Taking the travel temperature

Austin named No. 1 hot spot for winter travel in new ranking

Austin named No. 1 hot spot for winter travel in new ranking

Trail of Lights
It's cool to stick around Austin in the wintertime. Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

If you’re hunting for a warm-weather destination this winter, you might just look in your own backyard.

Austin ranks first on a new WalletHub list of the best winter destinations for lovers of warm weather.

Obviously, the ranking excludes any mention of last winter’s crippling ice storm that ravaged all of Texas. 

To determine the best winter destinations, WalletHub compared 69 of the most populated U.S. metros across six categories: travel costs and hassles, local costs, attractions, weather, activities, and safety.

Austin performs particularly well in the travel costs and hassles category (No. 2) and weather category (No. 6). It lands at No. 10 for attractions, No. 12 for local costs, No. 13 for warm-weather activities, and No. 19 for safety.

Behind Austin in the winter-weather ranking are No. 2 Las Vegas and No. 3 San Diego.

Among other major metros in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio hold down the No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 spots, respectively.

“The outlook for the winter travel season looks good. Drive-to destinations will still be preferred for most travelers,” Stacy Tomas, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management at Oklahoma State University, tells WalletHub.

“Traveling within your region is a great way to have a fun and relaxing trip while also saving time and money,” she adds. “It is also a great way to spend money locally, with small businesses, which are the backbone of the travel industry.”