Winter travel in the United States has a lot going for it. The weather is less humid in most cities, so the temperature is comfortable and there aren’t as many mosquitoes. The top tourist spots aren’t nearly as busy, and hotel rates are lower. Personally, I love travelling during off-peak periods.
Now that kids are back in school and the fall season has officially started, many people are looking ahead to their next trip to the States. This year, I asked some seasoned snowbirds which US cities would be the best to visit during the winter. Not surprisingly, most of them swear by the classic Florida destinations (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, etc.), but here a few cities you might not have thought of visiting.
Charleston, South Carolina
A friend of my mother’s absolutely loves Charleston, South Carolina. The fabulous history and architecture of this lesser-known city is sure to delight tourists. In the 1670s, Charleston had a rice and cotton plantation and slave trade economy. Tourists can learn more about that abolished trade practice at the old slave trade mart museum. They can also visit Nathaniel Russell House, a stately neoclassical mansion, for insight into the lifestyle of wealthy 19th century families. Charleston’s rich historical and culinary scene makes it well worth the detour.
My uncle loves going to Phoenix, where he can play golf all winter long. He says that some clubs, like Troon North and We-Ko-Pa, feature desert landscapes that make you feel as though you’re hundreds of kilometres away from civilization. In addition to shopping and indulging in spa treatments, my aunt enjoys going hiking in the more comfortable, warmer weather. They say that the desert wildflowers are in full bloom in February. At sunset, the colours of the cactus and other plants are amazing.
San Francisco, California
In my opinion, no article on the best US cities to visit in the wintertime would be complete without a mention of San Francisco because, for me, it’s the most beautiful city in the United States. San Fran’s unique Victorian and Bohemian style is particularly attractive. You absolutely must ride a cable car to go up and down the steep, curvy hills of this city and check out the beautiful Victorian-style homes on famous Lombard Street. For sure, you’ll want to go to Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf, where you’ll find an array of restaurants, museums, an aquarium and other attractions. From Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll get a fantastic view of Alcatraz, a former federal penitentiary. San Francisco also has many concert halls, museums, restaurants and ethnic neighbourhoods.
Medical care in the United States is extremely costly, so it’s important to purchase travel insurance when travelling there. Your travel insurance plan should cover all expenses related to a medical emergency.