Best Winter Half Marathons in the U.S.

Fun Destinations to Run 13.1 Miles

Winter is the perfect season for a destination race, especially if you live in a cold climate and are looking for an excuse to escape to a warm location. If you’d like to run a half marathon race this winter, you’ve got lots of excellent options, from beautiful, beachfront courses to exciting, metropolitan races. Check out this list of unique and exciting places to run or walk 13.1 miles.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Disney World Half Marathon
Disney World Half Marathon.

When: January 7, 2017
Where: Orlando, Florida
Why do it:  The Walt Disney World Half Marathon is a must-do for Disney fans, but its flat, fast course is also loved by first-time half marathoners as well as experienced runners looking to run a fast time. The race starts at Disney's Epcot theme park with a fireworks display (it's early and dark when the race starts) and then takes you through the Magic Kingdom theme park, and then back to Epcot for an exciting finish. Many runners like doing the Disney half marathon over the full marathon because they're not too tired or sore to visit the theme parks after the race.

Mississippi Blues Half Marathon

Where:  Jackson, Miss.
When:  January 7, 2017
Why do it:  With live music before, during, and after the race, theMississippi Blues Half Marathon proves to be a fun, one-of-a-kind racing experience. The course takes runners along the Mississippi Blues Trail as well as popular blues venues and the state's original capitol. Each finisher takes home a hefty swag bag, including a harmonica and a blinged-out music-themed finisher's medal. The post-race celebration includes more live music, plenty of food, massages, and even a bar "Blues Crawl" for those who really want to celebrate.

Houston Half Marathon

Where: Houston, Texas
When:  January 15, 2017
Why do it:  If you're looking for an exciting, big city race in the middle of the winter, the Houston Half Marathon is an excellent option. The "fast, flat, and friendly” course winds from downtown Houston to Montrose, past Rice University and Memorial Field, and eventually finishes back in Houston for lots of food and beer at a fun post-race celebration.

Star Wars Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort

Where: Anaheim, California
When: January 15, 2017
Why do it:  Star Wars fans, get ready for a 13.1-mile intergalactic adventure in the most magical place on Earth. The Star Wars Half Marathon course takes participants through Disney's California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, and then onto the streets of Anaheim.

Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

Where: Phoenix, Ariz.
When: January 15, 2017
Why do it: If music helps keep you motivated and pumped during your races, then the Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon may be an excellent option for you. The flat and fast course provides epic views of the valley of the sun, including Papago Park and Tempe town lake. Participants will enjoy live bands, cheer teams, spirited water stations and plenty of other entertainment along the course.

Miami Half Marathon

Where: Miami, Fla.
When: Jan. 29, 2017
Why do it:  The Miami Half Marathon is a favorite for runners thanks to its fast course that features dramatic, scenic views of beautiful South Florida. Once you're finished, you can enjoy all that Miami has to offer, from its incredible beaches to its exciting nightlife.

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon

Where: San Francisco, Calif.
When:  February 5, 2017
Why do it:  Once named "Road Race of the Year" by the Road Runners Club of America, the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon features stunning views of San Francisco's natural beauty. And although you might be worried about San Francisco's famous hills, the course actually features lots of downhills, with an overall net elevation loss. You can celebrate crossing the finish line at a fun post-race party, complete with massages and other goodies.

Hilton Head Island Half Marathon

Where: Hilton Head Island, S.C.
When:  February 11, 2017
Why do it: The Hilton Head Island Half Marathon is a beautiful, scenic, mostly flat course that takes runners through two parks and over the Broad Creek. Participants can relax and savor their half marathon finish on Hilton Head's famous beautiful beaches.  

Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

Where: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
When: February 19, 2017
Why do it: If you'd love to do a winter half marathon in Florida, but don't want a big, crowed race like Miami or Disney, the Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon is a great option with spectacular, unobstructed ocean views and a smaller race field. After you're done racing this flat and fast course, you can enjoy a fun post-race beach party with food, beer and live music. In addition to a marathon and half marathon, race organizers also offer a 6K breast cancer awareness run, a 5K race, and kids’ fun run, making it easy to convince your friends and family to join you for race weekend.

Gasparilla Half Marathon

Where: Tampa, Florida
When:  February 26, 2017
Why do it:  The Gasparilla Half Marathon is the longest race in the Gasparilla Distance Classic, a two-day event featuring four races: a 15K and 5K on Saturday and a half marathon and 8K on Sunday. Participants who do all four races earn an extra-large medal and a finisher's jacket, along with medals from all four races. The half marathon's flat course starts with a loop around the residential Davis Islands, and then runs along Bayshore Boulevard next to the open waters of Tampa Bay.