For Texans, winter in the Lone Star State brings a long-awaited respite from six months of unbearable heat. We're pretty content to finally leave the house without a double (or triple) layer of SPF. But for tourists, winter in Texas brings respite from the opposite problem: colder climates where locals actually experience things like rain and snow. A recent WalletHub study shows Texas taking three of the top 10 "best winter vacation destinations for warm-weather lovers," with Austin landing at No. 2.
Comparing around 70 of the largest U.S. metro areas, the study groups cities by warm and cold weather. Rather than a subjective survey of each locale's scenic beauty (in which Texas cities would also sweep the top 10, of course), WalletHub focused on the cost and convenience of traveling to each city, as well as the number of attractions and variety of activities in each destination.
As a result, the two lists rank "the cheapest U.S. destinations that are also the easiest to reach," according to the study's landing page. To compile the data, WalletHub measured 37 key metrics, including two weeks of flight data, safety indicators, and weather predictions.
In the warm weather category, Nevada's Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metro area nabbed the No. 1 spot with an overall score of 67.18 and high marks in the number-of-attractions category (No. 2) and number of warm-weather activities (No. 1).
Austin came in a close second with an overall score of 64.76 and high marks for lowest travel costs and fewest hassles (No. 2), as well as best weather (No. 6) and number of warm-weather activities (No. 12).
In total, Texas took nine of the 37 spots in the warm weather category, with three cities in the top 5. Here's how other Texas metros fared on the list:
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington —No. 4. Top marks for lowest travel costs (No. 3) and best weather (No. 2).
- San Antonio-New Braunfels — No. 5. Top marks for lowest travel costs (No. 6) and lowest local costs (No. 3).
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land — No. 7. Top marks for lowest travel costs (No. 1) and number of attractions (No. 9).
- Killeen-Temple — No. 21. Top marks for lowest travel costs (No. 6).
- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission— No. 27. Top marks for lowest travel costs (No. 1).
- Corpus Christi— No. 32. Top marks for lowest travel costs (No. 7).
- Brownsville-Harlingen — No. 33.
- Beaumont-Port Arthur— No. 35.