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Best places to visit in december 2024.

Planning a vacation in December can feel overwhelming alongside holiday shopping and year-end festivities. But you'll thank yourself later if you squeeze in time for a trip before the new year. U.S. News considered prices, events, accessibility and seasonal crowds to decide the best places to visit in December. Whether you're seeking a warm-weather hideaway or want to experience the holiday spirit in a snow-covered town, you'll find it in these destinations. Vote for your favorite spot below to help decide next year's list.

London, England

U.s. virgin islands, french alps, torres del paine national park, hawaii - the big island, new york city, rio de janeiro, quebec city.

travel places december

London is abuzz with holiday-themed activities in December. Holiday pop-ups transform attractions like Hyde Park and the London Zoo, while Christmas ballets and concerts take over the city's legendary entertainment scene. What's more, "Harry Potter" fans can opt for a festive tour during the Hogwarts in the Snow event at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Chilly temperatures in the 40s and rainy conditions mean it's the perfect time to don your coziest jumper. Plus, London's rainy day standbys like the Tower of London and the British Museum are typically less crowded at this time of year.

travel places december

If you're seeking palm-fringed festivities without the need for a passport, look no further than the U.S. Virgin Islands. December is the start of the dry season in this Caribbean island chain, and average temperatures in the 70s and 80s are perfect for lounging on beautiful white sand beaches like Magens Bay or snorkeling in Virgin Islands National Park. Plus, you'll get a taste of the islands' vibrant culture during the Crucian Christmas Festival, which takes place on St. Croix at the end of the month. Partake in the merriment with parades, music competitions and more.

travel places december

Snow-capped mountains, quaint villages and mouthwatering cuisine (much of which involves some form of melted cheese) make the French Alps a classic winter getaway. Most ski resorts open by early December, so you can get an early start on the slopes for the season, or just take part in the lively après-ski experience in iconic destinations like Val d'Isère and Chamonix. What's more, many villages like the châteaux-studded Annecy amp up the charm with cozy Christmas markets throughout the month. Winter in the Alps is never cheap, but try visiting earlier in the month before school holidays for the best room rates.

travel places december

Make the trek to the Finnish Lapland for the ultimate Arctic experience. Finland's northernmost region promises a deep layer of snow all winter, perfect for skiing or sledding down the longest toboggan run in Europe. Most flights to this region land in Rovaniemi, home to Santa Claus Village, where you can meet the man in red, step across the Arctic Circle or embark on a reindeer sleigh ride. Though you'll only see about four hours of daylight, this makes for prime conditions to view the dazzling aurora borealis from the comfort of one of the glass hotels in the region.

travel places december

December is one of the most popular months to visit the Bahamas – and for good reason. By the time this month rolls around, the threat of hurricanes has passed, making it terrific time to enjoy the outdoors. Spend your days lounging on one of the Bahamas' many beaches, snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear water or taking a boat tour to a private island . What's more, if you're visiting around the holidays, you'll catch the travel-worthy Junkanoo festival , which celebrates Bahamian culture with parades and festivities on Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

travel places december

Although Phuket, Thailand, offers a consistently warm climate year-round, its dry weather and calm water in December make this month a great time to visit. Plan on spending most of your time sunbathing, swimming, scuba diving and more at beautiful beaches like Nai Harn and Kata Noi. But remember, December falls within Phuket's peak tourist season, so you won't find many deals for flights and accommodations during this month. Avoid a holiday visit in late December for slightly better rates.

travel places december

Located in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is a backpacker's dream due to its breathtaking landscapes and unmatched preservation. The remote kingdom's focus on cultural and environmental sustainability means heritage sites like the cliff-clinging Paro Taktsang and the riverside Punakha Dzong are never overcrowded. But cooler winter temperatures (averages range from the 30s to the 60s, depending on elevation) mean you'll encounter even fewer tourists. While a trip to this intriguing destination won't be cheap, a low-season visit can drive down the price of lodging and tours.

travel places december

Nestled in southern Chilean Patagonia, this national park offers travelers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hailed among hikers as one of the most scenic destinations in the world, the park is home to turquoise lakes and dense forests, plus massive Grey Glacier and the towering granite of Cuernos del Paine. December offers up to 17 hours of daylight, allowing plenty of time for extensive hikes. But even though December is part of Patagonia's peak summer season, temperatures drop dramatically after nightfall, so visitors will want to pack layers.

travel places december

This Hawaiian paradise is the perfect place to escape winter's onset. Weary travelers can thaw on colorful beaches like Punalu'u Beach (which has beautiful black sand ) and Papakolea Beach (a unique green sand option), while more adventurous types can go for a hike in 'Akaka Falls State Park or catch a glimpse of the more than 4,000-foot-tall Kilauea volcano at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. You'll likely contend with other snowbirds in December, but you'll find that hotel prices on the Big Island are still consistently lower than those on neighboring isles.

travel places december

If Old Man Winter has you dreaming of warming things up, consider a trip to the Spice Island. Grenada, a tiny island in the Caribbean known for its aromatic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, boasts steady temps in the 80s. And since December sits just between the rainy season and high tourism season, it's the perfect time to catch some rays without the crowds (or cost) of the months to come. Spend your days lounging on Grand Anse Beach or sampling the island's rich flavors at local markets or the House of Chocolate.

travel places december

It's not surprising that dozens of holiday movies are set in New York. Dazzling sights like the iconic Christmas tree and ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, decked-out window displays at Macy's and horse-drawn carriages in Central Park conjure up holiday cheer throughout the city. And while this metropolis offers plenty to do throughout the year, festive shows, Christmas-themed pop-up experiences and even the nip in the air make December one of New York's most magical months. Just be prepared for a bit of sticker shock; the holiday season is also one of the most popular (and expensive) times of year to visit.

travel places december

If you're willing to brave the cold, travel to Prague for a fun and festive winter vacation. The city turns into a winter wonderland in December, with snow-dusted buildings and Christmas markets selling everything from locally made jewelry to toys to Christmas ornaments. Those with little ones in tow should try to arrive in early December when the annual St. Nicholas Eve event takes place. During this traditional celebration, you'll see Czechia's version of St. Nick, along with his angel and devil guides, hand out candy and other treats as they walk around the city.

travel places december

While the Northern Hemisphere transitions to winter in December, Rio de Janeiro enters its peak summer season. And although this is one of the wettest times of the year here, you'll still enjoy optimal warmth and mostly sunny conditions. As such, there will be plenty of opportunities to see must-visit sights like the Christ the Redeemer statue or Sugarloaf Mountain. If you're keen on experiencing Rio's lively party scene during your visit, be sure to time your trip around Réveillon. This popular New Year's Eve celebration on Copacabana Beach draws millions of people annually with its music, dancing and fireworks.

travel places december

The holiday season in Germany's fourth largest city can only be described as magical. Cologne hosts a handful of Christmas markets, including the popular Advent village at Cologne Cathedral, which boasts 150 stalls. When you're not taking in the city's imposing architecture or getting into the jovial spirit with a glass of Kölsch beer (a Cologne original), pop into Museum Ludwig to view modern art or the Chocolate Museum for tasty samples. Combat the dreary weather – average highs are in the low 40s and rain is common – by soaking away the chill at a thermal spa such as Neptunbad or Claudius Therme.

travel places december

It's easy to fall in love with this Canadian destination, especially when it's covered in fresh snow. You'll be enchanted by Old Québec's sights and sounds as it transforms into a Christmas village. Shop for gifts (or for yourself) in Quartier Petit-Champlain, home to one of the oldest shopping streets in North America. Plus, with its 17th- and 18th-century architecture, French-speaking Quebec City allows you to soak up European culture without dropping the cash for a flight across the pond. Just be sure to bundle up; temperatures can drop to the single digits in December.

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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

travel places 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

travel places 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

travel places 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.

travel places 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.

travel places 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.

travel places 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

travel places 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

travel places 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 .

travel places 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

travel places 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.

Martinique 

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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  • 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.

travel places 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.

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20 Best Places to Visit in December, According to Travel Experts

Check out these top destinations for a winter wonderland or warm-weather retreat.

preview for Beautiful Places That Look Magical in Snow

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).

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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

hersheypark

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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15 Warm Places to Visit in December

Author image: Woman in blue dress with sunglasses traveling.

Oh, December. The glacial last month of the year stirs visions of snow-covered hills, wooden toboggans, hot cocoa with mini marshmallows and ripping open presents while fluffy powder falls outside. In our youth, December break meant being out of school, frequenting the local skating rink in town and competing against other neighborhood kids in sledding contests. It also meant road trips to visit grandma and grandpa at their residence upstate, or even the occassional weekend at the nearest ski mountain . As we grew older, mulled wine and decadent, spiked eggnog joined the party.

But, of course, there is another way (well many) to spend December still surrounded by friends and family that has nothing to do with freezing temperatures or icy roads.  

It’s time to trade flurries for frozen drinks and put your bikini to good use. In your not-so-distant future, we see hours lazing on the glimmering shores of a far-away beach and eating fresh coconut. We’d deem that the polar opposite of arctic. To inspire your steamy getaway—and all the torrid antics likely to ensue⁠—we’ve pulled together a list of hot spots worthy of your PTO. From sun-drenched domestic destinations to exotic islands with balmy climates, here are 15 awesome warm places to visit in December.  

25 TRIPS THAT WILL ABSOLUTELY CHANGE YOUR LIFE

1 singapore

1. Singapore

For a tropical escape, set your sights on Singapore. December brings daytime temperatures in the mid-80s and lower humidity. It’s also the wettest month. If, err, when, it rains, you can always duck into Takashimaya Department Store. Definitely check out Gardens by the Bay . Adjacent to the Marina Reservoir, it’s home to the iconic Supertrees and the Cloud Forest. Hungry? Run, don’t walk, to a hawker center for delicious local delicacies. As you're knocking sights off your checklist, be sure to stop by Marina Bay Sands. The jaw-dropping panoramas from the infinity pool and observation deck will be etched in your memory forever. Trust us! For the ultimate in overnight indulgence, shack up at the revamped Raffles Hotel Singapore . With such an array of activities for foodies , culture aficionados, luxury lovers, thrill junkies and relaxation seekers, the likelihood of running out of things to do is legitimately nonexistent. 

Average daily temperature in December: 84°F

2 st barts

2. St. Barts

Extravagant superyachts. Upscale restaurants. Designer boutiques. Five-star resorts. Sublime beaches. Boujie fêtes. It’s no secret why heaps of well-heeled jet-setters flock to Saint Barthélemy⁠—the French-speaking Caribbean island affectionately referred to as St. Barts ⁠—in the winter⁠. If you’re an A-lister or earn a seven-figure salary, you visit during la plus haute saison (the last two weeks of December through New Years-ish). Sky-high rates are the price of entry. If you’re on board with that, welcome to heaven on earth. With that in mind, consider splurging on an elegant stay at Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa or Villa Marie Saint Barth . Insert you hobnobbing with the glitterati and getting waited on hand and foot. Another bottle of rosé, madame? Oui! When in St. Barts. (Just a heads up that many properties require a minimum reservation of at least a week. So, start stockpiling your vacation days now.)  

Average daily temperature in December: 81°F 

3 tulum mexico

3. Tulum, Mexico

A soulful retreat defined by good vibes, eco-chic villas, turquoise tides and jungle selfies, Tulum pulls in a bohemian crowd with money to burn⁠. Think: willowy, fresh-faced globetrotters rocking top knots, breezy crochet kaftans and been-through-the-ringer vintage Gucci sandals. In December, bank on places being busy AF. But, in our humble opinion, it’s worth dealing with a few extra bodies just to be in Tulum. Mornings begin with early a.m. yoga sessions taught by world-renowned instructors and artfully arranged smoothie bowls from Raw Love . Alternatively, opt for a SUP excursion to Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve or explore the Tulum Ruins. When the midday munchies strike, head to Taqueria La Eufemia for fish tacos (it’s got dope vegan options, too). Afternoons are for hammocks, Mayan clay spa rituals and margaritas. For dinner, Hartwood never fails to satisfy. (Just be prepared to wait for the critically acclaimed, wood-fired fare.) To cap off the evening? Dancing underneath the glow of the disco ball at Gitano . 

Average daily temperature in December: 76°F

4 south beach florida

4. South Beach, Florida

Picture-perfect weather and no passport required. South Beach has long lured travelers with its sandy stretches, sunny skies and glitzy ambiance. In keeping with that reputation, there are many fashionable hotels . And while you may have to pay peak-season rates in December, it won’t be insane since competition is so fierce. But, with all due respect, you don’t fly to South Beach to hole up in your room. Gain access the latest “it” club and let the rhythm of house music induce gyration or, for a more mellow atmosphere (which does exist), sip sauvignon blanc at a swanky wine bar . In between late-night dance parties and shopping along Lincoln Road, you can admire the well-preserved art deco architecture that lines Ocean Drive and dine at trendy eateries owned by celebrity chefs. Finally, watch the ball drop from an uber VIP venue like a trig penthouse that’s reportedly owned by Pitbull. 

Average daily temperature in December: 73°F

5 the maldives

5. The Maldives

A honeymoon haven that’s a hit with celebs and royals alike, The Maldives exudes romance. Of course, newlyweds aren’t the only folks drawn to this slice of tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean. It’s equally alluring for couples, families, groups of pals (ever heard of a buddymoon ?) and your proudly single bestie. “Regardless of vacation style—active, adventurous, laid-back or somewhere in the middle—everyone will discover a matching itinerary in The Maldives,” says Christie Hudson, senior communications manager at Expedia . Swim with cute sea turtles, visit Malé’s bustling fish market or unplug on the pristine beaches. Wondering where to stay? With so many lavish accommodations, that’s a super tough decision. The recently opened Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi promises swish villas, plus an overwater spa and cinema. You definitely can’t go wrong with The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort .  

Average daily temperature in December: 86°F

6 nevis

A speck in the ocean, across a narrow channel from its more frequented counterpart, St. Kitts, Nevis is beloved by a select group of in-the-know travelers who relish its care-free attitude, relaxed pace, unspoiled natural splendor and some amazing history (Alexander Hamilton came from Nevis). Sure, it’s tiny—covering a total of 36 square miles, you can journey from one side of the island to another in a mere matter of hours—but that's part of the charm. You'd be foolish to write off this hidden gem because of its size and under-the-radar status. It’s not like there’s a shortage of beautiful scenery or leisurely pastimes. Hike to the summit of Nevis Peak for sweeping vistas or book a rainforest expedition. The adventures don't end with trekking. Scuba enthusiasts won't want to miss Booby High Shoals. We wouldn't fault you for posting up on Pinney's Beach and swigging rum punch.  

Average daily temperature in December: 82°F

7 okinawa japan

7. Okinawa, Japan

December is definitely the off-season in Okinawa (for the geographically challenged, that’s in the far south of Japan). Bet on blue skies and a blissful absence of crowds. It’s not going to be scorching, but that’s far from a problem. In fact, it makes for more pleasant conditions to take advantage of the myriad outdoor activities, such as hiking and whale watching. How about snorkeling and scuba diving? Yes, still totally doable. Depending on your threshold for chilliness, you just might need to throw on a wetsuit. Walking along palm-fringed boulevards in jeans and a T-shirt sounds lovely, too. In the winter you won’t have to worry about Habu snakes. (Google 'em, but please don’t say we didn’t warn you.) And since hotel prices are more wallet-friendly, resplendent room at The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa go for a fraction of what you’d pay in the summer. To ensure you score the best deal, aim to book well in advance.  

Average daily temperature in December: 65°F 

8 ho chi minh city vietnam

8. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Most people associate Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon) with its role in the Vietnam War. But that’s only a small piece of the complex and oftentimes chaotic puzzle. Packed with history, culture and energetic personality, the former capital demonstrates both resilience and a penchant for the past. French colonial landmarks mingle with ancient temples and sleek skyscrapers. You get a lot of bang for your buck in Ho Chi Minh City. From budget backpacker hostels to high-end hotels (even the exclusive Park Hyatt Saigon ) that won’t deplete your entire travel fund, accommodations are shockingly affordable. And it goes without saying that sampling authentic Vietnamese street food at the myriad stalls surrounding Bến Thành Market promises to be a highlight of any visit. More pho, please! If all that's still not enough of a guarantee that Ho Chi Minh City is the perfect place for your December trip, note that it’s a great jumping-off point to explore the majestic Mekong Delta.

Average daily temperature in December: 80°F

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9. Perth, Australia

When you think about traveling Down Under, Sydney probably springs to mind. But you couldn’t pick a better destination for an Aussie vacation than Perth—particularly if you’re a fan of art, culture and sandy shores. The capital of Western Australia is having a major moment, seeing double-digit growth in tourism over the last year, based on Expedia data. Why? Well, for starters, Perth brims with galleries, museums and riverfront dining. The sprawling, 990-acre Kings Park on Mount Eliza offers a mix of botanical gardens and bushland, plus spectacular views. Just outside the city sits Cottesloe Beach, a popular spot for swimming and riding waves that appears plucked off the pages of a glossy travel magazine. And since it’s in the Southern Hemisphere, December is the beginning of summer. So, you can soak up plenty of sun and surf. 

Average daily temperature in December: 71°F

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10. San Juan, Puerto Rico

It's hot, hot, hot in Puerto Rico. As one of the bigger Caribbean islands, it has quite a few choices to fuel your wanderlust. For our money, you can’t beat the capital and largest city (though the allure of Cidra isn't lost on us). San Juan is the rise, with Kayak reporting a 47 percent increase in interest compared to last year. And as the country recovers from a devastating hurricane, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s garnering such attention. A favored port for cruise ships, Old San Juan recalls an earlier era with its blue cobblestoned lanes, Spanish colonial buildings and 16th-century structures. In juxtaposition, the contemporary Condado district flaunts resorts, casinos, nightlife and restaurants, which leads us to the food. We're salivating just thinking about heaping plates full of tostones, pasteles and mofongo. Round-trip flights in December will set you back approximately $510. Not exactly a bargain, but in comparison to other warm-weather locales, it's very reasonable. 

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11. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

When we scroll through our Instagram feed in December, it seems like everyone and their brother is in Cabo San Lucas. There must be a reason, right? Try many reasons. Seriously, we could (and, in a moment, will) name dozens of things that fully rationalize our desire to wait out cold snaps in the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. The basis of our affection goes deep. Cabo San Lucas delivers endless sunshine and average temperatures in the low 80s. The tranquil tides of the Sea of Cortez appeal to travelers who just want to swim without worry. On the opposite side of the spectrum, epic swells coax surfers to the famously tumultuous Playa del Amor. Known for lively clubs and bars, Cabo San Lucas doesn’t shy away from its standing as a happening after-dark destination. Adding to the appeal are tons of tasty restaurants—notably Edith's and El Farallon —as well as a string of sophisticated lodgings. Kelly Grumbach of Quintessentially Travel , a Virtuoso Agency in New York City, recommends the stunning Montage Los Cabos , which wins hearts with its incredible views of Santa Maria Bay.  

Average daily temperature in December: 77°F

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12. Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos boasts gobsmackingly gorgeous beaches. Its most privileged real estate belongs to Grace Bay, which looks like a retouched Instagram photo. Only it's #nofilter. Miles of pristine powder and calm, crystalline waters—you couldn’t dream up a more beautiful setting for a holiday. That said, sugar-fine sand and serene surf aren’t the only things that earn Turks & Caicos vacation cred. Beyond the expansive, glimmering shores and oceanfront resorts in Providenciales lies a plethora of fascinating scuba-diving sites with colorful reef creatures, coral caves and dramatic submerged walls. Presumably, you’ll be in Turks & Caicos for a few days. So, why not give windsurfing, parasailing or jetskiing whirl, too? And what’s a Caribbean getaway without savoring island flavor? Locals and out-of-towners mingle over stiff drinks, fresh-caught fish, melt-in-your-mouth ribs and live music at Da Conch Shack . Another selling point? Round-trip flights to Turks & Caicos in December cost somewhere in the ballpark of $418, according to Hopper . That’s a steal! 

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13. Cape Town, South Africa

Incredible hospitality, vibrant culture and a formidable dining scene make Cape Town one of the most esteemed city breaks. History buffs, budding photographers and Instagram addicts will have a blast wandering through chromatic Bo Kaap. Located in the up-and-coming Woodstock neighborhood, the Michelin-star The Test Kitchen serves standout dishes such as pig head and smoked apple salad. It’s not all urban escapades either. Because the seasons are opposite, a December visit is actually an opportunity to experience the magic of summer in South Africa. And that’s great news because Cape Town provides access to all sorts of amazing adventures, from hiking Table Mountain and ziplining to swimming in tidal pools and paragliding. To take advantage of better pricing and avoid massive crowds, experts advise travelers to focus on the first half of the month. On the other hand, during the holidays Cape Town transforms into wonderland. “Adderley Street is illuminated by hundreds of lights, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden hosts caroling and V&A Waterfront even puts on Santa’s village,” reveals Olivia Link of Lake Shore Travel, a Virtuoso Agency in Glencoe.  

Average daily temperature in December: 75°F

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14. Maui, Hawaii

Say “aloha” to luaus, hula lessons and retail therapy. December in Maui is characterized by holiday traditions with a Hawaiian twist. Lahaina's historic Banyan Tree Park dazzles with thousands of colorful bulbs. Nearby, the Maui Gift & Craft Fair showcases more than 50 local artists and vendors. Resorts get into the festive mood, too. Expect loads of Christmas-themed events. We’re talking baking gingerbread cookies and decorating ornaments. Couples seeking quietude can escape the noise and splashing of kiddos by checking into a fabulous adults-only property (hello, Hotel Wailea ), while families should consider the Fairmont Kea Lani —where Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on a traditional outrigger canoe. How joyous is that? Besides mirthful and jolly pursuits, there’s lots of outdoor action. Ride the waves at Honolua Bay and Hookipa Beach. (Or, just gawk at surfers from a safe distance.) Other seasonal activities include whale watching. It's also a pleasant time to climb Mountain Haleakalā and drive the legendary Road to Hana. 

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15. Curaçao

It might not have the notoriety of neighboring Aruba, but under-the-radar Curaçao isn't lacking in enticing attributes. Just 12 degrees north of the Equator, this colorful island has an unwaveringly warm climate (the thermometer rarely dips below 75°), secluded cove-like beaches and azure waters. Offshore, you'll find extensive coral reefs teeming with marine life and renowned dive sites, such as Playa Kalki. Adventurous travelers can also plan day trips to Klein Curaçao and go cliff jumping. Among the most compelling attractions on dry land? The sherbet-hued Dutch colonial facades framing Willemstad's harbor. While strolling through Curaçao’s increasingly cosmopolitan capital in December, mosey over to the light-adorned Queen Emma Bridge, which runs across St. Anna Bay, and the spirited Pietermaai District. Bonus: United Airlines is launching a direct flight between Newark and Curaçao on December 7 (that’s on top of the non-stop routes that already fly from Miami, New York, Toronto and Charlotte), making it more accessible than ever before! 

Average daily temperature in December: 85°F

6 CARIBBEAN ISLANDS YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF (BUT SHOULD DEFINITELY VISIT)

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10 Best Places to Travel in December

From powdery snow to colorful light shows, december is full of memorable scenes..

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If you feel like you deserve a gift or two after powering through your family’s list, we don’t blame you (us, too). So why not plan a trip as a reward? Tack on some R&R time to a family visit, perhaps, or burn through some of the excess PTO that you’ve involuntarily accrued.

There are plenty of options for those deciding on where to travel this December. For long-haul trips, consider the Southern Hemisphere for a jolt of vitamin D on a new nonstop, direct flight, or make a pilgrimage to ski some of the best champagne powder in the world. Then again, why not visit Europe’s foremost festival of lights?

Here are the 10 best places to travel this December.

Penguins on a block of ice in the water.

This December, take the chance to check off Antarctica—with a cruise line or tour operator committed to sustainability and wildlife conservation, of course.

Photo by Bailey Berg

1. Antarctica

December is great for: conversation, conservation, and consternation

The South Pole is a destination that’s heating up, in every sense. Though only accessible for three to four months per year, starting each November, it’s increasingly on travelers’ radars . More worrisomely, of course, the icy landscape here is under siege from climate change, with average midwinter temperatures climbing 10 degrees over the past 60 years.

This has already impacted species like the Adélie penguins, sea-ice dependent birds whose populations have plummeted. Consider, then, a boat trip here that’s focused on conservation, a chance to both learn from onboard experts how to protect this landscape and fund those efforts. Book a voyage with luxe operator Abercrombie & Kent, and it will make a donation on your behalf to help underwrite the work of researchers at the U.S. Palmer Station there.

Where to stay

  • Book now: Le Lyrial

Since no one has opened a hotel here, the best option is one of the ultra-luxury expedition ships now piercing the ice floes, like Ponant’s 244-person Le Lyrial .

How to get there

Most Antarctic itineraries depart from Argentina’s southernmost tip, Ushuaia, a 3.5-hour flight down from Buenos Aires, which is connected to JFK on Aerolineas Argentinas among others.

Exterior of the Santa Claus Office in Rovaniemi

Get a head start on the winter holiday season in Finland.

Photo by Roman Babakin/Shutterstock

2. Rovaniemi, Finland

December is great for: an immersive festive indulgence

Think of a trip to the Arctic Circle settlement of Rovaniemi as stepping into a real-life snow globe, and relish the avalanche of festive clichés that it offers—after all, it’s the official home of Santa Claus. There’s a supersized Christmas market here, overloaded with stalls selling souvenirs, and an Elf Academy where would-be helpers can take courses in how to keep Santa’s workshop humming year-round (and leave with an official degree certificate for their efforts).

Remember, too, that this is the ideal place to see the Northern Lights: that otherworldly phenomenon, caused by a combination of electricity, magnetic forces and space dust, is visible here for almost 200 nights per year, maximizing your chances of viewing an elusive spectacle.

Architecture is another reason to visit this settlement, since it was almost entirely rebuilt in the wake of World War II—thankfully, under the auspices of a world-class talent, Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. He was allowed to reimagine the master plan and waggishly mapped out a city that resembled a reindeer’s head from the sky—the roads are antlers and the sports stadium is its eye.

  • Book now: Arctic Treehouse Hotel

The ultimate perch for viewing the Northern Lights is any bed at this hotel: The north-facing wall of each of its stand-alone, cabin-like suites is made of glass, so lucky visitors can watch this phenomenon in comfort. Even better, the buildings are constructed entirely of renewable Finnish wood and the hotel oversees the planting of up to 10,000 new seedlings each year in the nearby woodlands.

Finland’s national carrier Finnair is a stealth international player, offering superb service to the capital, Helsinki, from Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and NYC. Connect from there to Rovaniemi, a 90-minute flight north.

Night view of St. Louis's gateway arch, with white Christmas lights in a plaza

Where else to have yourself a merry little Christmas, than the city where Judy Garland’s character first crooned that classic in the 1945 movie?

Photo by Jon Rehg/Shutterstock

3. St. Louis, Missouri

December is great for: a retro trip to an all-American Christmas

The Gateway Arch of St. Louis, that soaring, sleek monument to American optimism dating back to the 1960s, is the centerpiece of this month’s Winterfest, which runs through the end of the month on Kiener Plaza. Expect a rink for skating, s’mores stations, and even rentable igloos where you can hole up if the weather proves too brutal.

Come here too for festive productions like Twas The Night Before, inspired by the Clement Clarke Moore poem but remixed by the Cirque du Soleil team into a multi-disciplinary show, and a Nutcracker ballet, plus a Polar Express train simulation at the city’s historic Union Station. Visitors can also catch the two-day Unleash the Beast tour, when 30 of the world’s best pro bull riders pit stop here on their annual circuit, the animal answer to F1.

  • Book now: 21C Museum Hotel

The latest iteration of the art-obsessed boutique chainlet, founded by a pair of collectors 17 years ago in Louisville, opened in downtown St. Louis this summer, a 173-room conversion of a renovated former YMCA building that’s now festooned with edgy contemporary pieces throughout.

STL, the original home of now defunct carrier TWA, retains an impressive network of flights even today—hop there directly from Oklahoma City, Des Moines, and Phoenix, among others, this month. Southwest’s service is particularly plentiful.

 Aerial view of colorful houses near waterfront

Boxing Day occurs in the Bahamas on December 26.

Photo by alarico/Shutterstock

4. Nassau, Bahamas

December is great for: a newly quick getaway to the Caribbean

The main island of this scattered archipelago has long been a quick getaway for the East Coast—just 45 minutes’ flight from South Florida, for example. This winter, easy access to it has been unlocked for the West Coast for the first time. Alaska has announced nonstop flights from both Los Angeles and Seattle, running up to four times weekly, while JetBlue will shadow it on the L.A. route, running an aircraft equipped with its better-than-business Mint class.

It’s well-timed: The country has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence from the British all year, adding an extra frisson of energy to the year-round Junkanoo tradition that’s one of the country’s longest-running. We told you to visit for the summertime bash, but if you missed that window, come for the bigger, blowout bash in winter, centering on what the British (and Bahamians) call Boxing Day. The precise origins remain murky of this fusion fest, but go to the Educulture Junkanoo Museum to learn more. The most widely accepted theory involves a slave owner giving his enslaved people the day off and deeding a version of his name, John Canoe, to the festivities.

  • Book now: Baha Mar

Baha Mar encompasses the Rosewood, SLS, and a Grand Hyatt. There are plenty of activities offered among the three of them, whether that be spending time in the casino or feeding turtles and nurse sharks in the sanctuary. Plus, the property offers more than 40 dining and nightlife options.

In addition to the new West Coast routes, there are nonstop flights to NAS from Charlotte, Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia, all on American Airlines.

Distant dusk view of Hokkaido from the top of a ski jump

Hokkaido is a popular ski destination, but there are other ways to enjoy the snow.

Photo by Kanuman/Shutterstock

5. Hokkaido, Japan

December is great for: powder-chasing in the northern reaches of Japan

Japan ’s prime powder region, Hokkaido, is one of the most reliable places to plan a ski trip worldwide. Come in December and the pistes are at their peak with some of the deepest champagne powder in the world, but don’t stick to the popular runs. Head to Iwanai on the coast, a village where a ski resort was built in the 1980s only to fall into disrepair in the financial turmoil of the 1990s; here you can take a cat-skiing adventure on the now-untouched slopes. (Since this is where ramen originates, make sure to try a bowl or two before you leave. Rakuichi Soba is one standout.)

Don’t forget, too, that you can celebrate Christmas in the uniquely Japanese way this month—with fried chicken, a legacy of an exceptionally successful marketing gimmick by KFC 50 years ago that embedded the idea in the national psyche. There’s also the White Illumination event in Sapporo Odori Park, a four-decade tradition that brings 800,000 or more twinkling lights to the city intended to evoke a Mittel European Christmas.

  • Book now: Hoshino Resorts Risonare Tomamu

The ski-in, ski-out resort is a whimsical delight. Book one of the Insta-ready Cloud Suites, with cumulus-shaped decorative touches, from cushions to mirrors, and enjoy being handily located in central Hokkaido.

Head to HND on United from SFO and ORD, or JFK on JAL. Then it’s about a 90-minute connection to CTS, the anchor airport for Hokkaido.

Row of narrow, multistory houses along a canal

Amsterdam’s canals and alleyways become a picturesque backdrop for an installation of lightworks devised by local and international artists in December.

Photo by Tiana Attride

6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

December is great for: an illuminating stroll around the canals

The 12th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival runs from December 1 through late January: It was the canny brainchild of Felix Guttmann, an entrepreneur who built his fortune with canal sightseeing boats, and is a sister event to the likes of Vivid Sydney in Australia.

Creatives from around the world are invited to submit designs, and 20 or so will be selected for temporary installation in the city center. A few will then earn the ultimate accolade: a permanent berth in Amsterdam, like the work by Massimo Uberti and Marco Pollice, “Today I Love You,” from the fourth edition, now on the facade of a local hospital, or “178 Bottles, 1 Message” from the third edition, a piece designed by Tijdmakers (Saskia Hoogendoorn and Lieuwe Martijn Wijnands) in the square in front of Amsterdam Sloterdijk.

There’s no sense yet which, if any, of this year’s entries will graduate to become a fixture of the cityscape, but expect them to be particularly outlandish. The theme for 2023 is “Loading . . . Revealing Art, AI, and Tech” so trippy AI-forms will likely be the default.

  • Book now: Hotel de l’Europe

One of Europe’s true landmark hotels, the 1890s wedding cake–like building just emerged from a three-year renovation of all private and public areas. Don’t miss the chance to have a nightcap in Freddy’s, the clubby bar named after its former owner, a scion of the Heineken brewing dynasty.

There are countless direct flights from the USA to Amsterdam. If you can splurge on business, opt for KLM to collect one of its charming genever houses offered as keepsakes for all travelers up front, or try the newly installed JetBlue service from JFK for a more affordable alternative.

Holiday lights decorate the building facades of Montepulciano, near a Christmas market and tree at night

Visitors can try some of the local wines under a sparkly canopy of lights at the Christmas Terrace, a lounge area created as part of the program.

Photo by Buffy1982/Shutterstock

7. Montepulciano, Italy

December is great for: wine and Wenceslas

Montepulciano is world famous thanks to the namesake grape that forms the building block of many red table wines. Most visitors come to this little Tuscan enclave in summer to sample a bottle or two at vineyards like Bindella and Fattoria Svetoni, but it’s worth a trip in winter for a very different reason: the largest Christmas market in the central region of Italy. It runs on weekends in December, then every day from December 22 through Epiphany.

The festivities are based around Piazza Grande, with stalls and stands selling souvenirs and treats, and the local fortress is transformed into Santa’s Grotto (or Babbo Natale, as the Italians call him).

  • Book now: Borgo San Vincenzo

The 21-room, year-old boutique property sits in a reimagined 18th-century village amid some of Italy’s most storied vineyards. The hotel’s sommelier offers regular guided tastings of local wines.

There are bargain-priced flights on Emirates, which runs a fifth freedom flight, as well as Italy-based budget carrier Neos Air, on the route to Milan from JFK. From there, it’s a short hop to Perugia airport, an hour’s drive away.

Field of long, purple, vertical flowers known as lupins around Lake Tekapo

Originally an invasive species native to the Americas, lupins have thrived in the local climate and are embraced as a symbol of the country.

Photo by Martin Vlnas/Shutterstock

8. Lake Tekapo & Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

December is great for: road-tripping through a carpet of blooms

From December 1, United Airlines will offer a groundbreaking new way to reach New Zealand, with direct, nonstop service from SFO to Christchurch. It’s the first time in almost 20 years that U.S. travelers can bypass transiting in the north island at Auckland, and instead arrive immediately in the wilds of the south island, the ideal base for a road trip round the rugged, CGI-like landscapes that are synonymous with the country.

It’s peak summer season this month, and the landscape of the interior hills will be carpeted in lupins, pink and purple spear-like flowers. Take a drive around the area to snap a few shots and to enjoy the adrenalin-powered hobbies that have mushroomed with lupin-like ferocity in the country, and especially the south island—think a via ferrata like Wildwire Wanaka or bungy jumping, which originated here. To maximize your time en route, consider booking with an operator like Extraordinary Journeys to help navigate the plethora of options.

  • Book now: Lakestone Lodge

Try the six-room family-run lodge right on the southern end of Lake Pukaki, with super views of Mount Cook or Aoraki, and a resource-sensitive approach to hospitality in the wilderness, relying on solar power and local ingredients both.

Take the nonstop flight if you can—the weather in New Zealand can be notoriously finicky year-round, and it’s best to minimize your puddle jumping so you don’t run into delays and reroutings.

A few people strolling around sculptures and paintings indoors

Art Basel is not the only draw to Miami this month: Everyone’s here to score a VIP invite to a party or two (even if they won’t admit it).

Photo by Mia2you/Shutterstock

9. Miami, Florida

December is great for: skipping the velvet rope

From December 8 to 10, the world’s arterati will descend once more for that OTT culturefest known as Art Basel. Unlike the OG mothership in Switzerland that’s squarely for po-faced pros, this fiesta was deliberately founded to offer an irresistibly frothy combo of work and play for even the heaviest-weight collector. There’s a chance to snap up masterpieces at the main show, which has just seen a new leader take over from longtime czar Marc Spiegler, plus satellite fairs like Untitled, NADA, or the furniturefest DesignMiami.

Last year’s high-society highlights included Prada’s DJ-powered makeover of the Faena Forum, a 30th-anniversary celebration of Madonna’s Sex book showcasing its raunchy prints that was underwritten by Yves Saint Laurent, and a VIP room that featured two full-size replicas of work by reclusive pop artist Yayoi Kusama. Buy a ticket to the fairs and sweet talk a few gallerinas into adding your name to a list or two.

Book now: Loews Hotel

Ask any gallerist where the serious collectors stay and they’ll stage-whisper it—not at one of the funky boutique hotels, but instead at the ultra-reliable deliver-your-dry-cleaning-on-time spot right next to the Convention Center, Loews.

What, you mean you’re not scooting down on a friend’s private jet? If you must use a commercial carrier, Miami’s connected to almost every major hub via an assortment of airlines.

Front porch of a white house with snow-covered garlands and wreaths

Just hope for snow to maximize the charm of any souvenir snaps: Last year, flurries started in earnest on December 1.

Photo by Nicole Wolf

10. Kennebunkport, Maine

December is great for: off-season adventures in New England

Don’t assume that this breezy coastal town in Maine is a summertime-only spot. (Though biking back from Goose Rocks beach for a fresh cooked lobster roll from Nunan’s every evening on a warm day here is a dreamy all-American vacation.) The surge of visits in peak season has helped drive greater interest in visiting when the weather might be a little chillier, but the crowds will have significantly thinned.

In December, there’s the added allure of the 11-day Christmas Prelude, which runs through December 10. It’s a kitschy, delightful celebration of all things festive and New England, featuring everything from candlelit caroling to a dog costume parade; Kennebunkport’s Santa swaps out a sleigh for a more venue-appropriate vehicle—he always arrives for the celebrations via lobster boat. Don’t miss the tree, either, which is constructed entirely of vintage lobster traps.

  • Book now: Hidden Pond

Many hotels here have winterized their offerings to better cater to off-season visitors, like the cabins of Hidden Pond, set in a 60-acre forest of balsam and fir. The stand-alone room decor is heavy on wood and wool, and the hotel offers activities like stargazing on crisp, clear winter nights.

For those arriving from outside New England, the best route is to fly into Boston—connected by the major airlines to countless hubs across the country—and drive 90 minutes or so up the coast.

The entryway to the opulent grand Zwinger museum complex in Dresden, Germany

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

Tulum

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

atacama

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

travel places 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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The Best Places to Travel in December

From the Montana wilderness to Chile's Atacama Desert, here are the best destinations for a December holiday.

hawaii kona

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Greenough, Montana

where to go december

Situated along the edge of the 37,000-acre Resort at Paws Up is the new Green O , a sister property of just 12 freestanding homes. Surrounded by nothing but soaring pine trees and sagebrush, consider this an extravagant way to get in touch with nature, but with the comfort of sleek, modern accommodations, hot tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows, plus access to all of the activities at Paws Up like horseback riding and cross-country skiing. The best part? It's adults-only.

Atacama Desert, Chile

valle de la luna 1

When Chile reopens to vaccinated international travelers on November 1, so will one of its greatest natural wonders, the Atacama Desert, aka the driest place on earth. Along with so many otherworldly landscapes to explore, come nighttime the stargazing potential is beyond incredible, especially at the year-old Nayara Alto Atacama , the Nayara brand's first hotel outside of Costa Rica. The 42-room property is situated away from the village (and the light pollution) and is the only one in the San Pedro River valley, where neighbors are local shepherds and family orchards.

Read Reviews Nayara Alto Atacama

Big Island, Hawaii

house, home, building, property, tree, resort, real estate, architecture, cottage, estate,

Hawaii is stunning pretty much all year-round but winter is especially ideal for East Coasters in dire need of sun and warmth. The Big Island, with its rustic, untamed feel, amazing marine life, and majestic volcanoes, is a truly unique destination. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai , one of the best hotels in the state, recently underwent a $100 million renovation, meaning it'll pretty much be like staying in a brand new hotel.

Read Reviews The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

carmel valley ranch

With a temperate California climate, vineyards, hiking trails galore, top-notch spa treatments, and a world-class golf course, the Carmel Valley Ranch , located in the chic Monterey area ( where Big Little Lies was filmed ) is a great destination for a not-so-freezing December jaunt. The sprawling resort has something for everyone, adults and kids alike. In addition to the aforementioned list, there are activities such as beekeeping, whisky tastings, archery, ice cream churning, and candle-making. An added bonus: all rooms are spacious suites equipped with fireplaces and private decks.

Read Reviews Carmel Valley Ranch

aerial of island with tourist resort fiji

Starting December 1, Fiji reopens its borders to vaccinated international travelers after shutting them early last year due to the pandemic. Only a 10-hour direct flight from the west coast (or about 15 from NYC) the country has more than 300 pristine islands to explore. One of them, Malolo Island, which is the largest of the Mamanuca Islands archipelago, is home to the Six Senses Fiji . With just 24 spacious villas that each measure at least 1,200 square feet and are equipped with private pools and outdoor showers, plus several palatial two- to five-bedroom residences, this is home-away-from-home luxury at its finest. And in keeping with the Six Senses brand ethos, sustainability efforts figure largely at this property—the resort is home to 39 Fijian Crested iguanas, an endangered native species with less than 5,000 left in the world.

Read Reviews Six Senses Fiji

New Orleans, Louisiana

potted plants in balcony of building at french quarter

December in New Orleans ticks off many boxes. With high temperatures in the 60s, you'll avoid the stifling heat and humidity of the summer months. And with Mardi Gras still a few months away, you'll enjoy the city without having to contend with throngs of unruly partygoers. And with Christmas just around the corner, there will still be plenty of festive spirit all around. As for where to stay, book one of the whimsically appointed rooms at Maison de la Luz , the jewel box of a property from the team behind the Ace hotels that opened two years ago in the Warehouse District. It'll be the prettiest place to lay your head after a day full of beignets and gumbo.

Read Reviews Maison de la Luz

Los Cabos, Mexico

where to go christmas

There is never really a bad time to visit Cabo, but the abundance of sprawling 5-star resorts that dot the tip of Mexico's sunny Baja California Peninsula are particularly alluring in December. Thanks to the region's feverish development over the past several years, you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodations. At the Esperanza, an Auberge Resort , this month will be especially eventful. On December 21, to celebrate the winter solstice, an astronomer will be on hand to guide guests through an evening of storytelling and stargazing (Cabo has a long history of celestial observation thanks to its dependably clear skies). Then over the last two weeks of December, a specially curated dinner series will celebrate cooking styles from around the world while also paying homage to the four elements: water, fire, earth, and air.

Read Reviews Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Quebec City, Canada

rue petit champlain on a snowy winter day

If you can brave the cold, Quebec City provides all the winter wonderland charms of a quaint European village for a fraction of the flight time. Think: pretty snow-dusted cobblestone streets, heaps of fondue and mulled wine, the grand Notre-Dame Cathedral, all situated within the 400-year-old walled city center (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Stay at the family-owned Auberge Saint-Antoine , a 95-room Relais & Châteaux in the heart of the Old Port, which also happens to sit on top of a major archaeological site—hundreds of artifacts from the French and British colonial regimes, dating back to 1608, are on display throughout the hotel.

Read Reviews Auberge Saint-Antoine

Headshot of Leena Kim

Leena Kim is an editor at Town & Country , where she covers travel, jewelry, education, weddings, and culture.

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The The Best Places to Visit in December for Couples: Weather & Travel Guide

travel places december

  • Sheryl Nance-Nash is a freelance writer specializing in travel and personal finance.
  • She has reported and written for publications like Fodors, Conde Nast Traveler and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Travel is what feeds her adventurous spirit.

December is a special time of year, and it can also be one of the best months to travel. There are all the festivities of the holiday season, plus a bit of sentimentality as the end of another year approaches. A December vacation is a welcome reprieve, especially for couples who want to reflect back on the year and partake in merriment.

The best places to visit in December are scattered across the globe, whether you're looking for a ski resort, the sunny Caribbean, an all-inclusive in Hawaii, a well-being resort (hello, 2024 travel trend ), or towns that go over the top with holiday festivities. Choosing the best cities or countries to visit in December for your anniversary trip , honeymoon or romantic getaway is a task that will put a smile on your face and get you through a routine day at the office. Here's fodder for your fantasy.

Vienna, Austria

Christmas in Vienna

Vienna transforms into a winter wonderland in December, and the spirit of the holidays is vibrant with the city's infamous Christmas markets. If you're a couple not bothered by a bit of chill in the air, this European escape is for you.

Things to Do: Shop 'til you drop at the Christmas markets with stalls full of art, crafts and local goodies like lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread cookies). You will surely find yourselves in one of the many cafes and coffee houses warming up with a melange , a Viennese coffee that will remind you of a cappuccino. Come evening, head to St. Stephen's Cathedral for classical music at an Advent concert. Another night, attend a performance at the Vienna State Opera House . Visit the city's many museums, like the Albertina or Belvedere . Shake off any stress by indulging in Vienna's 2,000-year-old bathing culture and hitting one of the spas.

Places to Stay: Almanac Palais Vienna , Hotel Beethoven Wien , The Guesthouse Vienna and Alma Boutique Hotel .

Western Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh skyline at sunset from the river bank

Western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, is a holiday playland. The list of festivities is long and all-but-guarantees a good time. For those who prefer the countryside, Nemacolin is its own standalone destination: with 2,200 acres of resort grounds to take in, couples will find everything from ice skating to gingerbread house competitions (really though)… all against the ornate decorations and architecture that make this place memorable around the holidays. Plus, Pittsburgh is a 90-minute drive away. When you think of where to travel in December, put this entire region on the map.

Things to Do: Downtown in Market Square of Pittsburgh, you'll find the Peoples Gas Holiday Market that might make you think you're in Europe. You can also skate at the downtown ice rink. GLOWLAND , in the city's Oakland neighborhood, boasts interactive installations, music, art and more. The Walk the Burgh holiday lights tour will give you insight on the city's history and architecture, with a chance to peep all of the area's lights and decorations. The Pittsburgh Botanic Dazzling Nights is 65 acres of lights, plus seasonal beverages and bites. If you don't want to get out of the car, the Zoo Lights Drive-Thru will let you see the animals and lights from your car. Beyond holiday happenings, take in a show in the Cultural District and finish the day with a romantic dinner at one of many top restaurants in town.

Places to Stay: The Priory Hotel , Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh , Omni William Penn Hotel , The Grand Lodge at Nemacolin Resort and The Mansions on Fifth Hotel .

Basseterre, St. Kitts

Saint Kitts Panorama With Nevis Island In The Background

You might be craving sand, sea and sun for your romantic getaway. If so, one of the best countries to visit in December is St. Kitts, with its steamy and perfect honeymoon weather . This tiny Caribbean island comes alive in December when it celebrates its national Carnival, also called Sugar Mas, as well as the holidays. Expect music, dance, folklore, food, beach parties and more.

Things to Do: For adventure, there's hiking through rainforest and volcanoes; diving; and ATVs. Care for something more serene? Soak up the sun on the beach or take a ride on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway for a three-hour tour that makes a 30-mile circle around the island—18 miles on train and 12 miles on sightseeing buses.

Places to Stay: Belle Mont Farm , Royal St. Kitts , Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour and Marriott's St. Kitts Beach Club .

Pacific City, Oregon

USA, Oregon, Pacific City, view at seascape

December is a magical time to visit the Oregon Coast. Pacific City is where forested cliffs and tall dunes meet the Pacific Ocean. You'll see whales and exceptionally high tides showcasing the power of the Pacific Ocean. The natural beauty sets the stage for romance, and the chilly weather is a perfect excuse to cuddle around a beach bonfire.

Things to Do: Whale watching is a must. If you're adventurous, December ushers in the arrival of King Tides, a natural phenomenon that occurs just a few times a year with extreme high tides and crashing waves. You'll always remember taking a guided King Tides hike where you climb to the top of the Great Dune at Cape Kiwanda. Horseback ride on the beach. Explore the boutiques and eateries downtown. Not only can you quench your thirst at the Pelican Brewery , but the ocean views are also stunning. Places to Stay: Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa , Hart's Camp , Inn at Cape Kiwanda and Surf and Sand Inn .

London, England

Christmas in London

London knocks itself out of the park during the holidays. Expect holiday lights everywhere . The holiday spirit is infectious, and in the city, you'll find famous Christmas markets and the must-see 60-foot Covent Garden Christmas tree.

Things to Do: Shop the Christmas markets and enjoy all the holiday lights. Be sure to hit Oxford, Regent and Carnaby Streets for their legendary holiday light displays. Catch a show in the theater district, go ice skating and find out the dates for Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. You can't be in London and not have a spot of tea—an afternoon tea experience is not to be missed.

Places to Stay: Canopy by Hilton London City , The Montcalm Royal London House , Park Grand London Hyde Park and The Resident Covent Garden .

Hamilton, Bermuda

Warwick beach

The thought of pink sand beaches probably sounds good as you're thinking of where to go in December, especially if your hometown is likely to be covered in snow. Plan to go early in the month of December, as that's when you can catch the Bermuda Christmas Boat Parade through Hamilton Harbour. Boats are decked out with lights and holiday characters will stream by, topped off with grand finale fireworks. It's tradition for some on Christmas Day to go to Elbow Beach to watch the sunrise.

Things to Do: Find out when the MarketPlace Christmas Parade is, as it's something you won't want to miss. Another December event to look out for is the City Art Fest featuring gallery tours, workshops, music and poetry. Beyond the holiday festivities, enjoy cliff jumping, diving, snorkeling and Blue Hole Park for a swim.

Places to Stay: The Loren at Pink Beach , Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa , Rosewood Bermuda and The St. Regis Bermuda Resort .

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto RIco Christmas

Nobody in the Caribbean (maybe, besides, Anguilla) does the holiday season like Puerto Rico. Festivities start in November and continue into the middle of January. From December 15 through 24, churches hold masses with aguinaldos —a folk genre of Christmas music—at dawn. The parranda (carolers) travel around neighborhoods singing Afro-Indigenous Christmas aguinaldos.

Things to Do: In addition to the holiday happenings, enjoy a bioluminescence bay tour, and visit sites like Castillo San Cristobal, and the San Juan Cathedral. Do not miss Old San Juan, with its cobblestone streets, cafes and shops.

Places to Stay: San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino , Dreamcatcher by DW , La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort and Caribe Hilton .

Hope Town, The Bahamas

Hopetown

Considering a visit to the Bahamas in December? Think beyond the much-traveled Nassau and Freeport to under-the-radar locales like Hope Town, which has beautiful beaches, tons of sunshine and a slower pace.

Things to Do: Rent a bike or golf cart to tool around town. Snorkel, dive, fish, paddleboard or kayak. Climb to the top of the Hope Town Lighthouse, and you'll be rewarded with epic views. Some other hot spots include Cap 'n Jacks , the Cantina at The Island Retreat and Firefly Bar and Grill .

Places to Stay: The Island Retreat , Abaco Inn , Hope Town Inn Marina and The Clifford Sawyer House .

Madeira, Portugal

Sunset over Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal

The Madeira archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean about 280 miles from the Canary Islands and 310 miles from the Moroccan coast. Madeira is lovely any time of year, but the holidays are something special, with Madeira spending millions on its Christmas lights and decorations. Plus, the area has a legendary New Year's Eve fireworks celebration.

Things to Do: For the thrill-seeking couple, there's canyoning, paragliding and hiking. Take in the view at Cabo Girão, which at over 1,900 feet tall is the highest sea cliff in Europe. Venture out on the skywalk's suspended glass floor for views of the Atlantic that are beyond spectacular. Visit Câmara de Lobos and consider a tour of Rabaçal, a three-hour walk exploring an evergreen forest, valleys, waterfalls and natural springs. Ride the cable car to reach the Monte Palace Tropical Garden .

Places to Stay: Reid's Palace, A Belmond Hotel , The Cliff Bay , Porto Mare Hotel and Quinta Jardins do Lago .

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Arizona

The end of the year is a good time to visit Sedona—it's when fewer tourists are around, so you're likely to score discounts on hotels with less people in town. That means you also stand a better chance of getting a reservation at that restaurant you absolutely must dine at ( Mariposa , anyone?).

Things to Do: Hike those gorgeous red rocks. The trails will be less crowded in December. If you're not game for action by foot, rent a jeep and drive the off-road trails. Ride the Verde Canyon Railroad train. Relax and pamper yourselves in one of Sedona's much beloved spas.

Places to Stay: The Wilde Resort and Spa , Enchantment Resort , Sky Ranch Lodge and Arabella Hotel Sedona .

Big Sky, Montana

Scenic view of snowcapped mountains against sky,Montana,United States,USA

For the outdoorsy couple who loves winter fun, Big Sky might be the best place to travel in December. Skiers will think they've died and gone to heaven with the abundance of trails. This place is for foodies too–hint, if you need bach party inspiration . You'll get everything from a gourmet hot dog stand, sushi and street tacos to barbecue and a slope-side dinner in a yurt , accessed by snowcat.

Things to Do: While skiing is the big attraction, the action doesn't stop there. Go for a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride, or go dog sledding or ice skating. Take a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone National Park .

Places to Stay: Big Sky Resort , Lone Mountain Ranch , Residence Inn Big Sky/The Wilson Hotel and The Lodge at Big Sky .

Grapevine, Texas

Christmas Market

You know they do everything bigger in Texas, and that goes for the holidays, too—especially in Grapevine, which is nicknamed the Christmas Capital of Texas. Between November and December, there are 1,400 holiday events, including markets, parades and the Christmas Wine Train.

Things to Do: Browse Grapevine's historic Main Street District with its boutiques, restaurants, winery tasting rooms and art galleries. Catch a show at the Palace Arts Center. Take a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad . Hike or bike the nine miles of wilderness trails at Lake Grapevine.

Places to Stay: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center , Hotel Vin , Hilton Garden Inn Grapevine at Silverlake Crossings and Hyatt Place/Grapevine .

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Grenadines

If you want to celebrate the holidays like a local in the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, you'll need to forget about sleep—the Nine Mornings Festival is for those who like to party. Nine mornings before Christmas, folks wake up at 4 a.m. to enjoy concerts, cultural performances and games. The final morning of the festival ends with a steel band "jump up" (party).

Things to Do: After you've recovered from the early morning festivities, visit one of the black sand beaches. St. Vincent is home to an active volcano, waterfalls, hiking trails and fishing villages. Explore the historic capital city of Kingstown, with its cobblestone streets and majestic churches. Spend a couple of days in nearby Bequia basking in the sun on the beautiful beaches.

Places to Stay: Sandals St. Vincent , Bequia Beach Hotel , Jenny's Place and Bequia Plantation Hotel .

Port Antonio, Jamaica

Jamaica, Port Antonio, boats in the blue lagoon

For a slightly quieter holiday season in Jamaica, go to Port Antonio, as you won't find the crowds of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Port Antonio is lush, awash in greenery, jungle and beautiful beaches. This city is ideal for the couple seeking scenery and serenity.

Things to Do: Take your pick of beaches, whether it's Frenchman's Cove , Winnifred Beach or San San Beach. Each has a different vibe, so you might want to go to all three if you have time. Raft on the Rio Grande. Browse the Portland Art Gallery and check out the Folly Lighthouse and Folly Ruins, the remains of an early 1900s mansion.

Places to Stay: Geejam Hotel , Kanopi House , The Trident Hotel and Goblin Hill Villas at San San .

Mallorca, Spain

Palma de Mallorca at Christmas time

If you've already done Barcelona and Madrid, December is a good time to go beyond familiar locales in Spain. Explore the Spanish island of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic islands. The city of Palma is romantic with its 18th century homes, cathedrals and castles… and even dreamier with holiday decor and sans summertime crowds.

Things to Do: Palma's Old Town has landmarks like La Seu, a sandstone cathedral that took nearly 400 years to build (it's one of Europe's tallest Gothic structures, noted for its massive rose windows). The Golden Mile is the spot for shopping and eating. You'll believe in fairytales with a visit to Bellver Castle from the 14th century—it's about a 10-minute drive west of Palma, located atop a pine-forested hill with awesome views of the Bay of Palma and the Tramuntana Mountains. Mercat de l'Olivar is Palma's largest covered market. See what treasures you can find. If you want a more laid-back experience, consider staying a couple of days in Grand Portals Nous, located about 20 minutes from the city's center on the Mediterranean shore.

Places to Stay: Es Princep , Iberostar Grand Portals Nous , Puro Hotel Palma and Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mallorca .

The Most Romantic Getaways in the World

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

23 Mar 2023

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

Cancun

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

Cairo

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

guatemala

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

Johannesburg

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

Greece

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

Hawaii

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

italy

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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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.

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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.

PlanetWare.com

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.

Anchorage

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

Breckenridge

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

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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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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Finland, reindeer

The 10 best places to travel in December 2023

The most wonderful time of the year? Our list of the best places to travel in December covers more than Christmas.

The most wonderful time of the year? That is all opinion, of course, but there is something undeniably magic about December. Yes, the weather can be a bit chilly, and the whole ‘lack of light’ thing is no fun, but then there is Christmas, family, excitement and all the food. All of it. Where are the best places to travel in December? That depends on what you want. If you are looking for the wintriest, most festive places to visit , there are plenty of brilliant places to choose from. If you’d like to escape the cold and spend your December in a tropical paradise , you can do that too. The end of the year is here, and you deserve to spend it wherever you please.

RECOMMENDED:

☀️ The world’s best places for winter sun 🎄 Amazing  Christmas towns to visit around the world 🎁 The   best Christmas markets to visit in Europe   and worldwide 🎊 The world’s best places to celebrate New Year ❄️️ The  best places to travel in January 🗺 Our full guide to the best places to travel every month

An email you’ll actually love

Best places to travel in December

Austria

1.  Austria

December is when Austria really sparkles. Soak up the festive vibes (and the glühwein) at the spiritual HQ of Christmas markets,  Vienna . The most iconic is held in front of the illuminated, baroque Schönbrunn Palace, with crafts, gingerbread and an enormous tree, while Art Advent on Karlsplatz has live music and an all-organic policy on the food. And while Vienna may be very good,  Salzburg ’s a bit subversive, too: at its folkloric Krampus parades in early December, goat-demon characters run riot through the streets. Less scarily, it’s also home to the uniquely Christmassy Salzburg Advent Singing, featuring traditionally dressed Alpine folk choirs and festive markets—the Christkindlmarkt is one of the world’s oldest.

Discover the best  things to do in Vienna

Finland

2.  Finland

This picturesque Nordic nation is a perennial award winner in annual travel gongs, not to mention eco-centric ones, and it makes sense: Finland is big on conservation, with 39 national parks and nearly three-quarters of its land covered in forest. All kinds of cold-weather dwelling creatures live here, from arctic foxes to lynxes, wolverines and snow hares—but go in December to see Rudolph and his chums in the snowy winter paradise that is Finnish Lapland. Where, of course, you’ll also find Santa—this is the home of Christmas, after all.

Cambodia

3.  Cambodia

For memorable travel moments, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat at sunrise has to be up there. So, how about Cambodia’s Angkor Wat at sunrise, amped up and ready to run a half-marathon? Every December (December 5, to be exact), thousands of runners peg it through the grounds of the 900-year-old Hindu temple, a UNESCO site, in support of Cambodian charities. It’s  totally  what Indiana Jones and Lara Croft would want (both  Temple of Doom  and  Tomb Raider  were filmed in the complex). Afterwards, head out to one of Cambodia’s quieter tropical beaches for well-deserved lounging: Koh Rong Samloem’s Lazy Beach should fit the bill.

Discover the best  things to do in Cambodia

Miami

4.  Miami

For an arty party in the city, it has to be  Art Basel  in Miami. In December, the Swiss-born contemporary art fair arrives in Miami to exhibit and sell the work of established international artists. But you don’t have to be in the industry, or uber-rich, to get in on the action: plenty of fringe events happen outside the main convention centre at  Miami Beach  that same week. Check out the public sculpture and the many pop-ups, gallery events and installations that have led this to be dubbed ‘Art Week’ by locals. Welcome to Miami!

Discover the best  things to do in Miami

Kerala, India

5.  Kerala, India

It’s easy to see why tourism in  India ’s serene southwestern state is flourishing, with palm-fringed beaches, tranquil tea plantations, and tiger-spotting opportunities,  and  it’s also one of India’s more eco enclaves. In forward-looking Kochi, heritage meets hip, between colonial ruins and cutting-edge galleries. Then there is the fabulous Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India’s biggest contemporary art event. Galleries, disused buildings, public spaces and heritage sites across the city are filled with sculpture, film, painting, installations and performance art. Still, that counts as teasing, so best head this way to enjoy India's magical south.

Discover the best  places to visit in India

Northern Patagonia

6.  Northern Patagonia

Because of its vast dark skies, Northern Patagonia is an epic stargazing spot at any time of year, but with a meteor shower and a total eclipse coming up, this December’s the time to go. The sky with be illuminated with cosmic debris for the Geminids meteor shower (it’s a big’un) on 14 and 15 December. Fly into  Buenos Aires ,  Argentina , a few days before for steak, street art and sexy tango vibes before basing yourself in San Martin de los Andes for the main event—it’s on the banks of a glacial lake and right at the edge of forested Lanín National Park, at the foot of the Andes. 

Discover the best  things to do in Buenos Aires

Costa Rica

7.  Costa Rica

In case you haven't heard, nature immersion and eco-tourism are big, and Costa Rica might be the most eco of them all. It is well on its way to hitting its target of being the first carbon-neutral country, and a quarter of the country is made up of unspoilt conservation land. Expect fascinating nature, from vividly hued birds and tree frogs to blissed-out sloths. Eco-lodge-hop your way from the cloud forest at San Gerardo de Dota to the whale’s tail-shaped Marino Ballena National Park to surf spot Santa Teresa.

Discover the best  things to do in Costa Rica

Berlin

8.  Berlin

Brave the harsh Berlin winter and reap the rewards: the run-up to Christmas is when the city is at its most charming. Get a round of glühwein while exploring a Christmas market (at Bröhan Museum market products are handmade by locals, while Spandau’s market is all old-Europe vibes). Alexanderplatz’s funfair will be in full swing, while Berlin’s Botanical Garden becomes an illuminated wonderland with twinkling fairy lights and glowing sculptures every December, with an ice rink to slip and slide around. Warm up after a spin by the fire pit with more hot booze.

Discover the best  things to do in Berlin

Mexico City

9.  Mexico City

With the rainy season and the summer crowds out of the way, December is a great time to hit up Mexico City. Go for the street tacos, tamales and tlacoyos, the Templo Mayor Aztec ruins, and the Frida Kahlo Museum. Then get stuck in to hip neighbourhood Juarez where there are more new design restaurants and bar openings than you can shake a margarita at (if you can find Hanky Panky Cocktail Bar speakeasy, it’ll be worth the hunt). And if you happen to be in the city for New Year’s Eve, make for the nearby Angel of Independence on Reforma Avenue for the street party and fireworks at midnight.

Discover the best  things to do in Mexico City

Las Vegas

10.  Las Vegas

As the names of artists now getting residencies in Las Vegas get bigger and more relevant (like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars), so does Sin City’s credibility as an entertainment destination. So do catch a  show  while you’re there, but since temperatures are pleasantly cool this time of year, now is also the perfect time for exploring off-strip. Want geological beauty? Head to rouge-tinted Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Street art? Go downtown. Mafia stuff? Don’t miss the Mob Museum, with an in-house distillery.

Discover the best  things to do in Las Vegas

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travel places december

Things to do in Santa Clara in December

Navigate forward to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

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December is a good time to visit Santa Clara . The weather is usually moderately chilly with a gentle breeze, with temperatures ranging from 42—58°F (6—15°C).

Santa Clara has plenty to offer for visitors of all ages and interests. In this article, we tell you the top things to see and do for your December trip to Santa Clara. Get inspired by the events, activities, attractions, and experiences unique to December. We’ll let you know where to explore events based on your interests, whether that’s food, culture, art, music, sport or others.

We’ll let you know everything you need to prepare for the weather in Santa Clara in December. Learn about what to wear and pack for your trip, the average temperatures throughout December, temperature changes from morning to evening and much more.

Table of contents

  • Experiences
  • Weather and what to wear
  • Attractions

travel places december

Best events and things to do in Santa Clara in December

Top experiences in december, holidays in santa clara in december.

There are no holidays in Santa Clara in December

Other notable holidays

  • Election Day ( November 5 )
  • Veterans Day ( November 11 )
  • Thanksgiving Day ( November 28 )
  • Black Friday ( November 29 )
  • Native American Heritage Day ( November 29 )
  • Weather in Santa Clara in December

Temperatures on an average day in Santa Clara in December

The average temperature in Santa Clara in December for a typical day ranges from a high of 58°F (15°C) to a low of 42°F (6°C). Some would describe it as moderately chilly with a gentle breeze.

For comparison, the hottest month in Santa Clara , September, has days with highs of 83°F (28°C) and lows of 55°F (13°C). The coldest month, December has days with highs of 58°F (15°C) and lows of 42°F (6°C). This graph shows how an average day looks like in Santa Clara in December based on historical data.

Visiting Santa Clara? See our Santa Clara Trip Planner.

Historical temperature average in December

General weather summary, what to wear in december, best attractions for santa clara in december.

Levi's Stadium

Popular road trips from Santa Clara

What's the weather like in santa clara.

It depends on when you visit! We've compiled data from NASA on what the weather is like in Santa Clara for each month of the year: see the links below for more information.

  • Weather in Santa Clara in January
  • Weather in Santa Clara in February
  • Weather in Santa Clara in March
  • Weather in Santa Clara in April
  • Weather in Santa Clara in May
  • Weather in Santa Clara in June
  • Weather in Santa Clara in July
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  • Weather in Santa Clara in September
  • Weather in Santa Clara in October
  • Weather in Santa Clara in November

All road trips from Santa Clara

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Explore nearby places

  • Santa Clara
  • Mountain View
  • Monte Sereno
  • Los Altos Hills
  • East Palo Alto
  • Mount Hamilton
  • the Portola Valley
  • Redwood City
  • Boulder Creek

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Santa Clara throughout the year

  • Santa Clara in January
  • Santa Clara in February
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  • Santa Clara in April
  • Santa Clara in May
  • Santa Clara in June
  • Santa Clara in July
  • Santa Clara in August
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  • Santa Clara in November
  • Santa Clara in December

Looking for day-by-day itineraries in Santa Clara?

Get inspired for your trip to Santa Clara with our curated itineraries that are jam-packed with popular attractions everyday! Check them out here:

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » United States » California (CA) » 15 Best Day Trips from San Jose (CA)

15 Best Day Trips from San Jose (CA)

One of the most significant technological and cultural hubs in the country, San Jose, California, is a hotbed of urban prowess, entertainment and of course, has its stunning Mediterranean-like climate and topography, delivering warm, dry and sunny weather all year round.

One of the best things about San Jose is its convenient location, within arm’s reach of a number of beautiful places that are ideal for day trips.

Thanks to Northern California’s diverse landscape, you can go from surfing the waves under the hot sun to standing on a mountain peak above the clouds within the same day.

Check out this handy guide outlining some of the best day trip destinations from Silicon Valley’s San Jose.

1. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

The epitome of a Californian beach town and still one of the nation’s favourite destinations because of the perpetual summer vibe that can be found here, Santa Cruz is best known for its sun, beach and famous Boardwalk.

The majority of visitors will spend most of their time on the buzzing promenade enjoying the rides and games, however, Santa Cruz also has a wealth of cultural and natural attractions to offer.

The historic mission church is a fascinating and spectacular sight to behold, while destinations like Wilder Ranch State Park offer enchanting and unspoiled hiking spots, perfect for soaking up some truly unmissable views.

Alameda, California

The town of Alameda can be found close to downtown San Jose and has strong historical and cultural roots that are apparent when wandering its charming streets full of mid-century architecture and signage.

There’s also a huge antiquing culture here, which gives the streets and shops a vintage feel that is enchanting to be immersed in, the hub of this being Park Avenue.

Here you’ll find everything from vintage clothing and apparel to fascinating trinkets from all over the world.

For a real treat, head down to the old naval base on the first Sunday of each month to visit the Alameda Antiques Faire in search of something truly unique to take home.

Napa Valley

The true epitome of wine country and a nationwide favourite destination, Napa can be reached in less than two hours from San Jose.

It is home to some of the finest wining and dining in California.

With a vast number of tours operating in the area, it has never been easier to learn about Napa’s rich history in winemaking and sample some of the delicious end products.

Napa also offers some truly breath-taking hiking destinations due to its gently rolling foothills and orchards, and offers endless great spots for a stroll and a picnic.

4. Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

Another immediately recognisable and iconic Californian coastal destination is the town of Half Moon Bay; charming and quaint in equal measure, and a popular alternative to raucous Santa Cruz.

Only an hour northwest of San Jose, you’ll find this water sport haven, where kayaking in the bay and surfing in the Pacific are two of the most popular pastimes.

With many surf schools offering lessons, it’s a great place to learn during the summer, though beginners may want to take a back seat in winter as the waves grow to monstrous sizes exceeding 50-feet in height.

5. San Francisco

San Francisco - View From Twin Peaks

The iconic and classic “Golden Gate City” should be on the bucket-list of anyone visiting the states, let alone California.

Easily reachable from San Jose even without a car, thanks to the world-class public transport connecting the two, San Francisco can be the perfect day trip if you know what you want to do when you arrive.

Popular favourites are the Golden Gate Bridge, Mission Dolores and Lombard Street, but if you want to head off the beaten track, head over to Haight-Ashbury and wander the colourful streets covered in murals and exuding a heavy dose of flower-power.

Gilroy, California

A world-class destination when it comes to indulgence, Gilroy is a self-proclaimed foodie and retail haven, only half an hour to the south of San Jose.

The aptly named garlic capital of the world plays host to the Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, where you can enjoy every garlic-based dish and snack imaginable, including their world-famous garlic fries and even garlic ice cream.

You’ll also find one of the country’s premium shopping malls in Gilroy, housing over 140 stores and boasting the accolade of having the largest collection of designer stores in Northern California.

7. Livermore

Livermore, California

Perfect for wine lovers who are looking for an alternative to the popular Napa Valley, Livermore is a thriving community of wineries that comprise an up-and-coming wine industry.

Many have been producing critically acclaimed wines since the time of the San Francisco Mission.

A mere 30 minutes from San Jose in Alameda, the town has a long history of ranching and agriculture as well as the grape farming, and is a wonderful place to explore on foot.

8. Sausalito

Sausalito

At the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge you’ll find the enchanting beachside community known as Sausalito that has visitors falling in love with it within minutes of arriving.

The small town is a former shipbuilding hub that has transformed into a wealthy and picturesque artist’s hideaway with a wealth of hidden gems to discover.

Home to a great number of pop-up restaurants serving progressive seasonal menus, garnished with gorgeous views across the bay, Sausalito is an ideal day trip to grab a bite to eat and explore one of San Francisco’s numerous attractive suburbs.

9. Silicon Valley

San Jose, Silicon Valley

An eye-opening and insightful day trip that can actually be within the city limits, depending on where you go, a day out in Silicon Valley will leave you curious and hungry for more.

Of the many technological landmarks found here, some of the most popular are the Apple Headquarters in Cupertino or the famed HP garage in Palo Alto.

Visitors can experience the pioneering force behind many of the world’s social media and online powerhouses like Google and Facebook, and marvel at the quirky and sometimes bizarre office spaces they operate from.

10. Carmel by the Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

A great number of San Joseans regularly make the trip to this romantic coastal resort with its spectacularly sandy beach and irresistible small-town ambience.

You’ll find the gorgeous beach in the long cove curling around Carmel Bay, where secluded spots and picturesque sunsets are plentiful.

Heading further into town, you’ll quickly become accustomed to the lack of numbered street addresses and find that meandering around is the norm here, and discovering hidden gems around every corner is commonplace.

Expect to stumble across art galleries, charming artisan boutiques and some truly world-class dining options.

11. Muir Woods

Muir Woods National Monument

One of the last remaining redwood forests in the San Francisco Bay area, the Muir Woods are only a couple of hours from San Jose and will transport you to another world.

The trip itself by car is wonderfully picturesque, taking you across the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headland, but once you arrive at the Muir Woods, the scenery will take your breath away.

Monumentally large trees tower above visitors on all sides and you can hike towards the ocean or up into the mountains.

Be sure to pack plenty of water and a lunch, as shops are few and far between in the forest.

12. West Cliff Drive

West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA

A six-mile path that hugs the coast, West Cliff Drive is a favourite amongst walkers and cyclists who want to leisurely explore this beautiful stretch of rocky coastline and headlands.

Part of Monterey Bay, the route is also popular with surfers chasing the perfect Pacific breaks.

You can even find the world’s first surf museum here, commemorating one of the nation’s most celebrated sports and resulting cultures.

Appropriately located in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, you can learn about the surfers braving the crashing waves while enjoying excellent views of them doing just that.

13. Monterey

Monterey, California

The perfect day trip for those looking to learn about California’s colonial past whilst enjoying spectacular coastal and mountain views, Monterey has a little something for everyone.

The gorgeous “Monterey’s 17-Mile Drive” is a scenic route featuring beaches, cliffs, headlands, and the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.

Seal Rock Picnic Area is also a popular stop-off on the coast where you can see wild birds, seals and sea lions in their natural habitat.

For a dose of culture, head over to the Monterey Museum of Art, and for a foodie experience, try one of the many mouthwatering downtown eateries.

14. Berkeley

Berkeley, California

This famous university town north of San Francisco is as rich in history and culture as it is in academic knowledge.

Art lovers, foodies and shoppers all regularly take a trip here to make the most of the diverse range of activities and entertainment on offer.

A visit to the famed university itself is worthwhile, if only to see the beautiful grounds.

Downtown is a great place to try new things, whether it’s window shopping at quirky stores or browsing through the fresh produce at the absolutely enormous market, the Berkeley Bowl.

15. Pescadero

Piegon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero, California

Another charmingly quaint seaside town that offers both entertainment and exceptionally beautiful natural reserves is the area known as Pescadero.

About an hour away from San Jose, it is home to sandy beaches and blustery, rocky headlands where wild birds seasonally come and nest.

Home to endless hiking trails around the coast and further inland past coastal scrub and eucalyptus groves, Pescadero is exceedingly popular with hikers.

End your day at one of the many cafes or restaurants in town while you watch the sun set over the ocean.

15 Best Day Trips from San Jose (CA):

  • Half Moon Bay
  • San Francisco
  • Silicon Valley
  • Carmel by the Sea
  • West Cliff Drive

The Best Snorkeling Destinations in the World, From the Maldives to Iceland

By Kaila Yu

Image may contain Water Nature Outdoors Underwater Adult Person Leisure Activities Sport Swimming and Water Sports

For ocean lovers, there’s nothing more sublime than dipping underwater to explore the the best snorkeling in the world. The vast array of whimsical marine creatures and landscapes never ceases to amaze and delight, whether you're dipping into Caribbean waters off the Grenadines, or witnessing the biodiversity of the Red Sea . Factor in the scientifically proven healing power of ocean immersion, and there’s no question a snorkel session can bring instant relaxation and peace.

Whether you're looking to travel for a weekend trip or an extended getaway, consider hitting the reset button with a snorkeling trip before returning to the hectic bustle of everyday life. Below, we cover the best places to snorkel worldwide, from overwater bungalow-dotted waters to swirling seas of tropical fish, dolphins, and manta rays. We've got a remote Asian island , a Hawaiian beach resort, a French Polynesian sparkling lagoon, and so much more. So what are you waiting for? Dive in.

This gallery has been updated since its original publish date.

Image may contain Leisure Activities Person Sport Swimming Water Water Sports Nature Outdoors Underwater and Adult

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world for its over 390 coral species. Snorkeling is accessible almost anywhere throughout Fiji’s over 300 islands and 500 plus reefs and inlets. The tropical waters here are nutrient-rich, attracting large marine creatures such as reef sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins, turtles, and manta rays. Although snorkeling is lovely all over Fiji, the Mamanuca Islands, an archipelago 30 miles west of Nadi are home to an extensive barrier reef and calm lagoons with plenty of visibility, kaleidoscope flurries of rainbow-hued reef fish, and thriving coral gardens.

Where to stay: VOMO Fiji , an all-inclusive private island resort, boasts some of the most untouched snorkeling, and guests enjoy daily guided snorkel safaris.

Image may contain Ocean Outdoors Nature Water Sea Animal Sea Life Reef Coral Reef Sponge Animal and Invertebrate

Sipadan, Malaysia

Sipadan is located in the Celebes Sea off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia 's easternmost state on the island of Borneo. Best known for world-class diving, and described as an “Untouched Piece of Art” by oceanographer extraordinaire Jacques Cousteau himself, the snorkeling here is equally stunning, with easy viewing of otherworldly coral formations, sea turtles, and bumphead parrotfish.

Where to stay: After snorkeling, lounge in one of the ethereal overwater villas at the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort .

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Water Underwater Ocean Floor Person Leisure Activities Sport and Swimming

Silfra, Iceland

Divers and snorkelers worldwide come to swim Iceland's famous Silfra fissure inside Thingvellir National Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the only place in the world to snorkel inside the crack between two tectonic plates. To beat the cold, you’ll snorkel in a dry suit, dipping into some of the most transparent water in the world with a whopping 120 meters of visibility. As this glacial water has been filtered for decades underground, it's so pristine that you’re encouraged to drink it.

Where to stay: Thingvellir National Park is a thirty-minute drive from Michelin-recognized Greenhouse Hotel , a sustainability-minded hotel with mountain views from all rooms.

This image may contain Animal Jellyfish Invertebrate and Sea Life

Palau , a nation of 250 islands in the western Pacific, is home to dozens of unusual seawater marine lakes connected to the ocean by tunnels and channels. Only one, Jellyfish Lake on Eil Malk, can be visited, and can be filled with millions of—you guessed it—jellyfish. Floating through swarms of these gelatinous beings is definitely an out-of-body experience, but don't worry—their non-poisonous stings can hardly be felt.

Where to stay: An overwater bungalow at the Palau Pacific Resort on Koror or hop on the Four Seasons Explorer , the brand’s liveaboard dive and snorkeling boat, which set sail for the first time in the region October 2023.

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Image may contain Outdoors Nature Land Ocean Water Sea Shoreline Coast Beach Scenery Island and Ice

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Australia 's Bait Reef has some of the most eye-popping coral formations in the world. Most famous are The Stepping Stones, made up of nearly 20 flat-topped pinnacles lined up like soldiers in formation on the southwest side of the reef. Each rises from a depth of 80 feet and stop only three feet from the surface. They are completely covered with coral. Be on the lookout for the small tropical fish that swarm around the tops of the stones.

Where to stay: Without a doubt, the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort is worth it for its sublime seclusion.

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Water Underwater Ocean Floor Adult Person Animal Reptile Sea Life and Turtle

Exumas, Bahamas

Located in the northwestern West Indies, the Bahamas’ over 3000 islands and cays are easily reached by a quick plane hop from Miami . The largest Caribbean archipelago also houses the third-largest fringing barrier reef worldwide, the 190-mile Andros Barrier Reef. The 360 cays making up the Exumas are some of the best snorkeling in the Bahamas for electrically blue transparent waters and blindingly white sand beaches. Andros Island in the Exumas has the highest concentration of blue holes (sinkholes or underwater caves) worldwide. Make sure to snorkel the world’s third deepest blue hole—Dean’s Blue Hole. Although you won’t snorkel down its entire depth of 663 feet, it’s still a marvel to snorkel at its edges.

Where to stay: The Caerula Mar Club , a boutique hotel in South Andros, is just minutes away from four blue holes.

A boat in the ocean.

Hengchun, Taiwan

Come for the area’s warm waters and to snorkel at Kenting National Park— Taiwan ’s first national park. Head west to Wanlitong, a quieter snorkeling spot with coral reef ditches, valleys, pinnacles, and tunnels. Once there, hide and seek with adorable anime-like nudibranchs and clouds of small wrasse and sergeant majors. Just a ten-minute drive away is Baishawan—one of the shoot locations for Life of Pi —where you'll find white-sand beaches and clear waters with occasional dolphin sightings.

Where to stay:  Conveniently close to many beaches,  Chateau Beach Resort is just a five-minute walk from Dawan Beach and a quick drive away from several others.

Image may contain Leisure Activities Person Sport Summer Swimming Water Water Sports Palm Tree Plant Tree and Land

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The South Caribbean waters of these 32 islands and cays are particularly unspoiled. Known as the critter capital of the Caribbean, you’ll likely encounter more marine life below the surface than on other islands. Incredible creatures you may spot include reef sharks, hawksbill turtles, flying gurnards, frogfish, sea horses, batfish, and gold-spotted eel. Visibility can stretch 100 feet or more, and there is much to explore: black coral forests, boulder fields, wrecks, jagged cliffs, deep vertical dropoffs, and swim-throughs. Don't miss Byahaut, located in southwestern St. Vincent, if you dare brave the “bat cave,” an underwater cave with hundreds of bats overhead.

Where to stay: Guests at the newly opened Sandals Saint Vincent and the Grenadines enjoy daily scuba and snorkeling excursions, included in the all-inclusive price.

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Ocean Water Sea Land Shoreline Coast Beach Animal Reef Sea Life and Island

The Maldives

A chain of 26 atolls and over 1,000 islands in the Indian Ocean, it’s one the world’s most geographically dispersed countries and can’t be beaten for underwater exploration. As each island is barely the size of a small estate in the Hamptons, we’re hard-pressed to pick a top spot but consider the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa —winner of multiple Readers' Choice Awards, as your first stop.

Where to stay: Head to remote Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa for its immaculate 360-degree house reef. It’s abundant in marine life, even more so than other Maldives destinations.

Image may contain Leisure Activities Person Sport Swimming Water Water Sports Outdoors Nature Animal and Mammal

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

This Mexican Caribbean island eight miles northeast of Cancun is one of the few places worldwide to snorkel with whale sharks ethically. The government regulates whale shark tours from summer to early fall, limiting the snorkelers allowed in the water simultaneously. Freediving isn’t allowed, so you’ll enjoy a few magical moments snorkeling at the surface to keep up with these gentle, jet-fast creatures. Isla Mujeres also has the world’s largest underwater museum, with over 500 sculptures comprising an artificial reef. Head to Garrafon Natural Reef Park in southern Isla Mujeres for shallow snorkeling with colorful coral and marine life.

Where to stay: The Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort , reopened in April 2024 after renovations as the first Marriott-branded all-inclusive and provides a packed lunch for whale shark snorkeling excursions.

Image may contain Water Nature Outdoors Aquatic Adventure Leisure Activities Person Scuba Diving Sport and Swimming

Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

Australia’s island state has over 3000 miles of coastline, with incredible snorkeling, especially on the east coast. Dive into the waters of Freycinet National Park; one of the most photographed places in Tasmania . Wineglass Bay is its crown jewel, often called one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Some other can’t miss snorkeling spots include the secluded Coles Bay, Sleepy Bay, or Honeymoon Bay for calm waters, sea caves, and white sand beaches against pink-toned granite mountains.

Where to stay: Immerse yourself in Freycinet National Park at Saffire Freycinet , a luxury all-inclusive resort in the park's heart.

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Crystal River, Florida

Crystal River is the only place in the United States to swim with gentle manatees legally. Around November to March, Florida 's manatees migrate to Crystal Rivers's warmer springs in one of the largest meetings of manatees worldwide. If you’re lucky, you’ll snorkel amongst clumps of hundreds of manatees encircling the warmest waters of the springhead. The manatees are heavily protected, but book snorkeling tours with FWC special-use permit-holding operators following all rules and regulations. You are not allowed to touch the manatees, but the manatees are allowed to touch you and likely will. They are friendly and curious creatures.

Where to stay: Plantation on Crystal River is a historic, eco-friendly resort surrounded by the natural springs of Crystal River’s King Bay. Its Plantation Adventure Center offers manatee tours and scalloping trips from the hotel’s dock.

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Moorea, French Polynesia

Often overlooked by neighboring Tahiti and Bora Bora, Moorea is a secret favorite of snorkel fans. For an up-close-and-personal encounter with black-tip reef sharks, the best place to find them is in the lagoon facing Motu Irioa. Join a full-day tour group or hire a private guide and boat if you want to really explore the area and its critters in depth.

Where to stay: The winner of multiple Readers’ Choice Awards, the Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort has the island’s longest private beach and direct lagoon access snorkeling.

Flamingos on the shores of a beach.

Bonaire is a pioneer in coral conservation as the world’s first Blue destination ; as a result, snorkelers enjoy some of the most flourishing reefs in the world. All snorkelers must pay a yearly nature fee of $40 to access the Bonaire National Marine Park , spanning the entire coastline of the Caribbean island. Luckily, it’s just 70 limestone steps down to 1000 Steps beach, a popular snorkeling destination for abundant staghorn corals, silly parrot fish, and crystal clear waters. Don’t forget to swim the Alice in Wonderland dive spot filled with gorgonian corals, glittering tropical fish, and sea turtles.

Where to stay:   Harbour Village Beach Club is an oceanfront boutique retreat with the best of Bonaire's snorkeling sites just feet away.

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Red Sea, Egypt

In South Sinai, travelers enjoy Sharm el-Sheikh as an easy snorkeling destination for all levels. Snorkeling is easily accessible from most beach resorts here in the Egyptian Riviera. Known for flourishing coral, fringing reefs, and notable shipwrecks; snorkelers are also treated to endemic marine species such as a playful Red Sea clownfish or yellow butterflyfish. After exploring Sharm el-Sheikh, it’s worth the 60-mile drive north to Dahab’s world-famous Blue Hole. Snorkeling the edges of the almost 400-foot sinkhole may leave you awestruck.

Where to stay: The spectacular house reef at Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh features depths for all snorkeling levels from 15 feet to 120 feet.

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Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

In Thailand , hire a long-tail boat from Tonsai Pier on Koh Phi Phi Don and high-tail it to Pi Leh Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh. Here, you'll snorkel in incredibly clear, green water surrounded on both sides by 330-foot-tall limestone cliffs (note that the sun only hits the water between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., so plan accordingly for the best photo ops).

Where to stay: The very stylish Zeavola resort on Koh Phi Phi Don.

A mountain and shore of the ocean.

San Cristóbal, Galápagos

What’s truly special about the Galápagos is its endemic wildlife, which is extremely tame due to a lack of predators. You can easily grab snorkeling gear and jump in the waters of San Cristóbal beaches, but make time for a day trip or two, as some of the best snorkeling is only accessible by boat. Many of Galápagos' iconic creatures live on Española Island—a two-hour boat ride away—like its marine iguana, blue-footed boobies, and many sea lions. However, to truly experience the best snorkeling, book a week-long cruise with  Ecoventura —ranked by our readers as one of the best expedition ships in the world in 2022 and 2023— for daily snorkel excursions off several far-flung islands.

Where to stay:  Centrally located on the boardwalk,  Hotel Miconia is steps away from a colony of sea lions lazing on the rocks.

Mountain range on the edge of an ocean.

Loreto, Mexico

Jacques Cousteau called the waters surrounding this sleepy Mexican town the “world’s aquarium” because of its rich biodiversity. Find some of the best snorkeling in the world at Loreto Bay National Marine Park , comprised of five islands. Dip underwater in Baja California Sur’s Loreto for blooming coral and an estimated 900 species of fish, and on lucky days, meet mobula rays, bottlenose dolphins, friendly seals, turtles, and more. Danzante Island is a favorite snorkeling spot, where you can often hear the haunting calls of humpback whales underwater.

Where to stay: With its sprawling 39,000 square spa, Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto is ideal for rejuvenating between lazy dips in the water.

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Cayman Islands

One of the more unusual highlights of a trip to Grand Cayman Island is the chance to snorkel at Stingray City , surrounded by a virtual fleet of 50 of one of the ocean's most fascinating and friendly creatures. The water is shallow (less than five feet deep) and crystal clear, making it great for beginners. Visitors are given ray-appropriate treats, and snorkel gear is included in the price of admission.

Where to stay: The newly renovated Grand Cayman Marriott Resort offers a breakfast with the rays Stingray City tour.

Two boats in crystal blue waters.

Sister island to Aruba and Bonaire , Curaçao is the largest of the ABC islands. There are over 30 beaches, but the calmest for snorkeling is in the west coast’s sheltered bays. Make sure to snorkel the Tugboat shipping wreck—it’s only 15 feet deep and covered with tube sponges and coral. To meet the island’s sea turtles, head north to Playa Lagun; for more shallow wrecks with over 30 species of hard coral, go to Curaçao Underwater Park.

Where to stay: Guided snorkeling excursions, equipment, and boat rides to Curaçao’s top spots are included in the price of your stay at Sandals Royal Curaçao .

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Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Snorkeling here couldn’t be any easier with so many properties offering overwater bungalow accommodations. Don’t miss the waters off the southern tip of the main island, filled with reef sharks, friendly stingrays, and colorful fish (and the manta ray cleaning station on the east side at Anau). Guests at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora , have unlimited access to the resort’s private section of the lagoon, winding through the middle of the resort. Sign up for the coral restoration activity with the resort’s Wise Ocean’s marine biologists to dive underwater and plant coral.

Where to stay: Our Readers' Choice Awards favorite for seven consecutive years and counting, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora’s overwater bungalows give direct snorkel access to Bora Bora’s famed lagoon.

A shark underwater.

Rangiroa, Tahiti

Drift with the famously friendly, wild bottlenose dolphins of Tiputa Pass and tornados of reef fish at the ‘Aquarium’—a very popular snorkeling spot. Take a day trip to the Blue Lagoon to enjoy a traditional Polynesian grilled meal with swarms of silvery fish at your feet, hoping for crumbs. You can snorkel right from your dining table into the warm waters of the baby shark nursery and swim with dozens of black-tip reef sharks.

Where to stay: Stay at one of Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa ’s overwater bungalows and snorkel from your room into the crystal turquoise lagoon.

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A great place to first discover the underwater treasures of this independent island nation east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean is Blue Bay Marine Park. Visibility is near-perfect and it's great for beginners, as you can snorkel straight from the beach. The park is home to angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, and clownfish—among other colorful exotics. Note: Don't forget to look up once in a while, as you'll spot airplanes landing and taking off from the architecturally impressive Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.

Where to stay: Less than an hour’s drive northeast, Guests at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa , have access to exclusive snorkeling at its private island—Ilot Mangénie.

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With water visibility of up to 100 feet, Anguilla is a paradise for snorkelers. There are so many spots to choose from for a dip, but we're partial to exploring the monumental coral gardens (some more than eight feet tall) off Great Dog Island, inhabited only by feral goats. Here, you'll find puffer fish aplenty and even a school or two of squid.

Where to stay: Though Anguilla has a famously flat terrain, rooms at  Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Anguilla sit atop small cliffs, giving rare island views over sprawling bays.

Dolphins underwater.

Mikura-jima, Japan

To reach the remote island of Mikura-jima, take the 7.5-hour overnight ferry—and trust us, it’s worth the trek. Located 124 miles south of Tokyo, it’s one of the few places in the world you can snorkel with wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. The waters are choppy off this far-flung island, so its best suited for advanced snorkelers only. Dolphin snorkeling season is from mid-April to October.

Where to stay:  The  Tamami HASHIMOTO homestay includes accommodations, meals, dolphin swimming tours (with videography), and a village tour.

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Ilha Grande, Brazil

Ilha Grande, almost exactly midway between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is heaven on earth—somewhat untouched, still, with deeply green jungle, turquoise water, and a totally laid-back vibe. Snorkeling here might include exploring colonial-era shipwrecks, but take a dip in the Lagoa Azul first (think Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon ) with delicious water temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s providing the perfect habitat for seahorses.

Where to stay: We like Asalem , set on the calm Bay of Abraäo, for its authentic simplicity (candles and gas lights at night).

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Turks & Caicos

Directly off Grace Bay Beach and protected by Bight Reef a mile offshore, the White House Reef Snorkel Trail is well-marked and a delight for anyone looking for barracuda, spiny lobster, or a harmless nurse shark or two. Take a boat cruise out to the small island of Salt Cay from January to April to swim with migrating humpback whales.

Where to stay: Wymara Resort & Villas sits on Grace Bay Beach—widely considered one of the world’s best, with white-sand beaches and simple sophistication.

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Kauai, Hawaii

It's all about the chance to swim with elegant green sea turtles in the waters off this unimaginably-lush Hawaiian island. Best months for snorkeling are October through April, especially from the south shore's Lawai Beach. You'll also find rainbow colored Wrasses and Convict Tangs—some of the more unusual fish in the Pacific Ocean.

Where to stay: Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach greets with authentic aloha spirit, ocean access to Coconut Beach’s golden sand, and an over $35 million pre-pandemic renovation.

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The Seychelles

Comprised of 115 tiny islands, the Seychelles is one of the best spots in the Indian Ocean for snorkeling. We like La Digue, Félicité, and Coco the most, purely for their intense variety of sea life including surgeonfish, Bengal snappers, and green humphead parrotfish, as well as gentle hawksbill sea turtles.

Where to stay: For the ultimate private island escape, nothing beats North Island .

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Vieques, Puerto Rico

Cast just off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico , Vieques is still an under-the-radar Caribbean destination. Most of the island was once a U.S. Navy training area and remains completely undeveloped. Green Beach has shallow, clear water, a great variety of marine life, and is rarely crowded.

Where to stay: Off the Esperanza coast, the ultra-modern, minimalist  El Blok is one of the island's best, within walking distance of top bars and restaurants.

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Maui, Hawaii

Maui has many ideal snorkel spots, but for something completely different don your gear and sail on the luxury catamaran Kai Kanani to Molokini Crater —a tiny, volcanic crescent off the island's southernmost shore. A State Marine Life & Bird Conservation District, it is home to dolphins, manta rays, turtles, and dozens of varieties of insanely colorful tropical fish.

Where to stay: You can't go wrong at the chic, cheerful Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort .

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Palawan, Philippines

Palawan continues to impress, voted one of the top islands in Asia in our 2022 Readers' Choice Awards . Day trips by boat from Puerto Princesa to Luli Island, Starfish Island, Panden Island, and Cowrie Island only take 45-minutes and will reward with sightings of Star Fish and sea snails, plus marine gastropod mollusca called "cowrie."

Where to stay: Do anything, anything at all, to book a villa at the sybaritic El Nido Pangulasian Island resort, only an hour's private flight from Manila.

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Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Hard to get to, but well worth the effort, the Bazaruto Archipelago of Mozambique keeps us visiting and dreaming. Barely 22 miles off the east coast of Africa, this group of six islands (Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Bangue, Shell, and Santa Carolina) continue to top our "must-visit" list of places in the world. The entire area was declared a National Park in 1971 and hosts a plethora of snorkel and dive opportunities.

Where to stay: Stay at super-classy  andBeyond Benguerra Island , featured in our Hot List and Gold List .

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GOBankingRates

GOBankingRates

10 Travel Cities That Are Becoming Too Expensive To Visit

Posted: May 24, 2024 | Last updated: May 24, 2024

<p>In December 2023, Euromonitor Internation revealed the Top 100 City Destinations of the year, a period in which global tourism and the travel industry made a strong recovery after the pandemic. Not surprisingly, New York City was among the most popular destinations, ranking eighth, the highest placing of an American city.  </p> <p><strong>Check Out: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/travel/3-places-to-travel-like-hawaii-but-cheaper/?utm_term=related_link_1&utm_campaign=1272557&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=1&utm_medium=rss" rel="">3 Places To Travel That Are Like Hawaii but Way Cheaper</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read Next: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/unusual-ways-actually-work-2061686/?utm_term=related_link_2&utm_campaign=1272557&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=2&utm_medium=rss" rel="">5 Unusual Ways To Make Extra Money (That Actually Work)</a></strong></p> <p>NYC also ranked eighth in GOBankingRates' <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/travel/most-expensive-tourist-destinations-in-us/?utm_term=incontent_link_1&utm_campaign=1272557&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=3&utm_medium=rss">28 Most Expensive Tourist Destinations in the US</a> study issued in June 2023. However, the city's <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/11/new-york-tourism-airbnb-rentals-hotels/675860/" rel="noreferrer noopener">strict crackdown</a> on short-term rental laws and construction permits might move "The City That Never Sleeps" closer to #1 in short order.</p> <p>It's not alone. According to Nadejda Popova, Senior Manager at Euromonitor International, "Some destinations are imposing restrictions, steep taxation or reduction of hotel capacity to help limit the influx of tourists and preserve cultural heritage, while others embrace dispersion strategies that promote alternative or off-the-beaten-path destinations." </p> <p>Of the 10 most-visited large cities in the world, New York City is already the priciest to visit, according to <a href="https://rusticpathways.com/">R</a><a href="https://rusticpathways.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">u</a><a href="https://rusticpathways.com/">stic Pathways</a>. The site, which caters to student travelers and those looking for study abroad programs, analyzed the average cost of accommodation, transportation and food and drinks from multiple travel providers and found that a one-night stay in NYC will cost you $687 (not including airfare, train or bus fare to the destination).  </p> <p>Bigger cities and capitals offer tourists amazing experiences, but careful budgeting is necessary to travel to many places now. Going off the beaten track or choosing a cheap vacation spot might help, but if you've got your heart set on visiting a popular tourist destination, prepare in advance by saving up and researching affordable lodging and deals on food and beverages, entertainment and activities.    </p> <p>Here are the ten priciest popular large city tourist destinations, according to Rustic Pathways.</p>

In December 2023, Euromonitor Internation revealed the Top 100 City Destinations of the year, a period in which global tourism and the travel industry made a strong recovery after the pandemic. Not surprisingly, New York City was among the most popular destinations, ranking eighth, the highest placing of an American city.  

Check Out: 3 Places To Travel That Are Like Hawaii but Way Cheaper

Read Next: 5 Unusual Ways To Make Extra Money (That Actually Work)

NYC also ranked eighth in GOBankingRates' 28 Most Expensive Tourist Destinations in the US study issued in June 2023. However, the city's strict crackdown on short-term rental laws and construction permits might move "The City That Never Sleeps" closer to #1 in short order.

It's not alone. According to Nadejda Popova, Senior Manager at Euromonitor International, "Some destinations are imposing restrictions, steep taxation or reduction of hotel capacity to help limit the influx of tourists and preserve cultural heritage, while others embrace dispersion strategies that promote alternative or off-the-beaten-path destinations." 

Of the 10 most-visited large cities in the world, New York City is already the priciest to visit, according to R u stic Pathways . The site, which caters to student travelers and those looking for study abroad programs, analyzed the average cost of accommodation, transportation and food and drinks from multiple travel providers and found that a one-night stay in NYC will cost you $687 (not including airfare, train or bus fare to the destination).  

Bigger cities and capitals offer tourists amazing experiences, but careful budgeting is necessary to travel to many places now. Going off the beaten track or choosing a cheap vacation spot might help, but if you've got your heart set on visiting a popular tourist destination, prepare in advance by saving up and researching affordable lodging and deals on food and beverages, entertainment and activities.    

Here are the ten priciest popular large city tourist destinations, according to Rustic Pathways.

<ul> <li><strong>Population Estimate:</strong> 3,426,354</li> <li><strong>Expenditures Without Rent:</strong> $2,203</li> <li><strong>Rent for 1-Bedroom: </strong>$1,243</li> <li><strong>Total Costs: </strong>$3,446</li> <li><strong>Living Wage: </strong>$6,893</li> </ul> <p>Another happening hub for American expats, who may be drawn to the city because of its lower cost of living compared to the U.S., Berlin is a beautifully diverse city. Though you may find it to be cheaper than wherever you live in the states, it's still not a cheap city, with a couple needing a wage of nearly $7,000 a month to dwell comfortably here.</p>

10. Berlin, Germany -- $266/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $138
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $19
  • Entertainment: $24
  • Alcohol: $27
  • Tips and Handouts: $2

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Trending Now: 7 Vacation Destinations To Avoid on a Retirement Budget

<ul> <li><strong>Hotel:</strong> $167</li> <li><strong>Transportation (not including airfare):</strong> $20</li> <li><strong>Food:</strong> $37</li> <li><strong>Entertainment:</strong> $37</li> <li><strong>Alcohol:</strong> $32</li> <li><strong>Tips and Handouts:</strong> $5</li> </ul> <p><strong>Learn Next: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/travel/best-us-vacation-destinations-for-retirees-on-budget/?utm_term=related_link_5&utm_campaign=1272557&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=6&utm_medium=rss" rel="">10 Best US Vacation Destinations for Retirees on a Budget</a></strong></p>

9. Madrid, Spain -- $298/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $167
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $20
  • Entertainment: $37
  • Alcohol: $32
  • Tips and Handouts: $5

Learn Next: 10 Best US Vacation Destinations for Retirees on a Budget

<p>Though countries may appear to be well-to-do or economically thriving, many countries are actually drowning in significant amounts of debt. That includes the United States, which ranks fifth on this list, and Japan.</p> <p><em><strong>Read: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/economy/richest-countries-world-now/?utm_campaign=1053965&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=25">The 50 Richest Countries in the World</a></strong></em></p> <p>In order to find the top 17 countries facing chunks of debt so big they nearly run out of zeroes, GOBankingRates drew from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) “Gross Debt Position: % of GDP” data for every country from its Fiscal Monitor.  The data reveals <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/economy/17-countries-drowning-debt?utm_campaign=1053965&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=26">which countries had debt greater than their GDP, and looked at their approximate gross debt in U.S. dollars</a>.</p> <div><em><small>Last updated: March 15, 2021</small></em></div>

8. Tokyo, Japan -- $338/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $155
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $18
  • Entertainment: $69
  • Alcohol: $50
  • Tips and Handouts: $8

<ul> <li><strong>Hotel:</strong> $208</li> <li><strong>Transportation (not including airfare):</strong> $21</li> <li><strong>Food:</strong> $35</li> <li><strong>Entertainment:</strong> $36</li> <li><strong>Alcohol:</strong> $28</li> <li><strong>Tips and Handouts:</strong> $12</li> </ul>

7. Barcelona, Spain -- $340/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $208
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $21
  • Entertainment: $36
  • Alcohol: $28
  • Tips and Handouts: $12

<ul> <li><strong>Total monthly expenditures: </strong>$2,652.63</li> <li><strong>Total score: </strong>5.79501</li> </ul> <p>Amsterdam scores very well across a number of different metrics, especially pollution, healthcare and safety. One-bedroom rents are relatively affordable for such an expensive, glamorous city, at $1,641.63. Amsterdam also has an incredibly high quality-of-life index. At 194.8, it's second only to The Hague.</p> <p><strong>Watch Out: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/finance/signs-retirement-is-going-to-be-more-expensive/?utm_term=related_link_6&utm_campaign=1248269&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=8&utm_medium=rss" rel="">14 Key Signs You May Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></strong></p>

6. Amsterdam, Netherlands -- $374/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $221
  • Entertainment: $40
  • Alcohol: $38
  • Tips and Handouts: $7

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<ul> <li><strong>Cost of Living for Expat:</strong> $2,142 per month</li> </ul> <p>"Cagliari, with its mesmerizing coastal views and tranquil ambiance, offers a relaxed pace of life," Latham described. "If you're dreaming of serene sunset walks along pristine beaches, Cagliari might be your spot. To maintain a comfortable lifestyle in this Sardinian paradise, an annual retirement income of about $30,800 would be recommended."</p>

5. Rome, Italy -- $383/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $192
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $23
  • Entertainment: $39
  • Alcohol: $30
  • Tips and Handouts: $48

Westminster Parliament, Big Ben and the Thames with blue sky

4. London, England -- $461/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $310
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $32
  • Entertainment: $41
  • Alcohol: $29
  • Tips and Handouts: $6

<p>As tax season all-too-quickly approaches, you might find yourself thinking how unfairly high your taxes here in the U.S. seem and wishing you could pay what people in other countries do. However, you might be surprised to learn that by certain measures, the U.S. actually has among the <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/category/taxes/?utm_term=incontent_link_1&utm_campaign=1225271&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=1&utm_medium=rss">lower taxes</a> in the world.</p> <p><strong>More: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/taxes/tax-laws/pros-cons-of-living-in-state-with-no-income-tax/?utm_term=related_link_1&utm_campaign=1225271&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=2&utm_medium=rss" rel="">Pros and Cons of Living in a State With No Income Tax</a><br><em>Related: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/signs-you-are-serious-about-raising-your-credit-score-1638459/?utm_source=msn.com&utm_term=related_link_2&utm_campaign=1225271&utm_content=3&utm_medium=rss" rel="">3 Signs You're Serious About Raising Your Credit Score</a></em></strong></p> <p>GOBankingRates compiled a list of the best and worst countries for taxes to give you a feel for where our own taxes fall in comparison to other countries. The countries on this list were ranked solely based on tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product, as reported by the World Bank and other sources. Note that certain countries were excluded from the list, such as those from war-torn areas, those with a minimal population -- which skew results -- or those with data older than 2016.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/retirement/planning/the-most-and-least-tax-friendly-cities-for-retirees/?utm_term=incontent_link_2&utm_campaign=1225271&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=4&utm_medium=rss" rel="">See the best and worst countries for taxes, starting with the least tax-friendly countries.</a></p>

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- $465/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $340
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $13
  • Entertainment: $19
  • Alcohol: $34
  • Tips and Handouts: $3

Read This: 11 Expensive Vacation Destinations That Will Be Cheaper in 2024

<p>Most parts of France have cool winters and mild summers; however, the Mediterranean is known for its mild winters and hot summers. Where you choose to live in France will determine the cost of living.</p> <p>For example, living in Paris is much more costly than other areas of France. According to International Living, a sample monthly budget for two people living in the quieter areas of France, such as the Charentes or the Auvergne, is $2,083 to $2,483, which includes $800 to $1,200 for rent, $48 for electricity and $600 for groceries, including wine.</p>

2. Paris, France -- $557/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $327
  • Entertainment: $84
  • Alcohol: $40
  • Tips and Handouts: $38

<ul> <li><strong>Number of refunds issued: </strong>13,966,079</li> <li><strong>Total dollar amount of refunds issued: </strong>$25,575,228,000</li> <li><strong>Average refund issued per return:</strong> $1,831</li> </ul>

1. New York City, USA -- $687/one-night visit

  • Hotel: $350
  • Transportation (not including airfare): $49
  • Entertainment: $180
  • Alcohol: $44
  • Tips and Handouts: $14

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The 11 Best Places to Stargaze in Northern California

The 11 Best Places to Stargaze in Northern California

Savor the nighttime marvels and head to these top NorCal destinations to admire the star-studded show.

California.com Team

April 30, 2021

The magic happens after sunset. Dreaming of gazing up at starry night skies? If so, head to Northern California where visitors are amazed at the unparalleled night aglow. Away from the bustle of the city, serene hilltops and sandy shores serve as some of the best places to stargaze in Northern California. Savor the nighttime marvels and head to these top NorCal destinations to admire the star-studded show.

The best places to stargaze in Northern California

travel places december

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Located within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Calaveras Big Trees State Park is one of the best places to stargaze in California . At nighttime, the giant sequoias give way to luminous stars. The underrated state park offers several campgrounds where you can admire the stellar night sky. Pitch a tent at the North Grove Campground, make a hot cup of tea, and take in the majestic scenery.

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Strawberry Hill

In the heart of Stow Lake lies Golden Gate Park’s hidden gem, Strawberry Hill. This isolated island boasts awe-inspiring views and is undoubtedly one of the best places for stargazing in the Bay Area. Watching the stars here is a romantic thing to do with your beaux . Don your hiking boots, pack your binoculars, and enjoy the night sky from this stargazing spot in the Bay Area . 

travel places december

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Providing excellent stargazing opportunities, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the place to be after sunset. As the oldest state park in California, Big Basin is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods located south of S.F. Hike any of the trails at this can’t-miss state park during the day, and as the golden hour sets, find the perfect spot to watch the stars twinkle in the clear and peaceful night sky. 

Incredible stargazing spots in the Bay Area

travel places december

Lick Observatory 

Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County is home to the Lick Observatory , an active research facility and the best place to stargaze in the Bay Area . With perfect conditions for viewing the night sky, the observatory allows you to learn about meteor showers and constellations, for an enhanced experience. As you expand your knowledge of the universe, prepare to see the night sky in full action at one of the best places to see the Milky Way in California .

Billy Goat Hill

You’ve probably seen the famous swing at Billy Goat Hill on your Instagram—it’s an iconic Bay Area photo op . But did you know that Billy Goat Hill is one of the best places to stargaze in Northern California ? Besides featuring expansive panoramas of the City by the Bay, this urban green space boasts fantastic views of the S.F. night sky. Whether you’re watching the stars from the swing or by the picnic tables, this is one of the most unique things you can do in San Francisco . 

The best places to see the stars on the coast

travel places december

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Built in 1871, Pigeon Point Lighthouse is the tallest of its kind on the West Coast. The lighthouse was transformed into a hostel in the 1960s, and now, visitors have the chance to experience the surreal night sky. As one of the best places to see the stars in California , Pigeon Point Lighthouse places its bulbs facing downward to make the area a light pollution-free zone. There aren’t many places to stargaze from an oceanfront hot tub in a lighthouse, so don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience. 

Point Reyes National Seashore

Looking for the best places to stargaze in the Bay Area ? Look no further than Marin County’s Point Reyes National Seashore. Whenever you plan a weekend getaway to this coastal utopia , make sure to have stargazing on your itinerary.

The natural sanctuary is home to more than 1,500 species of plant and wildlife. Nocturnal animals come out to observe the night sky alongside visitors. For a unique stargazing experience, head over to Point Reyes National Seashore on May 4th to celebrate Star Wars Day by looking at the stellar night sky. 

Am azing pla ces to stargaze near Tahoe

travel places december

Emerald Bay State Park

Who wouldn’t want to marvel at the night sky while chillin’ in an oasis of glimmering turquoise waters? Emerald Bay State Park is one of the most photographed places in Tahoe for good reason. During the day, the green-blue bay shimmers, inviting visitors to engage in a range of watersports. At night, the waters become calm and greet the incredible, star-studded sky. 

Lay out your blanket anywhere at Emerald Bay and prepare to have an unforgettable night. Take your stargazing experience to a whole another level with Clearly Tahoe ’s paddle tours. Immerse yourself in the lucid night sky views from your clear-shelled kayak. If you’re still wondering about the best place to stargaze in California , this is it. 

Hope Valley

Among the many incredible things to do at Lake Tahoe , stargazing is definitely a must. Jet-black nights and clear skies are all you need at the best place to see the stars in California . This broad mountain valley in Alpine County offers star-studded solitude on the Carson River banks. Immerse yourself in the infinite night sky with a warm drink to keep you company. Don’t forget to pack extra blankets—Hope Valley gets pretty chilly at night. 

Wonderful stargazing spots near Mendocino

travel places december

Mendocino National Forest

Want to experience nighttime marvels surrounded by lakes and lush forests? Mendocino National Forest has got you covered. One of the best places to see the Milky Way in California , Mendocino National Forest astonishes visitors with stunning vantage points. Offering excellent visibility, this forest in the Golden State features night skies filled with twinkling stars and nebula clusters. We don’t know about you, but we’re heading over right away.

Little River Inn

Whoever said that stargazing and a luxurious North Coast vacation aren’t mutually exclusive clearly hasn’t been to Little River Inn . The hotel on the Mendocino Coast allows visitors to experience the beauty of the ocean and the night sky.

Little River Inn offers guests a stargazing package that includes staying two nights in a traditional ocean view room. You also get to borrow the inn’s stargazing kit—binoculars, star map, guide, and flashlight. Get ready to snuggle in a cozy blanket and revel in the stunning night sky while sipping on hot cocoa.

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Things to do in santa clara, visit santa clara.

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Santa Clara Attractions

Whether you'd prefer to shop up a storm or familiarize yourself with the local history, there are tons of things to see and do in Santa Clara. This city has many exciting attractions that'll keep your schedule full and you on the go. No matter your interests, this place has a surprise in store for you.

Explore the best sights in Santa Clara with some popular tours & day trips , or get through our list of {53 fun activities in Santa Clara fun activities in Santa Clara }. We have no booking fees as well as free cancellation, so you can rest easy and channel all your energy into planning your perfect vacation.

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Recommended things to do in Santa Clara

What to do in santa clara, free things to do in santa clara.

Escaping to Santa Clara on a budget? The following can be experienced for nothing.

Triton Museum of Art - Chat to the friendly staff or curator and discover more about the special collections housed at this museum.

Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center - Make room in your must-see list to wander around this site of local importance.

Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine - Mix a bit of spirituality into your vacation by visiting this religious site.

Civic Center Park - If you're into digging around the garden, this attraction will appeal to your green thumb.

Things to Do in Santa Clara with Kids

Nothing beats hanging out as a family. Santa Clara has a fantastic range of family friendly experiences that the whole gang will get a kick out of:

  • San Jose City Scavenger Hunt Excursion by Operation City Quest
  • San Jose: One day Yosemite and Giant Sequoia Tour
  • Explore New Orleans with an Unique Scavenger Hunt by Operation City Quest

Looking for sports, concerts, or theater events in Santa Clara? Search event tickets to see what's happening today, or to plan what to do this weekend!

Frequently asked questions

  • Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center
  • Central Park
  • Intel Museum
  • Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine

Discover the most popular places to visit in Santa Clara

  • Mission Santa Clara de Asis

Learn about the local history of Santa Clara when you take a trip to Mission Santa Clara de Asis. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

  • Levi's Stadium

Catch an event at Levi's Stadium during your trip to Santa Clara. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

  • California's Great America

Enjoy the thrills at California's Great America and see why everyone loves this theme park in Santa Clara. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

  • Santa Clara Convention Center

Learn about the events happening at Santa Clara Convention Center during your trip to Santa Clara. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

  • Santa Clara University

Take a campus tour or just explore the area of Santa Clara University, during your travels in Santa Clara. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

Though Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center might be what brings you to town, perhaps you'll have a chance to explore more of Santa Clara while you are here.

Learn how one of the world’s most successful tech companies started and see how its work has changed the way we live.

Enjoy the mountain views and explore Central Park, a lovely green space in Santa Clara. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

You can find out about the history of Santa Clara with a visit to Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

Popular day trips from Santa Clara

Photo by David Lew

  • Places to visit
  • Hotels near popular Santa Clara Attractions
  • Nearby cities for things to do
  • Expedia's Latest Trends
  • Rivermark Village
  • Triton Museum of Art
  • Harris-Lass Historic Museum
  • Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History
  • Stanford University
  • San Francisco Bay
  • Tesla Motors
  • Santana Row Shopping Center
  • San Jose Convention Center
  • Shoreline Amphitheatre
  • SAP Center at San Jose
  • San Jose State University
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Stanford University Medical Center
  • PayPal Park
  • Apple Campus
  • Westfield Valley Fair Shopping Mall
  • Great Mall of the Bay Area
  • Yahoo Headquarters
  • Raging Waters
  • Cisco Systems Corporate Headquarters
  • Mountain Winery
  • Facebook Campus
  • Computer History Museum
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park
  • Stanford Shopping Center
  • Hotels near Levi's Stadium
  • Hotels near Stanford University
  • Hotels near Shoreline Amphitheatre
  • Hotels near Stanford University Medical Center
  • Hotels near SAP Center at San Jose
  • Hotels near San Jose Convention Center
  • Hotels near California's Great America
  • Hotels near Winchester Mystery House
  • Hotels near Santa Clara Convention Center
  • Hotels near Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center
  • Hotels near San Jose State University
  • Hotels near Santa Clara University
  • Hotels near Santana Row Shopping Center
  • Hotels near San Francisco Bay
  • Hotels near PayPal Park
  • Hotels near Tesla Motors
  • Hotels near Apple Campus
  • Hotels near Great Mall of the Bay Area
  • Hotels near Westfield Valley Fair Shopping Mall
  • Hotels near Googleplex
  • Hotels near Yahoo Headquarters
  • Hotels near Intel Museum
  • Hotels near Central Park
  • Hotels near Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine
  • Hotels near Rivermark Village
  • Hotels near Mission Santa Clara de Asis
  • Hotels near Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club
  • Hotels near Civic Center Park
  • Hotels near Triton Museum of Art
  • Hotels near Harris-Lass Historic Museum
  • San Francisco Activities
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    Hawaii - The Big Island. #9 in Best Places to Visit in December 2024. This Hawaiian paradise is the perfect place to escape winter's onset. Weary travelers can thaw on colorful beaches like Punalu ...

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    Shokawa Gorge in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. WATARU SATO/GETTY IMAGES. 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.

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    Banff, Canada. Lake Louise is one of the most spectacular places to travel in December. Banff National Park is the crown jewel of Parks Canada and arguably one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. The park is famed for its endless pine forests, wildlife, dramatic peaks, glaciers, and stunning alpine lakes.

  5. Best places to visit in December 2023

    December is a great month to travel and explore new destinations, whether you are looking for sun, snow, or culture. Lonely Planet has compiled a list of the best places to visit in December 2023, based on the weather, events, and attractions of each location. You can find out more about the stunning Buntod sandbar in the Philippines, the majestic Triglav National Park in Slovenia, the ...

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    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 ...

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    20 Best Places to Visit in December, According to Travel Experts. Check out these top destinations for a winter wonderland or warm-weather retreat. By Karen Cicero and Karla Pope Updated: Oct 31 ...

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    9. Key West, Florida. For people looking to get away from the winter blues, Key West is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA. The calm waters and the relatively warm weather, neither cold nor hot with average highs of about 75°F, make it perfect for exploring the island.

  9. 15 Warm Places to Visit in December

    Average daily temperature in December: 73°F. Matteo Colombo/Getty Images. 5. The Maldives. A honeymoon haven that's a hit with celebs and royals alike, The Maldives exudes romance. Of course, newlyweds aren't the only folks drawn to this slice of tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean.

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    Hokkaido is a popular ski destination, but there are other ways to enjoy the snow. 5. Hokkaido, Japan. December is great for: powder-chasing in the northern reaches of Japan. Japan 's prime powder region, Hokkaido, is one of the most reliable places to plan a ski trip worldwide.

  11. The 32 Best Places to Travel in the World in December

    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.

  12. Where to go on holiday in December

    Flight time from UK: 12 hours 10 minutes. Time difference: GMT-5. Simply everyone is in St Barth's in December. Partly because the island is the original discreet-A-lister's sunny paradise of choice with the world's most perfect beaches, restaurants, hotels and villas, and partly because everyone else is.

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    Los Cabos, Mexico. Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection. There is never really a bad time to visit Cabo, but the abundance of sprawling 5-star resorts that dot the tip of Mexico's sunny Baja ...

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    The best places to visit in December are scattered across the globe, whether you're looking for a ski resort, the sunny Caribbean, an all-inclusive in Hawaii, a well-being resort (hello, 2024 travel trend), or towns that go over the top with holiday festivities.Choosing the best cities or countries to visit in December for your anniversary trip, honeymoon or romantic getaway is a task that ...

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    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.

  16. Where is hot in December? 13 top places to visit in December

    Koh Samui, Thailand. Average December temperature: 27°C. 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.

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    Charlotte, North Carolina. 18. Puerto Rico. Map of Cheap Places to Travel in December. 1. Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas at sunset. Step into the action with a trip to Las Vegas. Known for its unique atmosphere and non-stop buzz, this desert city takes you from New York to Paris, all in one strip.

  18. 18 Best Places to Visit in the USA in December

    1. Hawaii 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.

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    Kerala in December is an invitation to unwind, explore, and immerse yourself in a world of natural beauty and cultural richness. In December, Kerala, India, offers serene beauty, contrasting bustling cities and chilly winters. 8. Queenstown, New Zealand - Summer thrills and natural beauty.

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    December is a good time to visit Santa Clara. The weather is usually moderately chilly with a gentle breeze, with temperatures ranging from 42—58°F (6—15°C). ... Absolutely one of my favorite places to go on mini pilgrimages. Any place that that 24-7 Adoration is just incredible in my book. It is a truly awe inspiring and peace inducing area.

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    In December 2023, Euromonitor Internation revealed the Top 100 City Destinations of the year, a period in which global tourism and the travel industry made a strong recovery after the pandemic.

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    Located within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Calaveras Big Trees State Park is one of the best places to stargaze in California. At nighttime, the giant sequoias give way to luminous stars. The underrated state park offers several campgrounds where you can admire the stellar night sky. Pitch a tent at the North Grove Campground, make a hot cup ...

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