Top 12 Winter Marathons in the U.S.

Winter can be an excellent time for a destination marathon because it gives marathon runners in cold climates a chance to escape the tough winter weather and turn a marathon into a vacation. If you're looking for a fun and memorable winter marathon, check out these top ones in the U.S.

1

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon finish line
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

When: Varies

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

Why do it: The Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon promises all the fun and excitement of Vegas without the risk. The racecourse features live bands, cheerleaders, and ​themed water stations to entertain participants in true Las Vegas style. The race starts at night, so runners run under the neon lights on the strip. Expect over 25,000 other racers.

2

Honolulu Marathon

Honolulu Marathon finish line

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When: December

Where: Honolulu, Hawaii

Why do it: Say "Aloha!" to the Honolulu Marathon if you want to sightsee on the go. You'll forget all about the winter blues as you run through the streets of Honolulu, along with the breathtaking coastline and around the base of Diamond Head (an extinct volcano). The finish line is in Waikiki, one of Hawaii's most famous surfing spots. And for those marathoners who want an authentic pre-race Hawaiian welcome, there is a concert/luau with an all-you-can-eat dinner the Friday before the race.

3

Walt Disney World Marathon

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon start line
Handout / Getty Images

When: January

Where: Orlando, Florida

Why do it: If you're a Disney fan or just looking for a unique marathon experience, the Walt Disney World Marathon is a must. The race kicks off with a pre-dawn fireworks display. It takes you through all four Walt Disney World theme parks starting at Epcot, continuing to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, and then back to Epcot for a thrilling finish. The flat course is very beginner-friendly, and the Mickey Mouse-shaped medal makes running 26.2 miles well worth the effort.

4

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon

Marathon runners in Arizona

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When: January (may vary)

Where: Phoenix, Arizona

Why do it: If music helps keep you motivated and focused during your runs, check out the Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Whatever your musical tastes, you're sure to love one of the many live bands performing along the entire course. Camelback Mountain, one of Phoenix's signature landmarks, will serve as a picturesque backdrop throughout a portion of the course. And, don't worry, you won't feel like you've been "deserted" once you cross the finish line—you'll be greeted by even more live music, refreshments, and ice-cold beer.

5

Miami Marathon

Finish line for the Miami marathon
John Parra / Getty Images

When: January

Where: Miami, Florida

Why do it: If you're looking for a high-energy marathon with beautiful views of South Florida, then the Miami Marathon may be a good option. As you run through paradise, 20 Miami-style entertainment stations will keep your morale high. The course is relatively flat and weaves through downtown, over bridges, and along the Biscayne Bay and Atlantic Ocean's turquoise waters. Keep your eyes peeled—some places along the marathon route may look familiar to you because many movies and TV shows have been filmed there.

6

New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

runners' legs

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When: March

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Why do it: With daytime temps of often in the 60s or 70s, the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon boasts ideal weather for runners. Like other Rock 'n' Roll races, the racecourse will feature bands at every mile along the course, playing original and cover songs to energize the runners. New Orleans runners will be treated to a post-race concert after the event.

7

A1A Marathon

Runners on road

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When: February

Where: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Why do it: If you live in a cold climate, the A1A Marathon is the perfect excuse to travel to sunny Fort Lauderdale in February. You'll feel the ocean breezes and see the palm trees as you run along with one of the most famous roads in America. The race features plenty of on-course entertainment, a beach-themed finisher medal, and a post-race beach party with food, beverages, beer, and live music. A1A is an excellent choice if you're looking for a flat and fast course.

8

Austin Marathon

Runners during the Austin marathon
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When: February

Where: Austin, Texas

Why do it: The Austin Marathon runs through some of Austin's most scenic and historic areas, including Lady Bird Lake, the Hyde Park neighborhood, Congress Avenue, the University of Texas campus, and the State Capitol complex. With many Austin bands to keep you motivated and 27 water and energy/hydration stops, the Austin Marathon racecourse is one of the best-supported routes in America.

9

Napa Valley Marathon

Napa Valley Marathon runners smiling for camera
Napa Valley Marathon

When: March

Where: Napa, California

Why run it: The Napa Valley Marathon boasts one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The course runs the length of the famed Napa Valley wine-growing region. It begins in Calistoga, famous for its geysers and curative waters, and winds south along the historic Silverado Trail to finish in north Napa. Runners are treated to panoramic views of the valley, flowering fruit trees, and vineyards. Except for the last half-mile, the entire course is rural. If you're looking for a low-key, well-organized, rural marathon, put this one on your list.

10

LA Marathon

Runners in the Los Angeles Marathon
stellalevi / Getty Images

When: March

Where: Los Angeles, California

Why do it:  With more than 25,000 runners, the LA marathon is a big city marathon but still manages to maintain a small town, community feel with tons of support along the way. The “Stadium to the Stars” course starts at Dodger Stadium and finishes at Avenue of the Stars in Century City, taking runners on a tour of Los Angeles past many major landmarks. The race has been named “Best Big City Race” by Runner’s World.

11

Publix Atlanta Marathon

Runners in marathon
Sally Brown / Getty Images

When: February

Where: Atlanta, Georgia

Why do it: The Publix Atlanta Marathon is a true showcase of historic Atlanta, beautiful Decatur, and all of the neighborhoods in between. Highlights along the course include the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., historic houses, eclectic Little Five Points, tours of four college campuses, Piedmont Park, and much more. After you cross the finish line and receive your commemorative medal, the party begins at Centennial Olympic Plaza, where you can enjoy live music while celebrating with your friends, family, and fellow runners.

12

Panama City Beach Marathon

When: December

Where: Panama City, Florida

Why do it: Panama City Beach is one of the top 3 beaches in the United States with 27-miles of beaches. The Panama City Beach Marathon takes you along the coastline for scenic views and beautiful surroundings. You'll feel like you're on vacation as you join thousands of residents and visitors alike on this race. Each year, the marathon donates proceeds to a non-profit.

A Word From Verywell

Escaping to a scenic warm-weather winter marathon is an excellent way to participate in a race while enjoying a vacation. Working toward a marathon in the sun during the winter might be just the motivation you need to stick to your training. Consider one of these 12 winter marathons for your next race.

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