Throughout much of the United States, January and February are synonymous with freezing weather, snowy conditions, and plenty of time spent indoor or bundled up in layers. While there’s certainly fun to be had in the snow, nothing beats a warm weather escape from time to time. Here are three wonderful destinations in the USA that will help you beat those winter blues.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Scottsdale, Arizona
While considering warm weather getaways, most Americans envision places like Florida, Hawaii, or California. But Arizona is all too frequently overlooked -- and this breathtaking state has much to offer. We recommend exploring the city of Scottsdale, which sits east of Phoenix in Maricopa County.
For lovers of the outdoors, Scottsdale is a paradise. You’ll find plenty of desert exploration just waiting to happen as you peruse the land surrounding the city. Take a stroll at McDowell Sonoran Preserve, catch brilliant views at Pinnacle Peak Park, or hike at Tom’s Thumb Trail.
If you prefer the indoors, Scottsdale still has you covered. Learn about the Old West at the city’s fascinating Museum of the West, which captures an era whose remnants can still be found in Scottsdale today. Younger visitors will love perusing the OdySea Aquarium and getting up-close with marine life.
During February, the temperatures in Scottsdale typically hover between 65 and 70 degrees, so you certainly won’t be sweating -- but the comfortable warmth will be a welcomed change from the frigid, below-zero wind chills that plague much of the country.
2. Fort Myers, Florida
Of course, no list of warm weather destinations is complete without a nod to Florida. For beachfront beauty and the ultimate in relaxation, make your way south to Fort Myers for an unforgettable getaway. With a population of just under 80,000 permanent residents, this Florida city is the perfect size for fun without the overwhelming atmosphere of Miami or Orlando.
Winter is prime birdwatching time in Fort Myers, so get outside and bring your binoculars along. Parks like Six Mile Cypress Slough Reserve, Manatee Park, and Port Sanibel Marina offer fantastic opportunities to explore Florida’s ecosystems. From manatees to turtles, there’s no telling what you’ll spot along the way.
History buffs will also find much to love about Fort Myers. With multiple walking tours offered throughout the city, tourists can step back in time to hear about how this former frontier fort city grew into the popular destination it is today. If you’re a fan of the paranormal, you might appreciate embarking on a haunted history tour of Fort Myers -- talk about spooky!
During January and February, Fort Myers typically sees temperatures in the mid-70s, so make sure to pack your shorts and t-shirts. If you choose to rent a car and explore some of the surround area’s many gorgeous waterfront locales, you’ll find plenty of warm weather to enjoy. Can you imagine a more wonderful spot for a wintertime escape?
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is an incredible spot to visit in any season, but there’s something undeniably special about venturing down when Mardi Gras rolls around each February. Even if you can’t afford to make the trip during the festival itself, you’ll find plenty of festivities to enjoy throughout the remainder of the season. There’s a reason New Orleans belongs on every traveler’s bucket list.
If you like to party, New Orleans has you covered. From bars on Bourbon Street to gumbo and drinks on Frenchmen, you’ll never be bored during your journey to the Big Easy. Marvel at European-inspired architecture as you walk through the French Quarter, which houses some of the most fascinating, dark, and unique history in all the United States.
Stroll along the Mississippi River or hop on a steamboat tour to appreciate sunset views of the city. Learn about music at the Jazz Museum, enjoy beignets at a local cafe, or simply appreciate the solid people-watching that comes along with a walk through Jackson Square. No matter how you spend your time here, you’ll absolutely fall in love with New Orleans.
During February, weather in New Orleans tends to hit average temperatures in the mid-60s: a moderate but comfortable climate that makes it easy to spend all day outdoors exploring this fascinating destination on foot. You don’t have to worry about enduring blizzard-like conditions as you party the night away.
Have you visited any of these wonderful warm weather destinations in the United States? Tell us about your favorite wintertime getaways — are there any locales that should be added to our bucket list?