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The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

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The USA is gorgeous, from sea to shining sea. I love being from such a huge and varied country with all kinds of different landscapes, cultures, and things to see. If I spent my lifetime never leaving the States and only exploring my own backyard, I’d have so much variety it would still feel like I’d traveled far and wide.

It’s incredible that in one country you can get some of the highest mountain tops, tropical beaches in Hawaii and glaciers in Alaska, plus rocky and warm deserts with some of the most breathtaking rock formations on planet Earth.

So for those who want to test out solo traveling at home before they go abroad, or if you’re from elsewhere and want to see what the US has to offer to solo travelers, you’ve made a great choice. But with so many options, you might be wondering where to start. For a visual tour, watch the video below, or keep reading for an explanation of each below:

These are some of my favorites in the USA, plus the advice of several other solo female travelers to get you started:

1. Alabama Hills, California

alabama hills sunrisealabama hills sunriseJust amazing

The Alabama Hills is an area of BLM land, meaning it’s owned by the public, with arches, beautiful views of the Eastern Sierras, and lots of Hollywood history. I did a solo road trip here and enjoyed every minute of it. If you are a photography lover, the Alabama Hills has plenty of photogenic stops, including the popular Movie Road as pictured above, Mobius Arch (go at sunset!), Boot Arch, and Miss Alabama herself.

As a solo traveler, you’ll get lots of solitude in the Alabama Hills and the other deserts on my California deserts road trip, which I personally loved. This is one of the beautiful things about traveling in this part of the world – all the wide open spaces and the spiritual vibe. Plus, you can’t beat the stargazing or the sunsets!

2. Page, Arizona

arizona itineraryarizona itineraryMind-blowing

Page is the jumping-off point for several of Arizona’s most beautiful places. I was blown away by Horseshoe Bend and of course the famous Antelope Canyon in particular. Since this part of the world attracts so many travelers, I found it easy to have conversations with others who were free camping with me, and even made a friend when I ventured to the paid campsites for a shower (but not in the shower itself, it was in the parking lot later, I swear).

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

If you’re considering which of the two canyons to visit I did a comparison of Lower and Upper here, though both are worth checking out for different reasons!

3. San Francisco, California

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelAt Baker Beach

Whenever people who aren’t from the state visit California, almost everyone ends up falling in love with San Francisco. As a native Southern Californian it’s in my DNA to roll my eyes and find this offensive but deep down, I silently agree. The Bay Area in general is beautiful, temperate, and has a unique culture. My European friends often say it has a charm that reminds them of home.

I love it for the ease of getting around on the BART system, how small and contained the city itself is, how picturesque, and how multicultural it is. Try a yoga or meditation class, head there during Pride or Outside Lands music festival, and see some live music. It’s the perfect place to jump off from or end up in when on a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway too!

Book your stay in San Francisco here, or check this mushroom dome on Airbnb out!

4. Bayfield, Wisconsin

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelApostle Islands sailing – what a dream

Midwesterners are known for being friendly and they lived up to their reputation when I visited Bayfield, Wisconsin. It’s an artsy town with outgoing people, and it is small enough that it feels intimate yet big enough that there is plenty to do. Join a kayaking trip, a boat trip, or take a drive around to the various orchards.

There are plenty of beaches and quirky hangouts as well. If you love camping, there’s plenty of that and if you visit in the winter, the famous caves ice over, which looks incredible. If you’re into photography and the outdoors, then you will absolutely love this little town on Lake Superior, the jumping-off point for the Apostle Islands.

Book your stay in Bayfield here, or spend a night on a sailboat!

5. Moab, Utah

capitol reefcapitol reefA great spot to meet fellow adventurous female travelers

Moab is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. For those all about the camper van life, bouldering, hiking, and kayaking, Moab has it all going on. It’s where you’ll find Canyonlands and Arches National Parks as well as Dead Horse Point State Park. Basically it’s one of the most gorgeous areas on Earth with a high concentration of incredible rock formations and free campsites.

I easily met people just by hanging around the free campsites, the coffee shops, and while watching the sunset over Dead Horse Point during my solo American Southwest road trip. I tend to find that when a place attracts people because of common shared interest, especially something outdoorsy, it tends to be social. Moab is a perfect example of that.

Book your stay in Moab here, or check out this awesome Airbnb with 600+ 5-star ratings!

6. Big Sur, California

mcway fallsmcway fallsBig Sur’s most famous feature, McWay Falls

I’ve looked on every continent and I still haven’t found anywhere as beautiful or majestic as Big Sur on the central coast in California. Though it’s had its fair share of disasters lately, when accessible, McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the dreamiest waterfalls I’ve seen.

Big Sur is a fantastic place to unwind. If you want to meet others, the campsites can be pretty social. However when I’m out there, I find the best companions are the dolphins and whales jumping out of the water, the squirrels and deer on the trail, and the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. For more on my favorite state and national parks in California, check out my musings on Alamo’s Scenic Route.

Book your stay in Big Sur here, or stay in a yurt!

7. Squaw Valley, California

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelBeautiful view from KT-22 at Squaw

“My go-to solo trip destination is Squaw Valley. During the winter, Squaw offers amble skiable terrain that is safe to navigate solo, in addition to a wide array of yoga classes and spa services perfect for wrapping up a long day of solo skiing or boarding.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelBailey at Squaw

The variety of restaurants at Squaw also cater to the solo female travel with many offering small intimate booths where you can curl up with a book and hot toddy while waiting for your meal. When the snow has melted, Squaw is still my favorite solo trip destination as it offers dozens of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. For those who don’t feel comfortable hiking or biking on their own, there are multiple companies who offer guided tours.” – Bailey of Feng Shui Mommy

Book your stay in Squaw Valley here!

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersVegas, baby!

Las Vegas wouldn’t have been the first place that I would have expected to be awesome alone, but with so much to do, it’s actually perfect!

According to Noni, “I’ve traveled in North America by myself and I’ve never enjoyed anything more than Las Vegas!! I’m not American and didn’t expect much before, but when I arrived I knew it was so much better than any other location in Northern America!

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelNoni in Vegas

It’s very easy to meet people, everybody’s in a good mood and very open to meeting new people, there’s a bus that’s very popular and goes every couple of minutes which makes traveling easy and there’s so much to do, from cinemas and clubs to bowling and casino’s – Las Vegas is definitely my favorite place to travel as a female solo traveler!” – Noni of Noni May

Book your stay in Las Vegas here!

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

solo female travel in new orleans - Taken at Royal and Dumaine street in the French Quartersolo female travel in new orleans - Taken at Royal and Dumaine street in the French QuarterGetting cheered on while taking selfie in front of the French Quarter

“I believe New Orleans is a perfect place for solo female travelers to visit. I have traveled there on my own and loved it. The city may be known for Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras, but there is a fascinating and rich cultural history to discover over a long weekend. There’s something for everyone in NOLA. For starters, I suggest staying in a boutique hotel on Royal Street, right near the allegedly haunted LaLaurie Mansion. While you’re there, tour cemeteries in the Garden District and the French Quarter, and sample the town’s famous beignets, po’ boys, and beverages.

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersEntertainment is plentiful and ranges from low key to raging parties. Learn about the dueling reign and lingering influence of France and Spain, or the city’s centuries-long history of voodoo and witchcraft. Or join the revelers in the Fruit Loop for a round of Hand Grenades. You’re sure to find exactly what you’re in the mood for and stay within your budget, too.

New Orleans is a large city, but easy to navigate on foot or by streetcar and bus. I never felt unsafe as a solo traveler because the streets are always bustling with tourists and locals, although it’s smart to practice precautions appropriate for travel in any big city.”  – Brittany of She Goes With Purpose.

Book your stay in New Orleans here. Airbnb has a bunch of great options, too.

10. Maui, Hawaii

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersRoad to Hana – unmissable

I forgive you if you don’t think of Hawaii when you think of great places to travel solo, and I wouldn’t have either until I actually went to Maui alone last year. It was fantastic! There was so much to do, from a women’s surf school, to driving the Road to Hana, and joining snorkeling trips.

I thought I would be surrounded by honeymooners but I actually found that people were very outgoing and friendly, coupled off or not. I highly recommend Maui solo, much to my surprise!

Book your stay in Maui here, or check this adorable cottage out!

11. The Big Island of Hawaii

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersA gorgeous Airbnb – you can find so many of them on the Big Island!

“The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the best places for adventurous solo female travelers to visit. With volcanoes, world-class dive sites, interesting beaches, and miles of hiking trails, any girl with a penchant for the unexplored can never get bored. Solo travelers will love watching lava bubble at the top of Mauna Loa, snorkeling in Honaunau Bay, and visiting Uncle Robert’s night market — an eclectic market that serves fresh food and sells handmade clothing, beauty products, and decor.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelChantae doing her thing!

It’s easy to meet friends through activities, at the beach, and by going on day tours. The island is easy to navigate with a rental car as there is one main road that circles around the entire island. Most people consider going to the more tourist-heavy islands like Oahu, but the Big Island is an underrated spot that is well worth the trek over.” – Chantae of The Salt Sirens

Book your stay in The Big Island here, or consider staying in a real treehouse (!).

Read: The perfect Hawaii Big Island itinerary, the best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, 25 amazing things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii

12. Seattle, Washington

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersView for days

“Traveling solo in Seattle is great because it offers such a variety of activities that you can enjoy some solitude or plant yourself in an area teeming with activity (or even do both easily on the same day). Seattle offers neighborhoods with distinct character, food from any culture you can imagine, fantastic museums, and gorgeous public parks.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelRobin and Ava canoeing!

A highlight of any trip to Seattle was experiencing the exceptionally talented local musicians that perform throughout the city on most nights. Jazz, experimental, rock, punk, metal, baroque, blues, hip-hop ­– all there waiting for you. Public transit can get you most places during the day and taxis/ride-shares are readily available for late night adventures. It is very common for people to dine solo or listen to live music by themselves in Seattle, so no need to hesitate or feel awkward. Also, if you have heard of the “Seattle Freeze” don’t worry locals are actually friendly and helpful once you start the conversation. But no umbrellas please!” – Robin

Book your stay in Seattle here. There are many great options on Airbnb, too!

13. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersCape Cod is for sunset lovers

“Cape Cod is known as the tail of Massachusetts and a family-friendly beach destination in New England, but it’s also very well suited to solo female travelers. Why? Because it’s extremely safe, easy to get around, and downright beautiful. The Cape is just over an hour’s drive from Boston or Providence. You’ll definitely want to have a car so that you can freely explore its beautiful beaches. The ocean beaches are all lined with epic sand dunes, while the bay beaches host the most stunning sunsets (if you’re lucky enough to catch one at low tide, wow – the reflections off the puddles in the sand flats are something else!).

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelLindsay in Cape Cod

Outdoor adventurers should tackle the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs for 25 miles from Dennis to Wellfleet. There are outposts all along the trail where you can rent a bike and cycle past cranberry bogs, marshes, and lakes. Or for slightly less-active adventures, hit up Wellfleet for the weekend flea market and drive-in movies, gay-friendly Provincetown for shopping and nightlife, and just about any restaurant for the Cape’s legendary clam chowder.” – Lindsay of Frugal Frolicker

Book your stay in Cape Cod here, or look for an Airbnb!

14. Minneapolis, Minnesota

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelPretty, pretty Minneapolis

“I call Minneapolis the Stockholm of the Midwest. It’s filled with Swedish-Americans, gets very cold in winter (colder than Stockholm, actually), and has many opportunities to enjoy the fine arts.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelHayley in Minneapolis

“For a solo female traveler, it’s a perfect big city to visit. It’s safe to wander around, has beautiful architecture and natural vistas, provides great bike paths, and features plenty of fun shops like cafes and stationary boutiques.

When it comes to the outdoors, in the summertime it’s wonderful to explore all the green space and the hundreds of lakes nearby. And in the winter you have plenty of opportunities to go ice skating, skiing/snowboarding, and snowshoeing. No matter the time of year, Minneapolis has plenty on the calendar for you to enjoy.” – Hayley of International Hotdish

Book your stay in Minneapolis here, or look for an Airbnb!

15. Sun Valley, Idaho

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travel

Idaho really must be one of the most beautiful states in the wintertime. I celebrated New Year’s there last year and I just loved the welcoming and friendly vibe.

Sun Valley is a quaint town with fantastic skiing, snowshoeing, naturally occurring hot springs, and locals who are more than happy to have a conversation with visitors and newcomers. Idaho is so underrated! If you want to venture outside of Sun Valley, there are tons of amazing hot springs to check out. You can find my itinerary here.

Book your stay in Idaho here, or stay in a cozy, heated treehouse!

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travel

Though the USA is huge, and no list could ever do the wealth of places to see and experience justice, these are a few of our favorites. I hope this list helped you to get a sense of where to start, or continue, your solo journey.

If you have some favorite solo spots to share, please tell me in the comments below!

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

*This post was brought to you in partnership with Alamo Rent A Car. All thoughts on the best places to travel solo in the USA belong to their respective authors. 

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Best Places To Travel In December In The USA

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bowlingBrewery Light FestivalChattanoogagrand tetonLake TahoeNebraskaNew Year's DaySandpointSANTA SskiingSpokane

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Don’t let the winter blues put a damper on your December wanderlust travel dreams. Travel doesn’t have to stop simply because it’s December. In fact, some of the best places to travel in the US are fabulous at Christmas time.

Whether you are looking to experience a traditional American Christmas with snow, ice skating, and Christmas lights or you want to escape the cold winter and find the warm places to visit in December (hint: think Florida Vacation Rental!), this list of the best places to travel in December help you start planning the perfect holiday vacation.

U.S. Capitol BuildingVirginia

After you learn all about the best US travel destinations in December, give yourself an early Christmas present while you plan by learning how to stay in hotels for free all year round and how to keep your sanity on the road with the kids.

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Best Places To Travel in December For A Heart-Warming Christmas Experience

Northeast Tennessee

gatlinburg christmas lightsgatlinburg christmas lights

“Another tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me…”

There’s no doubt the level of bias that lies in the heart of this travel writer!

The mountains of East Tennessee will always be my home and always capture my heart most vividly during the holidays.

While we don’t often get mounds of snow in the lower elevations of Tennessee, the upper regions of the Appalachian and Smoky Mountains will receive a beautiful white covering that truly enhances their beauty.

The amount of activity available in nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN is dizzying and some of the hiking trails couldn’t be more stunning covered in snow and glittering with shimmering ice cycles.

For some great ideas on what to do in Smoky Mountains in December check out these other ideas.

Airbnb Smoky Mountains Lodging

More Things To Do in the Smoky Mountains

Lookout Mountain, GA

Rock City in Lookout Mountain, GARock City in Lookout Mountain, GARock City © Adventure Dragon

While you are in Northeast Tennessee, why not take the short drive south to Lookout Mountain, GA and visit Rock City.

Located just five miles from Chattanooga,TN, Rock City Gardens lies hidden away at the top of a small mountain town on the border of Tennessee and Georgia.

It’s one of the best places to travel in December in the US that few people actually know about.

Throughout the entire month of December, Rock City hosts its annual Enchanted Garden of Lights–a celebration combining sparkling lights, decorations, and festive activities with hiking paths leading through tiny crevices in giant, moss-covered boulders to a waterfall that emerges on the other side.

From the top of the falls, you can even see seven US states on a clear, sunny day.

Santa will be waiting for you there, and you’ll sip on warm cider or hot cocoa while enjoying holiday music performed by local choirs and live bands.

You can also decorate Gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, paint ornaments, or design your own Christmas stocking.

If you’re a fan of beautiful nature, crisp winter air, waterfalls, holiday festivities, fragrant gardens, and pretty Christmas lights, then I highly recommend you choose Rock City for your next travel destination in the US in December.

Lookout Mountain Airbnb

YOU MIGHT ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: Best Places To Travel In October

Alexandria, VA

Lake TahoeNebraska

Christmas is a magical time full of gorgeous decorations, lights, and cheer.

One of the best ways to experience the charm of Christmas is to visit a small historic American town like Alexandria, VA. It’s truly one of the best places to travel in the USA for a historic Christmas experience.

In Old Town Alexandria during December, you will be plunged into the Christmas fairy tale.

The 18th-century narrow streets with numerous galleries, shops, restaurants, and historic row houses is the perfect setting to experience a Charles Dickens style Christmas.

Alexandria, Virginia, sits on the Potomac River, right across Washington D.C with splendidly stretched around old cobblestone streets and red brick houses and chimneys perfectly decorated for a visit from the Santa Clause.

If you can, visit Old Town Alexandria is during the Tree Lightning weekend to experience a special visit from with Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as enjoy performances from local artists.

Maria Potehina from Call It Adventure

Alexandria, VA Airbnb

Washington, D.C.

New Year's DaySandpoint

Maggie, from the Pink Caddy Travelogue says Washington D.C. is often overshadowed by nearby NYC, Washington, D.C. is one of the most underrated places to visit in December.

The weather is mild yet the Christmas celebrations are out in full force!

There are two, that’s right, TWO national Christmas trees.

One of them is located in front of the U.S. Capitol Building and provides one of the most picturesque DC Christmas settings.

The other tree is located in front of the White House.

That tree is also surrounded by 56 smaller trees, one for each US state and territory.

Speaking of the White House, it gets a makeover each holiday season.

The President’s home is open to public tours all year, but Christmas is the best time to visit.

The entire building is decorated with a multitude of trees, fresh pine garland, twinkling lights, and a gingerbread replica of the White House itself.

The National Cathedral puts on the Messiah each year, the Smithsonian Zoo hosts a light show complete hot cider and spiked hot chocolate, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon celebrates the season 1776 style.

There’s no shortage of reasons to visit DC in December!”

PLEASE NOTE: In order to tour the White House, you must contact your local congressman at least three months in advance to request the tour.

You can find out more information on the White House website here.

Washington, D.C. Airbnb

New York, NY

New York ChristmasNew York Christmas

No place does Christmas better than New York City!  In addition to the normal NYC tourist attractions, there are lots of special things to do for the holidays. 

It’s one of the best places to visit in the US in December.

Just remember to bring some warm clothes!

First, you have to see the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. 

Nearby, you can see the department store windows elaborately decorated for the season. 

If you have more time, venture to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights for some over the top displays.

For those that still need to buy gifts, there are a few Christmas markets, the largest being Bryant Park. 

If you want to go ice skating, there are several outdoor rinks to try.

Rockefeller Center and Central Park may be the most iconic ice rinks, but there the one in Bryant Park is also popular.

During the holiday season in New York City, there are usually some Christmas-themed shows on Broadway.

I think the best show to see is the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. 

It’s been a tradition since 1933!   

New York Airbnb

Poconos Mountains, PA

Poconos PA winterPoconos PA winter

As the air becomes crisp and cool, it’s time to put away the beach chairs and sunblock and take out the snow pants and gloves.

However, just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great vacation. 

The Poconos in Pennsylvania is one of the best places to visit in winter due to the variety of activities available.  

Camelback Mountain is famous for their 42 lanes of snow-tubing available for people of all ages.  

You can even go galactic snow tubing at night under LED lights. 

If you’re more into skiing and snowboarding, Camelback has that too, but there is also Shawnee Mountain and Blue Mountain with a variety of hills for all skill levels. 

If a romantic weekend getaway is more your speed, La Spa Foret is a great place to relax and revitalize.  

There are also a number of breweries and wineries in the area. 

To get you in the mood for the holidays, you can take a carriage ride at Hawley Winterfest, visit Jim Thorpe’s Olde Time Christmas for train rides with Santa, and make ornaments at Santa’s Winterfest. 

No matter your age, there is something in the Poconos to warm you up in December. 

Pam from the Directionally Challenged Traveler 

Poconos Airbnb

St. Louis, MO

Virginiawanderlust travel dreamsImage by Dave Herholz use in accordance with the Creative Commons License found here

Jessica from Unearth The Voyage says that St. Louis, MO is a great place to travel in December because during the month of December, St. Louis is home to the Brewery Lights at Anheuser Busch.

This annual Christmas lights tradition held by the brewery boasts more than a million twinkling lights.

During the “Brewery Lights Festival”, the brewery grounds are transformed into a winter wonderland in which you can walk around and enjoy the Christmas lights as well as a free sample of Anheuser Busch beer.

Find out more about this year’s Brewery Light Festival on their website.

“Garden Glow” is another great place to visit in December in St. Louis. Again, over 1 million Christmas lights illuminate the Missouri botanical gardens located in St. Louis.

Visit their website for more details on this year’s Christmas light celebration at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Here are a few other festivals and events to look forward to in St. Louis, MO during the month of December.

St. Louis Airbnb

Omaha, NE

omaha, nebraska christmasomaha, nebraska christmas

Omaha, NE is a hidden gem!

Omaha is a very affordable city, making it a great choice for a cheap family vacation in December.

Sarah, from The Prosperous Blonde, shared some of her favorite things to do in Omaha.

Omaha is a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people, but still has a small town feel. 

My favorite place in the city is the area downtown known as The Old Market. This area is home to awesome historic warehouses that have been converted into super unique shops & restaurants.

You’ll find everything from antique stores to cool handmade jewelry. and if you love Christmas, you will love visiting Tannenbaum Christmas Shop-a shop dedicated to all things Christmas!

For more great things to do in December in Omaha, NE check out these options.

If you are looking to escape the cold this and celebrate Christmas in your shorts and flip flops, these United States December travel destinations.

Omaha, NE Airbnb

Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint, IDSandpoint, ID

Sandpoint is a lake community in northern Idaho and is the perfect destination for families looking to experience the outdoors in December.

Sandpoint is a hidden gem in the Pacific Northwest and is accessible after a 1.5 hour drive from the closest airport, located in Spokane, Washington.

During the winter, snow blankets not only the lake and small town of Sandpoint but also the nearby world-class ski resort of Schweitzer Mountain.

Families who enjoy the outdoors will find that there are lots of things to do in Sandpoint during December, including skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing and even horse drawn carriage rides.

 
When not enjoying all there is to do outdoors, visitors to Sandpoint can explore downtown which is home to several boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.

There is also a bowling alley and two movie theaters in the area if families are looking for activities to escape the cold. 

Sandpoint, Idaho Airbnb

Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth, Washington Leavenworth, Washington

If you’re looking for a fun and unique destination to take the family this December look no further than Leavenworth, Washington.

This The bavarian-like town at the base of the Cascade Mountains is a popular year-round destination for families but, December is especially magical.

Starting on the first weekend of December and running all the way through to Valentine’s Day the town of Leavenworth is lit up with more than half a million Christmas lights.

Every Saturday and Sunday in December there’s a Christmas Lighting Ceremony complete with the arrival of St Nikolaus, roaming carolers, live music, sledding, and seasonal treats like hot chocolate, mulled wine, and hot chocolate.

Outside of town the fun continues with winter wonderland activities like sledding, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

There really is something to excite everyone in the family during the month of December in Leavenworth, WA!

Leavenworth, WA Airbnb

Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe, CALake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe is a stunning destination to visit in the USA in December if you want to tick both California and Nevada off your December bucket list. 

The area is a white winter wonderland that is an enchanting backdrop for numerous outdoor activities suitable for all ages.

From skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing, ice skating and dog sledding, there’s a huge list of things to do in Lake Tahoe in winter for families.

Ride a horse-drawn buggy, warm up with a delicious pizza and hot chocolate or go on an exciting snowmobiling adventure in the backcountry.

The scenery is amazing! Actually, think of Lake Tahoe as a big winter playground for kids of all ages. 

Lake Tahoe has 12 ski resorts and a number of world-famous ones, such as Squaw Valley, which was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Other ski resorts that families will love are Heavenly, Northstar and Sugarbowl.

Celebrate the holiday season at Lake Tahoe and see in the New Year at the Snow Globe Music Festival, which is a fun event that is popular with families. 

Lake Tahoe, CA Airbnb

Keystone, CO

Keystone COKeystone CO

Keystone is the best ski resort in Colorado for families and December is the perfect time to visit.

The mountains are covered with a blanket of white snow and the trees in the ski village are strung with twinkling Christmas lights. 

Families with young kids will love Keystone because there are so many fun activities besides skiing.

You can take the family ice skating on the frozen 5-acre lake, ride the gondola to an enormous snow fort at the top of Keystone Mountain, or take advantage of the activities offered just for kids through Keystone’s Kidtopia program. 

My family’s favorite thing to do in Keystone around Christmas time is to visit the chocolate village in the lobby of the Keystone Lodge.

Every December the amazing Keystone pastry chefs set up a gigantic Christmas display made entirely of Chocolate.

There are chocolate presents under a huge chocolate christmas tree and an entire chocolate ski town complete with a chocolate gondola and train.

It is incredible. Santa frequently visits the Chocolate Village so make sure to ask the front desk when he will be there.

Check out these tips for booking the perfect Keystone family ski vacation when plan your trip.

Keystone, CO Airbnb

Jackson Hole, WY

skiingSpokane

The Part Time Tourists say that Jackson Hole, WY is “a great option for December travel!

This family friendly town is magical during that time of year and has something that everyone will enjoy.

A few activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family include taking a sleigh ride through an elk refuge and enjoying a “big red” tram ride up to the top of mountain to enjoy their world-famous breakfast.

You also can’t leave without taking advantage of the ice skating rink in the center of town. You won’t be able to miss it as it has the light-strung antler arches on all the entrances.

The last thing that you can’t miss while exploring Jackson Hole during December is taking a winter wonderland drive through Grand Teton National Park.

You’ll see wildlife and incredible views all from inside your warm vehicle.” 

For even more ideas about check out this non-skiers guide to Jackson Hole in the Winter.

You Might Also Be Interested In: Jackson Hole & Teton Village in the Fall: So much more than a Ski Resort

Jackson Hole, WY Airbnb

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis WinterMinneapolis Winter

Despite Minnesota’s reputation for cold weather and snow in the winter, Via Travelers tell us that the coldest months of the year don’t hit until January and February, making a visit in December a great time to experience the snowy beautiful city.

During December, you can hike a variety of trails or do cross country skiing in a number of different parks in surrounding Minneapolis.

Cross country skiing is a staple for Minneapolis given the Nordic heritage of the community.

In fact, downtown Minneapolis celebrates that Nordic heritage with a German inspired Christmas market and festivities known as Holidazzle at Loring Park.

Finally, take in a showing of the Christmas Carol the Guthrie Theatre or enjoy art in one of Minneapolis’ many art museums.

Minneapolis, MN Airbnb

Bloomington, Minnesota

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Travel With A Plan has some great tips for enjoying the nearby Bloomington, MN while you are in the Minneapolis area.

“Be sure to leave time to visit nearby Bloomington, home to none other than retail giant Mall of America – which will be perfectly adorned for Christmas when visiting in December! 

This iconic shopping mall is home to over 500 general retail stores, specialty attractions, and more than 50 restaurants.

Not only that, but MOA is also home to four of Minnesota’s top attractions – SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, Crayola Experience, FlyOver America and world-famous Nickelodeon Universe.

As the nation’s largest indoor theme park, it’s always 70 degrees and sunny at Nickelodeon Universe.

Thanks to its climate-controlled environment and glass ceiling that lets natural light in, guests avoid all inclement weather while still feeling like they are actually outside.

With its combination of Family, Junior, and Thrill rides, there is literally something to do for everyone!

Cap off your visit to the Mall of America with a magical skating experience at MOA’s free Skate the Star.

This custom-built ice rink is located at the North entrance of MOA.

Take note that though you can bring your own skates, the small rental fee of $5 goes directly to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities!

While in Bloomington, stay at the Radisson Blu or the JW Marriott, both of which are directly connected to the Mall of America. 

If you really want to thrill the kids in the middle of December, enjoy the indoor water park located at the Great Wolf Lodge which is located only steps away from the mall.”

Bloomington, MN Airbnb

Best Places to Visit in December for a WARM Up!

Key West, Florida

bowlingBrewery Light Festival

I know I said that Tennessee was a special place for me in December, but you know that I am easily persuaded that Florida is the place to be when those temperatures start to drop.

Coleman Concierge has me ready to book my tickets with this descriptions of Key West in December.

“Key West Florida is a fabulous place to travel in December because of its warm Caribbean sunshine. Since its an island, you can catch sunrise, sunset, and enjoy sunshine all day.

We recommend staying in a boutique hotel in the historic district like Amsterdam’s Curry Mansion Inn. It’s so convenient for an active family being walking distance from Duval Street, Mallory Square, and all of old town Key West.

Make sure you take a boat ride somewhere while you’re in Key West. Whether you’re snorkeling on the coral reefs or taking a sunset cruise. You can even take a jet ski tour around the entire island and count it for boat time if you like. 

For more family fun, try taking the Conch Train across the island to explore the Hemingway House, butterfly Gardens, or Southernmost Point in the United States. Be sure to explore Fort Zachary Taylor and the shipwreck museum to learn about Key West’s nautical history.

The orange sun from sunrise at Higgs Beach to sunset at Mallory Square will be the perfect vacation to chase away the winter blues.”

Key West Airbnb

Miami, Florida

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“December is the perfect time to explore Miami. With weather in the mid-seventies, it’s a great time of year for visiting the beach and exploring the city without the heat being too oppressive.

The beaches are much emptier at this time of year as they are too cold for the locals.

If you don’t want to spend the whole trip on the beach, there is also plenty to see in the city with it’s great shopping, food and many family friendly museums, most notably the Frost Science Museum which is a massive hands on museum that kids love.

You should also spend some time soaking in the Cuban culture with a visit to Little Havana.

In December the city also has some fabulous seasonal activities that should not be missed, like going to see the Nutcracker at the ballet or a visit to Santa’s Enchanted Forest which is the largest holiday theme park in the world!”

Get more tips on visiting Miami from Travel Mad Mum

Miami, FL Airbnb

Maui, Hawaii

Lake TahoeNebraska

Maui is one of the most popular places to travel in December in the US to escape the winter temperatures. The Hawaiian island of Maui is ideal to escape the cold in the continental US with temperatures around 25 Degrees celsius (77°F).

If you visit before Christmas you will avoid the crowds of New Year and January.

Maui is full of adventures, and it’s recommended to rent a car and drive the iconic Road to Hana where you get beautiful scenery, lush waterfalls and gorgeous beaches along the way.

There are also numerous hiking options and trails that you can explore as a family.

I recommend staying in Kihei or Wailea beach as it’s a nice place for families with a relaxed vibe, nice accommodation alternatives and not too far away by car. 

Alex from Swedish Nomad

Maui, HI Airbnb

San Diego, CA

New Year's DaySandpoint

Corritta from Itz a Family Thing says that San Diego is definitely one of the best places to travel in December in the USA!

“When you think Christmas, I am sure San Diego is not the first place that comes to mind.

What we lack in snow we make up for in Christmas spirit and lights.

There is no shortage of activities available for families in the Christmas spirit.

There is the San Diego Holiday Parade, Christmas Pet Parade, Balboa Park December nights, La Jolla Christmas Parade, and The Holiday Bowl.

The crown jewel of the Christmas celebration in San Diego is Global Winter Wonderland.

You can see all the major attractions in lights from around the world in one-night. Start at the Nation’s Capital Washington D.C and work your way around the world through Tokyo, Paris, Italy, India, and China.

There are also spectacular interactive light character mazes for families to enjoy (last year there were dinosaurs).

So, the next time you are trying to think of your next Christmas destination, come and join us in San Diego for family fun and nights full of adventure.”

San Diego, CA Airbnb

Don’t Miss All of Our content on California

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, AZ Phoenix, AZ

Travelgal Nicole has some great tips for hiking in Arizona and says that it is one of the best places to travel in December, “If you enjoy comfortable temperatures and plenty of fun things to do then you should definitely visit Phoenix in December.

Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and enjoys year round warm temperatures as well as lots of fun things to do for families.”

Here are a few things to do in Phoenix as you seek to warm up your December.

Phoenix, AZ Airbnb

Charleston, SC

SpokaneU.S. Capitol Building

If warmer, but not HOT, is what you seek, consider Charleston, SC for your December family vacation.

Elizabeth from Elizabeth Everywhere has a few pointers for making Charleston your December travel destination in the US.

“Head south for the winter with a trip to Charleston, South Carolina!

Charleston is the perfect destination for a mild December getaway, with temperatures ranging from the upper 40s to 60s!

The city is a great getaway any time of year, with interesting history, beautiful architecture, and tons of amazing food, but the city really comes to life in December!

Walk down King Street, the main shopping street, and admire the Christmas decorations (and get any last minute gift shopping done)!

Be sure to visit the model train in Charleston Place and the Christmas tree in Marion Square!

After a day exploring, warm up with some authentic southern cooking at one of the main soul food restaurants!”

Charleston, SC Airbnb

Where are your favorite US destinations to travel in December?

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