5 Places to Adventure in the Sun This Winter

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Soak in the heat at these winter destinations.

No matter how much we love the winter, most of us need a little break from the cold to appreciate those remaining snowy days to the fullest. If you're craving shorts instead of snow pants, wearing a t-shirt instead of a down jacket, or dreaming of the sun on your bare arms, it's time to escape south for some time in a warmer climate.

Need a place to stay while you travel? KOA's nationwide network of campgrounds means that you're never far from a comfortable place to rest your head, whether your home base is a tent, trailer, cabin, or one of KOA's unique lodging options.

Here are five adventurous winter destinations that will thaw the chill from your bones.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo by Spud Groshong

While it's best known for its casinos and nightlife, those who prefer rock climbing to dance clubs will find endless opportunities for adventure just outside the Las Vegas city limits. Soak in the warm, dry air as you bikeclimb, or hike through the desert. Don’t miss beautiful Red Rock Canyon or popular Goldstrike Hot Springs.

If you have time to spare, otherworldly Death Valley National Park is just a couple of hours drive from downtown Las Vegas.

KOA campgrounds in Nevada

Tucson, Arizona

Photo by Josiah Roe

Like Las Vegas, the city of Tucson, Arizona, is surrounded by a desert that begs to be explored in the winter. Enjoy Tucson’s toasty temperatures as you explore the cacti at Saguaro National Park, mountain bike the beginner-friendly Desperado Loop, and catch a stunning sunset at Gates Pass

Get a bit further afield with a trip to the quirky town of Patagonia or the hoodoo-covered hills of Chiricahua National Monument.

KOA campgrounds in Arizona

Austin, Texas

Photo by Erin Newman-Mitchell

Texas’s capital city of Austin is filled with natural wonders just a stone’s throw away from bustling Sixth Street. Cutting right through the center of the city is Lady Bird Lake, a popular spot for canoeing and paddle boarding (just don’t swim—it’s forbidden!). Along the shore of the lake is the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, perfect for a relaxed evening stroll. 

Be sure to take a swim at Barton Springs Pool, whose clear water stays at a constant 68-70 degrees year-round.

KOA campgrounds in Texas

Gulf Coast, Florida

Photo by Jeff Driscoll

The estimated 900,000 “snowbirds” that flock to Florida every winter can’t be wrong—this state has plenty of sun and warmth to go around. Take the Gulf Coast for example. Lined with powdery sand beaches and calm, turquoise water, the Gulf Coast is a paradise for swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boarding. Make Tampa your home base, or check out one of the smaller coastal towns that line the shore.

Head a bit inland to find crystal-clear natural springs, perfect for diving and swimming.

KOA campgrounds in Florida

Coastal South Carolina 

Photo by Merritt McKinney

Don’t dismiss the Atlantic Coast just because the nights might get a little chilly. There's more than enough sun during the day to make up for it. Head to beloved Hilton Head Island for a hike through a live oak forest or a bike to Leamington Lighthouse. On the mainland, the port town of Charleston offers up plentiful gardens and historic sites to explore.

KOA campgrounds in South Carolina

This winter, explore more with KOA.

Cover photo by Colin Stouffer

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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