Where to travel to avoid snow this winter, according to weather reports

Oct 27, 2021

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With cold weather already spreading across much of the U.S., many people are preparing for the arrival of a long, snowy winter.

But many travelers will refuse to go into hibernation mode, and opt instead for sunny skies and warm destinations.

Much of the south will receive its first blast of winter a bit later than average, according to AccuWeather’s winter forecast. The eastern half of Texas over to Florida could see the season’s first frost between mid-November and mid-December. So, just to be sure you won’t experience a snowstorm down south, plan your travels for earlier rather than later.

To help with winter plans, here are a few places to head this winter and what to expect when you get there.

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Austin, Texas. (Photo by Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.)

Eastern Texas over to Florida may have higher-than-normal temperatures in December, resulting in a late first frost this year. Depending on how far south you’re planning to go, below-freezing temperatures could occur for the first time of the season anywhere between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15, with the latter happening in southern Florida.

The region may see a repeat of last year, when snowy conditions and unusually cold temperatures make an appearance in the middle of winter. While it’s unlikely to be as severe as last season, the blast of cold weather could happen in late January, so keep that in mind when planning your winter vacation this year.

If you do end up heading south in late January or early February, avoid Arkansas, eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma, all of which, according to AccuWeather, could be dealt some of the worst winter weather.

Instead, head toward the southeast — specifically Florida up to North Carolina — where milder temperatures are expected.

If a classic beach getaway is on the agenda, consider Hotel Effie Sandestin, which opened in February of 2021. The hotel caters to visitors of the Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort, which is located on Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast between the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay.

Visiting Everglades National Park is a great way to get outside and truly soak up the sunshine and warm temperatures. Hike the park’s limitless trails or rent a canoe or kayak to explore the mangrove forests, marshes and the Florida Bay from the water.

Everglades National Park. (Photo by Corey Rich/Getty Images)

Charlotte, North Carolina, is another viable option, although the temperatures won’t be quite as warm as you’d find in southern Florida.

But with average winter temperatures in the 50s and 60s, it’s still a comfortable city to explore when the northern half of the country is covered in snow. Travelers with points to burn will have plenty of options, too. Last July, the Category 5 JW Marriott Charlotte (from 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy pints per night) began welcoming guests. And a month prior, the Hyatt Centric South Park Charlotte (a Category 3 property available from 12,000 points per night on standard dates) made its debut.

In the Southwest, significant precipitation events aren’t expected until later in the season. While this is great news for travelers looking to soak in the sunshine, it’s not so great for the wildfire season, which will likely last longer than normal.

This could have the largest effect on travelers looking to explore the Southwest’s parks and outdoor recreational opportunities, as wildfire and smoke closures could continue into the winter.

Rain events in Southern California are more likely to occur during the second half of winter, but even then, the amount of rainfall won’t be as significant as is typical. While there is a La Niña weather pattern that will be in effect (which typically means more rain in the Southwest), it will weaken later in the season, allowing other factors to influence the amount of rain the region gets.

Basically, this winter will be drier than normal.

This lack of rain also means much of the region will be warmer than average this year, with much of western California, eastern Nevada and eastern Arizona up to 2 degrees above average.

It is possible some storms could head south from the Northwest during late December or early January, but it’s unlikely they’ll put a damper on the dry conditions that are expected to continue through the winter.

Scottsdale, which is just east of Phoenix, Arizona, is a vibrant destination perfect for people seeking something other than a warm-weather vacation on a beach with unlimited piña coladas (not to say that doesn’t sound excellent right now).

There are a number of art- and culture-related events and points of interest to see during the winter, including Canal Convergence, which is an art installation complete with live music, fire shows on the Arizona Canal, workshops and presentations from Nov. 5 through Nov. 14.

Scottsdale. (Photo by Thomas Roche/Getty Images)

If a winter road trip is on the agenda, check out the Death Valley Rally — a 370-mile suggested itinerary from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park.

This unique and geographically diverse route hits both the lowest point in North America and winds past the 11,916-foot Mount Charleston — the fifth-highest point in Nevada. Explore the ancient bristlecone pines in the park, stargaze under some of the darkest night skies in the country and sample the offerings at local wineries before spending an evening on the bustling strip of Las Vegas.

Featured photo of Key West, Florida by worldofphotos/Getty Images.

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