Winter blues got you down? You’re not alone. According to the National Mental Health Disorders Association, 10-20 percent of Americans struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is especially common during cold weather months. If you’re ready to make a move to greener – and warmer – pastures, check out our list of the top five cities to escape winter. You’ll discover vibrant communities with mild climates, plenty of outdoor activities and strong economies – what’s not to love?
No. 5: San Antonio, TX
With an average January temperature of 50 degrees, San Antonio offers comfortable winters that make it easy to enjoy the city’s outdoor amenities throughout the year. The famous San Antonio River Walk draws residents and tourists alike, while the 46-mile Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System is ideal for hiking and biking. The city also features more than 1,200 acres of creek-side open spaces, and free Fitness in the Park classes provide year-round opportunities to exercise in the great outdoors.
No. 4: Santa Fe, NM
Named the No. 3 City for Best Weather by Travel + Leisure, Santa Fe has a mix of historic destinations and outdoor pursuits that keep residents active during winter months. January gets chilly with an average temperature of 31 degrees, but that doesn’t deter locals from enjoying attractions like the nearby Enchanted Forest, which is the state’s largest cross-country ski area.
“In winter, days are mild, the roads are clear, the city’s intimacy and charm is in full bloom, and you can go skiing 25 miles from town and come back to enjoy a wide variety of cuisine, spa treatments, culture and hospitality you’ll never forget,” says TOURISM Santa Fe Executive Director Randy Randall.
No. 3: Savannah, GA
Savannah’s undeniable charm extends beyond its cobblestone streets and popular historic district. The city also draws residents and tourists with its favorable climate, which makes outdoor activities a fun possibility year round. With an average January temperature of 49.5 degrees, Savannah is surrounded by water and offers fishing and boating opportunities, as well as easy access to Tybee Island. The area’s mild climate also makes it perfect for strolling and shopping on River Street, located along the Savannah River.
No. 2: Orlando, FL
While attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios make Orlando a major tourism destination, the city’s warm temperatures also make it a hot spot for anyone eager to escape from cold weather. The city, with an average January temperature of 60 degrees, includes more than 150 golf courses and plenty of water activities, and the nearby Wekiwa Springs State Park offers 13 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
No. 1: San Diego, CA
San Diego residents can enjoy the city’s 70 miles of beaches throughout the year, thanks to a mild climate that includes an average January temperature of 57 degrees. The city also features the well-known Balboa Park, which includes 16 unique gardens, as well as the San Diego Botanic Garden and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park. For more water fun, the 4,600-acre Mission Bay Aquatic Park offers kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing and more.
“So we may not have too many white holidays, but who needs the trouble of shoveling your car out of the snow when you can catch the white powder by driving about an hour east? I’ll take the option of lying out by the beach in December any day,” says Natasha Contreras, lifestyle blogger and owner of In Love With San Diego.