5 Dream Destinations for the December Traveler 

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Summer is the ideal time to travel for most people. Warmer weather and seasonal attractions attract visitors to hotspots in the summer, yet the winter also offers unbeatable experiences. 

Many destinations harbor warm weather year-round, granting an oasis to those stuck in the cold for half a year. At the same time, other bucket list stops appreciate colder seasons for stunning backdrops, unique attractions, and milder crowds. 

5 Dream Destinations for the December Traveler 

Miami Beach December Travel Destination.
Deposit Photos.

Harsh cold fronts and flooding might interrupt the schedule, based on where you choose to travel, though I believe December jaunts rank superior to summer solaces. We’ve rounded up a list of five ideal places to touch down in the year's final month. 

1. Miami, Florida

Miami's heat resembles the underworld most of the year, except in the winter. The humidity drops, along with the weather, harboring an enjoyable climate to explore while enjoying all of the holiday and winter offerings in Magic City. Get your tan at South Beach without fighting for a prime spot, as fewer tourists flock to the Florida seaside in the winter. 

Winter offerings in Miami encompass ample options. A glorious Chinese lantern light show at Jungle Island, Miracle in Miami (a Christmas pop-up bar for those longing to indulge in holiday hooch), a Miami Beach Festival of Lights complete with illuminated projections dancing to classic hits from Frozen, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, The Grinch, and other holiday staples. 

Miami hosts multiple holiday celebrations to ring in the New Year. Although I’m saddened by the eradication of Miley Cyrus’ New Year’s bash, Nicki Minaj, Marshmello, and Cardi B are slated for the crossover from 2023 to 2024.

2. Maui, Hawaii

Maui, a Hawaiian paradise, welcomes December travelers with warm water, perfect for snorkelers, surfers, and sunbathers looking for an occasional dip into the Four Great Waters. Maui’s Decembers remain around the high 70s/low 80s for a respite from sweater (or heavy parka) weather in colder climates. However, heavy rains may surface during the day or night, so plan kayak trips, surfing, and other water outings early in the morning. Additionally, winter is the best time to catch whales in their natural habitat, with the season commencing on December 15. 

The island magnifies the holiday spirit by lighting a Banyan tree and boarding the holiday sugar cane train for an exciting expedition through Pu`ukolii with none other than Santa Claus. Select December activities give back to nature. Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge revamp the Honokowai Valley, volunteers visit Kula to learn about sustainable farming practices, and The Maui Farm in Makawao holds Community Garden work days weekly. 

3. Venice, Italy 

Invite the mysticism reverberating throughout Venice into your December excursion. Like Miami, fewer people visit the Italian metropolis in the winter, making for an uncrowded exploration of the gorgeous sun-kissed canals and bridges. 

Venice appreciates all kinds of music, providing platforms for acclaimed jazz quartets, transfixing church organ numbers, orchestra, choir… the list goes on. During the jolly season, tourists celebrate holiday concerts featuring timeless classics from internationally renowned singers at venues like La Fenice Theater or St. Mark’s Square. New Year’s enthusiasts congregate before St. Mark’s Square, a Venetian centerpiece holding live performances and an extravagant firework display/ New Year’s Eve countdown. 

With fewer people traversing the Italian city in the winter, you’ll have a more accessible time scheduling bucket list landmarks spanning from the Bridge of Sighs to Doge’s Palace. Bundle up, board a Venetian Water taxi, and book a guided food tour to maximize arrangements. 

4. Switzerland 

When thinking of the best ski resorts in the world, the Swiss Alps make every list. December is not the snowiest month in the Alps, but that doesn’t mean that the resorts remain closed. Rather, they open on a limited basis, welcoming a concoction of fresh powder and manufactured snow for prime skiing later in the season. 

Perhaps you’re not a skier. Relaxing inside a heated lodge (or cable car) appeals to you sans bitter wind blasting you in the face as you slalom down the slopes. Imagine a striking cable ride up Toblerone Mountain (AKA Matterhorn, AKA the mountainous inspiration for Disneyland’s steel Matterhorn coaster). Gaze at the Goliath mountains swimming underneath the cable car, topped with beauteous gleaming snow, as you roll into the endless clouds swirling atop the mountain peak. 

Switzerland’s snow-capped villages emulate those in fairytales. Certain pleasantries enhance the fairy tale picture, what with streets paved by cobblestone and wisps of wine, cheese, and gingerbread directing locals and visitors to prevalent Christmas markets. 

5. New York City 

Regardless of how, or if, you celebrate holidays, the Big Apple’s winter decorations entrance and enchant all visitors. Colossal Christmas trees populate public walkways and shopping malls, begging visitors to pose for the perfect photo opp. Holiday markets pop up around every corner, like the Union Square Holiday Market and Bryant Park Winter Village, as talented local vendors exhibit their creations.

Recreate notable movie moments at Rockefeller Center. Will Ferrell’s blockbuster Elf features a scene with the Rockefeller Christmas tree, an iconic, 12-ton, 80-foot Christmas tree embellished with a 900-pound star enshrouded in three million Swarovski crystals. Autumn in New York filmed an ice skating scene on the infamous, incomparable Rink at Rockefeller Center.

Fancying a stroll down the picturesque 5th Avenue? Every winter, the higher-end chains ornament windows, and some bedazzle their exteriors with holiday lights. Get your kicks on at Radio City Music Hall for an unforgettable Rockette’s performance, or settle into Christmas with a pair of tickets to the Nutcracker on Broadway.

About Gabrielle Reeder

Gabrielle Reeder is a travel enthusiast from St. Petersburg Florida. She boarded her first plane at six months old and blames her love for jet-setting on her mom’s background as a travel agent. She’s been to 41 states and six countries, hoping to up that number to 50 states and 10 countries by her 26th birthday. During her trips, she loves to find the best vegetarian food, desserts, and music venues. 

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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