There are many excellent locations to visit in December, ranging from icy ski resorts to warm-weather locales. Do you like winter, snow, and cold weather? Mountain ski destinations like Vail are already filling up for December, so it’s time to start thinking about your cold-weather escape.
Do you want to remain warm while relaxing on the beach or by the pool? Cancun and Anguilla are both sunny destinations. Miami in December provides mild weather and yearly art celebrations. Summer enthusiasts may choose to go to the southern hemisphere, where the season is only getting started in Cape Town and northern Chile. Travelers who still want to see Europe might explore the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Others want to get into the Christmas mood by decorating their trees with shimmering lights and providing festive entertainment. We recommend visiting Ocala, Branson, Alexandria, and Solvang, where the Christmas spirit is in full swing. These are the top destinations to visit during December.
Ocala, located in north central Florida approximately 80 miles from Orlando, features parks, rivers, lakes, golf, fishing, water activities, and warm December weather in the low 70s. For its horse farms, training facilities, exhibitions, and equestrian excursions, Ocala has been dubbed the “World’s Horse Capital.” There is also the World Equestrian Center, the country’s biggest equestrian facility, featuring a range of competitive stages and amenities.
It also houses the five-star Equestrian Hotel, which offers excellent cuisine, the Calluna Spa, beautiful design, and unique stores selling toys, jewelry, apparel, leather goods, and other items. Winter Wonderland, open from November 25 to December 24, celebrates the season with glittering lights, a 60-foot Christmas tree, a skating rink, carolers, entertainment, and brunch with Santa at Stirrups restaurant.
Year-round activities in Branson include theme parks, live entertainment, outdoor activities, golf, and water sports. Visitors may enjoy museums, shopping, and the pure mountain air in the winter. The Christmas season is filled with extravagant light displays and family-friendly activities like as the Polar Express, parades, performances, snow tubing, reindeer, and shopping.
From November 5 through December 30, Silver Dollar City will display over 6.5 million lights, as well as seasonal delicacies and events. Big Cedar Lodge, which has cottages, log cabins, and guest rooms, celebrates the holidays with Santa and his elves, gingerbread homes, campfires, crafts, and an ice skating rink.
Alexandria, just over the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is a popular city for its downtown core, history, and architecture. The Christmas season kicks out on November 19 with a tree lighting ceremony.
The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is part of the “Biggest Holiday Weekend,” which also includes the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on December 3. Christmas Illuminations will return to George Washington’s Mount Vernon mansion on December 16-17, including fireworks and a light spectacular over the Potomac River.
Candlelight tours will be held on various weekends during November and December. A trip to the nation’s capital in December is ideal for taking in the Christmas decorations, museums, excursions, and markets.
Cape Town, South Africa
Summer in Cape Town begins in December, with temperatures in the 70s, excellent for being outside. Hiking, riding, and visiting the city’s gardens are popular activities for nature lovers, and the “Mother City” has a wide cuisine scene, ranging from fine dining to street food. A cable car journey to the peak of Table Mountain provides breathtaking vistas.
Stay at Mount Nelson, a Belmond Hotel, and enjoy fresh marine experiences like the ocean excursion through kelp forests, which was documented for the award-winning documentary “My Octopus Teacher.” Beginning November 17, nonstop flights from Atlanta on Delta and Washington’s Dulles Airport on United Airlines will connect to Cape Town.
Solvang, built in 1911 by Danish emigrants, lies in Santa Barbara County’s Central Coast wine district. It’s a popular destination for its restaurants, shops, and bakeries, as well as its European feel. Solvang celebrates Christmas in the Danish tradition, with holiday lights, Christmas trees, Santa’s Village in the park, a Julefest procession, culinary tours, and seasonal markets.
Stay in town at The Winston or Vinland Hotel + Lounge, both of which are pet-friendly and handy. The new boutique Hotel Ynez, located nearby, is nestled on two acres amid redwood, oak, and madrone trees. The Santa Ynez Inn, located only minutes from Solvang, has a new trademark restaurant called The Victor.
Cancun, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, has beautiful December weather in the mid 80s, which is excellent for relaxing on the beach as well as seeing surrounding Mayan ruins and shopping downtown. Visitors may pick from a variety of accommodations for families, couples, and groups, including resorts and all-inclusive hotels. The new Waldorf Astoria Cancun is on 100 acres of beachfront, while the NIZUC Resort & Spa is another luxurious alternative.
Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla is close to restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Mayakoba, located less than an hour from Cancun International Airport, offers beaches, lagoons, golf, restaurants, and four resorts: Andaz, Banyan Tree, Fairmont, and Rosewood.
Anguilla, located in the eastern Caribbean approximately 12 miles north of St. Martin, has beautiful December weather with temps in the mid 80s and minimal rain. The month of December begins slowly, with more people coming towards the middle of the month and continuing through New Year’s week, as is typical in most warm-weather resort destinations.
Anguilla’s beautiful white-sand beaches, water sports, and friendly residents make it a place where visitors may rest in the sun or keep active snorkeling, fishing, or exploring the island. On the island’s northwest coast, stay at the beachside Zemi Beach House or the Four Seasons Anguilla Resort. The Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club, which has the island’s sole golf course, provides charter flights from New York, Washington D.C., and Fort Lauderdale.
Art is the emphasis for Miami in early December, with Art Basel from December 1-3, Art Miami from November 29-December 4, and art institutions around the city forming what has become Miami Art Week. Artists, collectors, and fans will flock to events, exhibits, galleries, and a variety of locations, including the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Later in the month, when the year-end tourism season starts, the beaches, pools, restaurants, and clubs will be the main draws. Stay in luxury at The Setai, The Surf Club’s famous Four Seasons Hotel, or one of Miami’s many wonderful resorts. With a stay at the lovely Esmé Hotel, you can explore one of Miami’s original districts in South Beach, Espaola Way.
The Portuguese island of Madeira is the biggest in the archipelago of the same name, located in the Atlantic Ocean. Mountains, valleys, beaches, and rough landscape make it a lovely getaway, and temperatures in December are normally in the 50s.
Although it is not swimming season, it is an excellent time to be outside climbing, exploring, and tasting the famed local wines. Throughout December, Christmas customs, decorations, holiday markets, and celebrations are observed. The travel from New York to Funchal, the capital, takes roughly seven hours, and nonstop flights will resume year round on SATA Azores Airlines in November.
It’s summer in the southern hemisphere, and the weather fluctuates dramatically from north to south, a span of over 2,700 miles, due to Chile’s peculiar terrain. Set between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, the nation has deserts, lakes, volcanoes, and glaciers and fjords in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in the south.
The village of Navidad is an ideal resort for beaches and watersports in December. Santiago, the capital, has museums, restaurants, nightlife, and historic structures. Patagonia in the south is a must-see for animals, beauty, and adventure.
Vail is roughly 100 miles west of Denver and 30 miles east of Eagle County Regional Airport in the central Rocky Mountains. The Vail Film Festival, which runs from December 1 to 4, will draw visitors early in the month, while skiers, snowboarders, and other winter sports enthusiasts will continue to come throughout the month, filling hotels and ski resorts.
The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort with a spa, four dining venues, and personalized experiences, is one place to stay. The Grand Hyatt Vail is a ski-in/ski-out hotel near Vail Village. Residential vacation rentals are offered via onefinestay, and Antlers Vail offers family-friendly lodgings.