United States Tourists - Where do they Escape to in the Winter?
As mentioned in the early findings, there are two types of winter tourists: those who escape cold weather and those who embrace it. There are plenty of destinations across the United States, thanks to the sheer size, natural diversity, and varied climates of the country. Whether someone is on the pro-snow team or the pro-sand team, vacationing in the winter months can satisfy both sides.
Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the festivals, events, and venues mentioned may not have been open since the shut down.
Five cities within the United States that are considered as some of the top destinations for a winter vacation have been curated and presented below. For each city identified, we provided the reasons surrounding it as one of the top destinations.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- According to Conde Nast Traveler, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is considered one of the top 12 cities to visit in the United States in the winter season.
- More than 2.6 million people visit Jackson Hole each year. Jackson’s population is just over 10,000, and despite growth in recent years, still evokes a quaint charm and small-town ambiance.
- Jackson Hole is not just about skiing. Whether someone enjoys shopping, spas, fine dining, museums, concerts, dance performances, or exciting nightlife there is something for everyone.
- The city is renowned for its 3,000 acres of easy to get to back country terrain. It boasts some of the most challenging skiing in all of North America, and the scenery is also breathtaking as Jackson Hole is the gateway to two national parks. Much of the land not protected by one of these parks is dedicated as national forests or a wildlife refuge.
- It is home to arguably one of the best ski resorts in North America called Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (listed at number 13 out of 50 in this article). In fact, that resort reported a record setting 2018/2019 winter season, with 715,100 skier visits which surpassed the previous record set the previous year.
- According to Conde Nast Traveler, Miami, Florida is considered one of the top 12 cities to visit in the United States in the winter season.
- In 2018, Miami had 16.5 million overnight visitors, up three and one half percent compared to 2017, along with 6.8 million day trippers for a total visitor number of 23.3 million. The total number of visitors to Greater Miami is estimated to be 24.2 million in 2019. Overnight visitors accounted for 16.3 million, or sixty-seven percent of the total, and the remaining 7.9 million just visited for the day.
- In 2018, domestic overnight visitors to Miami (not including Florida Residents) represented thirty-eight percent of the total overnight visitor market. The Greater Miami area saw 6.2 million of those visitors and that represented thirty-four percent of visitor expenditures.
- Miami is a great place to visit in the winter as the temperatures stay pretty moderate. The highs tend to be 80 degrees and below, and the lows are usually in the mid-60s.
- During their stay, many visitors (particularly International) consider Bayside Marketplace, Lincoln Road, Little Havana and the Everglades as must-see places. Places like the Miami Seaquarium and Zoo Miami were a bit more favored by Florida residents as opposed to other visitors.
- Greater Miami is still attracting new visitors to the area, and among those that have made a prior visit, most are returning within a few years. International visitors produce the most first-timers, an important cultivating ground for future visits.
- When asked in this survey what was their favorite part of their trip, one in four overnight visitors said it was Miami’s beaches. The weather and shopping also received praise.
Charleston, South Carolina
- According to Conde Nast Traveler, Charleston, South Carolina is considered one of the top 12 cities to visit in the United States in the winter season.
- According to a new report, almost 7.3 million visitors visited Charleston in 2018, or about six percent more than the year before. This takes the total economic impact of tourism past a record $8 billion.
- While Charleston is a popular destination all year round, the 100-degree heat in the summer can put people off. That's why Conde Nast suggests visiting Charleston during the winter months as the weather hovers mostly around the 50s and 60s, and the crowds are not as large as they are in the summer.
- According to the Office of Tourism Analysis, School of Business at the College of Charleston, the majority of international visitors come from the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, Seventy percent of visitors to Charleston have household incomes over $75,000 per year.
- The Charleston Regional Development Alliance asserts that Charleston is "one of few places in the world where you have an immediate sense of something special. Iconic for beautifully-preserved historic architecture, gardens & design, award-winning food, world-class golf, arts & culture, and miles of unspoiled beaches — Charleston offers endless sources of inspiration and recreation."
- In 2019, Charleston was back at the top of Travel + Leisure magazine's Best United States Cities list for the seventh consecutive year.
- According to Forbes, tourists don't have to worry that the attractions and historical sites won't be open in the winter months, In fact, most are open all year round. Additionally, typical hard-to-make reservations for restaurants and accommodations are easier to come by during this slower season; and the throngs of tourists have thinned out considerably. The city also offers a host of special festivals and events to attract winter tourists such as Charleston Restaurant Week, the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, the annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the annual Festival of Houses and Gardens, the Charleston Antiques Show, the annual Charleston Jazz Festival, and the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.
- According to Conde Nast Traveler, Telluride, Colorado is considered one of the top 12 cities to visit in the United States in the winter season.
- With hotel and vacation rental occupancy rates above seventy percent, Telluride is at its busiest in the winter. In the summer, occupancy rates are around sixty-five percent. These rates can fall to about fifty percent in March and continue to dip through April and May, before rising again in June.
- Telluride Ski Resort CEO Bill Jensen said that during the 2018-2019 ski season, on the 12 busiest days, local season pass holders accounted for up to 50% of skier visits.
- Telluride keeps being named one of the best ski towns in the United States (on this Conde Nast list, it is named number 2). With its gorgeous location, casual crowds, and ski experiences, Telluride has 148 trails of differing lengths and difficulty levels, as well as winter sports like heli-skiing and snowbiking.
- In the winter, the city offers nordic skiing, snowshoe trails, ice-skating, sledding, snowmobile rides, sleigh rides, fat tire biking, as well as fly-fishing.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
- According to Conde Nast Traveler, Santa Fe, New Mexico is considered one of the top 12 cities to visit in the United States in the winter season.
- The Santa Fe area was recently rated a Top 14 U.S. Travel Destination for 2019 by Forbes Magazine.
- Target tourists for Sante Fe are adventure travelers, sophisticated, style conscious, discerning, have an appreciation for art, an interest in history, like to explore culture & heritage, love outdoor recreation, fine dining, performing arts, high-end shopping, delight in regional cuisine, drinks, and good times, want to experience something different, with a sense of place.
- Santa Fe has had an average of two million overnight visitors annually. April through October, peaking in July and August, are the most popular months for visitors. Santa Fe's visitors come from all over the world but most often come from "Texas, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Florida and Arizona." The greatest number of international visitors originate from "Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom."
- According to Conde Nast, Santa Fe is sunny and warm most of the year, but the New Mexico capital can get its fair share of snowy weather.
- This source states that Santa Fe, New Mexico should definitely be a winter road trip destination because of its skiing, hot springs, downtown area, art and history, the great food and drink, and hotels.