Best Places to Visit in December – Winter Vacation Ideas 
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to make a purchase.
Did you know that more than half of American workers don’t use all of the vacation time they are allotted by their job? It seems like way too many people in the U.S. have forgotten the second half of the “work hard, play hard” motto.
Taking time away isn’t just a luxury, it’s actually important for your health. Studies have found that going on vacation can improve your physical health, your mental health, and boost your overall wellbeing.
On top of that, taking a winter vacation can help decrease burnout, improve your family relationships, and make you more productive when you return.
With all that being said, it’s time to plan your next winter vacation to ensure that your mind, body, and spirit stay in tip-top shape. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit in December so you can reap all of the benefits of getting out of dodge.
The Best Warm Places to Visit in December 2022
If you need some December vacation ideas with warmer weather and are dreaming of getting away to clear waters and tropical beaches, we have good news for you: You don’t necessarily have to leave the country. The US has lots of enticing options when it comes to warm weather getaways.
Let’s be real: when you think of the best winter vacations in the U.S., isn’t Hawaii the first thing that comes to mind? If you’re looking for tropical weather, sandy beaches, amazing hiking trails and a place to get away from it all, you really can’t go wrong with the Aloha State.
The temperature in Hawaii in December during the day is usually in the low 80s. At night, the temperature will drop a little and could even get down into the upper 60s.
One special treat you’ll get to witness when you’re in Hawaii is the beautiful Christmas flower, the poinsettia, in its natural habitat.
While December is part of the wet season and technically one of the rainiest month in the state, it shouldn’t put a damper on your beach-laying plans. When it rains, it usually occurs in short bursts that tend to last less than ten minutes.
When you’re in Hawaii for the winter, you’ll want to keep a lightweight rain jacket or umbrella on you just in case you get caught in the rain. However, most of the rain falls at night this time of year.
If the idea of your vacation getting rained-out strikes fear in your heart, then consider booking your stay on the leeward side of the islands. These areas tend to be drier.
If you love water sports, December is an awesome time to play in the Pacific. The ocean is warm and inviting and perfect for any activity you can dream up.
You won’t miss out on holiday spirit when you’re in Hawaii as you’ll find Christmas decorations and holiday festivities wherever you go.
Looking for tropical weather but hoping to stay in the contiguous U.S.? Not a problem.
While there are plenty of awesome options when it comes to Florida vacations, we’re going to focus on two spectacular December destinations.
First off, let’s talk about St. Augustine. This city is believed to be the oldest city in the entire country, as it was founded in 1565 by the Spanish. You’ll love exploring the incredible Spanish architecture in the city including the Castillo de San Marcos fortress.
St. Augustine is a great choice for a vacation any time of year as it has incredible restaurants, historical tours, and awesome beaches. During Christmas time, you’ll marvel at the Nights of Lights decorations that make the city have an extra sparkle. There’s even a lighted boat parade on Matanzas Bay known as the Holiday Regatta of Lights.
Another great option is visiting the Tampa Bay area. Including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa, sprawl has filled in the space between these cities in recent decades, though they each maintain distinct personalities.
If your primary goal is spending time on the beach, then you’ll want to head to Clearwater. St. Petersburg is great for those looking to explore eclectic shops in a city with a downtown beach vibe, and Tampa is great if you’re looking for a city with a fun nightlife and lots of restaurant options.
Key West is also a fantastic option for a December vacation. This city is the southernmost point in the continental U.S. and is known for its laid-back attitude and gorgeous beaches.
There’s plenty to do in Key West, from exploring the historic district to taking a sunset cruise. You can even go snorkeling or scuba diving in the clear waters off the coast.
No matter what kind of Florida vacation you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in one of these three great December destinations.
Whether you go to San Antonio, Austin, or take a trip to Texas Hill Country, Texas is a surprisingly nice place to visit in December. If you’re looking for a true winter wonderland, you can head to cities like Grapevine and Galveston. These two destinations offer many things for those wanting an outdoor vacation during cold weather. If you’re hoping to wander the streets of incredible cities just wearing shorts and a t-shirt, the Lone Star State has a lot to offer.
Looking for a west coast winter adventure? It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that California literally has it all. Whether you want to go skiing in the mountains, want to lounge on the beach, want to wander the desert, or want to shop at the same stores as your favorite Hollywood stars, California can make it happen.
You can explore the incredible nine national parks in the state or even wander the streets of a deserted ghost town. Honestly, is there anything you can’t do in California?
One of the downsides of a vacation to California is that it’s a pretty pricey state. Check out our guide for spending a week in California on a budget.
The winter in Arizona is a great time to visit. While it’s not quite as sunny during the colder months, you can still enjoy warm weather with snow-capped mountains and subpolar temperatures that never drop below freezing! If traveling doesn’t work out for whatever reason then head up North where there are skiing opportunities at Flagstaff Mountain right outside of town – or even hit Sedona if hiking through one of their many beautiful rock formations sounds more appealing than altitude sickness ever will (though we doubt anyone would really regret doing so).
If you’ve always had your heart set on visiting the Caribbean, December is one of the best months to head to the islands. The beach weather is ideal during December, January, and February, as it is much drier than at other times of the year. While you might find that the water is a bit cooler in December, you can certainly still enjoy the gorgeous blue water during the holiday seasons.
The Best Places to Visit in December for a Winter Adventure
Do you live for winter wonderlands? Do you have skis strapped to your feet as soon as the first snowflake drops? Let’s take a look at the best winter vacations in the US to let you really enjoy all that the wintery season has to offer – no matter if you are looking for an active vacation or a quiet, romantic getaway.
There’s hardly anything more hardcore that you can do than head to Alaska in the winter. However, it will allow you to see the incredible landscape of our biggest state in all of its snowy glory. On top of that, you can see the majestic Aurora Borealis, ski and snowboard to your heart’s content, and even try out some new winter sports you’ve never heard of.
Another great thing to do in Alaska in the winter is to visit the national parks. Whether you tour the glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park or go snowshoeing at Denali National Park, you’ll never forget the time you experienced the Alaskan wilderness during the winter.
Another American winter paradise is Colorado. Spending December in the Rocky Mountains will be a vacation to remember, whether you spend your time ice skating, snowboarding, skiing, or hanging out in the hot springs.
The ski season is the peak tourist season but it’s definitely worth enjoying a December vacation in one of the prime ski resorts. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider an early December vacation!
Some popular destinations include Aspen, Breckenridge, and Crested Butte. No matter where you end up in the Rockies during the winter months, you can have the time of your life snowmobiling, skiing, dog sledding, snow tubing, ice climbing, or participating in countless other snowy excursions.
If you’re looking for a Montana ski vacation, then you’ll likely want to head to western Montana where most of the best ski resorts are. There are also ten different national forests in the state of Montana, offering the opportunity for all kinds of adventurous winter excursions.
Worried that you’ll feel a bit too cold with all that time enjoying the Big Sky of the west? Make sure to add one of Montana’s commercial hot springs so you can warm your bones back up.
Are you looking for more awesome winter destinations? Check out this article!
Where Are You Going to Travel This December 2022?
Our list of the best places to visit in December can only really scratch the surface. We could write volumes about incredible spots in the U.S. to explore during the winter, but this list gives you a great jumping-off point for making vacation plans for this upcoming holiday season whether you love typical winter vacations and sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine, or prefer warmer weather and relaxing in beach spa resorts. Check out this article if you are planning a vacation with your family during New Year’s.
Whether you’re looking for fresh powder and slopes or relaxing beaches and sun, the United States is a diverse landscape that has it all.
Do you already have your vacation all planned out for this winter? Are you counting down the days until you board your flight to paradise for the Christmas season or New Year’s? If so, download our free Vacation Countdown App here!