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Many families travel in the summer when the kids are out of school, but it is probably best to travel in the winter during Christmas or February break. And, if you have no children, you should definitely consider a mid-winter vacation.

You can stay in a cooler area and try winter sports, or you can tour a hotter area and get a break from the chilly weather. Prices are also much less, and fewer people are crowding tourist destinations. Here are some premier American cities to visit in the winter:

New Orleans, Louisiana
The Southern mecca is filled with history, culture, and fun. The city is known for its fantastic cuisine, which is a mixture of the African, French, and Spanish traditions that the city was built on. In addition, the party atmosphere is built on the free flow of liquor. Many drinks are New Orleans originals that you won’t find anywhere else. Along with the jazz music pumping, the Big Easy makes sure the party never stops.

Carnival, possibly the biggest party in the world, occurs in winter. The season starts on Three Kings Day, January 6th, and ends on Mardi Gras Day, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, occurring either in February or March. 

Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is a beautiful desert-covered metropolis located approximately two hours east of Los Angeles. As such, it shares the latter’s gorgeous climate, meaning temperatures during the day are more than ideal for outdoor pleasures and activities, even in the middle of winter.

In addition to the pools and golf courses, however, there are plenty of casinos, clubs, bars, and other active forms of nightlife. The nearby springs are home to relaxing spas, and the downtown area hosts boutique resorts, hotels, and retail stores, as well as restaurants that serve trendy foods. You can also ride the Aerial Tramway to take in breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas.

Key West, Florida
This oasis is a mere four hour trip from Miami by car. It is an extraordinarily scenic drive as you will cross over more than 40 bridges to venture to the southernmost tip of Florida. The municipality averages a balmy 75 degrees in the darkest depths of winter. As such, you can enjoy the history, water sports, and night clubs of the area year-round. 

The most popular water activities include snorkeling around the nearby coral reefs and diving in the deeper waters. After enjoying the daytime warmth, stop by Duval Street to peruse the bars and eateries that feature Caribbean décor and live music. 

History and literature buffs must also stop by the Ernest Hemingway house to tour the prolific writer’s former south Florida dwelling.

Asheville, North Carolina
While this gem of a city is located centrally within the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is surprisingly warm throughout the winter months due to its low latitude. However, if skiing is what you want, the slopes are certainly close by, as are beautiful hiking trails that are open all year.

If winter sports and nature are not part of your ideal vacation, you can always tour the museums and galleries lining the streets downtown, or even take the Asheville Urban Trail walking tour, a less than two-mile walk that features bronze sculptures of local historical figures. You can even visit the Vanderbilt’s former summer chateau. 

You should consider these destinations for winter travel. These sunny spots are sure to make you smile and get your mind off the frosty weather in your own backyard.