It’s almost December again, for a lot of people in the United States that means one thing: cold. But there are plenty of places where you can go to get some respite from the cold without needing to leave the country!
These are destinations where you can enjoy Christmas on the beach, rather than shoveling snow outside. Some people do prefer to have Christmas in the cold, but there are others who have seen their share of snowy, cold Christmas. Considering the fact that almost everyone gets off of work for a week, and nearly every school in the country shuts down for a week, December becomes an ideal vacation time.
This article will go over 15 awesome vacation destinations where you can enjoy spring and summer weather in December. They are not in any particular order, some are warmer than others, but each of them is a great option depending on what it is you have in mind!
1. Miami, Florida
Miami is one of the top travel destinations in the country all year long. However, December is one of the best times to go visit. Considering how far south it is and how close it is to the equator, summer months mean pretty absurdly hot days in Miami. There is always that nice ocean breeze, but when it is over 100 degrees, the breeze does not help nearly as much as you would like it to. In December, the average daily high temperature in Florida is a beautiful 78 degrees. The average low temperature is 63 degrees, so there is not too much variance in the averages. This means that you won’t need to worry about a cold wave coming through Miami in the week you decide to go. You can be pretty confident in the reliability of the weather in Miami in December.
There is a comprehensive list of things to do in Miami here, with plenty of additional links to other websites where you can further explore amazing options. As you may have guessed, the beach is probably where you will be spending most of your time. The average temperature of the water in December is a wonderful 73 degrees. You’ll have great views in both directions, too. Look out toward the great Atlantic Ocean, or turn around and enjoy the amazing skyline of Miami.
2. Kailua Kona, Hawaii
On the west coast of the Big Island is where you will find the second travel destination, Kailua Kona, Hawaii. What you will find here in December is an average high temperature of 83 degrees and an average low temperature of 69 degrees. Given the averages, you will not need to concern yourself with an unlikely cold spell striking the island during your trip. On average, this area of the Big Island receives 2.8 inches of total rain during the month. This is fairly low for a tropical area.
There is a comprehensive rundown of the island as well as all sorts of things to do there on this website. One of the favorite activities for tourists is waking up early and doing some snorkeling. The water is so warm and clear that you will be able to see tons of sea life up close. Walking around the area on some of the walking paths will be one of the most peaceful experiences of your life. The beaches are all gorgeous and it would be worth it to visit any number of them during your stay.
3. Everglades National Park, Florida
The Everglades National Park, similar to Miami, is the type of destination that is arguably even better during the winter months. The heat, which is so oppressive during the summer, becomes truly lovely and manageable during winter months. The average high temperature in the Everglades is 82 degrees in December, and the average low is 58. It does have a wider variance than the two destinations above.
The Everglades is huge so you have plenty to explore within this 1.5 million acre wetlands preserve at the bottom tip of Florida. The official website has plenty of information regarding the park and everything you’ll want to prioritize doing there during your trip. Exploring the wetlands will mean that you are sure to see some amazing and unique wildlife. One thing is for sure, you must consider taking a boat out for a day on the water to do some fishing!
Considering this option? Make sure you read our new and detailed guide to visiting Everglades National Park here.
4. Orlando, Florida (Disney World)
Who doesn’t love going to Disney World? Most people really enjoy a trip there, but do you know what is miserable? Standing in line to get onto a rollercoaster and it’s 97 degrees and humid. There are no clouds in the sky, there is nothing to cover you from the sun. It is almost as though the sun is punishing you for something you did in the past. What is that you say? The average high temperature in Orlando during December is 72 degrees? Oh my goodness! Standing in line in 72-degree weather is actually really comfortable! I mean, it’s standing in line at the end of the day, but still. It could also be a great Christmas present to bring your kids to Disney World during their week off from school. If you would like to book a trip, you can find all the information you need right here.
5. Los Angeles, California
Let’s be honest, it’s probably a good idea to go visit LA any time of the year. December is no exception. Look, it is not going to be the warmest destination, not compared to those listed above, but an average high temperature of 68 degrees is a heck of a lot better than 18 degrees in New York.
There is no shortage of things to do in LA. Maybe pop into the Comedy Store on any night and see some of the best stand-up comedians in the world perform on the same lineup. The cuisine in LA is legendary, you’ll be able to eat some of the most delicious meals you’ve ever had in your life!
Looking for ideas? Check out our post about 41 cool things to do in West Hollywood.
6. San Diego, California
A few hours south of LA is our next destination, San Diego. During December you will experience an average high temperature of 65 degrees. The official travel website for San Diego can be found here, and they advertise being a very popular holiday destination during the colder months.
During your stay there you can check out the awesome boardwalks. You can even head out on the water if you want and do some paddleboarding. Just make sure you wear a wetsuit, unlike Miami, the water in San Diego in December is usually around 60 degrees.
Check out our San Diego posts for more ideas -
Awesome day trips around San Diego (if you tire of the city itself!)
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
Back in Hawaii, this time the capital city of Honolulu. One of the warmest and most beautiful of the destinations on this list, during December the average high temperature on this island is 81 degrees!
The official Honolulu website is available here, and you can see all the information you need regarding your trip. The city is surprisingly big and there is plenty to do inside. Otherwise, take a trip down to the water and enjoy a day on the beach. If we’re being honest, you’ll probably want to enjoy your whole week on the beach.
- Visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial
- Hike inside a volcano in the Diamond Head National Monument.
- Go Surfing the high waves.
8. Key West, Florida
Something that people might not realize is that Florida has a little tail at the bottom of it. You really need to focus when you are looking at a map, and then you will see this series of little islands that extend for many miles. These are the Keys! And Key West is all the way at the end of that tail. You’ll experience average high temperatures of 76 degrees during your stay.
Key West is one of the most beautiful destinations you will ever see. You are surrounded by this clear, nearly transparent water. And the water is very warm, about 72 degrees during December.
9. Phoenix, Arizona
Wow, finally, a different state! I know, you were probably starting to think that the only warm places to go during December are in Florida, Hawaii, and California. Well, that is only mostly true. But there are alternatives! And Phoenix is one of the best alternatives you can go check out! The city might not be on the beach, but there is so much to do and so much culture to soak in. If you have never been to Arizona, December is a great time to go explore. If you have been to Arizona, you know exactly why December is a great time to explore, as opposed to, say, July. It should be noted that, given the desert climate, the nights can get pretty cold in Phoenix in December.
10. South Padre Island, Texas
Texas is a very interesting state and is not exactly what you may perceive it to be. It is not enough to say “go visit Texas” during December, because Northern Texas, for example, will probably be equally as cold as wherever you are coming from. South Padre Island is a different case, it’s right near the Mexican border and in December the average high temperature is about 72 degrees. The average low temperature is 55 degrees, something worth keeping in mind.
If you’re interested in booking a trip, check out this website for a rundown of what you’ll be able to see and experience during your trip! It is known to have some of the best fishing in the country.
11. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans might not be the warmest destination in December, but it might be the most fun. If it isn’t the most fun, it’s certainly up there. The average high temperature you’ll be seeing during December will be about 65 degrees. But New Orleans isn’t a place where you go to enjoy the beach, it’s a place where you go to enjoy the city and have fun with the people.
You can find everything you need to know about New Orleans on this website. Something you might find fun while you’re there is maybe renting out a marching band. Yes, that is correct, you read that right. You can rent out a marching band for a day or for a night. They will follow you around and march, you have your own personal parade essentially.
12. Daytona Beach, Florida
Did you miss Florida? Well, here you go, it’s Florida again. Daytona Beach is an excellent destination choice with an average high temperature of 70 degrees during December.
Their official website can provide you all the information you need about what it is you want to do when you get there. The beach views are tremendous so, if you can, definitely pick a hotel or Airbnb on the water to enjoy that view first thing when you wake up. There is a lot of great seafood so head into the city and enjoy a delicious night out.
Get more ideas in our guide about the best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida.
13. Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, where you can look down a road populated with palm trees on each side that leads into breath-taking mountains in the distance. This isn’t the warmest destination on the list, with an average high temperature of 68 degrees and an average low of 44 degrees, but it does have some of the nicest views because of the mountainous backdrop.
Check out the official website to plan out your trip. You should check out some of the local businesses with all types of unique apparel and goodies.
Get ideas for activities in our mega list of 27 fun things to do in Palm Springs, California.
14. Death Valley National Park, California
Ok, don’t get scared. They only call it that because it is a desert, and in the summer months it can get up to obscene temperatures. But in December, they might as well just call it Valley National Park. It is an incredible landscape unlike anything else in the whole country. But, naturally, you wouldn’t want to explore it during the summer since you will melt. That’s what makes it a great December destination!
Keep in mind that this is a true desert, so at night the low temperatures can get down near 40 degrees. However, during the day you can expect high temperatures around 65 degrees and plenty of sunshine.
We have a couple of detailed guides about visiting Death Valley, so check them out here:
15. Lahaina, Hawaii
One last Hawaii destination, why not? Lahaina is on Maui and it is one of the most beautiful destinations in the whole state. As with every other Hawaii destination listed here, you won’t find warmer weather anywhere else in America during December. The average high temperature is 83 degrees.
Their website lists plenty of things to do and gives you a nice idea of the amazing landscape that you can expect to see during your visit.
We hope you enjoyed these ideas! Leave us a comment to let us know if you've visited any of them - or are planning to. Or perhaps you have a suggestion to add to this list?
And don't forget to check the other installments in our winter destinations series -
11 Things to Do in California in December (Vacation Ideas List)