Texas in January

Although local Texans will say that January is cold, many visitors from northern states find it a pleasant month. Regardless, it is essential to dress appropriately for the weather, which can range from mild and pleasant to cold and icy.

After reading our article, you’ll know what to wear, where to expect crowds, and what to do in Texas during the first month of the year.

Written by a Local: The writer of this article is a Texan resident and knows that January is a surprisingly great month to visit the Lone Star State, particularly in West and South Texas where the weather is mild. Check out our Texas in February guide as well.

Before you visit in January, we highly suggest ordering this book: Texas Bucket List Adventure Guide (via Amazon) with 100 offbeat must-visit destinations in Texas (get the paperback edition!).

Texas Weather Overview | Activities

For Texans, January is the coldest month, but “cold” is a subjective concept.

January daytime high temperatures in Texas range from 45°F to 65°F  (7-18°C) degrees throughout the state. The coldest region is in the north (Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park), with highs ranging between 45°F and 50°F (7-10°C), while San Antonio offers mild averages of 64°F (18°C).

The weather can vary in January. Delightfully mild and warm days can occur between cold fronts, particularly in South Texas. Humidity is also higher in South Texas, which is near the Gulf Coast.

Snowfall is unsurprisingly rare statewide, but the occasional ice storm or freezing rain may occur. So, it’s important to pack waterproof layers, but you won’t need thick winter clothing.

Crowds and Activities: If you choose to travel to Texas in January, you’ll see minimal crowds. As a result, it’s a fantastic time for visiting popular sites. Take advantage of the calm month to go for a walk on the beach, go fishing, kayak a river, see a rodeo, or participate in one of the events that take place in January.

East and Central Texas | San Antonio, Austin, Hill Country, Houston, Dallas

Weather in East and Central Texas

The average high temperature during January in most regions of East and Central Texas hovers around 60°F degrees. Dallas, in particular, has the lowest temperatures with an average high of 58°F degrees and lows around 38°F degrees. Most cities have 60% to 75% humidity.

Although January is a drier month, some cities such as Houston still receive up to two inches of rain.

January average high temperatures:

  • San Antonio: 64°F
  • Austin: 61°F
  • Houston: 64°F
  • Dallas: 58°F
What to Wear in East and Central Texas

Always bring layers for a winter day here in January. These layers should include everything from a t-shirt to a warm jacket. Layering is the only way to prepare for the temperature and weather differences.

Good to know: In one day, you may experience an icy morning, warm and sunny midday, stormy afternoon, and mild, dry evening. Dress for anything and everything. Bringing waterproof clothing as a backup is wise.

Where to Stay in East and Central Texas

Choose the best hotels in January with a low price guarantee. Make sure to check if the hotel is not located too far away from the sights you want to visit.

Hotels in January with a price-match guarantee on booking.com:

  • San Antonio: Hotels near SEA Life Aquarium and Legoland
  • Austin: Many great deals in downtown Austin
  • Houston: Hotels near NASA Space Center
  • Dallas: We recommend a hotel near JFK Memorial Plaza
Best Time to Visit East and Central Texas

The entire month of January is the best time to visit these cities if you prepare for the variable winter weather. Certain popular attractions like the San Antonio River Walk will be affordable and less-visited, so this is a good time to avoid the crowds and save money on accommodation.

Things to Do in East and Central Texas


January is a good month for sports, history, and belated holiday celebrations in East and Central Texas. The Houston Zoo (Visiting Guide) is also worth a visit in January.

Watch a Game | Houston, Dallas, and others: Texas loves sports, particularly American football, so watch a Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans game in a stadium built for 80,000 fans. Or catch the game at a sports bar as you’ll find Cowboys and Texans fans statewide.

Cheer the MLK Grande Parade | Houston: Celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Houston by viewing the decades-old MLK Grande Parade, then cheering on school marching bands at the Battle of the Bands.

See Holiday Lights on the River Walk | San Antonio: If you’re feeling nostalgic about the December holidays, take a boat tour under the over-10,000 holiday lights hanging elegantly over the San Antonio Riverwalk. These holiday lights remain on until mid-January.

Tour the Texas Hill Country and LBJ Ranch | San Antonio and Austin: Book a full-day tour across the Texas Hill Country, with pickups from San Antonio or Austin hotels. Visit President Lyndon B. Johnson’s former home, explore Fredericksburg, stop at Luckenbach, and end your day at a Texas winery.

Experience the JFK Assassination and Sixth Floor Museum Tour | Dallas: If you’re in Dallas during January, enjoy this essential historical guided tour at the site of the tragic assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

West Texas | El Paso, Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Weather in West Texas

January in the Texas desert is chilly, often averaging 45°F degrees. Mornings and evenings are cold and dry, with clear skies. The desert will have approximately 50% humidity, among the lowest in the state. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the coldest park with a typical low temperature of 17°F degrees. El Paso is a warmer city with an average low temperature of 32°F degrees.

January average high temperatures:

  • El Paso: 59°F
  • Big Bend National Park: 72°F
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park: 68°F
What to Wear in West Texas

Winter visitors should plan for any weather condition in the desert, as temperatures range from below freezing to sometimes 70°F degrees. Expect anything from a pleasant, sunny day to cold, dry temperatures. Bring layers for the day like long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and warm jackets. At night, double your warm layers with wool scarves, hats, and gloves. Especially on clear days, the temperature difference can be as much as a 50°F degree difference between night and day.

Snow in Big Bend National Park? If you’re planning to visit the popular Big Bend National Park, don’t worry about harsh winter conditions. Snow is rare in the area. However, it occasionally happens in the Chisos Mountains, if at all.

Where to Stay in West Texas

Choose the best hotels in West Texas with a low price guarantee. Please check if the hotel is not located too far away from the main sights you want to visit.

Hotels with a price-match guarantee on booking.com:

Best Time to Visit West Texas

The entire month of January is ideal to visit West Texas if you prepare for the cooler desert temperatures and variable weather. However, traveling to this region during this month can be more expensive. For instance, lodging near popular places like Big Bend National Park is expensive in January.

Things to Do in West Texas
Big Bend National Park Nightsky

In the stunning nature of the West Texas desert, January is a good month for crowd-free hiking, hot springs, and brisk, starry nights.

Visit Big Bend National Park: January can be an optimal time to visit Big Bend National Park, as it won’t be as crowded as it is later in spring. Only Chisos Mountains Lodge and the Visitor Center have full or nearly full parking lots. However, if you’re hiking a shorter, popular trail, it’s better to start before 9:00 a.m.

Good to know: Since Big Bend is popular in the winter and spring, book your accommodation early. Otherwise, you run the risk of sold-out hotels and lodges as well as higher rates. One of the best places to stay is in Terlingua (a 12-minute drive): Terlingua Hotels and Lodges (via booking.com). If you’re prepared to camp in the cold, you can also expand your options by staying at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Hike West Texas Peaks | El Paso region: This region is the hiking capital of Texas for good reason, and January is an excellent month to find out why. Hike to Guadalupe Peak, the “Top of Texas,” in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. As this is the tallest point of Texas, you’ll have bragging rights for years. With warm sunshine and clear days, even the cool winter air won’t lessen your excitement when you reach the peak. You can also participate in El Paso’s First Day Hike up the Franklin Mountains on January 1.

Star Party at McDonald Observatory | Fort Davis: January is an ideal time to attend a “sky party” every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis State Park. Even though the skies should be clear and bright, remember to prepare for a potential temperature low of 28°F degrees. If you’ve prepared a hot drink and some blankets, you’ll have a unique winter experience. The star party costs $25 per adult.

Soak in the Hot Springs | Big Bend National Park: If these high-altitude adventures sound too challenging or you simply want to warm up, the Big Bend region has some hot springs. Sit on the riverbank of the Rio Grande and soak in the historic hot springs of Big Bend National Park as the cool water rushes past you in the distance. If you’re not in the park, visit other hot springs in the area, like Chinati and Capote Hot Springs.

South Texas | Galveston, Corpus Christi, South Padre Island

Weather in South Texas

The coastal region of South Texas is comfortable, with an average high temperature of around 70°F degrees. You won’t experience much rain here, but the coastal humidity is damp, typically upper 70%. Galveston will receive the most rain in this region, but you’ll enjoy mild, dry weather further south along the Gulf Coast.

January average high temperatures:

  • Galveston: 62°F
  • Corpus Christi: 68°F
  • South Padre Island: 72°F
What to Wear in South Texas

January in South Texas means a mild winter, so wear light clothing such as t-shirts. At the most, you may wear long-sleeved shirts or even a light jacket, but you’re just as likely to wear a swimsuit and shorts. You should bring waterproof clothing for cities near Galveston, which gets up to 1.5 inches of rain this month.

Where to Stay in East and Central Texas

Choose the best hotels with a low price guarantee. Make sure to check if the hotel is not located too far away from the sights you want to visit.

Hotels with a price-match guarantee on booking.com:

  • Galveston: Some hotels are only a few feet from the Gulf of Mexico!
  • Corpus Christi: The Emerald Beach Hote has direct access to Emerald Cove!
  • South Padre Island: Our favorite hotel is the La Quinta. A beautiful beachfront hotel
Best Time to Visit South Texas

Enjoy the entire month in South Texas, as there are few to any crowds. On a good day, the ocean will be all yours to enjoy, whether you’re going fishing or spending a day on the beach. South Padre Island in particular offers the most pleasant temperatures in January.

Things to Do in South Texas

January is a great month to enjoy the mild weather at the South Texas beaches, and water activities such as paddling.

Hike a Texas State Park: If your New Year’s Resolution is to start working out, start on January 1 by joining a First Day Hike in any of the 80 Texas State Parks, such as the popular Goose Island State Park in South Texas, where you can take an easy 1.1-mile stroll.

Take a Polar Bear Plunge | Corpus Christi: On New Year’s Day, start the year off with a swim during the annual Polar Bear Plunge. The name is misleading as the water is anything but “polar” at a cool but tolerable 63°F degrees.

See Sand Castles | South Padre Island: The free, annual Holiday Sandcastle Village is held through mid-January, so visit the sandcastles before riding the Ferris Wheel at the local pier.

Kayak the Mustang Island Paddling Trail | Corpus Christi: Located within the Mustang Island State Park is a paddler’s paradise with three water trails for anyone who kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddles. Enjoy the North Trail (8.5 miles), Shamrock Loop Trail (5 miles), or Ashum Trail (6.8 miles). There are no gear rental shops in this park, so you’ll have to bring your boat or rent outside the park.

Save the 3 Best Activities