January is a great time to visit so many different places around the world. Whether you are looking for a sublime warm weather getaway or some snowy adventures, this list of the best places to travel in January offers endless opportunities. Imagine canoeing through crystal clear water, enjoying incredible nightlife, or walking through a breathtaking ice festival as big as a city,
We have split this into 3 categories. First are the best places to visit in January in the USA. Next up are the places that are very close to the US and a quick trip to get there. Finally we included January bucket list destinations that are amazing trips if you’re ready for something big. This list of best places to travel in January will have you booking your flight ASAP!
Best Places to Visit in January in the USA
Thanks to its historic buildings, scenic drives, and wonderful sunshine, Pasadena is a great place to visit. Descanso Gardens and the Huntington Library welcome visitors who delight in their beauty. Another treat is an afternoon at the Norton Simon Museum or shopping on Colorado Boulevard. While it’s great year round, the best time to travel to Pasadena is January. Why? That’s when everything comes up roses.
The Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade is the highlight of the year. On January 1st, millions turn on the TV to watch one of the most famous parades in the country. Hundreds of thousands, flock to Los Angeles and Pasadena to see it in person. Many of them in town to cheer on their team at the Rose Bowl following the parade. The beautiful floats are on display up close for the next few days. Hotel: The Langham Huntington (9.3) or Hyatt Place Pasadena (8.8)
Mammoth Lakes, California
When looking for a snowy getaway, there might not be a more beautiful choice than Mammoth Mountain, high in the Eastern Sierra of California. The ski resort has more than 3,500 acres for skiing and snowboarding. Nearby June Mountain adds another 1,500 acres of skiable terrain making Mammoth Lakes one of the best places to ski in January.
But there’s so much more available in this area like cross country skiing at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, tubing at Wooly’s Tube Park or Ice Skating. For bigger adventures snowmobiling and ice climbing are available.
For sightseeing, June and Mono lakes are winter beauties. Hot Creek Geologic Site is another stunning spot. So whether you love hitting the slopes or visiting geographically interesting places, you are guaranteed to have a great time. Hotel: The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth (8.5)
RELATED POST: 11 Best Places to Visit in California in Winter
Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah is one of the best places to ski in January, because there’s tons of snow and the city is abuzz with the film industry. Sundance Film Festival takes place January 23 – February 2, so you can mix skiing, movies and hobnobbing. If you’re not watching movies or hanging with film makers in the bar, hit the slopes.
The skiing and snowboarding is awesome. Park City is also known for having amazing cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and tubing. It’s a great trip with teens and you can spend some time in Salt Lake City too.
We spent a whole month in Utah in January checking off incredible adventures on our Utah Bucket List and highly recommend it. Kanab Utah is not that cold and it makes great hiking weather. Hotel: Montage Deer Valley (9.1) or Park City Peaks (8.9)
RELATED POST: 20 Epic Places to Add to Your Utah Bucket List
A visit to Minneapolis in January, is a must for the 10 day Great Northern Festival. Visitors and locals celebrate winter with incredible food, art, and winter activities, Try out pond hockey, fat-tire bike racing, skijoring, watch the US Pond Hockey Championships or participate in the ice and snow sculpture competitions.
Foodies will surely enjoy the regionally curated food-focused experiences. One of the prettiest events takes place at the end – The City of Lakes Luminary Loppet. Traverse Lake of the Isles on a candlelit trail with 1,200 luminaries, unique artistic installations, fire dancers and more.
Minneapolis might not seem like the obvious January travel destination but its vibrant nightlife, classic architecture, and rich traditions make it a wondrous place to see. Don’t forget to see the 53-foot-high frozen Minnehaha Falls in Minnehaha Regional Park and visit the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which has one of the best cross-country ski trails. Hotel: Hewing Hotel
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Best Places to Travel in January Near the USA
One of the best places to travel in January is Tulum, Mexico due to the gorgeous sunny days and lack of rain. It’s high season but Tulum is more low key than other neighboring spots so it still feels perfect. This Mexican enclave is known for art installations like Daniel Popper’s sculpture shown above, fabulous hotel architecture, delicious food, white sand beaches, yoga retreats and more.
Out of all the amazing activities Tulum offers, the cenotes are a highlight. They are spread throughout Tulum and each encompasses a different adventure, whether that may be diving or admiring the striking colors. Check out our Tulum travel guide for the best to visit. Laguna Kaan Luum, although further away, is also worth a visit.
In January, music lovers will have their choice of shows at the Zamna Music Festival and Day Zero Festival. Don’t miss the Tulum Ruins that put this area on the map. Hotel: La Valise Tulum (9.5) or Hotel Bardo (9.5)
RELATED POST: Tulum Travel Guide – Top 5 Things To Do & Best Cenotes
Belize is one of the best places to visit in January because of the warm days, cool nights, and cheaper airfare. If water adventures sound like fun to you, you’re in luck! Go snorkeling amongst sea turtles and stingrays at Hol Chan and cave tubing down the Cave Branch river. Advanced scuba divers should head straight for the Great Blue Hole. Since that’s not us, we took a bucket list flight for the best view ever. Visiting the ancient Mayan ruins and temples is something special to see as well. If encountering wild animals is of interest to you, visit the Jaguar Preserve at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Hotel: Itz’ana Resort & Residences (9.3) or Victoria House Resort & Spa (9.5)
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Banff National Park, Canada
Banff, Canada is one of the best places to visit in January. From ice skating at Lake Louise to the Ice Walk at Johnston Canyon or seeing the spectacular frozen methane bubbles in Abraham Lake, you will be blown away by the variety of fun things to do. Banff’s winter playground includes world class skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing and other adventures.
It’s a perfect family trip if you are looking for something over the kid’s winter break from school.. Take the magic carpet at Mt. Norquay tubing park, and have a day full of laughter tubing through the Canadian Rockies. Catch the Ice Magic Festival from January 19-30, 2022 to see unbelievable ice sculptures. Hotel: Peaks Hotel and Suites (9.0) or Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (8.7)
RELATED POST: Top 15 Things to do in Banff in Winter
Best Places to Travel in January Around the World
It’s no secret that Phuket, Thailand is a perfect winter vacation.. A very popular activity in Phuket is canoeing through Phang Nga Bay. The tall cliffs and incredible emerald green water is something you don’t want to miss. Equally amazing activities can be found visiting the world famous Phi Phi Islands and more remote Khao Sok National Park.
If you like wild nightlife, Bangla Road has a huge collection of nightclubs, shows, bars, and major people watching. Night markets are also a fun thing to experience the local culture You can stroll around and try some local foods, while watching street performances and listening to music. Hotel: The Shore at Katathani (9.4) or The Pavilions, Phuket – SHA Plus (9.1)
RELATED POST: 2 Days in Phuket Itinerary
As winter marks the beginning of the dry season, January is the perfect month to visit the beautiful Maldives. Aside from relaxing on the white sand beaches, the Maldives has a ton of fun adventures such as snorkeling, sailing, diving and more.
If experiencing the local culture is something that piques your interest, visiting the “home” island of Thulhaadhoo, or attending a Boduberu, the traditional Maldavian dance, would be a fun way to immerse yourself. Hotel: Maldives Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi (9.9) or COMO Cocoa Island (9.6)
The Seychelles is a perfect place for winter sun in January, especially for those seeking some outdoor adventure. The lush surroundings of the island provide for incredible hiking scenery. Mahe island’s Copolia Trail is known to have the most stunning, postcard worthy views.
Something to note about the Seychelles is the gigantic coco seeds that can be found in the Vallee de Mai nature reserve. If local food is of interest to you, enlighten your tastebuds with bat curry or shark chutney, yum! Exploring the Victoria Bazaar with all of its fresh food and handmade jewelry is a great thing to experience as well. Hotel: Constance Lemuria (9.4) or Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts (10)
If you’ve never heard of Harbin, China, you’ll never forget it after seeing the World’s largest Ice and Snow Festival (January 5-February 5). Global competitors create a veritable city of the largest blocks of ice carved into incredible sculptures and buildings. While this may not be the warm weather vacation you were seeking for January, it’s definitely a bucket list trip.
Harbin is very different than most of China. It was established as a stop on the Trans Siberian Railway and initially populated by many Russians. Consequently, the architecture is a mix of Chinese and Russian influence. You can learn a lot about the early Russian culture by visiting Volga Manor and Saint Sophia Cathedral.
Round out your winter experience with skiing, dog sledding, and ice skating. Make time for the “must do” meal at the Shangri-la Ice Palace with tables surrounded by igloos. Pack your cold weather gear. Hotel: Wanda Vista Harbin (9.1) or Shangri-La Songbei (8.6)
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi is one of those places you really want to visit when the weather is good. It can get unbearably hot for most of the year. The best time to visit is in January when you get beautiful blue skies and daytime highs in the 70s.
There are many extravagant sights to see in Abu Dhabi. One of the most popular is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Although not the oldest, this is one of the largest mosques in the world with 82 domes and more than 1,000 columns. Another must see is the art collection at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the stunning architecture of the building itself.
Adventure seekers should take a desert tour, one of the top things to do in Abu Dhabi. Rub Al Khali, the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass, is the perfect backdrop for camel treks, dune buggy rides, balloon tours and more. Hotel: Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort (9.3) or The Abu Dhabi EDITION (9.2)
A great place to visit in January for warm, sunny weather is Cartagena, Colombia. Staying in the old city, allows you to explore the colorful streets filled with colonial architecture at your leisure. Immerse yourself in history in Plaza Aduana and seeing performers in beautiful Plaza Bolivar. Make sure to try the street food in the plazas from local vendors.
If you’re looking for some fun, head to El Totumo, a volcano with thick mud you that you can play and bathe in. Great views can also be found at Covento De La Popa, the highest point in the city. Extend your trip with a full Colombia itinerary. Hotel: Casona del Colegio (9.7) or Hotel Casa San Agustin (9.6)
These are the best places to travel in January during the winter season. Whether you are seeking warm winter weather or some adventure in the new year, these destinations were handpicked for you. If you still need some more inspiration, check out the Best Places to Travel in December or the Best Places to Travel in February.
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- TRAVEL: The Best Places to Travel in February
- BAHAMAS: Swimming with Pigs in Exuma & 10 Other Epic Things to Do
- CUBA: What I Loved and Hated About Visiting Cuba
- EGYPT: A 7 Day Itinerary for Egypt & The Pyramids of Giza