Sunbirds like me can’t handle the frigid winter temperatures and always look for sunny places to sunbathe instead of shoveling snow.
If you’re also a sunbird, you’re in luck because there’s a wide selection of warm places where people like us can enjoy the winter holidays in the United States.
Here are 21 sunny places to visit in USA that I think you’ll love.
21 Sunny Places to visit in USA
Table of Contents
- 21 Sunny Places to visit in USA
- 1. Honolulu, Hawaii
- 2. Los Angeles, California
- 3. Sedona, Arizona
- 4. Maui, Hawaii
- 5. San Diego, California
- 6. Tampa Bay, Florida
- 7. Savannah, Georgia
- 8. Big Bend National Park, Texas
- 9. Palm Springs, California
- 10. Las Vegas, Nevada
- 11. Phoenix, Arizona
- 12. Big Island, Hawaii
- 13. US Virgin Islands
- 14. Charleston, South Carolina
- 15. Oahu, Hawaii
- 16. Death Valley, California
- 17. South Padre Island, Texas
- 18. Tucson, Arizona
- 19. Lafayette, Louisiana
- 20. Kauai, Hawaii
- 21. Pensacola Beach, Florida
- Sunny Places in the US – To Finish Up
Most people see the cold as part of the holiday celebration. However, I, who despise winter, know that one can still celebrate New Year’s Eve and Christmas and have a great time without freezing.
If you’re like me, you’re browsing warm winter destinations a few months earlier to book your stay somewhere sunny.
To help your search, I’ve listed my favorite sunny spots you can visit and drink cocktails instead of eggnog, so take a look.
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii makes a great choice for a winter vacation because it’s warm all year round. You can enjoy the beaches during winter and have a lovely experience.
I suggest visiting Honolulu and spending time at Waikiki Beach. The city’s hall combines the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha and Christmas for a unique and unforgettable experience.
If you visit Honolulu, you can attend the annual Honolulu City Lights display with a large Santa Claus and observe the Sheraton Waikiki’s Christmas-themed sand sculptures.
Other exciting things you can do in this city include strolling the Chinatown Winter Walk during December, attending the Ko’olina Artfest, visiting the Bishop Museum, shopping at Kalakaua Avenue, having a meal in the Kapahulu neighborhood, etc.
Additionally, you can visit the Makapuu Lighthouse, absorb the beauty of the Diamond Head crater, and hang out at Kaiona Beach Park for a more peaceful experience.
You might enjoy reading my posts about the Warmest US States in Winter, Warm Places to visit in January in the USA, Warm Winter Getaways in the USA, Most Shark Infested Beaches in the USA, World Heritage Sites in the US, Most Visited Places in the United States and tourist attractions on the drive from New York to Florida.
2. Los Angeles, California
If you’re looking for a city with pleasant weather all year round, look no further than Los Angeles. Although winter months aren’t as hot as summer ones, the City of Angels makes a great place for a warm winter vacation.
The best part? You will never get bored in this place because it’s filled with theme parks open all year round. Los Angeles has the best amusement parks in the country.
You can also hike across the rugged environments and enjoy the spectacular city views. I prefer visiting LA during winter because it’s less crowded, and hiking doesn’t make you sweat. So you can explore the city in peace without sweating too much!
Popular tourist attractions include Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios Hollywood. You can also visit the LA Zoo during the holiday season.
Other interesting things in LA include the LA Auto Show and Winter Fest OC, Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens, Newport Beach Boat Parade, ice skating, etc.
3. Sedona, Arizona
Like LA, Sedona in Arizona has warm weather all year round. Therefore, it’s perfect for winter vacations. The high temperatures average about 60 degrees. If you’ve never visited Sedona, now’s your chance.
In winter, the city isn’t crowded, so accommodation prices drop. You can enjoy the deep red rocks during the cold months without breaking the bank.
The natural wonders of this city remain captivating all year round. You won’t find a more beautiful state during winter, so book your stay today and prepare for a unique trip.
The city offers stunning views and red rocks for artists, spiritualists, and people who like and appreciate nature. If you visit Sedona, you should see one of the spas and enjoy traditional treatments with a local twist, such as red clay wraps, blue corn body scrubs, etc.
Other exciting activities in Sedona include hiking the scenic trails and photographing the impressive landscape, attending the Sedona Festival of Lights, riding the Verde Canyon Railroad Christmas Train, taking a hot air balloon ride, etc.
4. Maui, Hawaii
If you’re a fan of beaches and sea life, you should visit Maui for your winter vacation. You will explore the stunning beaches, see the whales, enjoy the warm weather, or hike and absorb the natural beauty of this large island.
In Maui, you will find numerous lush valleys, volcanoes, waterfalls, many black beaches overlooking lovely landscapes, and other natural wonders.
This island makes a perfect vacation choice for nature enthusiasts because of the many outdoor and cultural activities.
Although you will likely stay at commercial hotels or resorts, you will still experience the local culture of the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii through various activities.
While in Maui, you can ride along the Hana coast and see the waterfalls and black sand beaches. You can also book a snorkel tour and explore the sea or hike active volcanoes at Haleakala National Park, among many other things.
5. San Diego, California
If you’re searching for a fairly budget-friendly vacation spot, consider San Diego, one of the largest cities in CA with never-ending pleasant weather.
Many tourists visit San Diego all year round for the four parks of the beautiful Coronado Beach. Other common activities include watching the surfers at Tourmaline Surfing Park and walking “The Strand” between Mission Beach and La Jolla.
If you visit San Diego during winter, you can attend special events like the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, Las Posadas in Old Town, etc.
The best part? You can explore the city on foot because it’s walkable. I suggest heading toward the city’s cultural center, Balboa Park, and exploring the many museums, gardens, and theaters or enjoying the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
You can also book a boat tour or fishing charter and enjoy the city’s beauty differently. Lastly, you can attend the Gaslamp Pet Parade or San Diego Light Show with your kids and have fun.
6. Tampa Bay, Florida
Tampa Bay in Florida has a relatively warm climate which declines as winter starts, so if you prefer a hotter trip, aim for early December.
In Tampa Bay, you can explore the lively Ybor City, enjoy quality time with your children in the Florida Aquarium, visit the Busch Gardens, and try the popular Cuban sandwich. Additionally, Tampa Bay has beautiful parks, modern museums, and walks you can enjoy and explore.
Common tourist attractions include the Lowry Park Zoo, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Tampa Museum of Art, and Caribbean cruises that you can take at the Port of Tampa.
You can also enjoy the Christmas decorations at the H.B. Plant Museum, check out the festive trees at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, visit the Lighted Boat Parade in Downtown Tampa, and stroll the Tampa Riverwalk.
Lastly, you can shop at Ybor City or ice skate at Tampa’s Winter Village.
7. Savannah, Georgia
The oldest city in Georgia, Savannah, offers pleasant weather during winter and doesn’t have many tourists throughout the holiday season, so it’s perfect for a winter getaway.
Although Savannah isn’t a tourist hotspot during winter, it’s still worth visiting. There’s a wide range of activities you can explore during your vacation. For instance, you can see the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens.
This tourist attraction decorates for the Holiday Lights event and December nights. You can enjoy the beautiful decorations and attend Christmas events.
Other attractions include walking River Street, where you can enjoy live music events or observe the New Year’s Eve Fireworks, the Cathedral St. John the Baptist, Forsyth Park fountain, and the Bonaventure Cemetery.
Every time I visit this coastal city, I feel like I’m in a period piece movie, and I’m sure you will feel the same after seeing the stunning Southern mansions, big oak trees, charming cobblestone lanes, and Historic District.
Lastly, I suggest booking a ghost tour because the city’s considered haunted.
Other interesting activities include cruising the Savannah River, shopping at Broughton Street under the Christmas lights, and strolling the beautiful Jones Street.
8. Big Bend National Park, Texas
If you’re looking for a warm and relaxed spot to spend a few days with your loved ones during winter, consider the Big Bend National Park in Texas.
This park will help you escape the city buzz and relax during the holiday season.
Visiting this lovely park will provide the solitude you and your family need before or after the holidays. It’s a well-organized and large national park with many attractions.
You will get a map with your pass that’s simple to navigate, so don’t worry about getting around in this park. However, if you still need help, stop by the visitor centers: Panther Junction, Rio Grande Village, Castolon, Chisos Basin, and Persimmon Gap.
You will enjoy the weather in this park during the day, but nights get cold, so buy a good sleeping bag if you’re staying in your RV or camping and bring extra coats. Alternatively, book your stay at some of the nearby hotels.
Common outdoor activities at this park include exploring the long, stunning hiking trails, such as the Dog Canyon, enjoying the Boquillas hot spring by the river, stargazing while enjoying s’mores by the campfire, etc.
9. Palm Springs, California
If you’re interested in improving your well-being and relaxing in a warm place, consider Palm Springs for your next vacation. This desert city in Southern California ensures a warm and enjoyable vacation because it’s pleasant and has many tourist attractions.
Many visit Palm Springs for exciting outdoor activities, palm trees, modern eateries, and lovely poolside cabanas. The highs in this popular city remain in the mid-70s. So, you can spend the days outside and enjoy the sun.
Outdoor activities include enjoying the gorgeous hiking trails of the popular Joshua Tree National Park and hopping the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. These two activities will provide awe-inspiring views!
In Palm Springs, you will come across hipsters, retirees, and families because everyone likes visiting this city. There’s a wide range of nightclubs, spas, and pools you can enjoy with your loved ones or alone.
You can also take a day trip and explore the major attractions, such as the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, the Coachella Valley Preserve, etc.
Other exciting activities include admiring the gardens at Sunnylands Center, exploring the Indian Canyons, seeing Pioneertown made in the 40s as a “Living Breathing Movie Set,” checking out the museums, watching the sunset, etc.
Overall, you won’t get bored in Palm Springs because it’s a vibrant city that provides a wide selection of indoor and outdoor activities for tourists.
10. Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City gets very hot during summer. However, in winter, you can enjoy the beauty of this popular city without sweating too much.
Las Vegas has pleasant winters, so if you’re looking for a warm vacation spot, consider this location. In January and February, you can expect lower hotel prices, fewer people, and temperatures in the mid-60s. I suggest bringing a coat for night walks because evenings get chilly.
Many visit Las Vegas for the plethora of outdoor activities. In this city, you can hike the Red Rock Canyon and explore the Hoover Dam by bus or helicopter tour.
Most people think Las Vegas isn’t suitable for family vacations, but they’re wrong. This city makes a great vacation spot for families, solo travelers, friends, etc. You can visit Las Vegas with your family and have fun at the Bellagio Fountain show or see the Neon Museum.
Other amusing activities include attending the Cirque du Soleil concert, taking your kids to the Magical Forest, admiring the Christmas trees, strolling Fermont Street, hitting the slots, joining the Great Santa Run, and photographing the “Las Vegas” sign.
Whether you spend a day or a week in Las Vegas, you won’t return home with regrets. On the contrary, Sin City promises a memorable and enjoyable experience!
11. Phoenix, Arizona
Although Phoenix has snow in winter, it’s still warm and pleasant. Most tourists visit this city in December, as temperatures rarely drop below freezing, including at night.
In Phoenix, you and your loved ones can enjoy the beautiful desert environment without worrying about the climate. The winter temperatures reach average highs of 76 degrees and average lows of 51 degrees.
Moreover, less than 1 inch of rain falls each month, so if you’re searching for a sunny vacation spot, consider Phoenix.
It offers many indoor and outdoor activities for visitors. You can hike the desert during the day, learn about the Native American and Mexican culture, golf, and relax at the modern spas.
Other exciting activities include seeing the Desert Botanical Garden for Las Noches de Las Luminarias, visiting the Hole in the Rock at Papago Park, and attending the festive Hanukkah events in the Valley.
Lastly, you can enjoy live music for Christmas, lighting ceremonies, and donuts.
12. Big Island, Hawaii
If you visit Hawaii’s Big Island, you will witness a lava lake at the well-known Volcanoes National Park.
The stunning island has many tourist attractions, but most travelers come for the active lava eruptions of the Kilauea volcano. So, if you’re looking for a warm vacation place to experience unique activities, look no further than Big Island.
If you have only a few days on this island, you can spend one-day snorkeling near Kona and one day at the park watching lava eruptions. Additionally, you can explore the one-of-a-kind black lava beaches on the west side and book a night swim with manta rays.
These unusual activities will make your vacation unforgettable and worth discussing at family dinners, parties, or other events.
The Big Island in Hawaii is the only place where you can swim with manta rays at night and experience something extraordinary.
If you have more than a few days, I suggest exploring the east side, where you can see the natural beauties of Hilo, the capital of the Big Island. Hilo has spectacular waterfalls, Boiling Pots, museums, art galleries, restaurants, etc.
Other popular tourist attractions include the Akaka Falls State Park, where you can visit the Akaka Falls, Hamakua Coast, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, etc.
The botanical garden has a wide collection of rare plants and a stunning orchid garden. Plant enthusiasts shouldn’t miss this attraction while visiting this island.
13. US Virgin Islands
Book your vacation in the Virgin Islands if you’re not fond of the cold during the holiday season. You don’t need a passport to enjoy this slice of Caribbean paradise. Just pack your bags and get ready for a memorable experience.
The US Virgin Islands have dry and sunny weather during winter, especially in January. Therefore, you can visit this tourist destination all year round. The best part? The flights don’t cost much. They’re short and cheap, so buy your tickets today and ensure a unique vacation for you and your loved ones.
These islands offer many attractions you can visit, gorgeous beaches you can see, and a relaxed atmosphere. They consist of 3 islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Each island has a unique character and attracts visitors throughout the year because of the indoor and outdoor activities, including historical attractions, duty-free shopping, and water sports.
In St. Thomas, you can learn about the Caribbean’s pirate history, hike the highest point of St. Thomas, Mountain Top, enjoy the stunning views of the seas of Magen’s Bay, and try their popular banana daiquiri.
Once you’re done exploring St. Thomas, you can visit the other 2 islands for a day trip and extend your adventure.
14. Charleston, South Carolina
If you’ve never seen Charleston, now’s your chance! This city has warm weather during winter. You will have a very enjoyable stay at this popular place for the holiday season.
Charleston has fewer tourists during winter, especially in January, so you won’t have to worry about crowds and can explore the attractions peacefully.
Tour the historic mansions and homes and admire their beauty. Other attractions include the Pineapple Fountain, King Street, the Battery, and Rainbow Row. You can also visit plantations and attend the annual Charleston Boat Show.
If you’re a boating enthusiast, get your tickets for the Charleston Boat Show in advance, as it’s a popular and well-attended event in this Holy City.
If you visit Charleston in January, you can explore Historic King Street, which is open only to pedestrians. So, you can see the many shops on this street and treat yourself.
Other popular activities include visiting the beach, roaming around the Gibbes Museum of Art, strolling the Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge, and attending Restaurant Week.
15. Oahu, Hawaii
Although Honolulu is the biggest city in Oahu, this stunning island has other places and attractions you can visit with your family and friends or alone.
Oahu has natural wonders you can explore, busy cities you can stroll, and celebrations you can attend, such as the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in December. You can see a parade and interesting things at the museum and memorial.
Surfers love Oahu because it’s a surfing paradise with surfing events. If you like surfing, you can attend the annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in December.
The climate in Oahu stays pleasant all year round, so you don’t need winter gear when visiting this stunning island for the holidays.
In Oahu, you can hire a kayak at Kailua Beach, hike the Hau’ula Loop Trail, explore the Kualoa Ranch, try the local food and drinks, and observe the turtles at Mokule’ia Beach Park, among many other things.
16. Death Valley, California
You can find the Death Valley National Park in Southern California and spend 2-3 days at this popular attraction. This region is one of the hottest on the planet, with a recorded highest temperature of 134 degrees.
Fortunately, the daytime temperatures during winter aren’t high. Therefore, you can hike and explore this stunning landscape without worrying about hot or cold weather. Most visit this park in March, but you can explore this attraction all year round and have a great time.
If you visit this park, you will see the Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America) and absorb the beauty of the salt flats covering about 200 square miles. The salt flats consist of sodium chloride, gypsum, calcite, and borax.
Other activities include visiting the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and watching the sunrise, camping, hiking, road and mountain biking, and exploring nearby attractions.
If you’re up for a long hike, I suggest the Golden Canyon Trailhead, where you will hike through colorful cliffs, stunning canyons, and swirling badlands.
17. South Padre Island, Texas
Texans like to visit South Padre Island in the holiday season, as it’s warm and offers travelers many outdoor activities and attractions. While visiting this lovely island, you can try the Gilf seafood, enjoy the pleasant weather, observe the unusual nature and wildlife, and more.
South Padre Island makes a great vacation spot for families. I suggest visiting this place in January because it’s pleasant during this time of year.
Common outdoor activities include fishing on the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre and bird watching. The latter enables witnessing around 500 migrating bird species passing through the Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island.
Lastly, you can attend Kite Fest, one of the most popular events held every year on this island. If you visit this island at the end of January, don’t miss this event and enrich your vacation with a fun experience.
18. Tucson, Arizona
With over 350 days of sunlight annually, Tucson is one of the warmest cities in the USA. The daytime temperatures rarely fall under the mid-60s, so Tucson makes a great place for family vacations during winter. Arizona’s second-largest city can help you escape the cold and enjoy your December or January holiday.
Tucson attracts many people because it’s rich in attractions travelers can explore. One of the most popular spots in Tucson is the large Saguaro National Park, with about 30 one-of-a-kind hiking trails through the Saguaro cacti.
Tucson isn’t a small city but feels like a small community because of the Barrio Historico District and the El Presidio Historic District, with small stores and colorful properties that resemble old Mexican communities.
Things you can do in Tucson include visiting the many museums, including the Franklin Auto, Arizona Sonora Desert, and the Prima Air and Space Museum. You can also visit local tasting rooms and vineyards if you’re a wine enthusiast.
If you visit this city during winter, you shouldn’t miss the annual Oro Valley Marketplace, which features a tree-lighting ceremony and local artisans and performers.
Other fun activities include enjoying Mexican food, exploring nature, admiring the space crafts at Pima Air and Space Museum, visiting the Sonoran Desert, hiking popular trails, skiing at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, etc.
Lastly, you can reserve a seat at the Monterey Court and enjoy their great shows and a delicious meal or drink.
19. Lafayette, Louisiana
If you appreciate good food, culture, and history, visit Lafayette in Louisiana. This gem is 2 hours from New Orleans, so if you stay in New Orleans for the holidays, you can visit Lafayette for a day or stay overnight and explore the city.
Lafayette, also known as the Happiest City in America, has a rich multicultural history. If you visit Lafayette, you will hear the traditional music, taste the exceptional cuisine, and enjoy the popular festivals all year round.
You can also walk around the city and enjoy the botanical gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, bird colonies, etc. I suggest taking a swamp tour, eating crawfish, exploring the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island, strolling downtown Lafayette, and visiting the museums.
Lastly, you can taste the local food with Cajun Food Tours, attend a free music festival like the Festival International de Louisiane, and visit the local bakeries for home-baked goods.
20. Kauai, Hawaii
If you’re seeking outdoor adventures, consider Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle. Most visit Kauai because of the stunning locations, such as Kalalau Valley on the Napali Coast and Manawaiopuna Falls. You can see these spots in Hollywood movies, such as King Kong, Jurrasic Park, etc.
If you’re a passionate hiker, you will like the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, where you can hike through different valleys during the lovely Kalalau Trail.
The temperatures stay warm all year round in Kauai, so don’t hesitate to book your stay in Kauai this winter and ensure a pleasant vacation for you and your family.
Kauai also has diverse plant life. In Hanakoa Valley, you can view the native plants and old agricultural terraces. You can also explore the jagged cliffs, stunning waterfalls, etc. However, note that some parts of Kuai aren’t accessible on foot, so you must take a plane or boat.
Exciting activities include kayaking the Wailua River, exploring the Wailua and Opaekaa Falls, touring Fern Grotto, snorkeling on Poipu Beach, and hiking at Kokee State Park.
Overall, you won’t get bored in this place because it’s beautiful and offers many outdoor activities for visitors.
21. Pensacola Beach, Florida
If you haven’t heard of Pensacola Beach, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Located in the Florida Panhandle, the popular Pensacola Beach attracts visitors all year round because of the warm weather, abundant wildlife, breathtaking beaches, charming architecture, and top-notch tours.
Although Pensacola isn’t as warm during the cold months, it’s still pleasant and suitable for a winter vacation. The well-known Pensacola Beach gets fewer visitors during winter. So, you can explore the Pensacola Bay area without the crowds during sunny winter days and spend quality time with your loved ones or alone.
Unfortunately, you can’t sunbathe or swim in this area during January because it’s still cold and rainy. However, you can still enjoy the beauty of this natural wonder.
If you’re interested in sunbathing and swimming, consider visiting this area during May, June, September, and October.
Pensacola Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the USA, with white sand and crystal-clear water. I suggest booking your stay by the pier so you can easily access the area’s bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. This is a great beach for a family winter vacation because it’s family-friendly and fun for adults and children.
Interesting activities include diving, fishing, sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, parasailing, and trekking on the popular Eco-Trail. Other things you can do in this area, especially during winter, include enjoying shows at the theater, ice skating in the Bay Center, seeing the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium, and strolling the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Lastly, you can challenge yourself and your loved ones by entering escape rooms and racing around at Fast Eddies Fun Center. Overall, this area makes a perfect location for summer and winter vacations for families, friends, and solo travelers.
Sunny Places in the US – To Finish Up
These sunny spots in the United States above can help you overcome the winter blues and spend quality time with your loved ones during the holiday season.
Consider any of the suggested locations if you’re looking for a warm spot to relax, boost your vitamin D intake, and enjoy the Christmas festivities.
You don’t need cold to enjoy the holidays. Therefore, pick any of the mentioned places, pack your bags, and book your stay beforehand for the best prices.
Most cities, parks, and islands above have pleasant weather all year round and receive fewer visitors, so you’re guaranteed a good vacation.
I covered all of the costs involved in the writing of this post on sunny places to visit in USA. However, this post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.