I hope this new year brings lots of joy and more travel plans for all of us. While 2020 and 2021 were a roller coaster, I hope things settle down in 2022, and I am excited to share the best places to visit in January. I will be continuing this series and share every month to help you plan your trips. Whether it is snowy mountains or hot sandy beaches, each place has its beauty.
Langkawi was my 1st trip abroad and the very 1st island I have visited in my life. It is a famous island in an archipelago of 99 islands situated in the Andaman sea. Even though this place has nice tropical weather all year, around January is the best month to visit. The temperature stays in the 80s in the daytime, and it feels like a delightful atmosphere there.
Langkawi is a part of Kedah, the state of Malaysia. Dataran Lang, known as an Eagle square, is the most iconic place in Kuah town. Enjoy local delicacies in the restaurants and cafes located near it. The spectacular view of an island from a cable car ride is another must thing to do in Langkawi. UNESCO has declared Langkawi global GEOpark, so don’t miss out to visit Kilim Geopark tour. Local tourism providers are offering various times, taking the mangrove tour of the park is a must.
Langkawi is only accessible by air or ferry. You can take the ferry from southern Thailand, and it’s just minutes away from the international maritime border. You might not get a direct flight from your destination, but they have enough domestic connections from Thailand and Malaysia.
Langkawi has plenty of accommodation options, but I would highly recommend staying in a beach resort; I like Holiday villa beach resort and Pelangi Beach resort. You can access the hotel’s beach; here is your packing list for the beach trip.
Recommended by Candice of csginger.com
One of the best places to visit in January is Orlando, Florida. The weather is mild and pleasant compared to the hot and humid summer weather. It is a great time to enjoy the theme parks, visit the natural springs in the area, and enjoy the beautiful trails.
There are lots of fun things to do in Orlando. One unique thing to do in January is to visit the springs. There are many great springs to visit within an hour or two of Orlando. In the winter, you can see the manatees searching for warmer weather. The best place to see manatees close to Orlando is Blue Springs State Park.
Another fun thing to do in Orlando is to visit Gatorland. It is a zoo home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles. There are shows throughout the day and lots of other wildlife to watch. Another fun part of town to explore is International Drive. Many fun attractions and nightlife events are going on and Icon Park and SeaWorld.
One of the best places to stay in Orlando, especially if you’re going to Disney Land, is the Four Seasons at Walt Disney World. On-site, you will find firework shows, a golf course, swimming pools, and spas. They also have free transportation to the Disney parks.
The best airport to fly into is the Orlando International Airport. It is right in the heart of downtown Orlando and getting to just about anywhere in the city is pretty easy from the airport. Many hotel shuttles run from the airport, and there is a public bus that makes pickups every 30 minutes. Uber and Lyft are also popular at the airport.
During January, the average high in Orlando is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, with the overnight lows averaging around 51 degrees Fahrenheit. There are about four days out of the month with rain. You can expect mostly sunny skies.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Recommended by Brodi Cole of OurOffbeatLife.com
Isla Mujeres is one of the few remaining places in Mexico’s Riviera Maya that offers fun in the sun without the party vibe of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. January is the perfect time to visit! The fall rainy season has ended, most days, the weather is a balmy 80F, and there are no seaweed piles on the beaches like in the summer months.
Recommended by Martina of PlacesofJuma.com
Krabi in Thailand is an accurate insider tip for the best places to visit in January. At this time you can count on optimal climate, lots of sun, clear weather and hardly any rain. The temperatures are, as always in Thailand hot, but not yet unbearably hot. In general, you can expect average temperatures of 86 °F in January.
This beautiful region is located in the south of Thailand, on the Andaman Sea, and is a paradise like no other: rugged limestone cliffs, dense green jungle, snow-white sandy beaches, turquoise sea, tiny islands, and giant palm trees conjure up a paradise-like picture book! In January, the ambiance is lovely when the weather is no longer hazy, but the sky appears in a brilliant blue.
It would be best if you visited the Railay Peninsula because it is undoubtedly one of the unique places in Thailand. But also, the quiet Tonsai Beach in Krabi and the beautiful Klong Muang Beach are indescribably beautiful. Other must-sees are picturesque offshore islands like Koh Hong, Koh Poda, and Chicken Island – where there is a chicken head rock.
Krabi has its international airport, Krabi International Airport (KBV). After landing, it is best to take a cab, which will take you to the resorts in the region at a reasonable price.
As an accommodation tip, we can recommend the Nakamanda Resort & Spa. It convinces with direct location on the beach, fantastic view, large pool, and very nice rooms!
Kangaroo Island – South Australia
Recommended by Natalie & Steve of curiouscampers.com.au
Kangaroo Island is a rugged wildlife haven off the coast of South Australia. January is summertime in Australia and the perfect time to visit the island. Daytime temperatures sit in the mid to high 70s, cooling ocean breezes drop the evenings into the mid-50s. January is the perfect time to explore Kangaroo Island’s beautiful beaches, spectacular coastline and see Australian wildlife.
Flinders Chase National Park has some of the island’s best scenery. You don’t have to venture far to spot kangaroos, koalas, and echidnas. Cape du Couedic Lighthouse is in the park. Take the coastal boardwalk to spot fur seals and view Admirals Arch – a fantastic hole in the sea cliffs. The giant and strangely shaped Remarkable Rocks nearby are also worth a look.
Seal Bay on the island’s south coast is home to the endangered Australian sea lion. Guides take you onto the beach, where you can watch them play in the surf and relax on the sand. The playful pups are adorable! If you like beautiful beaches, visit Vivonne Bay. One of Australia’s most beautiful beaches with white sand and turquoise water. Dolphins regularly visit the beach.
To get to Kangaroo Island, fly into South Australia’s capital Adelaide. It is then a 90-minute drive to Cape Jervis to catch a ferry for the 50-minute journey to the island. You can take a car on the ferry or tours to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide.
Accommodation on Kangaroo Island ranges from campgrounds and caravan parks to luxurious beachfront holiday houses. Emu Bay Holiday Homes are a great place to stay (and Emu Bay Beach is stunning). Western KI Caravan Park is the best place to stay for exploring the beautiful western end of the island.
Orange County, United States
Recommended by Stacy of thediscoverynut.com
One of the most beautiful places in Southern California, Orange County, makes for a perfect winter getaway. Located in Southern California, Orange County is home to over 3 million residents. Still, you can find a quiet space in nature here if you are looking for a quiet getaway.
Made up of small towns, Orange County has gorgeous weather and postcard views that made it so famous in the first place. The average maximum temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit in January and is excellent for exploring and spending time outdoors.
Surfing is a big game in California; even you can find competitions held for young kids and adults. If you want to try your hand at surfing, grab a board and go to Huntington Beach or San Clemente. These two places have some of the best surfing conditions in Southern California.
If you are a nature lover, stop in Dana Point, a small beachside town where you can take a whale watching tour, and if you get lucky, you might even see one of these elusive marine giants.
To get to Orange County, you can fly either to LAX, the largest international airport in Southern California, or John Wayne Airport in Orange County that has many domestic connections. A 30-40 minute drive can reach most places within Orange County, so you are never too far from an adventure.
Recommended by Jessica of uprootedtraveler.com
With its incredible white sand beaches and lush mountains, Oahu is the perfect place to take a January getaway to someplace beautiful and, more importantly, warm. January is one of Oahu’s busiest seasons- while the rest of the United States are battling the bitter cold, the island enjoys the weather in the 70s and mostly clear skies.
Given the Hawaiian Islands’ remoteness, you’ll need to fly here pretty much regardless of where you’re coming from- but the effort will be worth it, with endless adventures to be had once you arrive. For example, consider hiking through some of the island’s stunning scenery, from the accessible Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail, which provides jaw-dropping views over the turquoise waters along the island’s eastern shores, to the challenging Koko Crater Trail, where you’ll climb old railroad ties up the side of a dormant volcano to see sweeping views of the city of Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean. Of course, no trip to Hawaii would be complete without getting to observe some of its incredible marine life.
Consider a stop at the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve, located 10 miles east of Honolulu, Oahu’s largest city. Once an enormous volcanic crater, this bay is now a marine reserve and offers some of the best snorkeling in Oahu, with over 400 species of fish and other marine life, like the beloved sea turtles (or honu in Hawaiian). Another unmissable spot is Oahu’s North Shore- a fantastic spot to see big wave surfers catch some massive waves at the Banzai Pipeline or explore small towns with lots of surfer vibe, like Haleiwa.
While you’re on the North Shore, consider a stay at the swanky Turtle Bay Resort, which offers an on-site lagoon, golf course, and spa, to make sure you’ve got those laid-back island vibes, too.
Recommended by Haley of HaleyBlackall.com
Sri Lanka, the Emerald Isle, situated just off the southeast coast of India, is the perfect winter destination to visit. The tropical island’s southwest coastline enjoys hot sunny days from December to April. January is the optimal time to see, though, as December holidaymakers have dispersed. January also boasts more mild temperatures (73.4°F at night and 84.2°F during the day) than February, March, and April.
The golden sands and turquoise waters of the south coast present perfect conditions for a January stay. Towns like Weligama and Mirissa Sri Lanka are home to great economical guest houses and beachside hotels.
There is also plenty to do in Sri Lanka’s southwest region. A day trip to the historical fort of Galle should be added to your Sri Lanka bucket list. You can explore the colonial architecture of this quaint coastal town and stroll along the fortified wall while watching the sunset. You can’t visit Sri Lanka without booking a safari at Unawatuna National Park or Yala National Park. Unawatuna is known for large herds of Asian elephants, and Yala offers the chance to sight an elusive leopard. If you have time, do both! If you love the water, Sri Lanka is one of the best-surfing destinations in the world, with numerous quality surf breaks. Grab yourself a lesson and a surfboard rental and hit the waves.
You can reach Sri Lanka’s south coast by landing at the Colombo International Airport (Bandaranaike International Airport, CMB). From there, grab a transfer shuttle or rent a car to make the 2-hour journey to Mirissa or Weligama. Stay at the ever-so-cool Dreamsea Surf Camp that comes with boho-style rooms right on the beach and even has a pool!
Recommended by Natasha of planestrainsandkarcz.com
While Banff National Park is primarily considered a bucket list destination year-round, outdoor lovers would argue there’s no better time to visit than in January. It’s during this period of shoulder season that the temperatures vary between 5°F and 32°F, making for perfect conditions to partake in some skiing or snowboarding on one of the nearby (and world-renowned!) slopes.
For those wishing to experience the enchanting Rocky Mountain wilderness firsthand, consider taking a dog sledding tour – a true Great White North custom – or blazing a trail along the most popular hike in Banff, the Johnston Canyon Trail.
To get to Banff, you’ll want to fly into the YYC International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, and rent a car to make the 1.5-hour drive west, where you’ll then reach the threshold of the Canadian Rockies. It’s here that you’ll catch your first glimpse of the snowy alpine peaks and dense woodland that Banff is so notorious for. And while there’s certainly no shortage of brilliant places to stay in the town of Banff, consider the budget-friendly Fox Hotel. Conveniently located near the vibrant main street, you’ll be able to soak in all of the relaxations that this scenic mountain town offers while still being close to Banff’s exciting culinary and shopping scene!
Queenstown, New Zealand
Recommended by Kenny of knycxjourneying.com
In January, Queenstown in New Zealand celebrates summer and it’s a great time to go out and enjoy the outdoor activities. There are so many things to see and do in Queenstown, and no wonder it is a popular destination for many local and international travelers.
The city has a unique and dramatic scenery that serves as a wonderful backdrop for all the sports that are available to visitors, from paragliding, bungee jumping, canoeing, skydiving, camping, boating, rock climbing to many more.
One movie constantly came up in travel magazines and guides – the Lord of the Rings. To truly immerse yourself in such a cinematic setting, there’s no better way to do so than actually riding on a horse and trekking through the otherworldly terrains in Glenorchy, a small settlement 45-minute drive away from Queenstown.
While you are in town, enjoy a scenic flight and cruise tour to the well-known Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Milford Sound is famous for its towering Mitre Peak, magnificent view, and sea life. Take a day to Arrowtown and learn about the history of the Otago Gold Rush back in the 19th century. No trip to Queenstown is complete without a taste of Fergburger, a 24-hour burger joint with a busy queue, and burgers made of juicy beef with fries.
The average temperature in January is about 30 to 43 Fahrenheit, and it’s served by Queenstown Airport, with a connection to cities like Auckland, Christchurch, Melbourne, Sydney, and Wellington. The airport is only about 8 kilometers from the city center. There are a number of hotels, hostels, or homestays available in the city, and the Crowne Plaza Hotel is at the waterfront; the balconies of the hotel suite offer a glorious view of Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak.
Which is your favorite place to visit in January?
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5 thoughts on “Best Places to visit in January”
I agree that Orlando is a great location to visit in January! We visited in January 2020 to go to Disneyworld, and you could hardly tell that it was winter, haha. Thanks for sharing this great guide!
It looks so beautiful! I cannot wait until travel opens again and I can finally get back out there!
So many great choices, all different! The more I read about Malaysia, the more I want to visit, and I hadn’t heard about the UNESCO Geopark. Sounds very cool.
What an epic list of the best places to visit in January! We love visiting Hawaii this time of year – it is perfect! Thanks for the wonderful shares from around the world.
Malaysia + Australia have been on my travel bucket list for some time and I’d love to go back to Thailand someday! Love all these picks!