Marathons and half marathons are quite popular events for distance runners. Many people travel to other cities or states to compete in either full or half marathons every year. The varying sceneries and course layouts of a marathon or half marathon are both visually appealing, as well as challenging, for the serious or even casual runner.
If you’ve got the bug like I have, you may be wondering, “What are the best half marathons in the US?” Well, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing which half marathons to run in any given running season.
Location and weather are big factors… as well as cost of entry, elevation challenges, and a number of others (such as travel costs) and time off work.
What You'll Learn
- What is a Half-Marathon?
- 1. 2023 Jackson Hole Half Marathon
- 2. 2023 Rocky Mountain Half Marathon
- 3. E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon
- 4. America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K
- 5. Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon
- 6. Susquehanna River Running Festival Half Marathon
- 7. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon
- 8. Napa Wine Country Marathon, Half Marathon
- 9. Charlotte Marathon & Half Marathon
- 10. Zoom Turkey Trot Half Marathon
- 11. Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon & Half Marathon
- 12. Lehigh Valley New Year’s Chaser: Half-Marathon and 10k
- 13. 3M Half Marathon
- Final Thoughts about the 13 Best Half Marathons in the U.S. For 2022
What is a Half-Marathon?
A half marathon is a long-distance race that is half the distance of a full marathon. It is approximately 13.1 miles in total. A normal full marathon is 26.2 miles. Both require endurance, pacing ability, and a decent level of fitness and strength in order to complete them.
Some runners prefer half marathons over full marathons because of the mental and physical strain of running 26.2 miles. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term, “hitting a wall”.
Although you’ll clock less miles, a half marathon still gives runners a real sense of accomplishment. Running 13.1 miles is not a short, easy, run. It’s something most runners still need to train for and work up to. Many half marathon runners train for weeks or months to be ready to run a half marathon.
If I still have your attention, let’s talk about 13 of the best half marathons in the US for the rest of 2023 and heading into 2024. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to! And we’ve listed them from the ones taking place the soonest, down to the furthest ones out, so you have time to plan.
1. 2023 Jackson Hole Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, June 10,2023
Location: Jackson, WY
Website Info: HALFMARATHONS.net – Jackson Hole Half Marathon
The Jackson Hole Half Marathon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is one of the most scenic and beautiful half marathons you can run. This wonderful route is just south of the Grand Tenon National Park as well as Yellowstone National Park. It begins in Teton Village.
At an elevation around 6300 ft. above sea level, it’s definitely challenging to keep one’s breathing in an optimal range. The average temperature, though in early July, is a comfortable high of 74 degrees.
Average lows can dip as low as 42 degrees, so be sure to bring layers of running clothing and a jacket.
2. 2023 Rocky Mountain Half Marathon
Date: Friday, July 28 – Saturday, July 29, 2023
Location: Estes Park, CO
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – Rocky Mountain Half Marathon
The Rocky Mountain Half Marathon takes place close to the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park. This loop route is run around elevations between 7400 to 7900 feet above sea level. Similar to the higher-elevation Jackson Hole Half Marathon, you’ll want to be sure you have your breathing under control.
The half marathon allows walkers to participate in the run, provided they are able to finish within the 4 hour time limit. Being that the visually stunning location is so close to the Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance, it’s an appealing half marathon for out of towers to participate in before checking out the amazing views of the national park.
On the race day of July 30th, the average low temperature is 49 degrees and the average high is around 76 degrees.
3. E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, August 5 – Sunday, August 6, 2023
Location: Rachel, NV
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon
The E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon takes place starting in Rachel, NV. This is about 2 1/2 hours north of Las Vegas. It’s run in a well-known area for extra-terrestrial activities. It takes place on the closest evening to the full moon. Reflective clothing and headlamps are recommended and encouraged.
The temperatures in this part of Nevada are quite hot in August. Due to the 12:30am start, a little after midnight, temperatures should only reach the lower 70s. The chance of rain is very slight.
4. America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K
Date: Sunday, August 20, 2023
Location: San Diego, CA
Website Info: HALFMARATHONS.net – America’s Finest City half marathon
The America’s Finest City half marathon in San Diego, CA is known for its comfortable year-round temperatures and scenic backdrop. The course runs near the historic Cabrillo National Monument overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. You’ll then run along the green, expansive meadows of Balboa Park.
This race is run on a paved road and is mostly flat, without much elevation change. The weather should be wonderful, as most days in San Diego are comfortable and cloudless. The average temperature around race day is 76, though it has been as low as 57 degrees and as high as 98 degrees.
5. Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon
Date: Friday, September 8 – Saturday, September 9, 2023
Location: Townsend, TN
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon
The Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon starts in the small community of Hubbard. It runs on the Old Walland Highway, through the town of Walland, and ends in Townsend. The gradual elevation climb from 880 feet to just under 1100 SF makes this a fairly easy half marathon.
With small rolling hills and the Great Smoky Mountains in the background, this fun half marathon has runners finishing the course less than two miles from the entrance to the national park. Stay a while when you finish and check out the gorgeous national park while you’re there.
6. Susquehanna River Running Festival Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
Location: Havre de Grace, MD
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – Susquehanna River Running Festival Half Marathon
The Susquehanna River Running Festival Half Marathon is a loop route that will have you crossing the bridge named for the historical Susquehanna River twice. The half marathon starts in historic Havre de Grace, and travels through a number of small historical towns during the race.
The rainiest month of the year in this area is indeed September, so bring appropriate rain-oriented clothing. With temperatures averaging in the higher 50s to lower 70s, it should be a comfortable climate to run in.
7. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon
Date: Sunday, October 1, 2023
Location: San Jose, CA
Website Info: HALFMARATHONS.net – Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon
The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon in October is fun for the whole group or family. The race starts in downtown San Jose and is mostly a flat course. The elevation barely changes 40 feet throughout the entire duration of the event.
Live bands will be playing along as you travel the course on foot, making for a fun and energizing scene.
This is the 16th year of the half marathon here in San Jose. On the day of the race, the average low temperature is 54 degrees and the average high temperature is 78.
There are plenty of volunteers on hand to assist with cold drinks, wet towels and other nice amenities for the runners.
8. Napa Wine Country Marathon, Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022
Location: Calistoga, CA
Website Info: HALFMARATHONS.net – The Napa Wine County Marathon
The Napa Wine County Marathon and Half Marathon is set in the Napa Wine Country. Participants will get a tour of the hills, and run the trails of Calistoga’s Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.
Just minutes from the famous wineries of the area, this is a fun and scenic half marathon that loops in and back. You’ll run the entire course twice by the time you finish.
On race day, the average low is 45 degrees and the average high is 79. Participants have six hours to complete this race, so there’s time for hikers and walkers to participate as well.
9. Charlotte Marathon & Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2023
Location: Charlotte, NC
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – Charlotte Marathon & Half Marathon
The Charlotte Marathon & Half Marathon, formerly known as the Thunder Road Marathon & Half Marathon, is a wonderful event. Set in one of the greenest areas in the state, this point-to-point half marathon takes you all around the city of Charlotte.
It was renamed the Charlotte Marathon & Half Marathon in 2017 to reflect the love people have for their city.
The average weather on November 12th ranges from a low of 39 degrees to a high of 62 degrees. Bring layers of clothing and enjoy the nice, cool November run.
10. Zoom Turkey Trot Half Marathon
Date: Thursday, November 24, 2022
Location: San Jose, CA
Website Info: HALFMARATHONS.net – Zoom Turkey Trot Half Marathon
Instead of sitting around stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner, why not run the Zoom Turkey Trot Half Marathon instead, before the Turkey Day Festivities begin? This half marathon loop route is run on a trail along Coyote Creek, before crossing under a highway and continuing along the creek. There are plenty of water and aid stations throughout the entire race.
Average race day temperatures are 63 degrees on the high end, and 44 degrees on the lows. San Jose averages 1.7 inches of rain for the month of November, so bring a rain jacket, just in case.
11. Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon & Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, December 9, 2023
Location: Kiawah Island, SC
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon & Half Marathon
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon & Half Marathon in South Carolina features a marathon and a half-marathon. Over 3000 participants last year enjoyed the paved, scenic run that takes place along this golf community.
You’ll see beaches, waterways, and possibly osprey sightings in this beautiful South Carolina backdrop.
The weather on the day of the race for this event is warmer than in most other places in December. The average low is 41 degrees and the average high is 63 degrees. Bring a running jacket for the morning and you’ll be all set once the race begins.
12. Lehigh Valley New Year’s Chaser: Half-Marathon and 10k
Date: Sunday, January 1, 2023
Location: Coplay, PA
Website Info: RUNSIGNUP.com – Lehigh Valley New Year’s Chaser
For a New Year’s Day half-marathon option, consider the Lehigh Valley New Year’s Chaser. This awesome, mainly-flat course is the perfect half marathon or 10k to start your new year. They offer a military discount on entry fees and awesome finisher medals to all who complete the race.
On New Year’s Day, the weather in Pennsylvania may be a bit chilly. The low average on New Year’s Day is a chilly 23 degrees, while the high climbs a bit to 37 degrees. You’ll definitely want to dress warmly for this New Year’s Day Race.
13. 3M Half Marathon
Date: Sunday, January 22, 2023
Location: Austin, TX
Website Info: HALFMARATHONS.net – 3M Half Marathon
As many as 7000 runners participate in the 3M Half Marathon in Austin, Texas each January. This is a hilly half-marathon, but the good news is that it’s mostly downhill running.
The elevation starts at about 900 ft. and by the end of the race, its closer to 500 feet above sea level.
The weather in Austin is warmer than most places for January. The average low temperature for race day is 41 degrees, while the high climbs to 62 degrees. This will keep you comfortable in what is usually a chilly climate in January, at least in most places.
Final Thoughts about the 13 Best Half Marathons in the U.S. For 2022
Whether you choose to participate in a half marathon or even a full marathon, I promise you’ll have a real sense of accomplishment and a whole lot of fun. If you’ve trained for the right length of time and are mentally ready, you will have a wonderful experience and prevent injuries.
Not quite up for a half marathon yet? Then check out our training guide for running a 5K and ease your way into things. Remember: it’s not a race to get there, only a race to finish once you’re in it!