6 Places to Be Outside in the USA This WinterBy Clair Volkman
Winter is the perfect time to hike through Andreas Canyon, outside Palm Springs. (Photo: Alamy)
As winter temperatures drop the thought of a warm-weather getaway becomes increasingly more desirable. While snow might be falling in some parts of the country, the USA has a wide range of landscapes, from beaches to deserts, that boast temperate climates to beat the winter chill.
If you are dreaming of somewhere warmer, consider adding the following six destinations to your list. And as smart travelers know, always check for any local restrictions or closures prior to your trip.
Palm Springs, California
There’s more to Palm Springs, California, than palm trees (although they do contribute to the views). You can admire sweeping desert views from the top of the aerial tramway, and stroll amid the downtown area’s Spanish-style architecture and world-class museums.
There’s no need for jackets since this city stays 20 degrees Celsius or warmer all winter long. This luxurious destination is only about 170 kilometers east of Los Angeles and 200 kilometers northeast of San Diego, California.
Winter is a great time to hike through Andreas Canyon, located just south of Palm Springs, California. You can enjoy the desert landscape without the desert heat.
Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
A 40-kilometer drive and ferry ride northwest of St. Petersburg, Florida, Caladesi Island is known for its tranquility and romantic seascapes. The climate is perfect this time of year, with an average high of 23 degrees Celsius. There are plenty of great activities like sunbathing, hiking and kayaking through the mangroves and bay to explore in this Florida state park.
Cerulean waters, white-sand beaches and a relaxing ambience have earned Caladesi Island, Florida, a reputation as one of the best beaches in the U.S.
Known as the “Friendly Island,” Moloka’i — located about 40 kilometers off the southeast coast of the island of O’ahu and accessible by boat or plane — is also home to Kalaupapa National Historic Park (check that the park is currently open to visitors before you go).
Perched on the north shore of the island, the park offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean made more enjoyable by an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. While on the island, you can explore the fishing town of Kaunakakai on the southeast part of the island or the stunning Halawa Valley on the east end.
Though not as well known as the other Hawaiian islands, Molokai’s warm weather, warm aloha spirit and lush landscape make for an ideal winter escape.
January is actually the best time to visit Scottsdale, Arizona. Sandwiched between Phoenix and Tonto National Forest, this city experiences comfortable weather (temperatures average 20 degrees Celsius) as opposed to the extreme desert heat it experiences in the summer.
The winter climate is perfect for golfers, who flock to the many courses found in central Arizona. For views of the desert, hike the 2-kilometer trail leading to the summit of Camelback Mountain, which reaches an elevation of 824 meters.
During the summer, it can be too hot to explore the striking desert landscape surrounding Scottsdale, Arizona. But the winter weather is perfect for hiking.
U.S. Virgin Islands
If you can’t decide between lying on the beach, exploring a vibrant city center or taking a sailboat ride around a crescent bay, do all three in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This tropical paradise in the Caribbean is made up of three islands: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
Each island offers something different. You can enjoy shopping and al fresco dining on St. Thomas; explore the beautiful crescent beaches and Virgin Islands National Park of St. John, and visit the stunning Buck Island Reef Island National Monument and unique Dutch architecture of St. Croix.
And you’ll find stunning beaches ringing all three. The temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius this time of year, and the islands are only a 2½- to 3-hour flight from Miami, Florida.
Each of the three islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands has something unique to offer. But they all boast warm weather, beautiful scenery and plenty of beaches.
For a warm-weather getaway that’s also full of unique and quirky charm and culture, head to Austin, Texas. The city rarely sees temperatures below 17 degrees Celsius, which make its outdoor attractions more inviting. Spend your time boating on Lady Bird Lake in the center of the city, or spend some time exploring Zilker Botanical Garden, which features 10½ hectares of plants and walking trails.
You don’t have to stray far from Austin, Texas, to experience the great outdoors. You’ll find plenty of natural attractions — including Lady Bird Lake — right in the heart of the city.
This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.