As winter’s chill sets in, the question on many travelers’ minds is, “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” This is a timely inquiry, as the twelfth month of the year brings with it a unique charm. While much of the northern hemisphere is enveloped in a snowy blanket, North America offers a variety of destinations that cater to diverse interests, whether it’s embracing the winter wonderland, enjoying holiday festivities, or seeking a warm escape. In this article, we will explore the top destinations across North America to make your December travel memorable.
1. Embrace the Winter Wonderland in New York City
If you’re looking for a quintessential winter experience, New York City is an undeniable contender. The Big Apple transforms into a glittering wonderland in December. The holiday season here is truly magical, and the question of “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” is often answered with NYC.
Central Park becomes a pristine landscape, offering the opportunity for ice skating at Wollman Rink and the Lasker Rink. The Rockefeller Center’s towering Christmas tree is a sight to behold, surrounded by the famous ice-skating rink. The city’s department stores, including Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, go all out with festive window displays. You can also witness the annual lighting of the menorah in Central Park, marking the beginning of Hanukkah.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the world-famous Rockettes is a dazzling show that’s not to be missed. Furthermore, the city hosts the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, attracting visitors from all over the world.
2. Sun and Sand in Miami, Florida
For those who are not fond of winter’s chill and ask, “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” with a preference for warmth, Miami, Florida is the perfect answer. This vibrant city in the Sunshine State offers a sunny escape from the cold, making it a popular destination for winter travel.
Miami’s beaches are always inviting, but they take on a special allure during the winter months. You can relax on South Beach, indulge in water sports, or simply soak up the sun. Ocean Drive, with its pastel-hued art deco buildings, is a feast for the eyes.
Moreover, December in Miami means Art Basel, the prestigious international art fair, which draws art lovers and collectors from around the world. The city’s nightlife is renowned, and you can dance the night away at the many clubs and bars.
3. Enjoy the Festive Spirit in Quebec City, Canada
When pondering “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” and considering a blend of old-world charm and holiday festivities, Quebec City in Canada comes to mind. This historic city transforms into a winter wonderland, reminiscent of a European village with its cobbled streets and centuries-old architecture.
The Quebec Winter Carnival, one of the world’s largest winter festivals, takes place in January and early February. It’s a delight for all ages, featuring ice sculptures, parades, and a majestic ice palace. In December, the city is adorned with festive decorations, and the smell of freshly baked pastries and mulled wine wafts through the air.
Visit the Quartier Petit Champlain, one of North America’s oldest shopping districts, to find unique gifts and souvenirs. The Plains of Abraham, a historic battlefield, becomes a giant skating rink during the winter months. For those seeking the true essence of winter, there’s dog sledding and snowshoeing in the nearby wilderness.
4. Witness the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska
While many people are asking, “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” for a traditional winter experience, there are those who long for a different kind of magic. Fairbanks, Alaska, is the answer for travelers who want to witness the breathtaking phenomenon of the Northern Lights.
December is an excellent time to visit Fairbanks, as it offers some of the clearest and darkest skies in the Northern Hemisphere, which are ideal for Northern Lights viewing. The city is located under the “Auroral Oval,” making it a prime spot to see the ethereal lights dance across the sky.
Aside from the Northern Lights, Fairbanks offers a range of winter activities. You can go dog sledding, enjoy ice fishing, or even take a dip in the Chena Hot Springs, where you can relax in warm mineral waters while surrounded by snow-covered landscapes.
5. Immerse in Culture and Cuisine in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a city that thrives on culture, and December offers a unique experience that goes beyond the question of “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” The city’s rich history, vibrant music scene, and delectable cuisine make it an attractive destination year-round.
In December, New Orleans hosts “Papa Noël” celebrations, a unique twist on the Christmas season. Here, you’ll find festive bonfires on the levees and caroling by the fireside. The city’s historic French Quarter takes on a charming ambiance with its gas lanterns and wrought-iron balconies, setting the stage for a memorable holiday experience.
New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, and you can savor gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets while listening to live jazz in one of the many renowned jazz clubs. December is also a great time for oyster lovers, as it’s the peak of oyster season.
6. Discover Natural Beauty in Sedona, Arizona
For travelers who want to immerse themselves in the stunning beauty of the American Southwest, Sedona, Arizona, is a top choice when they ask, “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” Known for its striking red rock formations and serene landscapes, Sedona is an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil and spiritual experience.
Sedona’s mild winter weather makes it a pleasant escape from the cold. You can explore the city’s numerous hiking trails and take in the breathtaking vistas. The Red Rock State Park and the Slide Rock State Park are must-visit attractions for nature enthusiasts.
Additionally, Sedona is famous for its spiritual and wellness retreats. You can participate in yoga classes, meditation sessions, and spa treatments to rejuvenate your body and soul. The city’s artistic community and vibrant downtown area also offer unique shopping and dining experiences.
7. Explore History and Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico
When contemplating the question of “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” and desiring a blend of history, art, and culture, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an exceptional choice. This charming city boasts a rich heritage and is known for its adobe architecture, Native American influence, and thriving arts scene.
Santa Fe’s historic Plaza is a focal point of the city, surrounded by adobe buildings that house art galleries, shops, and restaurants. In December, the plaza is adorned with luminarias, small paper lanterns that create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The city’s art scene is vibrant, with numerous museums and galleries to explore. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art are must-visit attractions for art enthusiasts. Additionally, Santa Fe offers delectable Southwestern cuisine, with green and red chili being local specialties.
8. Experience Winter Wonderland in Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
For those who seek a picturesque winter wonderland and ask, “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” Lake Tahoe, straddling the border of California and Nevada, is a pristine destination. This alpine lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and offers a wide range of winter activities.
Lake Tahoe is renowned for its ski resorts, including Heavenly, Squaw Valley, and Northstar. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy well-groomed slopes and stunning views of the lake. There are also opportunities for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice skating.
In December, you can also take a scenic sleigh ride through the snowy forests, visit the charming town of Truckee, and enjoy cozy evenings by the fireplace in one of the area’s many lodges.
9. Adventure and Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
For travelers who appreciate the beauty of nature and wildlife, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is the ultimate response to the question, “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” While winter brings cold temperatures, it also transforms the park into a serene and unique wonderland.
Yellowstone in December offers a range of activities, from observing the geothermal wonders to wildlife viewing. The geysers and hot springs take on a mystical quality as they steam against the backdrop of snow-covered landscapes.
Wolf-watching is a highlight during this time, as the park’s wolves become more active in search of food. Bison, elk, and other animals are also more visible in the winter months. Additionally, you can explore the park’s snow-covered trails on cross-country skis or snowshoes.
10. Live the Island Life in Key West, Florida
If your idea of the perfect December getaway involves white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere, then Key West, Florida, is your answer to “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” This charming island at the southernmost tip of Florida offers a tropical escape from the winter cold.
Key West is a haven for water activities, from snorkeling and diving to boating and fishing. You can explore the colorful coral reefs, swim with dolphins, or simply relax on the pristine beaches.
The city is also known for its vibrant nightlife and live music scene. The historic Old Town area is filled with charming shops and restaurants, making it a great place to explore on foot or by bicycle. The iconic Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is a daily event that draws crowds to watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
The answer to the question “Where is the best place to travel in North America in December?” is as diverse as the continent itself. Whether you seek a winter wonderland, a warm escape, cultural experiences, or natural beauty, North America offers an array of destinations to suit your preferences.
From the glittering streets of New York City to the serene landscapes of Sedona, Arizona, there’s something for every traveler in North America in December. Whether you’re drawn to the festive lights, the thrill of winter sports, or the natural wonders of the continent, the options are endless. So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable December adventure in North America.