The Best Places to Travel in the U.S. in January
With a new year comes a fresh opportunity to see the world. And luckily for those in the U.S., there are plenty of amazing destinations right in our own national backyard.
For January, Travel + Leisure whisks you off to the snow-capped mountains of northern Idaho, on a treasure hunt for glass globes on an island in Georgia, and to a new Minneapolis hotel set to open right in time for the Super Bowl.
Whether it’s adventure or an escape from the cold that you’re after, here are the best places to travel to in January.
Milwaukee is no longer just a weekend escape for residents of Chicago. The beer-famous city has been growing in popularity, and January is the perfect time to go. In addition to welcoming Wisconsin’s first-ever Shake Shack, the acclaimed Milwaukee Art Museum will house a new exhibit, “The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip” that’s sure to be of interest to travelers.
The Holston River is one of the most scenic parts of southwestern Virginia and Tennessee — and now, there’s a hotel named after it. The Holston House officially opens in downtown Nashville this January, as part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection of boutique hotels. The historic property originally went up in 1929, and will feature art deco details and a rooftop pool bar.
Palm Desert, California
With year-round sunny skies and mid-80s temps, southern California’s Palm Desert makes for a great mid-winter escape. El Paseo, the town’s main thoroughfare, is loaded with upscale shops and art galleries, earning it the nickname “Rodeo Drive of the desert.” There hasn’t been a new luxury hotel in Palm Desert in over 30 years, but that’s about to change with the opening of Hotel Paseo, whose highlights include a backyard with a pool and Bocce Ball, an on-site spa, and a Billiards Suite complete with its own billiards table.
Miami Beach, Florida
Nobu isn’t the only place to have a fantastic meal in Miami. Next month, the famed Eden Roc Miami Beach will celebrate the opening of a brand new restaurant, Malibu Farm, marking the first east coast location for Swedish cookbook author Chef Helene Henderson’s burgeoning farm-to-table empire. The menu features wood-fired pizzas, saffron couscous, and fresh fruit cocktails, and the stunning beach views will have guests lining up at the door.
Los Angeles, California
Well-known to design lovers, West Hollywood is a surefire way to brighten up mid-winter blues, whether you’re coming to shop at Christian Louboutin and Stella McCartney, or simply want to poke your head in art galleries clustered around Melrose and La Cienaga. This January, Kimpton will open La Peer Hotel, which offers yoga mats in every room, along with a dedicated fitness trainer and in-room cocktail service.
Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
Sandwiched between Savannah and Hilton Head Island, the coastal town of Bluffon, South Carolina, makes for a memorable winter escape, whether you’re holed up in the new residences at Montage Palmetto Bluff (two- to four-bedroom units with cozy fireplaces and large dining rooms), wandering the property’s 20,000 acres of forest trails, or you’re simply out exploring scenic South Carolina Lowcountry on your own. Each January, outdoor enthusiasts head to the resort for Field + Fire (January 19-21), an adventure-filled weekend of sporting clays, archery, and a ladies shooting school.
Set in the northern part of the state, the town of McCall offers serene lakefront views, as well as access to one of Idaho’s most stunning natural features, Payette National Forest. With over 300 inches of snow per year, it’s an alternative to bigger name ski resorts like Aspen and Sun Valley, and there’s even high-end lodging at Shore Lodge, which has an award-winning spa and a brand new trail-to-table steakhouse opening on January 19.
This January, sci-fi fans have a new reason to visit the 326-room technology-driven Yotel Boston: The hotel’s first customized robot, YO2D2, officially begins reporting for duty. Standing 36 inches, YO2D2 is programmed to deliver linens, amenities and to-go meals; unlike the Yotel robot in New York (which is solely used for storing luggage), however, this one will have a “mingle” switch that allows for social interactions with guests.
Indiana’s culture-rich capital is a joy to explore any time of year — but in January, it’s all about food. One of the most anticipated openings for the city comes on January 3, when Neal Brown’s Ukiyo will open in the SoBro neighborhood. Hailed as the city’s first ever omakase-style restaurant, Chef Brown will create a locally sourced menu of Indiana horseradish (instead of wasabi), miso made from Indiana-grown soy, nuts, and seeds, and sustainable seafood like Indiana catfish instead of unagi (eel).
For those who have yet to check out the delights of Arizona’s favorite resort town (which includes a Frank Lloyd Wright house), January is the perfect month to visit. The town’s most charming hotel, The Scott, is fresh off a $15 million renovation, and one of its newest features is The Canal Club, an all-day restaurant inspired by 1930s Cuba. Featuring an elegant indoor-outdoor layout, the menu makes use of Cuban-inspired ingredients like plantains, tender smoked meats, and indigenous spices. You’ll forget winter ever happened at all.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
In January, the Georgia coastal haven of Jekyll Island offers miles of unspoiled beaches, making it a trusted, if underappreciated, mid-winter escape for east coasters. For families, there’s a bonus appeal: Island Treasures, a hide-and-seek game that takes over the whole island during January, where locals and visitors join together to search for hidden glass globes. The event traces its origins back to the 1900s, when fishermen used glass floats as markers on their nets; this year, 450 globes will await discovery by keen-eyed travelers.
No other city in America gets into the spirit of MLK Day (January 14, 2018) quite like Atlanta, where the civil rights hero was born and attended high school in the 1940s. At the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, pay respect to the late Reverend by visiting the house where he was born; meanwhile, there are countless commemorative events happening across town, including a Sunday Supper at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, as well as free admission to the Atlanta History Center.
Ever wanted to have a 90,000-acre Hawaiian island all to yourself? Four Seasons Lanai might be the closest you’ll get. During winter, guests at the island’s only resort can sit by the pool as North Pacific humpback whales make their way across the bay. Up for more adventure? Take off into the backroads of Lanai in a 4x4 Jeep, or try out a brand new horse yoga class, which takes place at sunset on the hotel’s private ranch.
True Superbowl fans will have booked their tickets months ago. For the rest of us, a chance to visit Minneapolis as it gears up for the 2018 event promises to be a seriously memorable weekend. While you’re in town, stop by the new Graduate Hotel, whose creative vibe has made it a hit in other cities like Berkeley, CA and Ann Arbor, MI. Meanwhile, important landmarks like the Walker Art Center and the city’s plethora of breweries will be eager to show off their attractions in the lead-up to the big day.
By no means an under-the-radar ski destination, Vail is a timeless winter destination for beginners and pros alike. With roundtrip flights from New York still available from $375, the central Colorado town is ripe for booking. Overnight at the Arabelle at Vail Square: the luxury resort is celebrating their 10th anniversary in January, with live music and ice sculptures taking place throughout the month.