12 Last Minute Suggestions for a December Getaway
Treat yourself to travel for Christmas.
Photo By: Bluefields Bay Villas
Photo By: Renaud Philippe
Photo By: Kelli Klymenko and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau
Photo By: Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
Photo By: VisitLEX
Photo By: VisitStPeteClearwater.com
Photo By: Visit Baltimore, baltimore.org
Photo By: Julian Love, London and Partners
Photo By: Hilton Head Health
Photo By: Scott Markewitz
Photo By: Toscana Resort Castelfalfi
Photo By: Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino
Want to change up your annual Christmas routine and do something really different? Why not take advantage of some great December travel offers and escape with family or friends to a dream destination? Whether you like warm, sunny climates to chase the winter blues away or prefer a genuine Yuletide experience complete with snow, skiing and holiday festivities, here are some options starting with a Jamaica getaway to Bluefields Bay Villas. Located on the far west side of the island in an idyllic fishing and farming community, you can experience an unspoiled nature retreat on the water with this Jamaican holiday.
Quebec City, Canada
One of the more unique lodging options in Quebec City is the Hotel De Glace, a spectacular architectural creation made of ice and offering 44 themed rooms and suites (pictured). This ice hotel is the only one of its kind in North America and includes hot tubs and sauna amenities. While you are in Quebec City (a UNESCO World Heritage treasure), you can take a carriage tour, skate in Place D’Youville, browse the annual German Christmas market, stroll through the city’s Christmas Village and experience some of the season’s best festivals.
If you want a December getaway that combines scenic beauty with cultural and wellness offerings, then Sedona should be your mantra. From its healing spas and salons to a vibrant arts scene, the town is famous for its stunning location in a geological wonderland of red rock canyons, mesas and meadows. It is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts offering excellent biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, rafting and other activities. To top it off, you can experience the world’s largest 3D holiday light show from December 14-17 and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Sedona Arts Center.
The 50th state in the U.S. is always an ideal vacation choice if you are seeking a tropical paradise. You also have unlimited choices on how to spend your time there. You could go snorkeling and take a cruise around Kealakekua Bay and other scenic wonders with Fair Wind Cruises. Treat yourself to luxurious accommodations at the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast and experience a side trip to Botanical World Adventures. Tour the rain forests of Hana and the breaktaking sea cliffs of Maui via Maverick Helicopters. Outdoor enthusiasts can opt for a whale-watching kayak tour while those seeking a restful spa vacation can find the perfect retreat at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Lahaina (pictured above).
Legendary bourbon distilleries, picturesque horse farms, historic estate tours by candlelight and the lovely scenic wonders of the bluegrass state await you in Lexington, Kentucky. Among the several hotels and inns offering special December packages are the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa, which includes a Bourbon Lover’s special, Gratz Park Inn in the historic downtown and 21c Museum Hotel, a former bank transformed into an 88-room boutique hotel and contemporary art museum with a private dining room situated in the bank’s former vault.
St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida
The warm, sunny shores of Florida are always a great choice for those who want to escape the cold in December and one of the most desirable areas is Western Florida on the Tampa Bay Gulf where you can find ideal waterfront lodgings in St. Petersburg or Clearwater. Among some of the top-rated accommodations that are offering special December-January rates are the historic Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club on the St. Petersburg bayfront and two Clearwater favorites, The Sheraton Sand Key (pictured) and the Wyndham Grand.
One of the best-kept secrets among cities on the East Coast, Baltimore has enjoyed a cultural renaissance in recent years and is now a go-to place for its exciting culinary scene, arts community, historic districts and seasonal festivals, especially during the Christmas holidays. Take advantage of popular local accommodations such as the Hotel Monaco located near Baltimore’s inner harbor. Experience family-friendly events like the Santa Club buffet and train ride at the B&O Railroad Museum, skating at the Pandora Ice Rink or the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa Celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture.
If you want to experience a Christmas holiday where old-fashioned tradition and contemporary culture blend together in delightful ways, London is your destination. Check out the dazzling holiday lights along Regent Street, Duke of York Square, Bond Street and other neighborhoods. Shop for gifts at Harrods or stroll the South Bank with a bag of roasted chestnuts. Go ice skating at Somerset House or join the carolers by candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall. Families will enjoy the Winnie the Pooh exhibition at the V&A Museum while theater devotees can attend definitive productions of "The Nutcracker" at the Royal Opera House and "La Boheme" at The King’s Head Theatre. Discounted lodgings can be found at Last Minute, Hotels.com and other travel websites.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Golf, tennis, biking, fishing and family-friendly outdoor excursions are just a few of the activities that attract people to this lowcountry resort that is southwest of Charleston, South Carolina and northeast of Savannah, Georgia. But an alternative lure that is becoming increasingly popular are wellness getaways. Hilton Head Health offers a December package that includes accommodations, meals, yoga training, cardio kickboxing, spa facilities, paddleboarding, fitness classes and other amenities in a laid-back, beautiful setting.
What could be a better gift for ski fanatics and winter sports fans than a trip to Colorado in December? Consider a ski package from Keystone that includes their Kidtopia Spectacular or the Snowmass 50th anniversary special that comes with a fireworks display, prix fixe meals, a cabin jump and rail jam and other festivities. Experience the four day Olympic Qualifier competition in Breck via Dew Tour. Take advantage of the Winter Nights & City Light package from the historic Crawford Hotel in Denver or enjoy pure luxury with a winter welcome offer from the newly-debuted Hotel Talisa in Vail.
Tired of dealing with the tourist crowds in the spring, summer and fall in Italy? Why not consider a December getaway? Toscana Resort Castelfalfi in the heart of Tuscany is offering a variety of vacation options from romantic weekend specials to culinary tours and tastings to unlimited golf and spa packages. There are also Christmas and New Year’s Eve specials that bundle the food and wines of the region with live music and luxurious accommodations.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nightlife, fine dining, casinos and spectacular light displays offer a different kind of Yuletide holiday in Las Vegas. Visit The Ice Rink at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas where you can enjoy rooftop skating that overlooks the heart of the strip. Chose from various room offers at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino which include live show packages featuring Kelly Clarkson, Patton Oswald, Magic Mike, Nickelback or many others. Celebrate the first year anniversary of the Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino (pictured) with a special deal that includes Asian dining, gaming and festivities such as Chinese Lion and Dragon dances.