Top 10 happiest U.S. winter travel destinations revealed
(BPT) - Even among the most optimistic, cold and sunless days can lead to spells of melancholy. Sometimes it's best to just get away. According to Dr. Aymee Coget, happiness expert and CEO of the American Happiness Association, traveling during the winter months can provide more than just a suntan; it can increase personal happiness during the most depressing time of the year.
To help beat the winter blues, Hilton HHonors, the loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide's 10 distinct hotel brands, commissioned a study conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces to identify the happiest U.S. cities to travel to during the winter months. The destinations were judged according to annual number of sunny days, average winter temperatures, number of restaurants, number of cultural institutions, number of bars, lounges and nightclubs, and number of ice cream shops. Rankings from the study, as selected by Sperling's BestPlaces, are as follows:
Happiest cities to visit in the U.S.
1. Tucson, Ariz. - With 286 annual sunny days, 39 golf courses and above average temperatures, Tucson stands out as the top U.S. winter destination.
2. St. Petersburg, Fla. - Fort De Soto Park, home of "America's Top Beach" for its seven miles of waterfront, is just a short drive away from this winter hotspot.
3. Charleston, S.C. - Its blend of history, southern charm, and mid-60s winter temperatures makes Charleston an ideal place to get your hospitality fix.
4. Napa-Sonoma, Calif. - As the off-season for Napa and Sonoma, travelers can still enjoy the 452 wineries, blooming mustard fields and temperate weather in both of these cities.
5. Seattle - Forget the rain. Seattle provides the highest concentration of coffee shops in the U.S. (612), 26 major museums, and offers some of the best music and food in the country. Just remember an umbrella.
6. Los Angeles - With its warm, sunny weather (284 days a year), there's a reason this cultural empire includes nearly 200 ice cream shops where vacationers can cool down. Possible celebrity sightings don't hurt either.
7. Palm Springs, Calif. - Hollywood's former playground has plenty of luxurious desert architecture tours to keep vacationers active when they aren't relaxing at the spa.
8. Washington, D.C. - Fewer crowds visit America's capital in the winter, giving vacationers little waiting time between the 23 national monuments and dozens of restaurant stops.
9. Las Vegas - The winner for most sunny days (294), Las Vegas' weather is more comfortable in the winter and the city's 120-plus casinos and countless shows keep visitors both entertained and happy.
10. Houston - For a southwestern destination with good drinks and good eats, look to Houston and its more than 2,100 bars, 5,123 restaurants - and for an added "kick" - 12 custom boot makers.
"Research shows that the anticipation and savoring that comes from an upcoming vacation often increases a person's level of happiness," says Coget. "In fact, spending money on other people and experiences, versus material objects, boosts personal contentment - and travel is a great time to do that."
Providing travelers with extra incentive to book a trip now, Hilton HHonors is offering its "More Points" promotion, which gives members a chance to earn 1,000 Bonus Points per night plus an additional 5,000 Bonus Points for every two-night weekend stay at participating properties. For more information, visit www.HHonors.com/MorePoints