Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   Arizona in winter (

Dot2 Oct 20th, 2016 02:05 PM

Arizona in winter
My husband and I would like to escape the cold of the northeast this winter. We've been to FL too many times and were thinking of a place out west. I've heard good things about Sedona and Scottsdale. Would the weather be nice, say 70's? Also if we had a week could be also add in Bryce Canyon and Zion? Any suggestions?

janisj Oct 20th, 2016 02:22 PM

Scotsdale and Sedona would be entirely different. Sedona would be quite a bit colder and snow is possible. Phoenix/Scottsdale would be warmer.

Bryce is very high elevation and would definitely have snow.

Zion is a mile lower and while it snows, it normally doesn't last.

fmpden Oct 20th, 2016 02:39 PM

The big drawback to Scottsdale is that it is in the middle of Phoenix. I would head further south - Tucson.

janisj Oct 20th, 2016 02:42 PM

>>I would head further south - Tucson.<<

Me too . . .

Jean Oct 20th, 2016 02:55 PM

You can check weather records, but I don't think you'd get temps in the 70s in any of these cities in January/February. Temps after sunset would drop to the 40s or even 30s.

Palm Springs would be a bit warmer during the day, but overnight temps would still drop to the 40s. San Diego could have some days in the 70s, and overnight temps would drop to only the 50s.

Jean Oct 20th, 2016 02:57 PM

If you really want warm weather, consider Cabo San Lucas.

happytrailstoyou Oct 20th, 2016 06:53 PM

In Arizona, we also like Tuscon and SE Arizona in the winter. You will find a lot to do and explore if you get a good guide book.


historytraveler Oct 20th, 2016 09:01 PM

We lived in Tucson for several years and agree it's a better option than Scottsdale/Phoenix. Temperatures, of course, will and can vary from norm but, generally, it should be mid/ upper 60's, low 70's. It will cool down at night but quickly warm up. There's a lot to do in the Tucson area and plenty of good restaurants, museums, art galleries etc. We enjoyed our time there and only moved back to Colorado when the grandchildren started arriving.

RVvagabond Oct 21st, 2016 12:41 AM

Jean recommended Cabo San Lucas
Very warm and touristy

Another suggestion:
Puerto Penasco in the state of Sonora, Mexico southwest of Tuscon.


MikePinTucson Oct 21st, 2016 08:56 AM

For more info on Tucson / Southern Arizona, including things to see and do, check my blog (slightly out of date, but pretty comprehensive).

tomfuller Oct 21st, 2016 12:04 PM

My most recent trip to Arizona (Feb 2015) involved taking the Sunset Limited overnight from Los Angeles to Tucson and then renting a car to go back to Yuma.
There is an annual event for several hundred geocachers along the bank of the Colorado River in Yuma.
I haven't decided if I am going again in February.

mlgb Oct 22nd, 2016 11:45 AM

Any desert (including PS) in winter the tempsOvernight dropinto freezing or near freezing, daytime can range from chilly to frosty especially before about 10 am to pleasant. The coast is warmer. What about San Diego?

historytraveler Oct 22nd, 2016 03:16 PM

Having lived in Tucson I don't ever remember temperatures dropping below freezing. It might happen, but it's rare, and it certainly warms up quickly. Never wore much more than a light weight fleece or sweater for early morning runs and bike rides. We frequently swam late mornings.

In regard to San Diego, having made numerous trips there, we have often thought that temperatures during late fall and winter were almost warm enough. ;) Actually, being on the coast it will be cooler both summer and winter. It's that thing about being near water.

mlgb Oct 22nd, 2016 04:22 PM

Actually, being near the coast your extreme temps are moderated at both hte low and high end by the Pacific.

A dry climate with no cloud cover or humiditycools off very rapidly at night. Water cover acts like a blanket to trap radiated heat. Where there are no clouds in the desert at night it can very easily drop below freezing even after a warm day.

If you don't ever remember freeze warnings in tucson you might have a go at Google

MmePerdu Oct 22nd, 2016 05:19 PM

Inland, think elevation = temperature. The higher you go, the cooler it is.

Scottsdale - 1200'
Tucson - 2550'
Sedona - 4300'
Flagstaff - 6900'

Then check here for monthly averages:

Having lived near Tucson for 25 years, it wouldn't be my first choice for a reliably warm winter vacation.

historytraveler Oct 22nd, 2016 06:40 PM

I'm not posting to argue science or the reliability of winter temperatures. I do offer advice and opinions gathered from experience. If winter temperatures lack credibility in being reasonably pleasant, then why do so many head there during the winter months ?

Perhaps the OP would be better served by actually researching average winter temperatures in various places. If looking for some place within the U.S. borders, Arizona and Florida seem to be obvious choices, even inland Southern California would work or southern New Mexico, although I can't think of any place I'd stay ( southern New Mexico ) for more than a few days.

MmePerdu Oct 22nd, 2016 06:49 PM

"...why do so many head there during the winter months ?"

I've wondered that myself. Maybe for the same reason I saw snowbirds in shorts while I was wearing fleece. Anyplace over freezing feels warmer than where they came from.

"Perhaps the OP would be better served by actually researching average winter temperatures in various places."

Which is why I provided a link to do just that, just above your post.

"...even inland Southern California would work or southern New Mexico..."

I agree that the Southern California desert (Palm Springs, etc.) would be a better choice than either southern AZ or NM. Or even coastal Southern CA.

MmePerdu Oct 22nd, 2016 06:51 PM

"Or even coastal Southern CA."

Ambiguous. I meant Coastal So. CA would be better, IME, than So. AZ or So. NM.

mlgb Oct 22nd, 2016 10:11 PM

Yes do have a look at the weather links also. Although look at average miniums. or "number of days below freezing"

Golfers and gardeners tend to be well aware of frost warnings.I've experienced enough frozen water on north facing patios and frost delays) to know that it also happens around Palm Springs and even inland in southern California..although almost never near the coast.

"During the winter months, it is not uncommon for golf courses in and around Tucson to experience below freezing temperatures, forcing golf operations staff to declare a frost delay. This is done to protect the course from certain damage if players and carts were to venture onto the fairways and greens."

MikePinTucson Oct 23rd, 2016 08:52 AM

Here is a link to National Weather Service historical data on Tucson's temperatures. clicking on links under "normals", "extremes" and "expandd" will give you a good idea of what to expect and what to be prepared to experience.

I have lived here for 50 years and it does, indeed, go below freezing frequently during the Winter. Within the last few years, we have had nighttime temperatures in the teens. There have also been some Winters where we only had a handful of nights below freezing. And, yes, it does warm up rapidly during the day.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:02 AM.