As a travel nurse, you can change locations with the seasons—a summer in San Diego can easily transition to a fall in Connecticut for a few festive months of apple-picking, leaf-gazing, and fireside chatting.
Come winter, those who love snowfall can head to the slopes, while those in need of warmer climates can flock south for year-long sun. To help you find a winter wonderland that suits your lifestyle and career goals in travel nursing, we’re exploring six unique destinations that highlight the best locations for travel nurses in the winter.
Best Locations For Travel Nurses Who Want to Escape the Winter Season
In the United States, the winter season is typically associated with snow-dusted pine trees, cozy firesides, and an abundance of wool sweaters.
That said, not everyone enjoys the cold.
If you’re looking to escape the blistering winds and freezing temperatures of wintertime, there are plenty of destinations that’ll keep you warm and toasty until summer.
Consider the Sunshine state if you have golden beaches, margaritas, and warm winter sunsets on your mind. During the winter months, temperatures average between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the state. 1Plus, it’s the only state with coastlines on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, which means you’re never more than 60 miles away from the ocean.2
But Florida isn’t just beaches. It’s also famous for world-renowned theme parks for people of all ages, such as:
- Disney World
- Busch Gardens
If you’re heading south for the winter months, Florida also has over 200 miles of hiking, bicycling, equestrian and shared-use trails and over 4,000 miles of paddling trails where you can kayak and paddleboard.p2
That said, Florida is one of the top employers of nurses in the country not only owing to the beautiful weather and attractions, but also the number of top tier hospitals and healthcare facilities.P3 If you are interested in exploring travel nursing jobs in Florida, say no more.
Aloha! With its white sandy beaches, clear blue water, miles of hiking trails and volcanoes, Hawaii is a dream destination. Especially when the average daytime winter temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s plenty of activities to fill your free time:
- Snorkel with sea turtles or swim with stingrays if you are feeling adventurous
- Spend the day hiking and exploring glistening waterfalls hidden all throughout
- Soak up the sun on the most beautiful beaches
- Explore the historic site of Pearl Harbor
- Admire the pristine coastline from a birds-eye view on a once-in-a-lifetime parasailing adventure
Whether it’s surfing or snorkeling, visiting national parks and museums, or playing a round of golf at one of the island’s majestic courses, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on these Hawaiian islands.
Best Locations For Travel Nurses Who Want The Best Of Both Worlds
For those looking for warm temperatures with a hint of wintertime flair, we’d like to introduce you to two locations that strike the perfect balance.
Arizona may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of sandy shores bordering lakes, rivers, and swimming holes. And while those living in Phoenix may still wear t-shirts and shorts during the winter, those up north are decked in turtle necks and beanies.
Arizonans flock to Flagstaff, Arizona, to visit the Arizona Snowbowl, which receives 260 inches of snow on average. It’s known for its:4
- Powdered mountains
- Passenger gondolas
- 37 kilometers of slopes
In that incredible desert landscape are the iconic saguaro cactuses, which can grow between 40-60 feet tall.5
Not to mention, Arizona is known for Grand Canyon National Park, which happens to be one of the seven natural wonders in the world.
According to the American Hospital Directory, there are over 124 healthcare facilities in the Grand Canyon State, making it an ideal location for nursing year-round.6
California has some of the most spectacular coastlines in the country. Not to mention, a handful of iconic state and national parks in America, including the famed Yosemite National Park, fall within the bounds of California state lines. Plus, if you are into both, you can go snowboarding in the morning and hit the surf in the evening, all within a few hours’ drive. With so many benefits of travel nursing in California, what more could you ask for?
No matter where you’re located, you’re bound to find a festive wintertime activity, too:
- Visit the Parade of Lights in San Diego
- Ice skate under the stars in Santa Monica
- Observe Chinese New Year in San Francisco
California is also noted as the top state for nurses, based on salary, employment benefits, cost of living, and diversity in the workforce.7 If California has caught your eye, be sure to check out our assortment of travel guides for information about living in San Diego vs living in San Francisco as a travel nurse.
Best Locations For Travel Nurses Who Want to Embrace the Winter Season
Perhaps you want some winter-wonderland-fueled adrenaline. If that’s the case, we’ve lined up a few snow-capped destinations, too.
On average, Colorado sees about 67.30 inches of snow a year, and there are over 26 ski resorts nestled within the Rocky Mountains, including Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge.8 There are plenty of winter festivities to enjoy, too, including:
- Vail Snow Days – Vail welcomes skiers and snowboard enthusiasts to commence the winter season with free concerts and street fairs.
- Winter Carnival – Every year, Steamboat Springs hosts ski-jumping competitions, dog-sled races, and firework shows.
- Denver Christkindlmarket – During the Christmas season, Denver sets up a village of wooden huts where merchants display their wares, while onlookers sip on Bavarian beer and hot coffee. If this snowy city intrigues you, make sure to check out our guide to learn what living in Denver as a traveler could be like.
Looking for a place that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors? Colorado is a paradise for all outdoor winter activities involving snow and ice. Plus, it has the largest natural hot springs swimming pool and the deepest natural hot springs in the world to keep yourself warm all season long.9 If you’re looking for a winter wonderland experience, you may consider a travel nurse job in Alaska.
In terms of nursing, Colorado’s ranks as one of the top states for nursing professionals.7
#6 New York City
NYC is an experience any time of the year, but during the holidays it’s magic––think of the Rockettes, Rockefeller Center, window-shopping along Fifth Avenue, or ice-skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park. Even after the holidays have passed, there’s plenty to see and do in the Big Apple, including:
- Winter Lantern Festival
- Winter Jazzfest
- Winter Market
Despite its freezing temperatures, New York provides plenty of cozy venues to stay warm. Stroll along gallery walls at the Museum of Modern Art, check out a live jazz show in Bushwick, or cozy up at the theater to experience the best Broadway and Off-Broadway performances.
With a projected increase of 17,000 nursing jobs each year, New York is an exceptional destination for nurses looking for job and entertainment opportunities alike.10 If you are interested in exploring a variety of travel nursing jobs in New York, look no further than Host Healthcare to help connect you to your next opportunity.
Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding on a Location
It’s easy to get swept away when reading about potential assignments. But there are many factors to consider before choosing a location, most of which pertain to the day-to-day realities of being a travel nurse.
Before you make a decision, ask yourself the following questions:
- How will you get to and from work? – Winter roads can become slick and dangerous during the winter months. If you plan to move to a snowy state, research public transportation options and determine a safe route to your workplace.
- What is there to do after the workday and on days off? – Aside from the day-to-day responsibilities of a travel nurse, ensure you have plenty of options to explore and learn about the lifestyle and culture of the new location you have been assigned to. Start by finding a location that appeals to your work goals and lifestyle.
- How will the weather factor in? – If you’re traveling to a warm location, pack plenty of weather-appropriate clothing, including long sleeves and loose pants to keep you comfortable during your stay. On the contrary, colder locations necessitate layers. Pack your heaviest coats and fluffiest socks to enjoy the area’s winter festivities to the fullest.
Embrace The Winter Season With Host Healthcare
Whether you plan to soak up the sun along the Florida coast or experience winter magic in Colorado, Host Healthcare is here to help travel nurses find their dream location and position.
Your winter plans are only a few clicks away. Apply to join Host Healthcare today.
Cindy Cook, BSN, RN, CCRN
Nursing Specialty: Emergency, Cardiac, Pre-op, PACU
I have been working in the medical field for 22 years. I started as a back office, medical assistent in orthopaedics, which made me realize my calling was to help patients, and inspired me to go to nursing school. As a nurse I have worked in oncology, cardiac, emergency, and I am now currently working in Pre-op and PACU.
- The National Climatic Data Center. Climate of Florida. http://www.orange.wateratlas.usf.edu/upload/documents/climateofflorida.pdf
- Visit Florida. Interesting Facts about Florida. https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-facts/
- Nurse. Complete Guide to Nursing in Florida. https://nurse.org/resources/nursing-career-florida/
- Ski Resort. Arizona Snowbowl. https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resort/arizona-snowbowl/
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Plant Fact Sheet: Saguaro Cactus. https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Saguaro%20Cactus.php
- American Hospital Directory. Individual Hospital Statistics for Arizona. https://www.ahd.com/states/hospital_AZ.html
- Nurse Journal. The Best States to Work as a Nurse. https://nursejournal.org/articles/best-states-to-work-as-a-nurse/
- World Population Review. Average Snowfall by State 2022. https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/average-snowfall-by-state
- Uncover Colorado. Learn Some Fun Facts About Colorado. https://www.uncovercolorado.com/fun-facts-about-colorado/
- Nursing Process. 30 Best States for Nurses in 2022. https://www.nursingprocess.org/best-states-nurses.html
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm