• Spend your winter whale-watching in Honolulu.

    Spend your winter whale-watching in Honolulu.

  • Trek the mountains surrounding Phoenix, in Arizona.

    Trek the mountains surrounding Phoenix, in Arizona.

  • Discover the charms of Salt Lake City, Utah \u2013 Image by Flickr user vxla

    Discover the charms of Salt Lake City, Utah – Image by Flickr user vxla

  • See the unmatched beauty of the Rocky Mountains \u2013 Image by Flickr user Osajus

    See the unmatched beauty of the Rocky Mountains – Image by Flickr user Osajus

The cold has set in and it’s time to start planning, so we’re looking at the top winter cities in the USA which are perfect for a chilly retreat. Many US cities that are a favourite with travellers are too hot to explore in the summer months, making them ideal for a winter holiday, whether you’re planning on embracing the cold or want to retreat to warmer climes.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii’s capital probably sounds like an obvious choice, and as a great winter destination for both families and couples alike, it’s the top of our list. With fantastic year-round weather, Honolulu is especially popular between the months of December and April, when the surf is at its finest, the weather isn’t too humid and it’s prime-time for whale watching.

If you’re looking to save money, you can visit between the months of September and November when hotels are slightly cheaper, however you’ll have a much higher chance of rain during this time. For some of the best whale-watching, check out Atlantis Cruises, who have a professional photographer on-hand just in case you miss that perfect shot.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is the ultimate chill-out destination in our list of winter cities. While it’s too hot for many in the summer, winter provides respite from the heat and the ideal temperatures to enjoy local pleasures, such as spas, golf courses, shopping and hiking.

Try taking a trek up Camelback Mountain, shopping ‘til you drop around Desert Ridge Marketplace and lowering your handicap at the McCormick Ranch Golf Club. As if all that wasn’t enough, winter plants are in full bloom in Phoenix, so take a walk through the city’s Desert Botanical Garden to enjoy them at their best.

Houston, Texas

Any Texan will tell you that winter (late winter, especially) is the best time to visit Houston. Enjoying the city’s thriving music and foodie scene (think some of the best burgers you’ve ever tasted) is even better with temperatures staying at around 20°C and rarely falling below 16.

Thinking of heading to Houston in February or March? You’re in for a real treat. The city hosts the world’s biggest livestock and rodeo show, attracting thousands of visitors from across the USA. When it’s time for an incredible burger, your best bet is Tookie’s Burgers. Just outside of Houston, in Seabrook (roughly a 37-minute drive), this peppered burger patty is well-worth the drive.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is a favourite with many winter travellers for its reputation as an incredible skiing and winter sport destination. The city is the perfect base from which to explore all that Utah has to offer during this time of year, with many of Utah’s finest ski resorts just a stone’s throw from the city by car, giving you incredible freedom when deciding how to spend your time.

Skiers will find a snowy haven in Deer Valley, home to two of Utah’s ski-only resorts (the other can be found in Alta), while other fun activities, such as tubing, can be enjoyed by people of all ages. While you’re in the city itself, don’t miss the Gallivan Rink in downtown Salt Lake City.

Away from the city…

Estes Park, Colorado

For anyone seeking a classic winter getaway with only nature to discover, Estes Park in Colorado is unmatched. Stay in a cosy lodge cabin, surrounded by the Rocky Mountain National Park, and explore the area on snowshoe to get up-close-and-personal to the local wildlife, before enjoying a hot chocolate and hearty meal at the end of a long day. Perfection.

Nearest Alamo Rent A Car pickup: Denver International Airport

It’s not too late to plan a winter break, travel across the USA with Alamo Rent A Car and find your next adventure with our best places to visit in winter.