Best Places in the USA to Visit in January

You’ve unwrapped the Christmas presents, you’ve swept up the New Year’s Eve confetti and– after emerging from the holiday haze– you now find yourself facing a brand new year.

Whether you’re brimming with a newfound, New-Year’s-resolution-fueled energy or are dealing with the winter blues (and perhaps a bit of a holiday hangover), January is a window of opportunity to get out there and explore. Fascinating wildlife is out to play in the wintery valleys of Wyoming and you can count on the Southern states for some sun and warmth.

Start the year off strong traveling to one of our top destination recommendations to visit in the USA for the month of January:

Southern California in January

For those looking to escape the cold, sun-kissed Southern California is the place to be. Not only is the weather temperate, the summer crowds are gone and you’ll have more of the scenery to yourself.

The excitement of the cities and beautiful beaches of the coastal regions, like Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach, are great winter options, but we’d also suggest a trip out to the desert. January is a beautiful time of year to take a road trip through glamorous Palm Springs and two of our favorite California national parks, Joshua Tree and Death Valley. You can explore the rugged landscapes of these two national parks by hiking throughout the day– unlike other times in the year when you’d have to be out of the sweltering sun once midday hit.

Plus, stargazing is renowned in Joshua Tree and Death Valley during any month of the year, but the darker, longer January nights elevate the experience from memorable to unforgettable.

Southern California Weather in January

Expect mid-60’s near the coast and even warmer 70’s in the Southern Californian desert.
January weather along the California coast is temperate, although winter storms can bring rain. In the desert, expect warm days and crisp nights, with rainfall a much rarer occurrence.

Average High Average Low Precipitation
Los Angeles 68º 49º 4 days
Santa Barbara 65º 45º 5 days
Joshua Tree 60º 37º 2 days


Yellowstone in January

Don’t let the cold scare you away! Winter is a wonderful time to visit Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. It’s an active season in the Rocky Mountains for some huge wildlife, including bison, moose, wolves and many more.

Lamar Valley on the Northern Range of the park is even fondly nicknamed “America’s Serengeti” for its excellent winter safari opportunities. The lack of trees on the valley floor provide the ideal wolf-watching environment.

There’s an abundance of top-notch ranches in the area that will provide a cozy home base for other outdoor activities as well– think cross country skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. Luxury options, like the wonderful Amangani, also abound in Jackson Hole and some of the best downhill skiing in the country is on your doorstep. If you’re open to traveling by snowcoach, Jackson can combine well with Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Weather in January:

It’s definitely deep winter in the Yellowstone National Park area and the weather can be extreme. Expect plenty of snow and temperatures can range from 0 to 20 degrees throughout the day.

Average High Average Low Precipitation
Jackson 28º 8 days
Yellowstone 28º 13 days


Arizona in January

Need a restorative getaway to start the New Year off strong? Or maybe you’re looking to spend time in the great outdoors without freezing your toes off in the month of January? Arizona is the place to be.

In southern Arizona near Tucson and Scottsdale, the desert climate means mild temperatures and some nice winter sun– perfect for outdoor activities. You can get the full American dude ranch experience at places like Tanque Verde and White Stallion, where the wide range of experiences include horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking. Outside of Tucson, Saguaro National Park is a wonderland of giant cacti and scenic mountain views. Because of the variety in elevation throughout the park, there is a wide diversity of flora and fauna to be found there.

For a winter vacation that’s less action-packed and more relaxed, head north to the red rocks of Sedona. This tranquil area of Arizona– a place that has long been sacred in Native American culture– is now known for its spas and wellness resorts. Many even claim the area is a “vortex,” a mysterious center of energy conducive to healing and meditation. So if you happen to feel a tingling sensation on one of your hikes through Sedona’s red rock cathedrals, now you know why.

For those that don’t mind the cold, the higher elevation Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona, which will be in the depths of winter, can be magical under a blanket of snow. The South Rim’s roads will be open and drivable, except in inclement weather.

Arizona Weather in January:

The temperatures in Southern Arizona (including Phoenix, Tucson, Scottsdale, etc.) typically range from the 50’s to 60’s with the sun shining. A little further north near Sedona, temps usually stick to the 50’s.

Average High Average Low Precipitation
Phoenix 68º 45º 3 days
Tucson 66º 42º 3 days
Scottsdale 67º 36º 3 days
Sedona 60º 34º 4 days
Grand Canyon (South Rim) 45º 16º 3 days


South Carolina and Georgia in January

The Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia is a place of underrated beauty and January is an underrated time to soak it all in without dealing with the crowds of peak season or the humidity of summer.  Sought after reservations at Charleston’s top restaurants are easier to come by, Middleton Plantation’s camellias are in full bloom and the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the world’s largest of its kind, is taking place.

Charleston and Savannah Weather in January

Brisk but quite pleasant. Usually around 50 to 60 degrees.

Average High Average Low Precipitation
Charleston, SC 57º 43º 6 days
Savannah, GA 61º 41º 6 days


U.S. Events in January 2023

Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 5-16Palm Springs International Film Festival 
Jan 13-16 Napa Truffle Festival
Jan 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan 19-29 – Sundance Film Festival
Jan 29 – Lowcountry Oyster Festival

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