After you've started off January with a bang by ringing in the new year, things start to feel dull a few weeks later. If you live in a cold climate, it can be hard to stay optimistic when the holidays are over and the days are dark and cold. These eight destinations are very beautiful in January. Many of them are in warm climates, but we also paid special attention to the places where winter has a special magic. Enjoy!

The Top 8 Places In The U.S. To Travel In January

1. San Diego, California

January in San Diego may be the best time of year for locals, who get to enjoy the city after the flush of tourists. This means that visitors to San Diego at this time of year can also relish the off-season perks of the city. Uncrowded beaches, no lines for attractions and a shorter wait period at restaurants. You can expect mild weather, with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, even during the winter. Also, San Diego is home to more than 25,000 California gray whales from mid-December to mid-March, with “Whale Watch Weekend” programs throughout January.

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2. Savannah, Georgia

January is low season in Savannah, and it’s when you’ll find the best bargains for hotels and other accommodations. Winters are relatively mild, without the sweltering heat of the summer months. The city is known for its ornate architecture, which visitors can enjoy even in January, as well as the carriage rides and dolphin tours of Savannah, which are offered all year round. January is one of the slower times of the year for tourists, so there will be very little visiting crowds to deal with.

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3. Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park is a charming town in Colorado, near the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll find elegant cabins and cozy inns, the perfect winter stay for a January vacation. There are tons of activities only available in the winter, such as sleigh riding, ice skating and snow shoeing. Winter is also the time of year visitors can catch glimpses of wildlife, such as elk or bighorn sheep, roaming the area.

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4. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a fan favorite destination, but winter is often an overlooked time to visit. But January is a great time to visit this charming city in South Carolina. You’ll find lower hotel prices and airfare, as well as a better chance of securing the itinerary of your dreams. January weather in Charleston is mild, warm enough for the blooming flowers in Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, one of the nation’s oldest public gardens. You can soak up the last of the holiday cheer, take a carriage tour of Charleston’s historic district and enjoy the city’s January festivals.

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5. Portland, Maine

For snow-filled adventures, Portland is a white winter wonderland in January. Skiers can expect outstanding snow conditions and beautiful trails. Ice fishers will find ideal locations to cast their line. Ice skaters can visit the home of the Portland Pirates hockey team during public skating hours, and take a lesson while you’re at it. If you visit Portland in January, you can also wander the most popular sections of town, such as the Old Port area and museum sites, without worrying about crowds. You won’t miss out any of the city’s best tourist hot spots—antique stores and microbreweries—because they’re open year-round and located indoors!

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6. Washington, D.C.

If there’s any place and time to avoid crowds, it’s the nation’s capitol in January. Winters are chilly, and there may even be snow, but you won’t see the tourist crowds of spring, summer and fall. That means you can tour all the Smithsonian museums and historic monuments without having to wait in line, and at your own pace. You can also expect slashes in price for accommodations and other discounts around town.

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7. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, once a top winter vacation spot, has been edged out by warmer destinations. That’s why it’s a great idea to visit in January. You can make the most of the cheap flights into the city, and plenty of empty hotels that have cut their room rates. Salt Lake City is less than 45 minutes away to seven ski mountains, so there’s the fun of choosing different destinations for different activities.

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8. Scottsdale, Arizona

Why not start off the year indulging in some “me” time, or pampering yourself in the spa capital of the United States? Scottsdale, Arizona has more spas per capita than anywhere else in the country, making it the perfect destination for a little extravagance. Described as the desert version of Miami’s South Beach, Scottsdale is all about sunshine and sophistication. Summers in the city are boiling hot, so January is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and golfing, as well as the downtown area of high-end shops and world-class restaurants.

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This article was written by Hanna Choi.