When January hits and the holiday season starts to wind down in the heart of North America, U.S. citizens often find themselves at a crossroads. With some vacation time left to burn, you face hard choices when deciding on the best places to travel in January. Should you finally cross the northern lights off your bucket list or visit some of the nation's best beaches and hot springs?
Whether you want to plan a getaway built around warm weather or visit a winter wonderland beyond anything you've experienced, we hope this travel guide leads you to one of the best places to travel in the USA (or the world) during January!
Best Places to Travel in January Around the U.S.
1. New York City
Believe it or not, many folks think the ideal time to visit NYC is after the New Year ball drops in Times Square, and the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza has been taken down. Although this hot spot for foodies, architecture buffs, and fans of American exceptionalism is bustling year-round, things tend to slow down ever so slightly right after the holiday season. After all, when it comes down to it, a New York winter getaway is the only chance you'll get to glimpse the Statue of Liberty covered in a fresh snowfall.
Most people think of beaches and Hollywood when the Golden State comes to mind. Still, California has a whole nation's worth of geography to enjoy. So it's a great place to visit during the cold months whether you prefer winter sports in the Sierra Nevadas or the Los Angeles nightlife. The beauty of January CA trips is that they can land skiers at popular ski resorts and surfers on the best beaches, all in a single day.
If you're starting to think your mental wellness is directly related to your vitamin D intake, consider setting a course for the Sunshine State. Although it's almost always the perfect time of year to visit Florida, going in January might be the medicine you need. From the white sand beaches of Miami to the diverse biomes of its many national parks, Florida is a top pick when it comes to winter travel. Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, you'll find a wide range of outdoor activities to choose from, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and many other water sports.
What's better than snowshoeing and dog sledding? How about luaus and sailboarding? Although January isn't precisely the Aloha State's dry season (its rainiest in December), it is one of the cheapest times to visit, making a Hawaiian vacation much more affordable and potentially less crowded.
As if that weren't reason enough, January is one of the island state's best times for whale watching.
Bonus Section: Best International Destinations in January
While there are plenty of places to travel in the good ol' U.S. of A. when the winter months hit, there are also quite a few international destinations you might consider. Africa and Australia, for instance, are full of warm-weather opportunities like waterfalls, rainforests, and ocean views.
From the year-round warmth and beautiful beaches of the Caribbean Islands and their Central American counterparts to the many snowboarding destinations of Europe, January is one of the most excellent off-season months for beating the crowds and costs associated with the usual tourism.
What's your favorite January travel spot? Tell everyone your secrets on our Wide Open Road Facebook!