15 Best Warm Places to Visit in January in the USA

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated July 4, 2024 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jen
Best Warm Places to Visit in January in the USA
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Are you looking to escape the winter weather for a warm and sunny destination? Keep reading to see my personal top picks for the best warm places to visit in the USA in January 2024.

As the winter chill sets in across much of the United States, many of us start dreaming of warmer climates and sunny skies. January, often the coldest month in the northern hemisphere, is the perfect time to explore some of the warmer locales the U.S. has to offer.

From the laid-back beaches of California to the unexpected warmth of the Southern states, I’ve soaked up the sun (and a few margaritas) in places that have made my Januarys absolutely unforgettable.

Whether you’re into beach lounging, city life, or some peaceful time in the desert, I’ve got the perfect spot for you. This list of 15 destinations promises to help you shake off the winter blues and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

Top warm January destinations in the US

Ready to ditch the heavy coats and enjoy some fun in the sun? Here are some winter destinations in America that you should add to your bucket list:

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii’s timeless beauty makes it a top choice for a January getaway. Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is truly a slice of paradise this time of year.

Escaping the mainland’s winter chill, you’ll find yourself in a sunny, vibrant world where the aloha spirit is as warm as the weather. Honolulu, more than just a beach town, is a cultural melting pot with a rich history.

Spend your days surfing the legendary waves at Waikiki or hiking up Diamond Head for breathtaking views. Don’t miss exploring the historic Pearl Harbor, a poignant reminder of the past. The city’s food scene is a delight too, offering fresh, local seafood and a fusion of flavors that reflect its diverse population.

With its perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, Honolulu in January is an unbeatable winter getaway.

Hawaii is one of the best warm places to visit in January in the USA.
In January, Hawaii’s timeless beauty shines in Honolulu on Oahu, a true slice of paradise for a getaway.

2. Key West, Florida

Key West in January is an absolute dream. While the rest of the country bundles up, this quirky island basks in delightful warmth and sunshine.

Key West is the perfect antidote to winter blues, offering a unique blend of laid-back charm and vibrant energy. Stroll down Duval Street, where colorful bars meet historic architecture, and don’t miss the sunset celebration at Mallory Square – it’s a nightly festival!

For a bit of adventure, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters or explore the beautiful Dry Tortugas National Park. Key West is also steeped in literary history; a visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a must. This island isn’t just a warm spot in the US in January; it’s a hotspot for culture, history, and endless fun.

For crystal-clear waters and laid-back vibes, Key West is one of the warmest places in January in the US that you won’t want to miss!

January in Key West is a dreamy escape as this quirky island revels in delightful warmth and sunshine.
January in Key West is a dreamy escape as this quirky island revels in delightful warmth and sunshine.

3. San Diego, California

San Diego in January is a breath of fresh air for anyone looking to escape the winter cold. This city has a mild climate year-round, making it perfect for exploring its diverse neighborhoods and stunning beaches.

January is ideal for walking through the historic Gaslamp Quarter or experiencing the famous San Diego Zoo without the usual crowds. Outdoor enthusiasts will love hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve or catching a wave at one of the many surf spots.

Don’t forget to indulge in San Diego’s local cuisine, especially the fresh seafood and Mexican-inspired dishes. San Diego combines the best of California’s laid-back lifestyle with cultural richness, ensuring your winter getaway in the US is both relaxing and invigorating.

San Diego in January offers a welcome break from winter's chill with its year-round warm and mild climate.
San Diego in January offers a welcome break from winter’s chill with its year-round mild climate.

4. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix in January? It’s where the sun spends its winter vacation. With days bathed in endless sunshine and cool, crisp evenings, this desert city is a haven for those fleeing the cold.

Imagine starting your day with a hike up Camelback Mountain, the city unfolding below you in a panorama of urban sprawl and rugged mountains. Or perhaps you’d prefer a leisurely stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden. This is where the beauty of the desert flora truly comes to life.

But Phoenix isn’t just about its natural wonders. The city’s cultural scene is buzzing. Museums, art galleries, and a culinary landscape rich with Southwestern flavors await your exploration. And let’s not forget, a short drive takes you to Scottsdale’s upscale charm or the Grand Canyon’s awe-inspiring vistas.

In Phoenix, every warm January day promises a new adventure. This city truly blends urban excitement with the tranquility of the desert.

January in Phoenix: where the sun vacations for winter, offering endless sunny days and cool, crisp evenings.
January in Phoenix: where the sun vacations for winter, offering endless sunny days and cool, crisp evenings.

5. Miami, Florida

Ready for another warm weather place to spend January? Miami in January is a world away from your typical winter scene. Here, forget about snow – it’s all about sun-kissed beaches and a city that’s buzzing with energy.

Your day might start with a lazy morning on South Beach, where the waves gently lap at the shore and the sun warms your skin. Then, wander through the Art Deco District, where every pastel building tells a story of glitz and glamour from days gone by, yet feels utterly alive and kicking today.

But the real heart of Miami beats in its diverse neighborhoods. Sip a strong Cuban coffee in Little Havana, where the air is thick with the scent of cigars and the sound of salsa music. Or lose yourself in Wynwood. This is an outdoor gallery of stunning street art that turns every wall into a masterpiece.

And when the sun goes down, Miami really heats up. The nightlife here is legendary – from rooftop bars with ocean views to thumping nightclubs where the party goes until dawn.

In Miami, January isn’t just a break from the cold. It’s a dive into a vibrant, sun-soaked world that’s always ready to play.

In January, Miami ditches the winter scene for sun-kissed beaches and a bustling, energetic city vibe.
In January, Miami ditches the winter scene for sun-kissed beaches and a bustling, energetic city vibe.

6. Palm Springs, California

Another warm place in the US in January is Palm Springs. It’s like stepping into another world – one where the sun always shines, and the vibe is as cool as those iconic mid-century modern homes dotting the landscape.

Here, winter isn’t just a word. It’s all about enjoying the great outdoors, whether you’re lounging by a chic poolside, surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, or exploring the quirky shops and art galleries downtown.

Fancy a bit of adventure? The hiking trails in Indian Canyons are a must-visit.


You’ll be walking through stunning desert scenery that feels a million miles from the winter you left behind. And for a real treat, take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The views from up there? Absolutely unbeatable.

And, oh, the food scene here! It’s a great mix of high-end dining experiences and laid-back, trendy spots, each offering dishes that are as fresh and vibrant as the city itself.

Palm Springs in January is a slice of paradise where the days are long, the nights are lively, and the memories are unforgettable. And to add to the fun, I highly recommend visiting nearby Joshua Tree National Park.

Palm Springs offers a sun-soaked, cool-vibe escape akin to its iconic mid-century modern homes.
Palm Springs offers a sun-soaked, cool-vibe escape akin to its iconic mid-century modern homes.

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

If you’re thinking about dodging the January chill, let me tell you about New Orleans. It’s not your typical winter hideaway – it’s got a bit of a different beat. While it might not be as toasty as some of the other spots on your list, it’s got a warmth all its own.

Strolling through the French Quarter, you can’t help but get swept up in the history. The cobblestone streets and centuries-old buildings are like stepping back in time. And the music – it’s everywhere. From jazz bands in cozy bars to street musicians on every corner, the whole city seems to move to its own rhythm.

And the food here, oh man! It’s a whole world of flavors. Beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde are a must. And you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a real gumbo or jambalaya.

But what really makes New Orleans special in January? It’s the calm before the Mardi Gras storm. The city is buzzing with anticipation, decorations are going up, and there’s this feeling in the air that something exciting is just around the corner.

So, New Orleans in January? It’s more than just a place to warm up. It’s a feast for the senses and an absolute blast for the soul.

In January, New Orleans offers a different warmth and vibe, a unique choice to dodge the chill with its distinct beat.
In January, New Orleans offers a different warmth and vibe, a unique choice to dodge the chill with its distinct beat.

8. Savannah, Georgia

Looking for warm cities to visit in January in the USA? Head to Savannah, a gem in Georgia, and you’re in for a real treat. The historic charm here is thick enough to cut with a knife, and the slower pace is a welcome change from the usual hustle and bustle.

Walking under the oak trees draped in Spanish moss, it’s like time slows down. The historic squares, each with its own personality and story, invite you to sit a while and just soak it all in. And the architecture? It’s like wandering through a living museum, but way more fun.

Don’t even get me started on the food. It’s comfort on a plate. Whether it’s a hearty serving of shrimp and grits or a slice of pecan pie, every bite feels like a warm hug from the South.

And the best part? The city’s got this laid-back, friendly vibe that makes you feel right at home. In Savannah, January isn’t just a month. It’s an experience, filled with charm, history, and a whole lot of Southern hospitality.

Savannah, Georgia—a haven of historic charm and a slower pace, a delightful break from the usual hustle and bustle.
Savannah, Georgia—a haven of historic charm and a slower pace, a delightful break from the usual hustle and bustle.

9. Charleston, South Carolina

Ah, Charleston in January – it’s like the city breathes a sigh of relief after the holiday rush. The streets, lined with those gorgeous pastel houses, feel more peaceful. You get this sense that you’ve got the place almost to yourself.

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Wandering around, you can’t help but fall for the charm of the cobblestone streets and the secret gardens hiding behind ornate gates. It’s like every corner has a story to tell, and you’re part of it, just by being there.

And let’s talk about the food. Charleston in January is a foodie’s dream. It’s all about hearty, soul-warming Southern cooking. You’ve got to try the seafood – it’s fresh and cooked to perfection. And if you come across she-crab soup, trust me, it’s a game-changer.

What I love about Charleston this time of year is how laid-back everything feels. It’s like the city takes a deep breath and slows down, and you can’t help but do the same. To enjoy a charming version of life, even for just a few days, add Charleston to your wish list.

Charleston in January: a sigh of relief after the holiday rush. Peaceful streets, adorned with beautiful pastel houses.
Charleston in January: a sigh of relief after the holiday rush. Peaceful streets, adorned with beautiful pastel houses.

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

Ready for one of the hottest places to visit in January in the USA? Las Vegas is a whole different ball game. You might think of Vegas as this scorching desert city, but come January, it’s got this cool, almost crisp air – a welcome change from the usual heat.

Walking down the Strip, with less of the usual crowds, you get to see a different side of Vegas. The neon lights are just as bright, but everything feels a bit more laid-back. It’s the perfect time to check out all those famous casinos and hotels without bumping elbows every two seconds.

But hey, Vegas isn’t just casinos and bright lights. Take a trip to Red Rock Canyon or one of my all-time favorites, Valley of Fire. The cooler weather is perfect for hiking, and the views? They’re unreal. It’s like finding an oasis of calm right next to the city’s hustle and bustle.

And the shows – they’re still going strong. You can catch some world-class entertainment, maybe even more easily than during the busier seasons.

What I love about Vegas in January is how it balances its wild side with a bit of chill. It’s like the city takes a breather, and you’re invited to join in.

Las Vegas is one of the best warm places to visit in January in the USA.
Las Vegas surprises with a cool, almost crisp air, a refreshing contrast to its usual scorching desert reputation.

11. Austin, Texas

Austin’s got a vibe that’s hard to beat. You might think Texas = hot, but in January, Austin hits this sweet spot of cool and comfortable. It’s the kind of weather that’s perfect for exploring without working up a sweat.

The city’s got this laid-back, almost quirky energy. You can spend your days wandering South Congress, popping into unique shops and catching some live music – which, by the way, is everywhere. Austin’s not called the Live Music Capital of the World for nothing.

And Austin’s food scene is something else. It’s not just about BBQ and Tex-Mex, though they’re fantastic. There’s this whole array of food trucks and hip cafes serving up everything from vegan dishes to artisan coffee.

But what I really love about Austin in January is the outdoors. Places like Zilker Park are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. And the Barton Springs Pool? It’s a bit chilly, but hey, it’s a classic Austin experience.

Austin in January feels like the city takes a deep breath and just chills out. It’s a mix of cool weather, cool people, and some seriously cool vibes. It’s not your typical winter getaway; it’s a chance to experience a city that’s all about keeping things weird, in the best way possible.

Despite Texas's reputation for heat, in January, Austin strikes a sweet spot of cool and comfortable weather.
Despite Texas’s reputation for heat, in January, Austin strikes a sweet spot of cool and comfortable weather.

12. Naples, Florida

Naples in January is Florida’s best-kept secret. While everyone else is thinking about Miami or Orlando, Naples offers this quiet, understated elegance that’s perfect for a winter getaway.

The weather? It’s like the rest of Florida decided to go full summer, and Naples just said, “Nah, I’ll stick with warm and breezy, thanks.” It’s the kind of place where you can enjoy the beach without feeling like you’re melting.

And the beaches – they’re something else. We’re talking soft, white sand and calm, clear waters. It’s like stepping into a postcard. Plus, the sunsets over the Gulf? Absolutely stunning.

But Naples isn’t just about beach lounging. The downtown area, with its chic boutiques and art galleries, has a charm that’s hard to find elsewhere. And the dining scene is top-notch – fresh seafood, cozy cafes, you name it.

What I love about Naples is its laid-back luxury. It’s not showy or loud; it’s just quietly, beautifully refined. In January, it’s a slice of peaceful paradise, perfect for recharging and starting the new year right.

Naples is one of the best warm places to visit in January in the USA.
Naples—a quiet, understated elegance perfect for a winter getaway, often overlooked amid the buzz of Miami or Orlando.

13. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson in January is like stumbling upon a hidden Arizona gem. While everyone’s looking at Phoenix or Sedona, Tucson’s there in the background, whispering, “Hey, over here!” And let me tell you, it’s worth the detour.

The weather’s got this perfect balance – not too hot, not too cold. It’s like Goldilocks’ dream, especially if you’re into spending time outdoors.

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And in Tucson, being outdoors is the whole point.

You’ve got the Saguaro National Park right on your doorstep. It’s a surreal landscape, with those iconic cacti standing tall against the desert sky. Hiking or even just driving through, it feels like you’re on another planet.

But Tucson’s not just about its natural beauty. The city itself has a cool, artsy vibe. There’s a real sense of community and local pride here. And the food – oh, the Mexican cuisine is out of this world. Authentic, flavorful, and just plain delicious.

What I really dig about Tucson is how it feels undiscovered, like you’re in on a secret. In January, it’s a peaceful escape from the usual winter or desert destinations. It’s low-key, it’s beautiful, and it’s waiting to be explored.

Tucson is one of the best warm places to visit in January in the USA.
Tucson in January: A hidden gem worth discovering, whispering its charm amidst the allure of Phoenix or Sedona.

14. Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi in January is like finding an oasis of calm right when you need it most. While everyone else is flocking to the more famous Texas hotspots, Corpus Christi offers a seaside escape that’s both tranquil and invigorating.

The weather is mild and inviting – perfect for long walks on the beach without that intense summer heat. The Gulf of Mexico in winter? It’s surprisingly serene. You get these stretches of beach almost to yourself, which is pretty rare these days.

But it’s not just about beach bumming. Corpus Christi has this laid-back coastal town vibe that’s really endearing.

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The Texas State Aquarium is a must-visit, especially if you’re traveling with family. And if you’re into maritime history, the USS Lexington is like a floating museum that tells some fascinating stories.

What’s really cool about Corpus Christi is its blend of nature and city life. You can spend a morning bird watching at Padre Island National Seashore and then hit up some local seafood joints for dinner. The food here is as fresh as it gets – think shrimp straight from the Gulf.

Corpus Christi in January is like a breath of fresh air. It’s a place where you can slow down, soak up some gentle sun, and enjoy the Gulf’s laid-back rhythm. As far as warm places to go in January in the USA go, this is among the best!

Corpus Christi is an oasis of calm amid the popular Texas hotspots, providing a tranquil and invigorating seaside escape.
Corpus Christi is an oasis of calm amid the popular Texas hotspots, providing a tranquil and invigorating seaside escape.

15. St. Petersburg, Florida

Last, but not least on this list of places to go in January that are hot is St. Pete’s!

Heading to St. Petersburg, Florida, in January is like stepping into a little slice of paradise. While the rest of the country is bundling up, St. Pete is all about sunny days and comfortable nights.


It’s the kind of place where winter feels like a distant concept.

St. Petersburg is one of the best warm places to visit in January in the USA.
January in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a sunny escape where winter feels distant while the rest bundle up.

Strolling along the waterfront, you get this sense of calm that’s hard to find in busier Florida cities. The vibe here is artsy and laid-back. You can spend hours exploring the Salvador Dali Museum, where the surreal becomes real, or meandering through the Sunken Gardens, a hidden gem filled with tropical plants.

But what I love most about St. Pete is its blend of culture and beach life. The beaches here are stunning – think soft sand and clear waters, perfect for a January day. And the city’s downtown is vibrant, filled with cool shops, craft breweries, and cafes that invite you to linger. This makes it the ultimate destination for bachelor parties!

In St. Pete, January is all about enjoying the best of Florida without the crowds. It’s a place where you can kick back, soak up some arts and culture, and just enjoy the good life.

The top warm places to visit in January in the USA for all types of travelers
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