Travel tips

The best places to travel during the winter in the U.S.

What if we told you that your next big adventure was right in your own backyard? Now we don’t mean literally in your backyard, but some of the most unique and exciting travel experiences happen close to home, especially during the offseason. Check out our recommendations for best places to travel during the winter in the U.S. (bonus: these tour destinations are only a quick bus or plane ride away). 

San Francisco is one of the best places to travel during the winter in the u.s.

Eric Ward/ via Unsplash

San Francisco, California  

Year-round warm weather is not the only reason to visit the Bay Area. During the winter, fewer tourists flock to San Francisco, which means less crowded beaches. Dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean while you enjoy Dungeness crab, a delicacy in the Pacific Northwest and California and most popular between the months of November and April.  

If you’re looking for holiday fun, the city hosts one of the largest boat parades during the holiday season. The procession starts at Pier 39 and wraps its way around Fisherman’s Wharf. The 25-year-old tradition offers a look into one of the many local traditions (it’s up to you to discover the rest).   

Quebec City, Quebec  

Calling all adventurers: Quebec City is the perfect place for you during the travel offseason. From ice-skating to snow tubing to skiing to snowshoeing, Quebec offers a slew of outdoor activities for adrenaline junkies. After an afternoon getting your heartbeat pumping, relax in one of the city’s many Nordic spas.  

The food isn’t half-bad either—fill up on poutine, tourtière (a hearty meat pie), and maple taffy—then maybe hibernate for a little while.   

Honolulu, Hawaii 

Honolulu is the perfect place to warm your bones during the cold, winter months. Temperatures stay around 70-80 degrees so every day is a perfect beach day. Lounge by the water enjoying some fresh poke or an açaí bowl or go whale watching (thousands of whales migrate to Hawaii between November and April) or learn to surf (the waves are even bigger during the winter). No matter what you choose to do, Honolulu will have you wanting more.  

Boston, Massachusetts  

Although Boston temperatures tend to dip below freezing during the winter, it’s still one of the best times to immerse yourself in the city. Do as the locals do and sled or ice skate on the Boston Common. Then, warm up with a bowl of New England clam chowder at your choice of top-rated restaurants.  

You can even avoid the cold and still do some great sightseeing. Take a cruise tour around the Boston Harbor—you’ll be able to stay warm while seeing the Boston skyline.  

Of course, these are only some of the best places to travel during the winter in the U.S. Discover your next adventure today or check out our list of best international winter travel destinations


Editor’s note (2021): This piece has been updated for clarity, accuracy, and relevance.

Lauren Vinciguerra

Lauren is a Web Content Editor at EF. She dreams of going to Japan one day and eating her weight in sushi.

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