10 Of The Best Places In The US To Visit In January, According To Travelers

For those who've made travel-related New Year's resolutions, January is an ideal time to kickstart travel goals and embark on new adventures. Museums, historic sites, and cultural attractions are often less crowded in January, fostering a more immersive and contemplative experience. Since January is the off-season for many tourist destinations, you're likely to get a more authentic experience when visiting in the winter, allowing you to embrace the local flair.

Winter weather also gives travelers the option to partake in activities they otherwise couldn't, such as snow skiing or ice skating. However, if you're looking to get out of the cold, the United States also offers an abundance of locations with warm and mild temperatures. Locations on this list were selected based on personal experiences and traveler reviews. This helped us decide which locations provided the best experiences for travelers during January. Whether you're a winter enthusiast, a history buff, a beach lover, or a cultural connoisseur, there are plenty of new locations within the United States to explore in January.

Escape the cold in Death Valley National Park, California

Known for its scorching heat during the summer months, Death Valley National Park and its desert landscape transform into a serene and pleasantly mild haven in the winter. During January temperatures are far more comfortable, with daytime highs averaging around 60°F (15°C) and cooler nights. Death Valley National Park charges an entrance fee year-round. Visitors can pay their entrance fee and ask park rangers questions about the park at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. One of the highlights of a January visit to Death Valley is the opportunity to explore iconic natural wonders without the sweltering heat. Located in the park is Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and Zabriskie Point, a photographer's dream with panoramic views of the park.

Hiking enthusiasts will appreciate the comfortable conditions for trekking across this desert landscape. The park's trails provide opportunities to immerse oneself in unique geology and diverse desert flora. This area is anything but barren. Additionally, stargazers will delight in the crisp nights of Death Valley. With minimal light pollution, the park is designated as a Dark Sky Park, offering otherworldly views of the celestial wonders. The desert landscape remains relatively quiet and uncrowded in January, as spring is the most popular time to visit the park. Visitors should come prepared with warm clothing for the chilly evenings and rain gear for the occasional storm. Snow-capped peaks can be seen in the distance, making winter an especially beautiful time to explore one of America's most intriguing national parks.

Hit the slopes in Breckenridge, Colorado

This charming alpine village, nestled in the heart of the Rockies, transforms into a winter wonderland during January. Breckenridge, Colorado, is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts in January. With an abundance of fresh powder, this picturesque mountain town offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities. 

This destination offers access to a wealth of activities and views of stunning natural beauty. The town's four distinct peaks offer a variety of trails and terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, making it a versatile destination for snow enthusiasts. Visitors can also take snowshoeing lessons, go on a guided snowmobile tour, or enjoy a scenic sleigh ride while visiting. However, Breckenridge also offers experiences beyond the slopes. The charming historic downtown boasts a plethora of shops, restaurants, and cozy cafes perfect for après-ski relaxation. Visitors can warm up by a fireside with hot cocoa or indulge in hearty alpine cuisine.

January also brings an array of winter festivals and events, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere in the town. From ice sculpting competitions to winter parades, there's always something happening in Breckenridge to keep visitors entertained. Accommodations range from cozy mountain lodges to upscale resorts, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay. Whether you're hitting the slopes, exploring the town, or simply taking in the stunning winter scenery, Breckenridge offers a picturesque winter experience in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Take a historic tour in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts, offers a serene and historically rich experience anytime of the year. However, the city's charming cobblestone streets, museums, and historic sites are less crowded during the winter, making it an ideal time for a leisurely exploration of American history.

The city's iconic landmarks, like those along the Freedom Trail, and world-class museums are often less crowded during the winter, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the rich cultural and historical tapestry of America. If you opt to take a self-guided walking tour along the Freedom Trail, you'll find plenty of locations to wander inside for shopping or to learn about historical persons. The crisp winter air also sets the stage for cozy moments. Visitors can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa or clam chowder in one of the city's charming cafes and restaurants.

Additionally, January in Boston provides a chance to enjoy winter-specific activities. Consider ice skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond or attending a hockey game at TD Garden to add a special touch to your visit. If you're looking to hide out the storm with a show, the Boston's theater district has plenty of options to help you forget about the winter weather outside. Boston in January offers a unique blend of history, culture, and winter charm. It's the perfect time to explore this iconic city at a relaxed pace, savor its culinary delights, and revel in its rich historical heritage.

Celebrate Carnival season in New Orleans, Louisiana

Visiting New Orleans, Louisiana, in January is an extraordinary experience that combines the city's unique culture, cuisine, and history with the exciting celebrations of Carnival season. The start of the year in the Crescent City is marked by a lively and colorful extravaganza, making it a fantastic time to explore this iconic destination. Carnival season, which leads up to Mardi Gras, kicks off in January and extends through February. During this time, the city is brought to life with parades, live music, and displays of costumes and floats. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans during this time, experiencing the joyous celebrations and welcoming atmosphere.

New Orleans is renowned for its cuisine. From gumbo and jambalaya to beignets and po'boys, the city's culinary scene is a delight for food enthusiasts. Visitors can also explore the city's vibrant music scene with live jazz performances at iconic venues. In addition to the carnival festivities, New Orleans offers a variety of attractions, including the historic French Quarter, Garden District, and the National WWII Museum. January's mild weather is perfect for exploring the city's charming neighborhoods, historic sites, and museums without the sweltering heat of summer. Overall, New Orleans in January is a feast for the senses, offering an exciting blend of culture, cuisine, and celebration that makes for a memorable start to the year.

Enjoy the beach in Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida, is a sun-soaked paradise in January, offering a perfect beach getaway. With warm temperatures and clear skies, visitors can relax on sandy shores, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and explore the island's vibrant arts and culture scene. Escape from the winter chill in the southernmost point in the continental United States. 

Key West's pristine beaches are at their best in January, with gentle breezes and temperatures typically hovering in the comfortable range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celcius). Whether you prefer basking in the sun with a good book, taking long romantic walks on the sandy shores, or engaging in adventurous water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving, the island offers a perfect escape. January is an ideal time to visit Key West, as it falls during the dry season, minimizing the chance of rainfall. 

The island's charming, colorful architecture and unique blend of Caribbean and Floridian culture create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere that encourages visitors to immerse themselves in the island's charm. In addition to its beautiful natural surroundings, Key West is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. You can explore galleries, studios, and art installations throughout the island. Key West is also home to the historic Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you can learn about the author's life and works. If you're seeking a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Key West in January promises a memorable island retreat.

Embrace the winter weather in Park City, Utah

For those seeking a winter wonderland, Park City, Utah, is a prime destination in January. While renowned for skiing, it also offers various winter activities like snowshoeing and ice skating. Embrace the snowy landscapes and take in the charming mountain town ambiance since Park City offers much more than just slopes, making it a prime destination for those seeking a cold-weather escape. The historic downtown of Park City provides a unique charm to the winter months. Lined with cozy cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, it's an ideal place to warm up and unwind after a day in the cold. The Sundance Film Festival, held annually in late January, brings a burst of energy to the town, showcasing a diverse range of independent films and attracting a dynamic and creative crowd.

Park City has several ski resorts, including Park City Mountain and Deer Valley, both known for their pristine powder. January is a prime month for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts as fresh snowfall blankets the slopes, creating ideal conditions without too many crowds in early January. Off the mountainside, the resorts offer excellent amenities, from slope-side dining to apres-ski activities like ice skating and spa treatments. For those looking to explore the winter landscapes beyond skiing and snowboarding, Park City activities including snowshoeing and snowmobiling can be found throughout the city. The surrounding mountains provide a scenic backdrop for outdoor adventures, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.

Soak in the Castle Hot Springs just north of Phoenix, Arizona

Castle Hot Springs, just an hour north of Phoenix, Arizona, offers a unique way to unwind in January. Enjoy the therapeutic hot springs surrounded by the beautiful Arizona desert landscape. It's a perfect escape for relaxation and rejuvenation during the cooler months. These hot springs and luxury resorts are the centerpiece of this alluring destination. Access to the hot springs is reserved for overnight resort guests only. They offer warm mineral-rich waters known for their healing properties, these natural springs are perfect for unwinding and replenishing both mind and body.

While the Castle Hot Springs resort is set in the Sonoran Desert, the area is a lush oasis. The historic, all-inclusive resort at Castle Hot Springs, originally known for its healing waters and luxurious accommodations, offers a range of modern amenities, spa treatments, and historic charm. Here, guests can enjoy an exceptional level of comfort and service. January presents an opportunity time to visit Castle Hot Springs due to the milder temperatures in the region. Visitors can indulge in other outdoor activities such as archery, paddle board yoga, and wine tastings. This resort and its geothermal waters are perfect for those seeking a tranquil, luxurious getaway amid natural beauty.

View the northern lights in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is a fantastic location to witness the mesmerizing northern lights in January. These dark winter skies provide an ideal backdrop for the spectacular natural light show, making this Great Lakes National Park a must-visit for stargazers and nature enthusiasts.

During the winter, this National Park, located approximately 5 hours north of Minneapolis-St. Paul transforms into a unique landscape. Enjoy snowmobiles and travel on ice roads across the frozen lake surfaces. Visitors can also explore cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing routes, an ice skating rink, and a sledding hill. When visiting in the winter, guests need to be mindful of the weather conditions. You can find up-to-date information about the park's conditions and safety tips on the National Park's website.

With its remote location and minimal light pollution, the park provides an ideal setting for stargazers and nature enthusiasts. On crisp, clear winter nights, the northern lights dance across the dark skies, creating a magical and unforgettable spectacle. You may even spot a white-tailed deer or timberwolf. Temperatures here get below freezing during January. Make sure to pack lots of warm layers and be prepared to brave the cold while visiting. January in Voyageurs National Park is a time for awe-inspiring natural phenomena, outdoor adventures, and the chance to connect with the serene wilderness, making it a remarkable destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil winter escape.

Relax in tropical paradise in Oʻahu, Hawaii

Oʻahu, Hawaii, is a tropical paradise that shines in January with warm weather and beautiful beaches. Explore lush landscapes, enjoy water sports, and witness humpback whale migrations. It's the perfect destination for those looking to escape the winter cold in favor of a tranquil island retreat. Also known as The Gathering Place, Oʻahu is the third largest Hawaiin island. The weather on O'ahu in January is typically delightful, with daytime temperatures averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celcius). During the winter months, visitors can see humpback whales in the southern seas, as the island's warm waters become a sanctuary for these majestic creatures, and taking a whale-watching tour is a unique way to witness their incredible displays.

O'ahu is more than just a beach destination. The island boasts an array of attractions and cultural experiences. You can visit historic sites like Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, explore the lush landscapes of the North Shore, or hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater for panoramic views of the island. The island's rich cultural heritage is celebrated through various events and festivals in January, offering a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant Hawaiian culture, from hula performances to local cuisine. With warm weather, lush landscapes, and a myriad of activities, this destination is perfect for those looking to escape the winter cold.

Ring in the new year in New York, New York

While you'll need to arrive in New York City sooner than January 1 to ring in the new year, celebrating New Year's Eve and Day in the city that never sleeps is sure to make a memorable experience. The city's festivities are legendary. Celebrate by watching the ball drop in Times Square or attending one of the many parties and events throughout the city.

January in New York typically brings a snowy and magical atmosphere, turning the city into a winter wonderland. Central Park offers picturesque settings for winter walks, as well as ice skating at iconic rinks like Wollman Rink and Rockefeller Center. New York's renowned museums and cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the American Museum of Natural History, are excellent places to explore during the winter months. Fewer crowds mean you can leisurely appreciate world-class art and exhibitions, and get out of the snow. Visitors can also head to the Broadway theaters for acclaimed shows and performances.

Getting around the city is made easy with the subway system, which won't be delayed due to poor weather above on the streets. Moreover, January is the month for Restaurant Week in New York, allowing you to savor the city's diverse culinary scene with special dining deals at some of the finest restaurants. New York in January provides an array of experiences, from world-famous celebrations to culinary delights. The city offers a dynamic and energetic backdrop for a remarkable start to the year.