Top Ten Winter Destinations

Top Winter Destinations in the USA

When it comes to people’s behavior, nothing affects it as much as winter.   People who live in warm climates travel to cold climates to ski, people who live in cold climates travel to warm climates. It never ceases to amaze how much people will go out of their way during the winter.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to move to where you prefer to be all year round?  However, it happens every year.  It’s the human version of migration.  So if you plan on migrating this year, here are the top 10 winter destinations that you should consider visiting!

10.  Texas

Texas big mountain

Coming in at the number 10 spot is the state of Texas.  Texas is the second-largest state in the United States.  Because it covers such a large area, it has a wide range of temperatures, geography, and options.  For the people looking to escape the cold, Texas is a pretty comfortable option.  Temperatures rarely dip below the 32-45 degree mark.

The size of Texas offers a little something for everyone, for beach and ocean lovers, the east region of Texas borders the Gulf of Mexico.  The mountain lovers can find some arid mountains and desert steppes on the western side of Texas. 

With major cities spread out from the west to the east, there is an abundant nightlife to be found throughout the state.   Winter is the best time to visit Texas because it’s worst weather feature; the tornadoes don’t appear until the beginning of spring.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  Texas has no skiing or winter sports opportunities.

9.   New Mexico

Big air balloon flying over New Mexico sky

Usually, when New Mexico is on a list, it is for places you don’t want to go.  There is an age-old joke that the only thing New Mexico has going for it is that it isn’t Old Mexico.  However, according to Rockrunner, the outdoor adventure journal, “New Mexico is one of the most underrated states when it comes to recreation, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is.”  Rockrunner may be onto something.  When it comes to sunshine, New Mexico has 167 clear days per year, second only to Arizona, and that place gets so hot, you need oven mitts to drive.

Winter temperatures can be a little on the cool side in New Mexico, with an average winter temperature about 43.   However, the cold temperature brings some of the lightest and fluffiest powder snow to Taos ski resort in the northern part of the state for some of the best skiing in the nation.  New Mexico isn’t one of peoples first skiing destinations, so the prices for lift tickets are still relatively modest compared to Colorado and Utah.

If you migrate to New Mexico slightly before Winter, you will be just in time for the Taos Balloon Festival, which brings out 25-40 hot air balloons every year.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  It is still New Mexico.

8.  Alaska

Water and mountain covered with snow in Alaska

Alaska is still a great mystery.  Alaska is so far removed from the contiguous United States that it almost feels like another country.  It feels even further removed than Hawaii.  However, for the extreme winter, sports fanatic or traveler Alaska is a premier winter destination.  As the biggest state it should have a variety of terrain, but it doesn’t.  It has one terrain, Rugged.  Even though more people travel here during the summer, during the winter, Alaska makes for spectacular backcountry and helicopter skiing or snowboarding.

Exploring glaciers and sea kayaking with the appropriate dry suits is fun all year round.  During the winter you don’t have to fight the crowds, but you do have to deal with the cold.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  There is nothing for heat seekers here.

7. Nevada

Las Vegas famous welcome sign

Nevada has a little of everything, warm weather, cold weather, skiing (via California), gambling, prostitution, and of course, regret.  What could be a better winter destination? Well, six places which put Nevada on this list at number 7.

Nevada can be broken down into two areas, Reno and Las Vegas.  Las Vegas is one of the best-known cities in the United States and is one of the most visited tourist destinations.  There is an abundance of shows, night clubs and entertainment venues along the Las Vegas strip.  With winter temperatures sitting around the 60-degree mark, a winter in Las Vegas means you don’t have to spend any money on winter clothes. 

Up north is Reno.  Reno is a smaller version of Las Vegas, which claims the title of the Biggest Little City in the World.  It still features all the gambling of Las Vegas, but just across the border and up I-80 in Lake Tahoe is some of the best skiing.  According to Turnkey Vacation Rentals’ annual ski report, the number 1 ski resort in 2018 was Squaw Valley ski resort, just a hop skip and a jump away from Reno.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except regret and there is a lot of that waiting for you.

6.  Hawaii

Great Sun rise picture in Hawaii.

Hawaii is one of the warm destinations on this list. It has spectacular scenery with a lot of warm things to do. The winter is the rainy season, but with an average winter temperature of 78, a little rain is more like a warm shower for the mainland folk. 

Hawaii has some unique activities for the people rich enough to make the flight.  Night dives with manta rays are one of the more amazing adventures that will make for a story sure to steal the attention away from anyone not named Neil Armstrong.

On the Island of Kauai, there is sugar plantation tubing, which features riding a tube on the canals that used to water the old sugar cane fields. 

Why isn’t it higher on the list?   It’s expensive.

5.  New York

New York downtown time square

If you are like me and avoid big cities like they are the plague, then you are wondering why New York is on this list.  Well, that is your mistake; there is more to New York than the city.  New York happens to have several ski resorts.  They don’t have the most vertical drop. People on the west coast would consider them the bunny hill, but the prices of lift tickets are modest compared to the west coast resorts, and they are closer to the major metropolitan areas than the ski resorts in places like Colorado, Idaho or Wyoming.

For the lively nightlife crowd who still wants to live a little, New York can’t be beaten.  There is always a party or something to do in NYC and if you are there over the New Year, Times Square is the place to be. Hey the ball drop is something special, why not get in on that.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  New York is an acquired taste.  The people there are unique; some people find them honest and abrasive.  They are! Not everyone is okay with that.

4.  Utah

Man doing ice skating in Utha

Traveling to Utah is unique.  Utah’s license plate says, “the greatest snow on earth.”  That is indisputable.  They hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and are putting in a bid for another Winter Olympics.  It’s the only place you can fly into an international airport, and be skiing at your choice of 7 different ski resorts in less than 45 minutes.

Salt Lake City also has one of the top 20 tourist attractions in the nation, Temple Square. Temple Square is an old Gothic Roman-style temple built by the Mormons, the predominant religion.  Despite strange liquor laws, such as you can only by hard alcohol at state-run stores, Salt Lake has an abundance of night clubs and bars.

Within a 4 hour drive of Salt Lake City, one can be at their choice of 5 national parks or four national monuments.  The southern half of the state is usually a pleasant 20 degrees warmer than the northern half.  It made the number one state for outdoor recreation according to one list.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  Utah is a Theocracy masquerading as a democratic state. It has a low crime rate but funny laws including the nation’s lowest DUI law.  You may come on vacation and leave on probation.  If you can get past the ridiculous alcohol laws, you will still have to deal with the locals trying to convert you to Mormonism.

3.  Colorado

Colorado with Icy mountain

Colorado is best known for its skiing and marijuana laws.   When it comes to skiing, Colorado is the best-known state.  It has the best developed and most technologically advanced ski resorts in the nation.  The resorts have become small towns on their own, and they define winter culture.    Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs is what skiing is.

Most of the ski resorts and towns have winter festivals, carnivals, or themed events that happen at various times during the winter.  Breckenridge hosts Ullrfest a tribute to the Norse God of Snow.  Steamboat Springs hosts a torchlight parade, and Glenwood has an adventure park.

To the south are Telluride and Ouray.  Telluride is another ski resort.  Ouray offers a unique winter activity on a mass scale that few others on this list offer, ice climbing.  The town of Ouray installed water pipes on the cliffs overlooking the city. During winter they drip water along the cliff to create a massive sheet of ice that draws ice climbers from all over the world.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana for every use.  Some parents and people may not find this the ideal location for this reason.

2.  Florida

Florida Pam beach with beautiful water

Florida is a haven for people looking to escape cold weather. It is one of the top retirement states for people looking to have amicable temperatures year-round.  It has more golf courses than any other state, and it has beaches on all three sides.  It has something for everyone except the ski bunny.

For families, Florida is home to Sea World, Busch Gardens, and Disney World.  Dad can golf, while mom shops at any number of designer stores in any one of Florida’s cosmopolitan cities like Orlando, Tampa or Miami. Couples can even find a little romance in Naples Florida, currently listed as one of the best romantic weekend getaways.

All of the major cities in Florida have a vibrant nightlife.  With a complete roster of pro and college sports teams competing year-round, there will never be a dull moment in Florida.

Why isn’t it higher on the list?  There are no winter activities to participate in.

1.  California (Northern)

Great bridge picture in the California

At this point, you probably guessed California would be number 1.  I mean, who else was left?  South Dakota?  The only thing in South Dakota is a bunch of guys carved in rock, and if they weren’t chiseled out of granite, they would have split a long time ago.  To be fair I did have to clarify that I am making a distinction between Northern and Southern California, which are as different as Utah is when compared to rest of the 49 states.

California is so different depending on where you are that people have proposed splitting it up into 3 to 6 different states.  What there is to do in California differs depending on where you are located.  The Northern part is the best winter destination, so that is what will be covered here.

Northern California features cities like San Francisco and Sacramento.  At one point Sacramento was considered the most diverse city in the United States.  San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in America, and many people would believe the most iconic on the west coast, second only in America behind New York City.  With notable landmarks such as Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge it is the site seers dream.

Two amusement parks are located just a hop skip and a jump from San Francisco, Paramount’s Great America, and Six Flags Over Marine World.  If that isn’t enough to get your adrenaline flowing, Northern California is one of the few places where you can participate in several outdoor recreation activities year-round. The northern part of California provides for rafting during the winter.  Rivers are fed from rainfall, which isn’t much colder than many snowmelt runoff rivers in other parts of the United States in the spring.  East of San Francisco and Sacramento are the Sierra Nevadas and Lake Tahoe.  Most of these resorts are the same ones that provide skiing for Nevada residents.

Why should you avoid California?  Because it has a little bit of negative from everything else on this list except Utah.  That place is just weird.

Vimal Lalani is senior correspondent for Ishli, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking news and health consumer reporting on

Written by Vimal Lalani

Vimal Lalani is senior correspondent for Ishli, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking news and health consumer reporting on


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