Are you thinking of taking a vacation this winter?
Many Americans spent their summer months exploring Europe, but now is the most popular time for U.S. travelers to visit Mexico and the wider Caribbean.
But there are lots of great reasons to stick closer to home for your vacations, particularly as we enter the winter season.
According to the recently revealed Travvy Awards, these are the 3 best U.S. states to visit right now:
Arizona is a beautiful state and although it is best known for its hot and arid summers it attracts huge numbers of visitors during the winter months too.
Arizona boasts countless places to hike during the cooler winter months and incredible vistas to explore. You may even spot a dusting of snow on top of the iconic red rock formations, which is an incredibly beautiful sight.
Winter is also a great time to visit the Grand Canyon, arguably one of Arizona’s most famous spots.
It may be cold, but you will avoid the hordes of tourists and experience this incredible natural wonder in peace.
During December the Grand Canyon Railway, a train from Williams to the South Rim, is transformed into the Polar Express complete with Christmas decorations which is a lot of festive fun for kids of all ages.
This is a great way to celebrate Christmas as well as a unique way to experience the Grand Canyon.
January sees the start of the annual Tucson Gem Show which is a week-long event that attracts rock, fossil, and gem enthusiasts from around the world.
Other reasons to visit Arizona during the winter months include the state’s relatively mild climate, the more affordable hotel prices, and the abundance of national parks to explore.
The U.S. is packed full of incredible cultural attractions, beauty spots, and things to do. And the winter months don’t have to mean cold weather vacations either.
Many snowbirds head to Florida for the winter because in general the state has a warm winter with comfortable summer temperatures. Florida enjoys the mildest winters in the continental United States.
But the weather isn’t the only attraction of visiting this beautiful state.
Florida is famous for its theme parks, and people flock from all over the country (and around the world) to visit these for their special Christmas events.
Walt Disney World’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs throughout November and December and is considered one of the best theme park parties in the world.
But Florida has so much more to offer than theme parks. Why not take a tour of the Everglades, which is America’s largest national park?
Covering 1.5 million acres, this wetlands preserve is home to hundreds of animal species. These include the endangered leatherback turtle, Florida panther, and West Indian manatee.
But the animal people most want to see when they visit the Everglades is the famous Florida alligator. Luckily, there are so many of these you’re almost guaranteed to spot one on your trip!
Other winter attractions not to be missed in Florida include heading to the coast to spend some time by the ocean, taking advantage of the slightly cooler weather by hiking at Wekiwa Springs Hiking Trail, or taking a fascinating nighttime paddle boarding tour.
The state awarded first place (Gold) in the Travvy awards for the best U.S. state destination was Hawaii.
Hawaii is considered the most beautiful of all the U.S. states, and it is also the most popular with vacationers.
Winter festivals, giant waves, stunning natural landscapes, and warm temperatures make the winter months one of the best times to visit Hawaii.
During the winter months, various festivals and events are celebrated in Hawaii such as the Honolulu Marathon which happens in December, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival in November, and of course, Christmas is celebrated across the islands in a uniquely tropical way.
Winter is also the best time of year to go whale watching in Hawaii as this is when the beautiful hump-backed whales return to the waters surrounding the islands.
Hawaii is a great place to escape to the sunshine, particularly if you live in a cold weather state. And the beauty of the destination really can’t be underestimated.
Swim in Hawaii’s warm and calm waters as you enjoy incredible views and forget that it’s winter.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com