15 Best Places to Visit in January in the USA 2021

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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 your out a travel bucket list? After being cooped up at home, I’m excited to see some new places. Fingers crossed that the variant doesn’t take over 2022.

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.

15 best places to visit in january in the usa

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Last Updated: December 24, 2021

15 Best Places to Visit in January in USA

|| Winter Activities ||

1. Aspen, Colorado

590 N Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611, map

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 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.

maroon bells aspen colorado + 15 best places to visit in january in the usa

2. Vail, Colorado

241 S Frontage Rd W #8150, Vail, CO 81657, map

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 EVENTS: Annual Vail Winterfest
Vail Colorado - When's the last time you tried something new? + Common things that hold you back // localadventurer.com

3. Big Sky, Montana

88 Ousel Falls Rd Unit A1, Big Sky, MT 59716, map

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

Pro Tip: If you plan on visiting Yellowstone, be sure to check what closures there are or go on a guided visit.

skiing in big sky montana + 15 best places to visit in january in the usa

4. Breckenridge, Colorado

203 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO 80424, map

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 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.

things to do in breckenridge winter + 15 best places to visit in january in the usa

532 N Cache St, Jackson, WY 83001, map

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.

TO DO: Things to Do in Jackson Hole in the Winter EAT: Persephone Bakery, Hand Fire Pizza, Gather STAY: Mountain Modern, The Lexington at Jackson Hole, Inn on The Creek EVENTS: GlowNights, 10th Anniversary Driggs Snowscapes – The Art of Sculpting Snow
jackson hole wyoming in winter
Jackson Hole Elk Refuge

|| Warm Destinations ||

36.4617588,-116.8688057, map

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.

TO DO: Badwater Basin, Mesquite Dunes, Zabriskie Point EAT: Last Kind Words Saloon, Happy Burro Chili & Beer, Smokin J’s Barbecue STAY: The Ranch at Death Valley, The Inn at Death Valley, Death Valley Inn & RV Park

Local Tip: If you plan on visiting multiple National Parks, pick up an annual pass to save money.

What to See in Death Valley

8102 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, map

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 EVENTS: Mecum Auction Collector Cars, Busch Gardens Mardi Gras, Epcot Festival of Arts, Rock the Universe 2022

Local Tip : Weather can be unpredictable in January so it’s best to pack in layers and a rain jacket.

new smyrna beach florida near Orlando + 15 best places to visit in january in the usa

2901 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, map

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 EVENTS: Palm Springs International Film Festival, Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival, The American Express Golf Tournament
San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm + 15 Top Things to Do in Palm Springs CA
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway + 15 Best Things to Do in Palm Springs
Colorful Palm Springs Photos at the Saguaro Palm Springs CA.

9. Miami, Florida

1701 Meridian Ave #403, Miami Beach, FL 33139, map

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 EVENTS: South Beach Jazz Festival, Miami Festival of Laughs, Art Deco Weekend
miami beach aerial view + 15 best places to visit in january in the usa

281 Trumbo Rd, Key West, FL 33040, map

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 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.

dry tortugas day trip

996 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, map

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 EVENTS: Farmers Insurance Open (PGA)

Local Tip: It gets chillier at night and closer to the ocean, so pack layers.

Scripps Pier + 101 Things to Do in San Diego Bucket List // Local Adventurer

|| Special Events ||

422 English Village, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403, map

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 EVENTS: Annual Havasu Balloon Festival, Polar Bear Day, Annual Festival of Lights
vermilion lighthouse replica lake havasu
sara park lake havasu sara crack trail

13. St Paul, Minnesota

175 W Kellogg Blvd #502, St Paul, MN 55102, map

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 EVENTS: Ice Fishing Tournament, NHL Winter Classic, Winter Carnival

Local Tip: Do yourself a favor and get a rechargeable hand warmer.

saint paul winter carnival minnesota + 15 best places to visit in january in the usa

14. McCall, Idaho

44.9161982,-116.1128458, map

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 EVENTS: Winter Carnival, Snow Sculpture Contest, Dog Sled Challenge

Local Tip / Pro Tip / Note: dsfsdfsd

mccall winter carnival idaho + 15 best places to visit in january in usa

15. Park City, Utah

1794 Olympic Pkwy, Park City, UT 84098, map

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 EVENTS: Sundance Film Festival, Last Friday Gallery Stroll

Local Tip: Prices are significantly higher during the festival, so book early.

Sundance Film Festival Utah

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

Is there anything we missed on our list of best places to visit in January in USA?

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15 best places to visit in january in the usa

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.

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