airplane winter

The holiday lights are packed away, the mistletoe has long been discarded, and the December cheer is quickly fading into the bitter winter months offering little anticipation for things to come. If you’re feeling the post-holiday blues like many Americans do come January, a quick winter getaway to thaw your spirit may be just what you need to pull yourself out of a torpid rut. Whether you live east, west, or somewhere in the middle, there are dozens of affordable warm weather winter vacation options available to you. Flights to popular tourist destinations like Cancun and Honolulu are typically pricey, and require months of planning and saving, but these sunny spots are within driving distance for many of us, and supply piña coladas just the same. If driving isn’t an option, airfare is the lowest it’ll be all year during the early winter months of January and February. Take some time to yourself following the holiday chaos, catch your breath, and settle into the new year right at these warm weather winter destinations.


New Mexico’s Hot Springs

iron pool at ojo caliente spa

Iron Pool at Ojo Caliente Spa in Taos | Image courtesy of Ojo Caliente Spa

From tranquil pools at Riverbend Hot Springs overlooking the Rio Grande and Turtleback Mountain, to the ebullient private thermal pools at La Paloma Hot Springs and Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa,  New Mexico’s natural hot springs are mineral hotbeds that are sure to replenish your skin after weeks in the harsh winter elements. One of the state’s most charming cities, Truth or Consequences, features quirky shopping, dining, and sightseeing opportunities as well as a number of mineral spas.

yellow flowers at taos pueblo new mexico

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico


Big Bend National Park

big bend national park texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas

For dark skies and warm toes, head down to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. Limestone Canyons and rigid, solitary mountains foster a feeling of isolation difficult to achieve anywhere else in the country. Get outside in the southwestern sun and explore hikes like Chimneys Trail, Devil’s Den, and Emory Peak, all of which offer physical challenges and rewarding views.

big bend national park texas rio grande

Santa Elena Canyon and Rio Grande river at Big Bend National Park, Texas


Florida Keys

florida keys aerial view

Aerial view of the Florida Keys

Flights to Miami are notoriously affordable from major airports during winter, and just a short drive from the airport are the Florida Keys, a white sand archipelago off the mainland coast teeming with activities and opportunities for a relaxing oceanside vacation. Winter temperatures in the Keys average mid-70s, making the islands an ideal location to defrost this season. Activities such as snorkeling, sunbathing, swimming, and wildlife watching are sure to keep you busy during your stay. Grab a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars available in the island’s luxury resort towns.

islamorada florida keys pelicans

Islamorada, Florida Keys, Florida


Tucson, Arizona

saguaro national park tucson arizona

Sunset in Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona

Metropolitan Tucson, located in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona, is well known as a cultural and recreational hub in the state. Home to the Old Tucson Studios, an old west movie studio turned theme park, and ornate church architects, the city sits on the edge of Saguaro National Park, one of the most remote desert locations in the country and home to the greatest population of hundred-year-old Saguaro cacti. Winter is peak time in Tucson, while the temperatures are moderate and tourism is high.

tucson arizona sunset

Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona


Louisiana’s Bayou

louisiana bayou

Louisiana Bayou

Traveling to New Orleans and Louisiana swamp lands may seem daunting if you’re from the north, but a road trip through America’s heartland, and many music cities, may introduce you to a side of our country you haven’t experienced. Catch up on your podcasts and take the trip south to immerse yourself in untapped bayou culture in Louisiana and Mississippi. The balmy temperatures and lively nightlife in the region will inspire you enough for the rest of the year.

frnech quarter new orleans louisiana

The French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, in January 2016.