Best Places to Visit in January Maldives

16 Best Places to Travel in January in the USA & Abroad

Wondering where to travel in January? From sublime warm weather getaways and snowy adventures in the USA and around the world, the best places to visit in January are a great way to kick off the new year.

Imagine canoeing through crystal clear water, enjoying incredible nightlife, or walking through a breathtaking ice festival as big as a city, This list of the best places to travel in January offers endless opportunities.

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!

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Best Places to Visit in January in the USA

Rose Bowl Pasadena in January
The Rose Bowl and Rose Bowl Parade are iconic events in Pasadena in January.

Pasadena, California in January

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, Pasadena is the best place to travel in the US in January for football lovers. 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 are 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.

Since Pasadena is part of visiting Los Angeles, make sure you take one of the many scenic drives, head to Malibu for a hike and to see the prettiest beaches in Southern California.

Mammoth California in December
Some of the best skiing in California can be found at Mammoth Mountain in January.

Mammoth Lakes, California in January

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 will completely understand why Mammoth Lakes is one of the best places to visit in California in winter.

Best Places to Travel in January Park City
There’s plenty of shopping, restaurants and nightlife in downtown Park City in January.

Park City, Utah in January

Park City, Utah is one of the best places to go in January in the USA because there’s tons of snow and the city is abuzz with the film industry. Sundance Film Festival takes place in January, 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.

A great way to get away from the crowds and enjoy the beauty of winter is with a private snowshoe tour. In addition to beautiful views and great exercise, you might see some wildlife.

Make sure to spend some time in Salt Lake City too since you’ll be flying in and out of the airport. You might be able to catch a performance of the famous Tabernacle Choir.

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.

Minnesota in January Minnehaha Falls
Frozen Minnehaha Falls can only be seen in Minneapolis in winter.

Minneapolis, Minnesota in January

A visit to Minneapolis in January, is a must for the 10 day Great Northern Festival names one of the best winter festivals in the US by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Food & Wine magazines..

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 drink and food-focused experiences. The festival runs from January 25 – February 5, 2023.

One of the prettiest events is scheduled for the beginning of February this year – 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 with fun brew pubs and live music, the classic architecture, and the Mall of America make it a great place to visit.

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.

Where to Stay in Minneapolis:

RELATED POST: 60 USA Bucket List Trip Ideas

Best Places to Travel in January Near the USA

Tulum Travel Guide Statue
Daniel Popper’s Ven a Luz Sculpture is a top site in Tulum in January.

Tulum, Mexico in January

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.

In January, music lovers will have their choice of shows at the Zamna Music Festival and Day Zero Festival. If you are planning a trip to Tulum in January, make sure to get your tickets early.

This Mexican enclave is known for art installations like Daniel Popper’s Van a Luz sculpture, 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, swimming or admiring the striking colors.

Don’t miss the Tulum Archeological Ruins that put this area on the map. It’s the only mayan ruins that can be found on a beach. Laguna Kaan Luum, although further away, is also worth a visit.

Our Tulum travel guide has everything you need to know to plan a trip including a list of activities, the best restaurants and the best places to stay in Tulum.

Traveling with your family? There are also fun things to do in Playa Del Carmen with kids.

5 Essential Things to do in Belize
Victoria House Resort offers gorgeous views and water excursions in San Pedro, Belize in January.

Belize in January

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. The Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave Tour is one of the most popular activities and best things to do in Belize.

A day trip to see the Tikal archeological complex is an absolute must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and massive Mayan kingdom is much more impressive than Chichen Itza, yet somehow off the radar of most tourists.

Advanced scuba divers should head straight for the Great Blue Hole. You can also do a snorkeling tour of the Blue Hole. We opted for a bucket list flight over the Great Blue Hole 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.

Abraham Lake Alberta Ice Bubbles
Abraham Lake is one of the most bucket list places to visit in Canada in January.

Banff National Park, Canada in January

Banff, Canada is one of the coolest places to visit in January and we’re not talking about the weather. There are so many fun things to do in Banff in winter and the scenery is simply stunning.

The most bucket list worthy activity (and the main reason we went to Banff in January) is to see the frozen methane bubbles in Abraham Lake. It’s a day trip from Banff that draws people from all over the world.

Banff a perfect family trip over winter break. Banff’s winter playground includes world class skiing and snowboarding.

For lots of fun and laughter, take the magic carpet at Mt. Norquay tubing park, and go tubing through the Canadian Rockies.

Ice skating and ice fishing on Lake Louise are both crowd pleasers. You can also take a horse drawn sleigh ride, a snowmobile tour and see intricate ice sculptures at the Ice Magic Festival.

One of the most memorable things to do is an Ice Walk at Johnston Canyon where you can enjoy beautiful scenery and see ice climbers in action. A trip to Banff in Winter should be high on your list!

Sayulita Mexico in January

Sayulita, Mexico in January

Known for sublime beaches that beckon sun worshippers and surfers alike, Sayulita is one of the best places to visit in January for perfect warm weather to relax after the holidays.

Book a stay at one of the best Sayulita hotels where the soothing sounds of the ocean lull you to sleep and awaken to stunning sunrises. Indulge in rejuvenating spa services.

Start your day with a surf lesson, a rejuvenating yoga class to align your mind and body, or embark on a hike to Monkey Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.

As the day progresses, indulge your taste buds at one of the restaurants lining the colorful-flagged Slap Street, savoring authentic Mexican flavors and soaking in the town’s lively ambiance.

Afterward, stroll through town shopping at cute boho stores showcasing unique artisanal crafts and clothing. The Sayulita Hippie Market is also a hub of eclectic finds.

To explore beyond the shores, embark on a Marietas Islands tour, called the Galapagos of Mexico, to discover hidden beaches, go snorkeling, and see the mesmerizing blue-footed booby colony.

Best Places to Travel in January in Europe

Best Places to Travel in January Three Kings Parade Seville Spain

Seville, Spain in January

While most of Europe is winding down after December, you can still embrace the festive spirit by joining the Three Kings’ Day celebrations on January 6th.

The streets are filled with parades of massive floats throwing candy out to the family-friendly crowds. It’s an absolute blast that you should definitely have on your Europe bucket list.

The Plaza de España is another place for an early visit to capture the best photos of the semi-circular building with a pretty canal and tile-decorated alcoves dedicated to each of the 48 provinces in Spain.

A visit to the Seville Cathedral and majestic Alcázar Palace should be at the top of your Seville itinerary. While the crowds are quieter in January, getting there earlier will allow you to enjoy the stunning Moorish architecture and tranquil garden.

Wander through the historic Barrio Santa Cruz, its narrow streets adorned with colorful buildings, stopping by cozy cafés for a taste of traditional churros with chocolate or savor Seville’s culinary delights in lively tavernas.

Don’t miss out on the city’s vibrant flamenco scene; catch an intimate performance at a local tablao to experience the passion and artistry of this iconic Spanish dance.

Best Places to Visit in January in Switzerland
The Titlus Cliff Walk is one of the famous Switzerland Suspension Bridges near Lucerne.

Switzerland in January

One of the best places to travel in January is undoubtedly Switzerland. Use a Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited train journeys that whisk you through the snowy landscape from one exciting destination to the next.

Zermatt, nestled in the embrace of the majestic Matterhorn, beckons with its unparalleled skiing and snowboarding adventures amidst a fairy-tale backdrop.

Other top ski destinations include Gstaad and St. Moritz, a playground for the elite, boasts world-class ski resorts and the glamorous ambiance of the frozen lake, perfect for exhilarating activities like ice cricket or polo. 

Bern, with its medieval charm and UNESCO World Heritage status, invites exploration of its historic streets. Lucerne enchants visitors with its frozen lakeside, offering ice skating and the cultural treasures of its old town. 

Don’t miss a chance to cross the Titlus suspension bridge, perched high above a snowy abyss, providing unparalleled vistas of the Swiss Alps. Then walk into a glistening blue glacier cave!

This sample of Swiss destinations collectively weaves a tapestry of winter wonder to immerse yourself in Switzerland’s snowy splendor.

Tromso Norway in January
The Northern Lights are the biggest draw to Tromso, Norway in January.

Tromsø, Norway in January

Tromsø, Norway is one of the best places to experience an unforgettable winter visit!

Located almost 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, you can witness the magical northern lights with their dramatic and vibrant colors during the Polar Night period.

Take a unique northern lights aurora hunting tour with a photographer that will help you capture extraordinary images of your European bucket list experience.

In January, Tromsø hosts the Polar Night half marathon on a torch lit route. Even though the race takes place mid day, it looks like the middle of the night since the sun never rises. The race has 5k, 10k, 21K, and a 42k category!

Also on offer during the night that never ends, be sure to take a ride on Fjellheisen cable car and enjoy some fjord cruising while whale watching! Adventurers should take a dog sledding tour or learn about the Sami Culture and visit a reindeer farm.

For those daring enough, stay overnight in an ice hotel and make your visit to Tromsø Norway one truly worth remembering.

Best Places to Travel in January Around the World

Best Places to Visit in January Phi Phi

Phuket, Thailand in January

It’s no secret that Phuket, Thailand is a perfect winter vacation. With 2 Days in Phuket, you can trade the winter cold for picture perfect days relaxing on white sand beaches and exploring the incredible karst landscapes.

A very popular activity in Phuket is canoeing or taking a long tail boat through Phang Nga Bay to James Bond Island. The tall limestone 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. Take a day tour to the Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay. You will cruise through some of the prettiest bays on the planet.

Hike up to the Phi Phi view point and get a bird’s-eye view of it all. You’ll have multiple opportunities to snorkel and see marine life as well as a stop at Monkey Island.

If you have enough time, a trip to the more remote Khao Sok National Park is well worth it. Take a jungle tour, go cave trekking, or take a boat tour on Lake Cheow Lan.

For those that love wild nightlife, Bangla Road has a huge collection of nightclubs, shows, bars, and major people watching.

Night markets are also a fun way to experience the local culture. Stroll around and try some local foods, while watching street performances and listening to music.


Maldives in January

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 is the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation.

From taking a sunset boat tour to island hopping you will enjoy the gorgeous weather and beautiful vistas.

There are multiple ways to enjoy the Indian Ocean from snorkeling with nurse sharks to shredding waves at bucket list surf spots.

If you want something off the beaten tourist track and away from it all, why not visit one of the many deserted islands that dot the Indian ocean?

For those seeking some relaxation, the resorts in the Maldives offer memorable experiences.

You can find an underwater spa at Per Aquum at Huvafen Fushi or even enjoy private sandbank dining at Baros Resort.

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.

With its incredible landscapes, vibrant culture and plethora of activities on offer – not to mention its idyllic weather – what more can you ask for?

Best Places to Travel in January Harbin

Harbin, China in January

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 28). 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.

Best Places to Travel in January Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, UAE in January

Abu Dhabi is one of those places you really want to visit when the weather is good. Unbearably hot for most of the year, Abu Dhabi weather in January is delightful with beautiful blue skies and daytime highs in the 70s.

In January, the Al Dhafra Festival celebrates the Emirati culture with falconry, horse racing and even a camel beauty contest. Or learn about 250 years of Abu Dhabi history through creative events and cuisine at the Qasr Al Hosn Festival.

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.

Best Places to Travel in January Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia in January

January in Cartagena is simply spectacular! If you’re ready to soak up the warm sunshine, get sand between your toes and taste some of the best Colombian cuisine in the country, then it’s finally time to plan a trip.

Visit the historic Walled City with its brightly colored colonial architecture and delightful cobblestone streets for enchanting sightseeing. Then immerse yourself in history in Plaza Aduana and see performers in beautiful Plaza Bolivar.

Make sure to try the street food in the plazas. The locally made Arepas are a mouthwatering treat! For sunset, head over to Cafe del Mar on the old city wall for a glass of wine with beautiful vistas sure to light up your night.

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.

Don’t forget about touring the Rosario Islands, where you can find some heavenly white sand beaches only an hour away from Cartagena. It’s worth extending your trip beyond Cartagena with a full Colombia itinerary.

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 are looking for more winter inspiration, check out the Best Places to Travel in December or the Best Places to Travel in February.

Other Warm Places to Travel in January:

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  • Reply
    December 30, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you for these! I’ve been wanting to go somewhere this month, but I can’t pick a spot.

  • Reply
    December 28, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    All those places are so dreamy! I’ve travelled to Maldives and Seychelles, both are truly to recommend. The white sandy beaches and the turquoise sea, what’s not to love about this? Have a Happy New Year Jenifer!

    xx Simone

    • Reply
      December 29, 2019 at 4:46 am

      Those are 2 places I’m dying to go. I wish they weren’t so far away. Happy New Year Simone!

  • Reply
    Allie Mackin
    December 28, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Oh my so many great suggestions! I try to get down to visit a friend in Florida but the prices this time of year are crazy expensive it is ridiculous when it is the same price to fly to Paris. I’ll take Paris lol.


    • Reply
      December 29, 2019 at 4:47 am

      The prices are crazy right this minute but they will drop a ton after January 7th. I’d take Paris any day!

  • Reply
    Melissa Kacar
    December 28, 2019 at 6:57 am

    This is a great list! I would love to travel to any of these destinations! Thanks for sharing! Happy Holidays! 🙂

    • Reply
      January 1, 2020 at 2:04 am

      Glad you liked it! Thanks!

  • Reply
    December 25, 2019 at 2:33 am

    AHHHH this all look like such amazing places! Adding to my list!

    -Emily |

    • Reply
      January 1, 2020 at 2:05 am

      The list is always growing, right! 😉

  • Reply
    December 24, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    What a beautiful photos and suggestions!!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Layla Rosita
    December 23, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    What a great list! I’ve been to Tulum multiple times during January and I absolutely love it! Next on my list is Seychelles!

    Xx, Layla

    • Reply
      December 24, 2019 at 2:27 am

      Love Tulum too! I’ve never been to the Seychelles and I’m dying to go.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    I’d love to go to Banff or someplace warm!

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    • Reply
      December 23, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Even though it’s not warm, Banff is so amazing in January! But then again so it a gorgeous beach.

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