Warm Places to Visit in January: Best International and US Hot Spots

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Snorkeling near The Cove at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas
Snorkeling in the Bahamas. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub.

From decking the halls to writing New Year’s resolutions that will likely be discarded faster than the spiked eggnog your uncle is throwing back at a family gathering, it’s all too easy to feel a need for escape once the holidays quiet down. For those of us who live in the chillier climes, that means dreaming about warm places to visit in January and beyond.

Take off your coat and insulated boots, as we explore some of the top-rated destinations to warm you up on a winter getaway.

The Sydney Opera House lit up at night, Best Honeymoon Destinations for October
Sydney Opera House lit with a magical glow at night. Photo credit: Patty Jansen from Pixabay

Sydney, Australia

January is the perfect time of year to visit this iconic coastal city, as it’s the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Visitors from around the world flock to the well-loved Bondi Beach. Enjoy the warm breeze as you walk along the Sydney Harbor, taking in the beauty of the sparkling waters. Aligned along the harbor are restaurants, cafes, live music, and local joggers.

After enjoying the sights of the steel-arch bridge and the world-famous Opera House, the warmth of the sun may invite you to take part in various water sports activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. For those looking to stay on land, they can take a leisurely stroll along the botanical gardens.

Looking for something else in Australia? Consider the North Coast and Darwin, which boasts similar great weather without the crowds.

For accommodations, consider the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Located in the heart of the business district, this hotel is mere steps away from the harbor.

Read More: Best Countries to Visit with Kids

Read More: Things To Do In Darwin

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

This remote tropical island, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is well-loved for its crystal clear waters, natural beauty, and nearly year-round warm weather, making it one of the best warm places to visit in January.

International visitors will arrive at Faa’a International Airport in Tahiti. From there, you’ll board a 45-minute flight to Bora Bora. Upon descent, you’ll catch a first view of the stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and overwater bungalows. Fun-in-the-sun activities include snorkeling among the vibrant coral reefs, scuba-diving, and jet-skiing. This perfect destination isn’t complete without the perfect accommodation, and you’ll find there’s no shortage of luxury options on this island – check out some of the top-rated resorts here.

The city skyline of dubai, with the Burj Khalifa tower tallest of them all, is in the distance over a large expanse of water. The view is from the wooden deck of a cruise ship.
Photo credit: NAPA via Shutterstock

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Trade your cold nights in the snow for some warm Arabian nights in the desert. Dubai offers an array of activities to enjoy, such as shopping in some of the world’s most luxurious malls, indoor skiing, and exotic desert safaris.

Golf lovers can check out one of the world’s best golf courses,  The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.  Daredevils can hang out at the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or zipline above the city views with Xline Dubai Marina.

Once your stomach settles from the spike of adrenaline, clean up and enjoy some of the city’s many Michelin-star restaurants. Leading luxury airline Emirates can help you get to your destination (you’ll most likely board the iconic A380!).

Sailboat in front of sunset in Key West, Florida, a great place to visit in November
The memory of a beach sunset will keep you warm all winter. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Key West, Florida

The northern parts of Florida can get a winter chill, but chances are good the frigid temperatures won’t extend as far south as the Florida Keys, home to North America’s only coral barrier reef.

Chase the sun down the 113-mile stretch of roadway, leading down to the southernmost point of the continental USA, where the Atlantic meets the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy the many beautiful beaches along the coast, and partake in activities such as scuba diving, sunset cruising, snorkeling, and plenty of whale watching.

Hawks Cay Resort, on Duck Key, is one of our favorite resorts. It’s the place to fulfill all of your summer-minded desires, with plenty of options for adults-only, families, and solo adventure seekers.

View of the Miami skyline. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Miami, Florida

As you road trip your way up from Key West, Miami is another perfect Florida destination to check out to escape the cold shrill of winter. Enjoy the city vibes of culture, art, music, and culinary adventures in this Cuban-influenced popular destination.

Daytime activities include taking in the sun at one of the white sand beaches – we’re partial to the most famous one of all, Miami Beach.

Looking for some cultural activities? They’re everywhere in this multicultural city. Take a stroll along the strip of the Wynwood walls to admire local art galleries. If an artist is on site, you can even request an original piece, for a small commission.  In the evening, foodies can enjoy a world-class Michelin Star restaurant before taking to the city to enjoy the vibrant nightlife.

Stay in the heart of the city at Four Season Hotel Miami or at one of these Miami hotels. And while you’re there, treat yourself to one of these luxurious Miami spas!

Boats in Phuket, Thailand, Best Honeymoon Destinations for October
Phuket, Thailand. Photo credit: Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

Phuket, Thailand

Known for its white sand beaches, waterfalls, rich cultural scene, and nightlife, Phuket is a great destination for a warm getaway.

January is Thailand’s dry season, which means it’s a great time to enjoy the clear blue skies and warm breeze. Outdoor activities include scoping out the hiking trails along the rainforest, swimming in the blue waters, white water rafting, and catching some waves with the local surfers.

Soak in the culture by visiting the old town of Thalang Road, before taking in the famed nightlife that attracts millions of young backpackers from around the world.

As you plan your Thailand getaway, check out some of the top-rated beach resorts here.

San Juan Resorts include the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino.
Hang out with a sunset drink and a piragua (spiked shaved ice). Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

San Juan, Puerto Rico

With a high temperature averaging around 83 degrees in January, this iconic and historic city makes for one of the best warm places to visit, with its many sandy beaches, iconic landmarks, and national parks.

The historic district of Old San Juan provides an array of cultural and culinary adventures. Take in the sights of the 16th-century Spanish-style buildings and visit historical landmarks such as the El Morro National Monument. Adventure seekers can take a day trip to the El Yunque rainforest and hike the trails to swim in a gorgeous waterfall.

In the evening, enjoy the warm breeze and explore the nightlife of live music, hole-in-the-wall bars, and street food.

Check out our full list of the best hotels in San Juan, or stay at one of these Puerto Rico all-inclusive resorts.

blue oceans waters in the bahamas
Blue ocean waters in the Bahamas. Photo credit: Breeze Leonard

The Bahamas

This popular Caribbean destination packs millions of visitors each year, and for good reason. With an average high of 77 degrees in January and with peak season just behind, the Bahamas is an attractive destination for a tropical getaway for the new year.

Spread a towel on white sand beaches along crystal-clear waters, or head out snorkeling, kayaking, or parasailing. There’s also an array of opportunities to interact with friendly creatures of the sea – five of the seven species of sea turtles can be found in The Bahamas.

For a luxe resort experience, we recommend the iconic Atlantis Resort Bahamas. Before you go, be sure to read our insider tips for Atlantis.

View of Honolulu, the largest commercial and passenger port in Hawaii. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

Hawaii

Say aloha to days in the sun! With its pristine beaches, near-perfect weather, and cultural wonders, Hawaii is always a great spot for a getaway. Each of the six major islands has its own personality, from the urban bustle of Honolulu in Oahu to the lush interior of Kauai and the deserted beaches of Molokai.

While Maui continues to recover from the devastating fires that wiped out Lahaina and cost so many lives,  there are still plenty of places and reasons to visit Hawaii.

A great bonus that makes January an ideal time to travel to Hawaii is that it’s the high season for humpback whale spotting. To catch these magnificent creatures, it’s recommended to book a tour to maximize the sightseeing experience.

In the evening, soak in the culture by seeing a Hawaiian luau, complete with traditional food, drink, and music.

These are our favorite family-friendly Hawaiian resorts.


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