Vacation Places For Christmas – Some individuals’ idea of the ideal Christmas getaway includes truly embracing winter on a snowy mountain somewhere, cuddled up next to a roaring fire. Others choose to spend their days relaxing on a beach as far away from the cold as possible. In whichever location you choose to spend “the most wonderful time of the year,” you’re certain to encounter some form of festive spirit.
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Top 20 Vacation Places For Christmas
There are many locations globally that offer all the holiday feelings you’ve been craving if you choose to spend the vacation away from home. To aid in your search, we’ve put together a list of the top 20 family-friendly Christmas getaways and vacations that will have you feeling as though you’re strolling through a winter wonderland, whether it’s a snowy morning in the mountains or a sunny day at the beach.
1. The Bahamas
Another well-liked destination for holiday tourists wanting sun and sand is The Bahamas, which are only a short flight away south for East Coasters. The start of the high season here is in the middle of December, presumably because the daily highs in the 80s are such a welcome break from the frigid conditions in much of the United States. You may have the perfect Christmas getaway in this sunny haven thanks to the variety of lodging options available, which vary from big resort communities like Baha Mar with apparently unlimited amenities to smaller, more secluded private island resorts like T+L reader favorite Kamalame Cay.
2. Quebec City
The closest thing to being truly European outside of Europe is Quebec City. The majority-French-speaking inhabitants of Quebec celebrate the change of seasons with German-style markets, ice skating at Place D’Youville, and dreamy-scene shopping in Old Quebec. One of Quebec City’s oldest attractions, Au 1884 (formerly known as the Dufferin Terrace Toboggan Slide), offers a uniquely Canadian experience. The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a castle-like hotel where you may pause for soup or coffee to warm up, is directly across the street from the slide.
3. Bavaria, Germany
Spend the Christmas season in this charming area in southern Germany. Begin your journey in Munich, where you may have mulled wine while exploring a genuine Christkind market. Then leave the city to go skiing in the Alps or discover the Christmas atmosphere in little communities like historic Rothenburg. Wherever you travel, keep an eye out for the eerie Krampus, a terrifying Christmas creature according to local tradition.
4. The Maldives
The Maldives might be the best place to spend Christmas if you prefer to go around in sandals rather than snowshoes. The ideal weather in this area is in the winter during the dry season. Average daily highs in the 80s Fahrenheit are ideal for a beach vacation. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands or Conrad Maldives Rangali Island offer opulent lodging where you may unwind after a long day.
5. Rovaniemi, Finland
Why not spend the holidays in the hometown of Santa Claus? Santa Claus Village and SantaPark, located in the Finnish Lapland capital of Rovaniemi, are where visitors can find Santa Claus and his reindeer helpers. The Arctic region is blanketed in a thick layer of beautiful snow during the winter. Additionally, you’ll have the best opportunity of the year to see the northern lights. Many hotels in the region provide glass igloo rooms, which offer breathtaking 360-degree views of the aurora borealis from inside.
There’s definitely something particularly enchanted about London during the holiday season. The city comes to life during the holidays with all of the sparkling lights, cider-slinging seasonal markets, themed pop-up bars, and ice skating rinks from Hyde Park to the Queen’s House in Greenwich. For a genuinely festive experience, book a night at The Lanesborough. The opulent hotel features lovely holiday decorations, Harvey Nichols in-suite shopping, and the choice to have your room entirely decorated as part of the hotel’s Christmas in Residence program.
7. Buenos Aires
In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas falls during the summer, and Buenos Aires celebrates it with asado feasts and fireworks in the open air. Considering that December highs often range from the upper 70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit, Papá Noel occasionally dresses in a tank top. The beautiful day is ideal for having a picnic on the Plaza Intendente Alvear while sipping beverages. While visiting the Argentine capital over the holidays, try some pan dulce (“sweet bread”), take in the decorations that typically take over the Galeras Pacifico shopping mall, or do what the locals do and head to a nearby beach to get away from the city.
8. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Any time of year is a terrific time to travel to Santa Fe. The city, which is well-known for its culture, cuisine, and scenic surroundings, frequently hosts holiday activities throughout December. Highlights each year include the Glow light show at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and Christmas performances held within the magnificent Loretto Chapel leading up to December 25. Even winter sports are available at Ski Santa Fe, located around 15 miles distant. Book a room at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe for a unique hotel experience, or spend the night at La Fonda on the historic and festively lit Santa Fe Plaza.
9. Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a great getaway for anyone wishing to spend the holidays in a U.S. beach location because of the comfortable mild weather in December. Start your holiday season off right with a picturesque drive across the Florida Keys, stopping at islands along the way to Key West. Consider avoiding the throng at the quiet Sunset Key Cottages, a 27-acre private island resort reachable by ferry, as this is a popular time to go. Upon arrival, you’ll discover peace within a short distance from Key West’s attractions.
10. Washington, D.C.
This December, visit Washington Harbour to ice skate, see the National Christmas Tree, and participate in a choral concert at the National Cathedral. Spend some extra money on Christmas shopping because Washington, D.C., hosts a variety of holiday events throughout the season, many of which are free. To escape the chilly weather, visit one of the famed Smithsonian institutions, dress warmly to take in the lights at the National Zoo, or stroll along the National Mall while sipping hot cocoa. The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown offers lodgings that are hard to top.
The city’s most famous landmark, Edinburgh Castle, shines over the holidays. The annual Castle of Light festival, which debuted in 2019, draws spectators with breathtaking projections on the fortress’s outside walls from the 12th century. Every year, the estimates are updated and have previously included everything from fire-breathing dragons to flowers. Another Christmas must-do is the festive afternoon tea at Dome, where holiday decorations have been added to the elegant Georgian Tea Room. For the whole experience, sip mulled wine at one of the Christmas markets and ice skate on George Street. Attend Hogmanay, Scotland’s own New Year’s Eve celebration, if you’re in the area. Edinburgh hosts a Hogmanay festival with a torchlight parade, musical performances, and a dance party.
12. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe, one of the most idyllic places to spend Christmas and a favorite ski resort for East Coasters, is accessible by car from a number of significant northeastern cities, including Boston, Albany, and Montreal, to name a few. If you want a white, powder-filled Christmas, this is the perfect place to hit the slopes as the ski season normally begins in November. The Lodge at Spruce Peak offers ski-in/ski-out access and lovely mountain views.
13. Solvang, California
If you won’t have the opportunity to explore a fairytale village in Denmark over the holidays, Solvang offers a similar experience. A group of Danes established the little city in the Santa Ynez Valley in the early 1900s. They built this charming neighborhood, today renowned for its Danish stores and buildings. Julefest, a month-long village celebration with outdoor events and seasonal decorations, is generally held in Solvang. Staying at The Landsby or the Winston, two of Solvang’s coziest boutique hotels, will make the trip even more festive.
14. Salzburg, Austria
When visiting Salzburg during the holiday season, Christmas markets, mulled wine, medieval castles, and a museum entirely devoted to Christmas will put you in the holiday spirit. As you are probably aware, the city is where Mozart was born and where “The Sound of Music,” a film that is played nonstop around the holidays, is situated. On the south-facing terrace of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, admire breathtaking views of the snow-capped Alps while ice skating around a statue of the famous composer. The hotel that offers the most opulence? In the heart of Old Town, that would be Hotel Goldener Hirsch.
15. Highlands, North Carolina
Go to Highlands, North Carolina, if you want to experience a quaint, small-town Christmas that feels like it belongs in a Hallmark film. This charming village can be found inside the Nantahala National Forest in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Storefronts along and near Main Street are decked out in holiday decorations during the month of December. Vote for the entry that, in your opinion, wins the city’s competition. Any Saturday in December leading up to Christmas, visit Santa in Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park. The Travel + Leisure readers’ favorite hotels, Half-Mile Farm and Old Edwards Inn and Spa, offer warm lodgings with a dose of Christmas cheer.
16. Saint Lucia
Consider visiting this lovely Caribbean island if fluffy, smooth sand is your idea of a white Christmas. Regular holiday events at the opulent Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, include Santa visits, a traditional Christmas dinner, and a beach party on New Year’s Eve. Of course, you may also spend your days making use of the resort’s standard services and activities, which include a pool, spa, dive center, and kayak rentals, or relaxing on the magnificent beach between St. Lucia’s recognizable peaks, the Pitons.
17. Beaver Creek, Colorado
A 12-mile drive from lively Vail lies Beaver Creek, Colorado, another location to celebrate Christmas on the slopes. This charming ski resort frequently hosts holiday festivities for the whole family, including the yearly lighting of the Christmas tree and recurring activities like holiday movie evenings and cookie-baking contests.
The Osprey has opulent lodging and a heated outdoor pool, both of which are just steps away from the chairlift. Otherwise, you can reserve one of The Pines Lodge’s 60 rooms. Both provide ski-in/ski-out accessibility.
18. Bruges, Belgium
One of the best Christmas markets in Europe is in Bruges. With booths and wooden chalets offering everything from handmade Christmas ornaments to waffles and woolen socks, this charming event takes over the Markt, the city’s central plaza. You may find confectioneries offering Belgian hot chocolate, which is without a doubt some of the greatest you’ll ever taste, in the bright businesses that surround the plaza, which are adorably decked out in holiday decorations. A smaller market in the adjoining Simon Stevinplein square is also included in the celebrations. Upgrade your stay by booking a suite at the opulent and storied Hotel Van Cleef that looks out over the gorgeous canal.
19. New York City
Christmas in New York City is unlike any other. Year-round city lights are really brilliant, but the magic is enhanced by holiday lights. With all the well-known displays, such as the enormous tree at Rockefeller Center, the smaller but equally stunning tree in 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 won’t need to look far for things to do or entertainment. On a holiday trip to NYC, you can enjoy the age-old tradition of watching the Radio City Rockettes perform their annual Christmas Spectacular while sipping hot chocolate at German-style Christmas markets.
20. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A lovely ski resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located in Wyoming’s majestic Tetons. There is a ton of holiday programming here in late December, which often includes caroling, skiing with Santa, and ice skating. The festivities typically begin with the lighting of the Christmas tree and culminate on New Year’s Eve with fireworks.
The opulent Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa and the ski-in, ski-out Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, are just two of the gorgeous slopeside lodges available. In downtown Jackson, are you looking for gifts? For the holidays, the recognizable elk antler arches that frame the Town Square are illuminated, giving it a magnificent appearance. Plan a trip to the Granite Hot Springs Pool, which can only be reached by snowmobile, fat bike, dog sled, or skis, for a unique experience that embraces the hot and cold.