Best Places to Visit in The US in January - The Winter Wonderland

  • UPDATED Jan 30, 2018

Best Places for January Travel in the US

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With winter around the corner, plans for vacations are in full swing! Full of festivities and furor, though the festive season in December is highly popular for holiday trips, it is also the most expensive one. It thus comes as no surprise then, that many people prefer to plan their vacations in the month of January instead of December, when the places are relatively less crowded, prices are more affordable, and the weather is more favorable. 

Planning a winter vacation but confused about where to head to? Here is a list of best places to visit in USA in January!

  1. Orlando
  2. Yellowstone National Park
  3. Vermont
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Honolulu
  6. Alaska
  7. Pasadena
  8. Park City
  9. Oregon's Coast

1. Orlando, Florida - Sunny Beaches and Warm Weather

Sunny days and mild temperatures make the state of Florida a popular one during the months of winter. Central Florida, especially Orlando boasts of temperatures in the range of low-to-mid 70s, thus making it ideal for warm winter vacations.

Located within the proximity of some of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast, Orlando is a great place to tackle the winter chill by sunbathing and relaxing on the sunny shores! Visit the numerous theme parks, enjoy at the luxurious resorts, indulge in outdoor sports and make the most of the warm weather by exploring the various nature parks that Orlando has to offer!

Things to do- Relax on the beaches near Orlando, have a gala time at the theme parks and enjoy the sunshine

Best For- Families

Weather- Warm with temperatures ranging from low to mid-70 degrees Fahrenheit

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2. Yellowstone National Park – Wilderness and Hot Water Springs

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Bubbling geysers, plummeting canyons, and stark landscapes adorned with light snow await visitors at the Yellowstone National Park in January. Since the winters are an off-season at this park, there are no crowds and so, you are sure to enjoy the lovely wilderness all by yourself!

Elk, bison, wolves, and coyotes can be seen in plenty during this season, moving silently on the snowy backdrop. Plenty of snow means numerous activities for you to choose from; you can go snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, dogsledding, take a snowcoach tour or get a natural spa-like experience by diving into the warm waters of the hot springs! Due to its stark wilderness and uncrowded resorts in the month of January, a trip to the Yellowstone National Park can indeed be counted as one of the best winter vacations for couples in the US. 

Things to do- Snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, dogsledding, take a snowcoach tour, dive in the hot springs, watch the winter wildlife

Best For- Couples and youngsters

Weather- Cold with temperatures around 20 degrees Fahrenheit

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3. Vermont - Skier’s Paradise 

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With 20 alpine ski resorts, 30 cross-country touring centers and 7,300 acres of alpine terrain, winters are an adventurous time to visit Vermont. With relatively harsh winters, this northern state is a great option for best winter vacations with snow in the US. 

Not much into skiing? Worry not, there are a multitude of other options for you to enjoy winters in Vermont! Be it the unique experience of ice fishing, the delightful idea of gourmet cheese trails, the serene prospect of winter camping or the exciting opportunity to drive a snowmobile, this state will ensure that you indeed have a memorable winter vacation! 

Things to do- Skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, gourmet cheese tours and winter camping

Best For- Adventure-lovers

Weather- Cold with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit 

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4. Philadelphia - For a Perfect Indoor Winter Vacation

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A popular choice among tourists for winter vacation destinations in the US, the state of Philadelphia is known for its cultural, artistic, historic, culinary and ethnic treasures. Housing a large number of monuments, art galleries, museums, and historical landmarks, Philly offers you with the perfect opportunity to have a good time indoors in winters when the weather turns bitingly harsh. With so many exciting recreational opportunities, Philly indeed tops the list of destinations for best winter vacations for families. 

With numerous performing arts, astounding dining, endless shopping, and vibrant nightlife options, this state is sure to offer you with a blend of unique experiences. Also, if you happen to be in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve, you can also catch the jazzy Mummers’ Parade on 1st of January, where thousands of brightly costumed revelers take to the streets to participate in the oldest continuous folk parade in the United States. Accompanied by music, color and dance, this parade is one fantastic experience! Plan a trip to Philly for a memorable indoor winter holiday!

Things to do- Visit museums, attend the Mummers Parade, explore historical landmarks, walk down the cobblestone streets while admiring the architecture and let go the foodie in you at the wonderful dining options

Best For- Families

Weather- Pretty warm with temperatures ranging from 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Check out: Long Weekends in USA in 2018

Click Here to select an affordable accommodation option in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

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5. Honolulu, Hawaii – Warm Winter Vacations

With great weather and fabulous outdoor activities, the Hawaiian island of Honolulu is a stunning spot for best January vacations in the US. You can indulge in loads of interesting activities like whale-watching, sailing, hiking, and surfing when you visit this treasure in Ohau! 

Honolulu’s iconic crescent beach framed by palm trees and quaint cafes presents visitors with endless sunbathing, dining and, shopping opportunities. Apart from the beaches, some off-beat destinations for you to explore and soak in the Hawaiian culture, like the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Honolulu Museum of Art, are totally worth a visit! Or go for snorkeling in Honolulu!!

Things to do- Relaxing on the beach, whale-watching, sailing, hiking, and surfing

Best For- Families and couples

Weather- Warm, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit 

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6. Alaska Winter Wonderland-  Northern Lights and Frozen Landscapes

With severe cold and snow storms, not many would dare to choose Alaska as a vacation spot in January. However, if you are ready to brave the chill, we can guarantee you that Alaska bequeaths you with the best winter holidays in the US! With close to 19 hours of darkness each day, January is the perfect time to observe the glorious display of northern lights dancing across the Milky Way. A ride on the Aurora Winter Train that glides across Alaska's wintry landscape is a memorable experience like no other.

In addition to this, you can also enjoy the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race, drive to the Arctic Circle, and ride a snow machine on the mighty frozen Yukon River! Plus, if you plan your trip in advance, you will end up having one of the most affordable winter vacations of your life! 

Things to do- Get ready to be bedazzled by Aurora lights, take a train through the winter wonderland and participate in ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and dogsledding

Best For- Adventure-lovers

Weather- Chilly, with subzero temperatures throughout the month

Check Out: National Parks in Alaska

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7. Pasadena, California- Home to the Iconic Rose Bowl Parade

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An enjoyable city in the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena in California is one of the best warm places to visit in Jan in USA. Ideal for short vacations, this idyllic town boasts of a classic downtown district, picturesque gardens, a striking wilderness and beautiful architecture.

The most interesting part of visiting Pasadena in January is the prospect of being able to watch the famous Rose Parade in action. Held annually on the first day of the new year, the Rose Parade consists of marching bands, flower-covered floats, and equestrian units and is followed by the Rose Bowl college football game. The pretty floral arrangements, the tastefully decorated carts, and the lively atmosphere ensure that everyone has a grand time! 

Things to do- Watch the Rose Day Parade, explore the picturesque downtown, visit the museums and go on hiking tours

Best For- Families

Weather- Warm with temperatures ranging from 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit 

Click Here to select an affordable accommodation option in Pasadena!

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8. Park City, Utah- A Medley of Interesting Activities

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Perfect for people of all age groups and varied interests, Park City in Utah is a melting pot of natural beauty, a thriving winter sports scene, lively dining and nightlife options as well as historic landscapes.  Concerts, spas, live theater, museums and historical tours, and galleries are some activities a non-adventurous person can resort to, when in Park City. Thrill-seekers, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, tubing, fly-fishing, snowboarding and ice skating are sure to blow your mind away! Film-buffs visiting Park City in January are in for a special treat – the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States is organized here in Jan. 

With such a huge plethora of options, Park City is indeed one of the best places to travel to in January. For all those looking to escape the cold winter and experience some sunny climate, this one’s the place for you! Brimming with art, history, culture, recreation, and entertainment, Park City is a much-frequented tourist destination in winters.

Things to do- Concerts, spas, live theater, museums and historical tours, galleries, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, tubing, fly-fishing, snowboarding and ice skating

Best For- Families

Weather- Mildly cold with temperatures ranging from 10 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit

Click Here to select an affordable accommodation option in Park City!

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9. Oregon’s Coast- The Ideal Winter Road-trip Destination

The 363-mile stretch of scenic coastline, punctuated with occasional glimpses of sea lions and whales and birds, can easily be named as the most picturesque places in Oregon. Lined with hiking trails and ancient lighthouses, this coast has a charming, almost a mystic vibe to it. Plus, the spectacular winter storms are a sight to behold!

Drive along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway and you are sure to have a classic Oregon experience that will leave you stunned and mesmerized. With the weather on the pleasant side in January, it is the perfect month to go on a road trip here. 

Things to do - Go on a road trip, admire the marine life by visiting the Shore Acres State Park and explore the local, coastal communities

Best For - Youngsters

Weather - On the warmer side with temperatures between 44 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Click Here to select an affordable accommodation option in Oregon Coast!

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Whether you are looking forward to escaping the bitter cold by vacationing in sunny places or whether your ideal winter vacation consists of lots of snow and chills, this list of best places to visit in USA in January is the perfect checklist for planning your next January trip! Pack your bags and off you go!

Check Out: 

Places to Visit in February in US

Places to Visit in March in US

Places to Visit in April in US


Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession. The eternal love for exploring different places and cuisines, the urge to interact with people across cultures and the thirst for adventures is what drew her to the world of travel. An effervescent and a happy-go-lucky person who draws inspiration from the world of books and movies, she believes in mostly following her heart and very rarely, her brain! One moment you might find her curled up with a book and a cup of coffee while in the next, she might be reaching out for her keys and heading for a road-trip. Unpredictability is something that defines her the best and her sensitive nature juxtaposing with her ambitious attitude, makes her a contradiction of all sorts.