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Looking for the best places to visit in December in the USA? Look no further! We’ve got an incredible list of places to go in America!
As the end of every year approaches, Americans of all backgrounds are looking for the best places to visit in December in the USA.
That is because the December holidays allow people to explore different exciting places with their friends and families.
If you are looking for the best places to spend your December vacation, this article is for you.
America offers a wide range of travel opportunities in December. There is a travel destination for everyone, ranging from romantic getaways to places with popular attractions and fewer crowds.
32 Best Destinations in the United States to Visit in December
Below are some of the best travel destinations in the US to visit in December.
1. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is most famous for its fantastic view of the Rocky Mountains, making it a unique winter destination in December.
This view mainly makes Boulder one of the most beautiful places to visit in December.
Some of the best things to do in Boulder include exploring the city on foot, visiting the city’s famous outdoor street mall, Pearl Street Mall, and skiing at the Eldora Mountain in Boulder.
You can also attend the city’s famous Winter Craft Beer Festival and discover why Boulder is often referred to as the beer crafting capital.
Where to Stay in Boulder
Click here to find accommodation in Boulder.
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is a highly recommended travel destination in December because of how beautiful, peaceful, and quiet it is.
While Yellowstone National Park attracts more people each year as it gains popularity, there are fewer crowds there during the last month of the year, making it ideal for a quiet December vacation.
At Yellowstone National Park, you can check out its popular geysers, Old Faithful, which has regular eruptions, and Steamboat, the tallest geyser in the world.
You should also visit the Hot Mammoth Springs, as well as the waterfalls named Tower Fall and Lower Falls, which are twice the height of Niagara Falls.
Where to Stay Near Yellowstone
Read next: Best Places to Visit in the USA
3. New York, New York
If you are looking for a quintessential Christmas that feels straight out of your favorite Hollywood Christmas special, New York City is a perfect place to spend your December vacation in the USA.
You can stroll on the snow-covered grounds of Central Park or the well-known High Line.
Besides, you can visit the famous Santaland at Macy’s, which was made popular by the hit Christmas special “Miracle on 31st Street.”
There’s also the famous Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center that is worth checking out.
If you want to participate in some fun winter sports, go skating on the city’s free ice rink before warming up with some hot cocoa.
For a full New York experience, be sure to cross the Brooklyn Bridge and explore little art galleries, flea markets, and local cuisine.
Where to Stay in New York
Click here to find accommodation in New York.
4. Washington DC
There are several reasons to visit Washington DC in December. For a start, it is not peak tourism season, so you will get cheap rates on hotel rooms, as well as fewer crowds at the city’s tourist attractions.
As such, a trip to Washington DC in December will cost you less and give you more time to explore the city devoid of crowds.
You can spend your vacation in Washington DC exploring the Smithsonian museums, which are mostly indoors.
Wander around the city and admire the holiday decorations, especially the ones at the White House.
Join any of the holiday activities in the city, such as seeing the enormous national Christmas tree and tours that take you through the city’s main attractions.
Where to Stay in Washington DC
Click here to find accommodation in Washington DC.
5. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA, especially if you are looking to enjoy a cozy romantic getaway with your significant other.
At Stowe, you can spend time with each other in a little cottage or bed-and-breakfast with the fireplace on and mugs of hot chocolate.
When you decide to go outside, you can also do lots of outdoor activities, such as skiing and going dog-sledding.
Beyond that, you can also watch the tree lighting ceremony at the center of the town and join in on one of Stowe’s traditional holiday parades.
Where to Stay in Stowe
Click here to find accommodation in Stowe.
6. Leavenworth, Washington
The little town of Leavenworth is one of the best places to visit in during Christmas in the USA. This is because there are so many things to do in this winter wonderland that you will never want to leave.
Leavenworth takes Christmas seriously, and the lighting and the ornaments decorating the town are a beauty to behold.
Apart from attending the Christmas lighting ceremony, other activities you can do while spending your December vacation in Leavenworth include going dog sledding and ski jumping.
Still, you won’t want to miss the German drinks and food and the Nutcracker Museum, which has the world’s most extensive collection of nutcrackers.
Where to Stay in Leavenworth
Click here to find accommodation in Leavenworth.
7. Breckenridge, Colorado
December means ski season in Breckenridge, so it isn’t a surprise this magical place is a popular December vacation in the USA among skiing enthusiasts.
As such, if you love to ski, then Breckenridge is ideal for you. While there might be crowds, there is enough snow and space for you to enjoy the place.
Apart from skiing opportunities, some of the other things that make Breckenridge a great place to visit in December include the holiday festivities.
Walk through the town and enjoy the beautiful sights of the festive season with buildings decorated with holiday ornaments.
You can also step into one of the small shops along Main Street and purchase a holiday keepsake.
Where to Stay in Breckenridge
Click here to find accommodation in Breckenridge.
8. Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is another great place for people who enjoy the magic of a place under a blanket of snow.
Here you can go skiing in any of the six prime ski resorts around Salt Lake City. You can also simply enjoy watching the picturesque snow-covered mountains.
For these reasons, Salt Lake City is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA. Not only that but also because of the many festive events that happen during this season.
You can join one of the carriage rides that will take you through Temple Square adorned with festive lights.
Visit This Is The Place Heritage Park and learn more about how the people in Utah celebrated the December holidays in the 1800s.
Oh, and don’t forget to buy some gifts and keepsakes from the small shops in the city.
Where to Stay in Salt Lake City
Click here to find accommodation in Salt Lake City.
9. Key West, Florida
For people looking to get away from the winter blues, Key West is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA.
The calm waters and the relatively warm weather, neither cold nor hot with average highs of about 75°F, make it perfect for exploring the island.
Go on a tour of the island’s historic mansions, which are beautifully decked out in holiday decor. Watch the Lighted Boat Parade at the island’s iconic seaport.
You can visit some of the island’s famous watering holes, go bar hopping, or simply lounge on the beach and catch a sunset.
Either way, Key West is one of the best warm places to visit in December in the US.
Where to Stay in Key West
Read next: Best Places to Visit in January
10. Anchorage, Alaska
December is the peak of the tourist season in Anchorage, Alaska, because of the Northern Lights.
And as you can imagine, many tours allow you to view the Northern Lights from Anchorage.
You can hop on the Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train, which will allow you to catch a scenic view of the Northern Lights from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
Beyond seeing this fantastic show of nature, other activities make Anchorage the perfect destination for December vacations.
These include exploring the city’s museums, going dog sledding, exploring the wildlife in the area (even in the winter months!), and hiking a glacier.
Where to Stay in Anchorage
Click here to find accommodation in Anchorage.
11. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a popular destination during the December holiday season thanks to its great water with average high temperatures of 64°F.
There are so many fun and educational activities to do in San Antonio in December.
Some of these activities include learning about the fight for independence in Texas at The Alamo, taking a stroll along the famous Riverwalk, and dining at one of the restaurants in San Antonio.
Aso, some exciting things to do in San Antonio are getting panoramic views of the city from the top of HemisFair Park’s 750 feet tall Tower of the Americas and checking out the dinosaurs at the Witte Museum.
Where to Stay in San Antonio
Check out where to stay in San Antonio.
12. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is one of the most famous places to visit in December in the USA. Nestled under a blanket of snow, Aspen is a mecca for ski lovers!
So, as you can imagine, the main outdoor activity in town is skiing at one of Aspen’s four ski resorts or on the Aspen Mountain, or snowboarding, and ice skating on Aspen’s ice rinks.
You can also go on sleigh rides and snowplow tours. For more relaxing activities, grab a warm drink at any of the town’s little cafes, eat in its popular restaurants, and go shopping in the town’s boutiques.
Where to Stay in Aspen
Click here to find accommodation in Aspen.
13. Burlington, Vermont
If you want to have a magical Christmas in a scenic city, Burlington is one of the best places to spend your December vacation in the US, let alone all of North America.
There are a large number of activities you can do here. Learn more about the history of the area at the Shelburne Museum and Ethan Allen Homestead Museum.
Go skiing in the snow-covered Green Mountains. Check out the festive lights on the pedestrian-only walkway of Church Street, where you will find unique shops offering gifts you can take home with you to remember your trip.
Where to Stay in Burlington
Click here to know where to stay in Burlington.
14. Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe offers you a vintage December straight out of an old Christmas Card. It is a melting pot of beautiful scenery and ancient Christmas traditions.
There is a mix of outdoor and indoor activities you can do at Lake Tahoe. Some outdoor activities include snowboarding, skiing, going on candlelit cruises, and catching the sunset from sleigh rides.
There are also fire pits where you can sit with others and sing Christmas Carols while nursing a mug of hot chocolate.
For indoor activities, you can visit some of Lake Tahoe’s historic mansions, such as Vikingsholm, one of the most photographed places in the United States.
Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe
Click here to find accommodation in Lake Tahoe.
15. Sun Valley, Idaho
December is one of the best times to vacation in Sun Valley. This is because visiting Sun Valley in winter allows you to take in some of the most scenic landscapes in the United States.
The snow-covered mountains in the area make the perfect backdrop for vacation pictures and holiday postcards. They are also perfect for skiing and a little bit of hiking along the easier hiking trails.
Sun Valley also has naturally occurring hot springs, which you can explore on foot.
Sun Valley provides a cozy getaway in December for people looking to vacation at a budget-friendly destination with fewer crowds.
Where to Stay in Sun Valley
Click here to find accommodation in Sun Valley.
16. San Diego, California
San Diego is a popular December vacation destination in the US because of its great climate with highs around, making it perfect for exploring the sights within the city.
Apart from the warmth and beautiful beaches, San Diego is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA because it is less expensive during this season.
Some of the things you can do in San Diego include exploring the city by foot or by car, seeing all the beautiful holiday light displays in different neighborhoods, strolling around Balboa Park, watching the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, and the Gasland Pet Parade swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
Where to Stay in San Diego
Click here to find accommodation in San Diego.
17. Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg combines history and beauty to provide a lovely Christmas experience.
The town of Williamsburg has a rich history as the place where George Whyte signed the American Declaration of Independence.
It is also home to William and Mary College, the second oldest university in America.
Williamsburg is perfect for a relaxing December vacation in the US. Stroll through the snowy streets lined with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.
Visit the historic center of Williamsburg and admire the well-restored old colonial buildings. Visit the art museums which display artifacts from the town’s colonial past.
Where to Stay in Williamsburg
Click here to find accommodation in Williamsburg.
18. Pasadena, California
December in Pasadena offers you great weather and a famous event. What’s not to love about that? The weather in Pasadena allows you to have fun playing games at the beach. Isn’t that a great winter break?
Also, you can take part in one of the city’s biggest events, the Tournament of Roses Parade.
This event happens at the end of December when participants exhibit their decoration abilities through rose-covered floats.
You can be a part of this annual tradition, volunteering to join teams and help out with their final preparations. You can also design your float. However, you have to book a parade spot for yourself in advance.
Where to Stay in Pasadena
Click here to find accommodation in Pasadena.
19. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA if you are looking for snow, stunning views, and a budget-friendly vacation.
Bryce Canyon National Park attracts lesser crowds during the winter. As such, accommodation prices tend to be lower during this season.
Also, you will have more time and more opportunities to explore the hiking trails in Bryce Canyon without the usual crowds.
Go hiking in Bryce Canyon and enjoy beautiful views of its snow-covered rock columns.
Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon
Click here to find accommodation near Bryce Canyon.
20. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Located in Southern California, close to the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree is a National park named after the Joshua Trees found in the park.
December is one of the best times to visit Joshua Tree National Park because of the cooler temperatures.
On top of that, Joshua Tree National Park is a great hiking location. You can go on the Ryan Mountain Trail and catch spectacular views of the park and the surrounding mountains.
You can also take the 1.8 miles round trip hike to Skull Rock and create memorable pictures of your trip.
Where to Stay in Joshua Tree
Click here to find accommodation near Joshua Tree.
21. South Padre Island, Texas
In December, South Padre Island has an average high temperature of an average high of 71°F.
This makes it an ideal place to visit if you are looking to get away from the cold winter. The island is also perfect for people seeking a quiet vacation because there are fewer crowds during this season.
In South Padre Island, you can take a stroll on the sand beach, visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark and play in the water slides, swim at Laguna Madre Bay, bask in the sunshine, eat Mexican delicacies like nachos and tacos.. making it a dreamy escape from the bitter cold up north.
Where to Stay in South Padre Island
Click here to find accommodation in South Padre Island.
22. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is an amazing place in December because of its agreeable weather with average temperature highs of 66°F and lots of festive activities.
Some of the things you can do in Los Angeles in December include visiting Universal Studios Hollywood and going to Walt Disney Concert Hall to attend one of the festive concerts.
You can also explore Christmas Tree Lane. Make sure to attend the Newport Beach Boat Parade.
If you are looking to have a winter wonderland experience, do not miss Winter Fest OC. You can also visit Descanso Gardens to see the Forest of Light.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
Click here to find accommodation in Los Angeles.
23. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Agreeable weather, arts, history, and rich culture; are the words that best describe Santa Fe.
These are also the reasons why you should consider Santa Fe when planning your US December vacation.
Santa Fe is perfect for individuals or families looking to spend their December in a beautiful little town that offers a lot in terms of relaxation, leisure, art, and learning.
Go on a tour of Santa Fe’s historic buildings and explore the ancient architecture.
You can also spend some time learning about the Native American culture of the place.
Be sure to purchase local art and jewelry from the shops and go to one of the numerous health retreats and spa resorts the city offers.
Where to Stay in Santa Fe
Click here to find accommodation in Santa Fe.
24. Maui, Hawaii
Maui is one of the most popular December vacation destinations in the USA because of its warm weather, providing respite from the cold.
It is also popular for its seasonal local delicacies such as mangoes, coconuts, poi, kabocha pumpkin, and Kalua pork.
There are many fun things to do in Maui. You can visit the main city of Lahaina and explore its historic harbor and downtown area, calm waterfront, and lovely Hawaiian beaches.
You can also engage in snorkeling, surfing, and whale watching. There is also the option of just lounging on the beach and soaking up the sun in this magical warm winter getaway.
Where to Stay in Maui
Click here to find accommodation in Maui.
25. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is popular for its beautiful streets, remarkable architecture, prominent place in history, and comfortable temperatures.
With average highs of 62°F, you should add Savannah to your December vacation bucket list.
Some of the fun activities you can do in Savannah include taking a 2-hour riverboat cruise on the Savannah River, joining the December boat parade, and visiting Forsyth Park and Fragrant Garden.
You should also learn more about Georgia’s role in the civil rights movement at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Be sure to check out the stores under the Christmas lights along Broughton Street. Christmas in Savannah is magical!
Where to Stay in Savannah
Click here to find accommodation in Savannah.
26. Siesta Key, Florida
Siesta Key, Florida, is perfect for people looking to enjoy a warm winter vacation in December.
This little island is one of the best places to visit in December in the US, thanks to the warm weather with an average high temperature of 72.5°F and an average low temperature is 60.8°F.
There are so many family-friendly activities you can do in Siesta Key, such as swimming in the shallow waters, visiting the playground and shopping in the little shops of Siesta Key village, having a picnic at Turtle Beach, or just lounging on the beach.
Where to Stay in Siesta Key
Click here to find accommodation in Siesta Key.
27. Galveston Island, Texas
Galveston is often referred to as the Winter Wonder Island of Texas because of the several holiday events and activities you can find there. There is something for everyone during December in Galveston.
For a start, the agreeable weather makes it perfect for romantic walks along the island’s lovely beaches or playing beach games with family members.
Some of the other activities you can do include going on the rides at the Pleasure Pier, going for an early morning jog on the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, and catching a show at The Grand 1894 Opera House.
Where to Stay in Galveston Island
Click here to find accommodation on Galveston Island.
28. New Orleans, Louisiana
One of the best warm places to visit in December in the USA is New Orleans.
You get to enjoy the warmer weather, explore the city, visit its famous sights, and leave before the crowds begin to increase during the more popular Mardi Gras tourist season.
There are so many things to do and see in New Orleans in December. You can visit a Louisiana national park or simply walk around the city and enjoy the decorative displays.
Check the illuminated art pieces in Lafayette Square. Visit the historic Roosevelt Hotel to see the thousands of holiday lights adorning the hotel, as well as its 50 highly decorated Christmas trees.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
Click here to find accommodation in New Orleans.
29. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is, without doubt, one of the best places to visit in December in the USA.
This is because, in December, San Francisco has fewer crowds, more affordable hotel rates, and plenty of things to do and see.
Visit San Francisco’s majestic Golden Gate Bridge and iconic Victorian houses. Go see the migrating whales or the barking sea lions at Pier 39.
Explore the cuisine from different parts of the world in this melting pot of culture. There is also the famous San Francisco Chronicle wine competition and the Uncorked Wine Festival for wine enthusiasts.
Where to Stay in San Francisco
Click here to find accommodation in San Francisco.
30. Death Valley National Park, California + Nevada
Located in both California and Nevada, Death Valley is one of the best national parks to visit in December because it is one of the hottest places on Earth.
However, in December, with average high temperatures of 65°F, Death Valley National Park becomes the perfect place for a December vacation in the US.
During December, you can explore the area. Put on your hiking shoes and go on amazing adventures in the Valley.
You can also attend the notorious Death Valley New Year’s Eve party if you stay long enough.
Where to Stay in Death Valley
Click here to find accommodation near Death Valley.
31. San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you want to enjoy the warmth, lovely sunshine, vibrant culture, and rich history, you should choose San Juan for your holiday season vacation.
With its lovely beaches where you and your family can play beach games and sunbathe, San Juan is one of the best places to visit in December in the US.
Beyond the beach and all the possibilities that come with it, some of the activities San Juan offers include attending the parranda and joining in in the big street parties that they become.
Explore the city on foot. Learn more about its history and culture.
Where to Stay in San Juan
Click here to find accommodation in San Juan.
32. Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes is one of the best places to visit in December in the USA because of the many winter-themed outdoor and indoor activities you can do there.
Some of the outdoor activities you can get up to in Mammoth Lakes include ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and going on one of the snowcat tours.
Some of the indoor activities include bowling, enjoying fine dining, and exploring the art and heritage of the area.
If you’re a geology enthusiast, you can check out the Eleven53 Interactive Center to learn more about the geology of the place.
In short, the frozen lakes, snow-capped mountains, and great ski opportunities make the Mammoth Lakes an excellent winter getaway!
Where to Stay in Mammoth Lakes
Click here to find accommodation in Mammoth Lakes.
Wrapping Up on the Best December Vacations in the US
If you’re planning your USA travel in December, we hope this article gave you some excellent ideas of places to go in December.
After all, the US offers a wide range of sceneries and cities to enjoy the magic of the season.
You can either opt for a quintessential holiday complete with snow fights and hot chocolate in a new city or go on an outdoor adventure and bask in the warm weather.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to have a fantastic holiday season in the USA.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our blog posts below:
- Best Places to Visit in January
- Best Places to Visit in February
- Best Places to Visit in March
- Best Places to Visit in April
- Best Places to Visit in May
- Best Places to Visit in June
- Best Places to Visit in November
- Best Places to Visit During Christmas
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