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The best destinations to visit in December

This is a “round-up” post based on my experiences and recommendations from Lonely Planet, The Blonde Abroad, and Condé Nast Traveler.

The holidays are my favorite time of year! I love a white or tropical Christmas followed by a rockin’ New Year’s. 

December is when many of the world’s most important festivals are celebrated, and it’s an incredible experience to take part in familiar and new traditions.

So are you ready to end your year with an amazing trip? Then here are the best destinations to visit in December!
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Saint Lucia travel guide
Best things to do in Saint Lucia
Best things to do in Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia

St. Lucia is one of my favorite destinations in the whole world! This island is the closest thing I’ve found to paradise, and December has some of the best weather all year. This month is in the middle of the peak season, so book your accommodation or Airbnb and tours in advance to save money and ensure availability.

I recommend staying at Cap Maison Resort & Spa, and my Must-Do Activities In St. Lucia include sailing along the Caribbean side of the island (for views of the Pitons), hiking the Tet Paul Nature Trail, spending a day exploring Pigeon Island, riding the Aerial Tram, snorkeling, and sea kayaking.

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The best destinations to visit in December

Quebec City, Canada

The beautiful French architecture, snow, and North American Christmas culture make Quebec City a perfect holiday destination.

Quebec City transforms into a picture-perfect Christmas village in December. Every street is decorated with wreaths and lights. Plus, there’s an authentic German Christmas market!

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Death Valley - California National Parks road trip

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is one of my favorite U.S. National Parks. In December, daytime temperatures only fall to the mid-60s, so this month is one of the most pleasant times to visit.

I highly recommend staying at The Oasis At Death Valley. My top activity recommendations are hiking the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, driving Artist’s Drive and Palette, participating in a ranger-led stargazing program, admiring the valley from Dante’s View, and booking a Farabee Jeep Tour to Racetrack.

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The best destinations to visit in December

Antarctica

Antarctica

December is the beginning of summer in Antarctica. Penguin chicks will be hatching, blue whales will be migrating, the temperatures will be above freezing, and the pack ice will have melted enough for ships to pass through the Drake Passage. 

Visiting Antarctica – one of the most remote and important ecosystems in the world – is a delicate endeavor. You must use tour operators that implement best-practices for sustainable travel.

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The best destinations to visit in December

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of the most-visited national parks in the U.S. The park averages 4 million visitors in July, but only 300,000 visitors in the winter months. So visiting Yellowstone in December will let you experience the park with significantly fewer crowds.

Wildlife viewing is easier in the Winter because most animals congregate in the valleys. The park’s most famous residents, the Bison, will be easy to spot as they trudge across the white plains.

In December, most roads are closed to private vehicles, so you’ll need to take snow transportation to most places in the park. And the majority of trails will need to be explored by snowshoing or cross-country skiing.

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The best destinations to visit in December

United States Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands are a December paradise. The sea is warm enough for water activities, and this month has some of the best weather all year.

Make sure you experience the St. Thomas Lighted Boat Parade, where contestants (aka the boats) are judged on lights, holiday cheer, and originality.

December is the beginning of the peak season for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The earlier in the month you visit, the lower the prices and crowds will be. But if you want to be here during Christmas or New Year’s, don’t book your accommodation on St. Thomas. The other islands will have lower accommodation rates and fewer tourists (most of the cruises dock at St. Thomas).

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The best destinations to visit in December

New York City

New York City is an epicenter of holiday celebrations. The city’s holiday window displays, Rockefeller Center ice rink & Christmas tree, snow-speckled Central Park, and chestnuts roasting on a street stall make this a truly iconic December destination.

December is one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year to visit NYC, so book your hotel or Airbnb, entry tickets, and tours in advance. You can find lower rates earlier in the month while still enjoy all the festive lights and culture the city has to offer.

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The best destinations to visit in December

Lapland, Finland

Igloo glamping, anyone? Because Lapland is home to the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where you can try to spot Santa, Rudolph, and the rest of the gang from your glass igloo.

You can meet real-life reindeer, enjoy glögg (Finnish mulled wine), browse Christmas Markets, and enjoy almost any snow activity you could think of.

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This article about the best destinations to visit in December is not a sponsored post, and the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. Some of the links in this post about the best destinations to visit in December are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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