Warm Weather Holiday Season Destinations
The holidays and travel are often synonymous, as many people flee the cold weather of their home states and escape to warm holiday destinations in December and throughout winter. From white sand beaches to charming downtown streets, warmer weather allows you to enjoy these destinations while you wait for the snow to melt at home. Many holiday season destinations host special holiday events and have unique traditions that you're encouraged to experience. Whether it be a holiday parade or a special meal, you'll find many activities to enjoy.
If you're thinking about traveling over the holidays, consider visiting some of the best warm-weather destinations around the United States. And consider experiencing GrandView Aviation's private charter flights for the ultimate in luxury, convenience and safety.
Best Places to Travel in December for Warm Weather
Though you may be used to cold, snowy weather at home, if you're going on vacation during the winter, you typically want to avoid more cold. Luckily, numerous cities and states within the United States maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the winter, making them excellent holiday destinations. If you're looking for somewhere warm to travel over the winter holidays, consider these warm winter holiday destinations.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is an ideal winter travel destination because it offers a mild climate with snowy mountains nearby, allowing you to enjoy the warm weather while still having the option of winter activities like skiing. LA winters average around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is an ideal temperature for exploring all this city has to offer during the holidays. For example, you'll find vibrant, dazzling holiday light displays throughout the city. LA is illuminated with traditional lighting ceremonies and various festive decorations.
LA is also known for hosting several holiday parades, including Hollywood Boulevard's Santa Claus parade, Newport Beach's Christmas Boat Parade and the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. Universal Studios and Disneyland host holiday events, and you'll find winter wonderland with outdoor ice skating, Christmas villages and trolleys. There are also various festivals, shows, musical performances and exhibits worth checking out at local theaters and museums. From kids' activities to tasteful performances, Los Angeles offers something for everyone to enjoy during the holidays.
Los Angeles also offers many ways to explore the outdoors, go hiking or relax on the beach. The mild temperatures and rainy season leave behind incredible clear views. Because the skies are clear, winter is also a great time of year to visit Griffith Observatory and look through the telescopes. There are also many nearby cities and attractions worth a day trip to, including Hollywood, where you can walk along the Walk of Fame.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs offers a similar climate to that of Los Angeles, meaning you can comfortably partake in outdoor activities during the day. Palm Springs is a popular destination for golfers during this time of year, as many other courses are covered in snow, while the temperature here stays around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Other popular attractions include high-end spas, hotels and hot springs. Hiking is also popular in Palm Springs, as the desert landscape offers well-preserved natural sights.
Street fairs, festivals, farmer's markets and art walks are common during the winter because of the fair weather. Throughout December, Palm Springs hosts several holiday lights parades and festivals with light displays, tree lightings, Santa appearances and even Disney characters.
The Palm Springs Air Museum hosts a unique event where Santa flies in on a helicopter to take photos with guests. Another special attraction is the outdoor Christmas movie nights at the Gardens on El Paseo. There are usually several different showings throughout December, so be sure to check it out!
San Antonio, Texas
In December, the temperature in San Antonio stays in the mid-50s during the day, which is ideal for spending the day at one of the local theme parks. If you're looking for something festive to do while in town, be sure to explore the River Walk. This public park becomes a free holiday attraction from late November through the new year. The River Walk is lined with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights and lanterns. You can walk along the river, pop in and out of shops or purchase a ticket to experience the lights from a boat ride.
TexMex cuisine is popular in San Antonio, and tamales are a holiday staple. Tamales include cheese, meat and masa dough wrapped in corn husks. This traditional Mexican dish is most often eaten at celebrations, which means you can find tamales everywhere during the holidays. Whether or not you've had tamales before, San Antonio is the perfect place to indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine.
South Padre Island, Texas
When you picture warm temperatures, white sand beaches and tropical water, you likely aren't thinking of Texas. However, South Padre Island is a top choice if you're wondering where to travel in December for warm weather. Off Texas's southern coast, this barrier island experiences average temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. The warm weather is perfect for spending the day at the beach — you may even swim in the Gulf of Mexico on a warm, sunny day.
You'll find many attractions and activities to do in South Padre, even in the winter. Visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Center or take a dolphin tour to learn about marine life and the importance of preserving their environments. The Gladys Porter Zoo and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge are other great attractions to experience various wildlife.
Other activities to enjoy in South Padre Island include golfing, fishing, boating and visiting museums, parks and nature trails.
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you're looking for a lively way to spend your holiday, consider booking your trip to New Orleans, where winter is 55 degrees Fahrenheit on average. As one of the best cities for live music, New Orleans lives up to its reputation, even in December. The iconic St. Louis Cathedral hosts several holiday events and live music, from holiday concerts to caroling. Be sure to check out the annual light display in City Park, featuring millions of twinkling lights. If you visit at the end of December, ring in the new year in the French Quarter.
Aside from the nightlife, New Orleans hosts a couple of holiday parades to help you get in the spirit. Roosevelt Hotel hosts a Winter Wonderland that displays 50 Christmas trees and tens of thousands of lights, making it a must-see. Various restaurants around town offer seasonal cocktails and holiday-themed drinks. From caroling to ice skating, New Orleans offers plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit from somewhere warm.
Escaping the cold as a whole family can be an exciting treat, especially in Orlando. With temperatures around 64 degrees Fahrenheit during December, there are endless options for fun and relaxation. Orlando is home to over a dozen major theme parks, including Universal Studios, Walt Disney World and Epcot. All the parks are covered in holiday decor and twinkling lights, and you can attend numerous events within the parks.
For example, see Cinderella's Castle covered in dangling icicle lights and Mickey's Christmas Parade in the Walt Disney World Resort. Or, experience holiday foods, decor and traditions from around the world at the International Festival of the Holidays in Epcot. You can even visit the Grinch at Universal Studios or experience a version of the Macy's Day Parade.
Outside the theme parks, the warm weather allows for various activities, including swimming and shopping. Golf is another big attraction at this destination. However you spend your time in Orlando, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Key West, Florida
For many people traveling during the winter, the goal is to visit a tropical, beachy destination. If you want to stay in the United States but feel like you're in the Caribbean, consider traveling to Key West. Key West is the southernmost point in the contiguous U.S., so the 72-degree weather is perfect for a December getaway. This destination hosts a Holiday Fest throughout December, featuring events like light walks, historical tours, a boat parade and various other holiday festivities.
Trolley tours offer a great way to see the island, especially when it's decorated for the holidays. Aside from the holiday events, Key West offers fantastic beaches and water activities. Many visitors enjoy lounging on the beach and trying new restaurants. If you're looking for an adventure, consider scuba diving or snorkeling in the crystal blue waters. You can also take an offshore fishing charter for an exciting day on the water.
Whether you simply take a bike ride around the island or bar hop on New Year's Eve, Key West is one of the best places to visit over the winter.
In the dry desert of Tucson, winter temperatures average 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter is the peak travel season for Tucson because visitors can avoid the scorching hot temperatures and heavy summer rainfall. This destination is a desert escape, offering many ways to explore the surrounding desert and visit attractions like Reid Park Zoo or Tohono Chul Gardens. During the holidays, these attractions are illuminated with lights, and the gardens provide live music to accompany them.
If you're looking for a unique light display around the holidays, check out the Winterhaven Festival of Lights, which has been a tradition for over 70 years. Another unique holiday tradition in Tucson is their Southwest presentation of The Nutcracker. The ballet in Tucson has a territorial-Arizona twist, offering a new way to see this holiday classic.
Other winter must-sees include the Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair, featuring over 300 vendors and various entertainers. The fair is an excellent way to explore the Fourth Avenue District and do some holiday shopping on vacation.
Although it isn't as warm as other destinations, averaging 53 degrees Fahrenheit in December, Savannah is one of the most charming cities to visit during the winter. Savannah is home to many historic buildings, which are decked out in decorations and lights for the holiday season. Take a trolley tour to see the city's history and get in the holiday spirit. You can also take a Ghosts of Christmas Past tour through one of the historic houses.
The holiday celebration along the river is an excellent opportunity to enjoy live music, get some food and shop from local vendors. The waterfront celebration helps visitors feel festive while enjoying fantastic views and company. Another note-worthy event that occurs on the first Friday of every month during the winter is waterfront fireworks.
Savannah also offers various museums and historic locations that may entice any history buffs. Consider stopping by the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, National Museum of the Mighty Eight Air Force, First African Baptist Church or Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.
Travel Luxuriously With GrandView Aviation
For most people, flying is the most effective way to get to these destinations, allowing you to make the most of your time. If you dread the airport experience and uncomfortable flights, consider flying in a private jet charter from GrandView Aviation. We provide smooth, comfortable flights with ample cabin room and baggage capacity. You'll receive luxurious amenities like unlimited Wi-Fi, phone service, power outlets, drinks and snacks and schedule flights around your needs.
We offer flights to dozens of destinations across the United States and select locations in Southern Canada, Northern Mexico and the Caribbean. Contact us to book a flight and begin your relaxing vacation on your flight.