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6 of the best destinations to visit in December

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The holiday season is in full swing, though this December certainly doesn’t look like any other.

Whether you’re planning for this year or already dreaming about next, December has long been a popular time for travel, since many people have paid time off for the holidays and students can get a break from school. And there are some destinations that, no matter how unfamiliar the world may seem, are simply best seen with a dusting of snow or a flash of holiday tinsel.

For people who are seeking close-to-home getaways now or planning future trips for next winter, these are the six destinations we’re most excited about for December, including warm-weather getaways, places with iconic outdoor holiday attractions and mountain towns with snow sports perfect for physical distancing.

Just remember, it’s still incredibly important to focus on flexible travel plans, pay close attention to the guidance from local and national officials and medical experts and be mindful of testing and quarantine requirements if you’re leaving town. Take thoughtful steps to minimize your risk of coronavirus exposure and always prioritize your health — and the health of everyone around you — by wearing your mask, keeping your distance, washing your hands frequently and more.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out the most exciting and promising destinations for 2021 and learn how to minimize your risk of getting sick no matter where or when you travel.

For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.

In This Post

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

a view of a city at night: Philadelphia. (Photo by Claire Gentile/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Philadelphia. (Photo by Claire Gentile/Getty Images)

One of the few cities in the country still hosting its annual Christmas market, Philadelphia is a perfect destination for travelers in search of the holiday spirit. Head to LOVE Park to explore the Christmas Village, which features traditional timber booths, glittering lights and the aroma of German delicacies, including bratwurst, glühwein and lebkuchen (gingerbread).

The City of Brotherly Love has also welcomed a flurry of new hotel openings this year and last, and if you haven’t visited in a while you might be surprised by the number of new places to bed down. Some of our favorites include the Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia, which welcomed its first guests this summer; the new Hyatt Centric Center City; and the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Center and The Notary Hotel, an Autograph Collection property, both of which opened in the summer of 2019.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to love Philadelphia this winter — including how accessible it is for travelers who are seeking close-to-home adventures reachable by car or train.

TPG tip: Want to make sure your trip to Philadelphia includes plenty of time spent in the great outdoors? Head to the Poconos, a scenic mountain region just an hour and a half from the city with waterfalls and rivers that’s perfect for winter hiking and cross-country skiing.

Las Vegas, Nevada

a view of Las Vegas Strip at night: Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Sattlberger/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Sattlberger/Getty Images)

The next time you travel to Sin City, you might be surprised at how much has changed. Gone are the opulent self-service buffets, and most clubs and parties remain closed. Shows are beginning to reopen, but you shouldn’t expect the same variety of performances.

But in many ways, your trip to Las Vegas may be better than expected. Gone are the impassable crowds, and with social distancing policies, travelers may find this new version of Las Vegas to be far more comfortable and less stressful. Travelers can also find incredible deals on hotel room rates, and free parking has made a popular comeback.

Gallery: Places You Can Escape To During Quarantine — If You’re Rich (GOBankingRates)

a tree next to a body of water: Who doesn’t dream of escaping from the limitations of COVID-19 to somewhere tropical, remote, exotic or exciting? For most of us, however, due to costs and restrictions, getting much further away than driving distance is mostly a pipe dream. Read More: Airline Warns of Slow Recovery for Air Travel For the uber-rich, however, travel, even under heavy restrictions, is a no-brainer. Those with the cash to go anywhere they can afford are seeking out locales with limited numbers of people, and low or declining COVID-19 infection rates, according to CNBC. These range from tropical respites such as private islands to coastal towns with access to surf and sun. From private jets to luxury villas, the rich know how to quarantine in style. Here are five places the rich are visiting to escape quarantine. Last updated: Dec. 7, 2020

In late October, Las Vegas also welcomed Circa Resort and Casino. This splashy opening marked the first new-build hotel in downtown Las Vegas since the 1980s, the first adults-only resort in the city (guests must be 21 or older) and it’s also home to the world’s largest sportsbook.

Another reason to consider a trip to Las Vegas this December or next? You don’t have to worry about sweating it out in 100-degree weather.

TPG tip: Whether you’re traveling to Las Vegas this December or next, leverage elite status matches to get Caesars Rewards Diamond Tier benefits during your next trip (available until Dec. 31, 2020)

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

a group of people standing on top of a snow covered mountain: Steamboat Springs. (Photo by Zach Shortway/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Steamboat Springs. (Photo by Zach Shortway/Getty Images)

Want to enjoy wide-open spaces and fresh mountain air this winter? Steamboat Springs, an authentic ski town in northern Colorado with plenty of old-school charm may be the best place in the country to get your turns this year.

With exceptionally dry snow, an Old West aesthetic and an average of 314 inches of powder every year, there’s a reason Steamboat Springs is a perennial favorite among skiers and snowboarders. But for travelers planning a last-minute December getaway, there are new reasons to keep this town at the top of your list.

Starting Dec. 19, Southwest Airlines will fly new seasonal routes from Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Denver (DEN) to Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN), the closest gateway to Steamboat Springs. JetBlue is adding nonstop service from New York-JFK. During ski season, United, American and Alaska also serve Yampa Valley Regional. And while other major ski areas are requiring reservations, Steamboat isn’t, which might make planning your ski vacation less stressful.

TPG tip: If you really want to make sure you’re avoiding other people, this might be the year to take to the backcountry. At the Bluebird Backcountry ski area, which officially opens this year and will be the first resort of its kind in North America, there are no lifts: Guests will ski uphill or “skin” to the top of their run. It’s just 30 minutes from Steamboat Springs, and there are warming huts, a lodge, gear rentals, ski patrol and 1,200 avalanche-evaluated in-bounds acres.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

a large body of water with buildings in the background: Hilton Head, South Carolina. (Photo by Dennis Govoni/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Hilton Head, South Carolina. (Photo by Dennis Govoni/Getty Images)

It’s easy to see why so many snowbirds head to South Carolina’s Lowcountry to wait out the winter. In December, this barrier island experiences mostly mild weather and has plenty of holiday spirit.

Take part in a Jingle Bell Run, enjoy the twinkling lights on the harbor at The Sea Pines Resort and get into the holiday spirit at South Beach Christmas Village (get a wave from Santa, listen to live music outside and enjoy a complimentary cup of cocoa around the fireside).

Hilton Head Island is drivable from many major metropolitan areas across the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Travelers can also fly into Hilton Head Airport (HHH), though there are many more flights into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which is about 40 miles away.

TPG tip: Hilton Head Island may be best known for its timeshare resorts, boutique properties and luxury home rentals, but you can also use your points to offset the cost of your stay — especially if you have a stash of Marriott Bonvoy points. Book a room at the Marriott Hilton Head Resort & Spa (Category 5) or the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa (Category 6).

Dominican Republic

a group of people walking on a city street: The Dominican Republic. (Photo by Maremagnum/Getty Images) © The Points Guy The Dominican Republic. (Photo by Maremagnum/Getty Images)

With relatively easy entry requirements, the Dominican Republic is a practical tropical getaway for travelers craving an international escape. To help stop the spread of coronavirus, all travelers will have their temperature checked on arrival, must abide by social distancing and wear face masks, according to the Ministry of Tourism. But the nation is no longer requiring negative COVID-19 tests, which continues to be one of the biggest barriers in the travel industry.

Consider booking a room at the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda — the first resort to open in this undeveloped region — which opened in January and is spread across 50 acres. Or head to Punta Cana to check out the new all-inclusive Serenade Punta Cana Beach, Spa & Casino Resort. And for travelers with Radisson Rewards points, there’s the just-opened Radisson Blu Resort & Residence, also in Punta Cana, which marks the brand’s first all-inclusive property in the world.

TPG tip: Leverage airline alliances to get the best deal on an award flight to the Dominican Republic. Consider using Turkish Miles & Smiles for a United flight, Flying Blue miles if you’re traveling with Delta or British Airways Avios, which might make the most sense if you’re flying American Airlines from the southeast.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

a canyon with a mountain in the background: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Photo by Jim Wiltschko/EyeEm/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Photo by Jim Wiltschko/EyeEm/Getty Images)

A gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg isn’t just a summer retreat. In fact, this mountain town may be one of the best places to drop your bags for the holidays. Located in eastern Tennessee, visitors will discover a great year-round getaway with mild weather and a number of seasonal activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and even snow tubing at Ober Gatlinburg (the state’s only ski resort) and the Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration at Dollywood.

With over 5 million lights, holiday performances (including classic carolers and Christmas-themed musical theater) and, for the first time ever, festive “Merry & Bright” fireworks displays set to holiday tunes, few places in the country will be conjuring the Christmas spirit quite like the Dollywood theme park. Smoky Mountains Christmas will run until Jan. 2, 2021.

Around the corner in Pigeon Forge, the annual Winterfest light festival gives visitors even more ways to experience the magic of the season. Just remember, it does snow in the Smoky Mountains, so do your research and make sure you’re careful to avoid any winter road closures.

TPG tip: Cozy up around the outdoor fire pit at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Gatlinburg Downtown by Marriott (from 30,000 points per night) or the Park Vista by Hilton Doubletree, which has great views of Gatlinburg and is perfect for families. Or, consider renting one of the area’s many cabins, which have the benefit of kitchens — perfect for avoiding public places — and other wintertime amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces.

Featured photo of Hilton Head Island by Whitney Carlson/EyeEm/Getty Images

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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Top Female Solo Travel Spots, From Women Who Have Done It

Amanda Williams

If you’re traveling solo, consider a vacation rental over a hotel to save money. You’ll enjoy amenities like extra living space and a full kitchen while spending far less. From spare rooms and one-bedroom apartments to stunning mansions, TripAdvisor Rentals has over 830,000 properties in 190 countries available to suit your needs. And once you decide on a destination, you can book all your tours, activities, and attractions right on TripAdvisor, too. Our new 24-hour cancellation policy (on experiences) means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.

Female Solo Travel In America

Traveling alone takes you out of your comfort zone and shows you a location in a different light. It’s a chance to leave your itinerary behind and let your senses guide the way—without the tether of maps or reservations. Solo travel is about cultivating a unique experience, and the next generation has fully embraced the idea of exploring the world unaccompanied.

But while Millennials might have kick-started the solo travel phenomenon, this trend is attracting people of all ages, interests, and genders. As traveling alone becomes increasingly popular among women, we asked a few professional travel bloggers to name the best destinations in America for flying solo.

From experiencing Bonnaroo Music + Arts Festival in No Man’s Land, Tennessee to enjoying communal brunch and a pole dancing class in Denver, Colorado, these women have some great stories. Some of them embrace the solitude that comes with traveling solo, while others love meeting locals and fellow wanderers.

Whether you prefer to travel carefree or connected, if you’re staying stateside, here are the top destinations for female solo travelers—according to women who have been there.

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Seattle, Washington

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– Amanda Williams, A Dangerous Business Travel Blog

“Seattle is great for solo female travel. It’s a safe city that’s not too huge, and it’s fairly easy to get around either on foot, by public transport, or by using a ride-sharing service. Seattle has a lot of enjoyable attractions even when you’re by yourself, like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and tons of parks and museums. You can also take easy day trips from Seattle to places like Bainbridge Island or the Olympic Peninsula, meaning it’s easy to fit both nature and the city into one trip.”

Check out all Seattle vacation rentals from TripAdvisor!

Denver, Colorado

denver-colorado-girls-getaway

– Jessica Festa, Jessie On A Journey

“For me, a great solo travel destination is easy to get around (I don’t want to pay expensive cab fares with nobody to split with), budget-friendly (a solid vacation rental infrastructure helps with that), and has lots of chances to meet other people, but is still great for wandering alone. In the USA, I absolutely love Denver for traveling solo. First of all, Denver has bus, light rail, and bike-sharing systems in place for cheap transport, and you can stay in a range of home rentals from TripAdvisor. I’ve rented both an affordable apartment in the heart of Denver’s hippest hood and a luxurious home in the suburbs—each providing an amazing experience. Denver locals are friendly, so it’s easy to go to a brewery by yourself and make friends, or join one of the city’s many meetup groups. Foodie socialites enjoy Denver’s numerous communal-table eateries like Work & Class and LowDown Brewery + Kitchen, though you can also simply wander the walkable streets solo and let your nose be your guide. And if you feel like trying something new on your solo adventure, think about taking a pole dancing class at Tease Studio, acrobatics at Gravity Aerial Arts, or learn how to cook at Stir.”

Check out all 150+ Denver rentals from TripAdvisor!

Portland, Oregon

ceramics-portland-oregon-female-solo

– Christine Amorose, C’est Christine

“Portland is a really fun place for women to visit on their own. It has a fairly compact, walkable city center, but there’s also reliable public transportation to get around. It feels safe, and locals are super welcoming and friendly. There are lots of great little cafes, farmers markets, and food trucks, which makes eating alone not awkward at all. And there are plenty of bookstores, boutiques, and museums to get lost in!”

Check out all Portland vacation rentals from TripAdvisor!

Nashville, Tennessee

downtown-nashville-music

– Kiersten Rich, The Blonde Abroad

“Nashville is the ultimate mecca for country music fans, but I’ve found that it’s more than that. It is a lively city that’s breaking out with new businesses, a dynamic food and cocktail scene, and of course, bright lights! As a solo female traveler, you’ll find tons of comfortable accommodations and great solo nightlife options, as well as cultural and musical experiences.”

Check out all Nashville rentals from TripAdvisor!

Florida: Orlando, West Palm Beach, Miami, Key West

Bradenton-Florida-March-Destinations

– Rachel Jones, Hippie In Heels

“I live in India, so I only get to visit the USA once a year—every July. I keep going back to Florida! I’ve explored Orlando (Universal, Disney) and West Palm Beach (so beautiful), and this year I’m off to Miami and Key West. People think of retirement when Florida comes to mind, but many of the state’s beaches rival nearby Caribbean islands! Florida has a family vacation vibe (except maybe Miami) so if you’re traveling solo, it’s a fantastic option in terms of safety.”

Check out all Florida rentals from TripAdvisor!

Maui, Hawaii

maui-hawaii-best-beaches-tripadvisor-photo

– Alexandra Baackes, Alex In Wanderland

“My favorite US destination to visit as a solo female traveler is Maui. It’s a safe, lushly beautiful island with adventures waiting around every corner. Diving, surfing, hiking, snorkeling, swimming…if you can dream it, you can do it under the beautiful Hawaii sun. Best of all, there’s a great number of affordable rentals so you’re not spending a fortune on lodging!”

Check out all Maui rentals from TripAdvisor!

Manchester, Tennessee

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– Kristen Sarah, Hopscotch The Globe

“I traveled to Manchester, Tennessee solo last year for the famous Bonnaroo Music Festival and it was an incredible experience! Not only is solo travel awesome, but attending a festival on your own is such a liberating experience. Not only did I attend the festival, but I got a chance to walk around the area. The people in Manchester are so incredibly kind, helpful, and full of positive energy. It’s one of those places where people say ‘hello’ when you pass them on the street. I felt very welcome and safe.”

Check out all rentals near Manchester available from TripAdvisor!

Key West, Florida

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– Audrey Bergner, That Backpacker

“My pick would be Key West! I may have been lured here by palm trees and sunshine, but there are so many reasons why I think this is a great destination for solo female travelers. For starters, Key West is a charming and walkable city that feels more like a town, and that fosters a sense of community where you feel well looked-after. You also have a nice mix of cafes for an outdoor brunch (I’d recommend Blue Heaven for their lobster eggs benedict!) and plenty of museums to visit at your own leisure (don’t miss the Hemingway Home). If you’re craving some social time, you can join a group excursion to go snorkeling, kayaking, or even night paddle-boarding. Lastly, if you have a bit of a sweet tooth like I do (and what girl doesn’t?), you’ll also enjoy indulging in Key West’s famed Key Lime Pie (Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Pie Shoppe gets my vote).”

Check out all Key West rentals from TripAdvisor!

Alexandria, Virginia

old-town-alexandria-female-solo

– Laurel Robbins, Monkeys and Mountains

“I’m a huge fan of Alexandria, Virginia. The small city is stunning with its 18th- and 19th-century architecture making you feel like you’re stepping back in time. It’s a great place to tuck into independent shops or quaint pubs and chat up friendly locals. It’s also been labeled one of the “Ten Most Walkable Cities In The Country,” according to an AAA report featured on VisitAlexandriaVA.com. The extensive walking and cycling paths along the Potomac River make it easy to be active. Also not to be missed are the George Washington’s National Memorial and nearby Mount Vernon. Located just five miles from Washington, D.C., Alexandria makes for a convenient weekend getaway or side trip when you want to slow down and shoot the breeze with locals.”

Check out all Alexandria vacation rentals from TripAdvisor!

Telluride, Colorado

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– Ashley Fleckenstein, Ashley Abroad

“I love Telluride, Colorado. It is stunningly beautiful, has amazing hiking and skiing, and has great festivals like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. If you’re a mountain and music lover, definitely check out Telluride.”

Portland, Oregon

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– Kiersten Rich, The Blonde Abroad

“Portland continues its reputation as a hip-friendly town, and I’d definitely recommend it for solo female travelers. The locals are welcoming, and I found it very easy to get around by foot or public transportation. There are a plethora of activities, mouth-watering restaurants, craft breweries, and gorgeous sights!”

Check out all Portland vacation rentals from TripAdvisor!

Sedona, Arizona

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– Brenna Holeman, This Battered Suitcase

“On my last visit to America, I took a small road trip through Arizona and ended up staying in Sedona. There’s something about the sheer awesomeness of the landscape around there: the jutting red rocks, the desert terrain, the bright blue sky. I actually prefer being solo on trips like that because you’re given the opportunity to be alone with your thoughts and the nature that surrounds you. It’s almost meditative, in a way. You get to fully appreciate the land without any distractions at all. I also found some amazing tacos nearby, so it was a pretty great road trip—you can’t go wrong with gorgeous landscapes and delicious tacos.”

Check out all Sedona vacation rentals from TripAdvisor!

Maui, Hawaii

maui-sunset-female-solo

– Brenna Holeman, This Battered Suitcase

“I used to visit Hawaii a lot as a kid, specifically the island of Maui. I had the chance to return a few years ago and it was even more beautiful than I remembered. Not only that, but it felt safe, fun, and welcoming. I took a few solo drives around the island and was blown away by both its raw beauty and its peacefulness. I loved just pulling over the side of the road to explore a little beach or take some photos. When I think of Maui, I think of feeling calm and relaxed, and of being as close to nature as you can possibly get. I can’t wait to go back.”

Check out all Maui vacation rentals from TripAdvisor!

Want more female solo travel inspiration?

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The 6 Best Destinations In America to Visit for Christmas

+1 970-453-5000

“Home for the Holidays” is a familiar refrain during December but for a growing segment of Americans and international travelers, Christmas time is a popular time to get away. For adventurers eager to ditch the local scene during the holidays, there are many great choices to venture across the USA, from urban wonders, to balmy beaches, and the great outdoors. 

01 of 06

New York City

SolStock / Getty Images Address 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, USA

Phone +1 212-588-8601

New York City lands on every best destinations list, but it is especially gorgeous during the holidays with all the lights and the snow, making it a favorite destination for many Christmas travelers.

Manhattan is famous for shopping, and the ideal place to find unique gifts as well as find everything on your own wish list. The metropolis boasts many annual traditions, such as the holiday-themed windows at New York’s famed department stores and the giant spruce Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center

Live performances abound during the holidays in NYC. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a Broadway-style show put on by the famous, high-kicking Rockettes at the even-more-famous Radio City Music Hall. Each year the New York City Ballet puts on a venerated version of the classic Nutcracker, while for the child in all of us, the man dubbed to be the “real Santa” awaits at Macy’s.

02 of 06

Chicago

Jon Hicks / Getty Images Address 50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

Phone +1 312-603-2526

The Windy City certainly has the brisk weather conditions to deliver a White Christmas—or at least a very, very cold one. However, tourists go to Chicago for Christmas for its big-city activities: View the millions of lights on the Magnificent Mile or enjoy Chicago’s German heritage at the famous Christkindlmarket a German Christmas market filled with holiday crafts, traditional wooden toys, plus food and drink.

Chicago also has a giant Christmas tree, which is set up in Millennium Park and inaugurated each year with much fanfare. To marry science with spirit, check out the Annual Christmas Around the World Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

03 of 06

Colorado

darekm101/ Getty Images

Address 1599 Ski Hill Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424, USA

Phone +1 970-453-5000

A ski holiday at Christmastime offers snowy slopes and cozy chalets for a fun and relaxing getaway. Many of the most popular places to go for skiing in the United States are in Colorado, home to several chic resort towns. Celebrate a Victorian Christmas at the Breckenridge ski resort or join the jet set in Aspen, Vail, and Steamboat Springs

For families, an urban Christmas in Denver may be the right fit. A great holiday attraction is the Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo, where the kids can ride the Holiday Carousel, and sip high tea at the Brown Palace. Lastly, Santa trackers will know that Colorado is home to NORAD, the governmental agency that tracks Santa’s gift-giving route on Christmas Eve.

04 of 06

Florida

Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Images Address 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821, USA

Phone +1 407-824-4321

Even in December, most of Florida enjoys mild temperatures making the state ideal for a white Christmas comprised of sand and not snow. In addition to beach destinations, travelers can visit Walt Disney World, which is decked out in true, over-the-top Disney style. Take the kids to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or to see Epcot’s Candlelight Processional.

For holidays with a Latin flavor, head to Christmas in Miami. In the weeks leading up to December 25th, there are boat parades and festive light displays in many cities across the state, such as the Night of Lights in St. Augustine.  

Another great reason to visit Florida is to literally visit Christmas, a little town near Orlando that has become a favorite place for people to mail out gifts with a unique postmark.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.

05 of 06

Puerto Rico

Peter Johansky / Getty Images Address Puerto Rico

Why go to Puerto Rico during Christmas? Besides the fact that it provides a nice break from cold weather, Puerto Rico is a very special place to spend the holidays as Puerto Rico has its own set of Christmas traditions, ranging from decorations and storytelling to wonderful food.

While the Christmas season in Puerto Rico can begin as early as November, Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, is Puerto Rico’s most anticipated holiday event. If you want to be part of the world’s longest holiday season, which starts in November and ends in February, Puerto Rico is where you need to go.

06 of 06

Alaska

walkadog / Flickr

Address 101 St Nicholas Dr, North Pole, AK 99705-7695, USA

Phone +1 907-488-2200

For jet-setters really committed to the idea of a cold, white Christmas, Alaska is the place for the holidays. 

There are a number of Christmas festivals and events in Alaska, including Christmas-themed ice art sculptures. Adventurous types can even try dog sledding. Winter is also the prime time for catching the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, that streak across the skies over the state. 

For families with small children, Alaska might be the next best thing to visiting the North Pole. Since 1952, thousands of children who have written to Santa with their Christmas wishes have sent their letters to the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska near Fairbanks

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Escape to the Tropics or ski your heart out in one of the Stunning January US Travel Destinations

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Best Places To Travel In JanuaryBest Places to travel in the US in JanuaryNew York Best Place To visit in January in the USAJanuary Travel Destinations in the US

The holidays are over and the winter has set in throughout much of the United States in January, but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle in, too. If you are looking for the best places to travel in the US in January, look no further. January is a great time to travel in the United States. Whether you want to hit New York City for the ball drop and some winter museum hopping, escape the cold in southern Florida, see some whales in California, or take that tropical vacation you’ve always dreamed about in Hawaii, don’t wait until those spring rates go back up, hop on a plane or hit the road and explore one of these best places to travel in the US in January.

Best Places To Travel in January in the United States of AmericaBest Places To Travel in January in the United States of AmericaNew Year's DayOahu waterfall

Best Places To Travel In January In Florida

Florida is a natural choice for an eastern US winter escape in January. Here are a few gems from the sunshine state to warm up your winter.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria IslandAnna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island, Florida may very well be the best kept secret on the Gulf of Mexico. Located about an hour south of Tampa, FL this gem has managed to maintain the Old Florida feel with no high rise hotels and quaint shops and amazing restaurants. You won’t believe the colors and beauty of this place not to mention the mild temperatures in January with highs still in the low 70s. Take a day trip to Sarasota for some shopping or visit the Mote & Marine Aquarium with the kids. Read our full review of Anna Maria Island.

Amelia Island, Florida

OMNI AMELIA ISLANDOMNI AMELIA ISLAND

Looking for mild winter temperatures, great golf, historic travel, and a secluded old south feel? Consider a January vacation in Amelia Island, Florida. You probably won’t break out the swimsuit, but you may well not need that winter coat either. Take the kids to explore Fort Clinch State Park and make time to enjoy the historic downtown. Read our full review for more Things To Do in Amelia Island, Florida.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach, FLPanama City Beach, FL

Home to 27 miles of coastline, Panama City Beach, Florida is a destination that should definitely be on your US bucket list for a January vacation. Not only is it a tropical paradise, with palm trees and sandy beaches at every corner, there are Panama City Beach activities for everyone. 

If water adventure is your thing, we highly recommend shipwreck diving or spending the day on a fishing charter. Additionally, there are two amazing state parks in this town, Camp Helen State Park and St. Andrew’s State Park that are definitely worth exploring. And if you’re looking for a more relaxing day, pick your spot on the beach and soak up the sun. 

Panama City Beach is as adventurous or relaxing as you want to make it!

Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz @GettingStamped

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale, FLFort Lauderdale, FL

Blessed with no fewer than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and annual temperatures that average 75°F, Fort Lauderdale is one of the best spots in the US for a winter break in January. Hire a car in Miami and head north near the southern tip of the Florida Panhandle, an area home to amazing sand beaches and expansive wetlands. 

It’s an important starting and stopping point for cruises, while the city itself features a beautiful oceanfront promenade, a historic riverfront, canals, shopping opportunities and great food.

Active travelers can go diving and snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean or go for runs on the many miles of beaches. A quick jaunt to the west brings you into the Everglades Wildlife Management Area. For a dose of culture, the Arts and Entertainment District is the place to go.

Matt from Go4CarRental.com

Best Places To Travel In January In California

Taking a road trip in California in January sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Here are a few of the great places to to visit on the way.

Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz, CASanta Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz, California is a small beach town in the California central coast, just an hour and a half south of San Francisco. But Santa Cruz isn’t just great for summer travel, because the weather hovers in the 60’s most of the year, there’s plenty to do in January as well! 

January is the perfect time to do some whale watching along the Monterey Bay. While you can take a whale watching tour to get up close and personal, you can often spot the whales from the beachside cliffs, which is perfect and FREE. 

If you’re in the mood to see more wildlife, you can check out the elephant seals in Ano Nuevo State Park.The breeding season starts in January, and you can see newborn baby elephant seals. You do need reservations for the guided tour, but the tour itself is pretty easy and the weather in Santa Cruz is beautiful so it’s not strenuous. Do yourself a favor and visit the Pie Ranch that’s on the other side of the highway from the park for some freshly baked pie.  It’s so worth it. 

Other things to do:

·      Go kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough to see California sea otters;

·      Go for a hike at Big Basin State Park and see the California redwoods;

·      Bike down Westcliff Drive and enjoy the views;

·      Walk along one of the many beaches and enjoy the crisp sea breeze. 

Ale at Elote Sisters

Monterey, California

Whale in Monterey Bay, CAWhale in Monterey Bay, CA

Monterey, California is great to visit at any time of year, but January is a wonderful time to see gray whales on their annual migration! And it’s not just a few whales, but 20,000 on their way to Baja California, Mexico from Alaska. You can also see Humpbacks, and Blue Whales, too. This is a fabulous time to book a whale watching tour, but you can often see the spouts from shore if you don’t fancy a boat trip. Do know it can be windy and cold on the water, so layer up!

You should also make time to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium while you’re there! Tickets are a little pricey, but well worth it. It’s HUGE and the exhibits are extremely well done. They’re a wonderful organization that supports ocean research and conservation.

You also can’t miss Cannery Row, the historic street that was once upon a time home to sardine factories, but is now lined with shops and restaurants along the beautiful waterfront! Note that Monterey can be cold, foggy, and windy at any time of year, so prepare accordingly.

Kelsey from Sights Better Seen

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, CaliforniaBig Sur, California

One of the best places to visit in January in the USA is the stunning Big Sur region of California. Temperatures remain mild throughout the winter months and crowds are significantly lower than you would see during the busy summer months. Spend a day or two exploring the sites located in and around Big Sur including Bixby Creek Bridge, McWay Waterfall and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park where there a number of trails to explore. It’s also worth taking the time to pull off the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy the numerous coastal walks while watching the waves crash into the Californian coast. If you have enough time, it’s worth driving north from Big Sur and exploring Monterey or Carmel which are both lovely towns with interesting things to do and see. 

Michael of The World Was Here First

San Luis Obispo, California

San Luis Obispo, CA- Great January Travel DestinationSan Luis Obispo, CA- Great January Travel Destination

San Luis Obispo is a sleepy college town (home to Cal Poly SLO) with perfect weather all year round, and beautiful scenery. SLO (San Luis Obispo for short) has a lovely downtown area I’d also recommend walking around in. There are lots of shops, both small and large, and great places to eat. Go to Bubblegum Alley (and add a piece if you’d like!) and see Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa nearby!

Even if you don’t actually stay in one of the rooms, stop by the Madonna Inn for a tour. The rooms are uniquely decorated. They have a PINK tennis court and the men’s bathroom has a waterfall in it. It’s definitely an interesting place to visit if you enjoy eclectic and eccentric roadside attractions. While there, enjoy a meal or dessert at the Inn restaurant and a walk around the grounds.

Kelsey from Sights Better Seen

Best Places To Travel In January In Hawaii

Are you really looking for the great American escape for January? Why not consider the trip of a lifetime to one of the fabulous island destinations in Hawaii?

Oahu, Hawaii

Best Places to travel in the US in January for a tropical escape- Oahu, HIBest Places to travel in the US in January for a tropical escape- Oahu, HI

January in Oahu is perfect. The weather isn’t too hot and the further you get from the New Year holiday, the hotel rates plummet. It’s a great place to trade shoveling snow for digging your toes in the sand. Because most families are back in school, there are fewer crowds at popular tourist spots like the Polynesian Cultural Center, Dole Plantation, and Pearl Harbor.

January is also the start of whale watching season in Hawaii and you might get lucky and see the humpback whales migrating either on a boat tour or while relaxing on the beach. You can also go on amazing Oahu waterfall hikes, kayak in rivers, learn to surf, and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian luau. It’s a great place to kick off the new year!

Marcie Cheung of Hawaii Travel With Kids

Maui, HI

Travel to Maui, HI in January Travel to Maui, HI in January

Maui is blessed with dozens of golden sand beaches, January highs around 80 degrees, and reliably sunny skies. You can surf warm waves in the morning, and snorkel with dolphins in the afternoon.  And unlike crowded Honolulu, it’s easy to find an empty stretch of sand to relax on.  Best of all, January is peak whale season, so you can even spy a humpback breaching from shore.

If you’ve had your fill of ocean activities, Maui offers a couple of amazing road trips; You can drive right to the the summit of Haleakala, a 10,000-foot dormant volcano.  And, the legendary “Road To Hana” takes you through 600 turns of tropical rainforest and waterfalls to a peaceful Hawaiian village. Read more about the best things to do in Maui here and about where to stay in Maui here.

Sam Wilbur of Worldwide Wilbur

Kauai, HI

Best tropical paradise to travel to in January Kauai, HIBest tropical paradise to travel to in January Kauai, HI

The island of Kauai, is known as the Garden Isle, meaning that it is the wildest and greenest of the Hawaiian Islands and a beautiful place to travel in the month of January.  Travelers might think that winter is the off season in Kauai, but the beautiful weather year-round has snowbirds flocking there to soak up the sun.

January is peak season in Kauai for watching humpback whales come to the tropical waters to birth their calves. It is worth traveling to Kauai in January for this reason alone! You can view these majestic creatures from the water on a boat tour with Captain Andy’s or you can watch from the shore at Kilauea Lighthouse.

The Na Pali coastline is Kauai’s stunning mountain lined beaches that can only be accessed by boat, helicopter or hiking. In winter, the waters are too rough for boat rides, but an aerial view will gift you with the most incredible views of the majestic ridges and gushing waterfalls. A helicopter tour would be one of the best activities to add to your Kauai itinerary. If you have young children with you, the private plane rides with Wings Over Kauai would be a great choice, and Jack Harter’s Door Off Helicopter Tour is best for thrill seekers.

Kauai’s green landscape is so vibrant and colorful due to its high rainfall, so staying in Poipu on a winter trip will bring you more sunshine and calmer waters for snorkeling. Poipu Beach Park is a great spot for seeing tropical fish and swimming during the winter months. A sunrise walk on Shipwreck Beach is also a perfect way to start the day in paradise.

Sierra Schmidt of Free to Travel Mama

Best Places To Travel In January For A Traditional or Adventurous Winter Vacation

If you aren’t necessarily looking to escape the winter, but rather want to enjoy some traditional US winter holidays, consider some of these iconic US travel destinations for January.

New York City, NY

Best US travel destination in January to ring in the New Year- New YorkBest US travel destination in January to ring in the New Year- New York

There’s no question that when one thinks of quintessential places to travel in January in the US, New York City come to mind. If you are dreaming of ringing in the new year in New York, don’t forget to leave time for all the other fabulous things to do in New York in January. Enjoy ice skating in Central Park, stroll around Brooklyn for fabulous views of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge or walk on the Williamsburg Bridge for a different view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the incredible buzz of New York daily life. Finally, get out of the cold with a visit to one of New York’s amazing art museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum.

Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World

Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky, MTBig Sky, MT

January is an excellent time to travel to Big Sky, Montana. The holiday crowds have mostly left and after the New Year is often a great time to find fresh snow and excellent powder – which is important if you’re planning on hitting up the excellent ski runs at Big Sky Resort. Beyond the skiing and snowboarding, the Big Sky Town Center has craft beer, delicious restaurants serving hearty fare, and cozy cafes – perfect for a hot drink or satisfying meal after a day on the slopes. Even non-skiers will enjoy cozying up in front of the fireplace during a winter stay at one of the many mountain lodges and cabins located around Big Sky.

There’s also an ice skating rink in the Town Center for some extra winter fun. Big Sky is located in the southwest part of Montana within the Rocky Mountain Range. Big Sky is about an hour’s drive north of Yellowstone National Park and an hour south of Bozeman, Montana, where you’ll find the state’s busiest airport. 

Gina of Travel Montana Now

Denver, CO

Inn restaurantMonterey

If you need to get away for a weekend getaway, visit the Mile High city. Two days in Denver this winter are all you need to step away from the stressful daily grind and return with a smile. What’s not to feel good about. The city is clean and buzzing with creativity. Plus, they use scooters to get around that people just drop off on the street. Like without a lock! Just one of the reasons to appreciate the vibe of this cool, laid back city. From the gorgeous Red Rocks Amphitheater, to endless music venues, breweries and public art there are countless reasons to spend a weekend in Denver this January. 

Blake at Style Island

Grand Canyon, AZ

New Year's DayOahu waterfall

The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is an excellent place to travel in January. Located in Arizona, this national park is home the world’s most famous red rock canyon, one of the seven natural world wonders. It is beautiful year-round and attracts visitors from around the world during all seasons, but winter at the Grand Canyon is a wonderful time to visit if you would like to avoid excessive crowds. You will find that you have most of the trails to yourself, you will not have to wait to take photos in popular spots, you be able to dine at the lovely restaurants without reservations (although they are recommended if you want the best views), and you will have no trouble finding a parking spot for your car.

Exploring the Grand Canyon in January will also allow you to avoid the excessive heat. With highs in the upper 50s (F), you will need warm layers. Warm coats, hats, gloves, and sunglasses are recommended. Snow storms are a possibility, so wear proper shoes for exploring in the snow. Keep in mind that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is closed in January, so you will need to stick to the South Rim.

Leah from An Adventure Is Calling

You Might Also Be Interested In our Other Best Places To Travel In The US Guides

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15 Best USA Trips To Take In Your Twenties

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Ready to bite into a Philly cheesesteak or cycle from brewery to brewery in Alaska? We’ve researched some of the best trips to take in your twenties in the USA, developing this stellar list of getaways each with their own special allure.

Terrific Trips For 20-Somethings

Bungalow bar crawling in Austin, dog sledding in Anchorage, shoreline speed boating in Miami, and motor scooting around Denver. If any of that appeals to you, read on for our shortlist of fantastic trips for 20-somethings. The following destinations have big personalities and plenty of flavor. Discover their unique dining and music scenes, cultural institutions, and outdoor pursuits, and you’ll certainly want to come back for more.

Along with incredible attractions and activities, these places host some superb vacation rentals, too. Booking a rental is often an affordable lodging option, and you’ll enjoy extra space, private outdoor areas, and amenities like a full kitchen and laundry. Not to mention you can stay in the heart of your destination, getting a more authentic local experience. You’ll be free to follow your own schedule, cook your own meals (more money savings!), but still be perfectly located to explore.

From Sin City to the Steel City, here’s our roundup of some of the best vacation spots for 20-somethings in America. And once you decide on a destination, you can book all your tours, activities, and attraction tickets right on TripAdvisor. Plus, our new 24-hour cancellation policy means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville-Tennessee-Summer-Southern-Cities-(4)

If you’re a music lover, then Nashville is no doubt one of the best trips to take in your twenties. Don’t leave Music City without catching a show at the Grand Ole Opry. There are so many great things to do in Nashville that it’ll be hard to narrow down—but you might consider this adult-only comedy singalong tour, a two-wheeled guided cycle route—including tips on where to eat, drink, and play—or this open-topped party bus tour. Spend some time hanging out in hip East Nashville for its arty feel, fantastic eateries and, of course, more live music.

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Anchorage, Alaska

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“We returned to this lovely cabin in the woods to see if it was as magical as it was when we visited last November. We were not disappointed!” — TripAdvisor Reviewer

Glittering glaciers, stunning parks, jaw-dropping wildlife: Anchorage is a stunning place to visit with a plethora of amazing activities for 20-something travelers. While you’re here, check out the Alaska Native Heritage Center, dine on king crab or reindeer sausage, go dog-sledding, or, if you’ve timed your trip right, catch those Northern Lights. You can get the lowdown from a local on a biking and brewery tour, complete with complimentary beer tasting and appetizers. Alternatively, have your camera ready for this Insta-worthy full-day tour of Turnagain Arm and Portage Valley, including a tram ride, cruise, and in-the-know city tips.

Find a special place to stay in Anchorage

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Charleston, South Carolina

Fork

No stranger to travel awards, Charleston is certainly worthy among the best trips to take in your twenties. Explore this impossibly pretty place on a downtown culinary tour, unlock its sordid past on a dark side walking tour, or spook yourself out on the popular Ghost and Graveyard tour. Surfers can test out the waves at Folly Beach and art enthusiasts should investigate the exhibitions at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. However you choose to spend your day, wind it up with some satisfying southern cooking.

See all Charleston rentals on TripAdvisor

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Austin, Texas

Romantic-Cities-Winter-Travel-Austin-Texas

Welcome to the live music capital of the world! There are several quirky tours to help you see the city your way—by Segway, paddleboard, bike, and more. On a hot day, take a dip in Barton Springs Pool or Jacobs Well spring. In the evening, experience the food trucks and bungalow bars of Rainey Street or the street art and music venues of East Austin.

Find a great place to stay in Austin

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Las Vegas, Nevada

The ultimate party town, Las Vegas is a firm favorite with 20-something travelers, who flock here to witness the lights of the Strip, catch a wild Vegas-style show, and take advantage of the nightlife that goes on until the sun comes up. You can save money and skip some queues with a Las Vegas Explorer Pass, or escape the bright lights and see the stunning scenery of Red Rock Canyon on a scooter car tour.

Find a sweet pad in Las Vegas

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Miami, Florida

swankiest-penthouses-miami

“This condo was perfect. It was exactly like the pictures and actually exceeded our expectations. It was close to everything and the view was amazing. The rooftop pool was breathtaking.” — TripAdvisor Reviewer

Good times abound in super-sunny Miami. You can zip along the coastline on a speedboat tour to spy on the island homes of the rich and famous, discover the city’s Cuban heritage on a Little Havana food and walking tour, or simply grab some blades and see South Beach the Miami way. At night, swerve the swanky high-end clubs and go for one of the relaxed beachside lounges with killer views. From March to September, check out the Pérez Art Museum’s Third Thursday event, with DJs, art exhibits, food and drink.

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Kauai, Hawaii

Princeville-Kauai-Best-Places-To-Stay-Hawaii

The spectacular island of Kauai is dotted with waterfalls, blanketed in rainforest, and fringed with coconut palms. What’s not to like? It’s an incredible trip in your twenties with some of America’s most stunning scenery—why not take it all in by zipline, by kayak, or by airvan? Hikers will love the trails through Koke’e State Park and the island’s arty hub of Hanapepe is well worth a visit to pick up a souvenir. Be sure to swing by the Dolphin in Hanalei for fresh seafood with your sunset views.

Find a great place to stay in Kauai

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Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson-Wyoming-Sunset

Set in the Jackson Hole Valley, this spot is one of the best vacation spots for 20-somethings who want an active getaway. Skiing in winter, exciting white-water adventures in summer, plus a great range of eco tours and guided fishing trips. Stop by the National Museum of Wildlife Art to witness its incredible collection, including works by O’Keeffe and Warhol. Or, don your cowboy boots for beers and some western dancing at the Cowboy Bar.

Find a great place to stay in Jackson

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Start with your Liberty Bell selfie, then move on to all the other wonderful things Philadelphia has to offer. Choose the atmospheric Philly By Night tour, a fine art walking tour or even a pub crawl. This place is alive with festivals and events, especially in spring and summer; you can grab a bite to eat while swinging in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park or follow Parks on Tap, a movable beer event that takes over green spaces around the city. For the ultimate taste of Philadelphia, grab a Philly cheesesteak from Geno’s Steaks.

Find a great place to stay in Philadelphia

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Denver, Colorado

denver-colorado-girls-getaway

Denver is a super-fun destination for 20-somethings, home to all sorts of happenings celebrating theater, music, food and drink. It’s also close to the Rocky Mountains for outdoor exploration of all kinds. You could choose to see the city on a motor scooter city tour, taking in sights like LoDo (Lower Downtown), the Coors Field baseball park, and the Denver Art Museum. Or you might prefer this craft beer crawl with a local expert. The River North Art District is worth a look for its free events and installations.

Find a great place to stay in Denver

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Missoula, Montana

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A good way to begin exploring this mountain city is a scenic cycle along the Riverfront Trail. You can also get to grips with the Northern Rockies on a mountain bike, play a game of disc golf, or explore the backcountry on horseback. Beer fan? You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to craft breweries, so make sure you stop to sample the local creations. And don’t leave town without snapping Missoula’s beloved vintage carousel.

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Boise, Idaho

downtown-boise-idaho

“This studio was very artistically appointed with all the little touches to make it welcoming. Hosts were especially accommodating” — TripAdvisor Reviewer

This sports-loving city is home to the Boise River Greenbelt (a lovely place to linger), the Art Deco Boise Art Museum, and an exceptional dining scene. Join the queue at Big City Coffee for delicious baked goods, and then book a table at Fork for tasty, locally sourced food and drink. You can turn your city tour into a game with this smartphone-based scavenger hunt, which takes in major landmarks and outdoor art. Cover all the top brunch spots on this Sunday tour, followed by a scenic hot-air balloon ride at sunset.

Find a great place to stay in Boise

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

best-trips-20-somethings-pittsburgh-pennsylvania

The Steel City welcomes you in with its impressive city skyline, far-spanning bridges, and leafy parks. They’re sports mad here—hockey, football, baseball—so you can catch a game whenever you visit. Then there’s the unmissable Andy Warhol Museum in the North Shore neighborhood, home to the largest Warhol collection in the world. You can dine on top-quality Asian food in Squirrel Hill, or forage in the Strip district for fresh produce to enjoy back at your rental.

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New Orleans, Louisiana

“One does not visit NOLA and not hit up Bourbon Street.” “Bourbon street is the Times Square of NOLA…a sensory overload and a smorgasbord of lasciviousness. Lots of energy and excitement.” “If you like the weird, wild and wacky this is the place for you.” — TripAdvisor Reviewers

Old-world charm, live music playing into the night, incredible cocktails, and as many po-boys, beignets, and oysters as you can eat—NOLA may very well be the best trip to take in your twenties. You can get your bearings on a scavenger adventure or a Segway experience, or go bar to bar on a drunk history tour. Drop in on the city’s excellent summer festivals and be sure to explore the hipster stretch of Magazine Street, with its coffee stops, craft brews, and vintage finds. Of course, leave yourself at least a few hours (or more) to take in famous Bourbon Street.

Find a great place to stay in New Orleans

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Greenville, South Carolina

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Greenville is another top recommendation for travel in your twenties. You’ll find all the artisan coffee and craft beer you could wish for, plus regular live music that’s free to enjoy. Also free of charge is the Greenville County Museum of Art, which houses American art from the colonial era to the present day. A wander across the suspension bridge in Falls Park on the Reedy is a must. If you want the local lowdown, try a guided tour.

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Jet Set–Approved: These Are the 11 Best Places to Travel Alone in the U.S.

Breanna Wilson
Viktoriia Leontieva/EyeEm/Getty Images

Given how many examples there are of women casting off their tired surroundings for the ready change of travelWild and Eat, Pray, Love, most notably—it may seem like you need to experience catastrophic pain before you can sightsee alone. But that’s not the case. If you simply think about the different annoyances that can go into group excursions, taking off on your own doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. You can book the place you want to stay, sleep as long as you’d like, make your schedule as packed or as leisurely as you please, and eat what you want, when you want. We asked three women with extensive globetrotting pasts—Helen Schuckers, Juliana Broste, and Breanna Wilson—to give their recommendations for the best places to travel alone in the U.S. Maybe this is the only sign you need to get away.

Helen Schuckers, Founder of Anchor and Pine Collective

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Austin, Texas

Austin offers an abundance of different activities ideal for any solo traveler looking for a mix of adventure, good eats, and a night on the town,” Helen notes. To start your trip off in an adventurous spirit, she recommends a self-guided kayak tour on Town Lake. When you get hungry, Helen says South Congress has the best food options. At night, make the most of the city’s live music. “There is a music venue that will suit your tastes and help you dance the night away with the locals,” she says.

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Kauai, Hawaii

“Kauai is one of the most peaceful places for solo travelers looking for solitude,” Helen says. “Take an overnight backpacking trip on the Nā Pali Coastline, an 11-mile stretch of rugged hiking that has some of the most beautiful sunsets and stargazing in the world.” Helen also recommends some secluded downtime at Polihale State Park, Secret Beach, and Keālia Beach when you want to relax.

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Portland, Oregon

Portland‘s accessibility to nature makes it an easy choice for outdoor enthusiasts,” Helen says. “However, Portland’s abundance of local businesses makes it a top choice for many solo wanderers looking for a good time without a lot of planning, too. Portland is a mecca of public transportation that can lead you to coffee shops, breweries, and donut shops with friendly locals always willing to have a chat.” Helen’s picks include Stumptown, Ecliptic Brewing, and the famous Voodoo Donuts.

Juliana Broste, Travel Writer, Traveling Jules

We the People Style

New York City

There are so many interesting things to see and do in New York City, you’ll almost never feel lonely. “Solo travelers will find countless organized tours to meet fellow travelers, and of course, Times Square is a famous place to put yourself in the middle of the action,” Juliana says. “But even something as simple as riding the subway can be an experience for people watching.”

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Denver

“At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is great for solo travelers, with world-class skiing and mountain excursions in its backyard,” Juliana notes. “Whether you catch a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater or you grab a bike to explore the Mile High City, there are plenty of ways to take in the atmosphere.” She recommends stopping by the different brewpubs, breweries, and taprooms in the area, and bringing your camera to explore the street art in the RiNo neighborhood.

Viktoriia Leontieva/EyeEm/Getty Images

San Francisco

San Francisco is the ultimate place for those who want to do what they want, when they want. “You can have tacos in the Mission District, dim sum in Chinatown, or pizza and pasta in Little Italy,” Juliana says. “Or you can grab a bike and pedal over the Golden Gate Bridge and treat yourself to an ice cream cone before a return via ferry. Whatever you feel, San Francisco can dish it up!”

Breanna Wilson, Travel and Adventure Writer, Forbes

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Sisters, Oregon

“Sisters, just outside of Bend, is where it’s at,” Breanna says. “Not only is downtown Sisters so quaint—I can’t even do it justice with words—but Suttle Lodge is one of my all-time favorite places to head for a few days by myself. Everyone who stays there is friendly, and since it sits right on Suttle Lake, you can head out on canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddle-boards whenever you need some adventure.” The lodge is known for musicians and bands that pop in, so you never know who might be playing a few songs while you watch the sunset on the lake.

Chris Condon/Getty Images

Scottsdale, Arizona

“Scottsdale is one of those places that continues to amaze me, no matter how many times I visit,” Breanna says. “I always discover a new adventure—like this last time, when I found myself skydiving from 17,500 feet over the Grand Canyon. Or the time before that, when I floated down Salt River in an inflatable kayak.” The locals are extremely friendly, and it’s an easy place to navigate on your own, making Scottsdale a great spot for those who are nervous to travel solo for the first time.

Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

If an outdoorsy vacation is what you’re craving, head to Jackson Hole. “With two National Parks just outside of Jackson Hole—Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park—there’s plenty to explore during the day, and places like Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (you’ll die when you see the horse saddle barstools) for adventures of a different kind at night,” Breanna says.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

For some of the most friendly locals and a buzzing city atmosphere, Pittsburgh is the place. “I might be a little biassed on this one because I’m from here, but local yinzers (what we call someone from Pittsburgh) are some of the most welcoming people in the world,” Breanna says. “Seriously, you can find yourself bonding over your love of sandwiches with French fries on them one second, and then find yourself being invited over to your new friend’s grandma’s house for homemade pierogies the next.”

Micah Marshall/EyeEm/Getty Images

Joshua Tree, California

Head to Joshua Tree when you need some quality ‘me’ time. “There’s just something about the energy there: You look out and see nothing but Joshua Trees for miles and feel this overwhelming sense of calm,” Breanna says. “Plus, La Copine is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the world, and Pappy + Harriet’s in Pioneertown is one of those venues that has never, ever disappointed.”

There’s just something about the energy there: You look out and see nothing but Joshua Trees for miles and feel this overwhelming sense of calm.

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8 Best November Vacation Destinations in the U.S. for 2020 | Tripping.com Rentals

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The eleventh month of each year brings nice fall foliage, a nice pre-holiday calm, and tons of things to give thanks for—especially when it comes to traveling. From the Big Apple to the Sunshine State and all the way to the Pacific Coast, it’s easy to rest and relax before the seasonal hoopla by escaping into the grey blue skies and cooler temperatures of late fall by attending a star-studded annual parade, adventuring into the wonderful world of Disney with the kids, or even getting away to a tropical paradise to experience a warmer weather vacation getaway.

Get a jump start to all your holiday bliss and celebrate the change in the seasons by checking out these fabulous vacation ideas across the great United States. Here are the eight best places to visit in November in the U.S.

Best Places to Visit in the US in November:

1. Santa Monica, California

Sunny SoCal may be beautiful all year-round, but the more-than-mild temperatures of November make it an even more stellar choice for those hoping for not-too-harsh sun, sand, and sea to chase away any impending winter blues. Head on over to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier or shop till you drop at Third Street Promenade. Of course, there’s also the good old beach itself, where you’ll find surfers, beach babes, locals, and tourists alike mingling festively together at Pacific Park amusement park, the outdoor gym at Muscle Beach, or on the historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel– there’s also Bergamot Station in the heart of the city, which houses several art galleries to check out.

What’s more is that fall is the best of the best time to travel to this Californian hotspot, as prices drop more than a little and the only weather risk you need to worry about are those Santa Ana winds. Take on cleaner ocean air, nice temps, and a fun-in-the-sun beach-focused lifestyle this holiday season by heading over to the West Coast.

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2. Hawaii

There are not one but a cornucopia of hotspots to check out in the Aloha State come November. First, Oahu, which has, throughout the years, been transformed by Asian-Pacific locals from a holiday outpost into a globalized, cosmopolitan destination that offers all the glory of paradise in one locale. You’ve got the allure of the Island landscape, plus the buzz of modern living mixed in a relaxed, slow-paced daily lifestyle near the shores. It is (along with Honolulu) the center of the Hawaiian universe, and will no doubt sprinkle excitement into any Thanksgiving celebration. You might even want to go all out by getting a taste of authentic, fantastic Hawaiian flavor by cooking that turkey in a traditional imu (underground oven)! Those who want to work off all that feasting can hop on into the Turkey Trot 10 Mile Run on Thanksgiving morning and then spend Black Friday enjoying the annual Waikiki Holiday Parade—instead of braving those restless shopping crowds.

For those looking for an even calmer slice of paradise without all the holiday festivities, try Waimei on Kauai’s southwestern shore, which offers calm waters and sandy beaches that are especially attractive in the early winter months. Get away from all the gloomy weather of the East Coast by trying out a Waimea vacation rental—it’ll definitely make for makes the perfect base to explore all Kauai has to offer.

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3. Colorado

Let’s just say that November in Colorado is a truly exciting time of year. The city of Denver hosts several hot annual events, including Mile High Holidays, The Starz Film Festival, and the International Wine Festival. There’s also Denver Arts Week, which is a week-long celebration of the visual and performing arts held during the same month. What’s more is that snow aficionados looking to get an early start on winter sport fun should make resort reservations come November. The earlier you claim those spots, the cheaper the prices tend to be.

Plus, Colorado is home to the world-renowned Breckinridge, a historic town at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range that’s well-known for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities, and Gold Rush history. You’ll also find tons of shops, galleries, and restaurants housed inside colorfully-painted Victorian buildings, along with four whole mountain peaks that provide 2,358 acres of enough variety to suit even the most seasoned of skiers, boarders, or even snow-shoers. It’s also important to mention that last season, the Summit County municipality saw 447 inches of snow. Lifts open up in November, so what are you waiting for?!

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4. Plymouth, Massachusetts

Celebrate Thanksgiving at the place it all began, at Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims landed in 1620 to celebrate America’s most beloved holiday. It was at this historic site that the Wampanoag chief signed a treaty with the Europeans to begin a feast that has lasted for centuries– it was here that New England was established.

It is this quintessential destination– nestled conveniently between Boston and Cape Cod– that’s known as “America’s Hometown,” offering not just a glimpse into our national history, but an array of enjoyable activities from water sports to golfing to whale watching to ghost tours. During the fall you can even take trolley or culinary tours, or witness live cranberry and pumpkin harvests. It’s a November getaway to remember for sure.

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5. New York City, New York

NYC usually tops the list for superb November getaways based on one single factor: you can catch a sneak peek at all of those terrific Macy’s Parade floats the night before on the Upper West Side before gawking over them again as they make their way through the city streets on Thanksgiving Day!

There’s also the opportunity to get some early holiday shopping done in Times Square or on Fifth Avenue and to kick up your heels with the Radio City Rockettes, who begin dancing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular come early November. The Big Apple awaits.

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6. Florida

While the most recent hurricane has hit some areas of Florida pretty hard, most people know that come wintertime, the further down south or towards the desert you go, the warmer the weather will be. This tried and true fact makes November one of the best times to visit Florida, especially for travelers wanting to engage in lots of opportunities for nature-viewing. You won’t need binoculars in the Sunshine State to spot the sight of wintering birds at Florida’s Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge — they make an annual pit stop along the major migration corridor located near Cape Canaveral. You and the entire fam can also stare at a colorful gathering of pink roseate spoonbills that hide out in various estuaries around the area come November.

Plus, there’s always the chance to brave the crowds at one of the state’s bounty of theme parks. You’ll have Minnie and Mickey, as well as the glorious gifts of Mother Nature, right at your very fingertips. Seriously, mid-November through mid-December are prime times to vacation in Florida (but check around for any hurricane impacts first).

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7. Virginia & Vermont

Don’t let the last weeks of fall pass by without getting one last glimpse of the season’s best colors by taking a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy a look at fine fall foliage in Virginia. It’s always around November time when the vibrant bloom of changing leaves begins to lose their glow, so take in a spectacle of brilliant warm autumn hues before the snow starts falling by heading out to Central or Eastern Virginia.

There’s also Mad River Valley in Vermont, another place to spot amazing hues of fall foliage within Green Mountain National Forest, which provides one of the most gorgeous November vacations. Enjoy quiet seclusion in the small towns near and around Central Vermont for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see autumn’s last breath and the birth of winter white splendor. Plus, November also happens to be primetime for skiers in Vermont and surrounding Eastern states. Enjoy a slice of wondrous heaven this Thanksgiving holiday.

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8. Phoenix, Arizona

Pay homage to the Native American heritage of the U S of A by taking in the sights and sounds of Arizona’s capital city for pure rest and relaxation before the holiday season. Phoenix anchors a sprawling, multicity metropolitan area known as the Valley of the Sun, which is highly regarded for its luxury resorts, vibrant nightclubs, designer golf courses, and long lasting sunshine and warmth—even through the winter months. Attractions include the Heard Museum and the Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park. Be sure to check them out!

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This article was written by Pamela Chan.

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