While summertime is always a popular time for vacation, there’s something to be said for traveling in the winter. And thanks to the diversity, varied climates, and sheer size of the U.S., there is certainly no shortage of wonderful vacation destinations that are calling your name.
If you’re looking to get away during the winter months after the holidays have passed, here are a few of my favorite must-visit winter destinations in the U.S.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City’s casinos, restaurants, and clubs will no doubt be lit for New Year’s Eve, the biggest party night of the year. But after that, January and February see a lull in visitors. You won’t be taking a dip in any outdoor pools, but the shows, casinos, museums, restaurants, and other thrills will be less packed, making your Vegas vacation more enjoyable.
On top of that, not only will there be fewer crowds to fight, but the lull in tourists also means that room rates and airfares drop in price–and you’ll have more cash to spend in the casino.
Big Sky, Montana
If you love snow and skiing, Big Sky, Montana is the winter destination for you. Big Sky Resort in the Northern Rockies is the largest ski area in the country, with 5,800 skiable acres and 300 runs across four enormous mountains. You’ll find gentler runs for beginners and plenty of notoriously steep slopes for the more advanced skier.
Aside from hitting the slopes, you’ll also find ice skating, sleigh rides, and zipline tours to really make the most of your vacation.
New York City, New York
As soon as the Christmas tree comes down in Rockerfeller Center and the ball drops in Times Square, New York City sees a dip in tourists. And while it’s true that it will be freezing cold, there is plenty more to do and see in this city than a stroll through Central Park.
You’ll find it’s easier to snag seats at Broadway plays and musicals when there’s less competition from other tourists for tickets. The same goes for art exhibits, concerts, top restaurants, and comedy shows.
Key West, Florida
This one is for all the snowbirds looking to escape the cold! You’ll find that the weather in the Florida Keys is basically perfect, with the average high temperature sitting at 74 degrees F in January. Lounge around on sandy beaches, enjoy dining on fresh seafood, hit the golf course, or visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
Of course, winter months are typically the busiest for Key West. The party atmosphere will be at its height as you check out the Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square or grab drinks on lively Duval St. There’s even a haunted pub crawl and walking ghost tour.
At the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, this town is known for skiing. Breckenridge boasts more than 2,200 skiable acres and about 150 trails, and is one of the most popular spots for winter recreation in North America.
Aside from skiing, Breckenridge has something that other resort towns don’t: the Breckenridge National Historic District. This town used to be a gold mining town and still retains plenty of its 19th-century charm, with restaurants and shops occupying carefully preserved Victorian buildings.