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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Winter Vacations

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Some travelers are enchanted by winter's first snowfall, while others are itching to escape the season's cold weather. To help you find the locale that best suits your winter vacation wants and needs, U.S. News compiled a list of the best winter destinations based on expert analysis and reader votes. Use these ideas to start planning your getaway, and vote for your favorite spots to help determine next year's ranking.

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#1 Rome

#1 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: If you don't mind donning cold weather attire to see iconic attractions like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, then a winter visit to the Eternal City can't be beat. You'll avoid Rome's notorious summer crowds, plus you can warm up with a cappuccino or a plate of fresh pasta. Read More »

Rome View 31 photos
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#2 Dubai

#2 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Dubai's warm winters are the perfect respite from snow-prone locales. Daily highs sit between the high 70s and low 80s, so you can spend your vacation sunbathing on Jumeirah Beach or sandboarding at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. For a taste of winter, hit the slopes at the indoor Ski Dubai. Read More »

Dubai View 21 photos
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#3 Honolulu - Oahu

#3 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Though you'll pay a pretty penny to stay here in winter, Oahu's low humidity and great surfing conditions make December to February some of the best months to enjoy the island's beaches. If you're not an avid surfer, skip Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay in favor of whale watching at Diamond Head or Waikiki Beach. Read More »

Wakiki Beach View 27 photos
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#4 Quebec City

#4 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Winters here are known for being chilly (average high temperatures hover in the 10s and 20s), but this Canadian city's charms make bundling up worthwhile. Old Québec's historic buildings are decked in Christmas decor throughout December, while January and February bring fun events like Carnaval de Québec and a pentathlon. Read More »

Snowy Quebec View 22 photos
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#5 Auckland

#5 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: December to February (Auckland, New Zealand's summer season) may be the priciest and most crowded time to visit, but the city's 70-degree weather and calmer winds are ideal for adventurous pursuits like bungee jumping and skydiving. For a more leisurely vacation, browse Queen Street's shops or go wine tasting on Waiheke Island. Read More »

Auckland at Sunrise View 22 photos
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#6 Seville

#6 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Seville, Spain's winters offer mild weather (daytime highs are in the 60s while lows rest in the 40s), more affordable room rates and thinned tourist crowds, making this season a great time to sightsee. After admiring the Gothic architecture at Catedral de Sevilla, check out the city's holiday markets and Three Kings Day festivities. Read More »

Shops Along Cobblestone Streets View 20 photos
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#7 Rio de Janeiro

#7 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Although hotel prices are inflated during Rio's summer season (from December to March), splurging on a getaway during these months comes with its perks: You'll enjoy warm 80-degree weather while lounging on the city's famous sands and trekking through Tijuca National Park. Plus, you can still catch a futebol match in early December. Read More »

Rio View 21 photos
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#8 Serengeti National Park

#8 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: From January to March, this Tanzanian national park's southern grasslands are wildlife havens. Daytime highs generally stay in the low 80s, rain showers are not as prevalent and animals come to breed, meaning you'll have many chances to spot creatures like zebras, wildebeest, lions and black rhinos. Read More »

Serengeti Plains View 19 photos
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#9 Hawaii - The Big Island

#9 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: The Big Island may not appeal to surfers as much as other Hawaiian destinations, but its swells are best come wintertime. Prime spots to catch waves include Honolii Beach Park and Kahaluu Beach. Additionally, the island's warm climate is ideal for hiking the region's scenic trails and wandering the stalls at the Christmas fair. Read More »

Hawaii - The Big Island View 18 photos
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#10 Breckenridge

#10 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: This quaint Colorado town swells with outdoor enthusiasts in the winter. Skiers and snowboarders will find plenty of powder at Breckenridge Ski Resort, while visitors seeking less active pursuits can check out Breckenridge's snow sculpture competition, go sledding at Carter Park or browse the shops on Main Street. Read More »

Breckenridge View 14 photos
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#11 Phuket

#11 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: You may encounter higher prices at hotels and rub elbows with more tourists, but winter visits to Phuket, Thailand, feature several pros. You'll avoid monsoon season, experience 90-degree weather perfect for lounging on the beach and check a few sights off your bucket list at Big Buddha and Wat Chalong. Read More »

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#12 Taipei

#12 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Taipei winters are relatively mild, but Taiwan's capital city offers multiple ways to warm up during chilly winter nights. Teahouses throughout Taipei serve must-try hot teas (think: oolong varieties like Dong Ding and Wenshan Baozhong). Meanwhile, thermal hot springs are available in Beitou, a district that sits north of the city center.

Taipei Taiwan
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#13 Miami

#13 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: With warm temperatures, a riotous nightlife scene and plenty of chic hotels, Miami offers a bevy of entertainment options. Following a relaxing soak at the Venetian Pool or an airboat tour of Everglades National Park, head to Zoo Miami before savoring authentic Cuban fare at one of Little Havana's restaurants. Read More »

Miami Skyline View 24 photos
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#14 Cape Town

#14 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: This South African city is experiencing summer from December to February, with average daytime temperatures in the mid- to high 70s. As such, travelers eager to escape snowy climates flock to the city's beaches, botanical gardens and other outdoor attractions, so you'll want to book your flights and accommodations a few months in advance. Read More »

Ascending Table Mountain View 20 photos
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#15 Cartagena

#15 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Nestled along Colombia's Caribbean coast, Cartagena is a warm-weather retreat packed with historic sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed section of the walled historic district. But winter (especially around Christmas and New Year's) is a popular time to visit, so you'll want to book your flight and hotel several months in advance.

Cartagena
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#16 Singapore

#16 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: You'll deal with some rain in December and January, but Singapore's abundant festivals are well worth a winter visit. Can't-miss events include Thaipusam and Chinese New Year. For Christmas vacations, be sure to check out Orchard Road's twinkling lights, as well as the Asian-influenced holiday fare served at restaurants throughout the metropolis. Read More »

Singapore View 13 photos
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#17 Lima

#17 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Lima, Peru, appeals to visitors who dream of vacationing in a warm and culturally rich destination. Although some shops and restaurants may not be open during the holidays, travelers can see sights like the Plaza de Armas and the Malecón 24 hours a day. What's more, the city hosts a festive Carnaval celebration every February. Read More »

Lima View 15 photos
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#18 Zihuatanejo

#18 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: For adventurous travelers eager to enjoy a leisurely winter getaway, the resort city of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, may be worth considering. You can spend your days lounging on tranquil beaches or partake in a variety of outdoor activities, such as scuba diving, biking and swimming with dolphins.

Zihuatenejo
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#19 Costa Rica

#19 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: In December, Costa Rica ushers in its dry season, leaving only 70-degree temperatures to accompany you on your hike through the rainforest. And if you visit in January, you'll find the tiny country basking in la pura vida while reveling in its many fiestas. Read More »

Every Night in Costa Rica View 22 photos
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#20 Park City

#20 in Best Winter Vacations

Why go: Surrounded by the Wasatch Range, this Utah locale lures winter sports enthusiasts. February is Park City's best month for skiing, but powder hounds can hit the slopes at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley resorts throughout the season. January, meanwhile, woos movie buffs attending the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

Fresh Powder View 26 photos
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Jasper National Park

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Jasper National Park

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