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San Antonio River Walk at night
duydophotography | Adobe Stock

The 10 Best Warm Weather Winter Destinations in the US

Sometimes, the promise of a warm-weather vacation is all you need to get you through those cold and snowy winter days. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far or spend thousands on long flights to find sunshine and hot temperatures. While the rest of the country shivers through frigid temperatures, these domestic destinations are practically tropical, even in the winter.

Personal finance site WalletHub crunched the data to find out where you should head for a warm-weather vacation in The United States this winter. The study compared 69 of the most populated U.S. metropolitan areas across six categories: travel costs and hassles, local costs, attractions, weather, activities, and safety. 

To be considered a warm winter destination as part of the survey, cities must have an average December temperature of 57 degrees or higher. 

These are the 10 best warm-weather winter destinations in The United States.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Busy street in Las Vegas, Nevada, as seen from across a lake
SeanPavonePhoto | Adobe Stock

Keep pool party season going through the winter at Stadium Swim at the Circa Hotel in Las Vegas. All six pools are heated to around 100 degrees, so you can pretend summer never left. 

Aside from the beautiful weather, December is a great time to visit Las Vegas as the casinos go all out with holiday decorations.  

Average December high temperature: 60 degrees

San Diego, California

People skating on an open air ice skating rink by the beach at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California
Hotel Del Coronado

Experience all the fun winter activities without the frigid temperatures in San Diego. Despite the warm temperatures, you can still find outdoor skating rinks where you can spin around atop faux ice right on the beach. 

Average December high temperature: 66 degrees

Austin, Texas

Aerial view of people kayaking on Barton Springs in Austin, Texas
Hank + Tank | Adobe Stock

With almost 13 miles of trails, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is at its best during the winter months, when temperatures are perfect for hiking—not too cold or hot. If the nighttime temperatures are too chilly for your liking, simply head to one of Austin’s many restaurants with heated patios to warm up.

Average December high temperature: 63 degrees.

Dallas, Texas

People walking on Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas
Richard | Adobe Stock

Dallas might not be the first destination that you think of for cycling, but the city has four major off-road bike paths to explore. Rent a bike and enjoy riding around the city when the sun isn’t relentless. 

After, head to one of the city’s many (heated) rooftop bars to sip a drink and watch the sunset. 

Average December high temperature: 58 degrees.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio Riverwalk in the evening during the holiday season
Roger Gray | Adobe Stock

Strolling San Antonio’s famous River Walk is lovely any time of the year, but it’s especially magical November through January when over 100,000 lights bedeck the trees lining the path. 

Average December high temperature: 64 degrees.

Charleston, South Carolina

Street in Charleston, South Carolina on a sunny day
f11photo | Adobe Stock

Throw your New Year’s resolutions out the window if you plan to visit Charleston in the winter because this is the city’s prime season for culinary festivals. During the end of January, the Charleston Wine Festival tempts people out of Dry January.

Or, visit the first weekend in March, when the Charleston Wine + Food Festival offers the chance to sample some of the region’s best cuisine.   

Average December high temperature: 61 degrees.

San Francisco, California

Cable car on a San Francisco street in California
The Pink Panda | Adobe Stock

If you’re hoping to go whale-watching on your trip to San Francisco, winter is the best time to go. From December to May, you’ll have the best chance of seeing the most variety of whale species. Don’t worry—whale-watching boats will have heated cabins. 

Average December high temperature: 58 degrees.

Houston, Texas

Skyline of Houston, Texas
Kovcs | Adobe Stock

If Houston’s mild winter weather isn’t hot enough for you, spice things up at the annual Hops n’ Hot Sauce Festival, held on January 20. The event will have lots of local craft beer to sample, along with some of the city’s best food trucks—so you can get a taste of Houston’s finest all in one place. 

Average December high temperature: 63 degrees.

Phoenix, Arizona

Skyline of Phoenix, Arizona at dusk
SeanPavonePhoto | Adobe Stock

With average summer temperatures in Phoenix reaching over 100 degrees, winter is one of the most pleasant times to visit. The balmy 68-degree average temperature makes it much more comfortable to explore the Sonoran Desert or hike Camelback Mountain. 

Average December high temperature: 68 degrees. 

Los Angeles, California

Aerial view of Venice Beach Los Angeles
Luciano | Adobe Stock

Chillier ocean temperatures don’t deter California surfers, who wear wetsuits and hit the waves. Even if you don’t want to venture in, the winter can be a nice time to simply sit on the sand and soak up some sunshine in Los Angeles. 

Average December high temperature: 68 degrees. 

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