26 Cheap Warm Winter Vacations in the US

Looking to escape the chilly winter blues without breaking the bank? Look no further! Discover the best-kept secrets of cheap warm winter vacations in the United States. Whether you’re dreaming of sun-soaked beaches, vibrant cultural experiences, or breathtaking natural wonders, we’ve got you covered.

From the stunning coastal retreats of Florida to the enchanting desert landscapes of Arizona, there’s an affordable winter getaway for every budget. Embrace the warm embrace of the sun, swap snow boots for flip-flops, and create unforgettable memories without draining your wallet.

Cheap Warm Winter Vacations in the US

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Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure and make this winter your most affordable and enjoyable one yet. Let’s dive into the top wallet-friendly destinations for your dreamy warm winter escape!

1. Savannah, Georgia

To get to Savannah, Georgia simply fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and take a taxi to downtown for $28 or the 100X bus to the downtown area for $5.00 per person. It should be a short ride since the airport is only 10 miles from the downtown area. 

Situated along the coast and separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River, this historic city is home to stunning parks, charming horsedrawn carriages, well-maintained squares, and stunning antebellum architecture. It also features a fabulous historic area that is brimming over with cobblestone streets and is home to iconic local landmarks. 

Not only is the weather warm, with highs of 65 F, but prices on hotels and airfare are reasonable since the winter is off-season. Additionally, there are many awesome free things to do in Savannah including Bonaventure Cemetery, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah Botanical Gardens, the Savannah Belle’s Ferry, and Forsyth Park. 

Well-priced rooms at Hyatt Regency Savannah start at under $120 per night and have an old-world charm about them. After all, all rooms here are individually decorated and feature lovely, four-poster beds.

Recommended by: Victoria of Southern Trippers

Savannah

2. White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands National Park is located in Southern New Mexico, a 3 ½ hour drive from Albuquerque. The best way to get here is to fly into Albuquerque and travel by car.

White Sands National Park is unique in that the sand here is made from gypsum. Gypsum is a mineral that is left over when a body of water evaporates and is rare to find in sand dunes such as these. This gypsum sand is soft and smooth and actually glides off of you easily unlike other sand. 

Winter is the cheapest time to visit White Sands, with January being the best month to get the lowest prices on lodging.

The closest town to stay in is Alamogordo, just 13 miles outside of the park. The most highly rated, cheapest stay in Alamogordo is the White Sands Motel. This is a no frills motel that also includes a small breakfast. 

While in White Sands, hike around the sand dunes, go ‘sand sledding’, and be sure to catch a spectacular sunset. Waxed, plastic saucers are the best way to go sledding down these sand dunes and they can be purchased at the White Sands gift shop. 

Recommended by Kate from Kate Roams the World

White Sands

3. Oahu, Hawaii

The beautiful island of Oahu is located in the Pacific Ocean, and there are direct daily flights to Honolulu international airport from many cities in the United States. Flights are cheaper than ever with Southwest and other airlines, and you can fly directly from American cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many others.

The weather in Oahu is nice and warm all year round, making it the perfect winter destination if you want to enjoy beaches, hikes, waterfalls, and other outdoor activities. If you look around, there are lots of free or cheap things to do on the island, including the Pearl Harbor memorial and the Diamond Head hike near Honolulu.

A great hotel to check out in Oahu is the Imperial Hawaii Resort. It’s located right on the beach in Waikiki, and prices can sometimes be as low as $140 USD! It’s an amazing value for such a beautiful location.

Recommended by David & Intan of The World Travel Guy

Oahu

4. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans in Louisiana is the perfect winter destination because it never gets too cold and the party never sleeps!

To get there, you can fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (aka MSY) from all over the world. New Orleans also falls on US Highway 10, which runs across most of the contiguous United States making it an easy road trip destination as well.

Luckily, public transportation in New Orleans is easy and cheap ($3 per day or less with a multi-day pass), so regardless if you fly or drive, you can get around easily without hassling with a car.

New Orleans is a great place to visit in the winter because it is a shoulder season for traveling there. That means that accommodation costs are significantly cheaper. However, be aware of when Mardi Gras is because that is when the peak season really picks up.

On your New Orleans itinerary, be sure to visit City Park (it’s free) and try beignets at the less crowded Café du Monde. Listen to music at one of the venues on Frenchmen Street where The Spotted Cat Music Club is a favorite! You can get in without a cover if you enter early in the evening. Finally, if you’re feeling brave, take a free walking ghost tour to learn about New Orleans’ spooky history.

For budget-friendly accommodation, consider staying outside of the French Quarter. The Garden District is well connected by public transportation and has great, inexpensive hotels like Prytania Park Hotel with a stunning courtyard and cozy rooms.

Recommended by Alanna of Periodic Adventures

Cheap Warm Winter Vacations in the US_New Orleans

5. Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

Most long-term visitors to Indian Rocks Beach choose to drive so that they can bring more personal items. The closest airports to Indian Rocks Beach are St. Pete-Clearwater Airport (12 miles) and Tampa Airport (27 miles).

Indian Rocks Beach (IRB) is located between Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The town is less than 1/2 mile wide in most places, between the Gulf of Mexico beaches and three Intracoastal waterways. With 27 beach access entrances in three miles, no matter where you stay, you are close to the beach. 

While most of the Florida Gulf Coast is expensive in the winter, Indian Rocks Beach is a relatively cheap warm winter vacation spot. Vacation lodging in Clearwater Beach to the north and St. Pete Beach to the south are more expensive.

Those two more well-known destinations have giant condo buildings and hotel resorts lining their beaches, while Indian Rocks Beach retains a bit of the Old Florida vibe, with smaller waterfront buildings (almost all are under four stories) and frequent public beach access entrances (with free parking!).

The best Indian Rocks Beach winter lodging options are vacation rentals, including houses, apartments, and condos. When staying in IRB, I prefer to book places through local firms, so I will find them on the big listing websites first (more reviews and photos) and then reserve through the local business (when available).

But lodging is not the only way Indian Rocks Beach is cheaper. The best Indian Rocks Beach restaurants are as good as those in surrounding beach cities, with lower prices and shorter waits. Stores, activities, and beaches are similarly less expensive, crowded, and stressful than neighboring options. 

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Clearwater Beach South Harbourside is the most popular hotel in Indian Rocks Beach. It is usually less expensive than the Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach hotel resorts and savvy shoppers will be able to book ahead for reasonable rates and perhaps even use IHG points for free nights.

The Holiday Inn IRB property is located on the Intracoastal waterway, has a small marina, and is a short walk from the beach and several restaurants and bars. 

Tip: To save money, look for places to stay a block or more away from the beach. It is super easy and convenient to walk to the beaches and you can save a lot of money by sacrificing waterfront views and settings.

Recommended by Charles McCool of US Gulf Coast Travel / McCool Travel 

Indian Rocks Beach

6. Palm Springs, California

If you’re looking to spend your winter days in Southern California, consider heading to Palm Springs. Its location in the Sonoran Desert means that the city experiences average highs reaching 70’s°F and an average low temperature of about 50°F. In addition, the city offers plenty of affordable and fun activities to partake in, making it an excellent choice for a warm-weather getaway.

One place that’s well worth the money is Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Here, you can observe hundreds of desert species up close! Or, if you have an appreciation for aviation and history, take a trip to the Palm Springs Air Museum. You’ll get to see numerous military aircraft used in previous wars.

So, if you’re interested in escaping here, you can either drive or fly directly into the Palm Springs International Airport. Then to reach downtown Palm Springs, you can opt for an Uber ride or take a short bus ride. Finally, for places to stay, consider checking out 7 Springs Inn and Suites. It’s a nice and affordable hotel near downtown Palm Springs with plenty of amenities to enjoy.

Recommended by Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

Palm Springs

7. St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, FL is warm, inexpensive and filled with a variety of unique things to do, from relaxation to adventure, there’s something for everyone. Plus, this hip city is nestled between other major hotspots, so while you won’t be paying inflated tourist prices, you’ll still have easy access to it all, the perfect destination for affordable warm winter destinations in the USA.

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The Tampa International Airport is only a 25 minute drive away, or fly into the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, which offers flights to select smaller cities around the country, usually at cheap prices! If you plan to stay in town for more than a few days, I recommend renting a car since there are so many amazing sights to see just outside of town.

With high temperatures averaging in the 70s throughout the entire winter, and tons of free and cheap things to do, St. Pete is the best place to go for inexpensive warm winter vacations in the USA. Start by exploring the new St. Pete Pier, home to one of the most unique bars in St. Petersburg, FL. Since St. Petersburg is known for its art, you might want to visit the Dali Museum where you can get discounted tickets on Thursday evenings.

For activities outside of the city, jump in the car and head to Ft. De Soto Park, home to the best dog beach and historical sights. And for a longer ride north, visit Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River to see the wild manatees with kayak, they live here all winter!

When booking a place to stay, look no further than the Hollander Boutique Hotel located right downtown. It’s got a fun art Deco vibe and you can usually score great deals during the winter time.

Recommended by Tori of Tori Pines Travels

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St. Petersburg

8. Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island, Georgia is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for an affordable warm winter destination within the US. The closest airport is in Savannah (the SAV/HHI International Airport), and you can easily drive to Tybee from there in less than an hour.

There are plenty of things to do on Tybee Island even during the winter months — though it is considerably quieter than the busy summer season. Enjoy long walks on the beach, go fishing on the Tybee Pier, or rent bikes to explore the island.

Among the top attractions, you’ll find the Fort Pulaski National Monument, which is one of the best-preserved 19th-century masonry fortifications in the USA.

You might also enjoy the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum, featuring the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia. It dates all the way back to 1736! Be sure to check out the cute Light Keeper’s cottages located beside the lighthouse.

Altogether, Tybee is a casual beach town with average daytime temperatures of 66°F in the wintertime. A great budget-friendly hotel is the Royal Palms Motel, where you can expect clean, airy rooms with a hip retro vibe. The motel is situated approximately 500 feet from the beach and is close to restaurants and shops.

Insider Tip: Tybee Island is very popular amongst day-trippers from Savannah, which makes it quite crowded on the weekends. If you’re able, schedule your visit on weekdays to find better rates.

Recommended by Erin from Savannah First Timer

Tybee island

9. Key West, Florida

One of the best places in the USA to visit during winter is Key West.

Getting to Key West is pretty easy as you can either fly into Key West International Airport or drive along the scenic Overseas Highway from Miami which takes just over 3 hours. 

Key West itself is situated at the southernmost point of the United States meaning it’s one of the warmest places in the US that you can visit during winter. It boasts stunning sunsets, crystal clear waters and a laid-back atmosphere.

Key West is an ideal cheap winter destination as it’s fairly cheap to get to and offers a range of affordable accommodation options to suit all budgets. There are also tons of free activities you can take advantage of.

One budget-friendly hotel is the Kimpton Lighthouse Hotel which is located just steps away from Key West’s famous Duval Street. This charming boutique hotel offers comfortable rooms, a relaxing pool, and free breakfast, all at an affordable price.

One travel tip that will save you money in Key West is to take advantage of the many free or low-cost activities available. These include taking a walk through Mallory Square, relaxing on the beach, watching street performers, or visiting the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Winter is also the best time of year to see manatees in Key West so keep your eyes peeled for these gentle giants.

Recommended by Megan From Traveller’s Elixir

key west

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

The easiest way to reach Las Vegas is through Harry Reid international airport (LAS) which is a major hub for the American Southwest. But it is also easy to reach by car if driving from Los Angeles or San Diego.

Las Vegas is one of the most popular weekend travel destinations in the United States. It is the home of world famous casino hotels, boozy pool parties and vibrant nightlife.

The beauty of Las Vegas lies within its inclusivity. You can visit Vegas on a shoestring budget or you can splurge and spend a fortune. The great thing about visiting in winter is that all of the best Las Vegas hotels on the strip are experiencing low occupancy rates due to the off season. This results in the perfect opportunity to stay at a luxury hotel like The Venetian or Bellagio at exceptionally low prices.

If the most upscale hotels are offering cut price deals, that also means the lower budget hotels are doing the same. You can pick up a room at Luxor or Excalibur on the south side of the Las Vegas Strip for under $50 per night in winter.

Tip: Stay closer to the center of the strip for the most convenience.

Recommended by Mark and Kristen of WhereAreThoseMorgans

Las Vegas

11. Chandler, Arizona

Chandler is a great choice for a warm winter getaway in the United States. Located in the greater Phoenix area, you can either fly into the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or take advantage of low-cost carriers by flying into the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Wintertime is when Phoenix residents get bragging rights about the weather! In Chandler, you’ll enjoy sunny skies, highs in the upper 60’s, and beautiful sunsets.  It’s the perfect weather for a hike — enjoy desert vistas on a hike in South Mountain Park or Camelback Mountain, some of the favorite hiking spots in the Phoenix area.

Downtown Chandler has a booming local restaurant scene, featuring cuisine from BBQ to brick-oven pizza to craft breweries.  Visit the Downtown Chandler farmer’s market to sample fresh local products. 

Tip: Enjoy cheap and filling eats with prepared dishes from a Mexican grocery store or visit a tortilleria and pick up irresistible fresh tortillas.

Stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton (Phoenix Chandler Fashion Center).  Enjoy amenities including the pool, hot tub, fitness center, and free breakfast.  Plus, you can save money on dining by using the kitchenette.

Recommended by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones

Chandler

12. Portland, Oregon

There are plenty of things to do in Portland for either free or cheap price. Therefore, be ready to explore Portland in winter without breaking the bank. The first place to start is the Washington Park. It is home to many gardens where you can stroll around for cheap, such as the Japanese Botanical Garden and the Chinese Botanical Garden. It is amazing how they utilize such a small space to create these beautiful gardens. They can for sure take your breath away.

If you ever get hungry, you should visit the food court. It contains a vibrant and eclectic food scene with worldwide chefs. It is similar to the food court in Maui, in which food is abundant in number and variety. Therefore, at the food court in Portland, there is a taste for everyone.

Not to forget the Portland downtown. It is a great place to find activities and restaurants. People from all over the world visit Portland to witness downtown in person. The riverfront access contains some art scenes that for a moment can make your heart palpitate. The top cheap attractions downtown are the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, and Moda Center.

You should stay in the Nordic Inn and Suites. It has a good rating and is within reach of Cascade Station. It is 4.1 miles (6.6 km) from the airport and 15 minutes from Moda Center and Oregon Convention Center.

If you haven’t explored the coastal life of Oregon cities, seriously, you’re missing the life there!

Recommended by Ossama Alnuwaier of Awesome Traveler 

Portland

13. Southern Utah

Road tripping around all the national parks, state parks, and other cool locations in southern Utah is a great way to spend your winter. The easiest way to road trip around southern Utah is to fly into Las Vegas and drive up into Utah.

There are 5 national parks you can visit: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Bryce Canyon is at a higher elevation, so it’s colder and sees more snow in the winter. Zion is the farthest south, so it has the warmest weather overall.

There are also a host of incredible state parks to visit – Goblin Valley, Dead Horse Point, and Snow Canyon to name a few, as well as other spots like Mystic Hot Springs, the many slot canyons scattered throughout the state, or the Grand Staircase-Escalante area. 

This is a great cheap winter destination daytime highs tend to be pleasant but cool enough for hiking, the crowds are a lot lower, and park entrance fees are very reasonable. 

Plus, demand in winter is much lower for the permits to do the popular Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park, and the timed entry reservation to go hiking in Arches National Park.

The Hampton Inn and Suites is a great budget place to stay in Springdale, just outside of Zion National Park. This hotel is only minutes from the park, and has nice rooms, great views, and an outdoor hot tub to soak in after a long day of hiking.

READ NEXT:  12 Cheapest Honeymoon Destinations in the USA in 2023

Recommended by Stephanie

utah

14. Ocala, Florida

One of the best budget-friendly winter destinations in Ocala, Florida. Located in Central Florida, it’s about 80 miles northwest of Orlando. You can easily fly into many nearby cities such as Gainesville, Orlando, Tampa, or Jacksonville.

If you’re driving, Ocala is right off of I-75. With highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s, Ocala is the perfect place to escape the much colder weather from up north.

Even though it’s not a large city, there are a lot of fun things to do in Ocala. Ocala has a lot of outdoor activities. There are beautiful parks and natural springs within a short drive, many of which are free. You can go hiking, biking, or rent a kayak and spend a day on the water. History and art lovers will also appreciate the many museums in Ocala. Some of the most popular are the Appleton Museum of Art and the Silver River Museum.

Downtown Ocala is especially fun during the holidays. The square has a lovely gazebo and it’s all decorated with festive lights and decorations. There is live music in the evenings and a giant Christmas tree. There is also a Christmas parade with many floats and Santa makes an appearance at the end.

For your stay, consider the Hilton Garden Inn Ocala Downtown. It’s right in the downtown square so you’ll be able to walk to restaurants and shops.

Recommended by Vicky of Buddy The Traveling Monkey

Related Post: 8 Prettiest Springs in Ocala That You Must Visit

Ocala

15. Sedona, Arizona

You can either fly into Phoenix and drive two hours north or fly into the smaller city of Flagstaff and drive approximately 45 minutes southwest.

Sedona is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with its stunning red rock formations and green Ponderosa pine tree forests. While beautiful, the red sandstone formations are known for something a bit quirkier—many believe that these rocks are actually “energy vortexes”, concentrated areas of positive or healing energy. Accordingly, Sedona has become something of a New Age epicenter, with plenty of yoga studios, reiki healers, and aura readers at the ready.

Like any outdoorsy paradise, there are lots of activities to enjoy here either cheaply or completely for free. For example, there are tons of incredible hikes in Sedona, like Devil’s Bridge, where you’ll hike to a sandstone archway that soars 50 feet over the desert floor below. And, while accommodations can be on a bit on the pricier side, there are plenty of free dispersed camping options around. 

If camping isn’t up your alley, Sedona Uptown Suites is located within walking distance of some of the best shops in town. Plus, if you’re trying to stay on budget, there are amenities onsite that can help, like a small refrigerator in each room and a community barbecue to make food at home.

Tip: Sedona is at a higher elevation so while daytime highs are usually in the 60s, the temperature can dip close to (or below!) freezing at night. So be sure to pack a few warm layers to enjoy those beautiful Sedona nights.

Recommended by Jessica

Sedona

16. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a perfect winter destination for those looking to escape the cold. This tropical island is located in the Caribbean Sea and has warm temperatures year-round. The largest airport and most accessible will be San Juan. Hundreds of non-stop flights from major U.S. Cities fly into San Juan daily.

Puerto Rico is located in the United States, so it doesn’t require a passport. On the island, you will find stunning beaches, historical towns and culture, plus incredible unique cuisines. It can be a cheap destination with very affordable accommodation prices at Airbnbs, rental homes and apartments, and some local boutique hotels. It’s recommended to stay in the San Juan area if you don’t want to rent a car or add on any additional costs.

Stay at Mare, a boutique hotel located in the San Juan area is a perfect example of a nice hotel at a lower cost. It is a no frills hotel, but located in a prime spot that is within walking distance to beaches, shops and restaurants. This makes it easy to rely on transportation, just grab your beach bag and head out for the day.

If you do plan to explore more of the island it’s recommended to rent a car as that will be your cheapest option.  Driving will be very similar to what you are used to in the mainland USA. There are tons of hiking and other attractions that will be excellent to visit all throughout the island.

Recommended by Julie

Puerto Rico

17. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is one of the best warm winter destinations in the U.S.  with mild temperatures that allow you to get outside and enjoy all the area has to offer. Myrtle Beach is located along the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast.

The area can be accessed by car or plane. The closest airport is Myrtle Beach International Airport, located within minutes of South Myrtle Beach with service from most major airports.

With an average daytime temperature of around 60 degrees, winter is an excellent time to enjoy some of the outdoor area attractions with milder weather. While swimming may not be advisable in the winter months, with average water temperatures between 50-55 degrees, you can still enjoy getting out on the water and Myrtle Beach’s other attractions.

A stroll along the shore to search for shells is an excellent way to enjoy the beaches or you can get out on the water and enjoy a Sea Thunder Dolphin Cruise. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is open year-round, with plenty of unique shopping and dining options.

The area’s many unique and fun museums are another great option, such as the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley’s. With a short drive to Murrells Inlet, you can enjoy a stroll through the gorgeous Brookgreen Gardens. 

While a visit to Myrtle Beach is not overly expensive any time of year, the winter sees some of the lowest prices on hotels and attractions, with much lower crowds.  Some of the more popular hotels and resorts are $200-300 cheaper per night.

Marriot’s Ocean Watch Villas at Grand Dunes is an excellent resort option with beach access and indoor and outdoor pools, some of which are heated, so you can still enjoy swimming on your getaway. In the winter months, room rates begin at just over $100, making it a great choice for those traveling on a budget.

Recommended by Melissa of NewYorkDiscovered

Myrtle Beach

18. Big Island, Hawaii

If you believe that Hawaii can be an inexpensive winter destination, then consider visiting the Big Island of Hawaii. If you are resourceful and stay away from the resort destinations on the west side of the island and opt for vacation rentals or condos then you have more flexibility and ways to save on your trip.

Whether you are visiting the Kona side or the island or Hilo downtown and the east side of the island, you can actually have a good vacation when you budget a stay planning your own activities, road trips and adventure experiences on your own instead of using guided tours or staying at expensive resorts.

It’s popular to stay at small inns, Air Bnb’s or condo complexes that offer weekly or longer stays and you can make most of your meals, picnics or even take out food to cover the meal portion and there are plenty of free outdoor activities, public events and do it yourself types of tours and activities you can plan and search on your own and not have to pay for expensive tours or entertainment.

For all the adventure experiences swimming, snorkeling, hiking or recreational activities you can easily search the most popular venues and do them yourself, bring your own meals and drive to those various places instead of taking costly tours.

So with all these tips in mind and even flying outside of the winter season after February, you’ll save on flights, accommodations and even your food and splurge on things you might want to do while visiting the Big Island

Recommended by Noel Morata

big island

19. Kauai, Hawaii

The lush green landscape of Kaua’i makes it the perfect warm winter vacation. All you need is three blissful Kaua’i days of snorkeling, hiking, and beach combing to remind you that winter will not last forever.

Kaua’i is one of the least expensive of the Hawaiian island to visit, but no trip to Hawaii is particularly budget. Some of the best ways to save money are going in the off-season so you can save on the big expenses of flight and accommodations.

For a winter getaway, the off-season would be late November and early December. One of the best benefits of Kaua’i in December is whale watching. The season runs from December through May and offers the best opportunities to see humpback whales as they migrate.

The best way to save money on accommodations is to stay in a hostel. Kauai Beach House Hostel is the most highly rated hostel on the island. Its location on the ocean and near Kapaa’s best restaurants make it the best budget-friendly option. If hostels aren’t your thing, a reasonably priced hotel option is Hotel Coral Reef.

Wherever you stay, your time in Kaua’i, Hawaii’s lush tropical island, is the perfect cure for anyone’s winter blues. 

Recommended by Faith

Kauai

20. Hilo, Hawaii

If you want to be warm and stay on budget during the cold winter months, Hilo, Hawaii offers a tropical vacation with a budget-friendly price tag. Because of a unique weather pattern created by nearby volcanoes, Hilo doesn’t have as many sunny days as Kalua-Kona on the western side of the Big Island.

However, staying and playing in Hilo can save travelers up to 50% or more, while offering a more authentic experience of local Hawaiian culture. 

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Getting to Hilo is easy. Southwest and Hawaiian Airlines fly directly into Hilo’s airport from the mainland and other Hawaiian islands. There’s even a local bus service connecting the two airports. 

Hilo is located on the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii and is known for its lush rainforests, beautiful waterfalls, and proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hilo is an ideal cheap winter destination due to its affordable accommodations and abundance of free or low-cost outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, tidal flat exploring, botanical gardens, and visiting the nearby lava viewing area.

Travelers will appreciate that smaller crowds offer opportunities to spot far more native Hawaiian wildlife. While a turtle sunning at a popular preserve near Kona is likely to be surrounded by a half-dozen tourists filming it, in Hilo’s pristine Richardson Ocean Park, visitors can frequently enjoy a solitary walk alongside tidal channels filled with sea turtles. 

For budget-friendly accommodations in Hilo, consider staying at hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels in the small downtown area or in neighboring communities around Hilo. One budget lodging option, Hilo Reeds Bay Hotel is a mid-budget hotel that balances basic service with tropical ambiance.

Tip: One of the best parts of visiting Hilo is exploring miles of rugged volcanic coastline- but you’ll need special shoes! When you arrive to Hilo, visit a locally owned sporting or fishing store and ask for lava shoes. There, you can buy special neoprene boots with thick felt soles that provide traction and protection from sharp rocks. With this small investment (about $20-$25) you’ll be equipped to wade, climb, and explore these unique volcanic beaches. Read more about essentials to pack for a trip to Hilo, HI

Recommended by Lynli Roman of WanderBig.com

Hilo

21. Las Cruces, New Mexico

Located in Southern New Mexico, Las Cruces has some interesting sites within the small city. The city is a great budget winter destination for its mild weather, reasonably priced lodging, restaurants, and the abundance of free or cheap activities. There are enough things to do in Las Cruces to easily fill a few days. La Mesilla which is a suburb of Las Cruces is known for its lovely square and restaurants. It’s a fun place to shop for souvenirs and pecans which are grown locally in the area. 

There are several free museums to visit including the Museum of Science and Nature, Las Cruces Art Museum, and White Sands Missile Range Museum.

There are several national monuments in the area to explore. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has beautiful scenery in the mountains near Las Cruces.

We recommend checking out the Dripping Springs area especially. Prehistoric Trackways National Monument is a free large area with hiking and off-road vehicle trails. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see actual tracks in the park.

For short day trips, visitors can explore White Sands National Park, which is about an hour outside the city. You can even “visit winter with several mountain towns and ski areas within driving distance of Las Cruces, such as Cloudcroft. Nearby Truth & Consequences has activities around the spaceport to explore and is known locally for its hot springs.

Las Cruces is best reached from El Paso Airport which is about 45 minutes away from the city. El Paso has connections from many domestic hubs. Comfort Inn Mesilla is a great budget option located between La Mesilla and Las Cruces and convenient to both.

Recommended by Anwar

Las Cruces

22. Hilton Head, South Carolina

South Carolina has their fair share of beaches, and Hilton Head provides a not-so-crowded beach but a small-town feel. Hilton Head has stretches of beaches that are not too crowded and is within easy driving distance to Jekyll Island, Bluffton, and Savannah, GA.

Flying down here in the winter makes it a cheaper warm winter vacation in the USA, as most of Florida’s destinations might be a bit pricier since it is the high season for snowbirds and visitors. Once in Hilton Head, leave your car behind in the hotel, rent a bicycle, and go to Coligny Beach (free), as well as see the Hilton Head Lighthouse. 

A cheap place to stay is the Red Roof Inn at Hilton Head Island. While not beachfront, it is one of the cheapest places you can ever stay in while on the island. You can also use your points at any of the chain oceanfront hotels, like the Marriott Hilton Head Resort. 

Recommended by Ruby

23. Austin, Texas

Budget travelers looking for a warm vacation in the winter will love a getaway to Austin, Texas. This central Texas city is filled with plenty of outdoor activities, free live music venues, tasty restaurants, and beautiful vistas.

History lovers should take a free tour of the State Capitol building and head out to Hill Country to visit the ranch of Lyndon B. Johnson. A self-guided tour of Austin’s street murals is a fun way to explore the city and see a wide range of art.

Active travelers will love kayaking Lady Bird Lake and hiking along the Barton Springs Greenbelt. Zilker Park is the perfect spot for a picnic on a warm afternoon. Auditorium Shores provide great views of the lake with the city skyline. A hike up Mount Bonnell offers great views!

Austin is filled to the brim with inexpensive and free things to do. Winter temperatures average in the 60s making it the perfect time to explore the outdoors when Texas isn’t scorching hot.

The Firehouse Hostel is the perfect, unique spot for budget travelers and is located downtown for easy exploring on foot. This converted firehouse is simple, but very clean and comfortable. Travelers wanting a private hotel room will be very comfortable at the nearby La Quinta Inn by Wyndham.

Tip: Head to Austin in January during “Free Week” when dozens of bands showcase their talent in the Red River Cultural District – for free!

Recommended by Sierra Schmidt

Austin

24. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is located in the southeast part of the US, and easily accessible by car and plane.  (The airport to fly into is CHS).  It’s a great destination to visit during any time of year, but winter is an especially great time to visit. 

The temperatures are cool but not too cold, and it’s off season which means prices are lower and crowds are fewer.  It’s the perfect combination!  

For a competitively priced hotel in a great location consider booking at SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charleston Riverview. This Marriott is located just across the river from downtown Charleston.  It’s easily accessible to the best sights Charleston has to offer without being as pricey as the hotels located in that exact area.  

While you’re in Charleston make sure to visit Fort Sumter National Monument and Rainbow Row as these are both must see places in the city.

Enjoy your time in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina!

Recommended by Chelsea from Adventures of Chels.

Charleston

25. St. Thomas, USVI

Located in the Caribbean Sea, St. Thomas is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. The main international airport is located in Charlotte Amelie, making it easy to get there from anywhere in the US.

When visiting St. Thomas, there are plenty of exciting things to do. Relax on one of the many beautiful beaches or explore some of the popular attractions such as Magens Bay, Coral World Ocean Park, and Blackbeard’s Castle.

There are also plenty of opportunities to experience local culture and cuisine with restaurants offering traditional dishes like Johnny Cakes and Pates.

Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove is an excellent hotel choice for anyone seeking budget-friendly accommodation on St. Thomas. This beachfront resort offers regular rooms as well as two- and three-bedroom villa rentals. It also has really diverse amenities including outdoor pools, private balconies with stunning ocean views, and access to nearby golf courses and tennis courts.

To make the most of your vacation in St. Thomas, be sure to check out the local beaches and ride the sky gondola to the top so you can get some tremendous views of the Caribbean Sea! Visiting Blackbeard’s Castle is a unique cultural experience and you can even plan a day trip by ferry to nearby St. John.

Recommended by Brodi Cole

St. Thomas

26. Page, Arizona

Nestled between the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, Page is a small town surrounded by red rock landscapes and hidden slot canyons. Perfect for outdoor adventurers, embark on endless hikes around this affordable winter getaway.

In terms of getting there, Page Municipal Airport has daily flights from Phoenix. Alternatively, you can drive to Page from major cities in Arizona, such as Phoenix or Flagstaff, or other nearby cities like Las Vegas.

This small northern Arizona town enjoys a mild winter climate with average high temperatures in the 50s and low-60s. This makes it an ideal destination for hiking, boating, and other outdoor activities during the off-season.

Despite being surrounded by some of the most famous landscapes in America, Page is very affordable, especially in the winter months. Aside from the mandatory guided tours of Antelope Canyon and other Navajo Nation excursions, most other activities are free or low-cost.

Hike to Horseshoe Bend for a small parking fee or camp along the shores of Lake Powell via kayak. For those who want to venture out, Page is surrounded by BLM boondocking land for longer hikes to Reflection Canyon or Buckskin Gulch Slot Canyon. 

Page is filled mostly with basic accommodation options, such as Motel 6-Page, conveniently located near downtown Page.

Recommended by Catherine Xu

Page

Final Words

In conclusion, these cheap warm winter destinations in the US offer a fantastic opportunity to escape the cold weather without breaking the bank. With affordable destinations, budget-friendly accommodations, and discounted packages, travelers can enjoy sun-soaked beaches, outdoor activities, and explore charming cities while enjoying a wallet-friendly getaway during the winter months.

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