I dunno about you but when the polar vortex of doom rolls into town, I start looking for some of the best and most amazing warm winter vacations USA.
You know, because your girl over here loves the warm weather, avoids snow like the plague, and likes to bask in the sun-erific glory that can be found in some of the best warm places in the US.
So, if you find yourself feeling like I do then this list of the 26 most amazing warm winter vacations in the USA is for you my friend.
Because me and my favorite expert travel bloggers are about to reveal all of our secret tips for visiting the best warm places to visit in December in the USA.
Therefore, stop stressing and start saying goodbye to the winter blues as we check out all of the best warm winter vacations in the USA right now.
Yup, all you’ll need to make it official is sunscreen, a fly AF unicorn floatie, and that brand-spankin’ new bathing suit that you’ve been eyeing for a while now.
Yeah, I see you and 110% relate.
Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especially since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Best Warm Winter Vacations USA – Texas
1. South Padre Island
By: Victoria of Explore with Tori
Vacation goers looking for the best warm winter vacations in the USA should look no further than South Padre Island in Texas. Situated on the gulf coast, this southern point in Texas is perfect for a quintessential beach vacation – even during the winter!
While you may not be donning your swimsuit and jumping in the ocean, you will find plenty of warm days that are perfect for shorts, sunset chasing, and seaside cocktails.
Enjoy a drive up to the north side of the island where you will find quiet beaches in the off-season. Better yet, grab breakfast to go from Yummies Bistro and enjoy it while watching the waves.
You can also scout out the country’s largest outdoor sandcastle, visit South Padre Brewing Co., and dine at one of the many seafood restaurants on the Laguna Madre.
In particular, don’t miss the ceviche from Pier 19 or the fish tacos from Painted Marlin Grille. And if you’re visiting South Padre with kids, make sure to visit Sea Turtle Inc. or the SPI Birding and Nature Center.
Island Adventure Park is also a hit among older kids, as well as adventurous teens and adults looking to do a bit of zip-lining and go-karting.
Yes, with very few crowds, temperate weather, and off-season deals, South Padre Island is probably floating to the very top of your list of the best warm places in the US this winter!
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 72 F and lows of 57 F, making it a contender for warmest places in US in December
By: Lance and Laura of Travel Addicts
One of the best warm winter vacations in the USA can be found in Central Texas in an area known as the Hill Country.
Centered around the tiny town of Fredericksburg, this area is known for its German heritage, incredible wineries surrounding the town, and its mild climate.
As a result, many visitors make this their favorite warm winter vacation in the US since the weather here is generally mild. So, expect warm temperatures during the day and cool, crisp nights – perfect for growing grapes to make wine.
That’s why there are over fifty award-winning wineries located throughout the Hill Country area, the top two of which are Augusta Vin, a newer vineyard with exceptional red vintages, and Pedernales Cellars, which has been producing wine here for over 30 years.
Now, to complement the region’s delicious wine, there are an ample number of great restaurants serving up both German-inspired cuisine and American favorites.
In particular, be sure to try the schnitzel at Der Lindenbaum on Main Street, or the steak and seafood at the Cabernet Grill.
There are also a lot of other activities and attractions in Fredericksburg. From the National Museum of the Pacific War to touring LBJ’s Ranch, you’ll never get bored from a lack of things to do.
But without a doubt, one of the best things to do is absolutely nothing at all! So, feel free to wander the cute shops on Main Street, sit in the park, or rub elbows with the locals.
And when you’re ready to call it a night, you can stay at one of the dozens of quaint bed & breakfasts located in town. Cotton Gin Village and Rarumpelpunzeldornaschenwittchen are two of the most popular options and are well known for their comfort and exceptional service.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 62 F and lows of 39 F.
By: Lina of Bucket List Places
Whether you love live music, outdoor activities, or mouthwatering cuisine, you’ll find one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA in Austin, Texas.
So, avoid the steamy summer weather and the intense crowds by visiting Austin in the mild winter months, where temperatures hover around the low 60s.
One of Austin’s main draws is its rich food scene, and a winter trip allows you to take advantage of scenic alfresco dining without melting.
Check out County Line on the Hill’s breathtaking hilltop views from their colorful patio before digging into a mouth-watering barbecue brisket platter – after all, no bucket list trip to Texas would be complete without trying some authentic BBQ.
Now, if you plan your trip for the holiday season, you can experience some of Austin’s best attractions during warm winter days.
So, Stroll down Congress Street to see the large Christmas tree set up in front of the State Capitol. Next, uncover amazing hidden treasures and enjoy fantastic live music at The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.
And for a fun day trip filled with even more winter festivities, you can always book a last-minute bus ticket to Houston, for under $30, to see the incredible Houston Zoo Lights.
Finally, for the ultimate Austin experience, reserve a room at the opulent Driskill Hotel. The marble floors, plush leather furniture, and rich wood paneling create a cozy atmosphere that is perfect for a nightcap. And if you’re itching for more, the hotel’s prime location on Sixth Street means that Austin’s bustling nightlife is just a short walk away.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 63 F and lows of 43 F, making it one of the warmest places in the US in December.
By: Melissa of Parenthood and Passports
Located in the vast desert of far west Texas, the small town of Marfa is one of the perfect warm winter vacations in the USA for those seeking winter sunshine and something a bit quirky.
After all, this artistic town of fewer than 2,000 residents has become known worldwide for its unique public art installations, including an empty, nonfunctional Prada storefront.
The replica storefront is located about 20 miles outside of Marfa, on an empty desert road seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The peculiar art project was one of the first in Marfa and has drawn visitors from all over the globe and even notable celebrities, like Beyonce, who have journeyed to this tiny, west Texas town to stand in front of this iconic, Instagrammable landmark.
But the Prada store installation isn’t the only thing to see in Marfa while on a West Texas road trip. So, be sure to visit The Chinati Foundation which is another popular contemporary art museum in Marfa.
It features various minimalist sculptures both inside and outside. You can also take either a guided or self-guided tour through the unique, eye-catching installations.
Now, in terms of the food, this amazing town is home to various restaurants that are just as off-the-wall as the art that proliferates here.
Therefore, be sure to eat at Food Shark, a converted school bus-turned food truck where you can enjoy live music and drinks in the beer garden at Planet Marfa.
To make your trip truly memorable in one of the many warm places in the US, spend at least one night at El Cosmico, where you can stay in a luxury, bohemian teepee or a renovated vintage trailer. Because with temperatures in the 60s throughout the winter, the climate is perfect for a campout.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 61 F and lows of 27 F, making it one of the many warm places in the US.
5. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a bucket list destination for most people in the USA. The heat however during most of the months may make this park a little less enjoyable.
During winter however the temperatures range from 37-59oF which makes Big Bend National park popular as a warm winter destination in the USA.
If you’ve checked your maps out, you will know that a part of it covers the expanses of the Chihuahuan Desert. It is spectacular with impressive peaks, flat plains and long ridges. Winter is the best time to explore this part of the park and click some gorgeous photographs without melting away.
If the cool air starts to get to you, head to the hot springs in Rio Grande. Carry your swimwear so that you can really lounge in the warm waters.
Plus if you are feeling up to it, there is a short hike through the hot springs loop that offers really spectacular views.
Average Temperature In December: Highs of 59F and lows of 37F
Best Warm Vacations USA – The South
6. Virginia Beach, Virginia
By: Courtney of Tin Can Living
If you’re looking for warm winter vacations in the USA, Virginia Beach should be your first choice. Virginia Beach has something to offer everyone who visits, including everything from gorgeous beaches to world-class golf courses to top-rated restaurants and museums.
Additionally, Virginia Beach’s winter temperatures typically hover around the high 50’s during the early winter months, making it a great place to escape the bitter freezing cold of other states.
There are also many different resort-like hotels for visitors to choose from. So, If you’re looking for a unique hotel, rest your weary head at the Cavalier Hotel.
It’s a historic hotel that has been renovated to be Virginia Beach’s first urban resort. While you’re there, make sure to fill your belly at Waterman’s Surfside Grille. The Sunday brunch is sure to delight.
And if you’re looking for some family-friendly activities in one of the many warm places in the US, try the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center (a world-class aquarium), and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (a must-see for art lovers). After all, Virginia Beach is the place to be this winter in the USA.
Other fun things to do include horseback riding and fishing opportunities aplenty, as well as a wealth of Virginia Beach shopping centers where you can find all sorts of souvenirs in Virginia’s oldest city.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 54 F and lows of 32 F (not the warmest place in the US in December).
7. Savannah, Georgia
By: Victoria of Southern Trippers
Savannah, Georgia, is easily one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA!
First of all, between the months of January and March, daily average temperatures hover between 65-70 F for a high, making for a pleasant experience with no snow in sight.
There are also so many things to do in Savannah that you will never get tired of this amazing city. Plus, going for a scenic walk around Savannah is completely free and one of the best things to do!
Along the way, you’ll discover moss-lined streets, gorgeous houses, vast parks, a picturesque riverwalk, and so much more!
Of course, if you want to see the beach, you can take a quick drive to nearby Tybee Island to get your beach fix! You can also visit Wormsloe State Historic Site to see one of the prettiest tree tunnels in the USA!
Make sure to stop at Zunzi’s for a sandwich for lunch or dinner. It’s a very popular restaurant in the city and even caters to vegans and vegetarians! That’s why Savannah is truly a city you don’t want to miss and easily one of the warm places in the US this winter.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 64 F and lows of 45 F (one of the warmest places in the US in December).
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
By: Julia of The Cure for Curiosity
If you’re looking for one of the most fabulous warm vacations in the USA then head down to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Home of the famous “Mardi Gras” celebration and the birthplace of Jazz Music, you’ll find that this southern city is full of charm and best explored outside of the heat and humidity of summer.
From taking in the incredible beauty of the French Quarter and the historic Garden District to taking part in the thriving party scene of Bourbon Street to enjoying live jazz on Frenchman Street, you’ll find endless things to add to New Orleans bucket list during your visit.
And after dark, New Orleans has a whole host of other activities for you to enjoy. So, take part in its fabulous nightlife by trying specialty drinks, like the Hand Grenade or the Hurricane. Or, hop on a tour to learn more about the haunted history of the city and its rich voodoo culture.
You can also check out the local casinos if that’s more your scene since there is always something fun to do at any time of day in New Orleans!
To experience the best of New Orleans, you’ll also need to taste some of the city’s delicious food. So, stop by Cafe du Monde in the morning for a cafe au lait (coffee with hot milk added) and their famous beignets.
Next, have dinner at Antoine’s, a well-renowned French-Creole restaurant where Oysters Rockefeller was first created in 1889.
Now, with so much to do in the city, you’ll obviously want to stay in a centrally located hotel, like Hotel Mazarin. Not only is it tucked away within the French Quarter, but it’s within easy walking distance of some of the city’s top attractions and is home to a selection of beautiful rooms that reflect the charm of New Orleans.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 65 F and lows of 46 F (making it one of the warmest places in the US in December).
9. Gulf Shores, Alabama
By: Nikki of She Saves She Travels
If you’re looking for the best warm winter vacations in the USA then Gulf Shores, Alabama should absolutely be on your list.
Home to the stunning white beaches of the Gulf Coast, it’s an often overlooked destination that is one of the many warm places in the US.
In particular, the winter months are one of the best times to visit the Gulf Shores since flights and accommodations are both more affordable in the off-season.
And if you want to stay right on the beach, you’ll have a ton of accommodations to choose from, including luxury hotels, small condos, and everything in between.
Try the Phoenix All Suites Hotel for phenomenal views and a great location right on the water. And just across the street, you’ll also find spacious, high-end condos from Lucky Bird Vacations that are perfect for larger groups and families.
If you love tacos and margaritas then you absolutely must check out YoHo Rum & Tacos! You’ll love all of their tacos but the skirt steak and veggie tacos are phenomenal.
Another absolutely delicious spot is The Yard Milkshake Bar. They serve fantastic oversized ice cream dishes that are perfect for the gram or for the family, easily making it one of the top things to do in Gulf Shores.
Yes, with average highs in the 60’s during even the coldest months of the year, there’s plenty of things to do all year long in one of the many warm places in the US.
So, feel free to rent bikes and hit the 28 miles of trails at Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trails. Or, enjoy mini-golfing, go-karting, zip-lining, and walking along the Gulf State Park Pier as you make the most of a trip to one of the warm places to visit in December in the USA
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 66 F and lows of 47 F (Making it one of the warm places to visit in December in the USA)
Best Warm Winter Vacations USA – The Southwest
10. Las Vegas, Nevada
By: Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler
One of the best warm vacations in the USA is Las Vegas. With plenty of sun, the temperatures here typically stay in the 50s (F) throughout the day during your weekend in Las Vegas itinerary.
Along with cooler temperatures, crowds tend to disperse throughout the winter months, making it easier to explore the city and experience all it has to offer.
Try your luck at one of 30 casinos on the strip, enjoy a Cirque de Soliel show, or get your heart pumping at the Thrill Rides at the top of the Stratosphere (weather permitting).
And if you get too cold walking around, just hop in one of the casinos to warm up and maybe do some window shopping!
The gardens here have a jolly holiday feel to them at the beginning of winter and then convert into a Chinese New Year display come January!
Winter is also the perfect time to see the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team. After all, how often do you have the opportunity to catch an ice hockey game in the desert?
And since you’re traveling in the off-season, you’ll also save money on accommodations. So, If you prefer to stay in the heart of the Strip, then try either the Bellagio or Caesar’s Palace for an ideal stay.
Their locations make them perfect for exploring the rest of the strip. Plus, just across the street, you’ll find the wonderful Paris Hotel.
So, for a true taste of France, enjoy either sweet or savory crepes at La Creperie or indulge in a divine dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant on the 11th floor.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 60 F and lows of 27 F (Potentially the warmest place in US in December).
Best Warm Vacations USA – Hawaii
By: Sophie of We Dream of Travel
Home to dramatic landscapes, Kauai is often referred to as the “Garden Island” and is Hawaii’s oldest island.
It has taken over 5.1 million years for volcanic activity to sculpt Kauai into the enchanting island that it is today and one of the many best warm vacations in the USA.
Because from jagged mountains to verdant valleys, white sandy beaches, tropical rainforest, cascading waterfalls, winding rivers and rich culture, Kauai has it all!
Whether you’re looking to relax by a beach or head out on an adventure, Kauai has something for everyone. So, take a short day hike or multiway trek through Kokee State Park.
Snorkel on Poipu Beach and spot turtles and other tropical marine life. Kayak along the Wailua River and chase hidden waterfalls. Explore the Na Pali coast by boat or helicopter to admire otherwise inaccessible parts of the island.
Yes, you’ll find plenty to add to your Kauai itinerary in one of the many warm places in the US.
Although, while you’re in Kauai, you will need to try poke for lunch. And the best place to get it is at Koloa Fish Market. This traditional Hawaiian dish includes raw, marinated fish, usually tuna, tossed over rice and vegetables.
And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Kauai then the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is a great choice.
After all, The Grand Hyatt is home to a river pool set amidst tropical gardens, seven restaurants, a spa, a golf course, and is conveniently located next to Shipwreck Beach.
Although the fourth largest Hawaiian island, Kauai is not too big and you can easily reach the north of the island in a little over an hour. So, you don’t have to worry about missing out on a stunning sunset at Hanalei Bay.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 72 F and lows of 55 F (Making it a contender for the warmest place in the US in December).
12. Kona, Big Island Hawaii
By: Michelle of Intentional Travelers
Hawaii is easily one of the best warm vacations in the USA in the winter, especially if you’re trying to escape cooler climates.
After all, each Hawaiian island has its own unique features and culture. And, as its name suggests, the Big Island is, of course, the largest of the island chain.
Home to two active volcanoes, part of the island is quite dry and rocky. However, the east side of this idyllic paradise features a tropical jungle. And still, other areas are home to vast farmlands with grazing livestock.
Also, while the mountain peaks of the Big Island do see some snow, most of the island stays relatively warm throughout the year, making this one of the warmest places in the US in December.
In particular, Kona is the main hub for tourism on the Big Island. As a result, Kailua-Kona town has a variety of restaurants, hotels, and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
So, be sure to try One Aloha Shave Ice Co for refreshing shave ice and smoothies made with organic, hand-made ingredients.
Other things to do in Kona include going to beaches, surfing, visiting coffee plantations, checking out farmers’ markets, going hiking, and more.
A scenic road trip is also another great way to experience the island’s incredible diversity of terrain, including a trip to the awe-inspiring Volcanoes National Park.
And for a top-rated, centrally located hotel in town, consider Kona Seaside Hotel. It’s close to the beach – as well as various stores, and delicious restaurants – and has breakfast included with the price of your stay.
Average Temperatures in December: Highs of 82 F and lows of 67 F (Making it a pick for the warmest place in the US in December).
By: Sarah of CosmopoliClan
Maui is Hawaii’s most popular playground and the perfect destination for a winter break if you’re looking for the best warm vacations in the USA.
Whether you make it a classic beach holiday or decide to explore the island’s many sights, your stay in Maui is guaranteed to be delightful.
Some activities not to be missed include seeing the sunrise from the top of the Haleakala volcano, joining a cruise to go watch the whales (who migrate to Maui in winter too), snorkeling with the local turtles, driving the legendary Road to Hana, attending a luau performance and visiting the mystical ‘Iao Valley.
While the temperatures all over the island are amazing, the areas around Kaanapali, Kihei & Wailea tend to be the driest during the winter months.
These towns also happen to be home to some of the most fabulous beach resorts on the island, like the newly renovated Kaanapali Beach Resort and the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa – a Waldorf Astoria Resort with a fantastic pool complete with a lazy river, waterslides, and a swinging rope.
And if you’re looking for a place to spend a memorable evening, then head to the former whaling village of Lahaina with its many restaurants and art galleries.
Or, you could always drive up to North Maui to enjoy dinner at the island’s most iconic restaurant, Mama’s Fish House. During your visit, order Mama’s Stuffed Fish, a mahimahi deliciously stuffed with the tastiest lobster and crab.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 72 F and lows of 56 F (Making it another contender for the warmest place in the US in December).
By: Holly of Globeblogging
Travelers looking to escape cold winter temperatures will love Hawaii’s island of Oahu, one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA.
Here, December temperatures range between 79 F and 66 F with just 4 days of rain per month. Therefore, eager visitors can fill their Oahu itinerary with a fantastic array of water-related activities like snorkeling with dolphins, parasailing, cruising, surfing, or just relaxing on the beach.
There is also a great selection of picturesque walks that you can take if you want to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of this amazing place.
Plus, all of the tours and activities offered here include pickups from Waikiki. Although, a well-connected public transportation system makes Oahu an excellent home base if you don’t want to rent a car.
And a visit to Kualoa Ranch is not to be missed for any movie buffs or shoppers who will enjoy the outlets at one of Hawaii’s most famous shopping areas.
For accommodation away from the main drag, try Coconut Waikiki Hotel. It overlooks a scenic canal and offers clean, comfortable, well-priced rooms that are just a short walk away from the central tourist area.
And while the rooms here do include a basic breakfast, it’s worth it to go to Dukes for their lavish breakfast buffet or to Bills Hawaii for their big breakfast if you’re a coffee connoisseur.
See, Bill is originally from Australia, and the coffee here is some of the best you’ll find on the island.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 79 F and lows of 66 F (Yeah, definitely one of the warmest places in the US in December).
Best Warm Winter Vacations USA -Florida
15. Hollywood Island National Park
By: Paula of Paula Pins the Planet
Florida is home to some of the best warm winter vacations in the USA, and if you are looking for a less touristy place to visit then Honeymoon Island State Park is a perfect spot.
Divided by North Beach, Oasis Beach, and Dog Beach, Honeymoon Island spans 4-miles of pristine white sand beaches and features a 3-mile hiking trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests in the world.
That’s why, this is a perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts who can enjoy many activities like soaking in the winter sun, swimming, fishing, kayaking, biking, and hiking.
So, spend the day enjoying the island’s scenic beaches, go for a picnic at one of the many designated areas here, or rent a kayak and visit Caladesi Island, which is just 15-minutes away from Honeymoon Island.
And once inside Honeymoon Island State Park, you’ll find two different cafes where you can buy some simple food and beverages.
But, just five minutes from the Park entrance, you’ll discover Frenchy’s Cafe, an iconic foodie hot spot that is known for having the best Grouper Sandwich in Florida.
And while there are no accommodations inside Honeymoon Island State Park, it’s just a short drive away from Dunedin. It’s a fantastic place that is home to Beyond The Wall B&B, which is centrally located within walking distance of the area’s best bars and restaurants.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 76 F and lows of 68 F (Making it probably the warmest place in the US in December).
16. St. Pete and Clearwater
By: Greta of Greta’s Travels
If you’re looking for warm places in the US to escape the cold winter weather, then St Pete & Clearwater should be at the top of your list. Located in Tampa Bay, Florida, it’s blessed with sunshine and warm weather all year long.
With temperatures ranging between 70 F and 60F throughout December – with just 5 days of rainfall in the coldest winter months – St Pete & Clearwater is the perfect destination if you want to escape the winter cold.
Plus, besides tanning on beautiful beaches, there are many other exciting things to do in the area like check out some of the best things to do on Anna Maria Island.
After all, St Petersburg is home to the Dali Museum, a lively Central Avenue and Waterfront, and some truly unique street art. In Clearwater, you can also go on a dolphin-spotting cruise, or just relax on one of the many beaches on nearby Caladesi Island.
And for a truly unique place to stay in St Pete & Clearwater, try The DonCesar. Located right on the beach, this Pink Palace was founded in the 1920s and has hosted many famous guests, including Al Capone and F Scott Fitzgerald. That’s why staying here is basically like visiting a local attraction!
Now, when it comes to food there are many delicious restaurants, but Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is without a doubt a Clearwater Beach staple. The grouper sandwich is their traditional dish and you simply have to give it a try while enjoying one of the great warm winter vacations in the USA.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 70 F and lows of 60 F (Making it another one of the warmest places in the US in December).
17. Key West
By: Kris of Nomad by Trade
Unsurprisingly, many of the top things to do in Key West revolve around water. Therefore, during one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA, you’ll have plenty of chances to swim, snorkel, jet ski, and more as part of group tours or private rentals.
For a real ocean getaway though, hop on the ferry or take a seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park, located just 70 miles west of Key West. Once there you can explore a historic fort, birdwatch, or snorkel in the gorgeous turquoise waters.
However, If partying in one of the warm places in the US is more your thing, then head to Duval Street at the center of the historic downtown area.
You’ll find a wealth of bars and restaurants here, many of which feature live music along the street. Try Flying Monkeys for their delightful outdoor seating area and boozy frozen drinks like rum runners and Pina Coladas that come in refillable bottles. And trust me one this, you’ll definitely want a refill.
Although, if you’re more of a literary buff or just have a soft spot for cats, then take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway house. You’ll see where he lived and wrote for several years.
In fact, the former residence is still inhabited by the descendants of a six-toed cat that he once owned and they still roam the grounds here freely.
Now, If you want accommodations near the center of town, you’ll pay a hefty price since hotels close to downtown aren’t cheap. But, the Kimpton Lighthouse Hotel is a nice compromise in terms of price and location.
It sits directly across the street from the Hemingway house – right next to a lighthouse (which is great when you want to find your way back) -, is centrally located near the downtown area, and has adorable rooms built around small, almost private pools.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 77 F and lows of 70 F (Making it probably the warmest place in the US in December).
By: James Ian of Parks Collecting
Miami is one of the classic warm winter vacations in the USA. After all, the summer hurricane season has ended, and the unbearably hot, summer weather is long gone.
Now, at the center of all the action in Miami is South Beach. It’s where you’ll find most of the area’s best restaurants, bars, and hotels.
You can easily spend the day lying on the beach or walking along the South Beach Esplanade and adjacent Ocean Drive. However, there is so much more to see and do if you prefer a more active visit to one of the warm places in the US.
See, the city’s main shopping area is the now pedestrianized Lincoln Road. And you can spend the day shopping or dining at one of the many outdoor cafes here.
For a vibrant area with a lively atmosphere – especially in the evening – head to Espanola Way, between N14th and N15th Streets.
However, for really great food, it’s hard to beat the authentic Cuban cuisine that Little Havana is known for. Centered around SW8th Street, be sure to grab a pan con minuto – otherwise known as a snapper sandwich on a Cuban bread bun – at La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market.
Also, be sure to try a frita – a Cuban-style burger with ground beef and chorizo – at El Rey De Las Fritas.
And if you’re ready for a break from the beach, go snorkeling at Biscayne National Park or take an airboat tour of Everglades National Park. Both are just an hour away.
As for a great place to stay, try the Betsy Hotel. Located right on Ocean Drive, it’s a beautiful boutique hotel with a pool and luxurious rooms with private balconies.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 76 F and lows of 65 F (Making it one of the warmest places in the US in December).
Best Warm Winter Vacations USA – California
19. Joshua Tree
By: Dhara of Roadtripping California
Winter is the perfect time to visit Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Throughout the winter, you will find daytime temperatures in the desert national park pleasant enough for both sightseeing and hiking.
Although nights do get cold, it is fun to bundle up and go stargazing in Joshua Tree after dark. That’s because Joshua Tree National Park is located in not one but two deserts in southern California, with two distinct ecosystems you can view as you experience one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA.
Therefore, the Colorado Desert section and the Mojave Desert section each feature different types of flora, including everything from various cacti to succulents to California palm oases.
The park is also known for its fabulous rock formations, and rock climbing and scrambling are hugely popular here. There are also a variety of trails to hike, from easy nature trails to challenging treks.
In particular, Ryan Mountain Trail takes you to the top of one of the park’s best mountains and offers visitors panoramic views in every direction.
Wildlife viewing and birdwatching are other things to enjoy at Joshua Tree in the winter. There are also several historic sights in the park, like old gold mines and ranches from the pioneering days.
Then, for sunset, head to Keys View, where you can see the entire Coachella Valley!
And for the best place to stay, try Campbell House in Twentynine Palms – a little town located just north of the park. You can also stop for lunch at Natural Sisters Cafe, which has delicious salads, sandwiches, and juices.
Although, you may have to wait if you arrive at peak lunchtime, so try to stop by either a little earlier or a bit later in the day.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 61 F and lows of 37 F (Making it another one of the warmest places in the US in December).
20. Death Valley National Park
By: Michelle of The Wandering Queen
One of the best national parks to visit in the winter is Death Valley, National Park. This park is one of the warmest places in the US in December, making it one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA.
And one of the best things to do here is to enjoy the lovely Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Just remember that walking on sand can be difficult, especially since some of the dunes are pretty steep. But, you can catch a fantastic sunset if you can manage to get to the top.
Another great place to visit is the Artists Drive. It has colorful splashes of, blues, pinks, purples, and yellows on the mountain. Trust me, it’s something you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
Next, visit Zabriskie Point at sunrise. Many photographers flock to this area early in the morning. You can even hike some trails afterward like the Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Badlands Loop Hike.
Finally, explore Badwater Basin. This is the lowest point in the United States, and it is filled with white salt. It is also one of the most unique things to see in the United States, in addition to being a perfect Instagram spot.
Now, when visiting one of the many warm places in the US in winter, be sure to stay at the Inn At Death Valley. It is a lovely lodge filled with palm trees that even has a nice restaurant, which is important since lodging and restaurants are incredibly limited within the park.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 65 F and lows of 39 F (Making it another one of the warmest places in the US in December).
21. Palm Springs
By: Christine of Treasured Family Travels
Situated in the Sonoran desert of Southern California, Palm Springs evokes images of glitz, glamour, and outdoor fun as one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA.
From hot springs, spas, and golf courses to hiking and hot air balloon rides, this city has it all as one of the many warm places in the US.
It’s easy to spend a week here and not be bored. So, if you like shopping then take a stroll along Palm Canyon Drive with its many boutiques and galleries.
What, prefer the outdoors? Then head to The Living Desert – a zoo and botanical garden all in one. Take a behind-the-scenes tour to see all of the attractions here up close or go on a safari tour to discover all of the animals housed here.
If you’re not afraid of heights, take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Mt. Jacinto (8500 feet). This cable car features a 360-degree rotating platform that gives you a birds-eye view of everything on the mountain.
And while Palm Springs does have a ton of high-end hotels to choose from, opt for a condo/timeshare if you are visiting Palm Springs with kids.
In particular, the Westin Mission Hills Villas in Rancho Mirage is connected to a resort of the same name. Therefore, you get to enjoy double the amenities, including several pools, two kids clubs, spas, a golf course, a miniature golf course, and an array of restaurants.
For casual dining, relax inside or out on the patio at their Fireplace Lounge, which overlooks the lush grounds of the 18th hole of the Pete Dye Golf Course. Try one of their specialty pizzas by the large fire pit for the perfect end to a perfect day.
Yes, with so much to do and experience, Palm Springs really is one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 70 F and lows of 43 F (Making it one of the warmest places in the US in December).
By: Nicole of Go Far Grow Close
If you are looking for one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA then you should consider visiting the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim California.
First opened in 1955, this amusement park features characters, rides, and shows based on the original designs of Walt Disney and the Disney Company.
Typically, the weather is reliably sunny and warm with average temperatures of around 67 F in December, making it one of the warmest places in the US in December.
Once inside you’ll quickly see that Disneyland Resort is made up of two amusement parks – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, each with its own unique themes, attractions, shows, and restaurants.
Most people spend a minimum of two days at the Disneyland Resort so that they can enjoy at least one full day at each park.
However, you can see both parks in one day if you are in a bit of a time crunch and purchase the Hopper ticket. If you plan to do both, make sure you wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking!
In terms of hotels, the Hyatt Regency Orange County is an excellent choice since it’s a short uber drive away from Disneyland. The rooms are also spacious and comfortable, allowing you to get a great deal of value for your money.
And if you love soft serve ice cream, skip dinner and head straight to Joe’s Italian Ice instead. You will be overwhelmed by their vast selection of ice cream flavors and enjoy the short, 8-minute walk back to the Hyatt.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 79 F and lows of 58 F (Making it one of the warmest places in the US in December).
23. Santa Barbara
By: Cecily of Groovy Mashed Potatoes
Take a trip to the American Riviera and soak up some sun in Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean-like climate. The vibrant city is known for its scenic beaches, Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, hip wine-tasting rooms, and burgeoning farm-to-table restaurants.
During summertime, hotel prices soar, making a trip to Santa Barbara feel a bit out of reach. However, the winter season is a fantastic time to visit since hotel prices drop and you will encounter fewer crowds.
You’ll also love that this is one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA where there are many fun things to do. During the day, explore the Funk Zone, a former warehouse district that has been converted into a trendy area filled with wine tasting rooms, breweries, boutique shops, vintage stores, and happening restaurants.
Two must-visit wine tasting rooms are Area 5.1, with its retro UFO theme, and Riverbench, where you can get your bottle sparkled to take home as a souvenir.
In the evening, eat at The Lark, a former fish market that is now one of the city’s hottest restaurants. Try the crispy brussels sprouts with Medjool dates, sesame, garam, and lime for the ultimate foodie experience.
Afterward, keep the night going at The Waterline, an industrial warehouse that hosts regular live music events.
Finally, unwind at the Hotel Californian, a design-led hotel sitting right in the heart of the Funk Zone. It features stunning, Moroccan-Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and is home to the only rooftop pool in the city.
To get there, just take a scenic road trip to Santa Barbara from LA or easily fly into the city’s municipal airport and enjoy one of the many warm places in the US.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 65 F and lows of 45 F (Making it one of the many warm places in the US in December).
24. Los Angeles
Los Angeles is perfect during winter. I mean the city really has its own charm but winter brings its own special allure. This is largely because the city has gorgeous weather.
Think of temperatures in the range of 50-68oF. So you would probably require just a light jacket in the nights but in the days the cold weather wouldn’t bother you at all!
One of the things that I love about Los Angeles is that the city provides the perfect mix of activities. People who love big cities can wander through its streets visiting museums, snacking on food and even catch the winter baseball season.
Fans of the outdoors however can recline on the beach, head out on a hike or even catch some waves.
The big bonus is that at this time of the year there aren’t huge crowds. I’m all for the big city but if the crowds are low, I find that I enjoy the city even more. Which is probably the reason why I love Los Angeles at this time of the year.
Pro Tip: If you are into hiking, this is the perfect time to head out on Runyon Canyon hike. The cool weather makes the hike pleasant and the view at the top is spectacular. So spectacular that you will probably run into a celebrity or three who wanders up for the exact same reason as you!
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 68F and lows of 50F (making it one of the warmest destinations in the USA in winter)
Best Warm Winter Vacations USA – Caribbean Island Getaways
25. San Juan, Puerto Rico
By: Dhara of It’s Not About the Miles
San Juan, the lovely (and lively!) capital of Puerto Rico, makes for one of the many fun-filled warm winter vacations in the USA.
Known for being a US territory, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico features beautiful scenery and many historic sights. Also of special note is San Juan, the most popular destination on the island.
It’s a fantastic place to experience the history, scenic beauty, and fabulous food and drink that this amazing island is known for.
With pleasant daytime temperatures perfect for sightseeing, winter is the ideal time to visit San Juan, one of many warm places in the US.
And because hurricane season ends in November, you can expect sunny days with ocean breezes to keep you cool while you explore the area.
In particular, Old San Juan is a must-visit, with its many historic sights and bright, colorful buildings. Here you will find the San Juan National Historic Site, which includes two forts for you to explore. They are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the city walls and the Governor’s residence of La Fortaleza.
Afterward, cruise through San Juan Bay to admire the city from the water before visiting a rum distillery, and exploring the resort district of Condado, which is lined with beachfront hotels and great shops.
With more time, you can visit one (or more!) of Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches and the tropical rainforest of El Yunque.
In the evening, spend the night at El Convento, a historic hotel in Old San Juan, that enables you to savor the atmosphere of the old town.
And for a special dinner, try the tasting menu at 1919. It’s run by Michelin star-rated chef Jose Enrique, who creates refined, farm-to-table cuisine. Just don’t leave without trying the crab salad!
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 85 F and lows of 67 F (Making it one of the warmest places in the US in December).
26. St. Thomas
By: Anna of Stuck on the Go
St. Thomas is the largest of the three islands that make up the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Therefore, it’s easily one of the best warm winter vacations in the USA since you don’t need a passport to enjoy the Caribbean vibes and island life here!
When looking for a place to stay, try the Margaritaville Vacation Club St. Thomas with its fun atmosphere, two pools, restaurant, and private beach. If you can, ask to stay near the hillside pool for some of the best views on the property.
Plus, staying at Margaritaville also means that you’re just a quick 5-minute ride away from Red Hook, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and a marina that many excursions depart from.
While you’re there, visit Lattes in Paradise for breakfast, Duffy’s Love Shack – the best tiki bar in Red Hook – and Tap & Still for its lively atmosphere and delicious chicken sandwiches.
You’ll also love that Margaritaville is just a short walk away from Coki Beach, where you can rent snorkeling equipment from a little beach stand between Coki and Coral World Ocean Park.
And if you want to get off the island, try the British Virgin Islands tour and visit The Baths at Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, where you’ll find the Soggy Dollar Bar. Another great tour is the Kayak, Hike, and Snorkel Ecotour with VI Ecotours.
Finally, make sure you take the ferry from Red Hook to St. John and explore the Virgin Islands National Park there. Be sure to hike down to Cinnamon Bay Beach for an incredible day trip that you won’t soon forget during your St. Thomas itinerary – as you explore one of the many warm places in the US.
Average Temperature in December: Highs of 84 F and lows of 76 F (Making it one of the warmest places in the US in December).
Additional Warm Winter Vacations USA Travel Resources You’ll Love
- Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List
- 24 Amazing Honeymoon Spots in the US
- 25 Most Romantic Getaways in the USA
- Best Places to Travel Alone in the US