: The Chateaux Deer Valley, Hyatt Place, Silver King, Park City Hotel Deals
- EVENTS: Sundance Film Festival, Last Friday Gallery Stroll
Local Tip: Prices are significantly higher during the festival, so book early.
Map of the Best Places to Visit in January in the USA
Warmest Destinations in the US
The warmest states in the winter are Hawaii, Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana.
The warmest cities based on average highs are:
- 82°F – Kailua Kona, Hawaii Big Island || Lahaina, Maui
- 81°F – Kahului, Maui || Everglades National Park, Florida
- 80°F – Honolulu, Oahu
- 79°F – Hilo, Hawaii Big Island
- 76°F – Miami, Florida
- 74°F – Key West, Florida
- 71°F – Orlando, Florida || Anaheim, California || Palm Springs, California
- 70°F – Yuma, Arizona
- 69°F – Anza Borrego, California || Phoenix, Arizona || Big Bend National Park, Texas
- 68°F – Daytona Beach, Florida || Los Angeles, California
More Travel Destinations in January
- ALASKA: Fairbanks
- ARIZONA: Santa Fe, Scottsdale, Sedona, Tucson, Flagstaff
- CALIFORNIA: LA / Santa Monica, Lake Tahoe, SF, Yosemite
- FLORIDA: Fort Lauderdale
- GEORGIA: Atlanta, Brunswick + Golden Isles, Jekyll Island, Savannah
- HAWAII: Big Island, Kona, Kaui, Lanai, Maui
- ILLINOIS: Chicago
- LOUISIANA: New Orleans
- MASSACHUSETTS: Boston, Moosehead Lake
- NEVADA: Las Vegas
- NEW MEXICO: Taos, White Sands
- NEW YORK: New York
- PENNSYLVANIA: Philadelphia
- SOUTH CAROLINA: Hunting Island State Park, Palmetto Bluff
- TENNESSEE: Nashville
- TEXAS: Austin, Dallas, South Padre Island + Port Isabel
- UTAH: Alta, Snowbird, SLC, Zion
- WASHINGTON: Mt Baker, Seattle
- WISCONSIN: Milwaukee
What to Pack (Our Travel Favorites)
For Cold Weather Destinations:
For Warm Weather Destinations:
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.