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The Best Places To Travel Alone In The USA

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AnneLise Sorensen

12/9/2018

Traveling alone isn’t just empowering – it’s also, say many, more enriching. Without the buffer of a travel companion, there’s a heightened immediacy to experiencing new lands and cultures.

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In the US, take your pick of the solo adventures: you can trek through wilderness, eat your way around the world at gourmet international restaurants, and then ease into the night over jazz – sometimes all in the same 24-hour span.

From cities to national parks to arty enclaves, here are our pick of the best places to travel alone in the USA.

Calling all solo adventurists: Boulder is the perfect spot to park your hiking boots. Sitting in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this is an outdoor town with plenty of year-round activities that you can take on solo, from skiing to cycling.

After dark, the fun continues, with a buzzing nightlife – check out the brew pubs of Pearl Street – and a diverse array of cheap international restaurants, where you can comfortably (and inexpensively) wine and dine alone.

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Key West isn’t just different from Florida – it’s different from the entire country. The southernmost point in the US, Key West is as famous for its sunny shores as for its offbeat, anything-goes, wild and playful side.

Solo travelers are enthusiastically welcome here, with all sorts of inclusive events, from open-air concerts to impromptu parades to dive beach bars where, after a few drinks, everyone knows your name.

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The San Francisco spirit can be summed up in two words: be yourself. This is a city that embraces solo travelers, with free summer concerts and festivals – dance on the grass at the lively Stern Grove Festival – to Bay Area Bike Share, which makes it easy and cheap to pedal around the city.

Plus, many of San Francisco’s restaurants have inviting bar seating for one. And, of course, there are the cable cars: hop on, hang on, and see the city with the wind in your hair.

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4. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Leave Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon to the hordes of summer family travelers. Instead, trek through America’s lesser-known pockets of wilderness like Hot Springs National Park, which is one of the smallest and oldest national parks in the US.

Make your base in the town of Hot Springs, which forms part of the park, and once you’ve hiked the trails, soak in a traditional bath at Buckstaff Baths.

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Looking up at Sedona’s famous red rocks as they glow under the setting sun is a memorable experience – and even more so when you’re alone. The area’s magnificent stillness is best enjoyed without any companion chatter.

When you’re ready to join others, there are plenty of ways to do so, such as the First Friday Art Walk (first Friday of the month), which circulates through the top galleries in town.

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Where better to travel solo than in one of the most famous singles’ cities in the country? Atlanta’s thriving nightlife includes many solo-friendly options, from trivia nights at the bars of East Atlanta to singles’ meet-and-greet events at the cocktail lounges of glitzy Buckhead. The city’s sights are also made for solo-exploring, including Piedmont Park and the High Museum of Art.

7. The college towns

Cheap, friendly, and festive: America’s student-thronged college towns – from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Lawrence, Kansas – are a gift for solo travelers. Time your visit with a game day – cheering along with thousands of face-painted fans at a college home football game is the ultimate slice of Americana. As is consuming beer, hot dogs, and more beer.

A perfect American itinerary? Travel from one coast to the other, stopping at college towns along the way – kick off the trip in leafy Cambridge, Massachusetts (Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and end in colorful Berkeley, California (University of California at Berkeley).

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Sometimes, the best solo experiences aren’t in America’s big cities, but in its small towns, like Beaufort, South Carolina (population circa 4000). This is a charming microcosm of the South – a vine-draped historic district, moody antebellum mansions, and a breezy seaside perch on Port Royal Island. Amiable and safe, Beaufort is ideal for solo meanderings, followed by a mint julep (or three) on a breezy porch.

In some cities, festivals are a special occasion. In Austin, they’re a way of life. The capital of Texas is a music town, with one of the greatest concert calendars in the country. The city’s tunes are matched by its BBQ – and its great outdoors, with a wide array of solo-friendly activities, from strolling sun-speckled parks to splashing in local swimming holes, like Barton Springs.

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If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That famous quip about New York especially applies to solo travel in the city. Yes, New York is loud and bewildering, but it’s also where you’ll likely have the most memorable solo experiences in the country, whether walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, or curling up with a book under a tree in Central Park. Enjoy roaming the great halls of the Metropolitan Museum and sipping a cocktails under the stars on a rooftop bar.

11. The hiking trails

The famous naturalist John Muir once said: “in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” And this is particularly true for solo hikers, where your only companion is nature itself, and any chatter comes from the birds. America is a boon for solo hikers, with well-maintained trails that fan out across the country.

Trek a section of the Appalachian Trail, the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, which extends from Maine to Georgia; embark on the 37-mile Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park; or, follow in the footsteps of John Muir, on the John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. For solo-hiking safety tips, check the National Park Service.

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12. The open road

When it comes to solo travel, there’s nothing quite like taking the wheel and cruising the open road while singing as loudly (and badly) as you want. The USA is the quintessential road trip nation, with vast highways and freeways crisscrossing every state.

Try the famous Route 1 that traverses the length of California – don’t miss stunning Big Sur – to the mountain-flanked Seward Highway in Alaska to Highway 16 through Texas Hill Country, where you can refuel in towns like Bandera, the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.”

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

Breanna Wilson
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Given how many examples there are of women casting off their tired surroundings for the ready change of travel—Wild 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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Best Places To Travel In December In The USA

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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.

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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

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“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.

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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.

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

Alexandria, VA

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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

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Washington, D.C.

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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.

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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!   

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Poconos Mountains, PA

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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 

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St. Louis, MO

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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.

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Omaha, NE

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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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. 

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Keystone, CO

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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.

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Jackson Hole, WY

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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

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

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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.

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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.”

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Best Places to Visit in December for a WARM Up!

Key West, Florida

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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.”

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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

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Maui, Hawaii

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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

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San Diego, CA

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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.”

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Phoenix, AZ

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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.

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Charleston, SC

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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!”

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Where are your favorite US destinations to travel in December?

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