10Best: January's Top Travel Picks

  • Banff, Canada

    If your idea of an ideal winter vacation includes a snowy winter wonderland, then it's hard to beat Banff/Lake Louise in January, when skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and dog sledding are all on the menu. This month also offers a packed festival calendar, with events like SnowDays (Jan. 10 - Feb. 8), Ice Magic Festival (Jan. 16-25) and the MEC Ice Climbing Festival (Jan. 30 - Feb. 1).

    Photo courtesy of Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

  • Melbourne

    January falls in the middle of Melbourne's summer season, making it a great month for relaxing in the sun at one of Victoria's many beaches or taking a top-down road trip along the Great Ocean Road. Toward the end of the month, tennis stars from around the globe head Down Under to compete in the Australian Open (Jan. 19 - Feb. 1.)

    Photo courtesy of abdullahecirli

  • Fort Worth/Arlington, Texas

    Sports fans in Arlington this winter will witness a bit of history in the making as the city sandwiched between Dallas and Fort Worth hosts the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship (Jan. 12) at AT&T Stadium. In nearby Fort Worth, Texas heritage is alive and well during the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (Jan. 16 - Feb. 7).

    Photo courtesy of Kenny Braun

  • Tampa, Florida

    If you're one of those people whose mood plummets along with the temperature, a trip to the Sunshine State might be in order. Tampa enjoys temps in the low 70s in January with very little rain, making it a favorite winter destination for snowbirds heading south. The city's most anticipated annual event, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival (Jan. 31) also takes place this month.

    Photo courtesy of Visit Tampa Bay

  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado

    Visitors to Steamboat Springs have an entire mountain range to play on during the winter, with nearly 3,000 acres of skiable terrain suitable for all ability levels. After a day on the slopes, the area's numerous thermal mineral springs are perfect for soothing sore muscles and warming up.

    Photo courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles

  • San Diego

    January is one of San Diego's coolest and wettest months, but in SoCal, that means highs in the mid-60s, ideal temperatures for golfing some of the nation's top-rated courses and doing some whale watching along the bay. With loads of things to do for families, San Diego makes a great destination for that one last vacation with the kids before school starts back up.

    Photo courtesy of poc0loco

  • Costa Rica

    Costa Rica's dry season runs from mid-December through April, so January's the ideal month for sunbathing on the beach or trekking through the rainforest with a little less rain to contend with. If you're coming for the world famous surfing, the Caribbean coast is at its best in January when cold fronts traveling down the Atlantic coast of the U.S. create consistent swells.

    Photo courtesy of Eduardo Mariano Rivero

  • Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

    Travelers who aren't afraid to brave the cold will love Bretton Woods in winter. This popular winter recreation destination in the heart of White Mountain National Forest frequently ranks among the East's best ski resorts for snow conditions and grooming, and for non-skiers, the resort also offers sleigh rides, dog sledding, ice climbing, tubing, skating and snowmobiling.

    Photo courtesy of Omni Mount Washington Resort

  • Maui

    While swimming conditions are less than ideal during January in Maui, it's a perfect time for surfing and whale watching  (Maui has some of the best winter whale watching in the world) in toasty 80 degree temperatures. January marks the high season on this island paradise, so it's best to book well in advance.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

  • Santiago, Chile

    Santiago, the Chilean capital, has a mild climate throughout the year, and while January sees the most international tourists, it's also the month when Santiaguinos leave on their own vacations. This means you'll enjoy less traffic congestion, clearer air and dry, mild weather with temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

    Photo courtesy of Jose luis Stephens