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20 Cheap and warm places to go over 2023 Christmas & New Years weeks

As of summer 2023, travel around the world is way up and it’s looking like the Christmas and New Years holiday seasons in 2023 are going to be the busiest in many years. If you are looking for a cheap place where you can relax in the sun or on the beach, we’ve got 20 great options for you below. The cheapest ones are all in Asia and near the bottom of the list. It could be worth the longer flight if you’ve got at least a week because you can often stay in an amazing 4-star beach resort in some Asian cities for less than the cost of a Motel 6 in Florida around Christmas.

We check hotel rates each year and some places are a bit higher this year while others are about the same and a few places on the list are actually looking a bit cheaper than they did in 2022. We checked prices for the week starting December 24 through 31 and used the nightly average including all taxes and fees for two people. Again, there are some amazing bargains down the list, and some really good bargains near the top as well.

If you want to save even more money you might consider checking our other list of cheap and warm places to go in December as it has some different options and all of them are much cheaper if you can travel earlier in the month.

New video of cheap places to go over Christmas

Here’s a new video showing most of the places on the list below. Please have a look!

Myth: Hotels are cheaper in countries that don't observe Christmas

warm places to visit during christmas time

A huge majority of the people who are well off enough to fly internationally are those living in countries that have a Christmas holiday, and that’s no secret to hotel owners. In other words, hotels in Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, and India all raise prices for stays during those key holiday weeks because they know those are the most popular weeks of the year for their businesses. The good news though, is that those countries still offer great bargains compared to, say, Hawaii, which goes off the charts during Christmas week.

When to book a sunny Christmas or New Years holiday trip:

As soon as possible

There is all kinds of research showing the  cheapest time to book flights  and even research showing that hotel prices often drop a month or two out, but the key exception to both of those is around big holidays like Christmas. Suppliers do adjust prices as the months come and go, except for when they know they’ll have no trouble filling up even at the last minute. The  best December destinations in Asia  contains many great beach choices that are cheaper than most of the rest of the world.

When to book your flights:

The research shows that flights for key holiday periods start off at normal levels and then they just keep going up as seats are sold and the date approaches. There are no last-minute deals on flights just before or after Christmas, at least to and from  sunshine destinations .

The 2023 December holiday period is looking like it’s going to be the busiest and strongest since at least 2019 and probably before that as well. Booking hotels early should be wise advice this year again, and remember that most hotels offer free cancellation until shortly before the stay so there isn’t much risk.

When to book your hotels:

Bargains are possible at the last minute, but it’s risky

warm places to visit during christmas time

The best and most popular beach resort hotels will usually only have a few rooms left by early December, and they will price those high enough that most people will look elsewhere. But some other hotels can be too optimistic in pricing so they have to cut rates in December just to fill up. In other words, you shouldn’t really count on an appealing rate at a specific hotel where you are going, but there’s a decent chance you could still get a decent rate if you are flexible enough to accept something nearby.

Once again in 2023 it could be good to look into Airbnbs and other short-term rentals. Some markets have far too many listings for the demand and you might find bargains as the holidays approach if some owners priced their listing too high and will want to at least book up at a lower rate rather than sit empty during the busiest week of the year.

Package deals:

Also buy early

Again, the airfare portion of a holiday trip is almost certain to get more expensive as the year goes on, so a hotel+flight package will generally just keep going up in price as well.

Particularly to places like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Thailand with huge numbers of package visitors, you’ll almost certainly get the best rates in addition to the widest choices the earlier you book.

Cheap and warm destinations for Christmas and New Year holidays

Obviously “cheap” is a relative term, but these are the cheapest holiday resort areas around the world that also have warm and sunny weather in late December and early January.

Hotel rates listed are current as of July, 2023.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 64°F/18°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

The weather during Christmas time is pretty much perfect for anyone wanting to escape the cold, and the large international airport also has good deals on flights from many North American cities as well. Puerto Vallarta has grown more popular lately, especially with Americans and Canadians, so it’s not as cheap as it used to be, just like everywhere else.

Hotel rates in 2023 are looking much higher than in 2022, but still good value and many great places available. Booking as soon as possible is probably wise.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$143 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$278 per night for two people

>>> Check current Puerto Vallarta resort and package deals >>> Puerto Vallarta prices, weather, and travel tips

Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico

  • December average high: 80°F/27°C
  • December average low: 58°F/15°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

If you want to take boat tours and such, or if you like to hop around between restaurants and bars, it’s best to stay somewhere close to the marina in Cabo San Lucas. But if you prefer a quiet place where you mainly stay at a resort with its own restaurants and bars, you are better off between the two towns or in San José del Cabo itself.

Hotel rates start at bargain prices considering how nice the area is. It can get a bit chilly at night around Christmas time, although plenty of people actually prefer that to the tropical climate where it’s hot day and night. And the slightly cooler weather will fit in more with the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and holiday spirit than some of the Caribbean islands lower on this list.

The 2023 Christmas hotel rates are similar to 2022 in the Cabo area so there are some good bargains still available to those who book early.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$87 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$282 per night for two people

>>> Check current Los Cabos resort and package deals >>> Los Cabos prices, weather, and travel tips

Cancún/Cozumel/Riviera Maya, Mexico

  • December average high: 84°F/29°C
  • December average low: 69°F/21°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

The area is getting more and more all-inclusive resorts and those range in quality from disgraceful to amazing, so it’s important to do your research and be careful about any beach hotel offering a suspiciously good deal. Cancun is home to some of the Caribbeans best all-inclusive resorts in general, but don’t expect very low prices on those.

The weather in late December is predictably perfect with barely a chance of a quick thunderstorm, much less anything worse. With so many hundreds of hotels competing for business, holiday room rates for well under US$100 per night are easy to find. Package deals to Cancún are very popular, and probably the best deal for those who book early. As you can see by the room rates below, there is a huge difference between 3-star and 4-star properties in this area. A 3-star can be just a normal hotel room in the city, while the 4-stars are all wonderful resorts with pools, usually on the beach. In other words, you will generally get what you pay for, so a hotel that charges twice is much is almost always MUCH nicer.

Hotel rates in 2023 look the same or a bit lower than they did in 2022, but that could change as December gets closer. As mentioned above, Cancun is a HUGE area and location is critical or at least it helps explain why some places are double or triple the price of others even though they look the same on the Expedia listings. I wrote a guide for choosing where to stay in Cancun , which should help you figure out the right area for you.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$63 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$135 per night for two people

>>> Check current Cancun resort and package deals >>> Cancun prices, weather, and travel tips

Punta Cana / Puerto Plata , Dominican Republic

  • December average high: 83°F/28°C
  • December average low: 72°F/22°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

The weather and resort prices are similar in both places in late December, so either one would be a fine choice for someone looking for a cheap and warm place to spend a week. You’ll find that flight+hotel package prices are especially appealing to the DR, and those who book early will usually get the best deals.

The 2023 Christmas week rates are looking really good for those who book early. Room rates are similar to what we saw last year when we updated for 2022, while many other places have jumped in price this year. The best values in Puerto Plata are for 4-star all-inclusive resorts, which are often only a bit more expensive than those that only include breakfast.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$65 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$160 per night for two people

>>> Check current Puerto Plata resort and package deals >>> Punta Cana prices, weather, and travel tips

Montego Bay / Ocho Rios / Negril , Jamaica

  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

All three towns have a different vibe, so it’s really only the weather and most prices that are similar. Along with the Cancun area and the Dominican Republic, these Jamaican resorts are also known for all-inclusive resorts and appealing package deals. Even during the peak holiday months, it’s possible to lock in an appealing deal if you book early enough.

The 2023 room rates for Christmas week are similar to the 2022 rates when we researched, which is good when so many other places have gone up in price. As always, it is probably wise to book early because rates usually go up as each month goes by.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$80 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$373 per night for two people (all inclusive)

>>> Check current Montego Bay resort and package deals >>> Montego Bay prices, weather, and travel tips

San Juan, Puerto Rico

warm places to visit during christmas time

Especially if you are going to stay for more than a week, it pays to look into an apartment rental instead of a hotel. There is an abundance of nice apartments in the tourist area that are rented out most of the year. If you are staying for a month, you can get an amazing deal compared to a hotel. San Juan was famously hit hard by storms in 2017, but as of 2022 nearly everything is open and ready for you.

Room rates for San Juan in 2023 for the holiday week are looking similar to the 2022 rates. You’ll notice that rates for 3-star places and 4-star places are very different in this market because 4-star places are almost all large resort hotels on the beach while 3-star places are often family run and can be a few blocks away.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$119 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$312 per night for two people

>>> Check current San Juan resort and package deals >>> San Juan prices, weather, and travel tips

Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker, Belize

  • December average high: 81°F/27°C
  • December average low: 68°F/20°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Belize is (more or less) an English-speaking country, and these islands both have a bit of a Rastafarian feel in places, so it’s an interesting mix of culture and convenience. Nearly all 4-star hotels here start over US$200 per night for the holiday weeks, but there are 3-star bargains nearby in addition to holiday villas for rent for those with higher budgets.

Belize room rates in 2023 are looking similar to last year for 3 star hotels but a bit higher for 4-star hotels. If you enjoy staying in smaller family-run hotels you can save quite a bit of money and maybe make some new friends in the process.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$125 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$224 per night for two people

>>> Check current San Pedro hotel and package deals >>> San Pedro prices, weather, and travel tips

Roatán Island, Honduras

  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Honduras is a Spanish-speaking country, though especially with the recent influx of cruise-ship crowds here, it’s very easy to get by in English only. There are only about 60 hotels on the island at this point, and holiday rates are still surprisingly reasonable considering what is on offer. Still, booking early is probably wise.

This is another destination where there is a huge gap between the 3-star hotels and the 4-star resorts on the beach, which means you can save a lot of money if you don’t require an actual ocean view from your bed. The 2023 room rates are up from last year so if you see a place you like it’s probably worth booking it early.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$107 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$338 per night for two people

>>> Check current Roatan Island hotel and package deals >>> Roatan prices, weather, and travel tips

Tamarindo/Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • December average high: 90°F/32°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Most of this northwestern area is new and quite luxurious, so 4-star resorts and rental properties aren’t much cheaper than in Hawaii, but there are still some really good 3-star bargains. Nosara is another small town in the area that doesn’t feel quite so mass-market compared to Tamarindo.

It’s important to note that the smaller and cheaper hotels here with reasonable prices will feel like you are visiting a somewhat exotic part of the world, while the 4-star chain resorts on the beach will feel much more like home for most guests coming from the US and Canada. The 2023 room rates are showing an even larger split between cheap 3-star places and the posh and more expensive 4-star beach resorts.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$59 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$286 per night for two people

>>> Check current Tamarindo hotel and package deals >>> Guanacaste prices, weather, and travel tips

Panama City, Panama

warm places to visit during christmas time

It helps if you know at least a bit of Spanish, but even those who don’t can find plenty to do here to keep them busy. The city has a few large shopping malls in the tourist area, so it could be a good place to do some Christmas shopping or just hanging around. The restaurant scene here is notoriously good as well.

The 2023 room rates for Panama City are looking similar to last year and very appealing. In fact, if you would like to stay in a very nice resort hotel with at least a pool if not a beach, Panama City is one of the cheapest places to do that. The most interesting resorts are in the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean, so that’s another place to consider.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$44 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$85 per night for two people

>>> Check current Panama City hotel and package deals >>> Panama City prices, weather, and travel tips

Cartagena, Colombia

  • December average low: 76°F/24°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Not only is Cartagena popular with international tourists in the winter months, but domestic Colombian tourists taking their holidays as well. So you won’t be avoiding the crowds here, but at least it’s one of the more affordable sunshine destinations in the region. The 4-star hotels along the beach just west of the historic center are some of the best Christmas season bargains going. Speaking at least a bit of Spanish is helpful.

The 2023 rates look really appealing for those who can book early. It’s important to note that this is one of the very few places in the western hemisphere (along with San Juan, Puerto Rico) where you can stay in a gorgeous, historic city with great restaurants and entertainment, and also be on a nice tropical beach in less than a 10-minute taxi ride. The beaches aren’t white sand, so not quite as photogenic as most of the others on this list.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$62 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$114 per night for two people

>>> Check current Cartagena hotel and package deals >>> Cartagena prices, weather, and travel tips

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • December average high: 71°F/22°C
  • December average low: 61°F/16°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Partly because it’s not really a great beach season, hotels in Tenerife are still quite cheap during the Christmas holiday period. Most everything else is quite affordable as well, at least compared to where you live now. Especially if you are looking for a place with reasonable airfares from elsewhere in Europe, this could be a good choice. The area around Los Cristianos and Playa de la Americas is the easiest for English speakers, and it has the most consistent warm weather as well.

The 2023 room rates for Tenerife are actually a bit down compared to 2022, so if you are able to book in July or August you can lock in a great rate. Expect to see a lot of northern Europeans all winter here.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$76 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$122 per night for two people

>>> Check current Tenerife hotel and package deals >>> Tenerife prices, weather, and travel tips

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

  • December average high: 74°F/23°C
  • December average low: 59°F/15°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Egypt had some security issues a few years ago and they kept almost everyone away for a while to the point that beach resorts were literally charging under US$30 per night for two people. The country has not had any such issues in several years now and the European visitors are coming back.

Sharm el-Sheikh room rates in 2023 are down a bit compared to what we saw in 2022. It’s hard to say whether they’ll stay down, but if you can book something early you can lock in an amazing deal for a beach resort with a great climate.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$43 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$92 per night for two people

>>> Check current Sharm el-Sheikh hotel and package deals >>> Sharm el-Sheikh prices, weather, and travel tips

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • December average high: 79°F/26°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

It’s worth noting, however, that the nicer and better located hotels in Dubai will cost at least two or three times the minimums mentioned below. Those on lower budgets can get by pretty well here, but that’s not to be confused with the luxury market and beach hotels that rival top room rates anywhere on earth.

The 2023 hotel scene is very encouraging once again. Rates for this December are looking fairly cheap, but again, the fancy places and those in the prime locations will cost at least double these rates.

  • 4-star hotels from: US$141 per night for two people

>>> Check current Dubai hotel and package deals >>> Dubai prices, weather, and travel tips

  • December average high: 91°F/33°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

In other words, it pays to do some research before choosing a beach hotel here because most of them won’t be suited to you. Room rates are quite reasonable even during this busiest time of year, although it’s important to note that the cheapest hotels in Goa (and all over India) tend to be disappointing and rarely worth the savings. Still, the 4-star hotels in Goa are mostly quite good, and excellent value at Christmas time.

The 2023 hotel situation in Goa looks kind of a mixed bag, but rates are still very cheap compared to almost anywhere else in the world. Again, choosing the right hotel in India can be a challenge because there are hundreds of cheaper places that get very few reviews on the main hotel-booking sites like Expedia or even Agoda. If you can find a nice one you can save a lot of money, and they do exist (I’ve stayed in quite a few in Goa myself), but if you want to play it safe you’ll be paying a bit more.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$73 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$157 per night for two people

>>> Check current hotel and package deals for Goa >>> Goa prices, weather, and travel tips

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

  • December average high: 88°F/31°C
  • December average low: 74°F/23°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

The cheaper hotels in the area are those in the historic center of Georgetown, while the beachfront resorts are going to cost quite a bit more. Avoid the cheapest hotels here and pay close attention because most of the cheapest rooms have no windows at all. Still, there is great value here, particularly in the food scene. Penang is known as the culinary capital of Malaysia, with an abundance of cheap and cheerful food courts in addition to some notable fine dining.

The 2023 hotel rates over Christmas look really cheap for those who can book early. Rates are even down a bit on 2022, which is a relief. If you can only stay a week it’s probably worth booking a nicer place with lots of great reviews, but if you are staying a few weeks you might try to experiment with a more affordable place, knowing you can switch easily if you aren’t happy.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$26 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$50 per night for two people

>>> Check current hotel and package deals in Penang

Phuket, Thailand

warm places to visit during christmas time

Karon and Kata are nearby beach areas that are at least a little more serene, and there are several other enclaves of upmarket luxury hotels and resorts. This has been a very popular Christmas destination for northern Europeans for decades, and yet it’s still quite affordable even during its peak season. Hotels on or near the beach are going to cost quite a bit more than the prices listed below, but those who don’t mind walking a bit can get great value even at Christmas here.

The 2023 Christmas hotel rates are once again, shockingly low, at least for the simple places. There are so many independent hotels on this island that competition is fierce for guests. Room rates for international chains such as Hilton and Marriott are going to be MUCH higher, although still cheap by international standards.

  • 4-star hotels from: US$41 per night for two people

>>> Check for the best Phuket resort deals >>> Phuket prices, weather, and travel tips

Hoi An/Da Nang, Vietnam

  • December average high: 77°F/25°C
  • December average low: 67°F/19°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

Hoi An has been a favorite among visitors to Vietnam for decades, while Da Nang is more of a newcomer after it’s built a string of large beachfront hotels meant for foreign guests. Vietnamese food has a large cult following around the world, and both of these towns have an abundance of great and affordable restaurants serving several varieties. This is one to think about if it feels like you’ve been everywhere else.

The 2023 hotel rates continue to be insanely cheap, at least for the smaller places in and near Hoi An itself. You can still book a beach hotel with an ocean view along the Da Nang beaches for cheap, but it’ll be more than for the family-run places.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$16 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$24 per night for two people

>>> Check current hotel and package deals in Hoi An >>> Hoi An prices, weather, and travel tips

Bali, Indonesia

  • December average low: 76°F/26°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

The most crowded and popular area is the famous surf beach along Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak on the west coast, but there are many lower-key beach areas in addition to Ubud a bit up in the central hills. Well-heeled visitors might also consider the tourist zone of Nusa Dua in the south, which is filled with large chain hotels that are often loaded with honeymoon couples.

The room rates for 2023 are up a bit from 2022, but still ridiculously cheap considering how nice most of these places are. Bali has so many hotels that you can probably get a good deal even close to the last minute, but it still might be worth locking in a great place if you find one you like.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$19 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$34 per night for two people

>>> Check current Bali hotel and resort deals >>> Bali prices, weather, and travel tips

Boracay Island, Philippines

  • December average high: 82°F/28°C

warm places to visit during christmas time

There are no super-cheap hotels on Boracay Island, but that’s mainly because every hotel is within 100 meters or less of the sandy beach. There are many choices of international cuisine here, including many chain restaurants. The most obvious choices are the great number of affordable all-you-can-eat buffets that set up every evening right on the beach. There’s also plenty of live music, as you’d expect in the Philippines.

The hotel rates in 2023 for Christmas season are looking pretty typical for Boracay Island, which means they are cheap, although not nearly as cheap as some others on this list. Still, this is a very special place and many people come back year after year. I wish I lived closer myself.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$41 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$80 per night for two people

>>> Check Boracay resort deals >>> Boracay prices, weather, and travel tips

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20 Cheap and warm places to go over 2023 Christmas & New Years weeks " --> All Comments

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I’m looking into an inexpensive place for my boyfriend and I to travel to for the weekend of Christmas, preferably warm .

We are open to the US but loveee to travel and would love to find a Caribbean place or other island.

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The article above contains all of my best suggestions for this. To summarize, if you are in the US and you would like to go to an all-inclusive resort I’d recommend Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for the best value. If you want to stay in a normal hotel or an Airbnb sort of thing I’d recommend Mexico for the best value. I prefer Playa del Carmen if you are in the eastern US or Puerto Vallarta if you are in the western part. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

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Surely, with the danger of visiting Mexico now and advice to stay on a resort, and that even being risky, making it a pointless destination, an AirBNB in Mexico would surely be madness.

It’s true that there have been some issues in Mexico lately, but it’s nothing that should keep tourists away. I only recommend the places where disturbances are extremely rare. For example, Acapulco apparently is not a safe places for foreign tourists for some time, so I don’t recommend that anyone go there.

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Hi I’m looking to go away with my 14yrs daughter for a warm and very cheap holiday around 27th December 2022 to 2nd January 2023 . It would be great if you could advise me on any places that would be ideal for us. We live in Hertfordshire England Thank you

If you are looking for a ‘very cheap’ holiday over New Years week leaving from England, you don’t have too many warm-weather options. I’d say your best cheap option would be the Canary Islands. That is a busy time there, but if you book and plan well in advance, it should be very affordable. As you may know, Tenerife is the largest of the islands and is probably easiest for those who are not fluent in Spanish. Let me know if you have any other questions about it. -Roger

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Roger, This is an awesome place I accidentally stumbled up on, thanks for helping fellow folks with your great knowledge of the travel destinations. I am recently heart broken 47 years old male from the midwest of the US that is wanting to get away solo on christmas day to a warmer climate that doesn’t take 2-3 days to travel to. Looks like San Juan may be a great place but just wondering if there are other exotic places you may suggest. Appreciate your attention and time in helping me! Thank you!

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I’m happy to help and I understand the heart break thing. My favorite two places for solo travel in the Caribbean are San Juan and the Playa del Carmen area. In fact, I think Playa del Carmen would be even better because the tourist district is so much more compact and right near the beach. The town of Tulum is another one to consider, as it’s really up and coming and it’s a bit more artsy. Playa del Carmen is really fun and there are loads of little bars and restaurants and so forth that will be easy to meet other tourists (and locals) if you choose, or just hang out and watch the crowds if you choose. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

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I’m thinking of going to Panama next month. Have you been? Where do you recommend people eat, hang out, etc? I’m a woman in my late 20s.

I’ve only been to Panama City so far and I was very impressed. It’s much larger and more modern than other Central American capital cities, although the historic district is disappointing compared to most others. You might stop in to Panama City for a couple days and the city center area with all of the hotels seems very safe, but I’d probably focus on the beaches. I’ve heard and read great things about the San Blas Islands and that is where I plan on going on my next Panama visit. Sorry I wasn’t of more help, but I’m happy to answer other questions if you have any. -Roger

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Considering the devastation that has occurred recently to Puerto Rico, is it equipped for tourism now? I hear there are still areas where there is no power or infrastructure. Please advise.

The hurricanes were in 2017 and things were really bad for a couple months, but the San Juan area was mostly back to normal a few months later. I was there in late 2018 and it seemed like everything was fine. In fact, I’m flying into San Juan tomorrow to start a cruise the following day. My understanding is that there are still some rural areas that are not back to normal, and definitely at least some hotels that were damaged and never reopened. But as far as I know the island is very welcoming of tourists and that helps them in many ways.

The easiest way to check on the outer areas is to check hotel availability there. So if you search for hotels in, say, El Rincon, you’ll see how many of them are open and ready for visitors. To be even more sure it’s wise to check recent reviews to make sure that recent guests say that things are good. I hope this helps. -Roger

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Hi Roger, Veery impressed with your knowledge and insight about travel. I wrote a book, titled “The Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken.” It’s U.S. based and is travel, but also history, geography, trivia, etc. Just wanted to send you a shout-out one writer to another. You know your stuff!

Thank you for the kind words and I’ll look into your book. It sounds like my kind of thing. -Roger

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Yes, were starting from Pittsburgh PA. It’s their first time on the plane and I don’t want it to be too long for them, you know.

Based on what you’ve said I’d focus on the area around Cancun. Cancun itself is mostly a long stretch of beach hotels and timeshare properties, but south of that you’ve got Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and across the water you’ve got Cozumel. All of those are interesting towns filled with activities and shopping and restaurants and bars and such. There are many resorts and hotels all around Playa del Carmen that are family oriented, and you can spend most of your time at the resort, and also take a shuttle ride into the town center for a bit more culture. That would be my top pick based on what you’ve said, and the airfares into Cancun are usually reasonable. Playa del Carmen is about an hour south of Cancun airport by road. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

I’m planning to travel with my 3 children age ranging from 6, 7, & 23 the week of Christmas. We all have our passports. This will be there first time traveling. I want an international travel (warm weather) that’s not going to require a long plane ride and the resort ought to be kids friendly.

Any suggestions please?

The list above should provide some interesting places to consider and it’s already my best recommendations for warm and cheap places to go over Christmas. But I’ll be happy to give you some customized advice if you let me know your starting point. I’m assuming you are starting in the US since you didn’t mention a country, but flight times to most places are quite different if you are starting in, say, Seattle compared to, say, Philadelphia. -Roger

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Roger, Thanks for the info.

I have been to Dubai but not Cape Verde or Sharm el-Sheikh. Willl have a look at them.

Thanks a lot.

? Dear Roger, Came across your article and responses and would like to pick your brain if possible. I am looking for more ideas for warm family beach holidays (with swimming pool) from London. We are mixed race couple that started less adventurous travelling now with a just turn 2. Just back from Phuket, Malaysia and Singapore in September and hoping to find something closer like 5-7 hours flight for under a week holiday. We have been to Tenerife earlier this year with Sicily, Majorca and other Canary Island on our lists. Am thinking Turkey but we have been to Marmaris before we have a plus one but feel a bit weird when we venture around by ourselves may be because we are mixed race couple. Any suggestion will be most helpful. Thanks in advance. Yihyi

I’ll try to help. This is an interesting query because I’ve not thought much about it. I lived for over a year in a small Turkish town near Marmaris, and now that you mention it I didn’t see many non-European visitors at all. There were a few and I never heard about any outright racism, but I’d imagine with such small numbers that it could still feel uncomfortable.

Of the places on the list, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dubai should both be closer to the flight times you mention, and I’d think that both would feel welcoming. I’ve yet to make it to Sharm and many people are still avoiding Egypt at this point, but it’s now been years since there have been any problems that have made the news. Dubai is totally filled with people from all over the world, and it does have family beaches along with swimming pools at most hotels. I’m not sure if you’ve been there before, of course. Dubai isn’t a classic beach destination because it feels much more like a big city that happens to have a few nice, sandy beaches, but it is something to consider and you can usually get apartments there for good prices. Since it’s a Muslim country, it’s a very family-friendly place.

The challenge, as you certainly know, is that in December there are almost no good warm-weather destinations near Europe so you usually have to go all the way to at least India, or to the Caribbean. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are rare exceptions in that closer area. One more to consider is Cape Verde. I haven’t been there myself, but it’s about 6 hours flight from London and has fairly warm Decembers. It’s #17 on this list of cheapest all-inclusive destinations from Europe . There is more information there that might be interesting even if you don’t want to stay at an all inclusive. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

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The Best Places to Go for Christmas

These are 20 of the best places to spend Christmas this year.

Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.

warm places to visit during christmas time

For some people, the perfect Christmas vacation involves fully leaning into winter on a snowy mountain somewhere, curled up next to a crackling fire. Others prefer to lounge on a beach as far away from cold weather as possible. Wherever you choose to spend "the most wonderful time of year," you're likely to find some version of holiday cheer.

From the sunny shores of Saint Lucia to the storybook town of Solvang, California, to Santa Claus' own hometown in Finnish Lapland, these are the best places to visit for Christmas this year.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is an idyllic ski destination perched in the beautiful Tetons of Wyoming. Late December here is packed with holiday programming that typically includes ice skating, skiing with Santa, and caroling. The festivities usually kick off with a Christmas tree lighting and end with fireworks on New Year's Eve.

There are several stunning slopeside lodges to choose from, including the luxurious Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa and the ski-in, ski-out Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole . Looking for gifts in downtown Jackson? The iconic elk antler arches that frame the Town Square are illuminated for the holidays, making it feel magical. For a unique adventure that embraces the hot and cold, plan a trip to the Granite Hot Springs Pool , which can be accessed only by snowmobile, fat bike, dog sled, or skis.

New York City

There's truly nothing like Christmas in New York City . The city lights shine brightly year-round, but holiday lights add to the magic. You'll hardly have to look for activities or entertainment with all the famous displays: the enormous tree at Rockefeller Center and the smaller but still dazzling tree at Washington Square Park, the LED-lit Saks Fifth Avenue facade, and the animated window displays at Macy's Herald Square, to name a few. You can sip hot chocolate while you shop for last-minute gifts at German-style Christmas markets and partake in the age-old tradition of watching the Radio City Rockettes perform their annual Christmas Spectacular on a holiday vacation in NYC.

Bruges, Belgium

KavalenkavaVolha/Getty Images

The Bruges Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe. This enchanting event takes over the Markt, the square at the heart of the city, with stands and wooden chalets selling everything from handmade Christmas ornaments to waffles and woolly socks. The colorful storefronts surrounding the square are adorably festooned with holiday decorations, and you'll find confectioneries serving Belgian hot chocolate — no doubt some of the best you'll ever taste. The festivities extend to a smaller market in nearby Simon Stevinplein square. Elevate your stay with a suite overlooking the picturesque canal at the luxurious and historic Hotel Van Cleef .

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Another place to experience the holidays on the ski slopes is Beaver Creek, Colorado, about 12 miles over the road from bustling Vail . This picturesque ski village typically sees festive activities for the whole family, from an annual Christmas tree lighting to changing events like holiday movie nights and cookie-baking competitions.

As for a cozy place to rest your head, The Osprey offers luxurious accommodations and a heated outdoor pool all mere feet from the chairlift. Otherwise, you can book one of just 60 rooms at The Pines Lodge . Both offer ski-in, ski-out access.

Saint Lucia

If your idea of a white Christmas involves soft, powdery sand, consider going to this beautiful Caribbean island. The luxurious Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort , typically offers a full lineup of holiday activities such as visits from Santa, a traditional family Christmas meal, and a New Year's Eve beach bash. Of course, you can also spend your days lounging on the stunning beach between St. Lucia's iconic peaks, the Pitons, or enjoying the resort's regular amenities and activities, including a pool, spa, dive facility, and kayak rentals.

Highlands, North Carolina

If you're looking for a charming, small-town Christmas experience that feels like it's straight out of a Hallmark movie, head to Highlands, North Carolina. This picturesque town is in the southern Appalachian Mountains, within the Nantahala National Forest. Throughout December, you'll find storefronts along and around Main Street decorated with wintry displays. The city runs a competition, so cast your vote on which you think is the best. Visit with Santa in Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park on any Saturday in December leading up to the big day. Old Edwards Inn and Spa and Half-Mile Farm ( favorite hotels among Travel + Leisure readers) offer cozy accommodations with a side of holiday decorations and Christmas cheer.

Salzburg, Austria

Christmas markets, warm glühwein (mulled wine), medieval castles, and a museum wholly dedicated to Christmas will surely get you into the holiday spirit while visiting Salzburg. As you probably know, the city is the birthplace of Mozart and the setting of "The Sound of Music," a movie that seemingly plays on repeat over the holidays. Ice skate around a statue of the iconic composer at Mozartplatz and soak in stunning views of the snow-capped Alps on the south-facing terrace of the Hohensalzburg Fortress . The most luxurious place to stay? That would be Hotel Goldener Hirsch right in Old Town.

Solvang, California

If you won't have a chance to wander through a storybook town in Denmark this holiday season, you can get a similar feel in Solvang . The small city in Santa Ynez Valley was founded by a group of Danes in the early 1900s. They created this adorable community, now known for its Danish businesses and architecture. Solvang typically hosts Julefest , a month-long village celebration complete with outdoor gatherings and holiday decorations. Make the stay even more Christmassy with a stay at The Landsby or the Winston , two of Solvang's coziest boutique hotels.

Stowe, Vermont

A popular ski destination among East Coasters and one of the most picture-perfect places to go for Christmas, Stowe is within driving distance of several major northeastern cities (Boston, Albany, and Montreal, to name a few). The ski season typically starts in November, so this is an ideal place to hit the slopes if you're looking for a white, powder-filled Christmas. Stay at The Lodge at Spruce Peak for beautiful mountain views and ski-in, ski-out access.

Edinburgh Castle, arguably the city's most recognizable landmark, glows over the holiday season. The annual Castle of Light event began in 2019 and draws crowds with spectacular displays projected onto the exterior walls of the 12th-century stronghold. The projections typically get a refresh every year, and have included everything from fire-breathing dragons to flowers. Other holiday must-dos include the festive afternoon tea at Dome , where the stately Georgian Tea Room is enhanced with seasonal decorations. Sip mulled wine at one of the Christmas markets and ice skate on George Street for the full experience. If you're around on New Year's Eve, participate in Hogmanay, Scotland's own end-of-year celebration. Edinburgh puts on a Hogmanay festival that includes a torchlight procession, concerts, and a disco party.

Washington, D.C.

See the National Christmas Tree, ice skate at Washington Harbour, and sing along with a choral concert at the National Cathedral this December. Washington, D.C., hosts an array of holiday happenings throughout the season, and many of them are free, so go ahead and spend some extra money Christmas shopping. Head to one of the renowned Smithsonian museums to escape the cold weather, bundle up and admire the lights at the National Zoo, or walk along the National Mall with a hot cocoa in hand. When it comes to accommodations, The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown can hardly be beat.

Florida Keys

With pleasantly warm December weather, the Florida Keys are an ideal escape for those looking to spend the holidays in a U.S. beach destination. Kick off your Christmas vacation with a scenic road trip through the Florida Keys, stopping at islands en route to Key West. This is a popular time to visit, so consider staying away from the crowds at the secluded Sunset Key Cottages , a 27-acre private island resort accessible by ferry. Upon arriving, you'll find serenity just a short trip from the attractions of Key West.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is a great place to visit any time of the year. Loved for its culture, food, and picturesque setting, the city typically hosts a number of holiday events throughout December. Annual highlights include the Santa Fe Botanical Garden's Glow light display and Christmas concerts inside the impressive Loretto Chapel leading up to December 25. You can even find winter sports at Ski Santa Fe , about 15 miles away. For a special hotel experience, book your stay at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe , which offers a range of festive amenities, or spend the night on the historic and holiday-lit Santa Fe Plaza at La Fonda .

Buenos Aires

Christmas is a summer holiday in the Southern Hemisphere, and Buenos Aires celebrates it with outdoor asado feasts and fireworks. High temperatures in December range from the upper 70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit, which means Papá Noel sometimes wears a tank top. The sunny weather is perfect for sipping cocktails and picnicking on the Plaza Intendente Alvear. While you're in the Argentine capital over the holidays, sample the pan dulce ("sweet bread"), admire the decorations that usually take over the Galerías Pacífico shopping center, or make like a local and escape the city to a nearby beach.

There's just something especially magical about London at Christmastime. Between the glittering lights, cider-slinging holiday markets, themed pop-up bars, and ice skating rinks from Hyde Park to the Queen's House in Greenwich, the city really comes alive for the holiday season. Stay at The Lanesborough for a truly festive experience — the luxurious hotel has beautiful holiday decorations, in-suite shopping from Harvey Nichols, and the option to have your room fully decorated with the hotel's Christmas in Residence program.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Why not spend the holidays in Santa Claus' hometown? Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, is home to Santa Claus Village and SantaPark , where you'll find the man himself and his reindeer sidekicks. During the winter, the arctic landscape is covered by a thick blanket of pretty snow. You'll also have the best chance of the year at spotting the northern lights. There are several hotels in the area with glass igloo accommodations, which provide stunning 360-degree views of the aurora borealis from inside.

The Maldives

If you'd rather wear sandals than snowshoes, the Maldives might be the ideal place for you to spend Christmas. Winter is the dry season, when the weather here is at its best. Daily highs average in the mid-80s Fahrenheit — perfect for a holiday beach getaway. At the end of the day, kick back in luxurious accommodations at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island or The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands .

Bavaria, Germany

Spend your Christmas holidays in this picturesque region in southern Germany. Start your adventure in Munich, where you can sip mulled wine as you stroll through a genuine German Christkindlmarkt. Then head out of the city to find Christmas spirit in small towns like medieval Rothenburg or go skiing in the Alps. Wherever you go, beware of the spooky Krampus, a frightening Christmas beast of local folklore.

Quebec City

Quebec City is about as European as it gets outside of Europe itself. The predominantly French-speaking Québécois celebrate the season with German-style markets, ice skating at Place D'Youville, and shopping in Old Quebec, transformed into a dreamy scene. For a truly Canadian experience, take a ride on Au 1884 (aka the Dufferin Terrace Toboggan Slide), one of Quebec City's oldest attractions. The slide runs right past Fairmont Le Château Frontenac , a castlelike hotel where you can stop for soup or coffee to escape the cold.

The Bahamas

Just a short flight south for East Coasters, The Bahamas is another popular choice for travelers seeking sun and sand during the holidays. Mid-December is the start of the high season here, probably because daily highs in the 80s are such a welcome change to chilly temperatures in much of the U.S. Thanks to a wide range of accommodation options — from resort complexes like Baha Mar with seemingly endless amenities to more intimate private island resorts like T+L reader favorite Kamalame Cay — there's a perfect Christmas vacation waiting for you in this sunny oasis.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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15 Warm Christmas Destinations for Your Next Holiday

15 Warm Christmas Destinations for Your Next Holiday

Are you tired of shivering in the cold during Christmas? Do you want to escape to a warmer destination this holiday season? Look no further! We have compiled a list of 15 warm Christmas destinations that will make your holiday season unforgettable.

From exploring the coastline of Naples, Florida to experiencing the magic of Everglades National Park, there’s something for everyone on this list. But that’s not all. We’ll also give you tips on how to make the most of your warm Christmas holiday, including things to do, the best foods to try, and where to stay.

Plus, we’ll share with you unique Christmas traditions in these destinations and tips for traveling there. And if you’re worried about the cost, we’ve got you covered too! Join us as we explore why choosing a warm Christmas destination is beneficial and how to plan the perfect getaway.

Table of Contents

Unveiling Warm Christmas Destinations

Escape the cold and experience the joy of a warm Christmas getaway in these unique tropical locations. Celebrate the holiday season in a warm and sunny paradise, creating unforgettable memories. From Florida to the Caribbean, there are plenty of warm places to explore during Christmas time. In the United States, you can enjoy the festive vibes in Orlando, experience the magic of Everglades National Park in Florida, or bask in the sun in San Diego, California.

For a tropical Christmas, Puerto Rico offers a unique Christmas experience in San Juan’s old town. If you’re looking for a small-town charm, Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, are great places to visit.

With average high temperatures in late December, Arizona and Maui in Hawaii are also perfect destinations. Don’t miss out on a road trip through the Southwest Florida coastline or a visit to the mesmerizing Waikiki Beach in Oahu. Whether you prefer a beach holiday or exploring the enchanting Christmas trees of Europe, these warm destinations offer a merry Christmas away from the cold.

1. Discovering the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Islands

Embrace the Aloha spirit by celebrating Christmas in Hawaii , one of the best warm Christmas destinations. With its white sand beaches and warm weather during the holiday season, Hawaii offers a unique and unforgettable Christmas experience.

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian traditions and festivities, and indulge in delicious local cuisine while surrounded by stunning landscapes. Make the most of your Hawaiian Christmas vacation by taking part in outdoor activities like surfing and hiking. Whether you’re on Oahu, Maui, or any other island, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Discover the beauty of Waikiki or explore the historic charm of Old San Juan. Hawaii is a great place to spend Christmas with the whole family, as it offers something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready for a merry Christmas in paradise!

2. Soaking in the Sun at Key West, Florida

Sun at Key West, Florida

Escape to the picturesque Key West, Florida for a sunny Christmas vacation. Relax on the beautiful beaches and soak up the sunshine while enjoying the festive atmosphere and holiday decorations. Explore the vibrant art scene and indulge in fresh seafood, experiencing the charm of this laid-back island paradise during the holiday season.

Key West is a great place to unwind and enjoy the warm weather during the Christmas time of year. With its small-town charm and vibrant culture, Key West offers a unique Christmas experience for the whole family.

Whether you’re taking a road trip or flying in, Key West is the perfect destination to celebrate the holidays. With its average high temperatures in late December, it’s no wonder why Key West has become a popular warm Christmas destination in recent years. So pack your bags and make your way to Key West, Florida for a merry Christmas in the sun.

3. Experience the Magic of Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park, Florida

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Everglades National Park , Florida during the Christmas season. Discover the diverse wildlife and unique ecosystems of this national park, which is one of the most iconic in the United States. Take a thrilling airboat ride through the marshes and swamps, allowing you to get up close and personal with the enchanting flora and fauna.

The park offers a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching for those looking to make the most of their time in nature.

Experience the tranquility and serenity of the Everglades during the holidays, making it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the festive season. Whether you’re visiting in early December or late December, Everglades National Park is the perfect time of year to visit this stunning and captivating destination.

4. Exploring the Coastline of Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida is the perfect warm Christmas destination for those seeking a relaxing beach vacation . With pristine beaches, you can unwind under the sun and soak in the coastal beauty. As you explore Fifth Avenue South, you’ll find upscale shops and restaurants where you can indulge in a shopping spree or savor delicious cuisine.

For breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, make sure to visit Naples Pier. This iconic landmark offers a picturesque setting to enjoy the sunset or take a leisurely stroll along the coastline. If you’re an adventure seeker, hop on a boat tour to spot dolphins and marvel at the stunning coastal scenery.

Naples offers the ideal blend of luxury and relaxation, making it a top choice for a warm Christmas getaway. Whether you’re looking to pamper yourself at a luxurious resort or simply enjoy the laid-back ambiance of this charming small town, Naples has it all. So why not celebrate the holiday season in style while basking in the warm coastal vibes of Naples, Florida?

5. Celebrating Christmas in Tampa, Florida

Christmas in Tampa, Florida

Experience the magic of Christmas in the vibrant city of Tampa. Enjoy festive lights and decorations throughout the city, creating a joyous atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Tampa truly comes alive during the holiday season, with various attractions and activities to make your Christmas memorable.

Visit the popular Busch Gardens theme park, where you can immerse yourself in holiday festivities and enjoy thrilling rides.

While in Tampa, don’t miss the chance to explore the historic Ybor City, known for its rich heritage and delicious Cuban cuisine. You can also attend live music performances and holiday events happening all around the city, adding an extra touch of merriment to your Christmas celebrations in Tampa.

6. Luxurious Holidays in Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida

Celebrate Christmas in style with a luxurious holiday in Miami , Florida. Indulge in the city’s vibrant nightlife and relax on its beautiful beaches. Immerse yourself in the world-class shopping and dining options found in Miami’s trendy neighborhoods. Explore the iconic Art Deco architecture of South Beach, a true feast for the eyes.

Take the opportunity to pamper yourself with indulgent spa treatments during your Miami Christmas getaway. Miami’s warm climate and festive atmosphere make it a perfect destination for a luxurious Christmas experience. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Miami has it all.

From the bustling streets to the tranquil beaches, there is something for everyone in this lively city. Don’t miss out on the chance to create unforgettable memories in one of the United States’ most glamorous destinations.

7. Festive Vibes in Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Experience the ultimate holiday magic in Orlando’s theme parks, where you can celebrate with Mickey and friends at Walt Disney World Resort. Enjoy thrilling rides and festive shows at Universal Orlando Resort, or step into the magical world of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Create unforgettable memories with your family during a Christmas vacation in Orlando. With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Orlando offers a great place to soak up the festive vibes.

From early December to late December, the city is adorned with Christmas trees and decorations, making it the perfect time to visit.

Whether you’re exploring the small-town charm of Old San Juan or embarking on a road trip to Southwest Florida, Orlando has something for the whole family. So, why not make this Christmas a truly merry one by experiencing the festive spirit in Orlando, Florida?

8. Texas Christmas: San Antonio and South Padre Island

San Antonio and South Padre Island

Experience the charm of a Texas Christmas in San Antonio and South Padre Island. Discover the historic landmarks and vibrant River Walk of San Antonio, where you can immerse yourself in the rich Texan culture.

Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque riverbanks, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. In South Padre Island, relax on the beautiful beaches and enjoy water activities like swimming, surfing, and kayaking.

The island offers a unique blend of Texan and Mexican cultures, adding a special touch to your Christmas getaway. Indulge in delicious Tex-Mex cuisine and savor the flavors of the region. Live music fills the air, creating a festive atmosphere that will make your visit truly memorable. Celebrate Christmas in Texas and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

9. Basking in the Sun: San Diego, California

San Diego, California

Escape to sunny San Diego for a delightful warm Christmas vacation. Immerse yourself in the beautiful beaches and bask in the glorious California sunshine. Embark on a journey of exploration as you visit world-class attractions like the renowned San Diego Zoo and the picturesque Balboa Park.

Indulge in exhilarating outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and even surfing along the stunning coastline. San Diego’s laid-back vibe and perfect weather during the holiday season provide a serene escape from the typical hustle and bustle.

Whether you’re visiting early or late December, you’re guaranteed a merry Christmas in this vibrant city. Experience the charm of charming small towns or venture into the heart of old San Juan. San Diego offers a perfect time for a road trip with the whole family, where every moment becomes a cherished memory.

10. Relishing the Christmas Spirit in Disneyland, Anaheim, California

Disneyland, Anaheim, California

Relish the Christmas spirit in Disneyland, Anaheim, California , for a warm and festive holiday experience. Immerse yourself in themed decorations, holiday parades, and special events that make this park truly magical during the holiday season.

Encounter your favorite Disney characters dressed in their holiday outfits, adding a touch of enchantment to the atmosphere. Indulge in holiday-themed treats and drinks available at various restaurants throughout the park.

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, offers the perfect setting to create unforgettable memories with family and friends. Celebrate the joy of Christmas in the company of beloved characters and revel in the magic that fills the air. Explore the wonders of Disneyland, where dreams come true, and experience the warmth and merriment of a Christmas celebration like no other.

11. Starlit Nights in Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California offers a warm and comfortable holiday destination with mild winter temperatures. The city is known for its stunning Christmas light displays, such as the Beverly Hills Holiday Light Festival and Downtown LA Art Walk. One can take a leisurely stroll through the iconic Grove shopping center, which is beautifully decorated for the festive season. Another attraction is the LA Zoo Lights at the LA Zoo, featuring animal-themed light displays.

Visitors can also catch a Christmas concert or show at renowned venues like the Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Pantages Theatre. And for those with a sweet tooth, local bakeries and cafes offer hot chocolate and seasonal treats. Los Angeles truly shines with starlit nights and a variety of festive activities for the whole family to enjoy.

12. Desert Christmas in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona offers a unique Christmas experience with its warm and dry climate. Instead of snow, you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and golfing during the winter months. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit with events like Las Noches de las Luminarias, where you can experience a cactus-themed Christmas. For an enchanting light display, visit the Desert Botanical Garden.

Explore the city’s holiday markets and shopping centers for unique gifts. Phoenix provides a delightful alternative to traditional Christmas celebrations, allowing you to embrace the warm weather and create cherished memories with your loved ones.

13. Southern Charm: Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia exudes southern charm and is famous for its stunning historic district with beautiful and charming architecture. The city offers a mild winter climate in December, with temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to the low-60s, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a warm Christmas getaway.

Savannah hosts numerous holiday events and activities, including a delightful Christmas parade and enchanting light displays that add to the festive atmosphere.

In addition to the holiday festivities, visitors can explore the city’s museums, indulge in shopping, and dine at delicious restaurants. With its coastal location, Savannah also provides opportunities for beach excursions and outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking. In Savannah, you can experience the perfect blend of history, warmth, and holiday cheer.

14. Unique Christmas Experience in New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

The historic French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana undergoes a stunning transformation during the Christmas season, becoming a true winter wonderland adorned with festive decorations and twinkling lights. Immerse yourself in the unique holiday spirit as you stroll through its charming streets.

Indulge in the rich flavors of traditional Creole dishes and sip on festive cocktails while enjoying the soulful sounds of jazz music in one of the city’s many renowned restaurants and bars. Experience the extraordinary Cajun Christmas Eve tradition of bonfires on the levees, where towering structures are set ablaze to light the way for Papa Noël. Make sure to catch a magical performance of the Nutcracker by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Explore the vibrant holiday markets and fairs, such as the annual French Market Creole Christmas and the St. Louis Cathedral’s Christmas concert series. And be sure not to miss the whimsical floats of the Krewe of Jingle during their one-of-a-kind Christmas parade. New Orleans offers a truly unique and enchanting Christmas experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

15. Tropical Christmas in Puerto Rico

Christmas in Puerto Rico

Consider Puerto Rico for a tropical Christmas getaway. This warm Christmas destination offers a unique holiday experience. With its beautiful beaches , rich culture, and vibrant festivities, Puerto Rico is a great place to spend the holiday season. You can enjoy activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and exploring the historic city of Old San Juan.

The island offers a variety of hotels and resorts that cater to the festive spirit. From luxury beachfront resorts to charming boutique hotels, there are accommodations to suit every taste.

If you’re looking for other warm Christmas destinations, consider Florida with its sunny beaches and theme parks, or the Caribbean islands like Maui in Hawaii. Celebrating Christmas in Puerto Rico is a merry experience, whether you visit in early or late December. Plan a trip to this tropical paradise and create memories with your whole family.

Making the Most of Your Warm Christmas Holiday

When planning your warm Christmas holiday, it’s important to make the most of your experience. Choosing a destination with unique holiday traditions allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories. Look for accommodations that embrace the festive season with decor and activities to enhance your holiday spirit.

Researching local events and activities, such as Christmas markets or light displays, will ensure you don’t miss out on any festive happenings.

Don’t forget to pack appropriately for warm weather, including lightweight clothing and sunscreen. Consider staying in a location with access to beaches or outdoor activities, such as Florida or the Caribbean, for a unique holiday experience. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a warm Christmas getaway that is both relaxing and full of holiday cheer.

Things to do in warm places during Christmas

While enjoying a warm Christmas destination, there are plenty of activities to engage in. Take advantage of the beautiful beaches by participating in beach volleyball matches, trying your hand at surfing, or simply indulging in some sunbathing and swimming. Explore the local festive events, such as Christmas markets, parades, and festivals, to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

If you’re up for an adventure, embark on outdoor activities like hiking along scenic trails, rock climbing, or even zip-lining through the breathtaking landscapes. Immerse yourself in different cultures by attending local events and savoring new foods, learning about unique traditions along the way. After all the excitement, treat yourself to some relaxation with a massage, a spa day, or even a rejuvenating yoga retreat.

Best foods to try in these warm destinations

When exploring warm Christmas destinations, it’s essential to indulge in the local cuisine for an immersive cultural experience. In Mexico, tantalize your taste buds with traditional tamales and warm poncho, a flavorful fruit punch. Down under in Australia, savor a classic BBQ featuring fresh seafood, and end your meal with a luscious pavlova dessert.

In Thailand, ignite your palate with a spicy hot pot and satisfy your sweet tooth with sticky mango rice. South Africa offers a treat for meat lovers with their succulent braai (grilled meat) accompanied by the heavenly malva pudding. And in Brazil, feast on feijoada, a hearty black bean stew, and savor the decadent brigadeiro, chocolate truffles that are simply irresistible.

These delicious culinary delights add a touch of local flavor to your warm Christmas getaway, allowing you to immerse yourself in the gastronomic traditions of each destination. So, pack your bags and embark on a mouthwatering journey as you explore these incredible warm holiday destinations.

Where to stay for the best experience

For the best experience, consider staying in Lapland, Finland. Experience the magic of Christmas in Santa’s hometown. Another great place to stay is New York City, USA. Explore the city’s holiday markets and ice skating rinks. If you’re looking for a unique experience, Reykjavik, Iceland is the perfect destination.

Witness the stunning Northern Lights and enjoy cozy hot springs. Vienna, Austria is also a great option. Indulge in traditional Christmas treats and visit the famous Christmas market. For a charming European-style Christmas, Quebec City, Canada is ideal. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and ice hotels. Lastly, Tokyo, Japan offers unique Christmas traditions and vibrant light displays.

Why Choose a Warm Christmas Destination?

Escape the chilly weather and embrace a sunny holiday escape. Experience a unique twist on traditional Christmas celebrations while enjoying beach parties and water sports. Create lasting memories in beautiful warm locations, all while embracing a relaxed and laid-back holiday atmosphere.

Benefits of a warm Christmas holiday

Avoiding the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder is one of the benefits of opting for a warm Christmas holiday. Instead of enduring the cold and gloomy weather, you can relax in warm temperatures and soak up the much-needed vitamin D.

In these warm destinations, you have the opportunity to explore stunning beaches and tropical landscapes, providing a refreshing change from the traditional snow-covered scenery. Additionally, indulging in delicious local cuisine and tasty drinks adds to the overall experience.

Another advantage of a warm Christmas holiday is the chance to discover vibrant cultures and traditions that are unique to these destinations. So, if you’re looking for a break from the cold and want to create memorable experiences, a warm Christmas holiday is the perfect choice.

Warm Christmas vs. Traditional White Christmas

Swap the snowy landscapes and snowmen for sandy beaches and sandcastles. Experience a different kind of holiday magic as palm trees sway and sunshine warms your skin. Instead of hot cocoa, sip on refreshing cocktails by the pool.

Embrace a more casual and carefree holiday vibe as you trade in heavy winter coats for sun hats and flip-flops. And don’t worry, you won’t miss out on festive decorations, but they’ll have a tropical twist. Whether you’re in Florida, the Caribbean, or Maui, warm Christmas destinations offer a whole new way to celebrate the season.

So, if you’re tired of the cold and looking for a change of scenery, consider escaping to one of these best places to experience a warm and merry Christmas. Prepare to soak up the sun, enjoy outdoor activities, and create lasting memories with your loved ones in these beautiful warm destinations.

What are the unique Christmas traditions in these warm destinations?

Experience the joy of Christmas parades filled with floats and colorful costumes. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit at outdoor markets and bazaars. Delight in live music performances and concerts that set the holiday mood. Join in beachside bonfires and spectacular fireworks displays. Discover local holiday traditions and customs that make these warm destinations truly unique.

Tips for Travelling to Warm Christmas Destinations

When traveling to warm Christmas destinations, it’s important to pack lightweight and breathable clothing to stay comfortable in the warmer temperatures. Don’t forget to include essentials like sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong sunrays.

It’s also crucial to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially in the hotter climates. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to research and respect the local customs and traditions of the destination you’re visiting.

This will not only help you blend in with the locals but also show your appreciation for their culture. Lastly, make sure to check if there are any specific travel restrictions or entry requirements, as some destinations may have certain rules and regulations in place. Following these tips will ensure a smooth and enjoyable warm Christmas holiday.

Packing essentials for a warm Christmas holiday

When planning for a warm Christmas holiday, it’s important to pack the right essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip. First and foremost, don’t forget your swimwear, beach towels, and flip flops. These items are essential for soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful beaches of your chosen destination.

Since warm weather is expected, it’s crucial to pack lightweight and airy clothing that will keep you cool throughout the day. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen that allow air circulation and prevent overheating. Additionally, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

When traveling, it’s always a good idea to bring travel-sized toiletries and medications to ensure you have everything you need without carrying bulky bottles. This way, you’ll be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances and won’t have to worry about finding specific products while on vacation.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. It’s essential to drink plenty of water, especially in warm climates, to avoid dehydration and maintain your energy levels.

By packing these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for a warm Christmas holiday and can fully enjoy your time in your chosen destination.

Important travel tips and hacks

When planning a warm Christmas getaway, there are a few important travel tips and hacks to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s essential to book your accommodations and flights in advance. This ensures that you secure the best deals and availability for your chosen destination. Utilizing travel apps can also be incredibly helpful in finding discounts and special offers.

Another important tip is to pack a travel adapter for charging your devices. Different countries may have different electrical outlets, so having an adapter will ensure that you can easily charge your phone, camera, or any other electronics you bring along. Additionally, it’s crucial to keep your important documents and copies in a secure location. This includes your passport, travel insurance information, and any other necessary identification.

Staying connected while traveling is also essential, whether it’s through local Wi-Fi or by purchasing a local SIM card. Having internet access will make it easier to navigate unfamiliar places, communicate with loved ones, and stay updated on any travel alerts or changes. By following these travel tips and utilizing these hacks, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free warm Christmas holiday.

How to plan the perfect warm Christmas getaway?

Planning the perfect warm Christmas getaway involves careful research and decision-making. Consider your preferences, activities, and attractions available at each destination. Plan your itinerary to maximize your time and check the weather forecast for appropriate packing. Budget for accommodations, transportation, and meals.

Choosing the right destination

When planning a warm Christmas getaway, choosing the right destination is crucial. Consider the average temperature and weather conditions to ensure you’ll experience the warmth you desire.

Look for destinations that offer a variety of attractions and activities, such as Florida with its beautiful beaches and theme parks, or the Caribbean with its crystal-clear waters and vibrant culture. It’s also important to research the safety and security of the location you’re considering.

Find out if there are any special holiday events or festivals happening during your visit to make your Christmas even more memorable. Reading reviews and recommendations from other travelers can provide valuable insights into the best places to visit.

Tips on scheduling your itinerary

When planning your warm Christmas getaway, it’s important to schedule your itinerary wisely. Start by prioritizing the must-see attractions and activities at each destination. Whether it’s exploring the stunning beaches of Florida or experiencing the magic of Disneyland in California, make sure to include the highlights of each place on your list.

While it’s tempting to fill every minute of your trip with excitement, it’s essential to allow for some downtime and relaxation. After all, vacations are meant for rejuvenation. Leave room for spontaneous exploration and discovery, as some of the best experiences often happen when you least expect them.

Consider the travel time between destinations when scheduling your itinerary. Whether you’re road-tripping through the United States or hopping between the islands of Hawaii, factor in the time it takes to get from one place to another. This will help you allocate your days more effectively.

Lastly, be flexible and open to changes in your plans. While having an itinerary is important, sometimes unexpected opportunities arise that can enrich your trip. Whether it’s a recommendation from a local or a chance encounter with a unique event, embrace the spontaneity of your warm Christmas adventure.

Is it cost-effective to spend Christmas in a warm destination?

Escape the cold and enjoy a budget-friendly warm Christmas getaway. Explore affordable accommodations and activities in warm destinations, saving on heating bills. Take advantage of off-peak season discounts for a unique and memorable Christmas without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some unique christmas traditions in these warm destinations.

In warm destinations like Mexico, the tradition of Las Posadas involves reenacting Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn. In Australia, beach barbecues are a popular way to celebrate Christmas during the summer. Brazil has a “Secret Santa” gift exchange called Amigo Secreto, while in South Africa, carol services and braais (barbecues) are enjoyed on Christmas Day.

Are these destinations budget-friendly for travelers?

Some of the warm Christmas destinations on our list can be budget-friendly for travelers. Factors like travel time, accommodation costs, and local currency exchange rates will affect the overall cost. Researching and comparing prices for flights, accommodations, and activities can help you plan a budget-friendly trip. Set a budget before traveling to avoid overspending.

What are some popular activities and attractions in each destination during the holiday season?

Some popular activities and attractions in each warm Christmas destination include attending the Honolulu City Lights festival and enjoying beach activities in Hawaii, visiting Christmas markets and attending live performances in Barcelona, attending the famous New Year’s Eve celebration on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro , and watching the fireworks display over Sydney Harbour Bridge on New Year’s Eve in Sydney.

What is the best time of year to visit each destination?

The ideal time to visit each destination varies depending on factors like weather and peak tourist season. For example, Cancun, Mexico is best visited from December to April when the weather is dry and sunny. On the other hand, Lapland, Finland offers the best experience in December with the Northern Lights and winter activities. Research the climate and events of your chosen destination to determine the best time to visit.

In conclusion, spending Christmas in a warm destination can be a unique and memorable experience. Whether you choose to enjoy the tropical beaches of Hawaii or explore the festive vibes of Florida, there are plenty of warm Christmas destinations to suit every traveler’s preferences.

From indulging in local cuisine to trying out exciting activities, you can make the most of your warm holiday getaway. While it may be different from the traditional white Christmas, a warm destination offers its own set of benefits and unique traditions.

By planning ahead and considering factors such as accommodation and packing essentials, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. So why not break away from tradition this year and celebrate Christmas in a warm and sunny destination?

Read Also: 

Top 12 Best Places For Traveling Solo As A Woman

5 Amazing Places to Spend New Year’s Day in Dubai

Los Angeles Hotels with Balconies: Top 12 Best Picks

Ferona Jose Travelistia Blogger & Writer

Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.

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Hot Places to visit in December to Celebrate Christmas

Featured Multi Destination Winter Travel

Are you craving a change of scene (and a suntan ) for Christmas this year? How does skipping the cold winter blues, festive hot chocolates and ten layers of clothing sound? Instead, head to one of the many hot places in December!

In many countries Christmas takes place at the warmest time of the year, and some are a lot closer to home than you’d expect! To help you plan your sunny Christmas holiday, here are 15 of the hottest places on Earth in December .

1. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife is one of the few places in Europe that are hot in December. It’s a great time to go, as the average temperature of Tenerife in December sits between 20ºC and 25ºC.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Rio de Janeiro is one of the top winter destinations to visit this year, as it’s summer is in full swing by December. It’s one of the hottest places on Earth in December, with temperatures of 30ºC- 34ºC. Perfect for a beach holiday!

3. Praia, Cape Verde

If you’re a sun seeker, Cape Verde is for you! Praia enjoys many sunny days in December, with average temperatures between 19ºC and 25ºC.

4. Phuket, Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular hot places to go in December. Escape the cold, and bask in some winter sun! Phuket’s average temperature in December is 25ºC.

5. Puerto Rico, Caribbean

Puerto Rico, one of the hottest places to go in December

Puerto Rico enjoys average temperatures of  28ºC in December. Make the most of the sun!

6. Cape Town, South Africa

Average temperature of Cape Town in December: 25ºC

7. Sunshine Coast, Australia

If you can make it to the other side of the globe, you’re sure to get some hot weather in December. The Sunshine Coast of Australia has average temperatures of 26ºC in December.

8. Auckland, New Zealand

Aucklands average temperature in December: Between 14ºC and 20ºC

9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

One of the top destinations for a hot Christmas, Dubai has it all! it’s average temperature in December is 26ºC.

10. Hawaii, U.S.A.

Average temperature of Hawaii in December: 19ºC

Average temperature of Cyprus in December: Between 20ºC and 22ºC

12. Cairo, Egypt

If you fancy a bit of December sun but are not a fan of sweltering heat, you’ll enjoy Egypt’s weather in December! The average temperature of Cairo in December is 20ºC.

13. Bridgetown, Barbados

The average temperature of Barbados in December is between 24ºC and 30ºC.

14. Cancun, Mexico

Cancun beach - Mexico

Cancun’s average temperature in December is between 22ºC and 32ºC.

15. Inhambane, Mozambique

Mozambique is one of our favourite hot places in December. It enjoys average temperatures of 30ºC in December.

If you prefer a wintery Christmas, check out these European Christmas markets .

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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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

warm places to visit during christmas time

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.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

warm places to visit during christmas time

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Home » USA » 23 Amazing Places To Visit In USA For Christmas (2023)

23 Amazing Places To Visit In USA For Christmas (2024)

Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Nicole

December is a magical time of year in many places in the United States. Christmas festivities are in full swing and you can feel the joy and excitement that this brings. There are beautiful Christmas lights, lively Christmas markets, decorated Christmas trees, and of course, decadent Xmas treats tempting you almost everywhere you go. Some of us live in hot sunny climates and daydream about snowy winter wonderlands filled with sleigh rides, visits to Santa workshops and hot chocolate. While others live in these winter wonderlands and can’t wait to discover Christmas delights on beaches, by hotel pools, and while walking in t-shirts and shorts along city streets or country paths. If you are not sure what you want, you have come to the right place. Here are 23 best places to visit in the USA for Christmas.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you buy something through my site. This helps me run my website and produce the articles that I hope you find helpful.

Other Options For Christmas Holidays

Many places in America start preparing for the Christmas holidays with Christmas lights, setting up Xmas trees, and opening Christmas markets in mid to late November. This is an ideal time to travel to enjoy these events without crowds and to take advantage of lower costs from travelling in low season. If you are interested, please take a look at my article 20 Best Places To Visit In USA In November.

For those of you who are looking for a little more adventure with more cost savings, consider visiting Europe. Here are 24 Best Places To Visit In Europe For Christmas .

If you are looking for warm winter getaway s in or near the United States, you have a lot to choose from! Here are:

  • 50 Best US Beach Destinations For A Warm Winter Getaway ;
  • 20 Best Cheap Warm Winter Vacations In USA ; and
  • 21 Best Cheap Warm Winter Vacations Near USA .

Alternatively, if all you dream about is spending your Christmas holidays under blankets of snow in a charming small town or exploring the best snowy winter activities that ski resorts or other destinations have to offer, then take a look at 24 Best Snowy Winter Wonderlands To Visit In The USA .

If you are simply looking for the best Christmas parades in the United States, then check out 15 Best Places To Watch Christmas Parades In USA .

Christmas Gifts

For those of you looking for fun, affordable and thoughtful stocking stuffers or gifts, check out 38 Best Christmas Stocking Stuffers For Adventure Seekers And Travelers and 60 Best Christmas Gifts For Men.

23 Best Places To Visit In USA For Christmas

In this article, I have asked 23 travel bloggers where they have found the best Christmas events in the United States. Unsurprising, they are located in all four corners of the continental USA, as well as Hawaii.

As you expect, most big cities offer over the top extravaganzas and special events. However, many small cities and towns will blow your socks away with their beauty and Christmas spirit.

In addition, when not gazing at gingerbread houses, going on sleigh rides, or watching Xmas parades, all of these places offer amazing every day attractions and experiences. As you will see, I haven’t made it easy for you to choose where to go.

best places to visit in the USA for Christmas

New York City, New York

By James of Travel Collecting

Christmas in New York City  is a magical experience. There are so many amazing things to see and do making New York City one of the best cities to visit in the USA for Christmas.  

All of the department stores decorate for the holidays. You and your whole family can do an easy walking tour around Midtown Manhattan taking in all of the holiday windows. Along the way, visit Santaland at Macy’s and stop at Bryant Park or Rockefeller Center and go ice skating surrounded by the iconic New York skyscrapers! 

There are also decorated Christmas trees throughout the city. The largest and most famous is the real tree in Rockefeller Center that is topped with an enormous Swarovski crystal star. Other interesting trees are the one at the Met, which is surrounded by an antique Italian creche; the animal origami-covered tree at the American Museum of Natural History; and the bright blue tree at Bryant Park. Stop at the Bryant Park Holiday Village for a hot chocolate or hot toddy while you’re there. 

Of course, if you simply want to walk amongst hundreds of trees lightly dusted with snow, head to Central Park.

NYC is a great place to stock up on gifts. There are outdoor holiday markets at Union Square, Bryant Park and inside Grand Central Terminal that sell hand-crafted gifts.   

Finally, there are a couple of classic shows to enjoy. Kids and kids-at-heart will love the iconic Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. It has real-life camels, the high-kicking Rockettes and, of course, Santa. Another show not to miss is the annual season of The Nutcracker by the New City Ballet at Lincoln Center. 

For amazing tips to make your trip to New York City safe and cost effective, please see 50 Best New York City Tips For First Time Visitors .

If you are curious about how to save money in New York City, where you should stay, how to be safe and get around, and so much more, please see  50 Best New York City Tips For First Time Visitors .

For those traveling with kids and teenagers, here are two helpful articles about what you should do when you are not busy with Christmas activities: An Action Packed New York City Weekend With Teens and 10 Ultimate New York City Attractions With Teens .

Best Way To Reach Destination

There are three international airports that serve New York City. JFK is a 35-minute drive from Midtown Manhattan if there is no traffic (which there almost always is). The much smaller La Guardia is 25 minutes from Midtown with no traffic. The third airport, Newark, is actually in nearby New Jersey and is also about half an hour with good traffic from Midtown.  

It is best not to rent a car. Parking is very expensive in New York and there is excellent public transportation. Accordingly, pick up a taxi or Uber/Lyft from airport. You can also easily take the train from Newark Airport to Penn Station.

The average high temperature in New York City in December is 45°F.  You can expect around 3 inches of rain and 3 inches of snow in December.

Hotel Recommendation

There are so many hotels to choose from in New York City. Without question, choosing a hotel is one of the most overwhelming tasks when planning a trip there. I have stayed at several.

On my last trip, I stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi which I loved. The hotel was luxurious but still reasonably priced and the location was fantastic for many amazing attractions . We were easy walking distance to the High Line and Macys, and easy subway rides to Times Square and Broadway Shows. Even better, everyday the hotel offered complimentary wine and cheese!

best places to visit in the USA for Christmas

Savannah, Georgia

By Erin of Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

Savannah is charming any time of year, but something about the Christmas season makes it feel extra magical. From the hundreds of twinkle lights draped across Broughton Street to the seasonal greenery in the squares to the carolers that stroll through the Historic District…Savannahians just know how to celebrate the season!  

A few of the most popular seasonal events include the Holiday Boat Parade, the Gingerbread Trail, and the Holiday Tour of Homes. Make sure to also visit the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist. It is filled with red poinsettias and an elaborate nativity scene. 

The most festive areas of town during the holiday season include River Street, Broughton Street, and City Market. Don’t forget to stroll down Jones Street, which is considered one of the prettiest streets in America. Be sure to check out all the  beautiful Christmas decorations in Savannah’s Historic District . They are very classic in nature and look like something straight out of a Dickens novel. 

Two of the most popular dining spots for the holidays are The Olde Pink House and the 17hundred90 Inn & Restaurant. Since Savannah is one of the best Christmas vacation destinations in the United States, make sure that you make reservations at least a month in advance for The Olde Pink House! 

If you’re planning a visit, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is the closest option. From there, it’s just a short 15-mile drive to the Historic District.

You won’t need to stuff your suitcase with heavy winter coats, since the average high temperature in December falls in the mid 60s. However, it does cool down at night to mid 40s with about 2.6 inches of rain in the month.

Erin says, “The Marshall House is a fantastic place to stay. The hotel is in a very convenient location on Broughton Street. I’s very easy to walk to restaurants, landmarks, and shops.”

best Christmas vacations in America in December

Asheville, North Carolina

By Bret & Mary of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

With its incredible array of outdoor attractions , critically acclaimed restaurants, and thriving cultural scene, you could argue that Asheville is one of the best places to visit in the USA at any time of year. But the mountain scenery and art deco architecture are especially attractive when surrounded by the festive lights and decorations of the holiday season.

Asheville is a beautiful place to visit in America around the holidays. In addition, there are plenty of things to do a Christmas getaway.

For starters, you’ll want to see Christmas at Biltmore Estate (the largest privately-owned home in the US), which starts with the raising of a 35-foot-tall tree in the Banquet Hall in early November. You can take daily tours of the lavish Estate all decked out in the festive colors of the season. Their nighttime candlelit tours make for an excellent date night. 

You’ll also love Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum. Thousands of shimmering Christmas lights make up shining displays along their wooded edge and gardens. Last year, there were several new nature-themed displays, including a giant daisy “garden,” winter wildlife and colorful butterfly displays, and an insect lantern exhibit. 

Of course, there are also lots of other Asheville attractions and activities that you can do all year round. This includes driving the Blue Ridge Parkway to visiting iconic landmarks like Mount Mitchell State Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But these unique Xmas events are what makes Asheville, North Carolina one of the best places to visit in the USA for Christmas.

Despite its location in the mountains, the town offers surprisingly mild temperatures in December, with average highs of 50ºF and lows of around 31ºF. You can expect around 3.6 inches of rain and 1.9 inches of snow fall in December.

While a white Christmas in Asheville is not completely out of the question, it is certainly not guaranteed.

Although it’s one of the larger towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains (population approximately 92,000), Asheville does not have its own international airport.

You can fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which is located about 120 miles to the southeast. But several major airlinesoffer direct flights into Asheville Regional Airport from major US cities like Atlanta, Boston , Chicago, Denver, Houston, and NYC. 

Brett and Mary say, “If you love those competitive cooking shows, you won’t want to miss the 29th Annual National Gingerbread Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn (one of our favorite Asheville hotels). This is a 12-day Xmas event featuring some of the most elaborately decorated Gingerbread Houses you’ve ever seen.”

best places to visit in the USA for Christmas

Naples, Florida

By Lori of Naples Florida Travel Guide

If you’re dreaming of something other than a white Christmas this year, a tropical holiday can be just as magical, and a wonderful break from the freezing cold! Hop a flight to southwest Florida and head to the Paradise Coast of Naples where Christmas is every bit as festive as the north.

Holiday parades along the southern Gulf Coast are anything but typical. Santa usually arrives on a party boat decked out in holiday lights and rocking Christmas tunes. The annual Christmas boat parades herald the start of the holiday season, and there are several you can attend throughout December. 

The annual tree lighting ceremony also kicks off the holidays the first week of December. During a two-day celebration, there is a long table on 5th Avenue, a skating rink, and a stunning live Nativity scene. The magical scene reappears throughout Christmas week as well.

Throughout the holidays, shops in the downtown create unique displays and artificial snow machines add a bit of traditional Christmas. But the real reason that Naples is one of the best places to visit in the USA for Christmas is that all this holiday cheer can be enjoyed along with a trip to the amazing beaches for which the city is known. And while the water might be a bit chilly for locals, the mid-60s temps (F) will suit most visitors just fine!

Average high temperatures hover pleasantly in the mid-70’s (F), although they can be in the 80s or drop down to the 50s at night. You can expect very little rain.

Getting to Naples is easy. Fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers, then drive or Uber the 30 minutes to Naples.

Lori says, “The Inn On Fifth is in the center of downtown Naples and one of the best luxury stays in Naples. For the best value, we highly recommend Bellasera Resort.”

best places to visit in the USA for Christmas

Branson, Missouri

By Elizabeth of the Fearless Foreignor

Branson, Missouri is one of the best destinations in the United States during the Christmas season. It has a lot of holiday special events, shows, and activities that don’t take place the rest of the year.

Branson is known for their high quality theater productions. During the holiday season almost all of the shows turn into a seasonal spectacular with Xmas songs, holiday story lines, and festive backdrops. 

The theme park, Silver Dollar City, should also be on your list of places to visit. The whole park is decked out in millions of lights. The Christmas in Midtown light spectacular is a highlight of the park, as well as the nightly holiday parade, Christmas sing along train, and Christmas shows. 

In December, the average high temperature is 48°F and average low temperature is 33°F. Branson has had as much as 8.4 inches of snow but, it rarely snows that much. Usually it is only an inch or two and melts quickly during the day.

Accordingly, don’t expect Branson to be a winter wonderland, but on the plus side, the temperatures won’t be so low that you can’t be outside enjoying all the holiday festivities! 

Many people who visit Branson drive. However, there are several small airports around Branson for those who prefer to fly.

The closest, just 20 minutes south of downtown Branson, is the Branson Airport (BKG). Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and St Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), both about 4 hours away, are the closest international airports. 

However you reach Branson, Branson at Christmas time is the perfect place to visit during the Christmas season!

Elizabeth says, “The Camden Hotel and Conference center is only minutes away from many of the shows and attractions in Branson. In addition to good prices and clean rooms, it offers delicious free desserts every night! 

September is best time to visit las vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

By Roxanna of Gypsy With A Day Job

If you are looking for the best American Christmas vacations, Las Vegas is a perfect choice. The city has everything for a holiday break: warm activities, cold activities, shopping venues, bright decorations and cheerful events. Even if you are not a big Vegas fan, during the holidays it will warm your heart. If it is your first trip to Las Vegas, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Start your trip with a walk on the strip to get into the spirit. Every resort spruces up its already lavish decor with seasonal tributes. You’ll find trees of every size (including palm trees) with bulbs and baubles, and festive events at every turn. In particular, take a detour and explore the Wynn, Palazzo, Bellagio, and Aria resorts!  

Once you’re fully in the mood, finish your Xmas shopping. You are spoiled for choices. For high end, try The Shops at Crystals, The Forum Shops, or the Grand Canal Shops. For main-stream options try Fashion Show, and for bargains, Las Vegas North Premium Outlets is the best choice.

If shopping exhausts your cheer, the normal Las Vegas attractions are available, and outdoor adventures abound in the surrounding area. 

Consider getting back to nature and doing some hiking at the stunning Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, only 30-40 minutes drive away.

However, if what you really want is more extravagant Christmas events, drive the Las Vegas Motor Speedway light show, walk the Christmas cactus garden at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory, or ride the Holiday Express at Springs Resort. 

If searching for insider tips and tricks on where to stay, how to save money, and the best things to do, please check out  50 Best Las Vegas Tips For First Time Visitors .

For those looking for  21st birthday  inspiration, Las Vegas is also a fantastic destination to celebrate this milestone.

To get to Las Vegas, fly into the McCarran International Airport. The Vegas strip is only 20 minutes away by Uber or Lyft. Avoid taxis as they charge a premium for airport pick up.

In December, you will find the average high temperatures around 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a jacket though, as it cools to the low 40s at night. There will be very little rain and no snow.

Roxanna says, “We recommend staying at the Venetian, or sister resort, the Palazzo. The lavish opulence is appropriate for the city, as is the impeccable staff and luxe resort offerings. More importantly, every room is a comfortable suite with clear sitting, dining and sleeping areas.”

best places to visit in the United States for Christmastime

Leavenworth, Washington

By Karee of Our Woven Journey

Leavenworth, Washington is a small, Bavarian-themed city nestled just east of the Cascade Mountains in the United States. Its charm draws nearly one million visitors a year, with many of them coming to experience Christmas in the village.

Much of the ambiance is due to the half-million Christmas lights that decorate the city. Over 20,000 people come each weekend to see the lighting ceremonies that happen every Saturday and Sunday during the first three weekends of December.

Since Leavenworth is small, you’ll be able to walk to most of the shops and boutiques that line the streets. Be sure to start at the Nutcracker Museum and the Hat Shop as they are both very popular!

If there is snow on the ground when you visit, plan to take sleigh rides through the beautiful, evergreen forest. There are several places that offer rides and reservations are needed, so plan for this attraction.

Is feeding a real-life reindeer on your bucket list? You can make it happen at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm! You’ll need to buy tickets ahead of time since this is also a very popular thing to do.

Leavenworth is worth visiting any time of year, but for those wanting to experience the magic of Christmas, Leavenworth is one of the best American small towns to visit for Xmas.

The average high temperature for December is 34°F.   The snow season starts in October and lasts through March, with December getting 17 inches of snow on average!!! You’ll want to be sure to dress properly for this winter wonderland! 

If you’re planning a  trip to Seattle , Leavenworth is a great day trip to add to your agenda. It’s only about a two-hour drive, although you could easily spend more than one day there.

Sea-Tac International is the main airport for those flying from out of state.

Karee recommends the Bavarian Lodge. Located across from the Village center, it offers luxurious accommodations with incredible views of the Village and surrounding mountains. It also includes complimentary full breakfast buffet, heated outdoor pool, and two hot tubs.

best places to visit in the USA for Xmas

Baltimore, Maryland

By Terri of Female Solo Trek

Baltimore’s nickname is “Charm City” but during Christmas, it becomes “Jolly Charming City”. It is one of the best places to visit in the USA during the Christmas season.

Hampden is a tight-knit Baltimore neighborhood that is famous for its “Miracle on 34th Street!” Now in its 73rd year, this outdoor holiday exhibit causes traffic jams and happy smiles.

Parents dress their dogs as well as kids in reindeer antlers and Christmas sweaters. As cars crawl down 34th Street, passengers see traditional Baltimore rowhouses and porches transformed into twinkling holiday homes. More information on the 2021 Miracle on 34th Street program can be found at  Christmas Street.com .

Hampden has also hosted the Mayor’s Christmas Parade in the past. In some years, there have been 25,000 people along the 2.5 mile route. The performers included 160 marching units, bands, floats, local TV and radio personalities, over 100 Harley Davidson motorcycles, the Mummers of Philadelphia, Miss Yuletide and Miss Yuletide Jr. Santa Claus flew in for the festivities.

Don’t miss the Baltimore Parade of lighted Boats at historic Fells Point. Also, check out The Farmers Market which offers an array of wreaths and Christmas gifts.

If you can spare an extra day, take the MARC train to Washington DC’s Union Station and check out the Capitol Christmas tree . It is in walking distance!

Average high temperatures in Baltimore in December is 47 °F with 2.9 inches and 2.2 inches of snow.

Fly into Baltimore International Airport for a quick 12-mile drive to the neighborhood of Hampden.

Terri says, “If money is no object, book your stay at the Four Seasons waterfront luxury hotel.” Its location is amazing and offers beautiful rooms.

best Christmas beach vacations in America

Oahu, Hawaii

By Noel Morata of This Hawaii Life

Christmas in Oahu is special and different on the island than the mainland. You get all the fun decorations, colorful displays, Christmas fairs and special events but with a more tropical vibe, colors and gusto. 

In December, you can experience:

  • a fun Christmas parade;
  • Xmas lights and decorations at all the major venues and shopping centers;
  • a decorated night boat parade;
  • Christmas fares and holiday markets;
  • firework displays at the Hilton resort; and
  • orgeous store decorations.

However, all of these Christmas attractions have Hawaiian and tropical flare to wow you. Hot tropical flowers, birds, palm trees, and local imagery are included in traditional Christmas themes and colors to create a unique look, making it one of the best places to visit in the USA for Christmas.

Beyond the Christmas cheer, you can also enjoy some of the best things to do in Oahu no matter the time of year, such as hiking Diamond Head, visiting Pearl Harbor , and exploring downtown Honolulu.

The weather in Oahu is perfect and ranges from the mid 70s to mid 80s with low humidity, wonderful breezy weather and blue skies.

Visitors to the island fly into Honolulu International airport and most visitors stay around the tourist districts of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. It’s approximately 25 minutes by taxi or ride share.

Noel says, “There are many options to stay around Waikiki from boutique to luxury brands. However, the iconic place to have a real Oahu experience with beautiful decorations for the holidays would be to stay at The Royal Hawaiian fronting Waikiki Beach”

best places to visit in the USA for Christmas

Washington, DC

By Maggie of Pink Caddy Travelogue

Christmas in Washington, DC  is unlike any other place in the US! The nation’s capital goes all out for the holiday season, and it celebrates in a way only DC can.

Like decking out the White House. Yes, THE White House. During Christmas time, visitors can tour the Presidential residence and see the annual White House gingerbread cake, the dozens of differently decorated Christmas trees, and an 18 th -century nativity scene. Regardless of your political affiliation, a tour of the White House at Christmas is an amazing experience.

However, make sure you book your tour reservations through your Congressman’s office 3 months in advance. It is very popular and will sell out.

Another can’t miss experience is seeing the National Christmas tree and its surrounding 56 mini trees (one for each state and territory). The annual lighting has been a DC Christmas tradition since 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit the first tree. The Capitol also has its own decorated tree located just below the east steps.

Other must-dos include attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral and visiting the special Christmas exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden (they recreate DC landmarks using just plants!)

If you’re traveling with kids , definitely check out “Enchant DC” (the world’s largest light maze, hosted at Nationals Park), and Zoolights at the Smithsonian Zoo.

The best airport is Ronald Regan National Airport (it is international, despite the name). It’s right across the river from downtown DC. The driving time is 15 minutes, or you can take the metro directly from the airport.

The temperature in December can vary greatly. It can be in the 20s or in the 70s, but the average is in the 40s-50s. You can expect around 2.8 inches of rain and 2.5 inches of snowfall in December.

Maggie says, “The Willard is one of the most historic hotels in DC and is right next to the White House. It’s luxury, but you’ll be able to say you spent the night in the same place as every important world leader and diplomat who visits DC.”

best Christmas escape in United States

Vail, Colorado

By Daniela of Fox In The Forest

As one of the most  beautiful places in Colorado , Vail is one of the best places to visit in the USA for the Christmas season if you want a winter wonderland. With plenty of skiing adventures, European-inspired villages, and a whole lot of alpine goodness, spending Xmas in Vail should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.

Vail is a premier ski destination during the winter months and it is packed with fantastic ski resorts. However, if you want to explore beyond the slopes, there are plenty of Christmas-inspired activities to keep you entertained during your visit.

For a day spent in the mountains, a sleigh ride with a cup of hot chocolate in hand is a must, as well as a gondola ride to the top to get a first-hand view of the beauty of Vail Valley.

To get you into the holiday spirit, you should visit the Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor holiday market that will have you feeling as though you’ve landed in Europe. Closer to Christmas Eve, the annual Winterfest is an amazing event, with illuminated ice sculptures and Christmas lights that light up the entire town!

Temperatures in Vail in December range from 24°F to 43°F. In December, you can expect almost 3 inches of snow.

Vail is serviced by two airports: The closest one is Eagle Regional Airport (around a 40-minute drive) as well as Denver International Airport, which is around 120 miles east of Vail (around a two hour drive).

best cities in united states to visit for Christmas holidays

New Orleans, Louisianna

Ashlee Fechino of  The Happiness Function

New Orleans, Louisiana, has an exciting Christmas season. When most people think of New Orleans, they usually think of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in spring. However, it is one of the best cities to visit in the USA in December. Reasons being – New Orleans has some of fantastic lights and food to experience!

Many restaurants offer French food menus in honor of Réveillon celebrations which only happen during the month of December. Additionally, there are incredible Xmas light displays at hotels such as The Roosevelt Hotel, Hotel Monteleone, and The Bourbon Orleans.

During the month of December, NOLA typically has mild weather for folks wanting to escape the cold, perfect for sightseeing and exploring the town. However, be sure to pack some layers for the evening. You don’t want to miss walking around Bourbon Street (a.k.a. the French Quarter) and catching some live music on Frenchman Street!

If you are looking for a little more adventure in New Orleans and the weather is on the warmer side, don’t miss taking a swamp boat tour or visiting the historic Oak Alley Plantation. There are multiple tour companies to accommodate transportation to and from hotels on different days of the week or rent a car and do it yourself . They are both easy to reach from the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Did you know that you could hold your own Christmas parade in New Orleans, or hire a company that can put one together for you? All you have to do is get a permit from the city and you will get a police escort for free! For these and other amazing money-saving, safety, food and accommodation tips, please see  40 Best Travel Tips For New Orleans For First Time Travelers .

In December, temperatures average 65 degrees Fahrenheit with lows in the mid-40s. You can expect around 4.4 inches of rain.

The French Quarter is a quick 30-minute taxi ride from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).

Ashlee says, “Plan to stay at the historic Hotel Monteleone. Hotel Monteleone is famous for its Carousel Bar along with an impressive Christmas light display. Be sure to eat at Criollo inside – the turtle soup is a must! Hotel Monteleone is one block from Bourbon Street.”

best places to visit in the USA for Christmas

Alexandria, Virginia

By Brianna of The Casual Travelist

Alexandria, Virginia is a beautiful historic town located just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. While there are tons of  things to do in Alexandria  any time of year, it is one of the best Christmas vacations to take in the United States at Christmas time.

During the first weeks of December, this all American Colonial town celebrates the holidays with a Scottish flair. While you’re wandering the brick paved streets exploring the 18th century buildings, you’re as likely to hear a Scottish brogue as a southern drawl. Each year Alexandria  celebrates its Scottish heritage with the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade. Here, Scottish clans parade through town dressed in their finest tartans while bagpipes herald the arrival of Santa Claus.

After welcoming Santa in Scottish style, head over to the Carlyle House to see re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment set up camp to show how Christmas was celebrated in the Eighteenth century.

You can fly into any of Washington DC’s airports but Ronald Regan National Airport is the closest at only 5 miles away.

While weather can be variable, December temperatures average 45 o F during the day and 35 o F at night. You can expect 2.8 inches of rain and 2.2 inches of snow.

Brianna says, “The Alexandrian Hotel is in the heart of old town Alexandria and a great place to base your visit”

best places to travel in the USA for Christmas

Seattle, Washington

By Adria Saracino of The Emerald Palate

Seattle might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Christmas, but the city has a ton of holiday spirit. Plus, there are less tourists and snowy destinations only an hour away (Leavenworth is two!), so winter is the perfect time to visit one of the best Christmas destinations in the United States.

No matter the weather, there are a ton of Christmas activities in Seattle . For example, there are typically more than 50 holiday craft fairs around the greater Seattle area. The Pacific Northwest has a huge DIY culture, so handmade gifts are easy to come by.

Experiences more your thing? Check out one of the dozens of holiday shows in the city. Head to the classic Nutcracker Ballet or check out the reimagined hip hop and burlesque versions. Another option is to head to Winterfest where they transform the area underneath the Space Needle into a winter wonderland with events, shows, and craft markets.

It’s not Christmas without dazzling decorations, and Seattle has a ton. You can head to Zoo Lights to see fun light installations among the animals. Or you can go to a drive through neighborhood exhibit at the Lights of Christmas Festival or Dazzle .

You can experience Christmas in Seattle by flying into Sea-Tac International Airport and then driving 30 minutes to the city.

Winter temperatures are usually in the high 30s to 40s with around 3.3 inches of rain. However, if you’re lucky to visit during a winter storm you are in for a treat.

The city is extremely hilly and the local government is against using salt because it damages the road and is bad for the environment. So even with what east coasters might think of as a light dusting, the city shuts down for an unofficial snow day. And if it really snows like it has for at least a few days the past few years, you can expect to find people cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowboarding in the streets!

Adria says, “Everywhere you turn there will be Christmas festivities in Seattle, but if you want to stay in the middle of it all, get a hotel in downtown Seattle. One great option is the swank Fairmont Olympic Hotel with its Festival of Trees that transforms the lobby into a winter forest.

Another option is the more affordable Sheraton Grand, which hosts a huge Gingerbread Village installation in its lobby popular with kids.

best places to visit in the United States in December

Orlando, Florida

Christine of Live Love Run Travel

When looking for the best place to visit in the USA for Christmastime, make sure to put Orlando, Florida, on your list. There are plenty of things to do in Orlando at Christmas , from the theme park holiday events to local events unlike those you’ll see anywhere else.

The theme parks are a popular Xmas destination, but you can also enjoy touring the hotels at Disney without paying for theme park entry. For example, check out the massive Christmas Tree and the huge gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian.

Gaylord Palms also goes over the top at Christmas with their famous ICE! display and other Christmas shows and activities, including some that are free. The theme changes each year, but there are things for all ages to enjoy.

Light Up UCF is another fun and family-friendly place to enjoy at Christmas. With light shows, free movies, and ice skating, it’s a great spot to enjoy for both kids and adults.

Christmas in Orlando is a special time even without the cold and the snow – in fact, that may be the best part of visiting Orlando at Christmas!

To get to Orlando, fly into Orlando International Airport. From there, you can be in downtown Orlando, at the theme parks, or in many of the areas holding Christmas events in about 30 minutes.

Winter in Orlando is one of the best seasons to visit. No hurricanes and humidity (or less humidity at least), and cooler days. You can actually enjoy your time outdoors and not have to deal with the daily thunderstorms found in summertime.

Temperatures range greatly with average temperatures in the mid-70s. Some days can be in the 30s or 40s and others can still get into the upper 80s. There is around 2 inches of rain in December.

It’s a great place to escape the frigid temperatures up north.

For great rates for accommodation in Orlando, please take a look at the interactive map below.

best places to visit in the USA in December

Frankenmuth, Michigan

By Kris of My Michigan Travel

Frankenmuth, Michigan  is a small town known for its German heritage and adorable Bavarian-inspired architecture. Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” is fantastic year round, but it is one of the best places for Christmas spirit in the USA in December.

One of its top attractions is Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, which claims to be the world’s largest Christmas store. Inside, you’ll find a dizzying array of more holiday decorations and accessories than you could imagine. The store is always popular, but it’s absolutely bustling during the lead up to the holidays. You can shop for ornaments, trees, lights, and more, or take photos with one of the many larger-than-life displays.

Frankenmuth also hosts a traditional Christkindlmarkt during November and December. It features outdoor shopping booths like you’d find throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. You can stroll along the booths selling handmade gifts, décor, and food items. Grab a hot cocoa to sip for warmth! The only thing missing is the gluhwein (hot spiced wine).

Once you’re done, you can fill up on Frankenmuth’s famous family-style chicken dinners. Two competing restaurants – Zehnder’s and Bavarian Inn – serve warm, hearty food like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, buttered noodles, cranberry sauce, and more. You can wash it down with Hofbrauhaus beer straight from Munich if you’d like.

The closest international airport is Detroit-Metro. Frankenmuth is about an hour and a half north unless you hit rush hour traffic.

Average temperature in December is 32 o F. You can expect around 4.2 inches of snow. that rarely stays on the ground for long.

Kris says, “There are numerous hotels to choose from, but the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Zehnder’s Splash Village are the most fun.

Bavarian Inn is located across the famous wooden bridge and features multiple pools, waterslides, an arcade, and an indoor mini golf course.

Zehnder’s, located right next door to Bronner’s, has a whole indoor water park in case you’re missing sunny summer days.”

best cities to visit in the United States in June

Los Angeles, California

By Francesca of Homeroom Travel

Los Angeles is one of the best cities in the USA to visit for Christmas.

During the winter season, there are lots of enjoyable things to do. Do not miss the Descanso Gardens: Enchanted Forest of Lights. This 150-acre botanical garden puts on a huge walk-through light show every Xmas season. Another recommendation is to visit Universal Studios . The park is totally decked out in Christmas decorations and there are fun Christmas-themed snacks. 

For music lovers, a Christmas concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall makes for a fun evening. The LA Philharmonic normally puts on several Christmas sing-along concerts throughout December. 

The Christmas season in Los Angeles is fun. It is a warm escape but still feels like Christmas because there are massive amounts of decorations everywhere. There are entertaining events all across the city which makes for a unique winter escape.

To get to Los Angeles, you will want to fly into Los Angeles International Airport. This airport is located in Western Los Angeles and it will take about 30 minutes (without traffic) to get to various places across Los Angeles. 

During the winter months, the average weather is in the high 60s, which makes it the perfect escape for people who do not like the cold.

Francesca says, “To be in the best location, stay in Downtown Los Angeles. The Westin Bonaventure or the Millenium Biltmore are two great hotel choices.”

best Christmas city destination in America

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Paulina of On The Road

Milwaukee is a wonderful city for a Xmas destination. Top things and places to enjoy in December include Christkindlmarket which is less crowded than other Christmas markets. It hosts small wooden huts filled with treasures. You can also eat some yummy Christmas delicacies. Another one is the German Christmas Market, popular for all things German. This includes beer, food, BBQ, and mulled wine.

Do not miss “the Ward” on the first Friday of December, which is one of the most famous neighborhoods of Milwaukee. It has exciting fireworks, live reindeer, and Santa. The Holiday Lights Festival is also fantastic for its variety of shows. 

Wisconsin shines in lights and becomes the happiest during this time of the year. The Christmas markets make it special and bright. That is why Milwaukee is one of the best places to visit in the USA during Christmas.

Milwaukee is easily reached by air. The Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is just 10 minutes from downtown. If you are keen for a road trip, you can drive from Chicago, which would take about a day.

Weather 

The temperature of Milwaukee in December can range from 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit to -37.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wisconsin sees the highest snowfall during the months of December (around 3.6 inches), January and March. Therefore, pack heavy clothing for outdoor activities. 

Paulina says, “For an affordable stay, you can stay in downtown Milwaukee at County Clare Inn.

best places to visit in the United States in December

Sedona, Arizona

By Jenifer of The Evolista

During Xmas, Sedona is a fantastic holiday escape.

It hosts the festival of lights at Tlaquepaque where they have 6,000 luminarias that adorn the courtyards and walkways. Cheerful holiday displays dress up windows of galleries and restaurants, while live music and a visit from Santa add to the fun. In fact, there are multiple holiday events held in Downtown Sedona all month long.

No matter what time of year you visit, Sedona is well known for 2 things – some of the most amazing hikes and the presence of an energy vortex.

Discover both the healing energy and the best views on Sedona Vortex hikes . Devil’s Bridge is another terrific hike to a natural bridge that’s sure to be a hit for your holiday card photo. The best part is that these hikes are easy enough for most everyone and you get spectacular red rock vistas.

After flying into Phoenix airport, a 2 hour drive will get you to one of the best places to visit in the USA for Christmas.

Christmas in Sedona is festive and fun with average highs in the mid 50s, perfect for some of the prettiest hiking in the USA. While less than 4 days of rain is expected during the month, you might get lucky with a temporary sprinkling of snow on the gorgeous red rock landscape. 

Jenifer says, “Enchantment Resort is a luxurious resort with a spa that’s perfectly located at Boynton Canyon, one of the prettiest spots in town. In addition to their beautiful accommodations, they host multiple activities like guided hikes and mountain bike rides.”

best place to visit in the USA in December

Denver, Colorado

By Michelle of Moyer Memoirs

Denver is one of the best places to visit in the USA during the holiday season because it holds many festive events. There are light displays up and down the 16 th  Street Mall in downtown Denver, including the Mile High Tree. This 110-foot-tall immersive art display lights up with the holiday music. It is lovely to see and hear while strolling around the walk-thru exhibit.

Near the 16 th  Street Mall, the Christkindle Market is a holiday tradition for small businesses that sell hand-crafted artistic gifts and holiday treats. It is reminiscent of German Christmas markets with little wooden huts showcasing their wares, complete with live entertainment and authentic Bavarian pretzels and Glühwein.

Denver has many sites that are open year-round to enjoy even in the cold winter weather, including some great hikes. The Red Rock Amphitheatre should definitely be on your  Denver itinerary . It is only a short drive from downtown and offers beautiful trails in the crisp air of the holiday season.

To get here, the Denver International Airport (DIA) is 25 miles from the heart of downtown. 

December is normally the coldest month of the year with an average temperatures ranging from 46°F to 23°F.  Although it is chilly, it is very dry and the sky will most likely be clear, blue, and sunny. 

Unlike the snowy mountains around the city, it doesn’t snow much in the city of Denver. Typically, snow falls are a few days during December with barely an inch of accumulation.

Michelle says, “If you are staying in downtown Denver, the Curtis Hotel is a uniquely themed boutique hotel.  It has a different theme for each of its 13 guest room floors. The lobby is also themed and very entertaining.  It is a great location for walking around the 16 th  Street Mall and downtown Denver.”

best Christmas getaway in the united states

Chicago, Illnois

By Dymphe of Dymabroad

One of the best places for Christmas getaways in the United States is Chicago as there are lots of special things going on in the city.

For example, you can visit the Christkindlmarket. This is a very popular annual Christmas market taking place at Daley Plaza. You can shop for unique handcrafted Xmas gifts and eat delicious Christmas treats.

Besides that, going holiday shopping along the Magnificent Mile during this time is lovely. One of the best places is the shopping mall “Water Tower Place” which has lots of holiday decorations. To be immersed in lights, head over to Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden where you can walk along beautifully lit up trails.

Beyond the Christmas celebrations, Chicago has many amazing attractions to experience . Two of the best museums are the The Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum, both on Lake Michigan and near Millennium Park.

The Art Institute is one of the largest museums in North America and houses an impressive collection of impressionist art from some of the greatest artists of all time, such as Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh. You can get lost in the Field Museum’s amazing exhibits, including exploring Egyptian pyramids.

At Skydeck at Willis Tower, you have incredible panoramic views of the city. In Millennium Park, you can see the famous Cloud Gate sculpture. Also, during December, Millennium Park displays a huge Christmas tree and it is one of the most Instagrammable places in Chicago .

To get to Chicago, you can fly into O’Hare International Airport. From the airport, it takes about 30 minutes to drive to Downtown Chicago.

When visiting the city in December, you can expect an average temperature of 37°F and about 1.5 inches of rain and 2 inches of snowfall.

I have been to Chicago over twenty times. On my most recent trip, I stayed at the Fairfield Inn And Suites Chicago Downtown River North. I was very pleasantly surprised by the amazing location, comfortable beds and the excellent value.

best places to visit snowy winter wonderlands in united states

Lake Placid, New York

By Michael and Nicole of Affordable Family Travel

Lake Placid is a wonderful place to spend Christmas. Lake Placid provides the perfect Christmas atmosphere with its snow-covered mountains, a visit with Santa, and snuggling up by a warm fire at one of the lovely lodges in the village.

Enjoy the Lake Placid Village Holiday Stroll and pick up some last-minute gifts at any of the many great shops in the village. Head over to Santa’s Workshop in North Pole, NY only 20 minutes away where you can meet Santa and his reindeer. The Park offers rides, shows, and of course, Christmas treats.

Lake Placid was home to 2 Winter Olympics so winter is a great time to see the village in all of its glory.

The average temperature in Lake Placid, NY in December is 31 degrees Fahrenheit and they receive an average of 11 inches of snow during the month.

Michael and Nicole say, “Mirror Lake Inn is a quaint hotel with lake view rooms and a large fireplace in its common area. They have a spa and the town’s only 4 Diamond Restaurant. If you are looking for a  budget Lake Placid trip , Hampton Inn is located across the street from the lake with outdoor fire pits and an indoor pool.”

If you are looking for a Christmas destination in the United States, you have lots from which to choose. Whether you prefer a city or small town experience with or without lots of snow, or you wish to enjoy a tropical Christmas escape with gorgeous beaches and plenty of yuletide cheer, you will be thrilled with your choices in America.

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8 Great Warm Cities To Visit Around Christmas

warm places to visit during christmas time

Orlando, Florida / ESB Professional / Shutterstock

  • Activities and Interests
  • Destinations
  • Holiday Travel
  • Seasonal Travel
  • Winter Travel

When you think of Christmas, you probably think of sleigh bells, snow flurries, and fleece coats. But for some travelers, the idea of a white Christmas is far less than holly jolly. These travelers seek warmer climes that still retain a festive spirit. Fortunately, there are plenty of destinations around the world that are both merry and mild.

Here are 8 warm cities to visit during the Christmas season.

Orlando, Florida.

aphotostory / Shutterstock

1. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is home to the Happiest Place on Earth , and the city sparkles with magic come Christmas. Every holiday season, both the city and its resident theme parks and hotels come alive with thousands of lights, glittering garlands, and the sound of Christmas carols. Add to that an average daytime temperature of 73 degrees all December long. Does it really get more wonderful than that?

Of course, Walt Disney World adds an extra sprinkling of glitter when it comes to the holidays. All four theme parks put on quite the holiday spectacle , which is always wonderful when spending Christmas with the entire family in tow . Start with the Magic Kingdom, where Cinderella Castle glows with white lights, snow falls on Main Street, and Mickey hosts his very own Very Merry Christmas Party . There are also fireworks and a holiday parade. Another highlight is the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays , included with regular admission, which features seasonal sweets from around the world, a nightly Candlelight Processional , fireworks, and live musical performances. The festival runs from November 18 to December 30.

Of course, you don’t have to have park access to celebrate the holidays in Orlando . Visit Lake Eola Park’s Walt Disney Amphitheater in downtown Orlando between December 1 and January 6 to gape at the 72-foot Christmas tree that dazzles crowds with a synchronized light, music, and fountain show. Then, explore a world of handcarved ice sculptures based on the Christmas classic A Christmas Story . The annual holiday celebration features more than 2 million pounds of carved ice.

Tybee Island in Georgia.

SFpAerial / Shutterstock

2. Tybee Island, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia , is one of America’s most beloved destinations, known for its Gothic Revival architecture, heavy-hanging willow trees, and alluring Southern charm. But just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah is Georgia’s best-kept secret , and one of the most charming (and warm) places to spend the holidays.

Tybee Island, a 5-mile beach full of history and hidden gems, is the perfect place to enjoy an under-the-radar beach holiday. While the rest of the country bundles up, Tybee Island’s mild winter temperatures provide a haven for travelers looking to trade the snow for some sand. And Christmas is one of the most magical times to explore this slice of the South.

Tybee Island’s small-town charm is on full display during the holidays. Don’t miss the town’s Christmas parade ! If you extend your stay through the New Year, you will be treated to one of the largest fireworks displays in the Southeast. Tybee Island slows down during the winter months, making travel there a quiet, more intimate experience, and the off-season hotel rates are a great value. Choose from beachfront hotels or historic bed and breakfasts at heavily discounted rates.

Gustavia in Saint Barthélemy.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

3. Gustavia, Saint Barthélemy

One of the more refined Caribbean island destinations, Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barts, makes an idyllic getaway for a warm-weather Christmas. This tropical haven is renowned for its beautiful beaches, A-list restaurants and hotels, and, of course, its delicious December weather, with temperatures ranging between 75 and 86 degrees .

For the past 10 years, the tourism committee on St. Barts has hosted the annual Christmas Village on the dock at the Port of Gustavia. Picture streets adorned with sparkling lights and sidewalks lined with local artisans debuting their newest lines just in time for holiday shopping. St. Barts also hosts spectacular holiday markets that include culinary treats native to the island. On December 9, a Santa Claus parade will take to the streets, with the man himself making a special appearance. The Christmas Village will be open on nine days in December (December 7-9, 14-16, and 21-23) from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Extend your trip through the New Year to enjoy the New Year’s Eve Regatta , which departs from the capital, Gustavia, on December 31. A mesmerizing fireworks display will take place in the harbor at midnight, and there will be live music on the docks. Tip: The best place to see the fireworks show is up above Cour Vendôme or on the docks of the Port of Gustavia.

Willemstad in Curaçao.

emperorcosar / Shutterstock

4. Willemstad, Curaçao

We can’t deny that the Caribbean is a splendid option for travelers wanting a warm-weather Christmas. That’s why Curaçao , with its rich European heritage, is at the top of our list. This Dutch island is a December paradise, with year-round sunshine and 80-degree temperatures . Curacao has 35 cove-like beaches, electric blue water, and unique colonial architecture that transports travelers to Europe for a fraction of the price and sans jet lag.

Christmas is a wonderful time to explore Curaçao. The yearly holiday celebration begins when Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) arrives on November 18 in Willemstad on a boat that, legend has it, comes from Europe. A crowd greets him as he enters Sint Anna Bay on a tugboat decorated with flags, throwing candy and goodies to the children lined up on the shore. After passing the iconic Handelskade backdrop, he parades through the city on horseback, singing festive songs and doling out candy and gingerbread. The night before he leaves Curaçao, on December 6, children put their shoes by their fireplace or outside their home and fill them with hay and carrots for Sinterklaas’s horse to munch on as he delivers their presents.

Along with the holiday cheer that Sinterklaas brings, the Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad is festively lit, while the streets and buildings of the capital are decorated with Christmas colors, making it the perfect winter wonderland in the warm, tropical Caribbean.

Barcelona in Spain.

Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock

5. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a city rich in culture, which makes it a fabulous destination for a warm Christmas getaway on the Mediterranean. With temperatures hovering in the 60s , travelers can spend their days outdoors exploring the colorful Park Güell , basking in the glory of La Sagrada Família , and checking out the stunning Museu Picasso .

During Christmastime, Spain’s beloved city becomes even more spectacular. The festivities include Nativity scenes scattered throughout the city, a variety of Christmas markets, Christmas Eve Mass at almost every church, and, of course, the traditional Tió de Nadal , the Christmas log. The log is “fed” for days leading up to Christmas, and when it is ready, the locals sing to it and hit it with sticks so that the presents that are hiding inside fall out.

But the party doesn’t stop there. For 12 days following Christmas, Barcelona’s festivities continue, leading up to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6. The feast commemorates the day the Three Kings visited the child Jesus, presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Vineyards in Paso Robles, California.

aspen rock / Shutterstock

6. Paso Robles, California

This December destination boasts zero inches of snow per year and an average of 286 days of sunshine. We’ll drink to that — literally. Paso Robles, California, is a beautiful getaway along the Central Coast wine trail, with December highs in the 60s and lots of sunshine.

Come Christmastime, the city celebrates with its annual Christmas Light Parade . This year, the parade will take place on December 7 in downtown Paso Robles. The Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase takes place on December 14. This annual community Christmas party attracts a cast of familiar characters, including Ebenezer Scrooge, the Snow Queen, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and more. Visitors enjoy caroling, floats, entertainment, open houses, cotton candy, cookies, and hot chocolate.

To celebrate the holidays with a glass of the native beverage, consider visiting the 46 East Holiday Open House hosted by the Wineries of 46 East . These wineries and hotels are located on California State Route 46 East, and at their annual holiday open house, locals and visitors alike are welcome to shop and sip at the member wineries. Each of the wineries opens its doors in holiday style, offering special sales along with seasonal treats. It’s the perfect place to slip into the holiday spirit — and get some Christmas shopping done in the process.

Tuscon, Arizona.

7. Tucson, Arizona

The stark, rugged desert of the American Southwest is alluring at any time of year, but Christmastime is without a doubt one of the best times to visit. Tucson, Arizona, in particular, makes an ideal warm-weather getaway in December and with plenty of things to do . With an average high of 66 degrees , the weather provides plenty of opportunities to get outside and be active over the holidays.

Start with Saguaro National Park . Rent a bike and enjoy the Loop, more than 130 miles of car-free paths that encircle the city, or hike one of the many trails that lead to the five mountain ranges rising up beyond Tucson.

Tucson’s downtown scene is the heart of the city, pulsing with culture, art, and culinary delights. In fact, Tucson was one of the first cities to be recognized as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in the United States. The distinction recognizes the city’s culinary and agricultural heritage; food has been grown in the region for more than 4,000 years.

This year marks the 70th Annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights , one of the longest-running festivals of its kind in the country and a Tucson Christmas tradition. As part of the event, homeowners in the Midtown neighborhood deck out their houses in flashy lights and Christmas decor. The two-week event attracts thousands of visitors each year. In fact, the neighborhood was developed in the 1940s with a Festival of Lights-style display in mind. Developer C.B. Richards visited a similar neighborhood in Beverly Hills in the 1930s and kept Christmastime in mind while designing Winterhaven. You’ll love the enormous pine trees and Christmas Avenue.

Charleston, South Carolina.

8. Charleston, South Carolina

There’s no better place to spend the holidays than the Holy City itself . Charleston, South Carolina , known for its comfortable winter temperatures, fantastic food scene , architecture, and art transforms into a real-life Charles Dickens scene every December. Travelers can relish the ambiance of Christmas circa 1828 with city-wide events like James Island’s 30th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights and the candlelight tours at the 19th-century Nathaniel Russell House.

The Holiday Festival of Lights runs from November 15 to January 1 at James Island County Park. Enjoy the brilliant holiday lights displays as well as treats from Santa’s Sweet Shop, special events, giant greeting cards created by area students, and more. The candlelight tours take guests back in time on a 45-minute visit to the historic Nathaniel Russell House, complete with a glass of wine following the tour.

Those looking to spend time in the heart of the Historic District can stay in the Southern Sleigh Bell Suite at French Quarter Inn , which goes all out with its holiday decor, including garlands, mistletoe, and a Christmas tree. Guests can enjoy freshly baked warm cookies and milk while cozying up to the fireplace. Another option is HarbourView Inn , where Christmas carolers appear with Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Image of Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger is a freelance travel writer based in New York and Mexico. Since 2009 she has been traveling the world professionally looking for the next great adventure and story. Born and raised in New York, she became entranced by the Mexican landscape, people, and culture in 2013 and has since made it her second home.

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23 US Cities That Go All Out for Christmas

By Caitlin Morton

23 of the Best Places to Spend Christmas in America

Think of the phrase “Christmas in America” and you’ll likely imagine the usual suspects: giant trees festooned in twinkling lights, people of all ages caroling and singing “Silent Night,” ubiquitous tributes to the jolly man in red named Santa Claus, and gingerbread. Lots of gingerbread. But take a closer look and you may be surprised: Christmas celebrations across the United States can look very different, depending on the environment, local history, and present-day cultures of the people who live there. Not everything is a winter wonderland—in fact, maybe a warm-weather destination for the holidays is exactly what you need. Regardless of temperature, these 23 destinations are some of the best places to spend Christmas this year.

These places below are known for the ways they come alive at Christmastime: from the glitzy and glam festivities of big cities like New York or Chicago to the Santa-hats-and-shorts vibes of Santa Fe and St. Augustine. Of course, your Christmas vacation ideas in the US are far from limited to just these places. Here's one idea: Head out on a multi-destination road trip to check out some fantastical drive-through Christmas lights displays . And while there are a great many places to celebrate Christmas around the world , experience one Christmas in America and you’ll be a person changed for the better.

Here are some of the best places to go for Christmas in the United States this year, ranging all types of atmosphere and styles: from Kennebunkport to Las Vegas , from Dallas to North Pole, Alaska (note the missing the ). No matter where you choose, there are plenty of activities to participate in, events to check out, and places to stay. Happy holidays, y’all.

This article has been updated since its original publish date. All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you book something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why we go Located about 20 minutes south of Washington DC Alexandria is a pictureperfect place to spend the holiday...

Alexandria, Virginia

Why we go: Located about 20 minutes south of Washington, DC, Alexandria is a picture-perfect place to spend the holiday season. The Old Town’s row houses and centuries-old brick streets look even more charming when adorned with snow and Christmas wreaths, and you can expect a ton of seasonal activities. The festivities kick off along the Potomac River shoreline with the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (December 2 at 5:30 p.m.) and the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade (December 3). Come Christmas Eve, try to spot Waterskiing Santa along the Potomac River.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Get a taste of the Christmases of yore at nearby Mount Vernon (George Washington’s former home), where you can take a candlelit guided tour, and enjoy some cider and cookies (with special events on November 24 and 25, December 1, 2, 8, 9, and 17).

Stay here: Book a stay at The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection , which is on King Street, in the heart of Alexandria’s shopping and entertainment area.

Biltmore Estate in Asheville during Christmas

Asheville, North Carolina

Why we go: Asheville is easily one of the country’s best places to spend Christmas, offering all the light displays and holiday shopping—not to mention the perfect tucked-away location in the Blue Ridge Mountains —any vacationer could wish for. Some of the city’s seasonal offerings include a lit-up wonderland at the North Carolina Arboretum , and the 29th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn (on display from November 27 to January 2).

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Christmas at Biltmore Estate is just as spectacular as it sounds, with 100 hand-decorated trees, 10,000 ornaments, and 100,000 holiday lights drawing visitors through the new year in January.

Stay here: Cozy up in The Foundry , a hotel that opened in 2018 with a James Beard-nominated chef running its in-house restaurant. It’s Asheville’s best boutique hotel, filled with authentic touches—from lots of exposed brick to the restaurant’s modern spins on comfort food.

Why we go This Christmas visit the little town of Bethlehem—in Pennsylvania that is. The citys Germaninspired Christmas...

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Why we go: This Christmas, visit the little town of Bethlehem—in Pennsylvania, that is. The city’s German-inspired Christmas City Village and Christkindlmarkt (November 17 to December 17) feature rotating displays by artisans, live music, and glass-blowing demonstrations. After stocking up on handmade ornaments and nutcrackers, take a carriage ride through Downtown Bethlehem to take in all the Christmas lights.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: The Winter Light Spectacular (through December 31) at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, about 30 minutes northwest of Bethlehem, features more than a million lights and illuminated scenes throughout the zoo.

Stay here: The Sayre Mansion Inn has warm and comfortable rooms, private six-course dinners, and beautiful Christmas decorations. If you want to venture out into the town, Lehigh University, St. Luke’s Hospital, the Steel Stacks Performing Arts Center, and the Wind Creek Casino are all nearby.

The Reindeer Farm Bowling Green

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Why we go: Normally, you wouldn’t expect an Arctic experience in southern Kentucky, but Bowling Green is shaking up the holiday game this year. The Christmas spirit is definitely alive at the city’s Reindeer Farm , where families can feed reindeer, watch holiday movies, and drink cocoa while writing letters to Santa. (There's even wine tasting for the grown-ups.)

The one thing to get you in the spirit: End your festive vacation at the SoKY Marketplace Ice Rink , an outdoor rink where you can skate with Santa and the Grinch.

Stay here: Opened in mid-2019, the Lodge at Olde Stone offers 12 cozy, Kentucky-inspired suites and a restaurant serving up Southern dishes. And if you’re a golfer, be sure to pack your clubs: the property boasts 9- and 18-hole courses onsite.

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Branson Missouri

Branson, Missouri

Why we go: Sort of like a family-friendly little sister to Las Vegas, Branson pulls out all the stops every holiday season. The Ozark Mountain town transforms into a winter wonderland with 1,500 Christmas trees in and around town, ice skating under the Branson Ferris Wheel, and several drive-through light displays .

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Head straight to the 1880s-themed amusement park Silver Dollar City for the annual An Old Time Christmas festival. The party lasts until December 30 and includes 6.5 million lights, 1,000 trees (including an eight-story one), outdoor shows, parades, and, of course, rides.

Stay here: Chateau on the Lake is one of the nicest hotels in town, with beautiful lake views, a full-service luxury spa, and the Chateau Marina, where activities include fishing, water skiing, and tubing (though you may want to wait for warmer weather—or not, if that’s your thing).

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Why we go: Charleston is the perfect destination for any fan of the holidays, but not of the frigid weather that often comes with the season. There are plenty of Christmas-oriented events and festivities in the city that are fit for every type of tourist. Check out the Festival of Trees at The Charleston Place , where 16 Christmas trees, each one decorated by a local Charleston business or organization, will be on display throughout the beautiful hotel’s second floor. For something that sounds (and is) magnificent, catch The Sound of Charleston , where you can hear the music that tells the city’s story: gospel spirituals, music by George Gershwin, Civil War songs, and jazz. For something pleasantly aquatic, head over to the South Carolina Aquarium, which presents the dazzling light show Aquarium Aglow after the sun goes down on select evenings this November and December (be sure to say hi to “Scuba Claus” in the Great Ocean Tank).

The one thing to get you in the spirit: As far as classically Christmassy merrymaking goes, it doesn’t get any more traditional (minus the freezing temperatures) than the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park featuring a spectacular light show that features over two million tiny light bulbs.

Stay here: There are plenty of options in South Carolina’s beautiful port city: There’s the perennial favorite French Quarter Inn , which welcomes guests with a glass of Champagne and is just a few steps away from the famous Charleston City Market. Meanwhile, The Vendue , the city’s first art hotel concept, offers an ever-evolving experience—the hotel has a full-time docent and rotating exhibits. And for something classic, there’s Hotel Bennett , voted the very best hotel in Charleston by Traveler readers in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2023 ; its old-world grandeur and good ol’ Southern charm make this Marion Square hotel irresistible. (The place also hosts a holiday tea on Thursdays and Fridays until Christmas.)

Chicago Christmas

Chicago, Illinois

Why we go: From its European-inspired Christkindlmarket (from November 17 to December 24) to light shows galore (there’s the Let It Shine drive-through Christmas lights display), Chicago knows a thing or two about embracing the Christmas spirit (and freezing temperatures). Can’t-miss activities include visiting the 51-foot Christmas tree in Millennium Park and cozying up in a heated igloo at The Godfrey Hotel .

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Be dazzled by 2.5 million LEDs at ZooLights (from November 17 through January 7), an annual light festival held at Lincoln Park Zoo. Check out the event’s calendar for sensory-friendly visit times.

Stay here: As far as hotels go, travelers truly have their pick of the litter in the Windy City. One top choice is The Langham, Chicago , housed in a landmark Mies van der Rohe building along the Chicago River. It's just a Chicago hotdog’s throw away from Magnificent Mile, where you can get all your holiday shopping done. For the sportier among us, there’s the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel , which has a strong local following for its historic lobby, indoor bocce, foosball in its game room, and the gem-like Milk Room bar, among other things. On the rooftop, and mostly enclosed by an atrium, Cindy’s cranks it up with large format cocktails, shareable dishes, and some of the best views of Millennium Park.

Galleria Dallas

Dallas, Texas

Why we go: Proving you don’t need cold temperatures to get in the Christmas spirit, the holiday celebrations in Dallas put most northern cities to shame. Most notable is Holiday at the Arboretum (now through January 5), a Christmas village with millions of lights, a 50-foot tree with lights animated to music, and visits with Santa Claus. Elsewhere in town, you can drive through the Dallas Zoo Lights route (from November 17 to January 2) and skate next to the country’s tallest indoor Christmas tree at the Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center .

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Throw a few back at Miracle , a Christmas-themed pop-up bar that returns to Dallas this year at the cocktail bar Royal 38 in Uptown Dallas.

Stay here: If you really want a festive experience, check in at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek , where the grounds are beautiful and the food is so tasty, you could dine on property every night.

Denver Colorado

Denver, Colorado 

Why we go: Unwrap the magic of the holidays in Denver this season with special events and millions of twinkling lights. Enjoy a family outing to the Denver Zoo Lights , or a fun day of shopping and ice skating downtown. Get a dose of culture with a viewing of A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker (see the full calendar here ), then visit the Mile High Tree at the 16th Street Mall (it’s actually 110 feet tall, but that’s still pretty impressive).

The one thing to get you in the spirit: The Denver Christkindlmarket (one of the best German markets in the country) returns to Civic Center Park this winter, open daily now through December 23.

Stay here: The Crawford Hotel , a boutique property in LoDo’s Union Station, boasts Art Deco rooms, and the city’s most beautiful lobby. Soaring ceilings and sky-high chandeliers hang overhead, while oversized sofas and leather chairs create a casual and bustling “living room” frequented by travelers and locals alike.

Kennebunkport Inn

Kennebunkport, Maine

Why we go: If you’re wondering where to go for Christmas celebrations unlike anywhere else, look no further. Every December, this tiny New England town bursts with holiday cheer during its annual Christmas Prelude ; check out the site and you’ll see a live countdown to the event’s start date—it’s that highly anticipated. It’s an 11-day bash that’s about as New England as it gets: one of the main attractions is a tree made of lobster traps. Speaking of, the legendary lobster rolls at hotspots like Scales , The Highroller Lobster Co. , and Miyake will make you forget about gingerbread and sugar plums altogether.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Santa Claus’s arrival at the Christmas Prelude on a lobster boat.

Stay here: According to this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards, Traveler readers love the 14-room Cape Arundel Inn & Resort for its oceanside location and restaurant serving up fresh seafood—and, unlike a lot of Maine resorts, it’s actually open during the winter months.

The LINQ Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

Why we go: If you thought Las Vegas was dazzling before, just wait until you see it decked out for Christmas. Basically, the entire Strip transforms into a winter wonderland full of festive events for the entire family. This year's activities include rooftop ice skating at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (beginning December 2), colorful displays outside The LINQ promenade , a 6-foot-tall gingerbread man at ARIA , and a massive holiday display—complete with a 42-foot Christmas tree—at the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens .

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Catch an iconic show at the Fountains of Bellagio to see performances set to “Santa Baby,” “Carol of the Bells,” and other holiday classics.

Stay here: It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to the hotels on the Strip in Las Vegas , especially as each property tries to outdo each other—whether for the holidays or just around the year. That said, for a classic experience, stay at The Venetian . The whole place is so marvelously over-the-top that it doesn’t matter that it looks nothing like the real Venice . That’s not the point. This is Vegas, baby.

Nashville Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Why we go: The Music City is all about the—wait for it—music during the holiday season. From November 10 through January 1, enjoy “Country Christmas” at Gaylord Opryland , with tons of Christmas shows, plus ice skating and acres of light displays. Or head to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and take the two-mile drive through Jingle Beat , a light show set to remixed versions of classic Christmas carols. And when in doubt, you can always catch a yuletide show at the Grand Ole Opry .

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Given the Christmas season, a hotel named Noelle seems as perfect a place as any to spend the season. Its Holiday Glow Package is a nice deal, but even cooler is its Ralphie’s Christmas experience, inspired by A Christmas Story, which features Oval-tinis and other seasonal bites (happening in the hotel’s Hidden Bar until January 8).

Stay here: Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Stay at the Noelle—officially Noelle, Nashville, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. It’s in the center of the downtown Nashville action, and its emphasis on art, design, and local artists and designers will help you get to know the city all the more.

New Orleans at Christmas

New Orleans, Louisiana

Why we go: It’s no surprise that New Orleans leans into the holiday season, but we still get all tingly thinking about Christmas in the city. NOLA lights up with events like LUNA Fête , where the Central Business District around Lafayette Square fills up with installations and animated graphics from December 7 to 10. City Park also becomes a wonderland for the entire month with Celebration in the Oaks (November 23 to December 30), a festival with vendors, food and drink stands, and decorations adorning the centuries-old oak trees.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: The annual Christmas Eve lighting of the bonfires along the banks of the Mississippi River is a seasonal tradition that's as authentically “New Orleans” as they come.

Stay here: The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans has lots of holiday offerings this year, including gingerbread house building and a four-course dinner on Christmas Eve.

New York City Skating

New York City

Why we go: There’s no shortage of ways to make your New York City Christmas magical, whether it’s ice skating at Central Park, window shopping along Fifth Avenue, visiting the tree at Rockefeller Center, seeing the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, or lurking around 34th Street hoping to witness a miracle.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Prepare to be incredibly and thoroughly overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the Christmas spirit in this Brooklyn neighborhood, which famously goes all out on the holiday decorations each year. Think candy cane lanes, giant snowmen, illuminated snowflakes, and too many glowing Santa Claus figures than the census can count. Lights go up after Thanksgiving and last through the New Year, so whether you’re driving through in a car or taking the pedestrian route, there’s plenty of time to take in the wall-to-wall displays of life-size nutcrackers, enormous twinkling trees, and lawn ornament reindeer. Big sleigh.

Stay here: Easy answer: The Plaza . If you've ever watched Home Alone 2 , you’ll recognize it as the hotel where young Kevin McCallister, while lost in New York, lived lavishly in a posh suite for the holidays. Fittingly, the hotel has a “Home Alone 2: Fun in New York” experience package, offered throughout the year, that lets guests mimic memorable moments from the movie. It includes a limousine ride all over the city to landmarks like Central Park and Radio City Music Hall, a large cheese pizza (to be eaten in the limo, naturally), and the Home Alone sundae, made to fit Kevin’s exacting taste (specifically: 16 scoops of assorted ice cream, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, M&M’s, brownie bits, chocolate, caramel, and raspberry sauce). If a more traditional Christmas is what you’re looking for, there’s also the “Suitest Season of All” package that comes with a seven-foot-tall decorated Balsam Hill tree placed directly in your suite.

Newport Beach California

Newport Beach, California

Why we go: The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is one of the longest-running holiday festivals in the entire country, celebrating its 115th anniversary this year from December 13 to 17. (To compare, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting has been running for 90 years.) The “parade” takes place in the harbor of Newport Beach, where yachts, boats, and kayaks have been known to show off up to $50,000 worth of decorations to millions of visitors.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: View the parade from Balboa Island , where the decorated houses threaten to upstage the passing boats.

Stay here: The nautical, all-American feel at Lido House, Autograph Collection fits in perfectly with the theme of the holiday events—especially with the addition of bright, colorful Christmas decorations in the cottages.

North Pole Alaska

North Pole, Alaska

Why we go: Even though this North Pole is 1,700 miles south of the true North Pole, the quaint Alaskan town is 100 percent saturated with Christmas cheer. Most famous for the Santa Claus House (the self-proclaimed “official” home of St. Nick), the North Pole’s nominal spirit even extends to its street names: Snowman Lane, Saint Nicholas Drive, Holiday Road, and Santa Claus Lane, which has light poles shaped like candy canes. Just as adorable is the town’s post office, which gets flooded with tens of thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus each year.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: The annual tree-lighting ceremony has plenty of photo ops with Santa himself.

Stay here: The North Pole Cabins are comfortable and warm log cabin retreats, located just a mile from the Santa Claus House.

Snowfest at Park City Mountain

Park City, Utah

Why we go: As if the world-class skiing isn’t reason enough to visit Park City this winter, the town also happens to be a wonderful place to spend Christmas. The former Olympic city has ample opportunities for skiing, fly fishing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding—with no shortage of resorts to warm up in between runs.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Hop on a 90-minute train ride with the North Pole Express at Heber Valley Railroad, where you can sip hot cocoa and meet Mrs. Claus.

Stay here: The 12-room Washington School House is just a hop away from Park City’s lit-up Main Street, and its Christmas decorations are some of the prettiest ever seen. In nearby Deer Valley, there’s also the iconic Stein Eriksen Lodge , a luxurious chalet with easy ski-in/ski-out access. And just 25 minutes from downtown Park City Auberge Resorts’ The Lodge at Blue Sky is a perfect place to unwind in luxury.

Holiday Luminaria Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Why we go: Santa Fe’s already-beautiful plaza becomes downright magical with the addition of Christmas lights—but the holiday spirit doesn’t start and stop there. The city also offers midnight mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi , holiday exhibits at the New Mexico Museum of Art , holiday flamenco performances at El Flamenco Cabaret , and seasonal shopping at the Winter Indian Market. Even when Christmas is officially over, you can keep busy at Taos Ski Valley and Ski Santa Fe —both just an easy drive away.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Santa Fe’s annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk , a Christmas Eve event consisting of farolitos (paper bags filled with sand and topped with a votive candle) lining the streets and walls of adobe buildings, is sure to get you in a pleasant and festive mood for the occasion.

Stay here: Condé Nast Traveler ’s Readers’ Choice Award favorite Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi has a tangible warmth to it, with gaslit kiva fireplaces and hand-carved four-poster beds adorning the rooms.

Seattle at Christmas

Seattle, Washington

Why we go: Aside from the delightful sight of a Christmas tree atop the Space Needle, there are plenty of reasons to visit Seattle over the holidays. Your one-stop shop for holiday cheer is Winterfest at Seattle Center (November 24 to December 31), which has family-friendly activities like train rides and ice sculpting demonstrations. There’s also a huge celebration just eight miles east of Seattle in the town of Bellevue: Snowflake Lane (November 24 to December 24), a nightly light show with caroling and snow machines ensuring a white Christmas.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Sheraton Grand Seattle ’s annual Gingerbread Village is probably Seattle’s most beloved holiday tradition, in which the city’s top architecture firms and culinary teams get together to create next-level gingerbread houses. This year’s event runs from November 21 to New Year’s Day.

Stay here: With its mountain lodge interiors, The Edgewater Hotel is one of the best places to cozy up in the Pacific Northwest. If you like to fall asleep while staring out at gentle waves glistening in the moonlight, you won’t find a better spot in the city.

Seneca Falls at Christmas

Seneca Falls, New York

Why we go: It’s a Wonderful Life may have been shot on an RKO soundstage in Los Angeles, but the fine folks of Seneca Falls , New York, swear that their five-square-mile upstate hamlet is the inspiration for the real Bedford Falls . Each December, they host an array of old-timey activities to prove it. This year, the event runs from December 7 to 10 and will include special film screenings, gingerbread house contests, and museum exhibits.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: The “It's a Wonderful Bonfire” event on Friday, December 8, which includes caroling, a visit from Santa, and a tree-lighting ceremony.

Stay here: The Gould Hotel has elegant rooms and a restaurant serving hearty, local meals that will warm you from the inside out.

Why we go Christmas in St. Augustine is truly something to behold. The holiday season kicks off this year with the citys...

St. Augustine, Florida

Why we go: Christmas in St. Augustine is truly something to behold. The holiday season kicks off this year with the city’s annual Christmas Parade, then continues through January 28 with the famous Nights of Lights festival. During the celebration, St. Augustine glows with three million tiny white lights over the Bridge of Lions and through 20 city blocks in the historic district. Bonus: You can enjoy the whole show without wearing a coat and gloves, because, you know, Florida.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Climb aboard the Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour, which departs nightly from November 19 through January 28.

Stay here: The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens pairs all the charm of a bed and breakfast with all the amenities of a true luxury hotel. No little detail is overlooked, from interesting on-site activities (like watercolor painting in the courtyard) to immaculate turndown service. The hotel has an age minimum of 16, making this a great retreat for harried parents.

St. Louis at Christmas

St. Louis, Missouri

Why we go: It’s been almost 80 years since Judy Garland first graced the world with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at the end of Meet Me in St Louis , and the Missouri city has embraced its role as one of America’s yuletide capitals ever since. Make sure you hit all the classics, like Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo, the poinsettia show at Jewel Box in Forest Park , and ice skating at Steinberg Rink . For the third year running, there's even a Polar Express -themed train ride at the Union Station development.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Walk among a million dazzling lights at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s annual Garden Glow , which runs from November 18 to January 6.

Stay here: You can’t beat the glittering, Gateway Arch-facing views at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis .

Washington DC

Washington, D.C.

Why we go: There are few holiday displays in the nation that compare with Washington, DC’s National Christmas Tree, but other seasonal perks include private igloos at the Watergate Hotel, the Downtown Holiday Market (now through December 23), and a glorious absence of field trip groups in the Smithsonian museums.

The one thing to get you in the spirit: Make it a priority to amble over to the Ford’s Theatre, which puts on an annual run of A Christmas Carol for the holidays.

Stay here: The InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C., an IHG Hotel , is just a few blocks away from the White House and National Christmas Tree, and offers a holiday afternoon tea and tons of gorgeous decorations. You’ve heard it a thousand times: “There's no place like home for the holidays.”

Skyline Lodge

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Marcie in Mommyland

13 Best Warm Places to Visit in December in the USA

Posted on Last updated: January 13, 2024

Home » Holidays » 13 Best Warm Places to Visit in December in the USA

13 Best Warm Places to Visit in December in the USA

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Looking for some sunshine this winter break? Find out the best warm places to visit in December in the USA  for families for a warm Christmas.

This top warm places to visit in december in the usa for a warm christmas post was written by family travel expert marcie cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, i may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog..

Are you tired of freezing your booty off while staying home for the Christmas holiday?

Perhaps you’re not looking forward to spending the winter months shoveling excessive amounts of dumped snow or locking up your brakes while sliding on black ice.

Sounds like you’re suffering from the winter blues, and we totally get you. How about heading somewhere warm for Christmas this year instead?

Here are some of the warm places to visit in December in the US and some amazing ways to relax this Christmas season.

Want a different Christmas? Try to these warm places to visit in December!

Best Warm Places to Visit in December in the USA for Your Winter Vacation

How about a magical beach getaway this Christmas season? The white sand beaches and the greenish-blue waters of Maui will be the most relaxing and tropical Christmas ever, and why we picked this as one of the best warm weather destinations!

Maui is one breathtaking location if you're looking for beautiful and warm places to visit in December.

Back at home, you don’t get sunsets like these around the holidays. How about snorkeling with sea creatures, sunbathing along the beach, or hiking some epic trails in Maui?

If you’re afraid that Maui won’t celebrate Christmas with decorations and lighting, you would be wrong. There are even holiday shops at Wailea for last-minute gift ideas.

If you have plenty to splurge, plan your pampering and stay at Honua Kai Resort & Spa or the Fairmont Kea Lani . Both offer a relaxing Christmas on the beach this year.

Find out the coolest holiday events in Hawaii .

Save Money with Points Here are the best credit card offers for families who travel and want to use points to pay for airfare and hotels.

Another gorgeous beach spot to crash in the winter months would be Honolulu. Christmas morning, you might walk along the beach and catch Santa surfing some mean waves.

You don’t need to worry about how to get there since there are multiple direct flights in a day from most states.

Hawaii is full of warm places to visit in December, and Honolulu City is one of my top choices.

It might be 75 degrees out during Christmas in Honolulu, but they find ways to make it snow inside Ala Moana Mall .

There are even parades and holiday lights that adorn the streets. Make sure you have the kids visit Santa at Ward Village for the best Santa on the island.

We’ve done Christmas in Honolulu, and it’s pretty fun to hang out at Waikiki with all the festivities that surely kicked out our winter blues.

And if you are there for New Year’s, be sure to head to Ala Moana Center for their Fukubukuro shopping event. It’s not to be missed!

Kaua’i, Hawaii

While you’re in Maui or Honolulu, consider visiting its nearby islands like Kaua’i, and you’ll be treated to a one-of-a-kind holiday experience !

Kauai's one of the warm places to visit in December, and it's a festive one, too!

Their Festival of Lights is one of the must-see events on the island. While the place has a warmer climate, all the sparkling Christmas lights will make you feel the holiday spirit without worrying about the cold.

You can go bike or hike during the daytime and visit parks like the Kokee State Park, Polihale State Park, down to the Na Pali Coast.

Then, on weekends, head to the Historic County Building to see their festive decor and some works of the Kaua’i artisan.

San Diego, California

San Diego has perfect weather no matter what season you visit.

Although it might not be a good time to go swimming, the warm weather in San Diego is around 65 degrees during Christmas, perfect for laying out on the beach. And there are SO many great San Diego beaches for families !

San Diego have many fun, warm places to visit in December like the Jungle Bells and LEGOLAND California.

Your family will enjoy Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo and December Nights at Balboa Park .

At the Hotel Del Coronado , you can plan on ice skating for a magical winter activity. It’s one of the best beach hotels in San Diego for families .

If you have younger kids, add a stop at LEGOLAND California . They offer festive shows and decor. Plus, you can marvel at their 30-foot LEGO ® Christmas tree trimmed with awesome LEGO ornaments!

Find out how to save money at LEGOLAND California .

Austin, Texas

Around Christmastime, Austin, Texas , glows with Christmas lights and fun festivities for the whole family. Austin throws the Trail of Lights , the best Christmas lights in all of Texas.

Texas is one go to warm places to visit in December. Enjoy the glorious weather at Christmas time here.

There are over 2 million lights with over 40 displays and a chance for you to grab a hot cocoa and meet Santa.

The average temperatures in Austin, Texas, are in the mid to lower 60s for a pleasant experience.

Phoenix, Arizona

How about stopping in and seeing lit-up Christmas cactus this holiday season? Or maybe you can improve your golf game this Christmas in Phoenix, Arizona ?

Bright lights in the desert? Add Arizona to your list of warm places to visit in December.

My husband and I spent our first Christmas together in Phoenix, and it was lovely!

While Phoenix might be a desert setting, they still know how to make the holiday bright. You can even catch Santa, Christmas lights, and snowfall every night at Rawhide Wild Horse Pass.

They also have ice skating at the Wigwam at Litchfield Park . 

And Phoenix is just a short drive away from Scottsdale, another amazing place to spend the holidays. Plus, there are tons of things to do in Scottsdale with kids .

Miami, Florida

When talking about warm places to visit in December, Miami would always be in our list.

Don’t worry; Santa will be sure to find you if you plan a stay along the beach on Christmas Eve. Plan your visit to the beach city of Miami, Florida , and hang out on its pristine beaches. There’s a lot to do in the area so you’ll have no problem filling your Miami itinerary !

It’s also one of the best Florida beaches for bachelorette parties !

Believe it or not, Miami actually has the biggest ski clubs (actual snow) in the country. The city even knows how to “deck the halls” in amazing holiday lights and entertainment.

Plan your stay at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Miami or at Miami Beach Edition , and these may just be perfect for your whole family.

Savannah, Georgia

The historic district of Savannah is full of beauty, history, and classical architecture. The Spanish Moss found on every square adds to its mystery. There are even many notable haunted places you can tour as well.

Warm places to visit in December, like Savannah Georgia, makes Christmas strolling so wonderful.

Imagine going for a leisurely stroll on a Christmas morning through Forsyth Park or Bonaventure Cemetery , making a beautiful start to your day.

While it might not be a hot destination, temperatures around Christmas time hang right around a comfortable 60 degrees.

If you’re seeking one of the best romantic getaways in USA , consider the Gastonian , an inn dating back to the late 1800s. The Kimpton Brice is another neat option, which was once a warehouse that was converted into a luxury hotel.

Walt Disney World

Last winter, my family headed to Walt Disney World the week before Christmas, and it was a blast!

I admit it was rainier and chillier than I originally expected, but that wasn’t a typical winter for them.

There are warm places to visit in December that's not too warm, like Walt Disney World. It's a pefect vacation with your family, too!

We stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Kidani Village , and it was decked out with a giant Christmas tree and gorgeous ornaments!

Actually, a bunch of Disney Hotels had major holiday displays, and we made a point to visit Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa just to see their Christmas trees.

Each of the Disney Parks has tons of holiday decor, plus the characters dress up in their festive wear!

And they hold special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party events all season long with tons of treats, rare character meet and greets, parades, shows, and more!

Plus, there are tons of other fun things to do in Orlando, like hot air balloon rides, the ICON Orlando Observation Wheel, and so much more!

Las Vegas, Nevada

The Sin City may be famous for its vibrant nightlife, but Las Vegas is one great place for your winter escape. The city has a lot of Christmas activities in store for you .

You’ll be surprised how Christmasy it is out there with a variety of places to enjoy, especially in the city center.

Las Vegas can be merry and bright, too! So add this place as one of the warm places to visit in December.

Las Vegas is filled with establishments donned in Christmas lights, like the Bellagio Hotel Conservatory & Botanical Gardens , a place known to change its decor every season. Its holiday display is a must-see and is perfect for your Christmas family photo.

You must also drop by the Candy Cane House in Henderson, especially if you’re traveling with your children. Once you step in front of the house, it will spark a child-like wonder in you.

Grand Isle, Louisiana

Traveling to Louisiana for Christmas might not even be on your radar, but stop and consider it for money.

Thinking of warm places to visit in December? Head to Grand Isle, Louisiana for a fun family trip.

If you want to visit Louisiana this holiday season, make plans to head to Grand Isle , the only beachfront in Louisiana.

It’s a popular tourist spot, known for great fishing and a migratory bird spot. It has amazing seafood and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

At Saint John Valley Catholics, you can catch a fantastic lights parade. Plus, you’re sure to have a grand time this Christmas while visiting Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Orange Beach, Alabama

How about giving up the white snow for beautiful, warm white sand beaches?

It’s also one of the go-to warm weather destinations around Christmas. Orange Beach is located along the Gulf of Mexico.

It isn't called "Sweet Home Alabama" for nothing because it's one of the best warm places to visit in December making your holiday season extra sweet.

There are several Christmas parades, breakfast with Santa, and amazing little shops to explore in Orange Beach.

Make sure you don’t miss the lighted-boat parade along the beach and ice skating at the Wharf .

Key West, Florida

What do you think about heading to the southernmost spot in the United States this Christmas? You’ll see that the Florida Keys are perfect warm weather destinations for your winter vacation.

Visit Key West, Florida if you're looking for warm places to visit in December.

Not only is Key West Florida , a great place to visit in the summer, but it is beautiful around Christmas as well.

The atmosphere is electric and festive for the season, with Christmas decorations and exciting events. Watch colored lights dazzle and dance off the water in the Lighted Boat Parade when you visit Key West.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the other towns in the Florida Keys to see what they have going on this holiday season.

Temperatures range around the mid-70s during Christmas for a nice change in the weather. December is also the perfect time to go snorkeling. There are tons of snorkeling spots in Key West that will blow your mind!

These are just a handful of the best warm places to visit in December in the USA that you need to consider this Christmas.

Looking for more places to visit this winter check out the best warm winter destinations in the u.s. , best national parks to visit this winter , snowy winter destinations in the united states , fun christmas getaways in the united states , and the best winter weekend getaways from seattle .

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  • Last Updated On
  • May 30, 2023

51 Best Places to Visit During Christmas in The USA

Claire Allard

The best time to travel is during the festive weeks of December.

And the USA is the perfect place to go.

There are many places to celebrate Christmas, whether you want a white one or a sunny holiday. 

They range from romantic vacation spots for couples to fun, family-friendly destinations for kids.

Every destination makes your vacation feel extra merry and bright.

All the stores hang their decors, trees are perfectly trimmed, and parks even turn into makeshift ice skating rinks. 

As a seasoned writer, I travel to the USA yearly to visit Christmas destinations.

And I know how overwhelming it can get during the holidays.

So, I’ve curated a list of places to visit during these times.

I’ve also ranked them based on family-friendliness, festive atmosphere, attractions, affordability, accessibility, and accommodation options. 

Now, the best places to visit during Christmas in the USA are in the palm of your hand with this list.

Best Places To Visit During Christmas In The USA Compared

People can’t get enough of the beautiful places in the USA. Here’s a quick guide to the ones you should visit during Christmas: 

Editor’s Choice

warm places to visit during christmas time

The Sherry Netherland

If you want a view of New York City, stay at The Sherry Netherland. 

  • Family-Friendliness: 4/5
  • Festive Atmosphere: 5/5
  • Attractions: 5/5
  • Affordability: 3/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5
  • Accommodation Options: 5/5

#2nd Best Choice

warm places to visit during christmas time

Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge

Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge is ideal for a quiet and relaxing Christmas.

  • Family-Friendliness: 5/5
  • Festive Atmosphere: 4/5
  • Attractions: 4/5
  • Affordability: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 3/5

#3rd Best Choice

warm places to visit during christmas time

Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach is a luxurious beach resort perfect for a sunny Christmas.

  • Accommodation Options: 4/5

Here are the top 51 Christmas destinations in the USA.

1. The Sherry Netherland (Editor’s Choice)

 The Sherry Netherland

781 5th Ave New York, NY 10022 (212) 355-2800 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ratings Criteria

  • High-quality amenities
  • Convenient location
  • Limited activities on-site

It’s a historic hotel built in 1927.

It’s one of the top boutique hotels in the city to stay at if you’re traveling with kids.

The upscale lodging and the five-star service make the holidays extra special in New York.

The Sherry Netherland is in the middle of everything, so going around the city will be easy.

Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue shopping are both nearby.

Visit the Rockefeller Center with your family during Christmas. 

A giant Christmas Tree will be lit from 5 AM to 12 AM.

On Christmas Day, the lights are on for 24 hours.

2. Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge

Marriott's Willow Ridge Lodge

2929 Green Mountain Dr Branson, MO 65616 (417) 348-3100 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Comfortable accommodations
  • Activities for families on-site
  • Difficult to locate

There are many family-friendly amenities available in the resort’s villas.

All the rooms are clean, and the amenities are always up-to-date.

So, spend some time relaxing by the indoor and outdoor pools after a full day in the Entertainment Capital of the World.

And visit the activity area with your family to play a few sports. 

Teens even have a den, and a playroom is allotted for young children.

Hang out by the campfire and make s’mores with your family.

For sure, that’ll be an experience they’ll never forget.

3.  Montage Laguna Beach

 Montage Laguna Beach

30801 Coast Hwy Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (866-271-6953 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Ocean facing pool
  • Exclusive access to a wide selection of amenities
  • Lack of security

It’s the ideal place to soak up the sun.

Its best features include an ocean-facing pool and a sun terrace.

All rooms even have a deep marble soaking tub.

And three restaurants are already available on-site.

There’s no need to travel elsewhere during the holidays once you stay here. 

On the premises, you’ll find poolside cabanas, boutique shops, and art galleries.

Plus, you can enjoy the holiday season with their seasonal vacation packages and events.

Wake up early and watch as the sun rises by the beach.

Christmas means you’ll witness the gorgeous sunrise and sunset skies.

4. Enzian Inn

enzian inn

590 US Hwy 2 Leavenworth, WA 98826 (800) 223-8511 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Enzian Inn is an excellent alternative to Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge and Montage Laguna Beach.

You’ll be transported to the Alps during the holidays when you’re just in Washington.

At Enzian Inn, you’ll be surrounded by magnificent mountains, rich green forests, and fresh, clear skies.

There’s an indoor and outdoor pool available on-site.

Other amenities include ping-pong tables, a racquetball or basketball court, and a complimentary round of golf.

Moreover, it’s just a 5-minute walk from the city center of Leavenworth.

Play mini golf with your kids at Enzian Inn.

There’s an 18-hole mini golf course available on the premises.

5. Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach, CA Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Planning on spending the holidays in California but don’t know where to go for Christmas vacation?

Then, put Newport Beach at the top of your list of best places to visit at Christmas.

Every December, the city beckons travelers with its famed Christmas Boat Parade.

Drop by the bay, and witness a parade of boats embellished with Christmas decor.

And it lifts everyone’s spirits with awe-inspiring fireworks and other fun-filled activities.

After catching the parade, explore Balboa Island and be mesmerized by its finely decorated houses.

Shopaholics will find their bliss at Fashion Island.

Here, visitors may explore more than 150 boutiques, restaurants, and beauty spas.

Of course, you can snag a variety of Christmas gifts at this shopping haven.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Balboa Bay Resort

6. Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, MT Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Why not spend your holidays in this cozy mountain town in Montana?

With cheery decorations and tons of snow, the Christmas spirit is so alive in Whitefish.

The town’s holiday celebrations start early too, with the popular Whitefish Christmas Stroll kicking off on December’s first Friday.

White Mountain Resort is the best place to celebrate Christmas in this quaint town.

The resort, on Christmas Eve, hosts a torchlight parade filled with merry activities.

It includes Santa Claus meet and greets and loads of sparkling torchlights.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Kandahar Lodge at Whitefish Mountain Resort

7. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, IL Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Chicago surely knows how to celebrate the holidays, featuring a lineup of exciting events.

The Christmas season in Windy City starts before Thanksgiving day with a light festival showcasing musical performances and parades.

And every venue and restaurant in this city has something on its sleeve to enchant its guests.

On top of it all, it’s packed with Christmas attractions, including Millennium Park’s ice skating rink and Navy Pier’s Wonderfest.

Pack a pair of gloves, sweaters, and warm jackets for this Christmas getaway since the city is rather cold and gets a ton of snow.

And, while in Chicago, stroll Michigan Avenue at night and be captivated by the street performers and lighted garlands.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

8. Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah

Park City, UT Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

There’s no shortage of enjoyable and lighthearted family-oriented activities in Park City in December.

Stroll down the city’s historic streets, and you’ll catch a multitude of lively events and wonderful Christmas lights.

Even better, the city offers world-class skiing and scores of snow.

Perfect for all types of winter family vacations .

Plan a visit to Park City Resort on your trip to this mountain.

The resort offers a variety of entertaining holiday-themed surprises and activities daily from mid-December to early January.

Our favorite Yuletide activities from the resort include fireworks and the torchlight parade.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Park City Peaks

Related: Best Ski Resorts in Utah

Related: Best Ski Resorts for Families

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, WI Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Don’t let the chilly weather stop you from visiting this Midwestern city in December.

With European-style markets and holiday festivities, Milwaukee is a hotspot for Christmas and winter fun.

Bring warm layers for your trip to Milwaukee in December.

I suggest that you pack fleece layers, comfy, waterproof shoes, a thick winter coat, a windbreaker, and thermal undergarments.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Pfister Hotel

Related: Best Midwest Ski Resorts

10. Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

Key West, FL Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Want to try something different for this Christmas season?

Forget winter wonderlands.

Spend your holiday season in Key West, where the daytime temperatures average around 76 degrees in December.

You can spend your Christmas break in Key West, diving, snorkeling, and swimming in its crystal clear waters.

Surprisingly, you’ll still feel the Yuletide spirit in Key West, with bright lights and decorated palm trees.

You’ve got to experience the Lighted Boat Parade.

Held annually at Schooner Wharf Bar and Galley, it’s a jovial event with magnificent boats and kid-approved festivities.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Parrot Key Hotel & Villas

11. Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, VA Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

There’s a lot to love about Williamsburg.

For decades, this city has been known for its historic representations, excellent attention to detail, and ability to make things fun.

And the holiday festivities are no different.

In December, the city becomes a holiday paradise with its Christmas reenactments, parades, and special performances.

The city overflows with holiday concerts too, at this joyous time of the year.

Be captivated by festive fireworks, heart-warming shows, and world-class ice skaters at Busch Gardens Christmas Town.

You can wander around this area and relish the sights of more than 10 million lights.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Williamsburg Lodge, Autograph Collection

Related: Dining in Williamsburg

12. Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, WA Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Leavenworth is an attractive destination at any time of the year.

But this mountain town becomes so picture-perfect and magical at Christmas that you’ll feel like you’re in a snow globe.

With its Bavarian-style buildings, snow, and holiday lights, it looks like the North Pole or a Christmas movie set.

And it’s the epitome of a white Christmas with its sleigh rides, a reindeer farm, and a nutcracker museum.

Love holiday lights?

Experience one of the town’s lighting ceremonies every Sunday and Saturday in the first three weeks of December.

You can also listen to the choir singing carols and enjoy a cup of hot gluhwein while watching the sparkling lights come alive.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: PostHotel Leavenworth

13. Washington DC

Washington DC

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There’s more to the nation’s capital than its iconic museums and monuments.

In winter, the city lures families and travelers with its mind-blowing performances and over-the-top decorations.

Not to mention, it displays a slew of majestic holiday trees, including the National Christmas Tree.

Take a short trip to Mount Vernon, and tour George Washington’s estate by candlelight.

Led by costumed guides, this tour lets you discover how Christmas was celebrated in the 18th century.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Riggs Washington DC

14. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, OK Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

OKC’s Downtown in December is an astonishing series of Yuletide attractions and events in the heart of the city.

Entertaining and exciting, this series draws visitors with its parties, shopping, performing arts, snow tubing, and twinkling lights.

There’s also a merry holiday run and complimentary water taxi excursions.

And the best part is most events are free for everyone.

Take a short 40-minute drive to Shannon Springs Park and be mesmerized by its breath-snatching light displays.

In this 43-acre park, you may view more than three million lights, see the 170-foot Christmas tree, and walk across a gorgeous lighted bridge.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Omni Oklahoma City Hotel

15. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii

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December is the start of Oahu’s bustling peak tourist season.

Still, it’s one of the best places to travel during Christmas, especially for those seeking a sunny Yuletide escape.

Along with its warm weather and fantastic whale-watching opportunities, it also has numerous festive Christmas activities.

You can fill your Christmas vacation days in Oahu experiencing lively events, like the Honolulu City Lights and Waikiki Holiday Lights Trolley tour.

If you’re staying in Oahu until New Year, check out Hilton Resort ’s free and spectacular fireworks displays.

Also, book your accommodations months before your vacation to ensure availability.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel

16. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson, WY Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Jackson Hole is awe-inspiring and exciting throughout the year.

But we love it more in December when the city is awash with Christmas decorations and celebrations.

The historic Town Square is bright and merry at this time of the year, with its twinkling lights.

And, there’s a festive diversion for everybody in winter in Jackson Hole, like Santa Claus sightings and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

For adventure seekers, the town is a premier destination for snowboarding, skiing, and other wintry experiences.

With wind chills and consistent snow, you must pack some winter essentials for your trip to Jackson Hole.

Pack gloves, a waterproof ski jacket, warm base layers, and sturdy boots with first-rate grip for icy terrain and streets.

Sunscreen is also essential to ward off sunburns sneaking up even during cloudy days.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The White Buffalo Club

17. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston has everything you need to make your Christmas vacation unforgettable.

You can experience its lovely winter markets, catch the holiday shows, and marvel at the snowy landscapes.

Visitors and residents have access to numerous activities, including ice skiing or skating at City Hall Plaza and Holiday Cruises.

A favorite holiday spot in Boston is Quincy Market, praised for its live music and massive trees garnished with Yuletide lights.

Since it’s rather cold in Boston in December, you should bring gloves, durable boots, coats, and sweaters on your holiday getaway.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Newbury Boston

18. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, TX Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Everything is big in Texas, and San Antonio’s holiday festivities and events are no exception.

The holiday-themed events and Christmas-inspired dishes during this season are enormous in San Antonio.

And, Instagram-loving travelers will have a swell time walking the River Walk bridges decorated with a thousand twinkling lights.

With its rich Spanish influences, the city also offers one-of-a-kind holiday events.

You’ll never run out of things to do in San Antonio with kids during Christmas.

Our favorites include the lively holiday train, Seaworld San Antonio, and the festive San Antonio Zoo.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Thompson San Antonio Riverwalk

19. North Pole, Alaska

North Pole, Alaska

North Pole, AK Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

It’s every child’s dream to visit the North Pole and see the legendary Santa Claus.

And you can make that dream a reality with a visit to this quaint and charming Alaskan town.

Once there, you may see the “Santa Clause House” to fulfill your kiddo’s dream.

Afterward, visit Santa Claus Lane, where you can admire the world’s biggest Santa statue and marvel at live reindeer.

Add a dose of adventure to your holiday escape by driving to the nearby Chena Lake Recreation Area.

It offers an assortment of outdoor activities, including ice fishing, skiing, snow-machining, skiing, and snow-machining.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hotel North Pole

20. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, CO Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

In the mood for a wintry outdoor adventure but not sure where to travel for Christmas?

Here’s a piece of advice for you: head to Aspen.

With an acclaimed apres-ski scene and 76 runs, this mountain town is a paradise for skiers and adventure junkies.

Moreover, it’s home to a ton of luxury resorts with luxe spas and cozy fireplaces, making it a solid pick for relaxation-seekers.

Head to its downtown area, and experience the 12 Days of Aspen event.

It’s a lively 12-day annual event featuring cookie decorating competitions, caroling, and free Santa Claus meet and greets.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Gant

Related: Best Colorado Ski Resorts for Families

21. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, LA Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

A mecca for entertainment, the Crescent City is known for its energetic and frenzied Mardi Gras.

But, guess what?

New Orleans also knows how to put on an animated and fun holiday celebration.

The city impresses holiday vacationers with its bonfires and flashy light displays.

Furthermore, the city’s signature historic homes, like the Old Ursuline Convent, are decked out in holiday decorations.

Stay near the French Quarter to get easy access to Saint Louis Cathedral’s Christmas concerts.

When in NOLA, stroll the downtown streets and be fascinated by the carolers singing classic holiday medleys.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Maison de la Luz

22. Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico

Taos, NM Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Searching for unique places to spend Christmas?

Trust me, you’ll have a blast exploring this New Mexico ski town in December.

Taos offers an extraordinary spin on Christmas traditions each year, with unique events blending Native and Christianity beliefs.

A highlight here in December is the “Yuletide in Taos”, an annual celebration with festive events, bonfires, and holiday markets.

On Christmas Day, visit the plaza and witness a ceremonial, ancient Native American dance that honors winter.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa

23. Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri

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If you’re on the hunt for magical, family-friendly Christmas places to visit, head to Branson.

Every holiday season, this Ozark Mountain destination turns into a winter wonderland.

With a holiday vacation in Branson, you’ll be amazed by its drive-through light displays, ice skating rinks, and more than 1,000 Christmas trees.

You can’t leave Branson without experiencing the award-winning Silver Dollar City Old Time Christmas.

It’s a colorful annual festival with a magical setting that includes 40-holiday productions, a light parade, and over six million twinkling lights.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Grand Crowne Resort by Capital Vacations

24. Jackson, New Hampshire

Jackson, New Hampshire

Jackson, NH Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Resting in the White Mountains, this town has the recipe for a Hallmark-like holiday vacation.

Not only does it boast a cozy winter setting, but it also has enchanting light displays and family-friendly festivities.

The Christmas Farm Inn celebrates the holiday season year-round.

But, in December, the inn goes up a notch with tours featuring luscious chocolates and sleigh rides.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Christmas Farm Inn and Spa

Related: Best Places to Visit in December in the USA

25. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, OH Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Holiday vacation goers usually come to Cleveland to tour the famed “A Christmas Story” house, which is now a museum.

For big-time fans of the movie, you can spend the night at this museum.

But, “the Forest City” has a lot to offer other than this Christmas-themed attraction.

For a fun day with the family, check out the Christmas activities and festive blooms at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Experience the city’s Winterfest, and lay eyes on the bright holiday lights throughout Downtown Cleveland.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Metropolitan at The 9, Autograph Collection

26. Andalusia, Alabama

Andalusia, Alabama

Andalusia, AL Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The ultimate Christmas town in Alabama tantalizes families with its ultra-festive Yuletide event: Candyland.

Held throughout December, this winter wonderland offers ice skating, snow tubing, train rides, and play cottages for children.

Santa Claus and other holiday characters will make an appearance near Springdale House on weekends.

For entertainment, go to the Springdale stage, and watch live carols and concerts.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express – Andalusia, an IHG Hotel

27. Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, IN Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The name says it all.

The most Christmassy town in Indiana welcomes families with an assortment of events for its three-weekend Yuletide celebration.

Known as “America’s Christmas Hometown”, the city comes to life with its drive-through lights exhibit and fireworks displays.

You can’t leave this city without visiting the Santa Claus Museum and Village.

Through its exhibits, this attraction will teach you about the history of this charming town.

And it even lets kiddos write a letter to Santa Claus.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Comfort Inn

28. Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, ME Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Kennebunkport is one of the most spellbinding places to visit near you at Christmas.

Even though it’s well-known for its coastal beauty, this town becomes a holiday hot spot in December.

Holiday visitors may enjoy the Christmas Prelude celebration, an extravagant holiday event that fills the town with the Christmas spirit.

The event includes everything, from Christmas tree lighting to home tours and holiday markets.

Take the Prelude Trolley Ride with the whole family.

For a small fee, this ride will give you a memorable experience and lets you enjoy tasty homemade cookies and hot chocolate.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Kennebunkport Inn

Related: Best Restaurants in Kennebunkport

29. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, VT Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

No list of best Christmas vacations in the USA is complete without Stowe.

For years, this four-season destination has been drawing holiday vacationers with its mountain views and slopes.

In addition, this town offers an extensive list of holiday activities, including live Yuletide music, a bazaar, and wagon rides.

In early December, the Spruce Peak Performing Center hosts heart-warming “A Christmas Carol” shows.

The center puts a modern spin on this timeless classic with Latin rhythms and dancing gravediggers.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Trapp Family Lodge

Related: Best Vermont Ski Resorts for Families

30. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Although it seems an unusual choice, Vegas is one of America’s best cities to visit at Christmas for families.

Every casino and resort in Sin City offers fabulous Yuletide events, including Mandalay Bay ’s scuba diving.

The entire Vegas Strip also glitters with dazzling decorations and lights at this time of the year.

You don’t need to pack a thick winter jacket on your Christmas vacation to Las Vegas.

Nevertheless, we recommend bringing a light sweater to beat the city’s cold December evenings.

Also, bring light and comfortable clothes, as it’s a little warm during the day, with temperatures reaching 70 degrees.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Mandalay Bay

31. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, TN Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Think Nashville is just for country, rock n’ roll, and folk music enthusiasts?

Visit Nashville in December, and you’ll uncover a dynamic holiday-loving city full of Christmas activities.

From Christmas villages to irresistible holiday lights, the city offers a plethora of incredible diversions in December.

The Gaylord Opryland is large enough to be a town and has tons of lights to light up a city.

And it’s packed with activities to appease everyone, including ice bumper cars, ice tubing, and ice skating, so it’s one of our favorite places to visit for Christmas.

For moms, spend time exploring over nine acres of entertainment, shopping, dining, spas, and indoor gardens.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

32. Bowling Green, Kentucky

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Bowling Green, KY Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Who says you can’t have an Arctic-like experience in the heart of Kentucky?

With a pit stop at Bowling Green’s Reindeer Farm, you’ll have a taste of the Arctic without spending a fortune on flights.

As you visit this farm, you’ll have ample opportunities to write a letter to Santa, drink cocoa, watch Xmas movies, and feed reindeer.

Of course, the city has a host of other entertaining Christmassy spots, such as The Club at Olde Stone and Twinkle at the Track.

We can’t get enough of the SoKY Market Ice Rink.

It’s an affordable and kid-approved ice skating rink where you can skate with holiday characters like the Grinch and Santa Claus.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt Place Bowling Green

33. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Fayetteville has three features that guarantee a rocking holiday vacation: scores of exquisite lights, fabulous shopping, and yummy food.

Plus, its town square has the perfect backdrop for a Hallmark holiday movie in Arkansas.

Couples seeking a romantic experience may take a helicopter tour above the lights or ride a horse-drawn carriage.

Families, meanwhile, may reconnect at the square as they search for Santa’s lost reindeer.

After a day of sightseeing in Fayetteville, make your way to Sassy’s and fill your grumbling stomach with their barbecue.

Suited for families, their barbecue goodies are budget-friendly, juicy, and hearty.

For those in need of caffeine, Onyx Coffee Lab is your best bet.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Graduate Fayetteville

34. Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, CT Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Everyone knows Mystic is one of Connecticut’s favorite summer towns.

But did you know that it’s an appealing holiday destination as well?

Well, who doesn’t love to spend the Christmas season by the sea?

And this alluring seaside town comes to life in December when it’s garnished with festive decorations.

Held annually, the town’s illuminated boat parade is a can’t-miss event and looks like a scene from a Christmas movie.

Likewise, the shops and stalls in Olde Mistick Village burst with charm and seasonal cheer in December.

Stroll along Olde Mistick Village’s walkway, and feast your eyes on more than 5,000 whimsical lights.

And you can accompany this unique experience by listening to the live bands and enjoying hot beverages.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites Mystic

35. New Castle, Delaware

New Castle, Delaware

New Castle, DE Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Escape the crowds in big cities, and spend a cozy, soothing, and satisfying holiday vacation in New Castle.

Though underrated, this town is filled with holiday charm, thanks to the historical society’s undying efforts to preserve colonial traditions.

Every year, the town hosts Spirit of Christmas, an enticing event with plenty of opportunities for Yuletide old-fashioned fun.

You can enjoy the tree lighting ceremonies, caroling, and historic house tours.

And most of these diversions are open for everyone for free.

Mid-December is the most exciting time to visit the town.

At this time of the year, the town’s streets are full of costumed characters walking around entertaining out-of-towners.

There are exciting events during these times as well, including the annual Fezziwig’s Ball.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New Castle

36. Wyoming, Iowa

Wyoming, Iowa

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Despite its small population and size, Wyoming still deserves a spot on our roundup of the top holiday destinations in America.

Iowa’s bewitching Christmas City is famous for its dramatic canopy of Yuletide lights spanning four blocks along its Main Street.

As a bonus, there are about 38 lighted holiday trees tied to several light poles lining the streets.

Hit the road, and drive for about 50 minutes to Cedar Rapids.

The second-largest city in Iowa has more restaurants and accommodation options than Wyoming.

There are also cheerful Christmas events in this city.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Cobblestone Inn & Suites – Monticello

37. Baldwin City, Kansas

Baldwin City, Kansas

Baldwin City, KS Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Families will have countless sweet memories after a holiday trip to Baldwin City.

Besides its dazzling lights and decor, the city also is home to the Snowglobe Express.

Billing itself as the world’s merriest train, this 12-mile ride takes you to Snowglobe from the Baldwin City Train Depot.

Upon arrival, you may check out Santa’s fabulous herd of Reindeer.

Moms and dads can join the quirky and fun sweater run in early December.

Smorseville, a life-size Christmas village, is worth a visit too.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Lawrence, KS

38. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, MI Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

All roads in Michigan lead to Detroit during the joyful season.

Midtown Detroit, every December, opens up the doors to its cultural institutions for anyone who wants a free peek.

Even better, the city offers family craft activities, holiday shopping, horse-drawn carriage rides, and carolers.

And best of all, the city showcases performances from over 200 area dance, theater, and music groups.

So if you’re interested in winter getaways in Michigan , Detroit is the place to be.

The Detroit Metropolitan Airport gets extremely busy during the Christmas season.

To steer clear of crowds, fly to the nearby Bishop International Airport in Flint.

We also recommend downloading a travel-related app that lets you track flight details in real-time on an Android or iPhone.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: MGM Grand Detroit

39. Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, MI Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Natchez isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind when you think of the best places to spend Christmas in the USA.

After all, it’s a picturesque town famous for its eye-catching antebellum mansions and historic attractions.

But, amazingly, Natchez knows how to celebrate the Yuletide season in a big way with its convivial events and activities.

After Thanksgiving Day, the city begins its holiday festivity with its month-long event featuring kiddie rides, food trucks, and choral music.

The event also includes glittering lights and a gigantic Christmas tree on the city’s Main Street.

Take a self-guided tour of the filming locations of “Every Time a Bell Rings”, a popular Christmas motion picture filmed in the city.

While there, check out The Towers Mansion, which offers one-of-a-kind Christmas exhibits.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Magnolia Bluffs Hotel, BW Premier Collection

40. Minden, Nebraska

Minden, Nebraska

Minden, NE Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Nebraska’s Christmas City is the state’s twinkliest town in winter.

With magical celebrations and holiday decorations, Minden will make your holidays for Christmas bright and merry.

From the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas, the city is busy hosting fun, family-friendly activities, like a craft fair, art shows, and ice skating.

Look for bake sales and concerts at schools and churches for more intimate local experiences.

Also, experience the downtown square’s acclaimed pageant in December.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express Kearney, an IHG Hotel

41. Garrison, North Dakota

Garrison, North Dakota

Garrison, ND Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Nicknamed “the Christmas Capital of North Dakota”, this town takes the “A Christmas Carol” story to a new level.

From Thanksgiving to early December, the town is loaded with themed attractions inspired by this classic book every weekend.

They call this festivity the Dicken Village Festival, and it has been hosted by the town for over 20 years.

The festival features tree decorating contests, craft shows, carriage rides, vendors, and special items.

Join the town’s renowned fruitcake-throwing competition.

It’s fun and open for everyone in separate divisions and age groups.

There are prizes, so begin practicing your toss.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Extended Stay Americas Suites – Minot

42. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, RI Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

For some holiday cheer in Rhode Island, enjoy a holiday trip to Providence.

You can indulge in the timeless New England Christmas traditions and sophisticated shopping, culinary, and arts scene.

There are also neighborhood Yuletide markets and theaters that provide festive shows in Providence.

Stay at a traditional bed-and-breakfast on your holiday trip to Providence.

These options are cheaper than brand-backed hotels and are charming since they occupy late 19th-century mansions.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Graduate Providence

Related: Best Ski Resorts in New England

43. Pierre, South Dakota

Pierre, South Dakota

Pierre, SD Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

There’s no better place to spend the holidays in South Dakota than its state capital.

Thanks to its friendly business owners and residents, the state capital lights up each year with its colorful bulbs and outstanding displays.

And the city hosts a series of festivities to commemorate the holidays, including the Pierre Parade of Lights and special shopping events.

Visit the city’s Capitol building anytime from late November to early January.

There’s an enchanting Christmas tree and about 100 stunning decorated trees within the vicinity.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: My Place Hotel-Fort Pierre, SD

44. Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown, WV Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Christmas in Shepherdstown begins after Thanksgiving with Santa’s arrival and a flashy parade.

Then, the fun continues until Christmas day with its horse-drawn carriage rides, nativity scenes, and roasted chestnuts.

On top of it all, the town exudes a Hallmark-movie-worthy atmosphere.

The mountain town provides childcare for parents who want to shop at local shops.

So, take advantage of this service, and shop for gifts for the little ones without them getting a sneak peek.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Clarion Inn Conference Center Harpers Ferry

45. Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, OR Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ashland loves to celebrate the holiday season in a big and spectacular way.

In fact, the city shifts gears and gets into the festive spirit as early as November.

Expect a range of Christmas-themed events and attractions during this season.

Our favorite Yuletide events in Ashland include the Festival of Light and Santa’s Parade.

If you’re searching for a cheap place to eat with the family, look no further than Creekside Pizza and El Tapatio.

It’s a laid-back pizzeria with mouth-watering build-your-own pizza, rotating brews, and a pool table.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Winchester Inn

46. Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, NJ Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The country’s first summer resort turns into a winter wonderland in December.

The town’s exquisite Victorian homes are decorated splendidly, and guests may tour these spots by candlelight.

And the town has trolley rides for those who want to see the town’s holiday outdoor displays.

Spend time exploring the pedestrian-only Washington Street Mall.

With its strolling carolers, greenery, and splendid lights, it’s a fantastic spot for people-watching.

Santa Claus sightings are common at this promenade too.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Grand Hotel Cape May

47. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

Boise, ID Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Even with its cold temperatures, December is an exciting time to spend a getaway in Boise.

Ideal for families, Boise is packed with fun Christmassy activities at this time of year.

You can admire breathtaking holiday lights, go ice skating, and even cut down a Christmas tree in Boise National Forest.

Amp up your Instagram game by experiencing the Scentsy Commons Christmas Lights display.

Stretching over 43 miles, this attraction has more than 400 trees beautifully decorated with holiday lights.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Grove Hotel

48. Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, MN Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Endless merry events, ales, and trails make Duluth one of America’s best Christmas destinations.

For those traveling with kids, the city has a nice holiday activity list, including Lake Superior train rides and skating rinks.

Sturdy winter boots are a must for December visitors in Duluth.

These boots will keep your feet dry and protect them from the bitter cold, slush, and salt.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Pier B Resort

49. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, MD Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe on your December trip to Baltimore.

As you wander around Baltimore, you’ll spot lively decorations, sparkling lights, and markets offering a taste of Europe.

Additionally, the city boasts an array of holiday events suited for the entire family, including the Meadowlark Botanical Garden Winter Walk of Lights.

Our favorite wintertime market in Baltimore is the Christmas Village.

Inspired by German markets, this spot has dozens of local craftsmen and local artists selling captivating items, like jewelry.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

50. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

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Don’t let its desert setting fool you.

In December, the Christmas spirit permeates this city with ice skating, cookie decorating, snowy scenes, and magical light displays.

Furthermore, the city’s leading hotels offer Christmas-themed events throughout the season, including breakfast with Santa at The Phoenician .

For a memorable vacation, see the magical Zoolights.

The Phoenix Zoo, every year, puts a tantalizing exhibit of Christmas lights transforming the animal displays into a winter wonderland.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale

51. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

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Atlanta is, no doubt, one of the best places to visit during Christmas in the USA.

From glistening lights to open-air ice skating rinks, the city dazzles with a multitude of holiday attractions and events.

Moreover, flights and accommodations are easy on the wallet in December since it’s the off-season.

Traveling with kids?

Don’t forget to check out the Winter Wonderland event at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

It’s an educational, family-friendly experience featuring trees and exhibits highlighting holiday traditions around the world.

The displays are available from mid-November to early January.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta

Vacationer’s Guide 

Comparing destinations: which one is right for you.

For the ideal Christmas vacation, you must consider a few factors.

These include your family’s preferences and your budget.

If you crave the hustle and bustle of a city adorned with festive lights, The Sherry Netherland is the spot for you.

Its convenient location allows guests to visit nearby landmarks like Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, and the Rockefeller Center.

The only drawback is there are limited activities to do on-site. 

For those looking for a quieter holiday, the comfortable lodgings and family-friendly activities at Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge make it an enticing place.

It features an activity area where guests can play shuffleboard and basketball.

And there are also specific areas for teens and kids to hang out. 

But, the destination itself is hard to locate. 

For a sunny Christmas, go to Montage Laguna Beach. 

It’s like a mini paradise with several amenities available to guests.

You can swim on the beach or just chill by the poolside cabanas. 

Unfortunately, security is lacking in the premises. 

Enzian Inn is an excellent alternative to these resorts. 

Holidays surrounded by magnificent mountains pair well with hot chocolate with the family. 

Since it’s a popular destination, some facilities need updating.

How I Picked The Destinations

I am an experienced travel writer and a parent.

Christmas vacations are always memorable, so I travel to the USA yearly to rate its must-visit holiday destinations.

Additionally, I interview locals and fellow parents traveling.

I also consult review sites and include the information shared by other travelers in my research. 

Our Rating Method

I rate these destinations based on the following criteria.

  • Family-Friendliness: This criterion assesses the family-friendliness of each destination. Are there activities and attractions for kids of all ages? Are there entertainment options for the whole family? Is it convenient for families with young children? I consider these factors when rating family-friendliness. 
  • Festive Atmosphere: I use this to assess every location’s festive atmosphere. Are the decorations colorful, grand, and whimsical? Is there a parade and other holiday-related events? Is there a Santa meet and greet for the kids? I ask myself these questions when evaluating the festive atmosphere. 
  • Attractions: This is used to assess the quality of attractions. Are there Christmas-themed events for the whole family? Does the location have amusement parks, museums, or historical sites? These are the factors I consider when rating attractions. 
  • Affordability: I use this criterion to assess the affordability of each destination. Are the hotel rates budget-friendly during the Christmas season? Are there affordable dining options? Are there attractions or events that you can check out for free? I consider these factors when evaluating affordability. 
  • Accessibility: I use this to rate accessibility. Is it easily accessible by public transportation? Are there free parking spaces near popular areas? Does it have an efficient public transport system? I ask myself these questions when assessing accessibility. 
  • Accommodation Options: I use this to evaluate the available accommodation options. Are there hotels, vacation rentals, or bed and breakfasts near popular locations? Are there rooms with kitchen facilities? Are there hotels with pools? I use these factors to rate this criterion. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the best places to visit in the usa during the holidays.

The Sherry Netherland, Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge, and Montage Laguna Beach are the best places to visit during the holidays.

Where Is The Most Magical Place To Spend Christmas In The USA?

The most magical place to spend Christmas is The Sherry Netherland in New York. 

warm places to visit during christmas time

Each of these destinations offers a unique Christmas experience for the family.

During our stay, we swam in Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge’s indoor and outdoor pool.

The kids also got to stay at the teenagers’ den and the kids’ playroom.

And then, at night, we sat by the campfire and made some s’more.

Christmas was different at Montage Laguna Beach.

We’ve never had a sunny Christmas.

We spent our days tanning by the beach and simply having fun under the sun.

It’s something we want to experience again.

Similarly, our stay at Enzian Inn was also unique.

We loved how we were surrounded by nature.

So, we spent our entire vacation using the resort’s facilities.

Playing basketball with the kids is my favorite memory.

Still, going to The Sherry Netherland on Christmas day tops the best places to visit during Christmas in the USA.

The twinkling lights adorned every corner, and the palpable holiday spirit brought the city to life.

It boasted classic luxury that made our stay warm and inviting. 

Just steps away from Central Park and Times Square, the hotel was a perfect base to immerse ourselves in the city’s holiday cheer.

Plus, visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was the cherry on top, making our holiday experience truly unforgettable.

51 Best Places to Visit During Christmas in The USA

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21 of the best Christmas holiday destinations

warm places to visit during christmas time

Friday December 22 2023, 15:00pm

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” declares Andy Williams each festive season. But while a roaring fire, presents under a bauble-laden tree and snow gently drifting outside might be the picture of Christmas sold by Hollywood, your reality can be a different kind of magical. How about a rum and coke on the sandy beaches of Barbados? Or meeting Santa Claus in Lapland? Or dialling up the tradition and visiting one of the thousands of Christmas markets in Germany? Here are the best Christmas holiday destinations — whatever kind of break you’re looking for.

Main photo: your reindeer carriage awaits in Finnish Lapland (Getty Images)

This article contains affiliate links, which may earn us revenue

1. The Rhine

The Rhine is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Spend the Christmas season afloat on the Rhine, accompanied by a glass of local wine as steep vineyards and historic castles slip by. You’ll find a Rhine cruise a soothing way to celebrate the festive season, as most journeys stop at Rhineland cities such as Cologne, Koblenz and Bonn. Here, amid the twinkling lights, yuletide lovers mingle in charming Christmas markets, while the swish of skates on an ice rink, shoppers’ voices and Christmas carols provide a lively soundtrack.

Book a cruise

  • Best Christmas markets in Europe
  • Best UK hotels to spend Christmas in

Germany is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Christmas holidays are celebrated with gusto in Germany as its famous Christmas markets overflow with copious helpings of mulled wine and shining Christmas lights. Hip Berlin offers up a huge funfair and you can get straight into the Christmas spirit with a ticket to the Alexanderplatz show. There’s a high chance of snow: temperatures can slip well below zero in December and the average low is minus 1C.

Book a stay

  • Best things to do in Berlin

3. Barbados

Barbados is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

The Caribbean is made for Christmas. Barbados , the go-to Caribbean favourite for Brits, is at its most relaxed between mid-September and mid-December, when hotel prices drop by up to a third and the air-kissing, winter-sun-seeking regulars haven’t yet jetted in. There’s a risk of rain, but it never lasts long and the temperature’s still a balmy 27C. Explore the wild east. The island’s Atlantic side is an exhilarating whirl of dramatic shores (particularly around the little town of Bathsheba), rolling surf, flapping coconut palms and topsy-turvy hills that seem a world away from the busy beach resorts lining the west and south coasts. Drive over to bask in the peace and fresh air; Bay Tavern in Martin’s Bay is a mellow spot where Bajans take a break on Thursday afternoons, shooting (and feeling) the breeze at a “lime” (informal hangout).

  • Best hotels in Barbados
  • Best things to do in Barbados

4. Courchevel, France

Courchevel in France is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Courchevel is still a gathering ground for the world’s superrich. Broad, easy-skiing pistes combine with Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels to create the most luxurious of all ski resorts. Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve has the biggest social buzz: think champagne bars and perfect teeth, set against a razor-sharp mountain ridge. New Year in Courchevel isn’t cheap, so save where you can by booking a central self-catering apartment in the Forum. Brush up your skiing with New Generation Ski School, so you don’t take a tumble outside the key slopeside bars. And don’t wait until December 31 to start the celebrations.

  • Best ski resorts in France

5. Muscat, Oman

Muscat, Oman, is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Hop on an overnight flight, and wake up seven hours later in Muscat, then get straight to the beach — it’s only 15 minutes from the airport. For the rest of your stay, take a traditional dhow boat trip from Marina Bandar al Rowhda so the little ones can enjoy goggling at rare marine life, or absorb the Bedouin vibes of the Arabian desert with teens. Try stargazing and camel-riding at Wahiba Sands, or head to turquoise-hued Wadi Bani Khalid oasis. Alternatively hire a local driver through your hotel and day-trip around Muscat to explore its frankincense-scented Mutrah Souq. Nearby, the call to prayer echoes around the minarets at the opulent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, open most days for visits.

  • Best hotels in Oman

6. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

It’s not just gingerbread-scented markets and riotous Hogmanay parties that make wintry Edinburgh so appealing. Even under grey skies, you’ve got warm, world-class museums and restaurants and the icy North Sea winds are your excuse to duck into a snug watering hole for a soul-warming Scotch.

For bargains, go in early December when the Christmas markets are open, but the city is still relatively peaceful. Take a spin on the panoramic big wheel above Princes Street, bar crawl under the fairy lights of George Street and pop into the Scottish National Gallery to contemplate winter scenes. After dark, head to the Royal Botanic Garden to sip spiced cider and marvel at its Christmas illuminations.

  • Best hotels in Edinburgh
  • Best things to do in Edinburgh

7. Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria, is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Revel in the unabashed schmaltz — this is the fantasy festive break. Dressed to the nines in baroque finery and surrounded by snowcapped peaks, Salzburg is the staunchly traditional, chocolate-box city of Mozart and The Sound of Music , and will cocoon you in comfort. Walk around the Old Town streets, dive into vaulted beer cellars and shop for lederhosen. To warm up? Climb every mountain, of course.

Make your first wander an atmospheric browse along the narrow Getreidegasse, Salzburg’s glitzy shopping alley, where five-storey Renaissance houses provide a bulwark against winter weather. Explore its dimly lit arched passages and within a few paces, you might stumble upon Balkan Grill Walter, a kiosk selling Balkan beef sausages since 1950. After, make a prosecco pitstop at Seppo’s intimate wine bar, or cosy up with the crowds in the hidden Sternbräu beer garden.

  • Best ski resorts in Austria

8. Finnish Lapland

Finnish Lapland  is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

For the real deal and endless other wintry activities, such as snowmobiling, skiing and reindeer rides, head north to the smaller resorts of Levi, Yllas or Saariselka. Levi is just 20 minutes from the airport, making transfers with weary tots super speedy. Here, Santa’s village is way out in the wilderness: a huddle of twinkly log cabins hidden among snow-laden pines. Kids can decorate gingerbread cookies with Mother Claus, make decorations and visit Elf school to learn Finnish words such as Hyvaa Joulua (Happy Christmas), as well as having a private tête-à-tête with Santa himself. The focus is firmly on wholesome festive fun and, refreshingly, souvenir stops are sparse.

But don’t go too early — travel from the second or third weekend in December for a guaranteed snowscape. Ample time is crucial: do not book one of those 24-hour round-trips, your child will be so tired and cranky you’ll wonder why you bothered. Four nights is better, and even then you’ll wish you had more. Darkness reigns here: daylight falls between 10am and 2pm, when an eerie green and pink glow illuminates the sky.

  • Best hotels in Lapland
  • Best things to do in Lapland

9.  New York, US

New York is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

This city is the face of Christmas, especially in films. Don’t miss the magical displays at Macy’s ( Miracle on 34th Street ); the steps of the Plaza Hotel ( Home Alone 2 ); and the Rockefeller tree ( Elf ). The chance of snow isn’t as high as in the perma-dusted movies, but it’s always possible as temperatures can dip to a bracing -10C. New York’s stores turn charitable at Christmastime, with epic window displays resembling free galleries. Start with the glittering scene at Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue, then pass Tiffany’s before nipping over to Saks. Next head to the Rockefeller Center for a mulled wine and a gawp at the tree. For Christmas shopping, Bryant Park is transformed into a Winter Village, with stalls selling affordable gifts such as handmade scarves and soaps. It’s free to hit the ice rink here, too.

  • Best affordable hotels in New York under £190
  • The best things to do in New York

10. Tenerife, Spain

 Tenerife is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

If you’re hoping to add some winter sun to your Christmas this is the place to be. Yes, tourism has made its mark on  Tenerife , but the resorts in the south-coast destinations of Costa Adeje and Playa de las Americas take up only a fraction of the island. Beyond, unspoilt beauty awaits: seaside villages and picturesque coves, gracious colonial towns, a rainforest dripping with lichen, and ravishing ravines. And all beneath the awesome gaze of a 200,000-year-old volcano, Spain’s highest, Mount Teide.

  • Best hotels in Tenerife
  • Best villas in Tenerife

11. Cities along the Danube

The Danube is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Here is one of Europe’s great rivers, perfect for a Christmas cruise taking in cities along the Danube such as Budapest , Bratislava and Regensburg. Passing through the heart of central Europe, revellers can celebrate the festive season at Christmas markets garlanded with Christmas lights and spirit. A mulled wine here, a juicy, grilled sausage there — which Christmas market will be your favourite?

  • Best river cruises in Europe

12. The Ganges, India

The Ganges, India, is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Spend Christmas on a luxurious cruise along India’s holiest river where the warmth of the winter sun mixes well with the Christmas spirit. On these cruises, you’ll find a journey whose stand-outs include misty early mornings revealing ancient temples and small boats bumping along in the water, devotees by the edge, followed by the wake-up call of bazaars and the solemn fortresses of Jaipur and Varanasi.

Book a tour

  • Best places to visit in India

13. Marrakesh, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco, is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

There’s a local saying that Morocco is “a cold country with a hot sun”, and while snow on the Atlas Mountains from mid-November to April shows you how bitterly cold it can be at night, there are also piercing blue skies and sunshine warm enough for you to hit the pool. This is the time to snag a bargain to Marrakesh , but pack layers and stay somewhere with heating. Only July and August are cheaper, but only worth it if you can handle temperatures in the high 40Cs.

  • Best hotels in Marrakesh
  • Best things to do in Marrakesh

14. Mauritius

Mauritius is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

It’s the blossoming of flame trees rather than the dressing of firs that marks the start of the festive season in Mauritius . These trees, red as Santa’s suit, bloom between late November and early December. Shortly after, hotel lobby decorations and seasonal shop window displays appear across the island. Food is central to a Mauritian Christmas and hotels in beach resorts like Grand Baie and Flic-en-Flac offer gala dinners and festive brunches so you can tuck in with a cocktail or two.

  • Best hotels in Mauritius

15. The Maldives

The Maldives is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Trade in the traditional festive colour palette of red and green for a landscape that’s a centillion shades of blue. Fly to the capital, Male, then take a seaplane to a private island resort such as Medhufushi. Sleep in a villa suspended on stilts above the Jacuzzi-warm waters of the Indian Ocean, and snorkel and day-sail your way through the season. Many hotels in the Maldives offer traditional menus on Christmas day. However, if you boycott the sprouts, you’ll be rewarded with platters of fresh lobster, oysters and grouper — all washed down with a bottle of something sparkling.

  • Best hotels in the Maldives

16. Singapore

Singapore is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Singapore soups up the Christmas experience. Festivities start in mid-November when almost four kilometres of Christmas lights are switched on in the Orchard Road shopping area. Shortly after, restaurants debut their festive menus and Christmas Wonderland opens at Gardens by the Bay. The season’s crescendo is the extravagant countdown and fireworks party at Marina Bay. If you’re worried about it all feeling a little too merry and bright, stay at a beach hotel like Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island. With its infinity pools, 30-acre gardens and views of the South China Sea, it’s a sanctuary amid the festive flamboyance.

  • Best hotels in Singapore
  • Best things to do in Singapore

17. Antalya, Turkey

Antalya, Turkey, is one of the best Christmas holiday destinations

No jokes about eating turkey in Turkey please — here in Antalya, you can be as festive or not as you want. Many of the resorts in the region will have stonking good deals on all-inclusive breaks, with gala dinners put on for Christmas day. Even if you’re not set on a fly-and-flop, the fact that Christmas Day isn’t a public holiday here means you can shop, go to restaurants and visit attractions as normal. There’s a good chance of sun, but it’ll probably be too cold to hit the beaches. Instead, why not visit one of the ancient ruins for some light culture without the crowds? Termessos and Perge are particularly impressive.

  • Best hotels in Antalya
  • Best things to do in Antalya

18.  Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is one of the best Christmas holiday destinations

Tokyo goes all in on the Christmas spirit, but with its own twist. Around the city are illuminations, where lights are strung up around buildings, trees and just about everything else from around mid-November. Look out, too, for festive fairs and Christmas markets where you can pick up kawaii (cute) handmade gifts. If you have kids, a visit to Tokyo Disneyland is essential. And no, you don’t have to adopt the tradition of eating KFC instead of a roast on Christmas Day — plenty of hotels will offer a more traditional festive meal.

  • Best things to do in Tokyo
  • Best hotels in Tokyo
  • Best cities to visit in winter

19. Christmas Island, Australia

Red crabs cross the road during their annual migration on Christmas Island, Australia

What could be more apt than spending the festive period on Christmas Island? This slice of paradise is actually closer to the tropical waters of Indonesia than the Australian mainland, making the weather here pretty much hot all year round. That said, December tends to be the rainy season in the region, with days often overcast — no matter, you’re likely to spend most of your time snorkelling its bath-warm waters anyway. Back on dry land, you’ll see one of the most spectacular annual migrations: it’s mating season for red land crabs and millions of them will be scuttling from the forest to the coast.

20. Iceland

Iceland is one of the best places to spend Christmas in 2022

Iceland is the perfect holiday destination for travellers in search of Christmas spirit. Here, the festive season pulsates with lively Christmas markets where wooden booths brim with food and drink, and gifts glitter as imposing Christmas trees stand guard. Expect a true winter wonderland made up of wild lava fields and craggy mountains topped with snow for added sparkle. Take a self-drive into the mountains and catch the northern lights glimmering in the dark sky, and don’t forget other seasonal sojourns such as trekking near the Snaefellsjokull glacier.

  • Best hotels in Iceland
  • Best things to do in Iceland

21. London, England

A gingerbread man outside Battersea Power Station at Christmas in London

London does a stonking good job of putting on a good Christmas display — as you would expect from any capital city — but what it’s particularly good at is the stunning array of settings where twinkling lights breathe magic into the air. There’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where fairground rides, circus acts and Christmas market stalls selling mulled wine and bratwurst will make anyone giddy. Or Battersea Power Station, where the brightly lit facade overlooks a riverfront ice rink. And of course, who could forget the shopping streets around Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, where shops compete to put on the best displays. Fortnum & Mason’s is unmissable.

  • Best things to do in London at Christmas

Take me there

Inspired to go abroad this Christmas but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from Jet2 Holidays and Tui .

warm places to visit during christmas time

We3Travel

23 Best Places to Go for Christmas on the East Coast, USA (2023)

The holidays are around the corner and for many of us, Christmas travel means heading to grandma’s house — you know, over the river and through the woods. For others, a holiday destination means a nice hotel resort on a beach somewhere. Today, I wanted to share ideas for places to go for Christmas on the east coast that will put you in the holiday mood.

These are East Coast Christmas vacations that offer something extra special. I know when I’m looking for Christmas getaways near me, I’m thinking of parades of boats, horse-drawn sleigh rides, botanical gardens dripping in twinkling lights, and special holiday events.

These East Coast Christmas towns are postcard-worthy venues for catching the holiday spirit. And if you are looking for even more holiday inspiration, be sure to check out our posts on the best Christmas hotels , and ideas for celebrating the holidays in Philadelphia , Chicago , and London . If you are on the West Coast, see the best Christmas towns in California .

Best Places to Go for Christmas on the East Coast

Dates are subject to change and we recommend visiting the destination website to find out more details before planning your Christmas vacation.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

Starting in the north and moving south, here are our picks for the top places to go for Christmas on the East Coast of the USA from the best Christmas towns on the East Coast to great Christmas resorts.

1. Kennebunkport, Maine

Welcome to Kennebunkport sign

Kennebunkport is a charming coastal town in Southern Maine, famous for its lobster rolls, Docks Square shopping, and the Bush Family compound. While visitors flock here in the summer, Kennebunkport (KPT) goes out of its way to shine in the winter too. It is no surprise that it was voted the #2 Christmas town in America by HGTV.

In Kennebunkport, you can watch Santa Claus arrive by lobster boat during the annual Christmas Prelude , and there are many other festivities hosted throughout the holiday season. For two consecutive weekends in early December, Kennebunkport’s Dock Square, nearby Kennebunk, and Cape Porpoise are aglow with holiday-themed events from tree lightings to parades, crafts to caroling, and fireworks to Santa’s arrival. 

You really won’t want to miss the lobster trap tree lighting! Nothing says Christmas in Maine more than an Instagram post of a “Christmas tree” made out of lobster traps covered with holiday lights.

Where to stay: If you are staying overnight, the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel is right in the heart of the action.

2. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth NH Holiday

The waterfront, historic town of Portsmouth is always a joy to visit, with its cobblestone streets, charming shops, bountiful restaurants, and harborfront. But Portsmouth really turns festive around the holidays with a Vintage Christmas . This month-long celebration is chock full of events from the Vintage Christmas kickoff party to the Annual Gingerbread House contest, Christmas tree lighting and Illuminated Holiday Parade, and the Annual Candlelight Stroll.

There are also special performances of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas , and Family Holiday Pops by the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, making Portsmouth a great East Coast Christmas vacation. Visitors can then enjoy a winter skate on the outdoor ice-skating rink at Puddle Duck Pond.

While you are in town, I’d highly recommend a seafood meal at Row 34! See my full guide on things to do in Portsmouth NH .

Where to stay: For families, the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Portsmouth is very convenient. For couples, I’d recommend the AC Hotel Portsmouth Downtown .

3. Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Omni Mount Washington

Winter brings ski season to New Hampshire but there is also plenty of holiday fun to be had in the White Mountains . While Ice Castles typically doesn’t open until early January (depending on the weather), Santa’s Village is decked out in nearly one million lights and open for visitors on weekends from mid-November through December 23rd. There are Christmas carols in the air, decorations galore, and even visits to Santa and his reindeer.

The Santa Express train ride on the Hobo Railroad is perfect for families, as everyone on the train meets Santa & Mrs. Claus, and all young children will receive a gift from Santa on the train. The Mount Washington Cog Railway also offers a winter ride to their Waumbek Station, complete with hot cocoa and marshmallows and sometimes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

At the Omni Mount Washington, you can enjoy winter activities including skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, sleigh rides, and even zip lining. The hotel gets decked out for the holidays and hosts special events including holiday concerts.

Where to stay: The Omni Mount Washington is the natural pick but for something more unique, Huttopia White Mountains now offers cozy cabins that are perfect for winter stays.

4. Woodstock, Vermont

Horse drawn carriage in parade

Woodstock, Vermont has to be one of the most charming towns in New England and a perfect place to get into the holiday spirit during a series of holiday events starting in November and running through mid-December. The festivities kick off with a Gingerbread contest in late November, with the houses on display at Woodstock Scoops.

Next up, enjoy the Christmas spirit at Billings Farm on multiple weekends in December. Billings Farm is decorated with festive lights and Victorian Christmas traditions. Families can enjoy hot cider and toast s’mores by the fire pit.

The main event is the Wassail Weekend . This yearly celebration is filled with decorated historic homes, horse-drawn carriage rides, breakfast with Santa, and twinkling lights throughout the town square. Riders dressed in Victorian Era costumes and horses draped with sleigh bells lead the way in the Wassail Parade.

Visitors can also enjoy musical performances ranging from Christmas with the Celts to Cello by Candlelight, choirs, and sing-alongs.

Where to stay: If you are making a weekend of it, there is no better place to stay than the Woodstock Inn & Resort . For something more unique, try winter glamping nearby at Highwood Retreat .

5. Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Snowland Suite at the Great Wolf Lodge

Snowland at the Great Wolf Lodge is a true kid’s delight! Celebrate the holidays with special cookie deliveries from Wiley the Wolf, eat in the life-size gingerbread house, grab some free hot chocolate, decorate cookies, and participate in special activities like the Polar Wolf Walk.

Make your stay extra special by booking a Snowland Suite, with special holiday decorations and your very own tree. Of course, there are Great Wolf Lodge hotels throughout the USA, including ones in the Poconos, Pennsylvania; Concord, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Williamsburg, Virginia . Check out the video we made during our stay during the holidays at the Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

6. Boston, Massachusetts

Columbus Park lit up for Christmas in Boston

Like most large cities, Boston puts on its shine for the winter holidays. But unlike some cities, you may just see some snow while you are there. Starting in late November, you can join in one of the many tree or holiday lighting ceremonies around town — from the Boston Common to the Columbus Park Trellis to Copley Square to the State House. You will find trees sparkling brightly in the Boston Common, the Public Garden, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Copley Square, Prudential Center, the North End, Downtown Crossing, and along the Seaport waterfront. 

European-style Holiday Markets also pop up across the city in December, featuring everything from vintage kitsch to New England crafts. Some popular markets can be found in SoWa in the South End, Snow Port at the Boston Seaport, and Old South Church’s Christmas Fair. The Theater District welcomes holiday shows, ice skating is open at Frog Pond, and many hotels offer special events and holiday displays.

Where to stay: If I was staying overnight, I’d pick either the Boston Harbor Hotel or the Newbury Boston , with its wood-burning fireplaces.

7. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport Mansions at Christmas

I know that summer seems like the ideal time to visit the Yachting Capital of the World, but Newport turns out quite nicely for the holidays as well. Many of the historic Newport Mansions are decked out for Christmas in Newport, with special events like costumed caroling and garden club competitions. The Breakers even puts on an amazing outdoor lights spectacle complete with a 50-foot long tunnel of lights.

Downtown, you can enjoy the holiday decorations while shopping or enjoy festive ice skating. Warm up afterwards in front of the fire at the historic Whitehorse Tavern or over a cup of chowder at the cozy Black Pearl on Bannister’s Wharf. Go ice skating or rent an igloo at the Newport Harbor Island Resort, or take a lantern tour of the town.

Where to stay: If you are staying in town, curl up by a fire at the Vanderbilt . See more of my recommendations for Rhode Island Christmas events .

8. Bethlehem, Connecticut

Nicol Nepala with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Any town called Bethlehem is duty-bound to host some sort of Christmas celebration, right? Bethlehem, Connecticut is no exception and is one of the more charming Christmas towns in America. On the first weekend in December, this small town in Western Connecticut hosts an annual Bethlehem Christmas Town Festival .

The weekend is filled with musical performances, a tree lighting, photos with Santa, horse-drawn hayrides, craft fairs and gift bazaars, along with plenty of food and refreshments. Visitors can enjoy strolling carolers, holiday characters, a train ride, scavenger hunt, Santa’s workshop, and a bell choir concert. The more ambitious can even join the “Santa Made Me Do It” 5K road race.

Where to stay: If you are looking to stay the weekend, there are a few luxury options nearby including The Mayflower Inn & Spa (for Gilmore Girl’s fans), the unique Winvian , and the more affordable Litchfield Inn .

9. New York, New York

Angels and tree in Rockefeller Center

Is there any better place to spend Christmas than New York City? It is worth battling the crowds and the cold to be part of the magic that is Christmas in NYC.

The whole city is decorated, but you must check out the store windows along Fifth Avenue and the giant holiday decorations on Sixth. There are many Christmas markets to enjoy, many with tasty treats, including Christmas markets in Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle.

A visit to “the tree” in Rockefeller Center is a must, but you will get a better picture and a much shorter line for ice skating at Bryant Park. Also, buy tickets in advance to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall or sign up for one of the Christmas Lights tours from On Location Tours. See my complete guide for visiting New York City with kids .

Where to stay: There are no shortage of hotels in New York that get decked out for the holidays, but some of the best are the Lotte New York Palace , The Plaza New York (a must for Home Alone 2 fans), Dream Downtown (grown ups will love the outdoor ice bar), The Standard East Village (where you can hang out in a heated yurt), and The Peninsula New York . Even if you only visit for a day trip, pop into any of the grand New York hotels to warm up and enjoy the holiday displays.

10. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Hotel Bethlehem lights

I can’t leave out a town that is dubbed “Christmas Town USA”, which is Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Once a steel town and now a college town, Bethlehem has eastern European roots which are evidenced with its European-style Christmas markets at both Bethlehem’s Christkindlmarkt and Christmas City Village. You can also shop at the Moravian Book Shop, the oldest continuously-operating book store in the world.

When you have stocked up on gifts, visit the Lehigh and Keystone Valley Model Railroad Museum or take a Christmas City Historical walking tour. At nighttime, Downtown Bethlehem really lights up for the holidays, and I’m a big fan of having dinner and drinks at Social Still in Bethlehem. Stop for breakfast at The Flying Egg.

Where to stay: There is no better place to stay than the Historic Hotel Bethlehem .

11. Indiana, Pennsylvania

Little-known Indiana, Pennsylvania is not just the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, it is also Jimmy Stewart’s home town. This little town does Christmas in a big way with a six-week “It’s a Wonderful Life” festival.

You can visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum, take a horse-drawn hayride through the trees at the Fleming’s Christmas Tree Farm, take in a Jimmy Stewart-themed show, and enjoy the It’s a Wonderful Life parade and festival.

Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Indiana

12. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Christmas Village hand painted houses

New York gets a lot of attention as being a great “big city” holiday destination but I’d argue that Philadelphia gives it a run for its money. Christmas Village in JFK Plaza features food stalls and shops from more than 60 vendors and Winterfest down at the RiverRink you can go ice skating or enjoy the outdoor fire pits.

Visitors can also skate right beside City hall at the Rothman Rink or check out the Holiday Festival at Franklin Square, with a light show featuring over 50,000 lights coordinated to music. You also have to take in the neighborhood light displays at “Miracle on South 13th Street.”

Christmas Lights display at Longwood Gardens via We3Travel.com

One of my favorite attractions is outside the city at nearby Longwood Gardens , which is one of the premier botanical gardens in the U.S., covering 1,000 acres filled with flowers, lights, miniature train displays, lights and fountain shows, and special holiday events.

Where to stay: If you are making a weekend of it, my favorite place to stay in Old City is the Kimpton Monaco .

13. Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hersheypark at Christmas

It is hard to beat the sweetness of the holidays in Hershey, PA . Christmas Candylane in Hersheypark features more than 70 rides amidst the twinkling lights. You can even meet some of Santa’s reindeer!

After a chilly night at the park, grab some chocolate and take a drive through the Hershey Sweet Lights, two miles of drive-through light displays to put you in the holiday mood on your winter vacation. During the day you can enjoy sweet temptations like chocolate tastings at the Hershey Story Museum and chocolate making at Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Where to stay: Make a sweet Christmas getaway with a stay at the Hershey Lodge or The Hotel Hershey .

14. Annapolis, Maryland

Market Square Annapolis

Annapolis has been named one of the best towns for the holidays by Travel & Leisure . The city’s downtown is decorated with garland and lights to put you in the holiday mood while visiting some of its cute boutiques to do your holiday shopping.

The month of December is filled with back-to-back events including the Annual Chocolate Binge Festival, where you can sample all sorts of chocolate — sign me up! On the second Saturday of December, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade features beautifully decorated boats in the Annapolis Harbor.

In Annapolis, the capstone holiday event is the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman football game. The season draws to a close with a family-friend New Year’s Eve Celebration at the City Dock ending with festive fireworks.

Where to stay: For local flair, stay at The Graduate Annapolis .

15. Williamsburg, Virginia

At Jamestown Settlement,

Williamsburg, Virginia is one of the best towns to visit for Christmas. Strap on some skates and glide across the ice at Liberty’s Ice Pavilion, then warm up with some hot cocoa or warm cider as you stroll through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg , which you will find walking tours on colonial decorating, live musical and theatrical performances, and discussions on holiday traditions.

Christmastide in Virginia takes place at both the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown where you can see what Christmas was like in the 17th- and 18th-centuries through festive interpretive programs, fancy cooking, caroling, and musical entertainment.

For a little excitement, Busch Gardens theme park gets in the festive spirit with holiday theming, festive foods, and holiday shopping during a special limited-capacity event. Downtown Williamsburg offers the Williamsburg Christmas Market on the weekends, with live entertainment and over 20 vendors.

Where to stay: For a Christmas hotel with a lot to offer, stay at the Williamsburg Inn .

16. Harrisonburg, virginia

In early December, charming Harrisonburg in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley , transforms into a Winter Wonderfest , where locals and visitors can mingle and enjoy carriage rides, photos with Santa, holiday shopping, performances, and more. In the evening, there is even a holiday parade followed by the official tree lighting. A local favorite is the holiday cookie tour offering delicious cookies from area bakers. 

Make a weekend of it and spend time exploring Shenandoah National Park or taking a day trip to Charlottesville . Ski season also kicks off at nearby Massanutten Resort, where you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snow tubing for some wintry fun.

Where to stay: In addition to the ski slopes, nearby Massanutten Resort features an indoor waterpark and countless family activities. You may also consider Hotel Madison near the downtown area because they do a tree decorating contest and have lovely trees throughout the property.

17. Asheville, North Carolina

Banquet hall at Biltmore decorated for the holidays with two large christmas trees and two red chairs in front of a large fireplace

There are many reasons to visit Asheville, North Carolina for its outdoor adventures and great food and drink. But the holiday season brings another reason, Christmas at Biltmore . In early November, America’s Largest Home is decorated with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, fragrant wreaths, fresh greenery, and thousands of glittering ornaments. This time-honored tradition dates back more than 125 years when George Vanderbilt celebrated the first Christmas with family and friends in his new home – Biltmore House.

Today, guests can enjoy a daytime tour past a wintry forest of trees and through the Biltmore House festooned with 67 hand-decorated Christmas trees, more than 14,000 ornaments, 45,000 holiday lights, 250 candles, 1,000 feet of garland, and 150 traditional poinsettias.

Or, guests can choose to visit in the evening Candlelight Christmas Evenings when the house glows with candlelight and firelight, taking visitors back in time with an experience reminiscent of the Vanderbilt’s first Christmas spent in Biltmore House in 1895. Musicians are stationed throughout the house to perform seasonal favorites. Outdoors, a 55-foot Norway spruce tree glowing with more than 60,000 tiny lights takes center stage on the front lawn and four-hundred hand-lit luminaries line the walkway to Biltmore House. Antler Hill Village is alive with a bonfire, visits from Santa, wine tasting, and holiday dining.

Where to stay: Make the most of the holiday experience with an overnight stay at The Inn on the Biltmore Estate .

 18. Wilmington, North Carolina

Enchanted Airlie Wilmington North Carolina

The holiday season starts early in Wilmington , North Carolina as Thanksgiving week kicks off Flotilla Week in Wrightsville Beach. Flotilla Week is jam-packed with special activities from Friday’s tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, Festival in the Park, the Holiday Flotilla procession of decorated boats, a massive fireworks display, and the annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie.

Enchanted Airlie turns its 35-acres of walking trails in the nighttime forest with nearly one million colorful lights, holiday displays, and seasonal music. 

Where to stay: If you go, make it a beach vacation with a stay at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort .

19. Charleston, South Carolina

Illumination tree lighting ceremony

The A nnual Holiday Festival of Lights takes place in James Island County Park from mid-November through late December. Charleston’s most popular holiday event features two million shimmering lights with a three-mile driving tour each evening, making it one of the best places to visit for Christmas in the south.

After the drive, visitors can partake in the many family attractions and activities including roasting marshmallows, train rides, lakeside lights, an amazing dancing light display, an enchanted walking trail, an old-fashioned carousel, Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, and many gift shops.

There is also an Annual Christmas Parade of Boats, which takes place in the Charleston Harbor. This Low Country holiday tradition features a display of lighted and festive boats.

In Downtown Charleston, Explore Charleston, Southern Living and Historic Charleston Foundation produce a series of events to celebrate the holiday season including a Holiday Decor and History Walking Tour, Southern Living Illumination Holiday Village and more, all scattered in different locations.

Where to stay: Many hotels in Charleston offer festive holiday packages , including the Francis Marion Hotel in the Historic District, which offers a package that includes a carriage ride and two mugs filled with cocoa. Other festive choices include The Charleston Place , Mill’s House , and the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, as they are all beautifully decorated and give you a great sense of Holiday spirit. 

20. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Holiday lights on trees on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island may be a popular summer destination but it gives visitors a good reason to come celebrate the holidays on this Golden Isle for a Christmas getaway weekend during Holly Jolly Jekyll . The Historic District, home to historic “cottages” of former Jekyll Island Club members like the Rockefellers, transforms into a holiday wonderland with over one million lights, 45,000+ lights on the Great Tree, 350+ lights displays, two nights of fireworks, and numerous Santa sightings and so much more.

Jekyll Island will be transformed into the brightest isle on the coast with attractions like Peppermint Land, Holidays in History, Mailbox on Main, and fireworks displays. Guests can enjoy seeing all of the lights through an open-air trolley tour on select nights throughout the season which provides a unique experience where the whole family can sit back and relax, enjoy complimentary beverages, and more. Visitors can find more information and purchase tickets online.  

If you visit around Thanksgiving, you can also take part in the island’s Cold Stunned Plunge event to raise money for the Jekyll Island Authority’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

Where to stay: If you are staying for the weekend, stay at the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort or hit the beach at the Westin Jekyll Island.

21. Helen, Georgia

Horse drawn carriage in Helen GA

When you can’t make it to the German Christmas Markets, head to Helen, Georgia instead! This alpine village with Bavarian-inspired architecture is perfect for a Christmas getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact, it is so picturesque that Lifetime has even filmed Christmas movies in Helen.

The Lighting of the Village takes place in late November and then 8,000 lights and 800 ornaments illuminate the tree and the town until the end of February. If you can time your visit to coordinate with the Christkindlmarkt, it is the perfect spot to shop for unique gifts and decorations and sip some delicious Glühwein.

Special events take place throughout the season, including the Annual Christmas Parade in mid-December. This small-town parade with fire trucks, horses, dirt-buggies, unique floats, candy, and even an appearance from Santa. If you want to step back in time, check out the Victorian holiday traditions at Hardman Farm State Historic Site where you can tour the farm, hop on a horse-drawn carriage ride, and enjoy yummy sweets.

Where to stay: Holiday Inn Express & Suites is perfect for families and located in the heart of downtown.

22. St. Augustine, Florida

Flagler College lit up at night for Nights of Lights

From late November through early February, the country’s oldest city shines brightly with the glow of 3 million tiny white lights during St. Augustine’s “ Nights of Lights ” celebration.

There are many ways to enjoy the lights, from Old Town Trolley tours, carriage rides, harbor tours, or guided walks. (See more things to do in St. Augustine .) During the Annual Holiday Regatta of Lights, a parade of colorfully-decorated boats fill the bay.

Where to stay: Stay in the heart of everything at the Casa Monica Resort & Spa , or enjoy personal hospitality at the St. Francis Inn Bed & Breakfast.

23. Orlando, Florida

Lorax at Universal Orlando

Of course, the theme parks really know how to go big for the holidays. With special events, holiday theming, and fantastic holiday decorations, you may want to spend your holidays with Mickey and crew at Christmas at Disney World , or Harry Potter and his friends at Universal Orlando .

Just keep in mind that the holiday week is the busiest for the parks and they often reach capacity by early in the morning (although that may be a little different these days.) If you can, plan a pre-holiday visit in the first two weeks of December.

If you will also be in South Florida around the holidays, be sure to check out Santa’s Enchanted Forest , the world’s largest holiday theme park in Doral.

Where to stay: The Gaylord Palms Resort & Conference Center goes above and beyond the typical holiday decor with its annual ICE! event, featuring a dazzling display of larger-than-life sculptures, thrilling ice slides, and awe-inspiring tunnels.

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Planning a Christmas getaway? Try one of these 23 places to go for Christmas on the East Coast. We have selected the best Christmas towns to get in the festive mood this season!

Tamara Gruber is the Founder and Publisher of We3Travel. A former marketing executive and travel advisor, Tamara is an award-winning travel writer and recognized expert in family travel, named the Media Member of the Year for 2023 by the Family Travel Association. Tamara is a member of SATW, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and the Family Travel Association. She is also the publisher of YourTimetoFly and the co-host of the Vacation Mavens travel podcast.

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Publish Date: October 4, 2023

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