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12 Last Minute Suggestions for a December Getaway

Treat yourself to travel for Christmas.

short trip in december

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Shop this look.

The Travel Channel presents alternative December vacation ideas.

Photo By: Bluefields Bay Villas

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Photo By: Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino

Want to change up your annual Christmas routine and do something really different? Why not take advantage of some great December travel offers and escape with family or friends to a dream destination? Whether you like warm, sunny climates to chase the winter blues away or prefer a genuine Yuletide experience complete with snow, skiing and holiday festivities, here are some options starting with a Jamaica getaway to Bluefields Bay Villas . Located on the far west side of the island in an idyllic fishing and farming community, you can experience an unspoiled nature retreat on the water with this Jamaican holiday.

Quebec City, Canada

One of the more unique lodging options in Quebec City is the Hotel De Glace , a spectacular architectural creation made of ice and offering 44 themed rooms and suites (pictured). This ice hotel is the only one of its kind in North America and includes hot tubs and sauna amenities. While you are in Quebec City (a UNESCO World Heritage treasure), you can take a carriage tour, skate in Place D’Youville, browse the annual German Christmas market, stroll through the city’s Christmas Village and experience some of the season’s best festivals.

Sedona, Arizona

If you want a December getaway that combines scenic beauty with cultural and wellness offerings, then Sedona should be your mantra. From its healing spas and salons to a vibrant arts scene, the town is famous for its stunning location in a geological wonderland of red rock canyons, mesas and meadows. It is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts offering excellent biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, rafting and other activities. To top it off, you can experience the world’s largest 3D holiday light show from December 14-17 and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Sedona Arts Center .

The 50th state in the U.S. is always an ideal vacation choice if you are seeking a tropical paradise. You also have unlimited choices on how to spend your time there. You could go snorkeling and take a cruise around Kealakekua Bay and other scenic wonders with Fair Wind Cruises . Treat yourself to luxurious accommodations at the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast and experience a side trip to Botanical World Adventures . Tour the rain forests of Hana and the breaktaking sea cliffs of Maui via Maverick Helicopters . Outdoor enthusiasts can opt for a whale-watching kayak tour while those seeking a restful spa vacation can find the perfect retreat at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Lahaina (pictured above).

Lexington, Kentucky

Legendary bourbon distilleries, picturesque horse farms, historic estate tours by candlelight and the lovely scenic wonders of the bluegrass state await you in Lexington, Kentucky . Among the several hotels and inns offering special December packages are the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa , which includes a Bourbon Lover’s special, Gratz Park Inn in the historic downtown and 21c Museum Hotel , a former bank transformed into an 88-room boutique hotel and contemporary art museum with a private dining room situated in the bank’s former vault.

St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida

The warm, sunny shores of Florida are always a great choice for those who want to escape the cold in December and one of the most desirable areas is Western Florida on the Tampa Bay Gulf where you can find ideal waterfront lodgings in St. Petersburg or Clearwater . Among some of the top-rated accommodations that are offering special December-January rates are the historic Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club on the St. Petersburg bayfront and two Clearwater favorites, The Sheraton Sand Key (pictured) and the Wyndham Grand .

Baltimore, Maryland

One of the best-kept secrets among cities on the East Coast, Baltimore has enjoyed a cultural renaissance in recent years and is now a go-to place for its exciting culinary scene, arts community, historic districts and seasonal festivals, especially during the Christmas holidays. Take advantage of popular local accommodations such as the Hotel Monaco located near Baltimore’s inner harbor. Experience family-friendly events like the Santa Club buffet and train ride at the B&O Railroad Museum , skating at the Pandora Ice Rink or the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa Celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture .

London, England

If you want to experience a Christmas holiday where old-fashioned tradition and contemporary culture blend together in delightful ways, London is your destination. Check out the dazzling holiday lights along Regent Street, Duke of York Square, Bond Street and other neighborhoods. Shop for gifts at Harrods or stroll the South Bank with a bag of roasted chestnuts. Go ice skating at Somerset House or join the carolers by candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall . Families will enjoy the Winnie the Pooh exhibition at the V&A Museum while theater devotees can attend definitive productions of "The Nutcracker" at the Royal Opera House and "La Boheme" at The King’s Head Theatre . Discounted lodgings can be found at Last Minute , Hotels.com and other travel websites.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Golf, tennis, biking, fishing and family-friendly outdoor excursions are just a few of the activities that attract people to this lowcountry resort that is southwest of Charleston, South Carolina and northeast of Savannah, Georgia. But an alternative lure that is becoming increasingly popular are wellness getaways. Hilton Head Health offers a December package that includes accommodations, meals, yoga training, cardio kickboxing, spa facilities, paddleboarding, fitness classes and other amenities in a laid-back, beautiful setting.

What could be a better gift for ski fanatics and winter sports fans than a trip to Colorado in December? Consider a ski package from Keystone that includes their Kidtopia Spectacular or the Snowmass 50th anniversary special that comes with a fireworks display, prix fixe meals, a cabin jump and rail jam and other festivities. Experience the four day Olympic Qualifier competition in Breck via Dew Tour . Take advantage of the Winter Nights & City Light package from the historic Crawford Hotel in Denver or enjoy pure luxury with a winter welcome offer from the newly-debuted Hotel Talisa in Vail.

Tuscany, Italy

Tired of dealing with the tourist crowds in the spring, summer and fall in Italy? Why not consider a December getaway? Toscana Resort Castelfalfi in the heart of Tuscany is offering a variety of vacation options from romantic weekend specials to culinary tours and tastings to unlimited golf and spa packages. There are also Christmas and New Year’s Eve specials that bundle the food and wines of the region with live music and luxurious accommodations.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nightlife, fine dining, casinos and spectacular light displays offer a different kind of Yuletide holiday in Las Vegas. Visit The Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas where you can enjoy rooftop skating that overlooks the heart of the strip. Chose from various room offers at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino which include live show packages featuring Kelly Clarkson, Patton Oswald, Magic Mike, Nickelback or many others. Celebrate the first year anniversary of the Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino (pictured) with a special deal that includes Asian dining, gaming and festivities such as Chinese Lion and Dragon dances.

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  • Winter Vacations

11 Best Places to Travel in December

These are the best places to visit in December in the U.S. and around the world.

short trip in december

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The end of the year is incredibly busy with gift shopping, decorating for the holidays, and family gatherings. So before you run out of open days, take some time to book that winter vacation — even if it’s just a weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for a warm-weather escape to end the year or a festive destination brimming with holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. From ski towns to beach resorts, here are 11 of the best places to travel in December.

Lake Tahoe, California

Don Eim/Travel + Leisure

Snowfall usually begins in late November in Lake Tahoe, so you can be one of the first to hit the slopes when you visit in December. The destination’s sapphire blue lake, pine forests, and snow-covered peaks are gorgeous this time of year. Stay on the south shore at Edgewood Lake Tahoe , which hosts holiday festivities throughout the month; the resort’s new multi-bedroom Villa Suites are perfect for families or groups. On the north shore, Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe features ski-in/ski-out access and a mountainside concierge. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe and Edgewood Lake Tahoe were both among Travel + Leisure’s Best Resorts in the Western United States in 2022. Nearby Reno Tahoe offers a wide range of winter activities and a convenient airport with flights from many major cities.

Palm Springs, California

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

If you’re looking for mild weather, superb restaurants, golf, plush hotels, spas, and great shopping, put Palm Springs on your December must-visit list. And at just two hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, the Greater Palm Springs area is easy to reach. Check the concert and sports events schedule at the new Acrisure Arena , which hosted Cirque du Soleil’s new Corteo this summer — a first for the desert venue. Lodging ranges from expansive resorts like the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort to boutique and adult-only properties. Stay just steps from downtown Palm Springs in a quiet and historic neighborhood at Auric House ; you’ll feel like a local as you stroll to restaurants, shops, and breakfast at nearby Korakia Pensione .

Charleston, South Carolina

ChristopherPillitz/In Pictures via Getty Images Images

Charleston topped the T+L World’s Best Awards list this year for favorite cities in the United States, and it’s a perfect destination for the holidays, with gorgeous decorations adorning historic buildings, streets, and neighborhoods. Christmas markets, tree lightings, parades, and seasonal events inspire the holiday spirit during December. The Charleston Place gets decked out for the season, and the other best Charleston hotels include the Emeline , Planters Inn (a Relais & Châteaux property), and The Vendue , Charleston’s art hotel.

Newport Beach, California

Adrian Rudd/Travel + Leisure

With weather in the 60s and lots of Southern California sunshine, Newport Beach is a great December destination for hiking, cruising the harbor in a Duffy boat, whale watching, visiting Balboa Island, or strolling along the beach. The city celebrates the holiday season with the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade each night from Dec. 13-17, when more than 100 decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes cruise the waterfront, along with music, fireworks, and glittering lights. Stay near the action at Lido House , an Autograph Collection hotel, or be among the first to stay at the new Pendry Newport Beach . For five-star luxury, two oceanfront golf courses, and stunning views, choose The Resort at Pelican Hill . Accommodation options here include bungalow rooms and suites with fireplaces and private terraces, as well as Mediterranean-style villas with two, three, or four bedrooms.

Branson, Missouri

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In Branson, the two-month-long Ozark Mountain Christmas celebration kicks off in early November, and it’s an incredible way to get into the holiday spirit. Known as “America’s Christmas Tree City” for good reason, Branson features more than 1,500 decorated trees, shows, parades, 6.5 million lights, drive-through displays , and photo opportunities with Santa Claus. Throughout December, there’s caroling by the fire, story times, and a candy village displayed in the lobby of the Chateau on the Lake . At Big Cedar Lodge , guests can sip hot cocoa, see twinkling holiday lights, skate at the Winter Wonderland ice rink, make wreaths, and bake gingerbread — and that’s just a few of the property’s annual Home for the Holidays activities.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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December is considered one of the best months to visit Dubai thanks to moderate weather that’s ideal for being outdoors exploring the city. Visitors will find a festive atmosphere and myriad seasonal events , from elaborately decorated Christmas trees and holiday markets to shopping malls decked out for the season. See public art in the Dubai Design District, lounge at the beachfront in La Mer, or visit the historic Al Fahidi District. Stay at the elegant Habtoor Palace , LXR Hotels & Resorts, or the plush Burj Al Arab Jumeirah . Welcoming guests starting Dec. 1, One&Only One Za’abeel is located in the heart of the city near the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Lana , Dorchester Collection, Dubai, will also open in December beside the Dubai Canal.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Located on the Yucatan Peninsula along the Caribbean, Riviera Maya is 30 minutes south of Cancun and offers calm seas, sandy beaches, sunny weather, and lodging for all tastes, from boutique hotels to lavish resorts. Maya archaeological sites are fascinating to explore, and cenotes — caves or underground holes filled with cool water — are another intriguing feature of the Yucatan. Mayakoba , a private community with nearly 600 acres of lagoons, jungles, and beaches, includes El Camaleón Golf Club , luxury residences, and four resorts: Fairmont Mayakoba , Andaz Mayakoba , Banyan Tree Mayakoba , and Rosewood Mayakoba . Celebrate the new year with legendary Mexican musician Luis Miguel in concert on Dec. 31 at the nearby golf course. Also in Riviera Maya is Maroma , A Belmond Hotel, now open after an extensive renovation and redesign led by Tara Bernerd & Partners . 

Vienna, Austria

Ambika Verma/Travel + Leisure

While Vienna is lovely year-round, it is dazzling in December, with holiday decorations, lights, markets, and Christmas trees galore. Delicious Austrian food is part of the celebration, and mugs of Christmas punch (made with rum and/or brandy) keep shoppers warm as they browse or sample wiener schnitzel, sausage, apple strudel, or traditional roasted chestnuts. Or, stop into a café for coffee and Sachertorte, a famous Austrian chocolate cake. T+L readers recently voted for their favorite Vienna hotels , and The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna took the top spot. The Rosewood Vienna , which just opened last year, and The Amauris Vienna , a Relais & Châteaux property, are also fine options. Note that river cruises are a great way to see Europe’s many Christmas markets, and itineraries are offered through several companies, including AmaWaterways , Viking River Cruises , and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises .

Fort Worth, Texas

Think about this lively Texas city for an end-of-year vacation or weekend getaway, when the weather is in the comfortable high 50s and there’s so much to do. The Fort Worth Zoo features holiday decorations, lights, falling snow, and visits from Santa in December. The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District , where ranchers once traded cattle and cowboys drove the animals to market, is still in action with a daily longhorn cattle drive, restaurants, rodeo shows, bars, and tours of the original wooden corrals. Stay at Hotel Drover , in the heart of the District, where holiday decor and activities add to the fun. Near the downtown Sundance Square entertainment area, Kimpton Harper Hotel is set in a historic building that was once the tallest in Fort Worth. The Crescent Hotel, Fort Worth opens this autumn and features a Canyon Ranch Wellness Club with a full menu of fitness classes and spa treatments.

U.S. Virgin Islands

Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure

Located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas make up the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether you travel to the Caribbean for the beaches, water sports, outdoor adventures, shopping, or nightlife, these islands have myriad options. Join the fun at St. Croix’s Crucian Christmas Festival, which begins Dec. 10 and combines Caribbean, African, Spanish, and Dutch influences in traditional carnival events. The closing parade happens on Jan. 6, when thousands of masqueraders fill the streets. Among accommodation options are the waterfront King Christian Hotel in downtown Christiansted, St. Croix and The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas , which hosts holiday activities throughout December. Passports are not required for travel to this United States territory.

This sunny island in the eastern Caribbean is a perfect December escape, whether you’re traveling with friends or family or looking for a romantic getaway. From relaxing on the beach or by the pool to active adventures like kitesurfing, diving, or playing golf, there are lots of fun things to do on Anguilla. Places to stay include boutique hotels, resorts, villas, and apartments at a range of prices. Consider the family-friendly Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla , Malliouhana Resort , and Frangipani Beach Resort , where there’s fun for everyone. Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel and Altamer offer private villas. Zemi Beach House on Shoal Bay Beach features a spa set in a 306-year-old Thai house.

Related Articles

The 10 best places to visit in December

Jordi Lippe-McGraw

In December, the world transforms. The Northern Hemisphere sees winter's touch with snow and chill, while the Southern Hemisphere basks in summer's warmth.

Travelers can choose anything from snow-capped landscapes ideal for winter sports to sunlit beaches for relaxation. As the year-end approaches, many places come alive with holiday preparations, each offering unique cultural experiences.

Whether it's the allure of festive markets , the thrill of outdoor adventures, or simply exploring new terrains, December provides something for every traveler.

But where should you go? Here are the 10 best destinations to visit in December.

Breckenridge, Colorado

short trip in december

Imagine a place where the winter comes alive — that's Breckenridge in December. Picture world-class ski slopes, cozy family sleigh rides and thrilling snowmobile adventures. Not to mention, the history here is captivating. December's Ullr Fest is also a special treat for travelers. The festival is a local favorite held in honor of Ullr, the Norse god of snow. (We're hoping he blesses us with plenty of powder.)

There's also plenty to explore in nearby towns like Frisco and Leadville; less than an hour away, you can take a rejuvenating dip at Indian Hot Springs. Or, weather permitting, head to Rocky Mountain National Park to marvel at its natural beauty.

Related: The best ski resorts in the US for your next trip to the slopes

If you're still in Breckenridge come January, you're in for a spectacle. During the International Snow Sculpture Championships, artists carve massive snow blocks into stunning creations.

TPG tip : Hyatt Vacation Club at The Ranahan offers a spectacular Rocky Mountain retreat with premium skiing, winter escapades, boating, mountain biking and year-round family-friendly outdoor activities. It's available for about $205 in December, or 21,000 World of Hyatt Points per night.

Truckee, California

short trip in december

Of all the best places to visit in December in the USA, Truckee is one that tops our list. Come wintertime, the destination transforms into a snow-draped haven. From peaceful snowshoe treks to exciting family sledding spots, there's something for everyone here. For skiing enthusiasts, some of the region's best slopes await. Beyond winter sports, the stunning beauty of nearby Lake Tahoe is a must-see.

After a day in the snow, explore downtown Truckee. It offers museums full of rich local history, and its numerous breweries and eateries provide a taste of the town's culture. You can even opt for a guided tour of the town.

Related: From hidden gems to big names: Here are 11 of California's best ski resorts

TPG tip : Book a stay at SpringHill Suites Truckee for about 37,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or $282 per night.

Dorado, Puerto Rico

short trip in december

Seeking a warm winter getaway? Dorado sits on Puerto Rico 's stunning Caribbean coastline, and it boasts white-sand beaches perfect for surfing, swimming and many family-friendly adventures.

A short drive away, San Juan immerses you in a vibrant blend of culture, music and culinary delights. Here, you can experience cultural festivities throughout the year, savor delicious local dishes and sway to the rhythms of salsa, bomba and plena echoing from the city's picturesque squares.

Beyond that, the region offers thrilling activities like hang gliding and paragliding. For those keen to explore, guided tours can lead you to hidden beaches and lush tropical paths. Don't miss out on the YuYu Cave — a captivating and educational spot for young adventurers who love nature.

TPG tip : Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a great home base for exploring the area and is available from $1,645 or 215,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

short trip in december

During the holidays, Zurich becomes a festive paradise. Streets shimmer with lights, and Christmas markets spring to life. Highlights include Burkliplatz's candle dipping, the enchanting "Marlitram" fairy tale tram and the singing choirs at Werdmuhleplatz, accompanied by its famed "Singing Christmas Tree."

Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Main Station, one of Europe's largest indoor Christmas markets, boasts a radiant tree adorned with Swarovski crystals. The nostalgic Dorfli market in Old Town offers a vintage charm with fondue and artisanal goods.

For a warm treat, stop by Cafe Felix and choose from a medley of hot chocolate iterations. Or, savor history at the luxury confectioner Sprungli, which has been in operation since 1836. For elevated dining, Restaurant Felsenegg provides fondue with a stunning city view.

Beyond these, visitors can skate, toboggan or take a scenic fondue eTukTuk ride. Zurich's thermal baths and saunas overlooking Lake Zurich promise relaxation. For artsy souls, the "Herzebaracke" floating theater offers diverse performances by the lake from Nov. 1, 2023, to March 10, 2024.

TPG tip : Stay near the heart of town at Crowne Plaza Zurich for around $146 or 30,000 IHG rewards points per night.

short trip in december

In December, Japan lights up in celebration, offering visitors a magical experience. From Tokyo's Omotesando Illuminations, aglow with around 900,000 lights, to Ashikaga Flower Park's radiant 5-million-light display, the country is a spectacle. Mie Prefecture's Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination lets guests immerse themselves in LED light fields and explore captivating light tunnels.

Meanwhile, Kobe's touching Luminarie shines in remembrance of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake victims. December also welcomes ski enthusiasts as Japan's winter sports season begins.

From the breathtaking views at Shiga Kogen Ski Area in Nagano — with its Olympic-endorsed slopes — to the sought-after resorts in Niigata — easily accessible from Tokyo — skiing here is a dream. But there's more to Niigata than just skiing: Indulge in its renowned hot springs and savor its exquisite seafood, rice and sake.

TPG tip : Book a room at the Conrad Tokyo for $389 or 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

short trip in december

Dubai in December is a whole different vibe. The scorching heat takes a backseat, making way for cooler days. This means beach picnics, outdoor adventures and late-night strolls become even more inviting. And then there's the festive buzz. Everywhere you look, from the towering skyscrapers to the cozy lanes, Dubai sparkles with holiday decorations.

It's not just about twinkling lights, though. The city pulses with events — think bustling markets, lively performances and the aroma of seasonal treats filling the air. Against the backdrop of the vast desert and the iconic skyline, the festive cheer feels even more special. So, if you're dreaming of a mix of relaxation, retail therapy and rich culture, Dubai is your go-to.

TPG tip : Book a room at La Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk for $586 or 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, or stay at the lavish Atlantis The Royal .

The Bahamas

short trip in december

Traveling to the Bahamas becomes a breeze this December, thanks to several new flight routes. Delta Air Lines is launching a direct flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Nassau. For travelers on the West Coast, there's good news, too: American Airlines is rolling out direct flights from Los Angeles and Seattle to Nassau.

Not to be left out, JetBlue is introducing a weekly nonstop service from LA. Once you touch down, the Bahamas offers a plethora of experiences. Dive into the clear waters, explore the world's third-largest coral reef or swim with the wild pigs.

And if you're into sailing, December is the prime time to visit. Events like The National Family Island Regatta showcase the region's rich maritime heritage.

TPG tip : Book a room at the French Leave Resort for $749 or 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Or, for sheer indulgence, opt for the luxurious Rosewood Baha Mar , where rates start from $715 per night.

Morristown, Arizona

Just a quick 50-minute drive from Phoenix, Morristown is the perfect desert escape in December. The weather's a treat with comfy temperatures in the 60s and 70s — a lovely switch from Arizona's intense summer and the cold weather of other destinations.

If you love the outdoors, you'll be in your element. Morristown's desert beauty is a big draw, with opportunities to go hiking or 4x4 riding.

At night, the town's clear December skies, away from bright city glows, offer some top-notch stargazing. Witness the breathtaking Geminids and Ursids Meteor Showers, peaking on Dec. 14-15 and 22-23, respectively. And there's more to the celestial show: Mark your calendar for the New Moon on Dec. 13, the Winter Solstice on Dec. 22, and the Full Moon on Dec. 27.

TPG tip : Book a stay at Castle Hot Springs , which is an American Express Fine Hotels + Resort partner. Platinum cardholders receive 12 p.m. check-in (when available), room upgrade at check-in (when available), daily breakfast for two, $100 property credit to be used during the stay, complimentary Wi-Fi and 4 p.m. checkout guaranteed.

New York City

short trip in december

New York City in December is an enchanting experience. Imagine skating below the gleaming Rockefeller Center tree, surrounded by the city's sparkling skyline. Fifth Avenue transforms into a festive paradise, with its department stores showcasing captivating holiday window displays.

Brooklyn's Dyker Heights is a must-visit for those who admire festive lights. The neighborhood's homes are grandly decorated for the holidays, and dedicated bus tours guide visitors through the most brilliantly lit blocks.

But the magic doesn't stop there. You can also catch a classic holiday show at Radio City Music Hall, wander through the winter markets at Bryant Park or Central Park, and marvel at the giant holiday ornaments scattered throughout the city.

TPG tip : Book a stay at the Park South Hotel for $480 or 23,000 Hyatt World points, or check out TPG's favorite hotels in New York City .

short trip in december

December is the perfect month to explore Uganda. The landscapes are at their greenest, yet the weather stays dry. This combination is ideal for gorilla tracking, an experience you won't forget. Boat safaris also shine in December. As water sources become a focal point in the dry terrain, spotting the Big Five becomes even more thrilling.

While Uganda is gaining attention, it's still a quieter East African destination. Venture beyond the natural wonders, too. The capital, Kampala, is a city full of surprises. From the lively Equator Bar in the Sheraton to the unique crocodile tail delicacy at The Lawns, there's much to savor. And if you're into art, the Afriart Gallery showcases contemporary pieces.

TPG tip : Book a stay at Hilton Garden Inn Kampala for $170 or 37,000 Hilton Honors points.

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The best places to visit in December 2023

Oct 20, 2023 • 8 min read

short trip in december

Head to Freiburg in the Black Forest for a taste of Germany in winter © picture alliance / Getty Images

December may mean the year is coming to an end – but that doesn’t mean your travel plans have to. If you’re looking for the best place to visit in December, here are some of Lonely Planet’s top picks, whether you want stunning northern lights, epic beach adventures or cozy Christmas markets. 

Where are the best places to travel to in December for relaxation?

Left: people snorkle through turquoise water in the Philippines. Right: People sit next to their bikes while watching the sunset in San Diego.

Palawan, Philippines

Why now? Dry skies for wet adventures.

Dubbed “ the Philippines ’ last ecological frontier,” pristine Palawan – the country’s westernmost province – is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and a haven of biodiversity above and below the water line. There are over 1700 islands here, covered by virgin forest, edged by limestone cliffs and fringed by coral reefs. The diving is varied and spectacular. At El Nido , in the north, there are 20-plus dive sites where exciting sightings range from nudibranchs and seahorses to turtles and huge shoals of snapper. Around Coron Island , there’s thrilling wreck diving, with numerous WWII remnants to explore. There’s also decent diving in easy reach of the capital, Puerto Princesa – sites include walls and pinnacles, a variety of corals, plenty of unusual macro species, colorful reef fish, crustaceans, schooling barracuda and jacks, rays and reef sharks. Puerto Princesa is also the gateway to the Subterranean River National Park , a navigable underground waterway through incredible karst formations.

San Diego, California 

Why now? For city life, winter sun, Santa and cetaceans.

Winter is relative in southern California . In San Diego rain is more likely but days remain mild (average highs: 66°F/19°C). It’s certainly still warm enough to wander the city’s village-like neighborhoods – fancy La Jolla , surfy Encinitas, alternative Ocean Beach , foodie Little Italy, the lively, bar-packed Gaslamp Quarter – and to lose yourself in enormous Balboa Park , with its museums (Air & Space, Art, Natural History) and world-famous zoo . For further wildlife encounters, book a boat tour or head to the cliff-top trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in the hope of spotting dolphins and migrating gray whales, which pass along the coast here between December and March. 

Where are the best places to travel to in December for wildlife and nature?

A bushcamp in Central Kalahari; the northern lights in Arctic Sweden.

Central Kalahari, Botswana

Why now? For cheaper prices and greater game.

In this immense wildlife reserve, covering 50,000 sq km (19,305 sq miles) and one of the largest in the world, rain does not stop play. Indeed, it positively encourages it. While December marks the start of the rainy season in Botswana , it’s the best time to visit the semi-arid Central Kalahari . In the northernmost areas, around Northern Deception Valley in particular, the flush of wildflowers and grasses attracts great gatherings of grazers, which in turn attract predators – large numbers of hyena, leopard and the reserve’s famed black-maned lions are all found here. This is also the best time for birding, as many species are wearing their breeding plumage and migrants are around. Roads may become trickier to navigate but the payoff is excellent wildlife viewing and, at times, soul-stirringly stormy skies. There are opportunities to engage with the San people too.

Arctic Sweden

Why now? Sleep on ice beneath the Northern Lights.

At the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi, one degree of latitude north of the Arctic Circle, the sun never rises in the last three weeks of the year. In December, darkness is the dominant state – perfect for watching the Aurora Borealis . Jukkasjärvi is the home of the original Icehotel, where you can spend a night in a bed made of ice. The area is also a base for cross-country skiing, husky sledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, meeting reindeer and learning about traditional Sámi culture – magical for kids and grown-ups alike. Some 100km (62 miles) to the northwest, Abisko National Park is even further removed from the light, an otherworldly landscape offering arguably the world’s best aurora-watching. 

Where are the best places to travel to in December for culture?

A sign saying "joyeux noel" hangs in a tropical tree; kids run and play on a monument in India.


Why now? To sing carols with a Creole twist.

December doesn’t just mean Christmas in the French Caribbean. It means Chanté-Nwel. One of Martinique ’s biggest annual festivities, held across the island from November to Christmas Day, it sees people gather to sing carols to Creole rhythms (a practice dating back to the days of slavery) and feast on local favorites including yams, pâtés, boudin créole (blood sausage), yule logs and potent shrubb – a Christmas cocktail crafted from dried orange peel, sugarcane syrup and white rum. Very festive. All that’s missing is the snow: with sunny skies and average highs of 82.4°F (28°C), this is perfect beach weather; chill out on the vast sweep of white sand at Les Salines or the black sand of Anse Noire . 

Chhattisgarh & Odisha, India 

Why now? For cultural encounters in milder weather.

The neighboring states of Odisha ( Orissa ) and Chhattisgarh (a breakaway chunk of Madhya Pradesh) offer perhaps the most authentic insight into rural India . These regions are largely neglected by tourists, perhaps due to their lack of “big” sights. But the appeal here is in getting away from the cities and meeting the people, such as the majority Gond (famed for their vibrant art), the tattooed Kutia Kondh, the Indigenous groups of the jungles around Jeypore, the bead-wearing Bonda or the cultural melee of a haat bazaar (weekly market), where many tribal groups gather to haggle over everything from butter and salt to clothes and jewelry. The Bastar region of Chhattisgarh is a good place to start – visit markets, hike between village homestays and witness tribal festivals: the Madai Festival, which moves around the communities of Bastar, Kanker and Dantewada, is celebrated from December to March (when temperatures are mild, too).

Where are the best places to travel to in December for food and drink? 

Grab a cookie in a Black Forest Christmas market; eat some suckling pig in Puerto Rico.

Black Forest, Germany 

Why now? For a touch of Teutonic magic.

The Black Forest is Germany ’s most romantic, fairy-tale-laced region. And never more so than in December, when its rolling hills and dense-packed evergreens might be sprinkled with snow and when everywhere is sprinkled with Christmas. The lively university town of Freiburg is a fine festive choice.

Its medieval center of cobbled lanes and gabled houses is lovely to wander at any time, but now smells of Glühwein  (mulled wine) and gingerbread; browse the Christmas market, where you can make your own candles and cookies, ride the Ferris wheel and feast on raclette and wurst. Further afield, take the train or bus to nearby Hinterzarten for the striking Ravennaschlucht market, where traditional stalls cluster in a gorge beneath the Devil’s Valley Railway viaduct. 

Puerto Rico 

Why now? For a never-ending Noel.

Twelve days of Christmas? Pah! Sunny and spirited Puerto Rico stretches it to 60 days, starting with Thanksgiving (this is a US “unincorporated territory,” after all) and not finishing until mid-January. Visit in December and you’ll likely come across shops stacked with festive trinkets, late-night parrandas (carol singing in the streets), church Masses filled with aguinaldos (Christmas songs) and the hearty consumption of festive feasts: lechón (suckling pig), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pork-and-potato pasteles (steamed plantain tamales) and coquet (sweet spiced coconut drink). The Día de los Inocentes (28 December) is particularly fun, akin to April Fool’s Day, when people play tricks on each other – head to Hatillo for the best high-jinks.

Season’s greetings aside, the weather is wonderful right now for exploring this proudly Latino Caribbean idyll. Wander the bright alleys of Old San Juan (founded 1521) and lively second-city Ponce ; venture into El Yunque for rainforest hikes; check out the surf at Rincón ; and consider sailing over to the islands of Vieques and Culebra for quieter sands and dazzling after-dark kayaking in Bioluminescent Bay.

Where are the best places to travel to in December for adventure?

A person in red skis down the slopes Slovenia; a surfer on the beach enjoys the storms on Vancouver Island.

Why now? Crowd-lite, multi-sport, fairytale snow fun.

While snug-sized Slovenia  can’t compete with Europe’s winter-sports big boys, the country is still splendid when the snow starts to fall. There is good skiing, albeit on a smaller scale.

Resorts such as lively Kranjska Gora, reliable Krvavec and family-friendly Vogel aren’t huge but also aren’t as busy as other Alpine hubs. But where the country really excels is in multi-activity winter breaks, combining downhilling and snowboarding with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow-hiking, ice-climbing or even igloo-building and night tobogganing. The landscapes are thrilling, too, with most resorts located in and around handsome Triglav National Park . Photographers will love the high peaks, frozen waterfalls, snowy forests, beautiful Lake Bohinj and magical Lake Bled , with its lake isle and castle shimmering in the frost. 

Vancouver Island, Canada 

Why now? For really wild times.

As winter arrives, the restive region where Arctic and subtropical air collides shifts south, and low-pressure systems build in the Gulf of Alaska. This equals stupendous storms, which thwack the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island , stirring up gigantic swells, roaring winds and epic skies. It’s Mother Nature at her most marvelously unhinged and cinematic – and it’s worth braving a bit of weather for front-row seats. On the edge of Pacific Rim National Park, the little town of Ucluelet (meaning “people of the safe harbor”) is a great place to watch the action unfold. 

Want more expert recommendations for every month of the year? Check out the brand-new edition of  Where to Go When . 

This article was first published Sep 29, 2019 and updated Oct 20, 2023.

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The 15 Best Vacation Destinations in December (2024)

Best Places to Visit in December

Whether you fancy a safari, gorilla trekking, dog sledding, or just an all-inclusive escape by the sea, we’ve got you covered with the best places to visit in December – all over the world! 

Winter sun seekers can make a break for the sunny resorts of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, or perhaps you’d rather book a luxury overwater bungalow in the Maldives . It’s the festive season in Colombia and the Philippines , while Germany’s historic Christmas markets need very little introduction.

Finland is cold and dark, but surprisingly, it’s also one of the most exciting places to visit in the winter. There’s an entire village devoted to all things Santa Claus, and there’s never a better time to see the Northern Lights . Then there’s sunny Cape Town, the sun-drenched shores of Australia, and the glaciers and mountain peaks of Patagonia to visit. 

With so many places to travel in December, you might not know where to begin. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best December holiday destinations for you. Stick to these fun and unique getaways across the world, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing vacation!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Vacation Destinations in December

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

The 15 Best Vacation Destinations in December

1. rajasthan, india.

Best Places to Visit in December: Rajasthan, India

One of the best places to visit in December is Rajasthan, where the dry season is in full swing, and temperatures are some of the coolest they’ll ever be all year round. If you’ve never been to India before, then Rajasthan is the best introduction to this beautiful yet chaotic country you could have. Equally, Rajasthan, with its princely cities and majestic desert forts, is a place you can visit time and time again. 

Located in northwest India, you can fly into the country’s hectic capital, New Delhi, where your journey can begin (although technically, New Delhi isn’t Rajasthan). You can take on the famous Golden Triangle, a touristic route from New Delhi to Agra, where you can see the Taj Mahal, then onto Jaipur, an old Rajasthani capital that’s known as the Pink City for its colorful 18th-century architecture.

What Places to Visit in December: Rajasthan, India

From Jaipur, you can visit the rainforest of Ranthambore National Park in search of tigers. Whereas the city of Udaipur is known for its lavish royal palaces, and Jodhpur is famed for its distinctive blue buildings (it’s known as the Blue City). 

Venture off the beaten track and travel west into the Thar Desert, where the fortress city of Jaisalmer has long guarded India’s frontier, or visit the holy site of Pushkar, a desert town that attracts millions of animals and for its annual camel fair. 

Temperatures in Rajasthan hover around 77°F (25°C), which is positively cool in comparison to the summer months when they soar to upwards of 86°F (30°C). Be warned, though, that temperatures can fluctuate to the extreme in the desert, with nightly drops that can reach lows of 50°F (10°C) – so make sure you bring a few extra layers! 

2. Lapland, Finland

Must Visit Places in December: Lapland, Finland

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Make those Christmas dreams a reality with a trip to Finnish Lapland, one of the most unique December holiday destinations, where there’s a thick layer of snow all through the winter.

That’s no surprise, really, given that much of Lapland is located within the Arctic Circle. Visit Santa Claus Village outside the Christmas-loving town of Rovaniemi, and you can even trace the route of the Arctic Circle through the Christmas theme park itself.

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Lapland, Finland

This is the supposed home of Santa himself (it’s great marketing on the part of the Laplanders!), and you can visit his reindeer, shop for last-minute Christmas presents, chat with Santa Claus himself, and maybe even see the Northern Lights. 

But Lapland isn’t just perfect for Christmas lovers – it’s a fantastic winter escape for adventure travelers. Stay in an ice hotel in the forest, learn how to ride dog sleds across the tundra, and cross-country ski with the vast herds of reindeer that roam the Arctic.

3. Christmas Markets in Germany

Best Cities to Visit in December: Christmas Markets, Germany

If you love Christmas markets , then one of the best places to travel in December is Germany . This is the true home of the festive Advent Market, a timeless tradition that sees market squares and old towns covered in wooden stalls, decked out with Christmas lights, and packed with carol singers.

The Advent Market tradition can be traced back to at least the 15th century, with the oldest being the Striezelmarkt in Dresden, which has been held since 1434. 

Best Places to Visit in December: Christmas Markets, Germany

Nuremberg’s market can be traced back to the 1600s, while Munich, Trier, Essen, Leipzig, and many more historic German cities also host extravagant festive markets where you can indulge in Gluhwein, gorge on stollen, and feast on potato pancakes. 

Although it’s not the oldest, the Christmas markets in Berlin are some of the biggest and best these days. Head to Alexanderplatz, Spandau, or Charlottenburg Castle for a festive experience done the Berliner way.

4. The Philippines

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Philippines

The Philippines is not only entering its dry season in December, but the long festive season is already underway. The Philippines, an archipelago of some 7,000 islands, is also home to some 87 million Catholics. 

Thanks to centuries of Spanish colonialism, this is Asia’s largest Catholic nation, and they absolutely love celebrating Christmas. Indeed, Christmas in the Philippines is a drawn-out occasion, with the first carols and decorations appearing as early as September. Come December, the festive buzz is palpable, and malls, streets, and houses are all decked out with extravagant Christmas trees and light displays.

Must Visit Places in December: Philippines

Of course, the weather is tropical in December, with highs of up to 90°F (32°C) and very little chance of rain. Start by visiting the Christmas festivities in Manila, the nation’s sprawling capital, then make a break south for some island hopping.

Cebu and Bohol, home to whale sharks and chocolate hills, are well-traveled islands, but they’re perfect for a relaxing beach getaway over Christmas. Palawan, including El Nido and Coron, are firmly on the backpacker scene, but the rugged karst scenery has yet to be fully embraced by mass tourism. 

For something a little different, head north to the rice terraces and mountains of the Cordillera, where temperatures are a little cooler than on the coast. 

5. Riviera Maya, Mexico

Best Cities to Visit in December: Riviera Maya, Mexico

If you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand, then the Riviera Maya is one of the best holiday destinations in December. This is the ultimate winter sun vacation, with temperatures hitting a sunny 82°F (28°C) and almost no chance of rain. 

There are direct flights to Cancun from most major North American cities and many European countries, which means that Mexico’s most famous hotel strip does get busy in December. Embrace the winter sun-loving tourists, though, and you can have an amazing vacation sipping on margaritas and micheladas around the infinity pool. 

Best Places to Visit in December: Riviera Maya, Mexico

For the classic all-inclusive stay, nowhere beats Cancun’s Hotel Zone. But stray a little off the beaten track, and you can find gorgeous properties further down the coast in beach towns like Puerto Morelos. Playa del Carmen offers beaches and apart-hotels, Tulum is an influencer’s playground, and Cozumel is home to some of Mexico’s best snorkeling and diving. 

There’s more to the Riviera Maya than hotels and cocktails, though. You can explore the Maya ruins of Coba or Chichen Itza, see the turtles in Akumal, or seek a little serenity on Isla de Mujeres. 

6. Colombia

What Places to Visit in December: Colombia

It’s the festive season in Colombia, and few other countries in the world know how to celebrate like the Colombians. December often feels like one big party in Colombia, and especially so on the Caribbean coast, where destinations like Cartagena are heaving with rum cocktails. 

Colombians take Christmas seriously, though, and the season starts on December 7 with the Day of the Little Candles celebration. From December 16, it’s time for novenos , as the celebrations are ramped up with carol singing in preparation for Christmas Day. 

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Colombia

The weather is glorious in December, and in cities like Medellin and Bogota, you can embrace the extravagant Christmas decor in the sunshine (Medellin is especially well-known for its Christmas lights displays, which open to great fanfare on December 1), while New Year’s celebrations take things to another level, as the seriousness of Christmas gives way to full-on, end-of-year partying. 

7. Cape Town, South Africa 

Best Places to Visit in December: Cape Town, South Africa

December is the hottest time of year to visit South Africa, making Cape Town one of the best places to travel in December.

This is the peak summer season, and Cape Town is drenched in sun and its beaches are packed with tourists and locals alike enjoying the hot, hot weather. While other parts of South Africa experience rainfall, Cape Town is remarkably dry, and you can hang out in the long evenings with cold beers and a braai as you celebrate the festive season.

What Places to Visit in December: Cape Town, South Africa

Of course, there’s also much sightseeing to be done in December. If you’re feeling fit, then you can tackle the hike to Table Mountain (an early start is needed to beat the heat), or you can take the boat to Robben Island for an insight into the Apartheid regime that divided South Africa for decades. 

Outside of Cape Town, you can go whale watching in Hermanus, you can hop from one winery to the next in Stellenbosch, or road trip the 190-mile (305-kilometer) Garden Route from Mossel Bay to Storms River.

8. Maldives

Must Visit Places in December: Maldives

If you just need to relax and unwind (in beautiful and luxurious surroundings, of course), then the Maldives is one of the best places to vacation in December.

The Indian Ocean is experiencing its finest hour of the year. The monsoon is several months away, the skies are clear, and temperatures can reach highs of 86°F (30°C). If you’re chasing the sun, it’s guaranteed here, but you’re also guaranteed unparalleled luxury.

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Maldives

Why not book yourself a stay in a five-star luxury resort like The Ritz-Carlton , or rent your own private island? Enjoy a lavish Christmas on the beach, snorkeling with manta rays, drinking fresh coconuts, and sipping on ice-cold cocktails before indulging in a Christmas dinner of freshly grilled fish. 

Book a Room at The Ritz-Carlton

9. Malaysia

Best Places to Visit in December: Malaysia

If you’re looking for sandy beaches, hot weather, and excellent eating, you can’t beat a December visit to Malaysia .

The Southeast Asian nation is one of our favorite foodie destinations in the world, and in December, the weather on the west coast of Malaysia is perfect. The sun is shining, the rain clouds are gone, and temperatures regularly hit 86°F (30°C), if not higher.

Start your December escape with a few days in Kuala Lumpur , the country’s capital and transport hub. Take in the view from the Petronas Towers, explore the old mosques and colonial buildings around Merdeka Square, and gorge on street food in the night markets (try Petaling Jaya and Jalan Alor).

Best Cities to Visit in December: Malaysia

For a taste of Malaysia’s multicultural cuisine , head down to Malacca, where a unique culture merging European, Chinese, and Southeast Asian evolved due to centuries of colonialism. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set up shop here, and they left their mark on the dialect and fusion food of Malacca.

You can escape the heat and humidity in the Cameron Highlands, where tea plantations and strawberry farms sit at a welcome altitude of 4,724 feet (1,440 meters) above sea level in Tanah Rata. 

Back down on the coast, you can eat your way around George Town, digging into Penang’s famous foodie destination as you try local dishes like asam laksa and char koay teow . Hop on a ferry from Penang to Langkawi, and you can spend a few days over Christmas just soaking up the sun on this tropical island. 

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Ras Al Jinz

Oman is one of our favorite December holiday destinations, especially if you’re looking for a little adventure. Drive four-by-fours through the desert, wadi bash along dry riverbeds, and camp out on remote beaches with the turtles. 

Temperatures in the Arabian nation, which is located to the south of the United Arab Emirates and east of Saudi Arabia, average around 73°F (23°C) during the day, making this the coolest time of year to visit. 

Must Visit Places in December: Ras Al Jinz

We recommend renting a car and setting off on an Omani road trip. Public transport is limited here, and a self-drive trip (or an organized tour) is the best way to get around. Start with a few days in Muscat, the nation’s capital, where you can take a traditional dhow cruise around the harbor, delve into the souk, explore local history at the Bait al Zubair Museum, and see the Sultan of Oman’s lavish palace. 

Road trip down the long Arabian coastline, and you can visit incredible natural attractions like the Bimmah Sinkhole, explore the unusual desert river systems, like Wadi Shab, and visit the turtle nesting beaches at Ras al Jinz.

Two hour’s drive from Muscat, Nizwa Fort and its early morning livestock market offer a glimpse into local life, while the Jabal Akhdar mountain range is perfect for hikers and, increasingly, for those looking for a mountainous five-star luxury retreat (look up the Anantara Resort or the Alila ). 

11. Australia 

It’s summertime in Australia , and there’s nothing quite like the experience of an Aussie Christmas. First off, it’s going to be hot. Even in southern cities like Melbourne, temperatures can regularly exceed 86°F (30°C) throughout the month. 

It’s beach weather, and in Melbourne , you can enjoy urban beaches like St. Kilda and take in famous Victorian attractions like the Great Ocean Road or the Penguin Parade on Philip Island. Adelaide’s botanical gardens are wonderfully fresh in summer, while the south coast of Western Australia – home to white sand beaches like Esperance – is the perfect destination for a camping trip.

What Places to Visit in December: Australia

Stay away from the tropical north, where it’s very much the rainy season, but if the high temperatures of the mainland are too much, why not catch the ferry to Tasmania? It’s very much hiking season, with pleasant weather that sits around 68°F (20°C). Explore the penal history of Port Arthur, tour through Tasmania’s vineyards, and tackle long-distance hikes like the Overland Track. 

And of course, come Christmas Day, you’ll need to throw on your Santa hat, fire up the barbie (the barbecue), and knock back a few beers on the beach! 

12. Patagonia (Argentina and Chile)

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Patagonia

One of the top places to visit in December, Patagonia’s jagged mountain peaks and enormous landscapes are ripe for exploration at this time of year. This is South America’s summer season, and there’s no better time to lace up the hiking boots and dig out the walking poles. 

Patagonia is beyond vast, and even if you’ve got the entire month of December to travel here, you’ll barely put a dent in it. Patagonia, which stretches across the Andes mountains that divide Argentina from Chile, is also a long way from capital cities like Buenos Aires and Santiago, so you’ll need to factor in plenty of travel time.

Must Visit Places in December: Patagonia

It’s well worth the distance you need to travel, and you’ll be awed by the sight of iconic mountains, including the likes of Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. If it’s your first time in the region, you’ll want to tackle Argentina’s famed tourist circuit in the south, including the Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park. 

If you love wildlife, then hop over the border to Torres del Paine National Park, where you can join puma trekking tours amidst the spectacular scenery. If you’ve already hit the big sights, then lose the crowds around Perito Moreno (not to be confused with the glacier of the same name), where ancient petroglyphs (see the stunning Cuevas de las Manos) and rewilding programs bring the little visited Patagonian steppe to life. 

13. South Island, New Zealand

Best Cities to Visit in December: South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand’s summer is blissful, particularly on the South Island ( Te Waipounamu ), where temperatures are a comfortable 68°F (20°C) and the sun is shining.

New Zealand’s South Island is home to marvelous mountains and an impressive coastline. Summer is the time to hit the mountain trails, although you may find Mount Cook, which at an altitude of 12,218 feet (3,724 meters) is New Zealand’s highest mountain, may still be snowcapped. 

Best Places to Visit in December: South Island, New Zealand

Fiordland National Park – home to the serenity of Milford Sound – is absolutely glorious in summer, while the hiking trails of the Abel Tasman National Park are unbeatable. Adventure junkies can head to Queenstown for bungee jumps and adrenaline-inducing extreme sports, while wine lovers can take it easy on the vineyards of Central Otago. 

14. Rwanda 

What Places Have Shoulder Season in December: Rwandan

Rwanda has been busy making a name for itself as one of Africa’s best tourist destinations, and considering the country was locked in a deadly civil war in the 1990s, the progress is nothing short of remarkable. You can learn more about the Rwandan Genocide with a moving trip to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and you’ll hear countless local stories of loss and reconciliation throughout your stay. 

But don’t linger in the past for too long. Rwanda is home to rich rainforests and spectacular mountains, and December – after the autumn rains have dried up – is a fantastic time to visit. 

Must Visit Places in December: Rwandan

The number one thing to do here is gorilla trekking, and several hundred gorillas are found within Volcanoes National Park, which borders both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Visiting the habituated gorilla families requires a permit and guides, as visitor numbers are limited, so make sure to plan and book well in advance. 

You can also explore Rwanda’s wildlife in many other nature reserves and national parks, including Nyungwe Forest National Park, which is known for its chimpanzees, and Akagera National Park, where you can enjoy a traditional safari and a chance to spot all of the Big Five African animals. 

15. Sri Lanka

Best Places to Visit in December: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a curious weather pattern, and if you visit in December, the southwest shores are hot, dry, and sunny, while the monsoon ravages the northeast.

Despite a rainy north, it’s one of the best times of year to visit iconic Sri Lankan coastal destinations like Galle, Bentota Beach, and Hikkaduwa Beach, where you can enjoy sandy shores, visit colonial forts, and have guaranteed sun, sea, and sand for Christmas. 

Best Cities to Visit in December: Sri Lanka

It’s also a great time for a safari, particularly in Yala National Park in the south, which is home to large populations of free-roaming elephants and other rare Sri Lankan animals like sloth bears and leopards. 

If the heat along the coast is too much – temperatures often reach above 86°F (30°C), even in December – then you can take the scenic train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, a beautiful journey through rolling hills and hill plantations in the cooler highlands.

There you have it! The 15 best vacation destinations in December. What are your favorites?

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Best Places to Visit in December

Richard is an award-winning travel writer based in Southwest England who’s addicted to traveling off the beaten track. He’s traveled to 75 countries and counting in search of intriguing stories, unusual destinations, and cultural curiosities. Richard loves traveling the long way round over land and sea, and you’ll find him visiting quirky micronations and breakaway territories as often as he’s found lounging on a beach (which is a lot). When he’s not writing for BBC Travel, National Geographic, or Lonely Planet, you can find Richard writing for the Wandering Wheatleys or updating his off-beat travel blog, Travel Tramp.

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18 Best Places to Visit in the USA in December

Written by Anietra Hamper Updated May 4, 2023

There are three main types of December travelers: the snowbird , looking to combat goosebumps with a little warmth and sunshine; the ski aficionado , searching for the best slopes; and the holiday lover , searching for a fun, festive spot to enjoy their winter vacation .

Colorful houses in Charleston, South Carolina

With a vast array of climates and terrain, the USA boasts a bevy of exciting places to visit in December. From warm-weather wonders like Florida, Hawaii, and California to snow-laden mountain locales boasting the top ski resorts in the United States to big cities like New York and Las Vegas, you'll have a lot of choices when planning your December vacay.

Plan your travels with our list of the best places to visit in the USA in December.

2. Miami, Florida

3. new york city, new york, 4. salt lake city, utah, 5. u.s. virgin islands, 6. las vegas, nevada, 7. pasadena, california, 8. phoenix, arizona, 9. charleston, south carolina, 10. washington d.c., 11. anchorage, alaska, 12. key west, florida, 13. breckenridge, colorado, 14. new orleans, louisiana, 15. santa fe, new mexico, 16. stowe, vermont, 17. savannah, georgia, 18. st. augustine, florida.

Aerial view of the Na Pali coast in Kauai

One of the best warm places to visit in the USA in December is Hawaii. Its tropical breezes, ample sunshine, bathwater-warm ocean waves, captivating scenery, and beaches make this an ideal place to relax on island time.

There are several islands from which to choose, and you can vacation on one or plan to visit several in the same trip. The more time you can spare, the more awesome your Hawaiian holiday will be.

The island of Oahu is a great starting point, especially if you stay in the capital of Honolulu . Relax on Waikiki Beach , visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial , and enjoy the urban scene.

The island of Maui has a nice combination of activity and solitude, with golf courses; Wailea Beach; and the dormant volcano Mount Haleakala, where you can witness a spectacular sunrise.

The Big Island has many natural attractions and outdoor activities , like Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Kaunaoa Beach, and Akaka Falls State Park.

The small island of Kaui is the oldest island and the ideal spot for quiet and romantic vacations. It is also known for its many tropical waterfalls, gorgeous hikes, and breathtaking scenery.

Lanai is another small island with remote natural spots that is not as touristy as the other islands.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hawaii

Aerial view of Miami Beach

If you are looking for a warm destination with plenty of activity in December, Miami, Florida will fit the bill. Miami has a festive scene in the winter, with holiday performances like The Nutcracker and the magical lights that decorate Zoo Miami .

There are lots of local beach events, so you get the best of both worlds by combining the holiday festivities with warm Florida weather. If you do decide to skip the cold locales by spending your holidays beachside, you will be in good company. It's a popular idea, and seeing the festive holiday lights and decorations in the palm trees will be the perfect change of scenery.

All the best Miami attractions also include options like boating and visiting the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens . Since you do not have to worry about snow in December in Miami, you can explore the local neighborhoods, like Little Havana and the Miami Design District.

Many snowbirds from the north retreat to Florida for the winter, so you will want to plan your lodging far in advance. If you are particular to a favorite section of the Miami beaches , it is best to book lodging where you will spend the majority of your time.

New York City

New York City is one of the most festive destinations to visit in December, and some would say it's the best time to visit New York . Bundle up and head out onto the downtown streets to see the holiday store window displays, or catch a performance of the famous Rockettes. Be sure to stop by Rockefeller Square to see the iconic Christmas tree.

There is never a dull moment in New York City , even during the winter. Many people visit New York City in December just to do their holiday gift shopping at the famous department stores and Christmas markets , and to see the many festivals during the holiday season. A must-experience is ice skating at Central Park with the spectacular New York City skyline in the background.

If you end up blowing your budget on presents, you can still catch a Broadway show for a reduced price by hitting the ticket office a few hours before the performance to see if last-minute bargain tickets are available.

Since snow storms are unpredictable in December in the northeast, you should plan a little extra time and flexibility in your itinerary in case of travel delays. Save the extra-cold days for museum visits (there's plenty!) when you can stay warm inside and only go out for short periods at a time.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City

Not everyone wants to escape the cold in December. In fact, for avid skiers, December is prime time to hit the slopes and ski resorts near Salt Lake City . There are nearly a dozen ski resorts in Utah's Wasatch Mountains, which are just a short drive from Salt Lake City. The ski slopes are equipped to accommodate both novice and advanced skiers.

If you prefer to just look at the snowcapped mountains instead of traversing them, that is an option, too. Salt Lake City has many festive holiday events in December, like horse-drawn carriage rides through Temple Square , which is adorned with holiday lights.

You can also shop in small boutiques for unique gifts. You can experience a vintage Salt Lake City holiday by visiting the This Is The Place Heritage Park, which showcases life and the holidays in the 1800s in Utah during the month of December.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Salt Lake City

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

For a Caribbean vacation in the USA in December, the Virgin Islands are a no-brainer. The islands of Saint Croix , Saint Thomas , and Saint John are United States territories and have tropical natural landscapes perfect for a mid-winter getaway. Beach days and snorkeling will top your to-do list, as well as hitting some of the natural park locations on the islands.

St. Thomas is the most populated of the three islands since it has a cruise ship port, so while there are many tours and activities available, you will be sharing the sandy beaches with many other December tourists.

St. Croix is the largest of the islands and has many cultural attractions. St. John is the smallest and most natural, with great snorkeling, hiking, tropical plants, and untouched beaches.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands

Las Vegas welcome sign

Many December travelers in the USA are attracted to the lights and warm temperatures that are guaranteed in Las Vegas . You will find all of the normal flare, with an overload of sights and sounds along the Vegas Strip and a twist of festive December décor. Many of the hotels feature elaborate holiday decorations with an abundance of flowers and lights.

Besides the great shopping in Las Vegas, there is plenty of December entertainment to enjoy. One of the most beautiful spots to visit is the Botanical Cactus Garden at Ethel M Chocolates . The state's largest cactus garden features light displays (sometimes in 3-D) that will put you into the holiday spirit.

With the mild December temperatures in Las Vegas, you can even enjoy spending a winter day poolside at your hotel.

Read More: Top-Rated Hiking Trails near Las Vegas

Pasadena City Hall

If you are looking for warm weather and a unique experience for your December vacation, you can head to Pasadena, California, where the city is preparing for the famous Tournament of Roses Parade . With Southern California temperatures, it is possible to spend one day at the beach and the next day taking part in one of the biggest events in the city.

Deco Week happens at the end of December as Rose Parade participants make their final tweaks to the elaborate rose-covered floats. You can volunteer to help with those final preparations. If you do plan to head to Pasadena to take part in this annual tradition, book far in advance to hold your spot.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Pasadena, CA

Phoenix, AZ at dusk

December is a fabulous month to visit Phoenix, especially if you're a fan of the outdoors. Popular winter activities include hiking , golfing, biking, rock climbing, and camping . Shopping is another fun activity, as is museum-hopping.

As for the weather, you'll definitely be pleased. With little rain and highs in the upper-60s to low-70s Fahrenheit, you won't need to pack a parka or run the risk of sweating through your wrinkle-free travel shirt. The extra room in your suitcase means you'll have plenty of space for the finds you'll grab at holiday markets.

While in town, be sure to visit the Desert Botanical Garden , skate on the ice rink at CityScape , and tour the Heard Museum . Glendale Glitters is a fun, festival-type event in nearby Glendale, featuring thousands of holiday lights, music, food, and other activities on the weekends throughout December.

  • Best Attractions & Places to Visit in Phoenix, AZ
  • Top-Rated Day Trips from Phoenix

Holiday decorations in Charleston, SC

Charleston in December is a refreshing sight. While cool (highs hover around 60, and lows can drop to 25), this old-world Southern gem is so lovely and charming, it will warm your spirit. And if the weather turns, you can always head indoors, to the South Carolina Aquarium , Charleston Museum , or Old Slave Mart Museum .

Make time to wander around the captivating Historic District . Picturesque homes and churches that were built centuries ago; cobbled alleyways; and gnarled, twisting oak trees make it easy to feel romantic. Feeling extra amorous? Hop in for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

Make the most of the lack of humidity with a visit to the Middleton Place Plantation, Boone Hall Plantation, or Magnolia Plantation & Gardens . December plays host to an array of lights shows and holiday markets. The Holiday Festival of Lights , for instance, begins mid-November and lasts until January.

Read More: Top Attractions in Charleston, SC

United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

Though the nation's capital is generally snow-covered in December it is one of the best places to visit at the end of the year for a number of reasons: A winter trip to Washington D.C. is ideal for getting cheap rates on hotel rooms and for fewer crowds at attractions in the city , which can be challenging during the busy summer tourist season.

The other reason to go to D.C. in December is that most of the Smithsonian museums are indoors, so it is easy to visit many of them during your visit. Washington D.C. is beautifully decorated in December for the holidays, especially the White House. There are lots of holiday activities around the city, from walking tours to seeing the national Christmas tree.

December in D.C. offers some things that you just can't experience any other time of the year. Plan some time to see the national Christmas tree near the White House, which is illuminated just after Thanksgiving; the Wharf District holiday boat parade, which happens in early December with dozens of festively decorated boats floating along Washington Channel; and the Winternational global market, which has booths hosted by international embassies, with crafts for sale from their respective countries.


Many people head for warmer weather in December, but it is a great month to head north to Alaska. December is in the middle of peak season for viewing the Northern Lights , so it is easy to find a tour to see them. You can also take a scenic ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks on the Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train .

Another way to take in Anchorage in December is by taking a dogsledding trip, hitting the slopes, watching for wildlife, or taking a glacier trek. There are a number of museums in Anchorage to visit when you need a break from the cold. Otherwise, put on the layers and experience Anchorage during this magical time of the year.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Anchorage, Alaska

Footpath to the beach in Key West

The tranquil waters and key lime pie in Key West in December will almost make you forget that it is even wintertime. That is why it is one of the best places to go in December. As you might expect from this warm-weather destination, the holidays are showcased on the water, with the Lighted Boat Parade at the Historic Seapor t and offshore excursions to clear up any winter blues.

You can take a tour of the Victorian mansions in Key West, which are elegantly decorated with wreaths and holiday décor. If you feel like doing nothing but sitting on the beach for your December getaway, you can do that, too. Bear in mind that Key West is a popular winter spot, so you will pay a premium for hotels and airline tickets.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Key West, FL


December means ski season in Breckenridge , so it is one of the best places to go for some downhill adventure. While some of the warm-weather destinations will see crowds in December, Breckenridge will, too, but it is the place to be if you are looking for quality winter skiing.

Hotel and resort rates will be at a premium, but you can usually package them with lift tickets for the duration of your stay. When you're not carving through the white powder on the slopes, you can enjoy the festive scene in town, where the small shops along Main Street are decked out for the holidays. Breckenridge gets into the holiday spirit, which is why it is considered one of the best Christmas towns in Colorado .

Though you will have plenty of company in Breckenridge in December, there are nearly 3,000 acres of ski areas, so there is enough space to accommodate the rush of winter travelers.

Read More: Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Colorado

The French Quarter of New Orleans

The festive city of New Orleans is a great December vacation destination, where you can enjoy the warmer weather, walk through the city streets and the French Quarter , and leave before the influx of Mardi Gras revelers start to arrive in the following months. December weather is warm, but it is not the stifling heat that you would experience in the summer, so you can enjoy it more comfortably.

There are many holiday festivals and over-the-top light and decorative displays throughout the city to enjoy in December, including illuminated art pieces at Lafayette Square. The Roosevelt Hotel is another must-see, with 50 themed and decorated Christmas trees and thousands of holiday lights decorating the historic hotel.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Orleans

Traditional architecture in Santa Fe

The southwestern city of Santa Fe is a great getaway in December for those who want to lay low in a small, artsy location. The city is rooted in Native American culture. The historic buildings and small shops are fun to stroll through as you buy local artwork ranging from paintings to jewelry.

Santa Fe is a nice place to escape from the cold and snow and is known for its many health retreats and relaxing spa resorts. If you still want to see the snow, you can head into the mountains for a day of skiing.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Santa Fe

View over Stowe, Vermont

For some December travelers, especially those looking for a romantic vacation in one of the best small towns in Vermont , hunkering down in a cozy bed-and-breakfast or cottage with several feet of snow outside might be appealing. If so, then Stowe, Vermont is where you need to spend a holiday. December is cold in Stowe, but that is part of the charm for a getaway filled with fireplaces and hot chocolate.

You can still spend your days outdoors by layering up and hitting the ski slopes , snowshoeing, or taking a dog-sledding adventure before returning to your cozy accommodations. December in Stowe is marked with traditional holiday parades, celebrations, and tree lightings in the center of town.

Read More: Best Things to Do in Vermont in Winter

Moss-draped oak trees in Savannah, Georgia

You'll want to pack a sweater when visiting Savannah in December. With highs in the mid-60s to mid-70s, you may want to block the nightly (or daytime) chill. That won't stop you from fully enjoying this Georgian wonderland.

Peppered with historic mansions; luxurious parks; and picturesque, moss-draped trees; this idyllic beauty is even more magical when dressed for the holidays in December. Head to River Street during the first weekend of December for music, treats, and shopping. You'll find handmade stocking stuffers and other creative gifts from these unique vendors.

Savannah's Lighted Christmas Parade is another holiday must-see that takes place during the first weekend of December . It includes a tree lighting ceremony, caroling, dancing, and more on Tybee Island.

When you aren't busy getting festified, visit the area's historic homes, museums, and the large and lush Forsyth Park .

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Savannah

St. Augustine skyline and the Bridge of Lions

St. Augustine is a lovely place to visit at all times of the year, although it can get unbearably hot during summer. In December, though, this historic Floridian gem really comes to life. A Sunshine State marvel, St. Augustine lies on the northeast coast and offers visitors archeological masterpieces along with soft, sandy beaches.

One of the best Christmas towns in Florida , this town literally jingles and sparkles during December. The annual Night of Lights festival runs from mid-November through January and features over three million lights swirling their way around town. It's incredibly charming, even if you aren't into holiday festivities.

Hop on the Old Town Trolley, explore Castillo de San Marcos, go fishing in the surf , or lounge on the beach at Anastasia State Park. You'll have fewer crowds to fight, but with temps in the low to mid-70s Fahrenheit, you may not be tempted to play in the water all day.

Read More: Best Attractions & Places to Visit in St. Augustine, FL

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More Winter Travel Ideas : Many of the best places to visit in December are also going to be the most expensive. If you are on a budget, you can consider some of the cheap places to travel in December or specifically cheap Christmas holiday destinations . If warm weather is calling you, then you might consider the beaches in California or the Caribbean as options.

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4 hours to heaven: 10 short trips to take from Singapore

Pavin Chopra

Singapore is a vibrant city-state with something to offer everyone. But sometimes, you just need to get away from it all. That’s where short holidays near Singapore come in. With just a Almosafer cheap flight , drive or ferry ride, you can be transported to another world.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway , an exciting city break, or an adventure in the jungle, there’s a short holiday so close that’s perfect for you.

Here’s our list of 10 short trips you can take that’s just 4 hours or less away! 

1. Desaru, Malaysia

shorttrips - desaru coast

Desaru , a hidden gem nestled on the southeastern coast of Malaysia, just a stone’s throw away from Singapore. This idyllic coastal retreat offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Immerse yourself in the sun-kissed beaches that stretch for miles, their powdery sands inviting you to sink your toes into pure bliss.

Indulge in thrilling water sports, from jet skiing to kayaking, or simply bask in the warm tropical sun, letting the gentle sea breeze lull your cares away. Explore the lush surrounding rainforests, where nature’s symphony plays as you wander along nature trails and encounter exotic flora and fauna. For the adventure seekers, hop on an ATV and embark on an exhilarating ride through rugged terrains or discover the vibrant underwater world with a snorkelling expedition.

With its serene beauty and abundance of activities, Desaru beckons you to create unforgettable memories in this coastal paradise just a short journey away from Singapore.

How to get there: By car : The drive from Singapore to Desaru takes about 2 hours. You can take the Causeway or the Tuas Second Link to Johor Bahru, and then follow the signs to Desaru.

By ferry : There is a ferry service that departs from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The journey takes about 90 minutes.

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2. Bali, Indonesia

shorttrips - bali ocean view

My personal favourite getaway destination, Bali , an island in Indonesia that’s known for its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant culture. It is a popular tourist destination, and for good reason. There’s something for everyone in Bali, from stunning scenery to delicious food to friendly people. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, Bali has plenty to offer. There are many beautiful beaches to choose from, each with its own unique charm. Some of the most popular beaches include Kuta Beach, Seminyak Beach, and Uluwatu Beach.

If you are looking for something more adventurous, there are many opportunities for hiking, biking, and swimming in the jungle. You can also go surfing, diving, or snorkelling in the ocean. In addition to its natural beauty, Bali is also home to a rich culture. There are many temples to visit, as well as traditional villages where you can learn about Balinese culture. You can also enjoy traditional Balinese dance and music performances.

With Bali’s wealth of activities and attractions, even a short visit allows for a multitude of unforgettable moments.

How to get there:

By flight : The flight time from Singapore to Bali is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. There are several airlines that offer direct flights from Singapore to Bali, including Singapore Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and AirAsia. Flights depart from Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Bali.

Book Flights & Hotels now at Trip.com Agoda   Klook

3. Koh Samui, Thailand

shorttrips - koh samui resort

Ah, Koh Samui … a jewel nestled in the Gulf of Thailand. If you’re seeking a blissful beachfront escape or a tranquil retreat amidst lush greenery, Koh Samui should be at the top of your travel list. This idyllic island offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and vibrant culture, perfect for those looking to unwind and rejuvenate.

Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, laze on pristine sandy beaches, or explore the island’s lush interior with its cascading waterfalls and dense jungles. Koh Samui is also renowned for its wellness and spa retreats, where you can indulge in rejuvenating treatments and find inner peace.

With a rich tapestry of activities ranging from snorkelling and diving to exploring charming local markets, Koh Samui offers a perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. So, surrender to the island’s captivating charm, and let Koh Samui weave its magic, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.

By flight : Start your journey by taking a direct flight from Singapore Changi Airport to Samui International Airport. Several airlines offer flights to Koh Samui, with a travel time of approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

Transfer from Samui Airport to the Pier : Upon arrival at Samui International Airport, you can easily find taxi services or pre-arrange a transfer to take you to one of the piers on Koh Samui. The most common piers for onward travel are Bangrak Pier (Big Buddha Pier) and Maenam Pier.

Ferry to Koh Samui : From the piers, you can catch a ferry to Koh Samui. There are several ferry operators offering frequent services throughout the day. The ferry journey takes around 20-30 minutes from Bangrak Pier and 30-45 minutes from Maenam Pier.

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

shorttrips - angkor wat

Siem Reap , a captivating destination that unveils the wonders of ancient civilisations and immerses you in the rich cultural tapestry of Cambodia. Located in the northwest of the country, Siem Reap is renowned for its proximity to the magnificent temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Embark on a journey through time as you explore the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, a majestic symbol of Khmer architecture and spirituality. Marvel at the intricate carvings and mystical atmosphere of Bayon Temple, or wander through the overgrown ruins of Ta Prohm, engulfed by the embrace of ancient trees.

Beyond the temples, Siem Reap offers a vibrant and eclectic blend of markets, traditional crafts, and local cuisine. Delve into the bustling streets of the Old Market, where the scent of exotic spices fills the air, or witness traditional Apsara dance performances that bring ancient legends to life. Siem Reap is a destination that seamlessly weaves together history, culture, and adventure, leaving visitors captivated and inspired by its timeless beauty.

By flight : The most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Siem Reap is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Siem Reap International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 2 to 3 hours.

5. Da Nang, Vietnam

shorttrips - danang beach

Stunning Da Nang is a coastal gem nestled in the heart of Vietnam. With its pristine beaches, majestic mountains, and rich cultural heritage, Da Nang offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and modern allure. The city’s pristine coastline stretches along the South China Sea, inviting you to bask in the sun, take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, or indulge in thrilling water sports.

For those seeking adventure, the Marble Mountains beckon with their mystical caves and panoramic views, while the Hai Van Pass offers a breathtaking journey through scenic landscapes.

Discover Da Nang’s vibrant culinary scene, where you can savour delectable street food, indulge in fresh seafood, and sample the flavours of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture by visiting iconic landmarks such as the Linh Ung Pagoda or exploring the ancient ruins of the Cham Museum. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Da Nang promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you captivated and longing to return.

By flight : The most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Da Nang is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Da Nang International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 2.5 to 3 hours.

June holidays 2023: 10 exciting destinations for an adventurous getaway & Insta-worthy photos

6. Krabi, Thailand

shorttrips - krabi waters

Krabi, a tropical paradise nestled on the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand. Known for its stunning limestone cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush jungles, Krabi is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach escape or an adrenaline-fuelled getaway, Krabi has something for everyone.

Explore the iconic Railay Beach, with its towering limestone cliffs and pristine sands, perfect for sunbathing and rock climbing. Embark on a boat tour to the nearby Phi Phi Islands, where you can snorkel in vibrant coral reefs and bask in the beauty of Maya Bay. Take a refreshing dip in the emerald waters of the Emerald Pool or venture into the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park to discover the hidden wonders of the Crystal Lagoon.

Immerse yourself in Thai culture by visiting the famous Tiger Cave Temple, where you can climb to the summit for panoramic views of the region. Indulge in delicious Thai cuisine at local markets and beachside restaurants, and pamper yourself with rejuvenating spa treatments. With its breathtaking landscapes and endless adventures, Krabi offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you enchanted and longing to return.

By flight : The most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Krabi is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Krabi International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 1.5 to 2 hours.

7. Penang, Malaysia

shorttrips - penang georgetown

Penang is a captivating island destination located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. Known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” Penang is a melting pot of cultures, heritage, and delectable cuisine. As you step foot in Georgetown, the vibrant capital city, you’ll be enchanted by its UNESCO World Heritage-listed architecture and rich colonial history.

Explore the bustling streets adorned with colourful street art and visit iconic landmarks like the Kek Lok Si Temple and Fort Cornwallis. Indulge in a culinary adventure as you sample the famous street food of Penang, renowned for its mouthwatering flavors and diverse influences. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the night markets, where you can shop for local handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious snacks.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Penang Hill, where you can take a funicular railway ride to enjoy panoramic views of the island. For beach lovers, Batu Ferringhi offers a stretch of golden sand and clear waters, perfect for sunbathing, water sports, and seaside dining. Whether you’re a history buff, food enthusiast, or nature lover, Penang will captivate you with its unique blend of old-world charm and modern delights.

By flight : The most convenient and fastest way to reach Penang from Singapore is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Penang International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 1.5 to 2 hours.

By land and bridge : If you prefer a land-based journey, you can take a bus or drive from Singapore to Penang. You will need to cross the Causeway at the Johor-Singapore border and travel northward through Malaysia. The journey by road typically takes around 8 to 9 hours, depending on traffic conditions and border formalities. It’s important to check visa requirements and ensure you have the necessary documentation for cross-border travel.

8. Bintan, Indonesia

shorttrips - glamping in bintan

A journey to Bintan is always a delightful choice. Whether you seek a serene beachfront escape or a tranquil retreat amidst lush greenery, venturing to this Indonesian gem should top your travel agenda. With its picturesque landscapes and diverse terrain,

Bintan provides a perfect respite from the demands of urban living. Immerse yourself in spiritual experiences, ride the waves with invigorating surf lessons, or simply unwind on pristine beaches, surrendering to blissful idleness. Crafting a fulfilling itinerary is effortless, even if your stay is brief, as Bintan offers a wealth of activities to suit every taste.

Bintan’s natural beauty extends beyond its beaches. Explore the island’s lush rainforests and mangrove forests, where you can embark on thrilling nature walks, observe exotic wildlife, and discover hidden waterfalls. So why wait? Embark on a journey to Bintan and embrace the serene beauty and vibrant energy of this enchanting island.

By ferry : The most common and popular mode of transport to Bintan from Singapore is by ferry. There are several ferry operators that provide regular services between Singapore and Bintan, departing from various ferry terminals such as Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and HarbourFront Centre. The ferry ride typically takes around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the chosen route and sea conditions.

9. Bangkok, Thailand

shorttrips - bangkok skyscrappers

A sojourn to Bangkok is an exhilarating escapade that should never be overlooked. This vibrant metropolis pulsates with an energy that effortlessly captivates travelers from around the globe. Whether you seek a collision of modernity and tradition or an immersion into a rich cultural tapestry, the capital city of Thailand stands poised to enchant and inspire.

Bangkok’s bustling streets are a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and scents, a testament to its dynamic blend of history and innovation. Towering skyscrapers share the skyline with elegant temples, while traditional tuk-tuks and futuristic skytrains navigate the urban maze. The city’s streets are an open invitation to explore, as each corner reveals hidden gems and surprises waiting to be discovered.

Indulge in the sensory feast of Bangkok’s vibrant street markets, where aromatic delicacies entice your taste buds, and vibrant textiles and handicrafts beckon the discerning shopper. From the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market to the atmospheric floating markets along the Chao Phraya River, these vibrant bazaars offer a glimpse into the city’s lively spirit.

By flight : This is the most popular option and the fastest way to travel between the 2 cities. There are many airlines that offer direct flights from Singapore to Bangkok, including Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and AirAsia. Flights take around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

10. Batam, Indonesia

shorttrips - batam resort

Batam ‘s pristine beaches, lined with soft sand and crystal-clear waters, beckon visitors to unwind and soak up the tropical sunshine. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beachfront retreat or thrilling water sports adventures, Batam has it all. Dive into the azure sea for snorkeling or scuba diving to discover the vibrant marine life beneath the surface, or engage in adrenaline-pumping activities like jet skiing and parasailing.

Beyond its natural beauty, Batam offers a rich cultural tapestry waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in the local way of life by visiting traditional villages, where you can witness traditional arts and crafts, savor local delicacies, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Barelang Bridge, an architectural marvel that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding islands.

Batam is also a paradise for golf enthusiasts, with numerous world-class golf courses set against stunning backdrops. Tee off amidst lush greenery and breathtaking views, and enjoy a round of golf in a serene and tropical setting.

By ferry: This is the most popular option and the fastest way to travel between Singapore ad Batam. There are many ferry companies that offer direct ferry services between Singapore and Batam, including Batam Fast Ferry, Majestic Ferry Batam, and Horizon Ferry Batam. The journey takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour.

10 best Bintan resorts for an unforgettable weekend getaway

Written By Pavin Chopra

Will write for food. A passionate editor, traveller and coffeeholic, Pavin generally loves people, except those who exclude chocolate from dessert menus.

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Holiday tourism is hot . Christmas markets, Santa-themed attractions, hotels that give off hygge vibes, light shows and festivals are popping up everywhere. In fact, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers , 47% of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season, and travel-related spending is expected to increase 12% over last year.

We plowed through a blizzard of options to land on these holiday-inspired places to visit in December, and then we added a couple of beachy, warm-weather spots in case that's more your vibe. Our picks are truly next level: Some long weekend locales will blow your kids' minds and cement their belief in Santa, while others are cozy couple's retreats where you can act out your Hallmark movie fantasies. A few even perfectly align with the brilliant trend of vacationing somewhere over the holidays rather than exchanging presents.

While tickets and rooms are still widely available now, it's likely that many of these places will sell out, so dash off to request your PTO!

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

hotel del coronado, san diego

Ice skating with an ocean view? Not only is it a thing, it's an epic holiday tradition at Hotel del Coronado, winner of a 2022 Good Housekeeping Family Travel Award. Skating by the Sea returns to the historic property from November 17 to January 7. After your 90-minute skating sesh, reserve seating with firepits (mmm, s'mores) at the Frostbite Lounge. Other holiday happenings at The Del include a light show and beachside igloos.

Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Highlands, North Carolina

old edwards inn spa, blue ridge mountains

Give yourself an early holiday present — the gift of a couple's or girlfriend's getaway to Old Edwards Inn & Spa. The adults-only destination in the Blue Ridge Mountains oozes cozy vibes. For a special deal, book its Comfort & Joy package, available Sunday to Thursday, November 1-17 and November 28-December 15.

It includes two nights of lodging, a three-course dinner for two and two 50-minute spa treatments. Lodging options range from an intimate historic room to a two-bedroom suite (perfection for the girls' trip).


Santa Barbara, California

street in santa brabara with mountains in the background, california, usa

Not only does Santa Barbara get decked out for the holidays, it's also whale-watching season! Migrating Pacific gray whales pass through the Santa Barbara Channel as they head back to Baja California. Visitors can spot them on one of the town's many whale-watching tours. Fortunately, you won't feel too frosty on the boat or at the city's 37th Annual Parade of Lights on December 10.

Stay at The Steward , an all-suite property offering guests a secret hideaway tucked between the ocean and mountains on California's idyllic central coast. Not only does it boast a heated outdoor pool and sweet porch swings, but the hotel also offers many sustainable touches like solar-powered lights and water-filling stations.

Fort Worth Stockyards, Fort Worth, Texas

fort worth stockyards

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the Christmas celebrations. In its 22nd year, Christmas in the Stockyards on December 3 spreads cheer with a massive ice skating rink, photos with Cowboy Santa, strolling carolers and a holiday parade. Even if you can't make it that day, most of the activities (minus the parade) are available throughout the rest of the season. Stay at the nearby Hotel Drover , which will also be decked out for the holidays.

Nashville, Tennessee

nashville, tennessee downtown skyline at twilight

The holiday season really makes the Music City sing. Both the iconic Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry feature festive concerts with superstar performers like LeAnn Rimes, Amy Grant and Vince Gill. As you explore Nashville's neighborhoods, one million twinkling lights can't help but put you in the holiday spirit.

If you're bringing the kids, stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort , home to an elaborate Polar Express-themed ICE! attraction where kids can zoom down frozen slides. For a more grown-up adventure, stay at the Bobby Hotel. After a show, indulge in warm craft cocktails at the Rooftop Lounge where you can rent a heated igloo while taking in an incredible view of downtown Nashville from 14 stories up.

Salt Lake City, Utah

salt lake city with snow capped mountain

With spectacular mountain views at every turn, Salt Lake City wows winter sports enthusiasts and foodies alike and has incredible seasonal events to boot. Throughout December, visitors can stop by the holiday art market at Alta Ski Resort , hop on a full moon lift ride at Snowbird or take a self-guided tour of the ten striking murals by some of Salt Lake’s most renowned local artists.

Restaurants like downtown's SLC Eatery and White Horse have imaginative menus. Stay nearby at Le Méridien or Element downtown. "The two hotels are under one roof and we enjoyed them both," says a Good Housekeeping staffer who recently visited. "The Element is more kid-friendly and includes free breakfast while Le Méridien is high-end and has a rooftop bar."

Biddeford, Maine

biddford, maine the lincoln hotel

A hidden gem about a half hour south of Portland, Biddeford's downtown gives off Hallmark movie vibes. Come for the annual Holiday Festival on December 1, which includes a tree and menorah lighting, caroling and even free desserts prepared by the local cultural center. Make it a weekend with a stay at The Lincoln Hotel , which fills its lobby with Christmas trees and has gas fireplaces in every room. Don't forget to stop for lunch at the Palace Diner in a vintage railcar and the oldest diner in Maine.

shoal bay east

Tucked away in the Eastern Caribbean, Anguilla is known for its magnificent beaches and easygoing atmosphere. With 33 beaches, most boasting soft, white sand, it's an undeniable paradise in December. From fun family activities like glass floor boat rides to romantic beachside dinners, the island has something for everyone.

Visitors can stay at the Frangipani Beach Resort , a luxury boutique resort set in the middle of Meads Bay, one of Anguilla’s most renowned beaches. Featuring 23 rooms and suites, travelers can take advantage of the plentiful amenities like beach and poolside service and complimentary water sports such as tubing and kayaking.

Tulum, Mexico

mayan ruins of tulum, mexico

There’s more to Mexico than burritos and mojitos. Tulum's legendary ruins are a historic wonder and the third-most visited site in Mexico. What's more, Tulum’s breathtaking flora and fauna make it a prime destination for those who appreciate natural beauty.

Stay at an all-inclusive beach resort that appeals to all ages: the Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort . With eight pools, 13 restaurants and bars, a luxury spa and an exclusive Family Zone, it has everything you need to be a home away from home. A Good Housekeeping staffer who recently visited with her family said, "The resort is beautiful and there are nice nightlife things for parents to do while the kids are in the kids club."

Snowflake Lane, Bellevue, Washington

snowflake lane, bellevue washington

Pick up gifts for everyone on your list and see a magical nighttime parade all in one place! That's multi-tasking at its finest. Every night from November 24 to December 24, a holiday parade with nearly 200 performers, floats and faux snow transforms this shopping and entertainment mecca near Seattle into a veritable winter wonderland. You can even stay overnight in the heart of the festivities at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue , which has an indoor pool and an amazing breakfast buffet.

Sydney, Australia

view of sydney harbour, australia

With summer heating up in the Southern Hemisphere, December is the perfect month to take a trip down under. For travelers who enjoy nature and wildlife, take an immersive walking tour with knowledgeable, indigenous guides to explore the city’s living world.

During your trek, visitors might get a glimpse of cute koalas sitting in treetops, spot a hopping kangaroo or experience other unforgettable creature encounters. For those who’d rather relax, the city has plenty of brilliant beaches to lounge on and sunbathe.

Beyond nature, Sydney is teeming with iconic sights and cultural attractions like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, which offers kids' programming throughout the month.

Charleston Place, South Carolina

charleston place

Visions of sugar plum fairies will be dancing in your kids' heads if you stay at the Charleston Place, which is embracing the Nutcracker as its holiday decor and programming theme for 2023. To say that the hotel goes all out for Christmas is an understatement: Decorations include more than 100 wreaths, 139 trees (including one that's 41 feet tall) and 10,000 ornaments. Local ballet companies even put on mini performances in the lobby. Sweet dreams are practically guaranteed.

Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania


Oh, what fun it is to ride at Hersheypark! Families can take a spin on select rides and attractions, including the newest coaster, at Christmas Candylane on select dates from November 10 to January. Santa and his nine reindeer also make special appearances at the park. Make it a weekend by staying at Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge , which also have a lineup of holiday-themed activities. Many involve chocolate, of course!

The Logan Hotel, Philadelphia

the logan hotel holiday lodge, philadelphia

Celebrating the holidays in Philly? Book a suite that's already decked out for the season. The Logan Hotel's Holiday Lodge Suite will get you in the spirit with its twinkling lights, seasonal bedding and fully decorated tree. Room service is also included — a cart with hot chocolate and eggnog is rolled right into your suite, so your family can customize their own beverages. While you're in town, be sure to check out the Reading Terminal Market and the Christmas Light Show at Macy's.

Alexandria, Virginia

mount vernon virginia

This historic town just outside of Washington, D.C. packs in the festivities all month long. It'll be tough deciding when to go — a Holiday Boat Parade of Lights takes place on December 2, while Christmas Illuminations with fireworks at George Washington's Mount Vernon light up the skies on December 15 and 16. Stay at a hotel in the Old Town area so you'll be near many locally owned shops and restaurants. The Alexandrian boasts a great location and an indoor pool.

sunrise palapa

It's never a bad time to visit Belize, but escaping the bustle of the holiday season for a place with pristine jungles, rainforests and exhilarating adventures sounds like a dream. Stay at Cayo Espanto , a private island that's an enchanting escape. With villas equipped with a personal butler, private dock area and customized meals, guests won’t soon forget the experience. To get in the holiday spirit, the resort even offers a holiday photoshoot for couples or families. Say, cheese!

Little America Hotel North Pole Experience, Flagstaff, Arizona

little america north pole experience

If it's possible to get your kids even more hyped for the holidays, the North Pole Experience will do it. The attraction transports families through a "magical portal" to the North Pole where they'll feast their eyes on Santa's Workshop, a Toy Hall of Fame, the North Pole mailroom and even the famous sleigh. It's about an hour and forty minutes of pure magic! Stay at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, where the magical portal opens (via trolley service) for the journey "up North" on select days from November 17 to December 24.

Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

walt disney world

If you're not sure what to get the kids for the holidays this year, may we suggest a trip to Disney? Instead of spending money on more stuff, put it toward a trip over the holidays where you can make lots of memories.

Float the idea by the kids to see if they're on board, and, if it's a go, start planning your trip, including tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (shown), which runs through December 22. Other holiday must-sees including the gingerbread display (and cookies to purchase!) at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and the Epcot International Festival of Lights (running through December 30.)

Brussels, Belgium

girl buying chocolate in brussels christmas market belgium

European holiday markets are a bucket-list experience — and wouldn't it be marvelous to stop at several without schlepping your luggage (and souvenirs!) all around? The solution: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is launching a luxury river cruise from Brussels that includes stops at five holiday markets, plus chocolate tastings, cave tours and more. The boutique cruise line also offers options starting in Germany and Switzerland.

Great Wolf Lodge

great wolf lodge

This indoor waterpark chain with 20+ locations goes big for the holidays with storytimes, nightly snowfalls, crafts, Santa visits and decorations galore. The location in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania recently opened stylish woodland villas — a first for the brand and a boon for mult-gen families.

The villas can sleep 8 to 20 guests and have bunk-bed rooms for kids. Other thoughtful touches include hooks in the bathroom to hang wet bathing suits and outdoor tables that double as tic-tac-toe boards. The table idea is the brainchild of designer Nate Berkus, who masterminded the outdoor space.

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20 Cheap Warm-Weather Winter Destinations For December

Flamingos on the beach in Aruba

Winter blues got you down? There's a cure for that. From white-sand beaches to bustling markets and ancient ruins, escaping to a warmer climate during the colder months of the year might just be what the doctor ordered. That said, jetting off to a warmer destination doesn't always mean breaking the bank — especially with a lot of careful planning, scanning flights, and making the most of off-peak rates.

We've compiled a comprehensive list of destinations — from Mexico to Spain — brimming with culture, adventure, and warmth that won't break the bank, even if you're on a budget . So, whether you're dreaming of a Caribbean beach or the historic streets of a European city, there's a destination waiting to help you shed off the winter layers and slip into something a little lighter instead.

In order to gain a general understanding, the flight prices below are estimated for departures from New York City. Keep in mind, however, that ticket and hotel prices can vary unexpectedly. That said, it's recommended to book in advance and compare prices on multiple platforms — such as Google Flights and Google Hotels — before securing a reservation.

1. Antigua and Barbuda

Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda are twin islands that wear their history with pride. The preserved forts — remnants of British colonization — stand as a testament to centuries of historical importance. Every corner — from the bustling local markets brimming with handmade crafts and exotic fruits to the narrow streets of harbor towns — tells a story of ages past.

The islands also boast over 365 beaches, ensuring that every day of the year has its unique sandy retreat. While sun-worshippers can kick their feet up and soak up the rays, the more adventurous can try their hand at everything from snorkeling to swimming with stingrays or ziplining. Plus, with temperatures ranging between 73 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit, December provides a perfect balmy backdrop.

A ballpark figure for flight costs ranges from $375 to $700 for a roundtrip. Hotel accommodations — varying from luxury resorts to quaint inns — can average around $124–$326 per night.

2. Cancun, Mexico

Located on Mexico's eastern coast, Cancun is a beachside gem. On one hand, the region's scattered Mayan ruins  — like Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World — showcase the area's rich past. On the other, its famous beaches and clubs — from Coco Bongo to Mandala Beach — provide the perfect spot for relaxation during the day and lively entertainment at night. Additionally, adventure seekers shouldn't miss the cenotes — natural limestone sinkholes filled with fresh water — that make for a scenic day out.

With an average temperature of roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit, December is one of the best months to visit Cancun. With warm days, cooler evenings, low humidity, and conveniently outside of the region's hurricane season — you simply can't go wrong.

Hitching a round trip to Cancun can set you back between $250 and $670. In terms of accommodation, you can find hotels from $49–$129 per night. Want to make your money last a little longer? Opt for street food — which costs between $1 and $4 per meal — and make sure you always pay in the local currency (Mexican pesos).

Set against the backdrop of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica is a tropical haven that promises a peek into the country's cultural melting pot of African and European influences. However, it's the beaches — think Seven Mile Beach and Sandals Montego Bay Beach — that beckon travelers to soak up the sun or indulge in water sports.

With a climate hovering around 82 degrees Fahrenheit in December, Jamaica offers a warm escape. For thrill-seekers, the island has attractions like Dunn's River Falls and cliff-jumping spots such as Rick's Cafe in Negril. Plus, local dishes like jerk chicken and patties aren't just delicious but also pocket-friendly, ranging from $2 to $6.

Considering a flight to Kingston? Budget between $350 and $700 for a round trip, with prices higher around New Year's. As for accommodations, Jamaica's diverse range of lodgings means you can secure a room anywhere from $70 to $185 per night.

Peru offers a captivating blend of history, nature, and culture. Nestled in the Andes, cities like Cusco and Lima balance colonial architecture with indigenous influences, telling stories of a past where empires met empires. Beyond the cities, the Amazon Rainforest is enchanted with its rich biodiversity. However, the real star of any trip to Peru is the legendary Machu Picchu — a testament to the ancient Inca civilization.

December in Peru — especially in destinations like Lima and Mancora— hits a comfortable 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. As for the Amazon region, visitors can expect highs of around 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, in high-altitude areas like Cusco, temperatures range from 45 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. While December also marks the start of the rainy season — ensuring a lush, green landscape — travelers still have plenty of opportunities to explore its many treks, water sports, and jungle escapes.

Flight prices typically fall between $430 and $1,200 for a round trip. Meanwhile, typical hotel prices range from $30 to $150 per night, depending on location and amenities.

5. Seville, Spain

Located in the heart of Andalusia, Seville is a city of passion — from its fierce flamenco rhythms to its intricate Moorish architecture and mouthwatering local dishes. Iconic landmarks like the Alcazar Palace and the Seville Cathedral stand testament to its rich history. Additionally, the Santa Cruz neighborhood, with its narrow alleys and vibrant squares, encapsulates the city's soul.

In December, Seville offers a mild climate, with temperatures hitting 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. For a taste of Spain, tapas bars dotted across the city offer small dishes at around $3 to $8 each. And for sangria lovers, a glass of this wine-based cocktail will set you back roughly $6.

With December being peak season for visitors, direct flights to Seville can range from $450 to $1,000 for a round trip. Accommodation-wise, travelers can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $170 for a night's stay in the city's hotels.

6. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

On the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas combines scenic beauty and vibrant nightlife. From its iconic El Arco rock formation to its golden beaches, this destination offers both relaxation and adventure while helping you stay within budget. The marina, lined with luxury yachts and bustling eateries, is the city's pulsating heart.

In December, temperatures reach 81 degrees Fahrenheit — making Los Cabos a sunny escape from the winter chill. As for dining, street tacos can be savored for $1 to $3 each, while dining at a restaurant can cost anywhere from $15 to $25. As for tours and experiences, budget around $35 for a boat trip to El Arco, around $100 to indulge in an Instagram-worthy camel ride, and $90 for an ATV adventure — just to name a few.

Flights to Cabo San Lucas generally fall between $330 and $530 for a round trip. Hotels — depending on their proximity to the beach — can range from $115 to $300 per night.

Vintage cars, pastel-colored buildings, and pulsating salsa rhythms set the scene in Cuba. Coupled with Havana's Old Town colonial architecture and the UNESCO World Heritage site tobacco fields of Viñales, a visit to this magical country feels like stepping back in time.

Visiting Cuba during December means the weather will be pleasantly warm, with temperatures hovering around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also in the middle of the country's dry season, which means unexpected rains won't dampen your plans. For meals on a budget, paladares (home-run restaurants) offer typical dishes — like ropa vieja and arroz con pollo — for $8 to $12. Meanwhile, you can also find plenty of street food for under $1. When it comes to exploring the city streets, almendrones — the country's picturesque vintage cars — are both an experience and a cost-effective mode of transport.

Flights to Havana can be budgeted between $300 and $600 for a roundtrip. For lodgings, consider casas particulares (private homes), where prices range from $20 to $80 per night.

8. Puerto Rico

As an island territory of the U.S., Puerto Rico seamlessly blends Caribbean charm with modern amenities. Old San Juan — with its cobblestone streets and Spanish forts — contrasts with the tropical rainforests of El Yunque — the only tropical forest in the United States — and the bioluminescent bays of Vieques, known as the brightest in the world.

In December, Puerto Rico's temperatures hit around 83 degrees Fahrenheit, transforming the island into a sun-kissed paradise. While the local beaches are a sight to be seen — especially Flamenco Beach in Culebra — there are plenty more things to keep you busy. Love rum? Head to Casa Bacardi — one of the island's top attractions — for a 90-minute guided tasting tour priced at $75.

Flights into San Juan are typically priced between $150 and $500 for a round trip. In terms of accommodations, prices can vary greatly. Ranging from $90 to $200 per night, costs depend on the area and hotel grade.

9. Cartagena, Colombia

Located on Colombia's northern coast, Cartagena's walled city exudes colonial charm with its colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. Dominated by the iconic Clock Tower and surrounded by centuries-old fortifications, this vibrant city is brimming with excitement, award-winning cuisine, and beautiful street art around every corner.

December sees Cartagena basking in warm tropical weather, with averages of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you're looking to savor local delicacies like arepas and empanadas from street vendors — costing only $1-$3 — or settling in for a meal at one of Latin America's top 50 restaurants, Celele , with an average price of $33 per person, dining in Cartagena is an experience of its own. Meanwhile, the Rosario Islands — a short boat trip away, with boat ride prices ranging from $16 to $25 — offer pristine beaches, luxe accommodations, and coral reefs worth exploring.

Round-trip flights to Cartagena vary between $295 and $700, and accommodations in the historic district typically range from $40 to $170 per night.

10. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana — synonymous with beach resorts and palm-lined coastlines — is an idyllic Caribbean retreat. However, beyond its beaches, you'll also find plenty of other attractions like the Reserva Ecológica Ojos Indigenas — a private reserve comprised of 1,500 acres of land — and the lively Coco Bongo nightclub, a hotspot for tourists looking to let loose.

In December, you can expect temperatures to remain around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Apart from lounging on a beach chair and working on your tan with a cold drink — cocktails cost around $8 at a beach bar, while beers sit comfortably at $6 — consider joining a locally guided trip such as a buggy adventure ($40 per person), an Isla Salona excursion ($75), or a Santo Domingo city tour ($95).

Flights to Punta Cana cost between $250 and $800 for a round trip. Meanwhile, hotels range from $100 to $400 a night, depending on how close they are to the beach.

11. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is nature's playground. From lush rainforests to active volcanoes and serene beaches, this Central American gem is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're a nature buff or a city slicker, the country's most popular activities include hitting up the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, climbing the Arenal Volcano (starting from $59 per person), visiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest (tours average $40 per person), checking out Costa Rica's national parks , and exploring the bustling streets of San Jose, Costa Rica's capital city.

December in Costa Rica is warm at around 86 degrees Fahrenheit near the coast and about 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountains. To travel around, local buses are both affordable and sustainable — just make sure you book your tickets beforehand. In terms of food, prices vary depending on where you dine. While a full-course meal can cost between $10-$20, a simple dish at a soda (local restaurant) is more likely to cost about $5.

Round-trip flights to San Jose average between $150 and $650, and accommodations span from eco-lodges at $40 to beach resorts at $120 per night.

12. Savannah, Georgia

Draped in Southern charm, Savannah boasts antebellum architecture, verdant squares, and a ghostly allure. Crowned as one of the most haunted cities in the country, this stateside gem offers a myriad of experiences: from wandering the cobblestone streets for a touch of nostalgia — especially along River Street — to hopping on a trolley tour, signing up for a haunted pub tour, or exploring the vibrant Forsyth Park.

While December brings cooler breezes, the temperatures remain comfortable at around 64 degrees Fahrenheit. To delve deeper into the city's history, consider taking a horse-drawn carriage tour or visiting the iconic Midnight Garden of Good and Evil spots. Then, indulge in Southern classics like shrimp and grits or peach cobbler at local diners for an average of $23.

Looking to escape the cold? Round-trip flights to Savannah can be budgeted between $98 and $350. With crowds lessening around December, historic inns and B&Bs range from $100 to $250 per night.

Affectionately referred to as "One Happy Island," Aruba boasts turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and the rugged landscapes of Arikok National Park, which takes up almost 20% of the island. Among sunbathers and nature lovers, some of the most widely-visited spots include Eagle Beach — hailed as one of the best in the Caribbean — and the famous California Lighthouse, which allows for 360-degree views from the top.

December sees Aruba enjoying steady trade winds and temperatures around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel like ditching the sun loungers for a more active day outside, renting a bicycle can be a great way to explore the coastline and hit up some of the island's most iconic attractions. 

Flights to Aruba fall between $300 and $600 for a round trip, while accommodations, depending on the location, range from $90 to $250 per night.

A tiny country along Central America's beautiful Caribbean coast, Belize offers a unique blend of jungles and shores. Some of the country's most spectacular sightseeing highlights include the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and the world-renowned Great Blue Hole, a hotspot for diving.

With December temperatures averaging 82 degrees Fahrenheit, Belize is both alluring and pleasant. This is especially true when hopping aboard a sailing tour to one of the neighboring cayes or relaxing on one of the country's many pristine beaches — both top activities for tourists. In terms of dining, local meals — like rice and beans, stew chicken, or fresh seafood — are easy to find and range from $5 to $15, depending on where you eat.

If you're flying to Belize City, you'll find that round-trip tickets are typically priced between $500 and $1,000 — with steeper prices around the end of the month. As for lodging options — whether you're looking for jungle lodges or beach huts — prices range from $70 to $180 per night.

15. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama, is a picture-perfect blend of Southern charm and coastal beauty. The city's white sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing or picnics, and the warm Gulf waters beckon visitors for a quick swim. In terms of activities, children and adults can enjoy a fun day out at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo , getting up close and personal with different animal species. Meanwhile, The Wharf — in Orange Beach — boasts a range of retail outlets for the shopaholics alongside a range of restaurants to satiate every palate.

December temperatures hover around a mild 62 degrees Fahrenheit — a welcome reprise from colder climates in the North, without being too hot or humid. For a taste of local flavors, the local seafood is a highlight — with dishes like po'boys and gumbo ranging from $8-$18. Plus, active travelers might enjoy a bike ride along the coast — with rentals available for as low as $20 a day.

Flights to Gulf Shores hover between $200 and $500. Accommodation options like beachfront condos and hotels generally range between $80 and $180 per night.

16. Panama City, Panama

A bustling metropolis that offers a delightful mix of old-world charm and modern sophistication, Panama City is booming. The historic Casco Viejo — with its cobbled streets, colonial buildings, and sprawling plazas — serves as a live testament to the city's storied past. In terms of sightseeing, you can't miss the Panama Canal — a modern marvel linking two oceans and a symbol of human innovation.

While December sees average temperatures around 88 degrees Fahrenheit, Panama City's coastal breeze makes outdoor exploration a joy. Plus, after a day of sightseeing, the neighboring beaches —   inner-city beaches aren't swimmable — provide a serene spot for relaxation. A ferry to the popular Taboga Island, for example, will set you back around ​​$24.

A round-trip flight into Panama City can cost between $540 and $1,000. Depending on where you choose to stay, accommodations range from $40 to $200 per night.

17. Key West, Florida

At the southernmost tip of the continental U.S., Key West promises both adventure and relaxation. Historic homes — such as the Hemingway House — give a peek into the island's intriguing past, while sun-kissed beaches — like favorites Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor — are havens for beachgoers and sun enthusiasts looking to work on their holiday glow.

The average temperature in December — a pleasant 77 degrees Fahrenheit — makes outdoor activities like snorkeling, diving, and fishing particularly enjoyable. In terms of dining, local eateries serve up fresh seafood and the iconic Key lime pie — which is said to have originated in the area around the late 19th century — with main dishes averaging $15 to $25.

Flights to Key West range from $70 to $490 for a round trip, while accommodations — given the popular tourist nature of the place — can cost anywhere between $224–$591 per night.

18. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina's capital is a whirlwind of culture and history. The historic San Telmo district and the upscale Puerto Madero offer contrasting views of this diverse city: cobblestone alleys and colonial façades in the former, and shimmering skyscrapers and modern eateries in the latter. During the winter months in the North, the southern hemisphere welcomes summer — meaning that locals and tourists alike flock to parks, open-air cafes, and plazas for a touch of warmth.

In December, Buenos Aires enjoys temperatures around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. While dance enthusiasts can experience the passionate tango at local milongas, art-loving travelers can soak up vibrant murals in Palermo or explore avant-garde exhibitions in Recoleta. Don't miss a stop by El Ateneo Grand Splendid – one of the world's most beautiful bookstores, set in a converted 1920s theater.

Flights to Buenos Aires are relatively steep – ranging from $1,000 to $1,700 per round trip. However, its affordability once you've landed more than makes up for the price tag. Meanwhile, hotel prices may also vary, but expect them to be between $30 and $130 per night.

19. San Diego, California

Often dubbed "America's Finest City," San Diego offers an enticing mix of sandy beaches, vibrant urban life, and cultural richness. Its coastline, with renowned spots like La Jolla and Coronado, beckons visitors for a day of sun, surf, and relaxation. Away from the water, the San Diego Zoo offers an immersive experience for families and solo travelers alike, with single-day tickets starting from $59 for children and $69 for adults.

In December, daytime temperatures average around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, making outdoor exploration a pleasure. Foodies will be happy to know that the culinary scene won't disappoint. Especially notable is the fresh seafood, which fits in nicely inside an average food budget of $45 per day.

When planning a trip, travelers can expect flights to San Diego to be in the ballpark of $200 to $500. As for accommodations, these cater to a range of budgets, with nightly rates spanning from $90 to $300.

20. Quito, Ecuador

Perched high in the Andes at an altitude of 9,350 feet, Quito offers breathtaking views and a moderate climate despite its proximity to the equator. The city's historic center — declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in the late 70's — is a well-preserved architectural gem. Meanwhile, just outside the city, the Middle of the World Monument calls out to visitors keen to straddle both hemispheres. Tours to visit the attraction range from $15 for basic transport, to $120 for a full-day trip with other stops along the way.

Daytime temperatures in December average around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, providing a comfortable environment to explore the city without breaking a sweat. From Quito, visitors can also head out to neighboring destinations like Otavalo — famous for its market and crafts — and Cotopaxi, which is well-known for hosting the Volcan Cotopaxi, the second-highest point in the country. Both of these are easily reachable by taking a local bus, and you shouldn't expect to pay more than $3 to reach Otavalo or $20 for a return trip to the volcano checkpoint.

Flight prices to Quito usually range between $350 and $800 for a round trip. Accommodation, depending on the location and luxury level, can cost between $25 and $150 per night.

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Where is hot in December? Our top 13 destinations

By Sarah James

Where is hot in December 13 top places to visit in December

As the cold takes firm hold of Europe , sun seeking generally requires a longer flight. True, there are spots closer to home with the good grace to linger around 20°C, but winter provides an excellent excuse for a far-flung getaway, when a powerful and prolonged dose of vitamin D is practically prescribed. Hot cities in Africa and Australia will come alive this month, as their summers finally arrive, while tropical islands and unsung corners of the world will hit their peak. See below for our edit of where is hot in December. For more travel inspiration, see our guide to the best winter sun destinations and the best holiday destinations in December .

Average December temperature 26°C  The seven hourflight from London to Dubai can just about be classed as mediumhaul...

Average December temperature : 26°C

The seven hour-flight from London to Dubai can just about be classed as medium-haul, while the time difference between the two is a jet-lag-free four hours – but this desert city in the Middle East feels worlds away from chilly England in December. Sure, there’s the glitzy side of Dubai – its mega-malls and skyscraping hotels are decked out in festive lights and ginormous trees for the season – but there’s a more laidback side to the city, too. Life’n One is a hidden yoga retreat for those hoping to end the year on a healthy note, while cultural hub Alserkal Avenue is a great place to escape the heat in arthouse cinemas and indie galleries.

Where to stay: Forget the glitz and glam, this cool new un-Dubai hotel is 25hours Hotel One Central , a hub for creatives, digital nomads, and those in the know. If you're here to venture to the pool and nothing more, Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort is a great option, especially for families. For a stay that’s unlike anything else in Dubai, book a room at the secluded five-room hotel and spa Al Faya Lodge an hour east of the city. See our edit of the best hotels in Dubai for more.

Average December temperature 21°C  We called it ‘the surprisingly cool Canary island but we werent talking about the...

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Average December temperature : 21°C

We called it ‘the surprisingly cool Canary island ’, but we weren’t talking about the weather. The fact that Lanzarote resides off Africa’s west coast means that even in December it’s still fairly sane to take a dip. Avoid the package hordes and head to fine, white-sand Papagayo Beach on the southern tip of the island, or try world-class surfing in north-west Famara. In fact, more surprises lie in store the further you stray from the tourist hotels. There’s the Jardín de Cactus in Guatiza, a surreal succulent amphitheatre; or starkly alluring Timanfaya National Park, a volcanic wilderness that starred in 1966 film One Million Years BC. And don’t forget Finca Malvasia , a seductive ranch-like retreat in the central wine region, owned by a pair of designers who swapped London for island life. After wintering in Lanzarote, you might just join them.

Where to stay: La Cabaña , a slick and earthy villa with a quote-mark-shaped swimming pool and views down to Puerto Calero. For more, check out our list of the best villas in Lanzarote .

Average December temperature 27°C  Its one of Southeast Asias wintersun kingpins for good reason  tropical Balis lush...

Bali, Indonesia

Average December temperature : 27°C

It’s one of South-east Asia ’s winter-sun kingpins for good reason – tropical Bali ’s lush rainforest and white-sand beaches tick all the boxes when it comes to a warm-weather escape. Once-scrappy beach town Canggu draws Indonesia 's thriving digital-nomad crowd, along with blissed-out surfers, while artists’ village Ubud is a hub for those seeking a more spiritual getaway.

Where to stay: Teetering on a high clifftop overlooking the Indian Ocean on Bali’s southern coast, Six Senses Uluwatu is a wellness retreat that gets it just right. In Canggu, we like The Slow , a 12-room bolthole with an achingly cool cocktail of art, music and interior design. Riverside jungle hideout Capella Ubud feels like an African tented camp from the 19th century and makes an ideal base that avoids any desert-island clichés. If you're travelling in a group, Bali has some incredible villas and Airbnbs, like Laputa Villa which sleeps four and is widely known as "The Bamboo Castle in the Sky." For more, see our pick of the best Bali hotels .

Average December temperature 20°C  When winter is in full flow dont underestimate the power of a threeandahalfhour...

Marrakech, Morocco

Average December temperature : 20°C

When winter is in full flow, don’t underestimate the power of a three-and-a-half-hour flight to another world. Yes, Marrakech is hectic, but a recent influx of design hotels – most of them reimagining glorious, red-brick riads – means there’s always somewhere more sedate to escape to. Alternatively, take up residence in a palace: La Mamounia , a grande dame of landscaped gardens, fountains, opulent tiles and velvets, is a card-carrying member of our best hotels in the world Gold List . Or book a stay at Royal Mansour , the city's most lavish hotel, which proves you needn’t plunge into the medina madness outside to get the best of Marrakech.

Where to stay: As we mentioned above there are no shortage of hotels in Marrakech . For a traditional riad stay, Riad Goloboy is a feast for the eyes (and Instagram) with kaleidoscopic walls and a gallery-worthy art collection.

Average December temperature 24°C  The citys yearround warm weather comes into its own in December when the beach...

Average December temperature : 24°C

The city’s year-round warm weather comes into its own in December, when the beach parties continue while other sun spots – we’re looking at you, California – pull on a sweater. For a calmer vibe, try the less-developed northern end of Miami Beach. It’s here that chef Thomas Keller serves elegant classics (oysters, steak tartare, lobster thermidor) at the landmark The Surf Club, among potted palms and white-coated waiters who evoke the spot’s history as the go-to of the 1950s jet set. Better yet, the recently extended, hacienda-style Four Seasons is here (Elizabeth Taylor and Wallis Simpson count among former guests). Refined might not be the word typically associated with Miami, but let this breath of fresh air change your mind.

Where to stay: Miami Beach Edition sits inside the skeleton of the Seville, one of the giant 1950s hotels, with nods to the past, a connection to the city's heritage and a bar with uninterrupted ocean views.

Average December temperature 26°C  Its peak season in the Bahamas and while that will certainly keep the beaches busy it...

Bahamas, Caribbean

It’s peak season in the Bahamas , and while that will certainly keep the beaches busy, it also means perfect weather. Our tip: strike out for Harbour Island, a three-mile-long, mile-and-a-half-wide sliver of sensational, pink-sand stretches, where there are always enough sunbeds to go around. Make camp at its smartest hotel, Bahama House , a chic cottage with retro Palm Beach vibes, a sunken tiki bar and just 11 rooms. It’s part of Eleven Experience, an experiential-travel specialist, you can also take advantage of custom adventures such as diving in secret grottoes or swimming with swines on Pig Beach.

Where to stay: Pelican Bay Hotel . Inside, waterside rooms combine Caribbean cheerfulness with classic European style. Outside, white-sand beaches, lush boulevards and beautiful seascapes.

Average December temperature 27°C  Cape Town is always a good idea but particularly in December when the fledgling South...

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is always a good idea, but particularly in December, when the fledgling South African summer sets beaches and vineyards aglow. The mere sight of beautiful crowds bronzing against its theatrical, cragged mountain backdrop will banish the winter blues in one blow. And just when you thought the Mother City’s raw good looks, smart art and design scenes and world-class food couldn’t get more appealing, it only goes and adds a pair of super-hot hotels, too.

Where to stay: The Silo , which is ingeniously set inside a former grain elevator house at the top of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. Also on our Gold List, Ellerman House is an imposing Edwardian mansion with smashing views of the Atlantic and one of the country’s finest private-art collections.

Average December temperature 22°C  Just like that lowandslow New Zealand drawl Auckland is a big beautiful city thats...

Auckland, New Zealand

Average December temperature : 22°C

Just like that low-and-slow New Zealand drawl, Auckland is a big, beautiful city that’s seldom in a hurry. Perhaps that’s what happens when there’s nature everywhere – rainforest-covered hills here; the glittering Hauraki Gulf there. And the notion that the affable country is somehow behind the times is rebuffed by the likes of the Britomart complex, a series of waterfront heritage buildings turned boutiques and restaurants, and Iko Iko, a fabulous concept store with fans such as Emilia Wickstead. Add in a ferry trip to nearby Waiheke Island’s sandy beaches and vineyard wine tastings and be totally converted to the Kiwi lifestyle.

Where to stay: Hilton Auckland is über-trendy retro futurism in a gleaming wharf shed redeveloped to resemble a cruise-liner.

Average December temperature 31°C  Tulum Cancún and Playa del Carmen are the seaside giants of the Yucatn in southeast...

Merida, Yucatan Peninsula

Average December temperature : 31°C

Tulum , Cancún and Playa del Carmen are the seaside giants of the Yucatán in south-east Mexico , but head instead for the state capital of Mérida for the best of everything: Mayan ruins, a charming colonial town, dense jungle and – if you don’t mind a short drive – beaches, too. Best of all, there’s Chablé just outside the city, an astonishingly lush estate with a spa and private cenote, a restaurant led by renowned chef Jorge Vallejo, a tequila ‘library’, a sweat lodge and a local shaman. Plus it has 40 splashy, limestone-and-glass casitas, each one with its own terrace and pool.

Where to stay: Hacienda Xcanatun for marble mosaic and coral stone floors on the verandahs, exteriors are daubed in terracotta and cream, and rough-hewn rustic tables and hammocks hung between trees that give this 18th-century Italianate estate a lived-in feel.

Average December temperature 27°C  Long the ShangriLa of feverish backpacker dreams Koh Samui has grown up. Yes its...

Koh Samui, Thailand

Long the Shangri-La of feverish backpacker dreams, Koh Samui has grown up. Yes, its raison d’être remains pure pleasure – in the shade of three million coconut palms, and on its bone-white beaches – but the packaging is more Four Seasons, less ratty bungalow. Wellness has well and truly arrived here, with yoga studios, health retreats and even monk-led mentoring for those looking to make a real change. If, however, you just want a proper, idyllic tropical break, Panacea takes the cake. The former home of one of the world’s top hedge-fund managers, this sprawling hilltop estate features five enormous residences, 82ft swimming pools, a cinema, a nightclub – and even a Muay Thai boxing ring (tattooed instructor included).

Where to stay: Set high on a hill, Panacea has a mix of four-, five- or six-bedroom villas filled with tropical hardwoods, silk fabrics and petrified wood that’s over a million years old, plus there's a kids’ room, a private cinema, gambling den and nightclub. At COMO Point Yamu a 100-metre long white-tiled swimming pool shoots out towards the Andaman Sea. Tip-top service, zingy cuisine and a wondrous spa has made this Thai hotel a favourite with LGBTQ+ Thais and travellers.

Average December temperature 27°C  No doubt Havana is spectacular. But leaving Cubas main drawcard to explore its steamy...

No doubt, Havana is spectacular. But leaving Cuba ’s main drawcard to explore its steamy eastern mountains will bring you closer to a country that, in its isolation from modernity, has much to teach. In Baracoa, the mystical hangs like a heavy mist. The city, surrounded by the Cuchillas del Toa mountain range, is a world unto itself: streets infused with music, sleepy beaches and rivers and canyons where – yes, even here – you’ll stumble upon the odd thatched bar. At the very south of the island, Santiago de Cuba, with its palatial Spanish buildings by the sea, is set to be the next It destination, but for now remains thrillingly tourist-free.

Where to stay: Casa de Miriam y Sinai is a fantastic first-floor flat that is an oasis of calm and space, with three spacious rooms, one with a street-side balcony, are spotless and have top-drawer bathrooms.

Average December temperature 24°C  Melbournes erratic climate ensures itll never hold the beachy appeal of Sydney. But...

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne ’s erratic climate ensures it’ll never hold the beachy appeal of Sydney . But December’s summer temperatures are ideal for exploring the city’s beloved laneways: narrow passages packed with street art , galleries, restaurants and bars. It’s here that trends are set rather than followed; where a cup of coffee has both a caffeine kick and global acclaim. And in Australia ’s always dynamic second city, there’s never a shortage of new and miraculous places to explore. Currently it’s Di Stasio Città, Spring Street’s Brutalist Italian restaurant, where guests eat fabulous crab capellini in a concrete-bunker-like setting as video installations play across the walls.

Where to stay: Lindenderry at Red Hill , a silver-birch-lined drive leading to a white rural hideout, with comforting, pared-back style and a restaurant that uses the with best local produce.

Volcan Arenal dominates the landscape during sunset as seen from the Monteverde area Costa Rica.

Average December temperature : 30°C

There's a lot to love about Costa Rica. The awe-inspiring nature – two coastlines, Caribbean and Pacific, which have not only distinct landscapes but distinct vibes; rainforests; volcanoes; powerful waterfalls that crash into rivers. You can surf, raft or relax in natural hot springs, spot sloths, monkeys and thousands of species of birdlife. All of this, plus Costa Rica is consistently named one of the happiest countries in the world, as well as having a higher-than-average life expectancy. December to April are the best times to visit – you can expect dry, sunny days, perfect for exploring on your own terms.

Where to stay: Aguas Claras in Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean coast has six cabanas and a handful of restaurants loved by locals. See our edit of the best Costa Rica hotels for more ideas.

The 32 Best Places to Travel in the World in December

12/03/2023 by Kristin Addis Leave a Comment

December seems to be one of the most popular times of year to travel worldwide. It makes sense: people are eager to use the vacation days they’ve saved up all year, “the holidays” are coming up, and many travelers want to experience what Christmas is like in another culture. 

If you want to find out what some of the best places to travel to in December are, stick around, because this list has options all around the world. Come along for a wintry, beachy, safari-filled ride! 

Table of Contents

1. Azores, Portugal

sao miguel sete cidades overlook

The Azores are a dreamy wonderland in the winter. Expect some dreary weather and fog , but if you pack accordingly , you’ll be thrilled to have these beautiful volcanic islands to yourself. Check out Flores and São Miguel , and consider staying in one of these beautiful hotels . Because these islands are so remote, we put together a guide on how to get around to make the most of your vacation.

2. Stuttgart, Germany

best christmas markets stuttgart

If you get super excited about Christmas, Stuttgart is one of the best bases in December for Germany’s world-famous Christmas markets. In and around the city, you’ll find  several Christmas markets  that are in full holiday cheer during the entire month, each with its own unique theme (including one dedicated entirely to chocolate). Though other places replicate markets like these, there’s truly no place like Germany for them. 

From the quintessential warm, spicy aromas and the mouthwatering gastronomy to the twinkling lights and crisp winter air, Stuttgart is  the  spot for  Weihnachten  this December.

3. Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

best places to travel in December Austria

Looking to hit the slopes this December? There are few locations better than  Saalbach-Hinterglemm  in the Austrian Alps . This ski resort takes pride in its cool, mountain-retreat vibe and stellar variety of slopes, ranging from complete beginner to pro level. With the stunning-beyond-words backdrop of the Alps, Saalbach is easily one of the most beautiful places to ski, snowshoe-hike, and explore.

Christmas decorations blanket the entire town during the month of December, creating a magical atmosphere fit for any holiday vacation. Consider  staying at Boutique Hotel Anybody , as it’s only 300 meters from the ski lifts.

4. Rovaniemi, Finland

best places to travel in December Finland

I might argue that the best place to visit in December would have to be the home of the one and only Santa Claus, which is why Rovaniemi, Finland , is an essential entry on this list. Part of  Finnish Lapland , this small city inside the Arctic Circle, where ice and snow reign supreme during this month, has its own Santa Claus Village.

Also check out (or stay at) the mystical  SnowHotel , which is carved from snow and ice every year. It includes glass igloos with transparent domes, meaning you can watch the glimmer of the northern lights across the night sky before you go to sleep. Make sure to book your room well in advance.

5. London, United Kingdom

best places to travel in December London UK

Who doesn’t want to live out their  Love, Actually  fantasy by heading to London in December? There’s a magical quality that the British capital has during the holiday season. The twinkling lights are truly next-level, the classic red phone booths match the holiday decorations, and there are abundant Christmas markets throughout town, each with a unique theme.

During this time of year, there are  bus tours specifically for checking out the Christmas lights . Yeah, they’re  that  good.

6. Florence, Italy

best places to travel in December Florence Italy

Florence is the capital of Tuscany, one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. Not only is it a cultural hub with amazing museums, fantastic food, and charming cobblestone streets to explore, but it’s also home to some of the most iconic architecture in the country.

Sure, you can visit Florence any time of year and have a blast. The high season coincides with summer, but most tourists have cleared out by December, when the city remains lively but isn’t as packed. Plus, the weather is quite mild, and there are lots of cute, twinkling Christmas lights. It’s a win-win if you ask me! 

Check out this seasonal  Christmas Magic tour  to get the full experience of December in Florence.

landmannalaugar iceland

There are some definite  pros and cons  to visiting Iceland in the winter. While some areas might be more difficult to access, others are actually ideal for December. The Icelandic Highlands are an incredible sight to see this time of year, plus it’s the perfect period in which to get a glimpse of the northern lights.

Start your trip in Reykyavik, then consider departing on a road trip along either  the Ring Road  or  the Golden Circle . Don’t miss out on the hot springs, as they’re particularly beautiful and fun in December.

North America

8. florida keys road trip.

best places to travel in December florida keys

One of the best winter vacations in the USA is a road trip through the Florida Keys . There’s world-class snorkeling , beautiful beaches , amazing restaurants, and exciting tours and excursions in Key Largo , Islamorada , Marathon , and of course, Key West . If you’re new to Florida, check out our solo traveler guide to this amazing state .

Winter in the Florida Keys is generally pretty crowded, but that just adds to the hype. If you want to avoid some of the crowds, spend most of your time in Big Pine Key .

9. Big Island, Hawai’i

best places to travel in December big island of hawaii

If fleeing freezing temperatures is a priority for you this December, the Big Island can meet all your beachy needs. Here you’ll find mind-blowing  places to snorkel , some of the  best beaches in the state of Hawai’i , and tons of interesting,  offbeat accommodations .

There’s enough  to do on the Big Island  for any length of stay. Find ideas for your  three-day, one-week, or two-week Big Island itinerary here .

Like many other locations on this list, December is a popular  time to visit Hawai’i , and it can get crowded toward the end of the month. To avoid this as much as possible, opt to travel to Hawai’i at the beginning of the month.

10. Death Valley National Park, California & Nevada

badwater basin stars

You might have heard that Death Valley is one of the absolute best places to see in  December in the USA , so it should come as no surprise that it also makes our worldwide list. California’s spectacular desert landscapes can be nearly intolerable in the summer months, due to the scorching heat. That’s why December is prime time to climb the dunes, venture to  Golden Canyon , or marvel at the colorful Artist’s Palette.

Whether you’re hitting up other  California deserts  or plan to make Death Valley your sole destination, you’re in for a treat here this December. Don’t miss this  Death Valley guide while you’re putting together your itinerary.

11. Moab, Utah

best places to travel in December Moab Utah

Firey red-rock formations, massive arches, and canyons that look nearly bottomless all await you in Moab this December. This charming town is sandwiched between two of  Utah’s best national parks :  Arches  and Canyonlands. Both are spectacular, and both are incredible in the wintertwhen you might get the occasional blanket of stark white snow over the reddish orange landscape.

Besides the added beauty of contrasting colors, this is a stellar month to visit Moab, Utah , because it’s much less crowded than other times of the year. You might be able to snag a deal on accommodations, and popular places like Delicate Arch and Mesa Arch won’t be nearly as busy as the late spring to early fall months. 

Get all the  info you need to visit Moab here .

12. Alberta, Canada

canmore alberta

If you are ready to fully embrace the unique beauty of winter, the province of Alberta is the December destination for you. This Canadian gem is famous for its spectacular landscapes and subzero temperatures, making it a proper winter wonderland.

Winters in Alberta feel like the real-life version of a snow globe, so it’s no surprise that this part of Canada is a popular destination this month. To avoid crowds as much as possible, visit before Christmas. 

Start scoping out your photo spots with some  Alberta winter inspo here .

13. Riviera Maya, Mexico


If you’re hoping for a serene beach vacation, December on the Riviera Maya might not be for you, because it’s the most crowded time of year. However, if you don’t mind the influx of tourism to the region, the spectacular weather will make the trip totally worth it. It’s the coolest part of the year in Mexico , with the most sunshine, which is the best of both worlds.

There’s so much  to do on the Riviera Maya , and the best way to get the most out of it is to  rent a car in Cancún  and embark on a road trip down the Caribbean coast. This way, you can get to some off-the-beaten-path  cenotes near Cancún  and  Tulum . Some other can’t-miss places are  Isla Holbox ,  Tulum itself, and  Bacalar .

14. The Bahamas

best places to travel in December the Bahamas

The Bahamas are a beautiful archipelago just off the coast of Florida (here are nine of the best islands in the Bahamas !) There are plenty of magical things to do here, like swimming with pigs in Staniel Cay and snorkeling the road to Atlantis in Bimini . The water is so clear you can see starfish twenty feet down!

The weather in December couldn’t be better, with clear skies and milder temperatures. There might be an occasional nor’easter that blows through, so pack a sweater just in case!

Central & South America

15. monteverde, costa rica.

best places to travel in December Costa Rica

Tucked away in the lush mountains of central Costa Rica lies Monteverde, one of the  most beautiful places in the country . It is home to several cloud forests, where dense jungles house moss-covered trees and mysterious bouts of fog, not to mention some of the longest hanging bridges in all of Central America, along with ample opportunities to zip-line (among  other fun activities and things to do ).

Even though there will definitely be ample tourists here in December, there are so many miles of hiking trails in the parks that you’ll still be able to find some peace and connection with nature, especially solo .

Although December is part of the high season in Costa Rica, visiting early in the month is still a great option. The weather is fantastic this time of year , with less rain and more sunshine. Monteverde is one of the chilliest parts of the country, though, so prepare for cold nights. 

16. Cusco, Peru

cusco peru

Cusco, Peru , is most famous for being the launching point for the legendary Machu Picchu archaeological site, but that’s only the beginning. If you’re looking for somewhere to go this December that has lively city streets surrounded by rolling mountain peaks, a strong cultural identity , and plenty of outdoorsy things to do , Cusco is the place for you.

While December is undoubtedly one of the most popular times in Cusco, and you might experience thick crowds, it’s summer here, and the weather is ideal for a hike. 

Find out what else there is  to do in Cusco here.

17. Bariloche, Argentina

pampa linda

Speaking of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, December is the perfect month to see Argentinian Patagonia. Bariloche is the gateway to the region and is absolutely beautiful this time of year. The lakes are glistening, the trees are vibrantly green, and the trails nearby are waiting for you to explore them .

All the best hikes around town, along with other things to do, can be found in this  Bariloche guide .

18. San Pedro de Atacama Desert, Chile


San Pedro de Atacama, Chile , is the ultimate rugged adventure, full of surprises and incredible scenery. The best way to experience it is to rent a camper van, so you can have the freedom to wander where you please, spending as long as you’d like in each place. However, if you want more structure and the bonus of having a guide, a  tour like this one  is ideal.

December is one of the driest months in the sprawling San Pedro de Atacama Desert (already one of the driest in the world), which makes it the best time for stargazing. Since the desert gets unbearably cold at night in the winter (i.e., summer in the Northern Hemisphere), visiting in the Chilean summer (December) is also best for camping.

19. Santa Cruz Island, the Galápagos, Ecuador

Galápagos on a budget

Many visitors to the Galápagos start their adventure on Santa Cruz Island, as it’s the largest and most populated. Therefore,  Santa Cruz has plenty to do , such as lava tubes, tons of wildlife (including giant tortoises!), massive craters, and some stellar scuba diving spots. If you love it here, you might want to do a  Galápagos Island cruise  while you’re at it.

Considering that December is popular, since the weather is beautiful this time of year, you’ll want to book your accommodations well in advance, though there are many  budget options here .

20. Cartagena, Colombia

best places to travel in December Colombia

Cartagena is on many travelers’ bucket lists, and for good reason. This city on Colombia’s northern coast is full of gorgeous architecture, an easily walkable downtown area, beautiful beaches, and the delightful sounds of salsa music around every corner. There are several  islands off Cartagena’s coast  that are a delight when the weather is like this.

It is one of the best places to travel in December, because the weather is cooler, making it more comfortable. Plus, Colombia has a whole host of interesting Christmas traditions, so visiting during the holidays means you’ll get an authentic look at the country’s culture. Cartagena is also full of street vendors selling Christmas gifts and specialty foods during this time of year, making it extra special.

aruba things to do eagle beach

Delicate, soft, white-sand beaches with perhaps the clearest blue water you’ve ever seen await you in Aruba . When it comes to  Caribbean island paradises , this one has some of the  most picture-perfect beaches . Choose Aruba this December if you’re dying to escape the cold and need a heavy dose of “vitamin sea.” (And don’t miss this epic list of the  best things to do in Aruba  while you’re planning.)

This month is a fantastic one during which to visit Aruba, because, like most of the Caribbean, the weather is unmatched. Despite it being rainy season, Aruba is always on the dry side, so sunny skies, relatively mild temperatures, and soft breezes characterize this time of the year. 

22. Southern Islands, Thailand

short trip in december

Island-hopping in southern Thailand is a dream for many travelers, and there’s no wondering why. You can find a little bit of everything in this region: quiet beaches like Tonsai, can’t-miss touristy destinations like  Railay Beach , hidden gems like Bottle Beach, and so much more.

December is prime time, because the temps are cooler and the days are sunnier — perfect beach weather. There are plenty of  routes to take  through southern Thailand, but  booking an island-hopping tour  is one of the better ways to see as much as you can.

23. Hanoi, Vietnam

best places to travel in December Hanoi Vietnam

Hanoi not only makes for a great starting point for a  backpacking trip through Vietnam or an essential stop on any  Southeast Asia backpacking route  but also a stellar December destination all on its own as well. It’s one of the most fascinating cities in Vietnam for its mix of traditional and colonial cultures. You can see French influences in everything from bahn mi  sandwiches to the ornate architecture.

Visiting Hanoi in December is ideal if you want to get a taste of Vietnam without the stifling heat and humidity. This time of year yields mild temperatures — you might even see people wearing puffy coats and sweaters. Find out how best to pack for your trip with this  Southeast Asia packing list . 

24. Siem Reap, Cambodia

best places to travel in December siam reap cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia , is the launching point for the must-see Angkor Wat archaeological and religious site. I visited in 2016, and it still remains one of the most surreal places I’ve ever traveled to. The ruins themselves are astounding: hundreds of temples, each with various carvings depicting the harrowing history of the site. Definitely don’t miss the chance to do a  sunrise tour — I did one, and it was by far among my favorite experiences in Southeast Asia. 

The town of Siem Reap itself is a backpacker hub, with plenty of restaurants and accommodations with very cheap prices, even in the high season.

Like so many other entries on this list, December is peak season. Don’t let that deter you from exploring this mystical destination, though. The cooler temperatures make seeing the ruins much more enjoyable, which might outweigh having to share the site with so many other visitors.

25. Ari Atoll, Maldives

best places to travel in December Maldives

Ari Atoll is by far one of the  best scuba diving destinations in the world . December is during the dry season, making it an incredible time for scuba diving and snorkeling, as there’s excellent visibility. It’s also whale shark season here; one of the best ways to see them is by  diving with Liveaboard . You’ll also see colorful, healthy corals and abundant tropical fish. 

Visiting Ari Atoll, like most places in the Maldives , can get pricey. This is especially true during the highly popular dry season. Check out this  guide on how to go to the Maldives on a budget  for some money-saving tips.

26. Takayama, Japan

takayama village

There’s truly nowhere else on earth quite like Takayama, Japan . The city is known as the gateway to the Japanese Alps, buildings boast Edo-era architecture, and the food is out of this world (ingredients are organic and sourced locally). It’s a beautiful and historic place, and is also safe to explore solo .

Takayama is a magical destination for a weekend trip. Checkout this complete three-day winter itinerary , which includes things to do , places to stay, and how to get to and from the city.

The city gets quite chilly this time of year, with similar temperatures that you’d encounter in parts of the US and Europe. Dress for cold weather .

27. Tofo Beach, Mozambique

sunrise in tofo mozambique

One of the most magical beaches I can think of is Tofo in Mozambique .  To get there  is an adventure in itself, and it’s perhaps the most off-the-beaten-path destination on this list. If you are up for the journey, though, Tofo’s pristine beaches, perfect surf, and jubilantly friendly locals make the trip worth it.

December is an awesome month to go to Tofo, because it’s peak season and the best time to celebrate the holidays with residents. It never really gets overcrowded , though, and most visitors are from other parts of the country, so it maintains its laid-back charm even during the high season. 

Start planning your  beach vacation to Tofo here .

28. Karoo National Park, South Africa

karoo gopro

When it comes to national parks in South Africa , you may have only heard of Kruger. To be honest, that was the only one I knew about before I went to the country myself. Since December is such a busy time to visit Kruger, it gets overwhelmingly crowded there.

Check out Karoo National Park instead, where you’ll see a wider variety of landscapes and have a better chance of finding some peace and quiet. People often refer to Karoo as “the bush,” but it’s really more like a desert, so if you’re a fan of arid scenery with magnificent rock formations, this is the place for you.

December also marks the beginning of summer in South Africa, so expect warm, dry weather. 

29. Chobe National Park, Botswana

best places to travel in December Botswana

If going on a safari has always been a dream of yours, this is your sign to check out Chobe National Park in Botswana for the adventure of a lifetime. Here you’ll encounter African elephants, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, and many other animals in the wild. In fact, it’s one of the  best parks for wildlife viewing , due to the sheer concentration of animals.

December is a fantastic month to visit, because it’s green season and the entire park is lush with vegetation. It’s a popular time, though, so make sure to book far in advance. 

Consider hitting up Chobe National Park along with other parks on  this epic adventure camping tour .

30. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the Seven Wonders of Africa, earning its title because of its massive size and lush foliage. It’s the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera, and is home to around 25,000 animals, including many critically endangered species.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, Tanzania in December is ideal, because the region is beautifully lush this time of year due to short spurts of rain and ample sunshine in between. 

Find everything you need to know about  visiting the Ngorongoro Crater here .

31. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

lake kivu

Many refer to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda as the birthplace of gorilla trekking. Since there are so few left in the wild, this activity can be quite expensive and requires booking about a year in advance. However, seeing these animals in the wild is a  truly spectacular and unforgettable experience  that is high on many travelers’ bucket lists.

Visiting Volcanoes National Park is just one element of the perfect  Rwanda itinerary , and December is a great month for this adventure. Crowds here are relatively low this time of year. But you should prepare for rain, which can come at any momennt, as it’s the wet season.

32. Tahiti, French Polynesia

best places to travel in December French Polynesia

While some travelers merely make a stop in Tahiti on their way to  Bora Bora , French Polynesia , this island destination has much more to offer. There’s an abundance of gushing waterfalls, thick green jungles, and enough snorkeling and diving opportunities to make any ocean lover happy.

Although December is the rainy season in Tahiti, there are plenty of ways to enjoy. It’s a great place for a jungle hike, a visit to a black-sand beach, or chasing waterfalls. Find out what else there is  to do in Tahiti here .

I hope this list gives you plenty of inspiration for your December travels this year and for years to come. 

Where will you be heading?

About Kristin Addis

Kristin Addis is the founder and CEO of Be My Travel Muse, a resource for female travelers all around the world since 2012. She's traveled solo to over 65 countries and has brought over 150 women on her all-female adventure tours from Botswana to the Alaskan tundra.

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8 Cozy Winter Weekend Getaways from NYC

By Juliet Izon and Mark Ellwood

view of lodge in winter snow. sunset

New York City during the holidays is aglitter with mesmerizing window displays and decor, some of the country’s best seasonal dance and theater shows, and—as anyone who lives here is well aware—lots (and lots) of tourists. As the crowds descend upon Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree or swarm Union Square for their holiday shopping, we don’t blame New Yorkers for pushing aside visions of sugar plums to make room for dreams of getting out of town until after the New Year.

Luckily, NYC is well-situated for many a winter weekend getaway , whether you’re craving snow-filled paradises for winter sports , charming Connecticut hamlets, or wellness meccas in western Massachusetts. We’ve combed the entire radius surrounding the Big Apple to find the absolute top-notch spots that are perfect for a quick trip away from the hustle and bustle. Just make sure you have your snow boots, flannels, and … a car. Remember those?

Read on for eight of the best cozy winter weekend getaways from New York City.

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

living room in winter lodge. fireplace. snow

Lake Placid, New York

As a two-time home to the Winter Olympics (in 1932 and 1980), it’s hard to argue that Lake Placid isn’t the East Coast champion for snow sports. And, with the Lake Placid Olympic Center newly remodeled and reopened, this winter is an especially auspicious time to visit. Activities at the facilities include indoor and outdoor ice skating, speed skating sessions, as well as events like the Adirondack Winter Invitational for college hockey players.

But, the Center is far from the only winter sports hub in town here. The nearby Whiteface Mountain has over 90 trails spanning 25 miles and covering three peaks and is especially notable for boasting the greatest vertical drop on the East Coast. And, if that’s not enough for adrenaline junkies, you can also rocket down tracks at the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience or (in warmer months) tackle the longest mountain coaster in the USA, the heart-pumping Cliffside Coaster . After you’ve had your fill of snow and ice, you can stroll Main Street to pick up new ski gear or stock up on gorgeously scented candles and lotions from Pure Placid . We love the Mount Marcy , scented with citrus, basil, and sandalwood.

A straight shot up I-87 followed by a 40-mile stretch on NY 73W, Lake Placid is about a five-hour drive north of New York City. If you're looking to stretch your legs along the way, Saratoga Springs is an excellent stopping point: grab a hearty brunch of breakfast sandwiches stuffed with smoked applewood bacon at The Merc before you finish your drive.

Where to stay : There are few places more magical in winter than Lake Placid Lodge , a quintessential Adirondack property that features rooms with large stone fireplaces, beds made out of tree branches, and stunning views of the namesake lake. For even more privacy, you can also book one of the secluded, cozy cabins just a short walk from the main lodge. Winter activities on-site include ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snow bonfires with s’mores. Nearby Whiteface Lodge is ideal for families, thanks to year-round indoor and outdoor pools, a surround-sound movie theater, a family game room, and nightly campfires.

Maine Kennebunkport village reflection winter

Kennebunkport, Maine

Most people consider this seaside getaway a summer-only destination, but Kennebunkport ’s distinct charm reveals itself when the weather hardens and coastal Maine’s rugged beauty comes sharply into focus. Plus, you can head inland for spectacular cross-country skiing around the town. There are more than 20 miles of trails on the 600 acres at Harris Farm , for example, a working dairy farm that opens up its lands to outdoorsy types each winter. Don’t discount a walk on the beach either, or even a surf in the icy waters when thick winter swells fed by nor’easters beckon dedicated surfers.

It’s about a five-hour drive from NYC, mostly along I-95, but you can–and should–break up the trip with a stop in Seabrook, New Hampshire for steamed whole lobsters at Brown’s Lobster Pound .

Where to stay : The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel is the best perch year-round: as the name implies, it’s situated on the harborside of the Kennebunk River and is just steps from the town’s cute and quirky shops. In nearby Kennebunk, The Grand Hotel , an elegant, three-story building set atop Chase Hill, includes views of bustling Dock Square in the center of town. Don’t miss the on-site art gallery and its rotating selection of paintings made both by local and international artists. And those looking for both an elevated and pampering experience should make a beeline for White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection . The historic inn and private cottages feature details like fresh flowers and Prima Fleur toiletries, while the larger suites boast deep soaking tubs and—the ultimate winter indulgence—gas fireplaces.

exterior of storefront in snow

Litchfield County, Connecticut

Gilmore Girls fans will no doubt recognize this bucolic area of Connecticut—the fictional town of Star’s Hollow was based on real-life Washington Depot. But that Rockwellian vibe wasn’t just movie magic: Many of the small hamlets here seem almost too idyllic to be real, and all are worth exploring. Imbued with that quintessential New England feel, the different towns pride themselves on their specialties. Hit up New Preston for home furnishings (we love J. Seitz & Co. ); Kent for its art galleries like Kenise Barnes Fine Art and Ober Gallery ; and tiny Bantam for its collection of beloved Arethusa dining spots. Plan a dinner at Arethusa al tavolo (the menu changes frequently, but do order the parsnip-date soup if you can). Whatever you do, save room for Arethusa Farm Dairy ’s rightfully famous ice cream.

Since this is New England , options for winter sports abound, including Mohawk Mountain for skiing and tubing, and the 400-plus acre Black Rock State Park for cross-country skiing. Afterward, pop into Arethusa a Mano to refuel with coffee and pastries.

This tranquil stretch of Connecticut can be reached in approximately two-and-a-half hours from New York City. Take the Hutchinson River Parkway to I-684 followed by Route 7, which meanders through much of the county. Litchfield encompasses much of the northwestern part of the state, where it borders New York.

Where to stay : The most sought-after property in the region is the Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection , a spectacular English country house featuring rooms with four-poster beds and oriental rugs. (The entire property was given a facelift a few years back by celebrated interior designer Celerie Kemble .) And while its spa has historically been one of the most beloved on the East Coast, the hotel’s partnership with THE WELL has upped the wow factor and pampering significantly (we love the signature Integrated Detox treatment). But, if you’ve ever wanted to sleep in a helicopter hangar or a treehouse, make sure to visit the wacky, but luxurious cottages at Winvian Farm . The restaurant is also worth a trip, alone: Almost all the food served in the 18th-century dining room is grown in one of three on-site greenhouses or harvested from the property’s three acres of organic gardens.

people standing outside of Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at twilight

Rhinebeck, New York

Few upstate New York locales are as postcard-perfect as Rhinebeck: The Hudson Valley town’s main streets are lined with spectacular home design stores, unique boutiques selling everything from children’s toys to craft beer, and, most notably, a wealth of destination-worthy restaurants. Book a table at The Amsterdam for the best locally sourced, New American food in the Hudson Valley; Bia for innovative takes on Irish (double your order of the brown bread, trust us); and Cinnamon for Indian dishes like a murgh shahi korma as elevated and nuanced as anything you’d find in Manhattan. Music lovers will also appreciate the proximity to Bard College , home of the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts . Housed in a stunning building designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, it's worth checking out one of the many stellar classical performances.

This charming hamlet in Dutchess County is about a two-hour drive from New York City. The prettiest route up is via the winding Taconic State Parkway; don’t skip the Taste NY Market at Todd Hill as you pass through Poughkeepsie. Situated in the middle of the parkway, it’s hard to miss, all the better for stocking up on an excellent array of New York-made goods like fresh apple cider, yogurts, and jams.

Where to stay : Rhinebeck boasts the oldest continually operating inn in the country, The Beekman Arms . The property’s front lawn was actually a training ground for the Fourth Regiment of the Continental Army, who performed drills on the expansive space in preparation for the American Revolution. The historic rooms here (some are in the original inn building from 1766) are cozy with thick quilts and four-poster beds, and—fun fact—all also boast a decanter of sherry. For something more modern, check out Mirbeau Inn & Spa , a wellness-focused hotel housed in a building inspired by a classic French château. Even if you don’t book a room here, it’s worth checking out the spa, whose wide array of services includes mineral baths, massages, and seasonal treatments like body scrubs with sugar and orange peel to ward off dry winter skin.

snow room. tree covered in snow

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

This stretch of lakes and historic towns may be most famous for its plethora of summertime activities, but its location also lends itself to family-friendly skiing and other wintertime pursuits. There are over 185 trails for skiing, sledding, and tubing in the area, at spots like Camelback Mountain (home to America’s largest snow-tubing park); or Blue Mountain Resort, which has Pennsylvania’s highest vertical drop of 1,082 feet, and 40 trails of varying difficulty to please both skiers and snowboarders. But if you prefer less rigorous outdoor activities, The Poconos has you covered: Book a horse-drawn sleigh ride through Happy Trails Stables or an exhilarating dog sled tour with Arctic Paws . Or skip all the activities and simply stroll through the lovely Victorian homes converted to shops and galleries in the quaint town of Jim Thorpe .

This famed resort region is about two-and-a-half hours from New York City, reached via I-80W. You can make a pitstop at the Delaware Water Gap , right on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania—it has over 100 miles of scenic roadways.

Where to stay : The Lodge at Woodloch is especially cozy this time of year; winter spa treatments like the seasonal body polish with coffee soothes dry skin in need of hydration. But if you want to lean fully into the season, make sure to sample the resort’s Snow Room for a chilly blast that’s not for the faint-hearted. A more family-friendly option is Skytop Lodge , a member of the Historic Hotels of America nestled in 5,500 acres of forest. Winter activities include ice fishing, tubing, and snowshoeing.

The Graham  Co Phoencia New York

Lower Catskills, New York

The southern Catskills are far less rural than its northern reaches, and towns like Andes and Phoenicia embody a newfound artsy edge via galleries and hip restaurants—making them particularly appealing to New York City travelers.

Andes is notable for its tightly edited collection of boutiques, including the wondrous mix of antiques and unique finds at The Tin Horn and vintage duds with a Catskills appeal at Clementine Vintage Clothing . The area is home to numerous outdoorsy pursuits, too, whether that’s the slopes of Hunter Mountain a few miles back along Route 28, or within Catskill Park's 700,000-plus acres—much of which is prime territory for snowmobiling. When you get peckish, swing by Wayside Cider , a brewhouse and restaurant that relishes in being the town’s social center on weekends.

This area is just under a three-hour drive from New York, and taking I-87 to Route 28 gives way to spectacular countryside views for miles. Plan a lunchtime arrival so you have an excuse to order the patty melt on rye at the bustling Phoenicia Diner .

Where to stay : Four artists from Brooklyn commandeered the 1940s-era motel in Phoenicia back in 2013 and rebooted it as The Graham & Co . Some of the 20 mod-rustic rooms designed with reclaimed wood and cowhide rugs have kitchenettes for a DIY-meal option. One of the newer properties in the area is also one of the chicest. Piaule Catskill brands itself as a “landscape hotel”: modern, private cabins tucked into the woods, with plenty of wellness experiences like reiki sessions, forest bathing, and massages.

winter time photo of Woodstock Middle Bridge in the snow. We see a white picket fence in the foreground

Woodstock, Vermont

Centered on an English town green that’s surrounded by whitewashed houses, this manicured settlement is even prettier when blanketed in a few inches of pristine snow. Center and Elm Streets are lined with independent shops and restaurants, like the Vermont Eclectic Company , which sells T-shirts with graphic decals, all designed by Vermont-based artists (take a photo with the giant fiberglass chicken on the shop floor for the ‘gram). Also nearby is FH Gillingham & Sons , an enormous old-school general store stocked with plenty of Vermont’s finest elixir, maple syrup. And don’t miss Farmhouse Pottery on the outskirts of town—located in a former Bible bindery, the space sells everything from classic pie dishes to espresso cups and offers wheel workshops and clay dates for crafty types.

It’s less than a five-hour drive from New York to this charming southern Vermont town, via I-91 through Connecticut and the Berkshires . Detour to Brattleboro as you drive north for a quick photo pitstop: The picturesque town is home to the wooden 19th century Creamery Bridge , listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Where to stay : There is nowhere more iconic (or photogenic) in town than the famed, white clapboard Woodstock Inn & Resort . Known as “Vermont’s Most Beautiful Address,” experiences at the hotel range from a 10,000 square-foot LEED-certified spa; a seasonally open 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr.; and a partnership with New England Falconry for up-close sessions with birds of prey. Other top boltholes include Lincoln Inn & Restaurant at The Covered Bridge , which is nestled on a six-acre parcel of land and has half a dozen cozy rooms. Or, for the ultimate luxury stay, nearby Twin Farms provides easy access to private ski slopes, ice fishing, and fat-tire biking trails, plus uniquely designed cottages decorated with museum-quality art.

Miraval Berkshires

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Though the area might be justifiably known for its superb leaf-peeping each fall, an arguably better time to visit is winter when the snow-covered hills turn into some of the best ski slopes in Massachusetts. Start by conquering the huge range of terrain at Catamount Mountain Resort , ideal for families with members of varying abilities. Butternut is another family-friendly, must-ski hub that offers ski and snowboard lessons for kids ages four and up, while there are 45 different runs (25 lit for night skiing) at Jiminy Peak in the Taconic Mountains. Not a downhill skier? No worries: Set out for Canterbury Farms ’ meditative cross-country ski trails instead.

The Berkshires are also home to two of the region’s most lauded art museums: The Clark and MASS MoCA . The former, located in the art-centric hub of Williamstown (home to the famed Williamstown Theatre Festival , as well), carries an impressive collection of Renaissance to early 20th-century European and American paintings; at the latter, more modern and contemporary offerings are on view.

The most picturesque route for the drive up to western Massachusetts (around three hours) is via the Taconic Parkway, which slices through the Eastern edge of New York before taking you across state lines into Massachusetts’ Berkshires. One of the prettiest places to stretch your legs en route is Millbrook, home to rolling farms and the excellent Millbrook Antique Mall . Grab smoked salmon BLTs to go at Babette’s Kitchen after snagging a rare book or vintage earrings.

Where to stay : For an ultra-luxe wellness retreat, look into Miraval which opened its third property near Lenox three years ago. The sprawling campus is anchored by an enormous spa, of course, but the food is another lure: The all-inclusive rates allow you to graze its mindful eating menu on a whim, whether that’s made-to-order smoothies at breakfast or lobster ravioli at dinner. Day passes are available and allow guests access to all the wellness classes and spa, and also include meals. A quirkier option nearby is 33 Main , an eight-room inn owned and operated by local homeware designer Annie Selke. Cannily, Selke intended it to be as much a showroom as a hotel—many of the rooms’ items (sheets, towels, rugs) are available for purchase.

short trip in december

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Inspired Routes

32 Warm Places to Visit in December in USA (Best Spots to Escape the Cold)

Posted on Published: August 10, 2022  - Last updated: October 7, 2023

There’s nothing quite like a warm getaway to escape the cold, dreary weather. The USA has some pretty incredible vacation spots that are perfect for winter. Feel the sunshine at these amazing destinations: warm places to visit in December in the USA!

warm places to visit in December in USA view of colorful mountains and beach with lingering clouds

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my  disclosures .

To find warmth in the USA in December, you’re pretty much heading south. From island vacations to coastal destinations and deserts, there’s so many beautiful and adventurous places to beat the cold.

This list of warm places to visit in USA in December includes spots you’ve definitely had on your radar – but perhaps more intriguing are the underrated places you haven’t heard of!

Whether you’re looking for a vacation destination to get outdoors and active instead of cooped up, a perfect location to spend your holiday break, or you’re just looking for the best beach to visit in December, you’ll find a bit of everything on this list!

Map of the best warm places to visit in USA in December

From Hawaii to Florida, there’s so many ideas on this list! Use this map as a visual of the destinations, then check out the photos and tips below on what to do in each location.

By the way, since I’m actively crossing places off my bucket list but haven’t been everywhere yet, I’ve asked some fellow travel writers to help with this list.

Let’s get to it!

Must-see video: best warm December vacation ideas

Warm places to visit in December in USA

Starting this list off with a bang! When all you want in December is warmth, these are the perfect vacation destinations for you!

1. St Croix, US Virgin Islands

view of city and bay of St Croix USVI best warm places to visit in December

Average temp:  high 82, low 72

Wishing for warmer temps in December? Well St. Croix might just be the perfect spot for your winter getaway! The largest and least visited of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix is an tropical oasis while escaping the cold.

Just at the start of the dry season, December is a perfect time to visit St. Croix. It’s a festive time of year with Christmas events and festivals across the island, including the Crucian Christmas Festival .

If you’re looking for the perfect beach in December on St. Croix, then Sandy Point Beach is it! Open on the weekends, it’s a National Wildlife Refuge, and one of the longest beaches in the US Virgin Islands. It’s closed during sea turtle nesting season, typically April through August, so December is the perfect time to visit!

For a true taste of the Caribbean, visit a rum distillery. St. Croix is home to Captain Morgan Rum Distillery and Cruzan Rum Distillery. Or, visit one of the 150+ sugar mill ruins on the island to soak in some history.

Other popular activities are hiking for those turquoise water views, taking a day trip to Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge and visiting Fort Christiansvaern.

There’s so many things to do in St. Croix, you won’t get bored! It’s one of the very best warm places to visit in USA in December, and one you’ll love!

Recommended by me – Nikki of Inspired Routes

2. Monterey, California (one of my favorite warm US destinations in December)

Big Sur view of rugged coastline with wild flowers beach blue water

Average temp:  high 61, low 45

One of the ‘coolest’ warm places to visit in December in USA is Monterey, California. Known for it’s mild temperatures year-round, it’s a great spot for a winter getaway.

December is especially a great time to visit Monterey because the marine fog has mostly dissipated , versus the summer or early fall when it’s still lingering around. Crowds are fewer and prices are reduced, which is awesome for enjoying the area attractions.

Monterey is home to one of the United States best marine sanctuary, making it one of the best spots in the US for wildlife viewing ! Take a kayak tour of the Monterey Bay or witness seals and sea otters in their native habitats at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve .

Spend a day – or more experiencing Big Sur and one of the best scenic drives in the US, just south of Monterey. There are so many things to do in Big Sur that you’ll find something you love! Chase waterfalls, relax on beaches or get active on a hiking trail with incredible views of the coast.

Be sure to visit Cannery Row where you’ll find shopping, dining and plenty of entertainment options for all ages. It’s home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the best things to do with kids in Monterey.

3. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Warm places to visit in December in USA Best winter sun destinations Warm places to visit in USA in December Warmest place in US in December view of Puerto Rico ruins ocean and city in distance

Average temp:  high 85, low 67

San Juan is a must on any  Puerto Rico itinerary , no matter when you vacation, but December is a particularly wonderful time to visit. Hurricane season is officially over, and daytime temperatures are in the low 80s, making is a great time to explore and hit area beaches.

The holidays are celebrated with verve all through the month. Old San Juan, the city’s historic district, is decked up in holiday lights and nativity scenes.

Enjoy Puerto Rican eggnog, an alcoholic concoction made with rum, coconut milk, and sweet spices. You’ll also find live music in the streets, and, leading into Christmas, folks singing Christmas carols at night. Very festive!

December is also perfect for sightseeing. Be sure to visit the historic forts of Old San Juan, and walk the colorful alleys to snap photos of the beautiful facades. 

The balmy weather makes December a great time to spend time of the many idyllic beaches in San Juan and just beyond , from the beaches of Isla Verde to Luquillo. For more beach time, plan on a day trip to Culebra Puerto Rico or Icacos Island ! If you’re looking for unique experiences, consider the Bioluminescent Bay, as reviewed in the battle of Culebra vs Vieques .

It’s also a great time to visit El Yunque, the tropical rainforest near San Juan. Hike amidst lush vegetation and waterfalls and take in the views from the observation tower. 

Hotel El Convento is a great place to stay in Old San Juan! It’s housed in a beautiful historic building. 

Recommended by Dhara of It’s Not About the Miles

4. Maui, Hawaii

maui coastline rocky shore against ocean cliffside

Average temp:  high 80, low 66

If you’re looking for the best winter sun destinations, look no further than Maui. Home to incredible scenery like gorgeous beaches, tropical rainforests with beautiful waterfalls and epic adventures, Maui is an awesome place to visit!

It’s especially great in December because the rainy season hasn’t hit yet and the crowds of summer are gone, making it more affordable and more enjoyable. If you go in the first 2 weeks of December, you’ll avoid the holiday pricing.

Be sure to relax on Maui’s beautiful beaches! For year-round snorkeling fun, Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach is a must. Don’t forget your snorkel gear so you can go when you want! Or, watch the surfers at D.T. Fleming Beach on the North Shore.

If you’re looking for adventure, hike the Waihee Ridge Trail . You’ll get epic views of the valley and coast. Just be sure to wear hiking shoes for this one – the trail can get muddy after it rains.

And if you’re up for a road trip, driving the popular Road to Hana is one of the best road trips USA and an experience you’ll never forget. Be sure to make it to Wai’ānapanapa State Park and see the black sand beach (reservations required).

Side note: if you’re really into unique beaches, a must-see is the Black Sand Beach Vieques in Puerto Rico. So stunning!

Anyway, for a more remote drive, consider the Kahekili Highway. This one-lane road offers stunning views and adventure like hiking, waterfalls and more.

Maui is an ideal destination for the best beaches in December, and one you’ll definitely want to consider!

5. St. George, Utah

large canyon green valley orange rocks at sunset

Average temp:  high 56, low 31

One of the most unique spots on this list of warm places to visit in USA in December is St. George, Utah. Nestled on the southwest corner of the state, it’s just minutes away from Arizona and Nevada.

A great launching spot for a Utah national parks road trip, St. George is located about an hour west of Zion National Park. You could certainly take a day trip to Zion, but it may have a bit of snow in December.

There’s so many things to do in St. George. The downtown is rich in history, with museums and parks to learn about the region in years – and centuries past. From the dinosaurs to the Paiute natives and then finally settled by Mormons in the 1800’s.

Of course there’s plenty of outdoor activities in St. George – even in December! Snow Canyon State Park is just 15 minutes north of town, and worth the visit. With 20 miles of hiking trails through petrified dunes, lava tubes and of course, stunning overlooks, it’s a hiker’s dream.

For more adventure, consider a sunrise hot air balloon ride near the city. Or, rent a sled and sandbar at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, a little over an hour south of town.

6. Siesta Key, Florida (another favorite on this list of warm places to visit in December in USA)

view of yellow lifeguard stand with teal ocean in distance in Florida

Average temp:  high 74, low 55

Ranked as one of the best beaches in the USA over and over again, Siesta Key is an amazing getaway. Although high’s in the mid 70’s may not seem like great swimming weather, it still means you can enjoy this beachy destination.

You’ll get more of the beach to yourself in December, which is one of the perks of traveling to Siesta Key in winter. Fly a kite or build a sandcastle. Take beach chairs or a lightweight beach towel and just enjoy the sound of the gentle waves hitting the shore.

And when you need a break from the beach (if that’s even a thing😉), you can head into Siesta Key Village where you’ll find the cutest town square . With boutique shops and restaurants, there’s plenty to do here, too. Be sure to try Meaney’s Mini Donuts & Coffee House (the cinnamon ones are the best).

With so many things to do in Siesta Key , there’s truly something for everyone! You’ll love this beach town, as it’s one of the best warm places to visit in the USA in December.

7. Temecula, California

best winter sun destinations Temecula winery with hills in background

Average temp:  high 67, low 47

If you are ready to escape the cold, snowy weather for somewhere warmer this December, look no further than Temecula, California. Located in Southern California, just an hour’s drive from San Diego, this city has plenty to do – including wine tasting, shopping, and more! 

In December, Temecula’s high temperature is just shy of 70°F, with only 2 days of precipitation, so you can expect warm, sunny days. And there’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful weather than with a visit to Temecula Valley Wine Country!

Temecula is home to 50+ local wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms . Some of the best wineries in Temecula include Wilson Creek Winery, Leoness Cellars, and Baily Vineyard & Winery. 

December is a fabulous time to visit Temecula because of the fun holiday events you can attend, like the Temecula Chilled Holiday Market and Santa’s Electric Light Parade in Old Town Temecula. Despite the warm weather, you can even ice skate at the Peltzer Ice Skating Rink or Temecula on Ice during the holidays. 

Old Town Temecula is a fantastic location to base your trip if you want to walk around and soak up the sunshine, as it’s one of the best winter sun destinations in the US.

You can eat at some of the best restaurants in Old Town Temecula , like The Goat & Vine or 1909 Temecula, or you can shop at the dozens of quaint boutiques selling unique items, like wine-barrel furniture, olive oils and more. 

Carter Estate Winery and Resort is the perfect place to stay for your warm-weather getaway to Temecula, CA. Located on a gorgeous vineyard, this resort allows you to wake up in the heart of wine country every morning! 

Recommended by Brittany of Travel By Brit

8. South Padre Island, Texas

sunset on the beach with waves and two birds

Average temp:  high 72, low 57

If you’re looking for an amazing warm destination to visit in December in the USA, then South Padre Island is the perfect destination for you. 

After all, temperatures are usually around 72 degrees during the day and then around 57 degrees in the evening throughout the month of December.

Plus, the weather here is usually pretty dry, making it the perfect place to relax, take a walk through the Padre Island National Seashore, and enjoy the single biggest undeveloped barrier island in the world.  Additionally, December is off-season. Therfore, crowds will be minimal and hotel prices will be quite reasonable. 

As a result, you can quietly enjoy some of the best things to do in South Padre Island , like take some time to explore the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse from 1852 . In fact, it’s the only lighthouse on the coast of Texas that is open to visitors and makes for a fun place to visit. 

Then, learn about local wildlife at the Sea Turtle Conservation Center. In fact, this amazing wildlife rescue center helps upwards of 100 turtles per year and is an ideal place to learn all about these fascinating creatures. 

You can also visit the South Padre island Birding Center and admire local populations of Buff-bellied hummingbirds, White Ibis, and Red-winged Blackbirds as you stroll along the picturesque boardwalk here. 

Then, pamper yourself at the Sapphire Spa before spending the night at the swank Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island to create the ultimate getaway. South Padre Island is one of the best warm places to visit in USA in December.

Recommended by Victoria of Texas Travel 365

Warm places to visit in December in USA, continued

Can you believe this list?! Just 25% through it and there’s so many more adventures to have. Let’s keep going!

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans storefront brightly colored with holiday decorations

Average temp:  high 65, low 46

If you’re looking for a place to escape winter’s frigid clutches and have a little fun in December, there is no better place than New Orleans! While the weather in New Orleans can be oppressive at certain times of the year, December is ideal as it averages in the 60s – 70s which is perfect for sightseeing!

You might think The Big Easy is only a party town during Mardi Gras – wrong! December ushers in plenty of its own one-of-a-kind holiday fun.

The beginning of December kicks off with the Krewe of Jingle – a downtown holiday parade with special appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Clause. New Orleans knows how to host a parade, so this is one you should make sure you don’t miss!

In the middle of December, head to historic Lafayette Square to enjoy the LUNA Fête festival . Over a long weekend, the city celebrates with awe-inspiring light shows; it generally brings in over 100,000 attendees!

In addition to the holiday fun, another great way to get to know the city is on a walking tour. This is an especially great activity if this is your  first time visiting New Orleans  — there are a range of tour options, from learning about Voodoo to exploring the chic Garden District.

New Orleans is a fun city and one of the best warm places to visit in December. And, if you have a bit more time in the area, be sure to check out the best things to do in Lafayette, Louisiana .

Recommended by Rebecca from Veggies Abroad

10. Oahu, Hawaii (a destination full of the best beaches in December)

warm places to visit in USA in December view of teal water beach along hillside

Average temp:  high 82, low 67

When you think of a warm December getaway, Oahu may be one of the first destinations to come to mind. And with its stunning white sand beaches, epic mountains, and abundant wildlife, it’s no surprise this is one of the most popular destinations, come December. 

Thanks to its location close to the equator, Oahu enjoys temperatures in the low 80s in December, which is warm enough to break out the tank tops, sun dresses and even a long travel skirt .

In December the island may experience a rain shower or two. These showers usually only last for a few hours and should not be too much of a hindrance on your outdoor adventures. 

Many visitors primarily focus their explorations of the island to Honolulu, but there’s so much else to see and do here. For example, one of the best things to do in Oahu in December is to watch the professional surfers take on the big waves of the North Shore . Check out the Banzai Pipeline or Waimea Bay Beach Park, which can see waves up to 25 feet in height! 

While snorkeling along the North Shore is probably not advisable in December, given the aforementioned monster waves, you can still check out some of the best snorkeling in Oahu by heading to Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve, just 10 minutes east of Honolulu .

Here, the waters stay calm year round, where you can swim with and observe the 400 species of fish, turtles and other marine life. Bring your own snorkel gear to hit the water when and where you want while on Oahu!

For a conveniently located home base during your stay, consider The Modern Honolulu , just steps away from Waikiki Beach, both a family-friendly and adults only pool and an excellent onsite restaurant. 

Oahu is one of the best winter sun destinations in the US, and one you won’t want to miss!

Recommended by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler

11. Disney World, Orlando, Florida

warm us destinations in December teapot with holiday flowers and dinner in distance

Average temp:  high 75, low 55

The happiest place on Earth, aka Disney World, is an easy pick for any families out there looking for iconic warm places to visit in December in USA. 

After all, Disney World comes alive at this time of year with festive holiday decor and fun seasonal events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. 

Plus, the weather at  Disney in December  is super comfortable throughout the month since the average high is 74 F and the average daily low is 56 F. 

However, to avoid insane crowds, try to time your visit for the first week of December. This is when kids are still in the school and when the park is less crowded. 

You should also try and buy Park Hoppers so that you can avoid more crowded parks on an as needed basis. 

Additionally, try and visit Magic Kingdom on Party Days and avoid parks with extra Magic Hours to get the most out of your visit. 

Then, make time to enjoy seasonal activities like Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party (an add-on experiences for extra fees), Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace or Plaza Garden Viewing (another add-on event), A Frozen Holiday Wish (happens nightly all month long) and more. 

You can also attend the International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot before spending the night at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  It’s probably the best Deluxe resort in Disneyworld and features an island theme that is accentuated by leis that are presented to you as you walk in the door.

Looking for more fun? Check out the best Hollywood Studios rides in the park!

Recommended by Victoria of Disney Trippers

12. Augusta, Georgia

warm places to visit in USA in December view of city with boats and river

Average temp:  high 60, low 41

One of the most underrated spots on this list of warm places to visit in USA in December is Augusta, Georgia . A southern city full of charm, Augusta is known for outdoor recreation, historical sites and hist vibrant restaurant scene.

Tour downtown finding fun murals, shopping and dining. A foodie’s delight, Augusta is known for outdoor patios, which you’ll find especially inviting in the warm sun during mid-day. Bring layers for the evenings as it gets chilly!

One of Augusta’s top attractions is the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Walk the trails and soak in the peaceful nature all around you. Or, get a little more active on the 32 miles of biking trails through the Forks Area Trail System.

And you can’t visit Augusta without a stroll along the Augusta Riverwalk . It’s a fun, brick trail along the Savannah River! If traveling with kids, they’ll love the playground on the Riverwalk.

During December, the city has holiday festivals and markets. Enjoy historic holiday tours where you can visit homes from the 1800’s, including the childhood home of President Woodrow.

13. San Diego, California (perfect for this list of warm places to visit in December in USA)

view of California coast from above palm trees rocky shore and buildings

Average temp:  high 66, low 49

San Diego is an incredible place to visit during December. With incredible weather and tons of fabulous attractions, you can’t go wrong with visiting this Southern California City! 

You can expect temperatures around the high 60’s during the day and in the 40’s at night. Some of the best things to add to your San Diego itinerary in December include wandering through the famous Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is comprised of 1,200 acres. You can explore beautiful gardens and dozens of museums including The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Air and Space Museum, Museum of Us, San Diego Natural History Museum and more! Additionally, the famous San Diego Zoo is also located in Balboa Park.

The Old Town San Diego Historic State Park is another must-visit. Here you can indulge in amazing food while experiencing San Diego’s Spanish roots and history.

A special experience in San Diego during December is whale watching . Around 20,000 Grey Whales start migrating in mid-December. Seals also start giving birth around mid-December at the La Jolla Caves. You will likely also be able to see the Sea Lions in La Jolla too!

If you are in search of some additional beach time, don’t forget to check out Coronado Island. Walk along the beach, enjoy the many eateries, and visit the famous Hotel Del Coronado .

Recommended by Sam of Find Love and Travel

14. Sedona, Arizona

mountains of Sedona brightly colored red with town below

verage temp:  high 60, low 34

Sedona is the perfect sunny escape in December! Excellent for various travel styles, there’s hiking and outdoor adventures, as well as low-key things to do in town. With mild temperatures and minimal crowds, December is a great time to visit Sedona.

Take the Sedona Trolley around town to get acquainted without the worry of driving or traffic. Visit the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village for just that – shopping.

Go hiking or horseback riding at Cathedral Rock or Oak Creek Canyon. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love jumping around the unique landscape at Slide Rock State Park .

Perhaps the most popular hiking trail in the area is Devil’s Bridge Trail . At 3.9 miles and rated as moderate, this trail is perfect for an afternoon hike in December! Bring your grippy hiking shoes for this one, as the rock stairs leading up to the bridge can get pretty slick.

For the best views of the incredible landscape in Sedona, head up to Airport Mesa. There’s a parking lot at the overlook so it doesn’t require much hiking at all. It’s also a great spot for stargazing!

15. Culebra, Puerto Rico (perfect for visiting the best beaches in December)

warm places to visit in December in USA view of white sand beach waves and palm trees

Average temp:  high 85, low 74

Quite possibly the warmest place in the US in December, Culebra Puerto Rico is an amazing destination you’ll love. Puerto Rico was previously mentioned above, but Culebra is so spectacular it deserves it’s own spot.

Culebra Puerto Rico is located just 18 miles off the eastern side of Mainland Puerto Rico . Getting to Culebra requires a ferry ride or small plane, but it’s so worth it!

Home to one of the most incredible beaches in the Caribbean, Flamenco Beach Puerto Rico is one of the best beaches you’ll ever see, and a phenomenal place to visit for the best beaches in December.

This crescent-shaped beach sits along rolling hills and its undeveloped land makes it seem from a fairytale. With plenty of parking and amenities, you’ll want to spend a day – or more – at Flamenco Beach.

Spend some time in with the sea turtles while snorkeling at Tamarindo Beach. Or, for some solitude, visit the lesser-known Zoni Beach. And when you’re hungry, be sure to head downtown to grab a bite.

For couples traveling, consider the cozy cottages with phenomenal views – Aleli Cottages . For more space, try the Oceania Villas .

You’ll fall in love with Culebra. It’s definitely one of the best on this list of warm places to visit in December in USA!

16. Florida Keys

warm US destinations in December to visit view of green ocean water white sand beach and sand dunes

Average temp:  high 75, low 70

The snow is falling, the temperatures keep dropping and you’re ready to escape to a tropical paradise. One of the best warm places to visit in December is the Florida Keys!

Stretching approximately 120 miles from Key Largo to the southernmost point in the continental USA (Key West), the Florida Keys are the perfect getaway if you are looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation. With average December temperatures in the high 70’s, you’ll never want to leave! 

Your best and most affordable option would be to fly into Miami and rent a car to make the Miami to Key West road trip . From here, you can take your time exploring each island and all they have to offer. You’ll want to spend at least one night in Key Largo, Islamorada and Key West. 

The list of things to do in the Florida Keys is never-ending. Depending on how much time you have, you will have to decide between scuba diving in John Pennekamp State Park, deep sea fishing at Robbie’s, parasailing over the sparkling blue water or simply relaxing on the beach. 

After your road trip of adventures, you’ll definitely want to stay in Key West at Tiki Suites.  There are 2 suites located in the middle of the ocean! You’ll have nothing but the ocean surrounding you as you relax and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Recommended by Jordan of The Homebody Tourist

Best winter sun destinations

Okay – let’s catch a breath here. We’re 1/2 way done. A few of my personal favorites are coming up next!

More winter sunshine ahead…

17. St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

view of st Thomas USVI boats in harbor with island in distance

Average temp:  high 84, low 76

The US Virgin Islands are a great place to visit in December for a number of reasons, especially St. Thomas . First, the weather is absolutely beautiful during this time of year.

The average high temperature is about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is only about 75 degrees. This makes it the perfect time of year to enjoy all that the islands have to offer, including the beaches, without having to deal with crowds of people.

The beaches on St. Thomas are calm and perfect for swimming, and there are plenty of water sports activities to keep everyone entertained. Magen’s Bay is the most popular beach on the island and is great for families.

Coki Beach and Sapphire Beach are also a lot of fun! Sapphire Beach, especially is a great place to base during your stay because Sapphire Beach Resort offers discounts on snorkeling equipment rental to its guests. There are also several pools and a restaurant there, in case you don’t feel like going elsewhere to eat.

December is also a great time to visit St. Thomas and the US Virgin Islands because it’s one of the quieter times of the year.

While the islands do see a significant number of tourists during the winter months, it’s nothing compared to the summer crowds. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy all that the US Virgin Islands have to offer without having to worry about fighting for space on the beach or in restaurants.

Recommended by Brodi of Our Offbeat Life

18. Santa Barbara, California

tall palm trees along beach with orange and pink sunset

Average temp:  high 65, low 45

Known for its incredible Spanish architecture, wineries, expansive beaches and moderate temperatures, Santa Barbara is always a good idea. Deserving on this list of warm places to visit in December in USA, Santa Barbara offers sunshine to those wishing to escape grey skies or snow elsewhere.

Dive into culture, history and art in Santa Barbara. See a performance at the Lobero Theater, visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara, get lost in the beauty of Santa Barbara Museum of Art or shop and dine on State Street.

Of course, you’ll want to visit the beach while you’re at the California Coast! Santa Barbara is one of the best stops on a Pacific Coast Highway vacation from San Francisco to San Diego road trip . The area’s best beaches along the way are East Beach, Hendry’s Beach and Goleta Beach Park.

December is a fabulous time to visit Santa Barbara, as the city is full of events and festivities . Watch the boat parade through the harbor at Stearns Wharf. Shop for someone special at the city’s annual Folk and Tribal Arts Marketplace.

And don’t forget about New Year’s Eve in Santa Barbara! For a night to remember, try a champagne cruise, catch a drag show, do a bar crawl or so much more. It’s a great way to celebrate the end of the year!

Recommended by Nikki of She Saves She Travels

19. Kauai, Hawaii (another favorite on this list of best warm places to visit in December in USA)

Average temp:  high 82, low 65

You gotta go to Kauai! It’s not only one of the best warm places to visit in December in USA, it’s also an incredible destination for adventure and relaxation! Known as ‘the garden isle’ for its lush vegetation and epic waterfalls, it has stunning coastlines unlike any other spot on this list – or in the world.

You’ll want to see the Waimea Canyon, AKA the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Explore it’s epic views from the inside by hiking the Waimea Canyon Trail . Right down the road is the Kalalau Lookout in Koke’e State Park, to see the stunning NaPali Coast.

For sunshine in December, you’ll want to stay in the Poipu area to get the least amount of rain . Popular for awesome beaches like Poipu Beach or Shipwreck Beach, the waves can be the smallest in the winter, which is perfect for a warm getaway to the beach.

Kauai is home to some amazing food too. On the North Shore, try Kalypso Island Bar & Grill in Hanalei. You’ve gotta try the acai bowls at Java Kai in Kapaa, or the famous Hula Pie at Keoki’s Paradise in Koloa. Some of the best places to eat in Kauai won’t break the bank, either, like Da Crack Mexican Grinds.

Early December is a fabulous time to visit Kauai as it’s the shoulder season. The pricing is lower than late December over the holiday, and the crowds are much fewer, meaning you’ll have less waiting at restaurants and attractions.

20. Bisbee, Arizona

city of bisbee arizona buildings with mountains in sunlight

The quaint, little town of Bisbee, AZ is attracting winter travelers from all over the world due to its stunning beauty and quirky vibe.

Why visit Bisbee in December? It is truly the best month, boasting highs in the mid-50s and lows in the low-30s. Being an inherently dry climate, you can expect little to no precipitation this time of year. Instead, you’ll find clear skies, colorful sunsets and more stars than you can imagine. 

In visiting Bisbee you can expect a true getaway. The town is small, with just over 5,000 residents. However, what it lacks in population, it makes up for in charm.

A haven for artists and other creative types, the town is full of murals, quirky antique shops, charming cafes and relaxed breweries. Make sure to spend some time shopping in downtown, visiting the nearby ghost town of Lowell and viewing the Lavender Pit, which is an open copper mine located just outside of town.

If you’re lucky enough to spend some time  road tripping in the area , you should also check out Saguaro National Park and Chiricahua National Monument, which are both less than 2 hours away. 

You can’t go wrong with booking a boutique hotel in the main part of town. If you are looking to get close to the action, try the  Copper Queen Hotel . If you would like something a little bit quieter, the  School House Inn Bed & Breakfast  may be more your speed.

Either way, you are sure to enjoy a picturesque and relaxing stay in the heart of the American Southwest, one of the best warm places to visit in December!

Recommended by Michele of Slow Traveling Cat

21. Anna Maria Island, Florida (another one of my favorites for warm places to visit in USA in December)

florida beach with white sand teal water

It’s small-town charm and crisp, white beaches will draw you in. Anna Maria Island is definitely one of the most fabulous (and underrated) warm places to visit in USA in December!

Located just an hour west of Sarasota, this island is the picturesque Florida vacation destination. Lacking chain hotels or restaurants, you’ll find boutique shops, fun places to eat and awesome beaches.

Check out the Anna Maria Pier for unique views of the island and local waters. If you’re lucky, one of the local fevers (groups) of sting rays will be lurking in the waters below! Hunt for seashells at Coquina Beach, hang out the beach at Bean Point or find some adrenaline in a parasailing adventure.

Celebrate the holidays in Anna Maria Island by visiting the cute Bridge Street, covered in twinkling lights . Or catch one of the island’s boat parades, where locals and tour companies decorate their boats with holiday lights and show them off during a water parade.

December is a special time on Anna Maria Island, and with so many unique things to do on Anna Maria Island , you won’t get bored!

22. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

warm places to visit in December in USA view of beach from above at sunset with city skyline bridge and ferris wheel

When planning a summer vacation, Myrtle Beach might come to mind, but have you ever considered retreating to beautiful South Carolina in December? This southern beach town is the perfect retreat if you’re trying to escape the cold and enjoy some warmer weather.

In December, Myrtle Beach offers weather in the 60s with mostly sunny days. Visiting this month means very little crowds, cheaper room rates at places like the Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes .

One of the  locals’ favorite things to do in Myrtle Beach  is to visit Brookgreen Gardens, located just 30 minutes outside of downtown. The gardens are an amazing destination year round, but from the end of November to the beginning of January, they hold the Nights of a Thousand Candles. The whole property is lit with over a million lights and almost 3,000 hand-lit candles. You can listen to holiday music, admire the lights and drink some hot apple cider, getting in the holiday spirit.

Spend another evening at one of Myrtle Beach’s famous theaters for a holiday themed show! Pirates Voyage, The Alabama Theater and The Carolina Opry all hold special holiday themed shows during December and are so much fun for all ages.

The daytimes will be warm enough to walk on the beach, eat fresh seafood outside on the boardwalk and ride the massive Ferris Wheel. Try the Sea Captain’s House or River City Cafe for some of the best food with ocean views!

Recommended by Tori of Tori Pines Travels

23. Joshua Tree National Park, California

smooth tan rocks sand and Joshua Tree blue sky

Average temp:  high 61, low 37

Joshua Tree is an incredible place to visit in December for warm weather and sunshine! The desert landscape means that unlike most national parks in the US, summers are too hot for outdoor adventures. 

December brings perfect weather for hiking in Joshua Tree , as daytime temperatures are comfortable , usually in the high 50s or low 60s. It does get chilly at night, so be prepared with some layers – especially if you’re camping, or if you plan to be out in the mornings or evenings!

December is also less crowded than spring or fall, when the park is most popular – but, starting your day early or staying in the park close to sunset will be the best way to avoid crowds. Some of the best hikes in Joshua Tree National Park include the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Ryan Mountain and the Lost Palms Oasis Trail.

Some other great things to do in the park include stargazing, off-roading and wildlife viewing. You can see lizards, snakes, tortoises, birds, and if you’re lucky, maybe some big horn sheep, foxes and bobcats!

When you’re in Joshua Tree, you can camp in the park, check out some of the quirky vacation rentals nearby, or stay at the Joshua Tree Inn.

Recommended by Anna of Anna Tee

24. San Antonio, Texas

river at dusk with restaurant brick sidewalk and trees

Average temp:  high 64, low 40

If you’re looking for the best warm places to visit in December, then San Antonio, Texas should be on your radar! With sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s during the day, you’ll be exploring this fun city in warm weather, a nice escape from the cold.

The San Antonio River Walk is the shining star of this destination, but it offers visitors so much more!

Explore The Alamo – the location of the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution in 1863 (timed ticket entry required). For more history and art, visit the San Antonio Museum of Art, Brisco Western Art Museum or the McNay Art Museum.

If you’re looking for a family getaway during December, you’ll want to hit up Six Flags Fiesta Texas . Rides for kids and adults of all ages, it’s a thrilling way to enjoy your time in San Antonio.

And of course, you can’t go to San Antonio without experiencing the River Walk. There’s so much to do and see in the area. From street vendors and shops to restaurants and cool architecture, you can spend a whole day (or more) exploring the area.

A warm getaway, San Antonio just might be the perfect December getaway!

If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to plan your trip to San Antonio to include the best Texas resorts for families .

More warm places to visit in USA in December

From the best beaches in December to adventurous destinations off the beaten path, let’s round out this list with more incredible destinations!

25. Page, Arizona

curvy orange rocks leading upward to the sky

Average temp:  high 45, low 30

If you’re looking to spend time in the American southwest, Page, Arizona is one of the best places to visit. It’s home to some of the most popular places to visit in Arizona including Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. December is a great time to visit because the weather is beautiful. 

In the month of December, the days are warmer and the night cold so it’s a good idea to make sure you bring layers. There is little to no rain here during the month of December. These are great temperatures for hiking and going on outdoor adventures in the area. 

There are lots of great  places to stay in Page . If you’re looking for a unique experience, try glamping with Under Canvas . For a traditional hotel stay, consider Country Inn & Suites by Radisson or the Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell .

One of the best things to do in Page is tour Antelope Canyon . This beautiful slot canyon is one of the most famous in the country, and it’s an amazing experience to walk through. It’s gorgeous!

December is a popular time to tour Antelope Canyon, so you’ll want to make your reservations well in advance. After your tour of Antelope Canyon, be sure to leave some time to walk out to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook.

There are lots of other fun destinations in this area, including Las Vegas, Southern Utah and Sedona. Page, AZ is a great destination to include if you’re going on a road trip through this area, and one of the best warm places to visit in December in USA.

Recommended by Candice of CS Ginger

26. Clearwater Beach, Florida

sunset behind pier on ocean

Average temp:  high 70, low 60

Clearwater Beach is one of the best winter sun destinations! Located just 25 miles west of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast, it’s one of the most popular beaches in the country.

Temperatures consistently stay between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, but the crowds are significantly less during this time of year. This makes it the perfect time to be able to relax in comfort without having to fight for a free spot on the sand or get overheated by the scorching summer sun. 

Unlike the majority of beaches on mainland USA, Clearwater Beach has powder white sand and turquoise blue water. It’s absolutely beautiful, and the sunsets on this beach are even prettier!

There’s even an entire nightly festival that was created just to celebrate the sunsets! It’s called the Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival, and it starts 2 hours before sunset every evening. When deciding  where to stay in Clearwater Beach , a hotel right by the pier is your best pick to keep you close to the action. Opal Sands is a top-rated choice!

Boat tours are another popular activity during December. There are dolphin-spotting cruises and even pirate cruises for kids.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium also celebrates the holiday season. W hen you visit during December, you can see Christmas lights, festive habitats and even tank divers dressed up as Santa and his helpers.

Definitely consider Clearwater Beach for your next warm weather vacation in the US in December!

Recommended by Jillian of Adventure Dragon

27. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas strip buildings at sunset

Average temp:  high 60, low 27

You know what’s awesome? Las Vegas in winter, as opposed to summertime. 🤣 Las Vegas deserves a spot on this list because of its entertainment and food scene. Not to mention the outdoor adventures that are perfect during December!

Perfect for a long weekend away in December, Las Vegas is home to countless entertainment opportunities. Get concert or show tickets and you’ll be sure to see top-notch performances!

Of course there’s gambling and clubs, but also plenty of things to do that don’t include being on The Strip your entire trip. For some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city lights, check out Red Rock Canyon scenic drive . A timed entry reservation is required in December. Bring your hiking shoes and hit the trails!

Or enjoy one of the many day trips from Las Vegas. Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam are cool to see in person. And if you’re really up for some cool sights, be sure to do a Las Vegas to Zion National Park day trip for incredible canyon views!

Las Vegas is an excellent destination for December, and also one of the top warm winter vacations in the US !

28. Gulf Shores, Alabama (must-see for warm places to visit in USA in December)

Gulf State Park beach with white sand blue water and pier in distance

Average temp:  high 66, low 47

Okay, if you’re looking for a family-friendly getaway to a warm winter sun destination, then Gulf Shores, Alabama is for you! Offering mild temperatures year-round and some of the best beaches on the Gulf Coast , you’ll fall in love with Gulf Shores and its sister city, Orange Beach.

One of the most fun things to do in December in Gulf Shores is a day at The Track. With go karts, mini golf, roller coaster and kiddie rides and an arcade, you could literally get lost here!

Head over to The Wharf at Orange Beach for some serious entertainment and dining. Take a Ferris wheel ride, enjoy some laser tag, grab ice cream or enjoy some water-front dining.

In December, The Wharf hosts a variety of winter and holiday festivities including an ice skating rink, horse-drawn carriage rides under twinkling lights and shopping events.

Don’t forget to enjoy some activities on the Gulf! Go for a dolphin cruise, build a sand castle, rent jet skis or go sand crab hunting at Gulf State Park .

29. Big Island, Hawaii (one of the best winter sun destinations)

big island best warm places to visit in December view of statues on beach

One of the best warm US destinations in December is the Big Island of Hawaii. People can escape the chilly weather on the Mainland and enjoy a tropical island without needing a passport.

If you’re visiting the Big Island during the holidays, you can enjoy many island-style decorations and community events.

Another fun Big Island activity is stargazing at Mauna Kea. Winter is a great time to do this because the sun sets a bit earlier than in the other seasons, so you won’t have to stay up as late to see the dazzling stars.

December is also whale watching season in Hawaii. It’s best to see them on a whale watching tour .

One of the unique  things to do on the Big Island  is swimming with manta rays. Luckily, these manta ray tours run throughout the winter so you can participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The top attraction on the Big Island is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is the only place to see lava in Hawaii. It’s important to check conditions before your trip to see if and where the lava is flowing.

The weather on Kona in December is typically in the low 80s during the day and the upper 60s at night. The Hilo side of the island is usually rainier than the Kona side.

And you should pack warm layers if visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or Mauna Kea. There is often snow at the summit of Mauna Kea!

A few great places to stay on the Big Island are the Royal Kona Resort in Kona and the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.

Recommended by Marcie of Hawaii Travel Spot

30. Catalina Island, California

view of town along bay with mountains and boats

Average temp:  high 59, low 43

Off the coast of Southern California is Santa Catalina Island, and it definitely deserves a spot on this list of warm places to visit in December in the US. Just an hour ferry ride from Long Beach, getting to Catalina Island is convenient from the LA area.

Visit Catalina Island in early December to enjoy off-season pricing and fewer crowds than later in the month. With temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, pack layers and enjoy the sunshine on the island!

Find adventure on the water with kayaking, parasailing or a submarine tour. Enjoy the island views by soaring through the air on a zipline or hiking. Try the Avalon Bay Trail with water views, or for more of a challenge, hike the Hermit Gulch Trail.

Downtown Avalon is such a charming harbor town. It’s as cute as ever with brightly colored shops and homes, which reminds me more of Europe than California! Enjoy strolling the Green Pleasure Pier and grabbing some delicious food from a variety of locally-owned restaurants.

31. Phoenix, Arizona

phoenix arizona city skyline at sunset

Average temp:  high 68, low 44

One of the best warm US destinations in December is Phoenix! With sunshine and only a few days of rain, it’s perfect weather for indoor and outdoor activities.

Phoenix is a great destination for families, couples and solo travelers of all ages. One of the best places to include on your Phoenix itinerary is Papago Park. Stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden, where you can see over 50,000 plants!

Have a picnic at the Papago Ponds or hike the short 0.3 miles to Hole in the Rock. Animal lovers will enjoy spending time at the Phoenix Zoo, also located at Papago Park.

The city of Phoenix and neighboring Scottsdale really celebrate the holidays big, too. Enjoy pop-up ice skating events, various festivals and multiple light shows throughout the area, including 2 drive-through animated light shows.

And of course, you can’t come to Phoenix without eating delicious food! For the best Mexican food in town, try Taco Guild or Barrio Cafe. Or enjoy a variety of local restaurants in downtown Phoenix on 7th Street.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or longer vacation, Phoenix is one of the best warm places to visit in December in USA.

32. Destin, Florida (warm places to visit in December in USA – a must-see destination)

best beaches in December view of Destin florida beach with sand dunes in foreground

Average temp:  high 64, low 48

Destin, Florida is a beautiful place to visit during December. The weather is perfect for spending time on the beaches, and there are plenty of great activities and attractions to enjoy. 

Destin Harbor is especially festive during this time of year, with decorated boats and lights everywhere.  Every year in December, HarborWalk Village has the Destin Boat Parade with fireworks and activities for everyone. 

The city of Destin also has an annual Christmas Parade which covers most of the town. This parade is a must-see for anyone in town in December and features floats, marching bands, and of course, Santa Claus himself. 

Destin Commons and The Village of Baytowne Wharf both have events going on throughout the month of December. Destin Commons has pictures with Santa and Baytowne Wharf has a holiday concert series in December and even an ice skating rink!  

Other places to visit in December in the Destin area include Crab Island, James Lee Beach and Norriego Point.  If you’re looking for state parks, Henderson Beach State Park is great and offers a beautiful beach, walking trails and camping. Topsail Hill State Park is in nearby Santa Rosa Beach and offers many amenities, as well. 

A great place to stay in Destin is The Palms of Destin , which is right in the heart of the city, near Henderson Beach State Park and The Track (go-karts and mini-golf). 

If you’re looking for a fun, festive and warm place to visit in December, be sure to visit Destin, Florida!

Recommended by Wayne of Always on the Shore

short trip in december

Whew! What a list!

Warm places to visit in USA in December

  • St. Croix, USVI
  • Monterey, CA
  • San Juan, PR
  • St. George, UT
  • Siesta Key, FL
  • Temecula, CA
  • South Padre Island, TX
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Disney World, Orlando, FL
  • Augusta, GA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Culebra, PR
  • Florida Keys
  • St. Thomas, USVI
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Anna Maria Island, FL
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Joshua Tree National Park, CA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Clearwater Beach, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Gulf Shores, AL
  • Big Island, HI
  • Catalina Island, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ

Related content you might like: 30 FUN Warm Winter Vacations in the US (You’ll Absolutely Love) 32 Awe-inspiring Adventurous Bucket List Ideas You Gotta See to Believe

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32 warm December getaways photos of 3 beachy destinations

Saturday 2nd of December 2023

So many good ideas! I need a getaway this winter and these are all good options. Now it's just about choosing! HA

Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Haha that's the truth! So glad you found some inspiration here :)

A great list! So many warm winter sun places in the USA, you are really lucky! I have been to Hawaii and would go back there in an instant! LAst time I visited was early December and it was wonderful weather

Friday 1st of December 2023

There's quite a few places on your list that my husband and I would enjoy. We are always on the lookout for someplace to escape the winter snow.

Oh yay Jolayne! Sounds like it's time for a getaway😎

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

What a great list! So many beautiful places to access with a US Passport. We've visited 7 of these in the off season and St. Croix is probably our fave so far!

Wednesday 7th of September 2022

Oh awesome Kathryn! St. Croix is certainly dreamy💛

It's always good to find a comprehensive list like this, especially to escape the cold! I'm off to Puerto Rico for the first time next year & this has really whetted my appetite too!

Ah thanks so much for the compliment, Sue. I hope you love Puerto Rico, it's one of my favorites!!

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  • 46 Places To Visit In December In The World In 2024

22 Jan 2024

Wouldn’t it be nice, if the year finished with a memorable vacation at any of the best December destinations in the world that has been on your bucket list for long? To help you realize that grand ending to this year, check out some of the best places to visit in December in the world .

The month of December, preceded by the Indian festival and marriage season, marks the beginning of a late surge of tourists scampering across the globe in search of a delightful holidaying end to their year. Therefore, all eyes go towards all the spectacular beaches, cities, and mountains that form an irresistible list of best places to visit in December in the world .

46 Best Places To Visit In December In The World In 2024

The temptation of sneaking in a week’s worth of sun at a tropical paradise during the cold and harsh winter months is definitely irresistible at some of the best places to visit in December in the world. Luckily, the planet’s weather system allows that during any given month of the year, there will be multiple best places to visit in December in the world that you can pick to visit.

  • Krabi: A tropical paradise
  • Cape Town: True beauty
  • Cancun: Mexican Pina Coladas
  • Maldives: Honeymooners Shangri La
  • Langkawi: For one-stop entertainment
  • La Romana: Charming coastal city
  • Goa: Party and beaches
  • Siargao Island: Tear-drop island
  • Bali: For an idyllic holiday
  • Mauritius: For endless beaches
  • Cusco: Historical charm
  • Rio De Janeiro: For peppy drum beats
  • Miami: Premier partying spot
  • Dubai: Futuristic city
  • Singapore: The melting pot of Asia
  • Sydney: Christmas on a beach
  • Madrid: Spanish capital of celebrations
  • Jamaica: For a Carribean vacation
  • Aswan: For a ferry cruise
  • Buenos Aires: Blend of Latin and European
  • Mexico City: For its glorious history
  • Cartagena: An Old Town beauty
  • Cairo: The Egyptian capital
  • Philippines: For the love of islands
  • Costa Rica: For sandy beaches and adventure
  • Chile: Enjoy the scenic landscapes
  • Laos: A backpacker’s paradise
  • Cambodia: The Land of beautiful temples
  • Vietnam: A lost paradise
  • Belize: Surrounded by the blue ocean
  • Guatemala: For the taste of adventure and nature
  • Fiji: Tropical heaven on earth
  • New Zealand: Into the wild
  • Cuba: For the Latino charm
  • Tasmania: Wild and crazy adventures
  • Spain: For young and free souls
  • South Africa: Old world charm
  • Greece: Boundless beauty
  • Hawaii: Best beaches
  • Italy: A slice of medieval life
  • Sri Lanka: The tear-drop gem
  • Bhutan: The Land of Thunder Dragon
  • Czech Republic: The architectural marvel
  • Hong Kong: The shopaholics paradise
  • Peru: For adventure-loving couple
  • Uruguay: Best of South America

1. Krabi – A Tropical Paradise

Krabi is one of the best places to visit in December in the world

One of the first destinations that come to mind of any traveller recollecting the best places to go in December in the world would be Thailand. Rarely do you see a country around the world as diverse, rich, and dynamic as this one.

Krabi is one such scenic province located on the southwest coast of Thailand that is littered with gorgeous limestone mounds, white sand beaches, and aqua-blue waters. The area is very famous for honeymooners, family travellers, luxury travellers, and explorers.

Places to visit in Krabi : Phi Phi Islands, Ao Nang, Ko Phi Phi Don, Ko Lanta Things to shop: Elephant pants, soap carvings, Thai tribal handicrafts Things to do In Krabi : Phi Phi Islands, Railay Beach , Ko Lanta Yai, and Ko Poda Weather in December: The weather in Krabi in December is cool with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. How to reach: Take a flight to Bangkok from New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. You could either take a ferry or a connecting flight to Krabi.

Must Read: Darjeeling In December

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2. Cape Town – True Beauty

Cape Town is one of the scenic places to visit in December in the world

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Known as the Southernmost city of Africa, Cape Town has historic significance to the growth and development of trade between Europe and Asia. If you’re a fan of panoramic beaches, white sandy banks, and a vibrant nightlife scene it is the right place for experiencing one of the best places to visit in December in the world. It is one of the best places to visit in December for couples .

Places to visit in Cape Town : Table Mountain, National Botanical Garden, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium, and Castle of Good Hope Things to shop: Diamonds, leather handbags, Ardmore ceramic art, beadwork craft Things to do In Cape Town : beach hopping, hiking to Table Mountain, wine tasting, visit Robben Island Weather in December: Even though the temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius, it rains like crazy How to reach: Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have flights from New Delhi to Cape Town with minimum layovers.

3. Cancun – Mexican Pina Coladas


Image Credit: Mariamichelle for Pixabay

Often underlined for its parties and luxurious resorts, Cancun has the capacity to surprise travellers and present a case for it being one of the best places to travel in December on a budget. Due to its close proximity to the United States, Cancun has long been the favourite and the best destination to visit in December in world among the younger generation of students and travellers that lie below the age of 30.

Places to visit in Cancun : Xcaret Park, Coba, Xel Ha Park, and Cancun Underwater Museum Things to shop: Sombrero, Mayan jewellery, silverware, weaved baskets Things to do In Cancun : Beach hopping, swimming in an underground river, zip-lining, visiting Chichen Itza, ATV rides Weather in December: The weather is pleasant with temperatures ranging between 20 to 28 degrees Celsius. How to reach:  Lufthansa and Air Canada have flights from New Delhi to Cancun with stoppage on the way.

Suggested Read: 7 Must-Try Cruises In New Zealand

4. Maldives – Honeymooners Shangri La

Maldives is one of the famous places to visit in December in the world to experience luxury

A swansong for honeymooners and travellers in search of a romantic vacation, Maldives has carved an undeniable for itself in luxury travel. The small islets, incredible resorts, aqua blue water, and pristine beaches make the Maldives as a strong contender for the best places to visit in the winter in the world.

Places to visit in Maldives : Male, Maafushi, Addu City, Fulhadhoo, Fulidhoo Things to shop for: miniature boats, soap and bathing products, mats, Things to do: Snorkeling, Overnight stay in a water villa and dine at an underwater restaurant . Weather in December: The temperature lies between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius but it is also the rainiest month in the Maldives. How to reach: You can take a direct flight from New Delhi to Maldives.

5. Langkawi – For One-stop Entertainment

A beautiful scenery of the Kilim Geoforest Park in Langkawi, one of the popular places to visit in December in the world

A scenic archipelago of 104 islands, Langkawi is Malaysia’s answer to Las Vegas and Macau. Despite receiving a huge number of tourists of all ages, gender, and nationality- there is a universal agreement among travellers for a fact that adventure and luxury combined can be experienced best in Langkawi which happens to be the top countries to visit in December.

Places to visit in Langkawi : Langkawi Cable Car, Payar Island, Art Paradise in Langkawi, and Pantai Cenang Beach Things to shop for: jewelry, cosmetics, handbags, electronic items Weather in December: The temperature in Langkawi in December lies between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. How to reach:  Malaysia Airlines, and Singapore Airlines have flights from New Delhi with stoppage in Kuala Lumpur.

Suggested Read: Italy In December

6. La Romana – Charming Coastal City

La Romana is one of the spectacular places to visit in December in the world

Image Credit: violetta for Pixabay

La Romana is one of the best cities to visit in December in the world on the Caribbean coast of the Dominican Republic. The place is known for its picturesque and affordable beaches. The natural beauty of this place and the amazing weather during the last month of the year make it one of the best places to visit in December in the world with family. The weather during this time is moderate. La Romana is a great place to shop on the island, especially for crafts work.

Places to visit in La Romana: Altos de Chavón, Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore Golf Course of Casa de Campo, Playa Caleta Things to shop: Dominican coffee, Amber and Larimar jewels, faceless doll ornaments Weather in December: The temperature ranges between 19 to 30 degrees Celsius making it an apt time to plan a trip to La Romana in December. How to reach: There are no direct flights from India to La Romana or any other airport in the Dominican Republic.

7. Goa – Party And Beaches

Goa is one of the popular places to visit in December in the world

Goa experiences moderate weather conditions during the month of December. The average temperatures range from 22 to 33 degrees. Also, this is the month when the biggest festival, the Sunburn Festival is organized in Goa. Make sure you visit the ‘Queen of Beaches’ in Goa, Calangute Beach. Also, visit Palolem Beach which is one of the most popular beaches among tourists.

Places to visit in Goa : Palolem Beach, Patnem Beach, Colomb Beach, Aguada Fort, Basilica of Bom Jesus Things to shop: Sarongs, pheni, cashew nut, spices, kokam Weather in December: December is the perfect time to take a trip to Goa as the weather is amazing. How to reach: Goa has flights from all the major cities in India.

Suggested Read: 20 Places To Visit In Kerala In December

8. Siargao Island – Tear-Drop Island

A breathtaking view of Siargao Island

This is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit in December. Siargao Island in the Philippine Sea has is the unique shape of a tear-drop. The island is about 437 square kilometres long. Enjoy pristine sand beaches and azure waters on this island. The weather in the region during December is dry, but good enough to explore this lovely island. Much loved destination by surfers, enjoy this water adventure sport on the popular wave ‘cloud-9’. If you are looking for the best place for honeymoon, this destination is one of the best places to visit in December in world for honeymoon.

Places to visit in Siargao Island: Guyam Island, Daku Island, Cloud 9 Surfing Area, Dedon Island Siargao Inc. Things to shop: Chocnut, Pulvoron (a local sweet), Weather in December: 24 out of 31 days experience rainfall while the rest seven remain dry. How to reach:  To reach manila, you will have to take a connecting flight from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Manage your transport to the island from Manila.

9. Bali – For An Idyllic Holiday

Bali is one of the best places to visit in December in the world

Bali, as they say isn’t a destination but a state of mind, and a pretty great one indeed. Bali, an island in Indonesia is one of the best December destinations in the world and if you are wondering about when to visit, then December is a great month to head to this paradise. The luxurious beach resorts and romantic villas make it an ideal honeymoon destination. An island to both relax and have an adventure, Bali is a complete package in itself, and one of the top countries to visit in December.

Places to visit in Bali : Ubud, Kuta, Nusa Dua Things to shop: Bali batik, coffee and chocolates, wood figures and handicrafts, woven bags Weather in December: The best time to go to Bali is in December are the weather is amazing How to reach: Bali has regular flights from various cities in India.

Suggested Read: Bali In January

10. Mauritius – For Endless Beaches

Mauritius is one of the preferred places to visit in December in the world

Another top honeymoon destination of the world , Mauritius is known for its pristine beaches. An island nation in East Africa, Mauritius is the epitome of beauty and what makes it one of the places to go in December in world is the complete holiday experience. Mauritius has a lot of luxurious resorts and hotels for accommodation. The sandy beaches with turquoise clear waters, make Mauritius one of the best and safe places to travel in December.

Places to visit in Mauritius : Black River Gorges National Park, le aux Cerfs, Seven Colored Earth Things to shop: Phoenix beer, rum, dodo artefacts, colored earth Weather in December: The month of December is the best time to take a trip to Mauritius and enjoy open skies and sunshine How to reach: There are regular flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore to Mauritius.

11. Rio De Janeiro – For Peppy Drum Beats

Rio De Janeiro is one of the best places to visit in December in the world

Rio De Janeiro, the capital city of Brazil, is arguably the most vivid, colorful, and energetic city of the world. Indulge yourself in the ever-present carnival aura that the city is made of. Along with your loved one, you can experience some of the best sightseeing places at the heart of samba land. It is one of the best places to visit in December outside India.

Places to visit in Río De Janeiro: Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana Beach, Sugarloaf mountain, Maracaibo, and Ipanema Beach Things to shop: beachwear, hammocks, dry-cure cigars, Brazilian ceramics Weather in December: The temperature lies between 23 to 29 degrees Celsius How to reach:  Air India and Ethopian have connecting flights from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro with multiple stops on the way.

Suggested Read: 31 Places To Visit Near Delhi In December

12. Miami – Party Central

Miami is one of the best places to visit in December in the world for party lovers

In the list of places to visit in December in the world, they don’t come more iconic and well-known than Miami. Hundreds of songs, movies, and TV shows have sung praises of the palm trees, evergreen weather, eccentric people, and lavish lifestyle that is no less than a dream for a common man. It is one of the best warm places to visit in December in the world. It is one of the best places to visit in December in Europe .

Places to visit in Miami : Miami Seaquarium, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Lincoln Road, and Coral Castle Things to shop: Cigars, local jams, keylime products Weather in December: The temperature in Miami is between 19 to 23 degrees Celsius How to reach: You could take a connecting flight to Miami from Delhi or Mumbai.

13. Dubai – Futuristic City

A splendid view of Dubai, one of the iconic places to visit in December in the world

A classic story of an oasis in the desert can be seen realized in Dubai. In a desert that stretches endlessly for thousands of miles, there has been an ultra-futuristic city like Dubai built to flex the financial muscle of the royal Arab sheikhs. Home to the world’s tallest building, the fastest Rollercoaster, and the world’s biggest water park, Dubai is an irresistible dream vacation for all travellers who love adventure.

Places to visit in Dubai : Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Gold Souk, Palm Jumeirah, and Wild Wadi Waterpark. Things to shop: Perfumes, oudh, dates, pashmina gold, and electronics Weather in December: The temperature in Dubai lies between 16 to 26 degrees Celsius. How to reach: There are direct flights to Dubai from major cities in India.

Suggested Read: 22 Best Places To Visit In South India In December

14. Singapore – The Melting Pot Of Asia

Singapore is one of the popular places to visit in December in the world

If ever someone had to summarize Asia in one city, it had to be Singapore. The roots of the city originate from an amalgamation of cultures from all over Asia to morph into a modern society. It is one of the best places to visit in December in Asia .

Travelers can enjoy a host of entertainment parks, theme parks, sounds and lights, shopping areas, and delicious cuisines from all around the world.

Places to visit in Singapore: Sentosa Island, Gardens by the Bay, Merlin’s fountain, and Little India. Things to shop: orchid perfumes, minitaure Merlions, coconut jam, laksa paste Weather in December: The weather is pleasant with temperatures lying between 25 to 31 degrees Celsius How to reach: You will find multiple airlines flying on the route to Singapore and India.

15. Sydney – Christmas On A Beach

Sydney is one of the ideal places to visit in December in the world

Image Credit: Squirrel_photos for Pixabay

One advantage of travelling to Australia in the month of December is that you get to experience this beautiful summertime weather. With a thriving immigrant population, Sydney adds a tinge of cultural dynamism and a cosmopolitan vibe to its society. Visit some iconic monuments, world-class restaurants, and scenic sightseeing places that will vindicate your decision to head to one of the best places to visit in December out of India .

Places to visit in Sydney : Sydney Harbor Bridge , Opera House, Bondi Beach, and Taronga Zoo. Things to shop: Emu oils, opla, Ugg boots, Macadamia nuts Weather in December: It is not as hot as other parts in Australia with temperatures between 18 to 25 degrees Celsius How to reach: There are direct flights from New Delhi and Mumbai to Sydney.

Suggested Read: 5 Places To Visit In Europe In December

16. Madrid – Spanish Capital Of Celebrations

A popular building in Madrid, one of the historic places to visit in December in the world

Imagine the signature brick streets the capital city, Madrid, illuminated and decorated to ooze festive vibes. Madrid is a city full of madness and spirit. Famous for its Royal Palace, Prado Museum, medieval castles, cheesy – herby cuisine and carnivals, there is no chance of falling short of plans. December is a great time to be here because the temperatures get cooler, unlike the hot weather that prevails throughout the year.

Places to visit in Madrid : Plaza Mayor, Central Madrid, Museo Nacional Del Prado, Buen Retiro Park are some of the most popular places to visit Things to shop: Churros, Shawls, thimbles, Majórica Pearls Weather in December: It gets cold in Madrid in December with temperatures between 4 to 10 degrees Celsius. How to reach:  New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore have direct flights to Madrid, Spain.

17. Jamaica – For A Carribean Vacation

Jamaica is one of the best places to visit in December in the world for beach lovers

If you are in the mood for a tropical beach holiday, there is no better place than Jamaica. Sip pina coladas and margaritas by the beaches in Jamaica and enjoy reggae music. It is best known for adventure, nightlife, and wondrous flora and fauna. Plus the weather in December is warm and sunny making it perfect to escape the winter chill in India. Do not forget to visit the Nergil Beach which is like a jewel to its crown. Enjoy the bamboo raft ride and lush vegetation of the country.

Places to visit in Jamaica : Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay Cruise Port, Rastafari Indigenous Village Things to shop: Blue mountain coffee, white rum, wooden bowls, wooden carvings Weather in December: December is the time when Jamaica receives the least rainfall making it a great time to plan your trip How to reach:  You will have to take a cruise ride from the neighbouring countries to reach Jamaica.

Suggested Read: France In December

18. Aswan – For A Ferry Cruise

Aswan is one of the celebrated places to visit in December in the world

Egypt, being a desert country, the weather during December will remain dry, sunny and warm. But the temperatures are not in extremes and which makes it one of the best places to visit in December around the world. Aswan is a beautiful city located in this ancient country of Pharaohs. Set on the River Nile, this place has many archaeological sites within its boundaries. December is a great time for a ferry ride that happens to be ine of the best things to do in Aswan and enjoy the charming views of the city.

Places to visit in Aswan: Unfinished Obelisk, Nubian Museum, Mausoleum of Aga Khan Things to shop: Nubian skullcaps, Aswan silk, lamps Weather in December: The temperature lies between 12 to 25 degrees Celsius How to reach: AirIndia and EgyptAir have connecting flights to Aswan from New Delhi as cheap as INR 60,000. Prices are subject to change.

19. Cusco – Historical Charm

Cusco, one of the best places to visit in December in the world, is famous for its history

Image Credit: jerzykwpodrozy for Pixabay

This city in Peruvian Andes is known for its archaeological remains from the Inca Empire to which it served as a capital. Cusco is also popular for the marvelous Spanish colonial architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has fascinating streets through which you can take walking tours to explore the city. Visit Cusco during December will bring you the chance of witnessing its beauty enhanced by the wet season. This is what puts Cusco among the places to visit in December around the world.

Places to visit in Cusco: Sacred Valley, Saqsaywaman, Qorikancha, Tambomachay Things to shop: Chullo, Alpaca clothing, paintings Weather in December: The temperature lies between 7 to 20 degrees Celsius with 13 days of rainfall. How to reach: There are multiple airlines offering connecting flights to Cusco from New Delhi.

Suggested Read: 31 Best Places In The World To Celebrate New Year

20. Buenos Aires – Blend Of Latin And European

Two unidentified tango dancers performing at Plaza Serrano in San Telmo neighborhood in Buenos Aires

The capital city of Argentina is another city destination to visit in December. With a beautiful blend of Latin with European, it is quite a touristy town. This cosmopolitan hub often comes across as a concrete jungle, but if delved deeper, it has its own share of history and charm. Walk down the streets of the city and marvel at the beautiful old buildings here.

Places to visit in Buenos Aires: Recoleta Cemetery, Casa Rosada, Teatro Colón Things to shop: Dulce de Leche, knives, Mate set Weather in December: The temperature lies between 19 to 28 degrees Celsius with 8 days of rainfall How to reach:  There are multiple flights from New Delhi to Buenos Aires with layover in one or sometimes two cities.

21. Mexico City – For Its Glorious History

Mexico is one of the iconic places to visit in December in the world

If one is looking for city destinations, then another amazing place to visit in the world in December is the capital of Mexico, Mexico City. Mexico City is mesmerizing for not just one, but for reasons too many. Known for its scenic beauty, it has both pristine beaches and glorious heritage. December is a great time to head here as the weather is both dry and mild. The coastal areas are comparatively warmer than inland areas.

Places to visit in Mexico City : Chapultepec Park, Metropolitan Cathedral, and the National Palace Things to shop: coffee, chocolate, Talavera pottery, tequila Weather in December: The weather is pleasant with temperatures between 24 to 28 degrees Celsius How to reach:  You will have to fly to the US and then take a connecting flight to Mexico city.

Suggested Read: 5 Cruises In Mexico

22. Cartagena – An Old Town Beauty

Boating Cartagena

One of the first Spanish colonies on the continent of America, Cartagena has come a long way. Facing the Caribbean Sea, situated on Colombia’s northern coast, it is a touristy town. Pretty crowded during the December holidays, this is when this city sees the most number of tourists. With a number of luxurious hotels and chic cafes, it is a great place to visit in December.

Places to visit in Cartagena: Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Palace of Inquisition, Las Bóvedas Things to shop: Mochila Shoulder Bag, Colombian Coffee, rum, beachwear Weather in December: The temperature lies between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius in Cartagena in December. How to reach: Take a connecting flight to Cartagena from New York or Fort Lauderdale.

23. Cairo – The Egyptian Capital


Image Credit: shadyshaker for Pixabay

If you want to escape the biting cold weather in North India, plan a vacation to Egypt. Not only will you get to soak lots of Vitamin D but also get to witness the Pyramids of Giza and River Nile this place is famous for.

Places to visit in Cairo: Giza Necropolis, Khan el-Khalili, Pyramid of Djoser, Egyptian Museum Things to shop: Handcrafted metal works, hookah, incense Things to do In Cairo: Camel safari, scuba diving, adventure sports Weather in December: Egypt remains sunny and dry throughout the year since it is a desert area. How to reach: You will find direct flights from Mumbai to Cairo.

Suggested Read: 11 Things To Do In Cairo

24. Philippines – For The Love Of Islands

Philippines is one of the options for places to visit in December in the world

Image Credit: giulianabencovich for Pixabay

The reason why the Philippines is so popular among tourists is the 7100 islands it has in its kitty. Explore the staggering beauty of this place and immerse in the unique island experiences. Boracay Island in the Philippines are a must-visit on your vacation.

Places to visit in Philippines: Boracay, Chocolate hills, Panglao Islands, Mactan, Siargao Islands Things to shop: Souvenir shirts with tropical prints, dried mangoes, San Miguel beer, traditional accessories Things to do In Philippines : Surfing, island hopping, sunbathing, try delicious island cuisine Weather in December : There are no spells of rainfall. So, the weather is usually dry. How to reach:  You will have to take a connecting flight from Singapore, Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur to Manila, Philippines.

25. Costa Rica – For Sandy Beaches And Adventure

old building in Costa Rica, one of the historic places to visit in December in the world

Image Credit: Edwin Dalorzo for wikipedia

A country in Central America, Costa Rica is famous for its sandy beaches, volcanoes, and rich biodiversity. After all, one-fourth of the country is covered with dense jungles that are home to endangered wildlife.

Places to visit in Costa Rica : San Jose, Monteverde, La Fortuna, Tamarindo, Jaco Things to shop: Jewelry, gourmet coffee, handcrafted shoes, natural beauty products, artwork Things to do in Costa Rica : Visit Manuel Antonio National park and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, hit the beaches, Weather in December: Costa Rica observes rainfall throughout the year but December is the best time to visit this country How to reach:  There are flights from New Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai to Costa Rica airports in San Jose and Liberia.

Suggested Read: 10 Costa Rica Travel Tips

26. Chile – Enjoy The Scenic Landscapes

mountains in Chile, one of the scenic places to visit in December in the world

Image Credit: Alexa_Nbg for Pixabay

You may not even think about taking a trip to Chile but you should definitely consider this beautiful Latin American country for the love of the scenic landscapes and unique cultural experiences. Valparaiso and lake District are two of the must-visit places in Chile.

Places to visit in Chile : Santiago, Easter Island, Valparaiso, Torres del Paine National Park Things to shop: Chilean wine, Huaso – Chilean cowboy outfit, Rapanui, Copper art and jewelry Things to do In Chile : Trekking, rafting, sandboarding, shopping, enjoy Chilean food Weather in December: The weather in Chile in December is dry making it a perfect time to visit this place. How to reach:  It is not that easy to reach Chile from India. You will have to make multiple stops before you arrive in Chile.

27. Laos – A Backapcker’s Paradise

luang prabang laos

Image Credit: travelphotographer for Pixabay

Sharing its borders with Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos is one of the most popular places for backpacking. People generally cover these three destinations together. Laos is famous for laidback life and abundant nature. Luang Prabang is one of the most famous towns in Laos.

Places to visit in Laos : Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Pakse, Phonsavan Things to shop: Phaa sin – a traditional Laos skirt, coffee, handicrafts, shawls Things to do in Laos : explore night markets, sunset cruise in the Mekong River, visit Kuang Si Falls Weather in December: the weather in Laos in December is perfect to take a vacation How to reach: There is a direct flight from Kolkata airport to Luang Prabang.

Suggested Read: Shopping In Laos

28. Cambodia – The Land Of Beautiful Temples

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is one of the places to visit in December in the world, famous for its temples

Image Credit: mrsakchai for Pixabay

Famous for Angkor Wat, Cambodia is favorite place of backpackers. This southeast Asian country is known for its low-lying planes and historical temples. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the history and beauty of these temple relics.

Places to visit in Cambodia : Krong Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Tonle Sap, Banteay Srei Things to shop: Batik print clothing, woven mats, Cambodian silk, rice paper prints, soaps and candles Things to do in Cambodia : Watch sunrise or sunset at Angkor Wat, pub hopping in Pub street, visit the historic museums, explore the glowing caves in the night Weather in December: It is cool and windy, humidity is low and the temperature remains 25 degrees during the day. How to reach: There are no direct flights but you can take a connecting flight from cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Vientiane.

29. Vietnam – A Lost Paradise

aerial view vietnam

Image Credit: ThachSanh for Pixabay

Vietnam, the land of ascending dragon, is about all things lost. You can simply witness the charm of the ancient world and civilization in its architecture and culture. The beautiful Halong Bay is a place to die for. This place is abundant with rich flora and fauna.

Places to visit in Vietnam : Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Sa Pa Things to shop: Ao Dai – the national costume of Vietnam, bamboo crafts, conical hats, hand embroidery, pottery items Things to do in Vietnam : Trekking, hiking, discovering waterfalls, caving, exploring floating villages Weather in December: The weather is pleasant to plan a vacation to Vietnam in December How to reach: Bangalore has a 4-hour flight to Vietnam.

Suggested Read: 10 Amazing Things To Do In Sapa

30. Belize – Surrounded By The Blue Ocean

belize aerial shot

If you are craving a Carribean getaway, then Belize will be perfect in December. The place is profusely rich with flora and fauna. Enjoy sunbathing on the sandy beaches and trek into the dense forests for a taste of adventure.

Places to visit in Belize: Caye Caulker, Great Blue Hole, Ambergris Caye, Xuanatunich, Lamanai Things to shop: Belizean chocolate, mayan basket, conch jewelry, wooden kitchenware, locally grown coffee Things to do: Caving in the world’s most sacred cave, explore mayan ruins with the least crowd, stay at a beachside hotel or resort Weather in December: The bright sunshine and salubrious weather in December makes it the best time to visit Belize. How to reach: Luckily there are direct flights from New Delhi to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport with stopovers.

31. Guatemala – For The Taste Of Adventure And Nature


Image Credit: Ale_Gonzalez for Pixabay

Guatemala is indeed one of the most beautiful places to visit on earth. If you want to have a taste of adventure and nature, there couldn’t be a better place than Guatemala. The charm of colonial buildings and the remnants of earthquakes make a curious case to visit this Central American country.

Places to visit in Guatemala: Tikal, Lake Atitlan, Antigua Gautemala, Coban, Livingston Things to shop: handwoven scarf, jewelry, coffee, pottery Things to do: Visit the Mayan Ruins, Lake Atitlan, Semuc Champey, Pacaya Weather in December: December is the best time to visit Guatemala How to reach: Since there are no direct flights from India, take a connecting flight from Newark, London, or Houston.

Suggested Read: Best Trips: Pick Your Favorite, Pack Your Bags, And Head Right Out

32. Fiji – Tropical Heaven On Earth

Clouds Fiji Sky Palm Trees Tropics Sand Beach

Image Credit: ID 12019 for Pixabay

If you have been to Mauritius, then you should take a trip to Fiji this time. A group of 333 picturesque islands, Fiji is no less than a tropical heaven on earth. Enjoy a blissful, dreamy vacation.

Places to visit in Fiji : Nadi, Suva, Yasawa Islands, Viti Levu, Savusavu, Denarau Island, Kadavu Island

Things to shop: Sarong, Carved mask, woven mats & baskets, Tapa cloth Things to do in Fiji : snorkeling, sea cruise, hiking, visit a local village, become part of kava ceremony Weather in December: The weather in Fiji in December is perfect to take a vacation How to reach: Fortunately, there are direct flights from New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai to Fiji Island. It takes about 15 hours via flight.

33. New Zealand – Into The Wild

new zealand mountains

Image Credit: Julius_Silver for Pixabay

When it is winter in Asia, New Zealand enjoys a sunny weather. If you have a taste for adventure, the outbacks of New Zealand are perfect for wild experiences. It is a new place for thrill seekers and adventurists. No wonder it was a great place to shoot Lord of the Rings.

Places to visit in New Zealand : Queenstown, Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Wellington Things to shop: Jade necklace, The One ring, Merino wool, charm bracelet Things to do in New Zealand : sandboarding, kayaking, ziplining, learn about Maori culture, visit Glowworm caves, wine tasting tour Weather in December: It is hot in New Zealand in December . So, if the sun is what you seek, then you should migrate to New Zealand for a month. How to reach:  Take a connecting flight from Singapore to Auckland as there is no direct flight from India.

Suggested Read: 10 Best Places For New Zealand Water Sports

34. Cuba – For The Latino Charm

cars in cuba

Image Credit: GregMontani for Pixabay

Go a little offbeat with your choice of place to travel and escape to Cuba, the land of islands. This place is known for its museums, gardens, and beautiful architecture. La Havana and Santiago de Cuba are two of the must-visit places in Cuba.

Places to visit in Cuba : Havana, Varadera, Trinidad, Vinales, Old Havana, Baracoa Things to shop: Cuban cigars and rum, local coffee, natural products, bean necklaces Things to do: Havana city tour, swim in a cenote, beach hopping, visit Topes National Park, try local cuisine Weather in December: The best time to plan a trip to Cuba is from November to March. How to reach:  Luckily, there are direct flights from India to Havana in Cuba.

35. Tasmania – Wild & Crazy Adventures

tasmania australia

Tasmania in Australia is about all things wild. The south coast offers plenty of opportunities to get into the wild and enjoy the raw side of nature. The beaches of Tasmania are some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia .

Places to visit in Tasmania: Mona, Mount Wellington, Cradle Mountain, Mount Field National Things to shop for: organic produce, lavender, baked goods Things to do: Visit the lavender fields and tulip farms, Freycinet National Park, Satellite Island< Weather in December: It gets warm in Tasmania in December How to reach:  Take a connecting flight from Sydney or Melbourne as there are no direct flights from India. You could also take a ferry from these Australian cities.

Suggested Read: 7 Best Indian Restaurants In Hobart

36. Spain – For Young And Free Souls

View of Spain

Spain is one of the most loved destinations among tourists. From Barcelona to Madrid, there are so many interesting places to visit. And during the month of December, it becomes even more happening as it is the time of Christmas. The city celebrates it on a huge level. You will get to see Christmas markets, lit streets and much more, making it one of the best places to visit in December for Christmas.

Places to visit in Spain : Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granade, Ibiza, Palma Things to shop: Spanish fan, Olive oil Things to do in Spain : Hike at Camino, visit La Sagrada, take a Flamenco lesson Weather in December: The weather of Spain in December is pleasant. It doesn’t experience much cold How to reach:  Madrid and Barcelona have direct flights from Indian cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi.

37. South Africa – Old World Charm


South Africa should be visited in the month of December, the weather is quite pleasant to explore the rugged places and embrace the beauty. The place offers a kind of old-world charm like old cities shown in Hollywood movies. You will definitely love the place.

Places to visit in South Africa : Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Kruger National Park Things to shop: Old World Wine, spoons Things to do In South Africa : Spot wildlife at Kruger National Park Weather in December: The average temperature of South Africa during December is 30 degree celsius. It can rain sometimes. How to reach: Ethiopian Airlines fly on the New-Delhi and South Africa routes.

Suggested Read: 7 Homestays In South Africa

38. Greece – Boundless Beauty


Which is the city with white homes sparkling like stars in the mid-day? Greece, of course. Anybody would love to travel to Greece once in their lives thanks to its unparalleled beauty. It offers a paradisiacal day and a happening night experience. It is also known for its historical monuments.

Places to visit in Greece : Athens, Mykonos, Crete Region, Santorini, Oia, Rhodes Things to shop: Greek Tea Things to do in Greece : Sunbathe at beaches, visit historical monuments, explore white villages Weather In December: The weather of Greece during December is cold and it is advised to carry warm clothes while holidaying there. How to reach: Regular flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore fly to various international airports in Greece.

39. Hawaii – Best Beaches


In Hawaii, particularly on Kauai, there are some of the most beautiful hikes in the world. Although it is possible to hike throughout the year, autumn is a good choice, usually because there are more hours of daylight and the trails appear to be drier. You will have the most splendid time here.

Places to visit in Hawaii : Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Things to shop: Junk Jewellery Things to do In Hawaii : Take a stroll on the beaches and catch the sunset with your loved one. Weather in December: The weather in Hawaii during December is pleasant. It is neither too hot nor too cold. How to reach:  There are no direct flights from India to Honolulu, Hawaii. You may take a connecting flight from Japan, Singapoe, or US.

Suggested Read: 9 Thrilling Things To Do In Honolulu

40. Italy – A Slice Of Medieval Life


During this time, you will be thrilled to find near-empty beaches. The Alba White Truffle Festival and the popular EuroChocolate from Perugia attract a large majority of foodies from all over the world. Make sure to pack a lot of woolen and bring your near and dear ones to this beautiful destination.

Places to visit in Italy : Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence, Naples, Siena, Amalfi Things to shop: Handmade sandals Things to do: Eat deep-dish pizza and pour yourself a glass of wine. Weather in December: It is likely to be raining where it is not snowing. Make sure you carry woolens. How to reach: Take a direct flight from New Delhi to Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy which takes about 8 hours in the air.

41. Sri Lanka – The Tear-Drop Gem

sri lanka visit with kids

The most beautiful country much famed for its tear-drop shape, Sri Lanka is one of the best places to visit in December in the world . Considered to be an apt choice for a laid-back vacation, Sri Lanka has a unique aura attached to its surroundings. Be it the beaches, the mountains, the locals, the architecture, or the food, every experience in this country just leaves you wanting more. So for those who are yet to update their bucket list for 2024, make sure you do not miss out on this one.

Places To Visit In Sri Lanka : Sigiriya, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple, Adam’s Peak, and more. Things To Shop: Handloom items, spices, jewellery, and tea Things To Do In Sri Lanka : Trek atop Sigiriya, go hiking on Adam’s Peak, wildlife safari at Yala National Park, interact with the elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, walk the sandy shore of Arugam Bay Beach, and more.  Weather In December : The weather in Sri Lanka fluctuates between 22 to 31 degrees celsius on average in the month of December.  How to reach: Sri Lanka has direct flights from New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai through various operators.

Suggested Read: 12 Temples In Sri Lanka

42. Bhutan – The Land of Thunder Dragon

Weather In Bhutan In October

Nestled on the eastern edge of the mighty Himalayas, Bhutan is renowned worldwide as the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Considered to be one of the best places to visit in December in the world , this landlocked gem is a treasure chest of beautiful monasteries, gorgeous valleys, magnificent fortresses, and all good things. With its landscapes being so dramatic in nature, there is no way one could miss out on the Kingdom of Bhutan in 2024.

Places To Visit In Bhutan : Paro Taktsang, Punakha Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Gangteng Monastery, National Museum of Bhutan, and more Things To Shop: Bhutanese Handicrafts, handwoven textiles, Himalayan beads, and postal stamps Things To Do In Bhutan : Trek to the Tiger’s Nest, visit the Buddhist temple of Kichu Lhakang, explore the National Museum of Bhutan, stay stunned by the Buddha Dordenma, explore Jigme Dorji National Park, and more Weather In December: You might as well want to pack your woollens as the temperature ranges from minus 1 to 13 degree Celsius in Bhutan in December. How to reach:  Indians can either fly to Bhutan or take a road trip. You will require a permit from Phunotshiling in case you are entering via land.

43. Czech Republic – The Architectural Marvel

Places To Visit In Czech Republic

Landlocked by Slovakia, Germany, Poland, and Austria on the east, west, north, and south respectively, Czechia, as it is popularly referred to, is one of the best places to visit in December in the world by all travellers alike. A historical country famous for its Baroque architecture, it is a strict no-no to miss out on the breweries, magical castles, spa towns, and gorgeous architecture when in the Czech Republic. Try the famous Pilsner beer without fail!

Places To Visit In Czech Republic : Prague Castle, Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, Dancing House, Petrin Tower, Strahov Monastery, and more Things To Shop: Marionettes (puppets), wooden toys, Bohemian glass, and Mucha posters Things To Do: Go boating under the Charles Bridge, admire the Prague Astronomical Clock, strike a pose near the Lennon Wall, take a guided tour of the Karlštejn Castle, walk down the Golden Lane, and more Weather In December: Get ready to get drenched in snow as the temperature ranges from minus two to 3 degree Celsius in the Czech Republic in December. How to reach:  Take a flight to Prague from India and then plan your onward journey to Czech Republic via air or land.

Suggested Read: Czech Republic Nightlife

44. Hong Kong – The Shopaholics Paradise 

Hong Kong In December Travel Tips

Once a British Colony, Hong Kong is now the global financial hub located in the heart of China, in the southeastern region. Being one of the best places to visit in December in the world , it is also one of the leading urban hubs which is vibrant in nature and features a skyline that is studded with magnificent skyscrapers. Much famed as a major destination for shopping, do not miss out on entertaining yourself at the amazing amusement parks too!

Places To Visit In Hong Kong : Victoria Harbour, Lantau Island, Tian Tan Buddha, Avenue of Stars, Po Lin Monastery, Lamma Island, Repulse Bay, Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, and more Things To Shop: Designer handbags, famous labels, jewellery, perfumes, and electronics Things To Do In Hong Kong : Admire the skyline from Victoria Peak, stay amazed at Hong Kong Disneyland, go for thrilling rides at Ocean Park, shop at Tung Choi Street, enjoy the Ngong Ping 360, take the Peak Tram, and more Weather In December: The weather in December is pretty moderate in Hong Kong as the temperature ranges from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. How to reach: You will find direct flights to Hong Kong from New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.

45. Peru – For Adventure-Loving Couples

machu pichu peru

Image Credit: ID 4758892 for Pixabay

Peru is one of the best countries to visit in December given its salubrious weather. You could go hiking in Machu Picchu, visit the famous oasis, and climb up the rainbow mountain. Peru is full of surprises and one of the most beautiful countries too. You will also get amazing cultural and food experiences on your vacation.

Places to visit in Peru :  Lima, Cusco, The Sacred Valley of Incas, Machu Picchu Things to shop: Chullos, Andean Flutes and cross jewellery, Kero cups Things to do In Peru : Hiking, sandboarding, surfing Weather in December: Peru in December is sunny, dry, and warm. The temperature is as high as 2 degrees Celsius and as low as 7 degrees. How to reach:  You can take a connecting flight to Lima, Peru’s capital from European and American cities.

Suggested Read: Plan An Exotic Peru Honeymoon

46. Uruguay – Best Of South America

beaches in uruguay

If you are wondering about the best destinations in December, head to Uruguay. The South American country is breathtakingly beautiful with its enticing beaches and attractions influenced by Australian culture. The country is a haven for meat lovers as there is a huge variety of food to explore and savour. The art deco buildings, colonial homes, and waterfront promenade make it a happening place to visit.

Places to visit in Uruguay:  La Paloma, Punta del Diablo, Santa Teresa National Park Things to shop: Minerals and stones, gaucho hat, leather products Things to do: beach hopping, surfing, hiking Weather in December: October to March is the spring season in Uruguay posing as an ideal time to take a trip. How to reach:  There are flights from New Delhi and Amritsar that are in no way cheap. The one-way flight to Uruguay begins from INR 98,000 onwards.

Further Read: 10 Hong Kong Casinos

We hope that this much-needed push will motivate you to travel even more. Therefore, after looking at all these best places to visit in December in the world, you can surely plan a fantastic end to your year by planning an international trip with your loved ones.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Best Places To Visit In December In The World

Which are some of the safest places to visit in December in the world for families with kids?

Some of the safest places to visit in December in the world for families with kids are the following: Finland, UAE, Iceland, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore, Norway, Switzerland, Rwanda, Qatar, Portugal, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Austria.

Which are some of the must-visit places in December in the world?

The countries that are known as the best places to go in December are: USA, Czech Republic, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. The mentioned places are popular for their exquisite festive vibes during New Year.

Where can I go budget-friendly for Christmas?

Owing to the festivities, traveling can be an expensive affair. However, if you want to travel cheaply during Christmas time, you must consider visiting the places listed below: 1. Punta Cana/Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic 2. Roatán Island, Honduras 3. Puerto Vallarta, México 4. Montego Bay, Jamaica 5. Roatán Island, Honduras 6. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Where can I go over Christmas break?

If you’re looking for some warm and best places to travel in December on a budget from India, visiting Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Montego Bay in Jamaica and Roatan Island in Honduras are some of the best options to choose from.

What countries are hot in December?

Cancun, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Brisbane, and Cape Verde are some of the warmest places in the world in December that you can head to. You can surely enjoy various activities at these places like snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.

Is December a good time to visit Spain?

The best time to explore the Spanish lands varies from city to city in this country. Summers is an ideal time to visit Malaga, Cordoba, and Costa del Sol. In December, which is also the winter season here, you can visit coastal cities like Andalucía.

Is December a good time to visit India?

The best time to visit India is during the months of October and March when the weather is mildly warm and from December to January, there is fog and weather cools down to a minimum temperature of 5 degree Celsius in the north, especially the capital city of Delhi.

Which country is best for tourism 2024?

Although the choice of destinations totally depends on your preference. However, the top countries that are ideal for tourism in 2024 are Japan and New Zealand. Japan is known for its unique culture and landscapes and New Zealand is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor activities.

Which country is best to visit in December in Europe?

In Europe, Germany is often considered the best place to travel in December. Its festive Christmas markets, like those in Nuremberg and Munich, offer a magical holiday atmosphere. Additionally, you can enjoy winter sports in the Bavarian Alps or explore charming cities like Berlin and Dresden while experiencing the holiday spirit.

What is the biggest travel trend in 2024?

Here is the list of the biggest travel trends in 2024: Eco-tourism Experiential travel Digital Nomadism Wellness travel Multi-generational travel.

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Why Now Is the Best Time to Visit This Popular Mountain Town, Just a Short Drive from Denver

Looking for the best time to visit this Colorado mountain town known for its Flatiron mountain skyline and outdoor culture?

Well, I’ve done some digging (and, after my 2 year van life adventure across the West, I’ve got a bit of experience under my belt) to find out the best times to visit this gem of a city. That, plus making the mistake of going in the middle of the winter with limited clothing options.

Boulder is an all-year-round haven, but like Salt Lake City with its epic ski conditions in winter, Boulder has its prime times too. The weather in Boulder swings from pleasantly warm summers to brisk, snow-kissed winters. So, let’s break down the visitor seasons in Boulder:

  • Best Season:  April to June and September to November
  • Peak Season:  June to August
  • Off-Peak Season:  December to February

Ready for the specifics of each season in Boulder, including must-see events and typical weather conditions? Whether you’re planning a Boulder day trip or a more extended stay, from rock climbing and hiking to drinking local craft beers, these are the perfect times to visit Boulder.

Best Time to Visit Boulder

Best time of year to visit.

Hands down, the best time to go to Boulder is during the late spring and early summer, between May and June. This season gifts you the perfect weather for hitting the trails or enjoying local cafes under the warmth of the sun, minus the heavy tourist traffic. You get the full Boulder vibe, with blooming nature and lively streets.

Best Time for Good Weather

For the best weather, aim for late spring to early fall, around late May through early September. During this period, the daytime highs will settle between 70°F and 85°F, perfect for all outdoor activities under sunny, blue skies. At this elevation, nights still can cool off pretty severely.

Best Time to Avoid Crowds

To dodge the crowds, go during the shoulder seasons: late spring and early fall (September to October). You’ll find fewer people around because you’re sneaking in just after the height of the ski season and right before or after the summer vacationers swarm in.

Cheapest Time to Visit

The cheapest time to go is during its off-peak season, which falls in winter, from December to February. I went during this season, and the trouble is that many of the trails are completely snowed out and closed off. 

However, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous, and accommodation rates plummet as much as 50% compared to peak summer prices, making it a steal for those willing to brave the colder weather.

Worst Time to Visit Boulder

Boulder is blessed with a lot of sun and relatively mild days. It’s a great all-year-round place, but during the heat of mid-summer, specifically July and August, the city swelters under temperatures that can climb into the 90s. Plus, it’s the peak season, so expect crowded trails, full patios, and booked-up accommodations. 

Otherwise, if you’re not into snow sports, the dead of winter does limit your activities and options. Though it’s a magical time, with snow-covered mountains and festive holiday vibes, this may not be the season for you if you’re looking for more outdoor adventure.

Seasons of Boulder

Spring (march to may).

Spring in Boulder welcomes adventurers and nature lovers back into its open spaces. The Flatirons, iconic to Boulder’s skyline, have a lingering dust of snow on their tops, while the trails at their feet are ready for hiking. 

Wildflowers start to dot the landscape with color, and the local wildlife becomes more active. You can hit the trails in the morning with a light jacket and, by afternoon, be chilling in a t-shirt at a local brewery’s patio. 

Temperature-wise, the average ranges from the high 50s to mid-70s. It’s warm enough for outdoor fun but not so hot that you’re seeking shade every five minutes. Plus, the city isn’t swamped with visitors yet.

Key Events: 

  • Boulder International Film Festival (March):  A four-day event featuring over 55 films from around the world.
  • Boulder Arts Week (April):  A nine-day celebration of Boulder’s vibrant arts scene, with over 100 events and everything from live music and dance performances to visual arts and interactive workshops.
  • First Sip Boulder (April):  A month-long celebration of Boulder’s craft beer scene, with special events and promotions at local breweries.
  • Tulip, Fairy & Elf Festival (April):  spring with over 15,000 tulips in full bloom, live entertainment, and children’s activities. 
  • Boulder Creek Festival (May) : A three-day community event with live music, a carnival, an art show, and food vendors.

Summer (June to August)

Summer in Boulder is when everything’s in full bloom, the days stretch longer, and daytime highs hover around the mid-80s to low 90s. The days are usually always sunny. 

The Flatirons serve as a picturesque backdrop and a playground for hikers and climbers. And if the heat gets too much, there are numerous creeks and lakes to take a refreshing dip in.

Summer in Boulder is also packed with cultural festivities, from outdoor concerts and movie nights to local farmer’s markets.

Summer marks Boulder’s peak tourist season, so the city is at its liveliest. Dining al fresco becomes a daily ritual, and patios and rooftops are filled with locals and visitors alike.

  • Boulder Jewish Festival (June) :  A day of Jewish culture filled with music, food, and community.
  • Colorado Shakespeare Festival (June to August):  To be, or not to be… Brush up on your Shakespeare with outdoor performances.
  • Boulder Taco Fest (August) :  Join the fiesta with a day celebrating all things tacos, featuring live music and taco vendors from around the city. 
  • Great Boulder Duck Race (August) :  Cheer on your rubber duck as it races down Boulder Creek during this quirky and beloved event.

Fall (September to November)

From September through November, the city undergoes a magical transformation into striking fall foliage colors. Temperatures range from the high 70s in early September to the chilly 40s by late November, so layer up for the outdoors.

The aspen trees shine with their brilliant yellows and golds, making hiking or biking through Boulder’s numerous trails absolutely incredible. Go to Chautauqua Park if you’re at all into photography.

For adventurous souls, fall is the perfect time for rock climbing. The cooler temperatures provide ideal conditions for tackling the famous Boulder Flatirons or exploring the canyons.

Festivals continue with a focus on local harvests, showcasing Colorado’s rich bounty with food and beer festivals that celebrate the season’s end. 

  • Downtown Boulder Fall Fest (September) :  A three-day street party with live music, a beer garden, and local vendors.
  • Boulder Burgundy Festival (October) :  An annual celebration of all things Burgundy wine featuring tastings, seminars, and dinners at some of Boulder’s best restaurants. 
  • Munchkin Masquerade (October) :  A family-friendly Halloween event with trick-or-treating on Pearl Street Mall.

Winter (December to February)

Boulder’s winter is a wonderland of deep, deep snow. From December to February, temperatures hover around the 20s to 40s Fahrenheit, but at least it’s under mostly clear, blue skies.

The snow-capped Flatirons are great for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and some trails are open to winter hiking. Eldora Mountain Resort, just a short drive away, is the go-to spot for skiing and snowboarding.

The city lights up with holiday spirit, starting with the annual Lights of December Parade. Downtown Boulder twinkles with festive decorations, and local shops and restaurants go all out to create a warm atmosphere while holiday markets pop up.

  • Ullr Fest (December) :  Ullr Fest is where Boulder pays homage to the Viking snow god himself. Expect quirky traditions, bonfires, and parades.
  • Freezie Fest (December) :  A family-friendly winter celebration with ice skating, live music, and more on the Pearl Street Mall.
  • WinterFest (January) :   A two-day music festival at the Fox Theatre showcasing local and national talent.
  • Wintersköl (January) :  The annual Aspen winter festival that includes a snow sculpture competition, a canine fashion show, and more.
  • Ouray Ice Festival (January) :  It might be a bit of a drive from Boulder, but it’s worth mentioning. Ice climbers from around the globe gather to show off their gravity-defying skills on frozen waterfalls. 
  • Winter Craft Beer Festival (February) :   A celebration of Colorado’s craft beer scene with over 50 breweries participating.

Boulder Weather By Month

This is a detailed month-by-month overview of Boulder’s average high and low temperatures, along with precipitation and snowfall data:

Before you Close That Tab…Where to Next in Colorado?

I’ve vanlifed south to the north all of Colorado in the dead of winter to early spring. Let me tell you, it was cold, but turn on that buddy heater, and let’s hit the slopes. If you’re looking for more information on Colorado, check out these other destination itineraries.

  • Perfect One Day In Mesa Verde National Park Itinerary
  • Perfect One Day In Black Canyon Of The Gunnison Itinerary
  • Unbeatable One Day In Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary
  • One Day In Boulder Itinerary: What Not To Miss On A Day Trip
  • Perfect One Day In Denver Itinerary For First-Timers
  • Perfect One Day In Great Sand Dunes National Park Itinerary

Looking for the best time to visit this Colorado mountain town known for its Flatiron mountain skyline and outdoor...

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Best romantic getaways in the u.s. for 2024.

Sometimes it's necessary to take a break from the stresses of real life and spend quality time with the person you love. And what better way to do that than to travel? To help you and your sweetheart plan the ideal romantic retreat, whether it's for an anniversary or just because, U.S. News considered ambiance, privacy and access to couple-friendly activities to rank the best romantic getaways in the USA. Use this list to pick your next one-on-one vacation, and vote for your favorite locales below. Looking to stay even closer to home? Check out these romantic weekend getaways by state .


Napa valley, charleston, sc, big sky, mt, amelia island, adirondacks, martha's vineyard, jackson hole.

short trip in december

Kaua'i offers many distinct ways for both thrill-seeking and sun-worshipping couples to up the romance factor. You and your sweetheart can lounge on secluded beaches , relax in a private luxury villa or go on a kayaking adventure along the picture-perfect Napali Coast. For even more opportunities to marvel at nature, check out Kaua'i's scenic state parks like Koke'e and Waimea Canyon. Once you've tackled the Hawaiian island's trails hand in hand, consider booking a private helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view you and your better half will never forget.

short trip in december

Few things are more romantic than sharing a remote island with your beau. Lanai's exclusivity can make it feel like the two of you are alone with the Hawaiian island breeze. Head to a luxury hotel or resort to indulge in high-end cuisine and soak up some sun by the pool before exploring the tiny island's landscape side by side. For a memorable hike that requires little effort, follow the short trail from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai to the Pu'upehe overlook. Also known as "Sweetheart Rock," this landmark offers stunning views of Hulopo'e Bay, especially at sunset.

short trip in december

Brimming with rolling vineyards , cozy wine caverns, chic restaurants and top-notch hotels, this wine lover's paradise 60 miles north of San Francisco is the ultimate romantic getaway. Wine enthusiasts can sip Napa's award-winning reds at intimate venues like O'Brien Estate and Jarvis Estate or while savoring gourmet cuisine on the Napa Valley Wine Train. When couples need a break from being wined and dined, they can explore the scenic Napa River via kayak, take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride, or visit the town of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley for its spas and hot springs.

short trip in december

Another ideal retreat for wine connoisseurs , Sonoma is known to be more laid back than its neighbor, Napa, and boasts more than 425 wineries. However, strolling through vineyard vines isn't the only must-do activity for twosomes. Outdoor lovers will want to explore regional parks such as Taylor Mountain (for its trails) and North Sonoma Mountain (to enjoy a picnic surrounded by the peaks of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley). Plenty of Sonoma's hotels offer spa treatments, but what could be more memorable than a massage in a 22-foot wine barrel? Book side-by-side treatments at Magical Massage for a one-of-a-kind experience.

short trip in december

A low-key getaway, Charleston, South Carolina, is filled with pastel-hued historic homes, art galleries and tasty Lowcountry cuisine (perfect for foodie couples). To dial up the romance, take in the sights from a horse-drawn carriage or sign up for a sunset harbor cruise just for two. For a quiet shoreside escape free from crowds, head to one of the nearby beaches like Sullivan's Island. Accommodations range from beachfront resorts to charming bed-and-breakfasts but keep in mind you'll likely have to pay a pretty penny for a stay in the historic district.

short trip in december

It's easy to proclaim your love when you're suspended atop red rocks and looking out upon miles of colorful Arizona landscape. After working up a sweat hiking Sedona's sandstone buttes, bring those romantic vibes indoors for a couples massage at one of the city's world-renowned wellness retreats . Or, if you and your amour prefer relaxing with a glass of vino, save time for a self-guided tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail, which boasts 15 venues ranging from small tasting rooms to vast wineries sprawling along the banks of Oak Creek. At night, hold your loved one close and gaze at the star-filled sky.

short trip in december

Travel to Big Sur for its windswept coastline and rugged mystique. This peaceful destination carved out of the California coast offers a couple of luxurious hotels, but nature is the real star in Big Sur. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the area's redwood-lined trails and admire picturesque Pfeiffer Beach before setting up a tent and roughing it beneath the stars. For an atmospheric picnic, head to Sand Dollar Beach, where couples can admire the scenery sans the crowds. For a more upscale outing, take a day trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea for its art galleries and fairy tale cottages.

short trip in december

Let Big Sky's vast terrain, fresh air and rustic romance carry you and your loved one away from the ins and outs of everyday life. Every winter, couples flock to this Montana destination for its top-notch ski resort (complete with a heated chairlift), though the offseason has its charms, too (think: fly fishing on scenic rivers, hiking under an endless blue sky or taking a road trip to Yellowstone National Park.) For a curated Montana experience, spring for an all-inclusive ranch, where you'll find private cabins, homegrown cuisine and personalized service.

short trip in december

What could be more romantic than a sunrise beachfront horseback ride for two? Or a private sunset cruise aboard a 40-foot catamaran? You and your love can experience this and more on Amelia Island, one of Florida's Atlantic coast barrier islands. Hop on bikes and explore the scenic Amelia Island Trail, or pedal to downtown Fernandina Beach for its Victorian-style architecture, antique shops and galleries. After a day spent sightseeing, pamper weary muscles with a couples massage at one of the luxury resorts that call the island home.

short trip in december

This tiny Massachusetts island exudes New England charm. Stroll arm in arm with your sweetheart down cobblestone streets, unwind on white sand beaches and snap selfies in front of iconic lighthouses, such as Brant Point Lighthouse and Great Point Lighthouse. Then, grab a lobster roll to share from one of the island's premier seafood restaurants, and revel in the extraordinary Atlantic Ocean views from the Sconset Bluff Walk. When you're ready to retire for the night, you'll have your pick of quaint Nantucket inns.

short trip in december

Whether you time your trip for summer boating, fall leaf peeping or snow season, upstate New York makes for an intimate setting. Depending on when you visit, you can bond with your beloved on a sleigh ride, a paddling trip or a scenic hike, where you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views of the Adirondacks' forests, lakes and mountains. When you're adventured out, bop between some of New York's most iconic small towns, including Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, for local dining and shopping. What's more, you can choose from accommodations ranging from luxe lodges packed with amenities to secluded wooden cabins for two.

short trip in december

Savannah, Georgia, is tailor-made for a weekend getaway. Spanish moss hangs over sidewalks that lead past hundreds of historic homes. The lively River Street area features a bevy of shopping, dining and nightlife options, while nearby islands provide a relaxing respite. Meanwhile, Forsyth Park provides the ultimate romantic backdrop for memorable couples photos, and if you're feeling brave, you can hold each other tight during a ghost tour at the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery. For charming digs in the heart of the city, hang your hat at one of Savannah's charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations, or rent a snug carriage house.

short trip in december

If your ideal romantic escape entails a lazy agenda, shingle-covered beach houses and quaint towns, Martha's Vineyard is just the place. On this Massachusetts island, you can relax on quiet beaches, sample decadent fare at upscale restaurants and explore the historic Edgartown Lighthouse, which offers incredible views of the harbor and neighboring Chappaquiddick Island. On a warm, sunny day, venture to Oak Bluffs, where you'll find charming gingerbread cottages at The Campground. For the ultimate romantic retreat, book a stay at one of the island's top hotels, some of which offer complimentary bike rentals, beach chairs and continental breakfast to guests.

short trip in december

Reconnect with your sweetie during a getaway to Jackson Hole. This piece of Wyoming paradise is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, including hiking and skiing. Should you need to soothe your aching muscles after an active day, go for a dip in the Granite Hot Springs, Astoria Hot Springs or your high-end resort's outdoor hot tub. Whether your dream romantic vacation includes horseback riding through the majestic Grand Teton National Park, sipping wine by a crackling fireplace or unwinding at a world-class spa, Jackson Hole is the perfect place for you and your other half.

short trip in december

For lovebirds who enjoy skiing and cuddling up by a fireplace, Aspen is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Spend your days sharing ski lifts in the snow-capped mountains before partaking in the highly touted après ski scene. If you arrive during the warmer months, take advantage of superb hiking and scenic gondola rides. Then, retreat to one of the many hotels and resorts that offer glitzy accommodations for two – not to mention some must-visit spas . If you're not ready to turn in just yet, Aspen's nightlife options include plenty of live music venues, clubs and cocktail lounges.

short trip in december

With 40 miles of protected seashore, this region of Massachusetts offers plenty of space for that long walk on the beach. And the slow pace of Cape Cod means you don't have to focus on the hustle and bustle of daily life – you can spend quality time together swimming, biking and eating fresh seafood instead. Cape Cod is also home to a handful of breweries and wineries, so you can toast to your special someone during a tasting. Splurge on one of the Cape's five-star accommodations for spectacular ocean views and sumptuous amenities like soaking tubs for two, in-room fireplaces and private balconies.

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short trip in december

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short trip in december

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short trip in december

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10 Best Family Vacations in December

quebec city montreal holiday street; Courtesy of By AnjelikaGr/Shutterstock

Oct 21, 2019

See recent posts by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson

Once your kids reach a certain age, it becomes increasingly difficult to plan family vacations around their school and activity schedules. Many parents find themselves taking their kids out of school for vacations  or planning short trips during school holidays. With most schools closing for nearly two weeks during the month of December, it’s prime time for a family vacation. It also happens to be a particularly exciting time of year, with all of the winter holiday festivities in full swing. Read on for a look at the best family vacations in December.

1. North Pole, NY

Yes, you read that right! Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains is a tiny hamlet that’s been christened North Pole . If your family enjoys the mountains and winter sports like skiing and snowboarding , the Adirondacks is an ideal destination any time in winter. But during the month of December, a visit to North Pole is particularly spectacular. A wonderful Christmas village themed park—complete with Santa’s Workshop—is central to the town and worth a day or two for those with small children. Visitors can see Santa and his reindeer, get treats from a bake shop and candy shop, visit the blacksmith where the reindeer’s magical shoes are made, and more. There are even live Christmas-themed performances each day and other rides and attractions including coasters, kiddie rides and a 24-foot train. There are a number of quaint inns and scenic vacation rentals in the surrounding area, and special package deals for the North Pole theme park and attractions are available on select weekends.

Recommended Hotel: Crowne Plaza Lake Placid

2. Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City  has a cozy vibe year-round, but despite the typically frigid temps, it truly shines during the winter months. Since the region experiences cold, snowy weather most of the year, much of its tourism industry is centered around things people can do to enhance the winter wonderland experience. From tobogganing down a massive slide in the middle of the city to staying at an ice hotel , there are a number of novel and absolutely thrilling options for families. For a unique experience, take a short drive outside of the city to tour an authentic sugar shack and see how maple syrup is produced. You can also enjoy a traditional Quebecois meal and live music. If you’re in town during the world-famous Winter Carnival, it’s a must-do and no visit would be complete without spending a day in the charming Petit-Champlain district with its cobblestone streets, hidden passages and slew of fantastic shops and restaurants, many of which celebrate the local Quebecois culture. Petit-Champlain practically transforms into a Christmas village in December, making it an even more spectacular destination for a family photo op.

Recommended Hotel: Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

3. Yosemite National Park, CA

Though winter is low season for Yosemite National Park , a family vacation in December means you’ll experience more solitude and get to see the park in a way many others don’t: covered in a dreamy dusting of snow. Though not all of the park’s access roads are open this time of year, several are, allowing visitors to see Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls (which still flows lightly throughout December). There are even some open hiking trails throughout the winter months, perfect for more adventurous families. Plus, from mid-December onward, your family can enjoy skiing at Badger Pass Ski Area.

If you’re in town during the holidays, nearby Evergreen Lodge offers holiday packages and features a huge array of Christmas-themed daily and nightly activities including S’mores and a tree lighting to please the little ones, and wine tastings and yoga classes for grown-ups. There’s also an Old World-style Christmas feast and optional guided sightseeing tours of Yosemite.

Recommended Hotel: Evergreen Lodge

Related: National Parks That Are Better in the Winter

4. Seattle, WA

Winter is also low season in the Pacific Northwest, but if your family doesn’t mind getting a bit wet, the weather won’t put too much of a damper on your vacation—temps in the Seattle  area rarely dip below the mid-40s during the day. Plus, there are great deals this time of year and Seattle and its surrounding towns positively explode with winter and holiday festivities. If you’re in town leading up to Christmas, check out events such as the Christmas Lighting Festival in the nearby German-inspired village of Leavenworth, go sledding, enjoy live music, and more. There’s also the Winter Solstice Night Market at historic Magnuson Park, which is hosted by the Seattle Farmer’s Market Association and features dozens of food trucks, shops, live music and an adults-only beer hall for parents who want to taste some local brews.

If you’re traveling during other weeks in December, you might consider making Suncadia Resort—about an hour-and-a-half outside of Seattle—your home base. The resort features an impressive annual Winter Fest with activities including winter craft sessions, nightly “Grinch & Elf” tuck-ins, ice skating, snow tubing, hot cocoa paint-and-sips, and much more.

Recommended Hotel:   Suncadia Resort

5. Disney World, FL

While it’s pricey, a Disney family vacation in December is a once-in-a-lifetime experience your kids won’t forget. The parks are covered in extravagant holiday décor, there are festive live performances, special seasonal treats for purchase, and an incredible holiday-themed fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom. There’s also a nightly candlelight processional and retelling of the Christmas story at Epcot . Of course, if you stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel , the festivities won’t end at the park gates. From spectacular Christmas trees and holiday decorations to elaborate holiday feasts and special winter- and holiday-themed activities for children, there’s plenty to enjoy, even when you’re not park hopping.

Recommended Hotel: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

6. Key West, FL

For a more low-key, but still unique December family vacation in Florida, a visit to Key West  is a great option. Key West goes big for the holidays, offering locals and tourists the chance to experience a quirky and utterly enjoyable variety of festive activities and attractions. In fact, Key West puts on an annual Holiday Fest with different events throughout the month of December. They include The Harbor Walk of Lights at the historic seaport, with nautical-themed decorations; the “Bight” Before Christmas Celebration (a bight is a geographical feature of the shoreline); tours of historic inns decked out for the holidays; and holiday shopping at any of Key West’s unique boutiques and shops. You can even take a tour on a boat decorated for the season to see the holiday splendor from the water.

Recommended Hotel: Parrot Key Hotel & Villas  

puerto rico decorated for the holidays; Courtesy of Sean Pavone /Shutterstock

7. Puerto Rico

Like most of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico  is full of tourists in December—and with good reason: it’s absolutely beautiful during the holiday season. Homes and stores are decorated, there’s celebratory music everywhere, authentic holiday meals featuring roast pork and other traditional dishes are served up in restaurants, and the beaches and rainforest are open and ripe for exploration. If you happen to stay in a more residential area, you might even get to witness the island’s legendary parrandas, which is essentially the Puerto Rican version of caroling. Sometime after dinner, people visit their neighbors with instruments in hand, merrily singing from house to house, with each family joining the parade as it reaches their home. Churchgoers should also look into attending a traditional Misa de Aguinaldo (daily mass leading up to Christmas) or a Misa de Gallo on Christmas Eve, to cap off their traditional Puerto Rican holiday experience.

Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino

8. Anguilla

While Anguilla  gets busier during the holiday season, this tiny Eastern Caribbean island is still more relaxed and less crowded than many of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations. It’s truly a place to unplug during the holidays. Early in the month, you’ll even enjoy low-season rates on accommodations. Families will revel in the pristine beaches and the many activities available, including sports and games like volleyball and cornhole, swimming, boating, fishing and other beachy diversions. During the holiday season, visitors will have the unique opportunity to participate in a number of community events honoring the season, including the Christmas tree lighting in what is known as “The Valley,” and various Christmas pageants that are held throughout the island. The islanders are also known to go all out with their holiday decorations, which can make for particularly fun drives and evening strolls with little ones. Don’t forget to find restaurants serving up traditional Anguillan holiday meals as well—even better if you can snag an invite from a local!

Recommended Hotel: Frangipani Beach Resort

9. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich  may not be the first European destination that comes to mind when planning a family vacation in December. But as the largest city in Switzerland, it’s a dynamic destination your family will love. Sure, the weather in December can be snowy, cold and gray, but the prices can also be more affordable. Plus, the city’s festive and charming atmosphere this time of year makes up for the cold temperatures. Zurich is full of history, world-class museums and lots of family-friendly attractions; it’s surrounded by rolling hills full of walking and hiking trails and of course, it’s close to the Alps, where some of the world’s best ski slopes are located. Kids will love exploring the University of Zurich’s Zoological Museum, the FIFA World Football Museum and the thousands of twinkling lights that decorate the National Museum in December. But the main highlight of any trip to Zurich in December should be a visit (or several) to the city’s incredible Christmas markets, including Christkindlimarkt  at Zurich Main Station, and the markets around the Bahnhofstrasse, the city’s high-end shopping district.

Recommended Hotel: Gstaad Palace

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh  is a scenic city year-round, but it truly sparkles with charm and coziness throughout the month of December. Strolling through the historic streets, gazing at its ancient castles as snow falls amidst twinkling lights is a special experience, especially for kids who still believe in the magic of the holidays. The traditional Christmas market that’s set up in Princess Street Gardens is a wonderful melding of German-style markets and true Scottish markets and gives families the chance to shop for gifts, sample authentic holiday treats, play carnival-style games and try out rides such as the Big Ferris Wheel and a Christmas train appropriate for all ages. A short distance from the Christmas Market is St. Andrew’s Square, where you can take your brood ice skating to burn off some energy. Beyond the holiday festivities, a visit to Edinburgh Castle is a must and if time permits, a trek out to the Scottish Highlands shouldn’t be missed.

Recommended Hotel: The Balmoral Hotel

Shayne is a freelance writer and editor who has been passionately covering all things travel, food, wellness and parenting for over a decade. Experiencing the world and its diversity of cultures through travel is one of her favorite things to do, especially alongside her adventure-loving kids and husband. More of her work can be found on  SmarterTravel.com ,  CruiseCritic.com ,  MamasLatinas.com ,  VivaFifty.com ,  CafeMom.com and her personal blog,  fitmamilife.com . Shayne’s work has also appeared on Huffpost, ABC News and BabyCenter.com.   

What To Pack For Your Next Trip

Women’s/mom’s fall outfit for a lake town, shop the look.

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Hana Continental Wallet

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Cool Girl Rib Knit Sweater

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Marguerite Two Heart Earrings

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Authentic Stretch Mid-Rise Skinny

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Troopa2.0 Combat Boot

Men’s/dad’s fall outfit for a lake town.

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Reversible Belt

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Crew Neck Sweater

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Performance Chino

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Lace-Up Boot

Boy’s jacketless fall outfit with a scarf.

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Pullover Crew Neck

Boys' khaki pull on pant

Boys' Pull On-Pant

A navy knitted scarf with multi-colored strips around the ends

Knitted Scarf

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Watch Sport Digital Touch Screen Outdoor Watch

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Figus AW19 Boots

Girl’s jacketless fall outfit with uggs.

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Ruffle Bat T Shirt

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Classic Pull on Skinny Jean

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Palm Coin Necklace

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Mini Leather Backpack

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Classic II Boots

Baby boy’s disney outfit.

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The Lion King 2-Pack Bodysuit

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Disney Swaddle Blankets

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Mickey Mouse Bibs

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Baby 12-Pack Socks

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Anti-Slip High Top Sneaker

Women’s/mom’s comfy outfit for a flight in fall/winter.

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Pure Running Shoe

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10 Pack Headbands

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Lightweight Cardigan

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9 Best Travel Insurance Companies of 2024

According to our analysis of more than 50 travel insurance companies and hundreds of different travel insurance plans, the best travel insurance company is Travelex Insurance Services. In our best travel insurance ratings, we take into account traveler reviews, credit ratings and industry awards. The best travel insurance companies offer robust coverage and excellent customer service, and many offer customizable add-ons.

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Travelex Insurance Services »

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Allianz Travel Insurance »

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HTH Travel Insurance »

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Tin Leg »

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AIG Travel Guard »

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Nationwide Insurance »

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Seven Corners »

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Generali Global Assistance »

Berkshire hathaway travel protection ».

Why Trust Us

U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Best Travel Insurance Companies.

Table of Contents

  • Travelex Insurance Services
  • Allianz Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can help you protect the financial investment you made in your vacation when unexpected issues arise. Find the best travel insurance for the type of trip(s) you're taking and the coverages that matter most to you – from interruptions and misplaced belongings to illness and injury.

  • Travelex Insurance Services: Best Overall
  • Allianz Travel Insurance: Best for Trip Interruptions
  • HTH Travel Insurance: Best for Groups
  • Tin Leg: Best Cost
  • AIG Travel Guard: Best for Families
  • Nationwide Insurance: Best for Last-Minute Travel Insurance
  • Seven Corners: Best for 24/7 Support When Traveling
  • Generali Global Assistance: Best for Medical Emergencies
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection: Best for Specialized Coverage

Customizable upgrades are available, including car rental coverage, additional medical insurance and adventure sports coverage

Medical and trip cancellation maximum are not as high as some other companies

  • 100% of the insured trip cost for trip cancellation; 150% for trip interruption
  • Up to $1,000 in coverage for lost, damaged or stolen bags and personal items; $200 for luggage delays
  • $750 in missed connection coverage
  • $50,000 in emergency medical and dental coverage
  • Up to $500,000 in emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage


Annual and multitrip policies are available

Distinguishing between the company's 10 travel insurance plans can be challenging

  • Up to $200,000 in trip cancellation coverage; $300,000 in trip interruption coverage
  • $2,000 for lost, damaged or stolen luggage and personal effects; $600 for bag delays
  • Up to $1,600 for travel delays
  • Emergency medical coverage of up to $75,000
  • Epidemic coverage

Generous coverage at the mid- and high-tier levels, and great group discounts

Preexisting conditions coverage is only available at mid- and high-tier plans

  • 100% trip cancellation coverage (up to $50,000); 200% trip interruption coverage
  • Up to $2,000 in coverage for baggage and personal effects; $400 in baggage delay coverage
  • Up to $2,000 in coverage for trip delays; $1,000 for missed connections
  • $500,000 in coverage per person for sickness and accidents

Variety of plans to choose from, including two budget-friendly policies and several more premium options

More limited coverage for baggage issues than other companies

  • 100% trip cancellation protection; 150% trip interruption
  • $500 per person for lost, stolen or damaged baggage and personal items
  • Up to $2,000 per person in travel delay coverage ($150 per day); $100 per person for missed connections
  • $100,000 per person in emergency medical coverage, including issues related to COVID-19

Travel insurance policy coverage is tailored to your specific trip

Information about policy coverage inclusions is not readily available without first obtaining a quote

  • Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of your trip's cost; trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Up to $2,500 in coverage for lost, stolen or damaged baggage; $500 related to luggage delays
  • Up to $1,000 in missed connection and trip delay coverage
  • $100,000 in emergency medical coverage

Variety of plans to choose from and coverage available up to a day before you leave on your trip

Limited trip cancellation coverage even at the highest tier

  • Trip cancellation coverage up to $30,000; trip interruption coverage worth up to 200% of the trip cost (maximum of $60,000)
  • $2,000 for lost, damaged or stolen baggage; $600 for baggage delays
  • Up to $2,000 for trip delays; missed connection and itinerary change coverage of $500 each
  • $150,000 for emergency medical and dental issues

Customer service available 24/7 via text, Whatsapp, email and phone

Cancel for any reason coverage costs extra

  • 100% trip cancellation coverage (up to between $30,000 and $100,000 depending on your state of residence); interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost 
  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage coverage up to $2,500; up to $600 for luggage delays
  • Trip delay and missed connection coverage worth up to $1,500
  • Emergency medical coverage worth up to between $250,000 and $500,000 (depending on where you live)

Generous emergency medical and emergency evacuation coverage

Coverage for those with preexisting conditions is only available on the Premium plan

  • 100% reimbursement for trip cancellation; 175% reimbursement for trip interruption
  • $2,000 in coverage for loss of baggage per person
  • $1,000 per person in travel delay and missed connection coverage
  • $250,000 in medical and dental coverage per person

In addition to single-trip plans, company offers specific road trip, adventure travel, flight and cruise insurance coverage

Coverage for missed connections or accidental death and dismemberment is not part of the most basic plan

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of the trip cost; interruption coverage worth up to 150% of the trip cost
  • $500 in coverage for lost, stolen or damaged bags and personal items; bag delay coverage worth $200
  • Trip delay coverage worth up to $1,000; missed connection coverage worth up to $100
  • Medical coverage worth up to $50,000

To help you better understand the costs associated with travel insurance, we requested quotes for a weeklong June 2024 trip to Spain for a solo traveler, a couple and a family. These rates should help you get a rough estimate for about how much you can expect to spend on travel insurance. For additional details on specific coverage from each travel insurance plan and to input your trip information for a quote, see our comparison table below.

Travel Insurance Types: Which One Is Right for You?

There are several types of travel insurance you'll want to evaluate before choosing the policy that's right for you. A few of the most popular types of travel insurance include:

COVID travel insurance Select insurance plans offer some or a combination of the following COVID-19-related protections: coverage for rapid or PCR testing; accommodations if you're required to quarantine during your trip if you test positive for coronavirus; health care; and trip cancellations due to you or a family member testing positive for COVID-19. Read more about the best COVID-19 travel insurance options .

Cancel for any reason insurance Cancel for any reason travel insurance works exactly how it sounds. This type of travel insurance lets you cancel your trip for any reason you want – even if your reason is that you simply decide you no longer want to go. Cancel for any reason travel insurance is typically an add-on you can purchase to go along with other types of travel insurance. For that reason, you will pay more to have this kind of coverage added to your policy.

Also note that this type of coverage typically only reimburses 50% to 80% of your nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses. You'll want to make sure you know exactly how much reimbursement you could qualify for before you invest in this type of policy. Compare the best cancel for any reason travel insurance options here .

International travel insurance Travel insurance is especially useful when traveling internationally, as it can provide medical coverage for emergencies (in some cases for COVID-19) when you're far from home. Depending which international travel insurance plan you choose, this type of travel insurance can also cover lost or delayed luggage, rental cars, travel interruptions or cancellations, and more.

Cheap travel insurance If you want travel insurance but don't want to spend a lot of money, there are plenty of cheap travel insurance options that will offer at least some protections (and peace of mind). These are typically called a company's basic or standard plan; many travel insurance companies even allow you to customize your coverage, spending as little or as much as you want. Explore your options for the cheapest travel insurance here .

Trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance Trip cancellation coverage can help you get reimbursement for prepaid travel expenses, such as your airfare and cruise fare, if your trip is ultimately canceled for a covered reason. Trip interruption insurance, on the other hand, kicks in to reimburse you if your trip is derailed after it starts. For instance, if you arrived at your destination and became gravely ill, it would cover the cost if you had to cut your trip short.

Trip delay insurance can help you qualify for reimbursement of any unexpected expenses you incur (think: lodging, transportation and food) in the event your trip is delayed for reasons beyond your control, such as your flight being canceled and rebooked for the next day. You will want to save your receipts to substantiate your claim if you have this coverage.

Lost, damaged, delayed or stolen bags or personal belongings Coverage for lost or stolen bags can come in handy if your checked luggage is lost by your airline or your luggage is delayed so long that you have to buy clothing and toiletries for your trip. This type of coverage can kick in to cover the cost to replace lost or stolen items you brought on your trip. It can also provide coverage for the baggage itself. It's even possible that your travel insurance policy will pay for your flight home if damages are caused to your residence and your belongings while you're away, forcing you to return home immediately.

Travel medical insurance If you find yourself sick or injured while you are on vacation, emergency medical coverage can pay for your medical expenses. With that in mind, however, you will need to find out whether the travel medical insurance you buy is primary or secondary. Where a primary policy can be used right away to cover medical bills incurred while you travel, secondary coverage only provides reimbursement after you have exhausted other medical policies you have.

You will also need to know how the travel medical coverage you purchase deals with any preexisting conditions you have, including whether you will have any coverage for preexisting conditions at all. Read more about the best travel medical insurance plans .

Evacuation insurance Imagine you break your leg while on the side of a mountain in some far-flung land without quality health care. Not only would you need travel medical insurance coverage in that case, but you would also need coverage for the exorbitant expense involved in getting you off the side of a mountain and flying you home where you can receive appropriate medical care.

Evacuation coverage can come in handy if you need it, but you will want to make sure any coverage you buy comes with incredibly high limits. According to Squaremouth, an emergency evacuation can easily cost $25,000 in North America and up to $50,000 in Europe, so the site typically suggests customers buy policies with $50,000 to $100,000 in emergency evacuation coverage.

Cruise insurance Travel delays; missed connections, tours or excursions; and cruise ship disablement (when a ship encounters a mechanical issue and is unable to continue on in the journey) are just a few examples why cruise insurance can be a useful protection if you've booked a cruise vacation. Learn more about the top cruise insurance plans here .

Credit card travel insurance It is not uncommon to find credit cards that include trip cancellation and interruption coverage , trip delay insurance, lost or delayed baggage coverage, travel accident insurance, and more. Cards that offer this coverage include popular options like the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card , the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and The Platinum Card from American Express . 

Note that owning a credit card with travel insurance protection is not enough for your coverage to count: To take advantage of credit card travel insurance, you must pay for prepaid travel expenses like your airfare, hotel stay or cruise with that specific credit card. Also, note that credit cards with travel insurance have their own list of exclusions to watch out for. Many also require cardholders to pay an annual fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best time to buy travel insurance is normally within a few weeks of booking your trip since you may qualify for lower pricing if you book early. Keep in mind, some travel insurance providers allow you to purchase plans until the day before you depart.

Many times, you are given the option to purchase travel insurance when you book your airfare, accommodations or vacation package. Travel insurance and travel protection are frequently offered as add-ons for your trip, meaning you can pay for your vacation and some level of travel insurance at the same time.

However, many people choose to wait to buy travel insurance until after their entire vacation is booked and paid for. This helps travelers tally up all the underlying costs associated with a trip, and then choose their travel insurance provider and the level of coverage they want.

Figuring out where to buy travel insurance may be confusing but you can easily research and purchase travel insurance online these days. Some consumers prefer to shop around with a specific provider, such as Allianz or Travelex, but you can also shop and compare policies with a travel insurance platform. Popular options include:

  • TravelInsurance.com: TravelInsurance.com offers travel insurance options from more than a dozen vetted insurance providers. Users can read reviews on the various travel insurance providers to find out more about previous travelers' experiences with them. Squaremouth: With Squaremouth, you can enter your trip details and compare more than 90 travel insurance plans from 20-plus providers.
  • InsureMyTrip: InsureMyTrip works similarly, letting you shop around and compare plans from more than 20 travel insurance providers in one place. InsureMyTrip also offers several guarantees, including a Best Price Guarantee, a Best Plan Guarantee and a Money-Back Guarantee that promises a full refund if you decide you no longer need the plan you purchased.

Protect your trip: Search, compare and buy the best travel insurance plans for the lowest price. Get a quote .

When you need to file a travel insurance claim, you should plan on explaining to your provider what happened to your trip and why you think your policy applies. If you planned to go on a Caribbean cruise, but your husband fell gravely ill the night before you were set to depart, you would need to explain that situation to your travel insurance company. Information you should share with your provider includes the details of why you're making a claim, who was involved and the exact circumstances of your loss.

Documentation is important, and your travel insurance provider will ask for proof of what happened. Required documentation for travel insurance typically includes any proof of a delay, receipts, copies of medical bills and more.

Most travel insurance companies let you file a claim using an online form, but some also allow you to file a claim by phone or via fax. Some travel insurance providers, such as Allianz and Travel Insured International, offer their own mobile apps you can use to buy policies and upload information or documents that substantiate your claim. In any case, you will need to provide the company with proof of your claim and the circumstances that caused it.

If your claim is initially denied, you may also need to answer some questions or submit some additional information that can highlight why you do, in fact, qualify.

Whatever you do, be honest and forthcoming with all the information in your claim. Also, be willing to provide more information or answer any questions when asked.

Travel insurance claims typically take four to six weeks to process once you file with your insurance company. However, with various flight delays and cancellations due to things like extreme weather and pilot shortages, more travelers have begun purchasing travel insurance, encountering trip issues and having to submit claims. The higher volume of claims submitted has resulted in slower turnaround times at some insurance companies.

The longer you take to file your travel insurance claim after a loss, the longer you will be waiting for reimbursement. Also note that, with many travel insurance providers, there is a time limit on how long you can submit claims after a trip. For example, with Allianz Travel Insurance and Travelex Insurance Services, you have 90 days from the date of your loss to file a claim.

You may be able to expedite the claim if you provide all the required information upfront, whereas the process could drag on longer than it needs to if you delay filing a claim or the company has to follow up with you to get more information.

Travel insurance is never required, and only you can decide whether or not it's right for you. Check out Is Travel Insurance Worth It? to see some common situations where it does (and doesn't) make sense.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is an award-winning content creator who has been writing about travel insurance and travel for more than a decade. She has researched travel insurance options for her own vacations and family trips to more than 50 countries around the world, and has experience navigating the claims and reimbursement process. In fact, she has successfully filed several travel insurance claims for trip delays and trip cancellations over the years. Johnson also works alongside her husband, Greg, who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states, in their family media business.

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