7 of the Best Cities for Per Diem RN Jobs this Winter

Tucson Arizona in the winter with desert landscapes
Written by
Lori Fuqua
December 4, 2023

Table of Contents

Winter is coming, and plenty of people are planning or wishing for a quick winter vacation. 

However, colder weather does not mean one can’t have fun. We’ve taken the opportunity to create a list that proves exactly that point, a list that showcases cities with high-earning potential for per diem registered nurses (RNs), lots of entertainment opportunities, and the following guiding principles:

  • Not everyone can afford a beach getaway.
  • Workcations in winter are a real phenomenon made easier for RNs with Nursa.
  • Some of the best places to live or visit in the USA might be near you.

Nurse Workcations in Winter Made Easier with Nursa

This winter, consider taking a vacation from your hometown. You don’t have to travel far, and unlike traditional vacation trips, a workcation doesn’t have to be a brutal drain on your bank account. Pick up per diem or PRN RN jobs at healthcare facilities wherever you go and have bank deposits to offset your trip’s costs. 

Working PRN is not the same as travel nursing. There are no lengthy contracts or travel allowances. When you pick up a PRN shift, you’re working as an independent contractor for that shift, which means you decide when and where you want to work. The flexibility of working per diem, combined with the adjustable search filters on Nursa, means you can work PRN shifts in healthcare facilities in the city you want to visit—provided the city is within a state where you have a license to practice. 

Organize your schedule to give you time to hit the hot spots, see the sights, and explore during your downtime while earning high hourly pay rates with PRN shifts between activities. Are any of the seven cities on our list near you? Can you plan a workcation to mix work and entertainment this winter? 

7 of the Best Cities for RN Workcations

The following cities are good places for nurses to plan workcations this winter (in no particular order). Here, we’ll give a quick summary of what you can expect regarding the weather in each city, some fabulous things to do while you’re there, and the mean hourly wage for RNs in the area. 

Note: All RN wage data in this list comes from publicly available information published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Tucson, Arizona

Arizona is a popular retirement destination because of its dry climate, tax-friendly reputation, and mild winters. This popularity means the healthcare industry is hopping; therefore, the demand for RNs is hopping right along as well. As the second-largest city in Arizona, Tucson offers all the amenities of big-city life at a lower cost than Phoenix. 

Weather

Although the city has admittedly sweltering summer temperatures, November through to March are quite lovely in Tucson, with average low temperatures around 40F and highs reaching the mid-seventies.

Winter Things to Do

Explore the delicious dining scene in Tucson. The city is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, so no matter what your entertainment interests or adventurer spirit are, you can be sure your tastebuds and tummy will be satisfied.

For those who enjoy golfing, world-class golf courses abound in Tucson, providing fun challenges amidst the gorgeous backdrop of the Sonoran Desert or the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is about a half hour from the city. If you’re there during a time without snow, you might not be able to hit the slopes, but you can take a scenic ride on the sky drive, which will take you to the mountaintop. Hike the trails down or take the lift back down; it’s your choice.

This area is ripe with protected treasures such as the Catalina State Park, the Coronado National Forest, Sabino Canyon, and Saguaro National Park. Horseback riding, museums, festivals, and more offer entertainment for people of all ages and interests.

RN Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the Tucson metropolitan area earned a mean hourly wage of $40.19. Take a peak at currently available per diem RN shifts in Tucson.

2. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is a winter wonderland for those who enjoy mountains and snow.

If you’re one of those people who want snow when it’s cold—because what’s the point of being cold if there’s no snow—then Salt Lake City might hit the sweet spot for you. 

Weather

In the winter months, this city is a wonderland. There’s no denying it’s cold, with average lows dropping to the twenties and average high temperatures reaching the low forties. Nevertheless, with proper clothing and boots for the inevitable snow on the ground, we’re confident you can be warm and find joy in this city.

Winter Things to Do

Salt Lake City is another location with a reputation for and proximity to fantastic ski resorts. Those who hit the slopes to ski or snowboard love using this city as a home base. 

The ice castles of Salt Lake City are a fairytale brought to life every winter. Ice mazes, caverns, slides, and even sleigh rides make this a unique winter experience you’ll want to capture in your memories—and with your phone.

Plan on visiting the thermal hot springs at Homestead Crater, where you can warm your body to your bones with a relaxing soak and even go diving to explore the crater.

January may be the coldest month in this city, but it’s also the time of the Sundance Film Festival. If you’re a movie buff, this event is an excellent opportunity to see the best.

Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area earned a mean hourly wage of $38.16. Check out available PRN RN shifts in Salt Lake City.

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

Anyone who’s been in Las Vegas in the summer can attest that the heat is a brutal oppressor (it’s the desert, after all). Yet when it cools off in the winter months, a whole other side of the city and surrounding area is ripe and ready for adventure and memorable experiences. 

Weather

Las Vegas weather is pretty mild in the winter months. It won’t be flush with wild pool parties from December through February, particularly as the nights often drop to around 40F, but the days may well reach 60F, and as is typical of the desert, they’re sunny more often than not. 

Winter Things to Do

There is actually one place that will have pool parties during the winter in this city, and that’s Stadium Swim, an amphitheater of heated pools and cabanas amidst a backdrop of a 143-foot big screen. 

Around 20 miles west of the city, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an all-you-can-eat buffet of all kinds of outdoor activities. Trails, rock climbing, camping, the scenic drive, or geology—whatever your interest is, this visit is a day (or several) well spent outside the city.

Who thinks of skiing when they travel to Las Vegas? You do, that’s who. Lee Canyon is about an hour’s drive from the city strip, so instead of choosing between skiing and a show, you can do both. Lee Canyon has trails for everyone from beginner to advanced and has a rental shop for boots, skis, and snowboards.

Other big draws for the Vegas area are the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Willow Beach, and Antelope Canyon. Alternatively, for those less interested in outdoor adventures, shopping, shows, restaurants, museums, and—of course—the casinos are all available in this city of bright lights.

Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metropolitan area earned a mean hourly wage of $46.96. Find high-paying PRN RN shifts in Las Vegas.

4. Los Angeles, California

The City of Angels is not the warmest destination on our list, and while winters here are mild, that’s not to say that they’re boring. There’s more to do in Los Angeles than run off for a day of sand and sun.

Weather

Average low temperatures rarely fall below 45F, and the average high temperatures hover in the mid to upper sixties. At the beach, it’s unlikely that you’d do more than dip your toes in the water, but you probably won’t need the same type of winter weather gear as you would in some of the other cities on this list.

Winter Things to Do

Take the tours of the big Hollywood studios and see what’s behind the scenes of your favorite shows and movies.

Jump into the holiday spirit with a trip to see the Christmas Night Market at the 123 Farm, a lavender and olive farm about an hour and a half drive from the city.

Snag a ticket to one of LA’s Candlelight Concerts for a live music performance in a sea of candles.

Don’t forget the amusement parks, which in the summer months are crowded with long lines. Shorter lines in the winter months mean more fun for you.

The Los Angeles Zoo is another popular tourist spot that is even better in winter. Again, the zoo has fewer people in winter, but with the addition of light displays and music, an evening at the zoo may well turn out to be one of your favorite memories.

For those of you wondering about outdoor activities, hiking and walking trails can lead you into the Hollywood Hills, and the Griffith Observatory offers spectacular views.

Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area earned a mean hourly wage of $60.26. Take a look at the PRN RN shifts in Los Angeles available now.

Los Angeles is a great destination for RNs looking for a change of pace and warmer climate in the winter.

5. Portland, Oregon

This city has a reputation for being different, and it does it well all year round. While it’s admittedly a more popular destination in the warmer summer months, Portland also has fun and entertainment throughout the winter.

Weather

With average low temperatures typically remaining above 35F, you’re more likely to see rain than snow in winter. Average high temperatures sit in the forties and begin climbing in February. Make sure your winter coats and boots are waterproof or water-resistant.

Winter Things to Do

Celebrate music and support the artists in January, Portland’s self-proclaimed music month. Over 100 live music acts will take the stage throughout the month, so grab a seat and support an artist.

Light spectacles in winter are often associated with December, but February takes charge of its annual Winter Lights Festival in this city.

That’s not all; Portland’s museums, live theater, and dance companies, ranging from traditional ballet to modern fusions of acrobatics and dance, are sure to keep you entertained indoors on cold rainy days or nights.

Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area earned a mean hourly wage of $53.66. Compare this to the hourly pay rates for PRN RN shifts in Portland.

6. Orange, New Jersey

The City of Orange, in the heart of Essex County, is a small suburb of New York City with a direct train line into the Big Apple, which means access, access, access. The town itself is diverse, with a growing residential population of young people and families.

Weather

This city is another cold one on our list, with winter low average temperatures sometimes dropping below 30F and the average high temperatures sitting in the thirties, occasionally bumping into the forties. However, cloudy skies and cold temperatures don’t mean you can’t have fun.

Winter Things to Do

Take in the local restaurants which offer great food at reasonable prices, and take advantage of the public transportation.

Check out the antique shops and storefronts. While the big city next door is undoubtedly world-famous for shopping, you never know what you might find right on Main Street.

Plan day trips into New York City to catch a show, visit the Met, go ice skating, see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and more. With Orange as your base of operations, you set the limits to your list of entertainment and activities. 

Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area (which includes the City of Orange) earned a mean hourly wage of $50.41. Look at our available PRN RN shifts in Orange.

7. Denver, Colorado

The Mile High City in Colorado may not be known for its mild winters, but it is surprisingly sunny most of the time. This midwest city is high enough for residents to see enchanting mountain views spread out far beyond the urban limits. The elevation also means you’ll want to be extra cautious with your alcohol intake.

Weather

Yes, it does get cold in Denver, but it’s a dry and often sunny cold. The city’s mile-high status means the air is thinner, so the sunshine will feel warmer. Temperatures in winter will see lows dropping below 20F but average highs reaching mid-forties to mid-fifties.

Winter Things to Do

Opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing shouldn’t surprise anyone. Denver is well-known to be near plenty of well-established ski lodges for beginners and experts. 

Breweries abound in Denver. If you’re a beer enthusiast, you likely already know that this city has more breweries than any other city in the US.

Catch a professional sports game while you’re in town. This city has six professional sports teams, so check out who’s playing whenever you’re around.

Denver also has a reputation for arts and entertainment, with several theaters for live performances and productions, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the excellent restaurants, wineries, distilleries, golf courses, and parks.

Mean Hourly Wage

In 2022, registered nurses in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area earned a mean hourly wage of $42.21. Check out the hourly rates on PRN RN shifts in Denver.

Find the Best Per Diem RN Jobs in Workcation Cities

When organizing a workcation, Nursa makes it easy for RNs to pick up per diem jobs wherever they are. Adjust your search filters to find available PRN registered nursing jobs near you. PRN shifts often offer higher than usual hourly pay rates and are an excellent way to pad your pockets when the timing works for you. Find out what type of RN-to-patient staffing ratios you can expect in all states.

Remember that your nursing license regulates where you can practice, so before planning a workcation, be sure you can legally practice where you’re planning to go. If you haven’t yet, sign up with Nursa today and check out PRN shifts near you. You might be surprised by what’s available right in your own community. Stay up-to-date with the latest nursing trends by reading our blogs about the best water bottles for nurses and which scrubs are most popular for healthcare workers.

Lori Fuqua
Blog published on:
December 4, 2023

Lori is a contributing copywriter at Nursa who creates compelling content focusing on location highlights, nurse licensing, compliance, community, and social care.

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