Whether you are snowed in or just avoiding the low temperatures outside, your vitamin D craving is probably at an all-time high in the wintertime. Plus, cabin fever can have very real effects on our psyche. Deciding on the best place to travel in December seems like a loaded query. Tropical destinations are probably top of mind, but you have the added benefit of fewer crowds in the northern hemisphere in the winter. On the southern side of the planet, everyone is enjoying summertime.
There are also great reasons to visit colder regions during this time of year. We found places where Old World charm is enhanced by blankets of snow, beautiful slopes for shredding on skis or snowboards, and even mountainous resorts where you can relax with some hot cocoa and take in the picturesque landscape. Find your perfect escape on our list of the best places to travel in December.
Hope Town, Bahamas
So many gold coast Floridians consider the Bahamas a second home because it's so close. It's also because the island nation is an easy place to vacation: Nearly everyone speaks English, and American currency is perfectly acceptable everywhere. When you aren't worried about much else, it makes enjoying the sand and beach life all the better.
You really can't go wrong by paying any of the Bahamas' cities a visit, but we especially love Hope Town—a quaint and beautiful on the Abaco islands. One of the most famous landmarks is the the red-and-white-striped lighthouse, nicknamed the Candy Cane. It's a perfect spot if your Instagram is in need of some TLC.
Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador
The name of this central Ecuadorian city comes from the thermal baths that it's famous for. Beyond the hot springs, you will also find mesmerizing greenery amid waterfalls and rapids, with hiking and whitewater rafting galore. If you're up for some adventure, this is the place for you.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Avid scuba divers or other water sport enthusiasts will love discovering the treasures of Ambergris Caye. Belize’s dry season occurs during winter months, so you won’t risk having your plans ruined by weather. Expect plenty of gorgeous sunshine and lush flora.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
If what you need is a dive deep into nature, immerse yourself in the Berkshires. By December, the area will likely already be covered in snow, making it a winter wonderland. It is a quiet town with unbeatable farm-to-table restaurants and protected forests and gardens for your admiration. If you can stand freezing temperatures, definitely hit the trail and go on a stunning hike.
Cape Town, South Africa
One of many coastal cities of South Africa, Cape Town, also happens to be its national legislative capital. Experience summer at any local terrestrial attractions, or embark on an adventure to whale watch out in the open ocean. Cape Town is one of those cities that can satisfy every type of traveler: If you want to work on your tan all day, there are gorgeous beaches, and if you want to explore a bustling city, that's also an option. One of the coolest things to do here is taking a long and challenging hike that ends right at the beach. What better way to cool off than a dip in the ocean?
If you have a weakness for charming aesthetics, book a room at the Mount Nelson Hotel, which the owners painted pale pink in 1918 to encourage peace in the region. More than 100 years later, the beautiful structure still boasts the same beautiful pink color. The historical site has an Old Hollywood feel to it, too.
The picturesque region of Darjeeling in eastern India is best known for Darjeeling tea, which is unique because tea-makers can use the leaves to make a wide variety of teas. But Darjeeling offers much more than just tea. A Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited, was set on its historic rail line, which travels through the Himalayas for some of the most spectacular views you can imagine. And don’t worry, snow in the region does not typically begin falling until January.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai's temperatures can reach the mid-100s in the summer, so the only reasonable time to go would be in the dead of winter. And even then, you will find it in the comfortable 70s. During the past few decades, the city has maneuvered itself to the center of the world, and that means plenty of things to do for visitors, including theme parks, aquariums, parks, clubs, beaches, and more.
The island of Hawai’i, also known affectionately as the Big Island, is a great destination no matter which season you go there. The weather is unbeatable, and, of course, there is no passport required to visit this faraway paradise. If you're not afraid of heights, definitely go zip-lining; you won't see better views from any other angle.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
You won’t be escaping the snow on your trip to Wyoming in December, but you will have plenty of opportunities to shred it. The slopes and resorts aren’t the only draws either; the Tetons are adjacent to Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park is just north of there, as well.
Key West, Florida
Escaping to America's southernmost point is the perfect remedy for cabin fever. The Keys are little more than sunshine and beaches, and the trip will help you momentarily forget the snow up north. You can even make a road trip out of it if you live close enough! One of our favorite things to do in Key West is a sunset boat tour. Pack a bottle of your favorite wine and enjoy one of the most beautiful sights you'll ever witness.
The Kek Lok Si temple is only one of many exquisite landmarks on Penang Island, off Malaysia’s west coast. It can be a good place to recharge spiritually at places of worship, explore nature at botanical gardens and national parks, or just soak up the sun on the beaches.
If you are looking to enjoy a tropical paradise, consider a visit to the archipelago Maldives. The Indian Ocean is warm, which warrants plenty of seaside adventures no matter which of the many member islands you choose for your vacation. Make sure you check out the Cheval Blanc Randheli, which, in our opinion, is one of the most beautiful resorts in the world. Whether you book a stay in one of the private villas or just book a dinner reservation, you can't go wrong.
Situated right on the ocean, the views are stunning from every vantage point.
Quebec City, Canada
This quaint Canadian town is just a short distance from Montreal and an even shorter drive to the Maine border. If you are lucky, it will snow before your visit, so you can catch a glimpse of the city dressed in white and hopefully snap a few photos of the winter wonderland while you're there.
If you're in the mood for some history (and beautiful architecture), head to Place Royale, the famous town plaza in the historic Lower Town. You'll walk along cobblestone streets, weaving your way between beautiful stone structures that may convince you to emigrate to Canada.
A trip to Savannah can feel like a trip back in time, given the vibrancy of the historic city. Landmarks from American history are located all over, and the beauty of the well-maintained architecture will make you yearn for a bygone era.
Often mistaken as the Australian capital, Sydney happens to be one of the most visited cities in the world. And for good reason—its many landmarks, from the Opera House to Bondi Beach, give it international renown and make it worth more than one visit.