Winter’s coming up, and you know what that means: winter break! Let’s say you want to do something special while you have time off from work and school. Where should you go? I’ve got some great ideas for your December holiday!
If you come from somewhere snowy, you might enjoy a visit to the tropics. I highly recommend the coastal peninsula of Cancún. Where else can you enjoy balmy weather while ALSO visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World?
The world-famous Chichen Itza pyramid is worth the trip all on its own. This walking tour takes you around the temple, giving you all the details about Mayan religion, architecture, cosmology. I love the ancient observatory, which shows how Mayans viewed the stars. You can also visit Ek Balam, a hidden gem that features just as much fascinating history with way less traffic! See the best-preserved tomb of any Mayan king and climb to the top of the stone pyramid to get a bird’s eye view of the city. We recommend buying the Mexico Ruins bundle to explore Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Coba & Tulum!
Another excellent vacation destination for anyone missing warmer weather is the island of Maui. The Hana Highway is the most comprehensive look at everything Hawaii has to offer. The three-hour drive takes you past botanical gardens, beaches, waterfalls, and even volcanoes.
The heat keeps plants thriving all year long. Swimming and surfing are never out of season. Plus, the island has more daylight hours than any other U.S. state. Maui is a great trip idea if you’re feeling worn down by winter. There’s nothing more rejuvenating than feeling the sun on your face!
The Florida Keys
Traveling south for the winter to avoid the cold? You’re in good company. Many famous people have made their seasonal home in the Florida Keys, including playwright Tennessee Williams, novelist Ernest Hemingway, and former president of the United States Harry S. Truman. Truman’s doctor told him to spend his time in warm climates, so he resided in Key West for half the year. He spent so much time there that his vacation home became known as the Little White House.
On your Florida Keys driving tour, you’ll depart from the mainland and pass by each of these historic homes before reaching the southernmost point of the continental U.S… all in less than two hours!
Great Smoky Mountains
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that northern climates are off the table! National parks stay open all year round to travelers. The Great Smoky Mountains are no exception.
Why visit the Smokies in winter? For one thing, it’s beautiful! The evergreen mountaintops are dusted with snow between October and March. White frost makes the whole park look pristine. Trails that are popular and overcrowded in summer are peaceful and quiet in winter. Check out the icicles at Alum Cave and the frozen formations of water at Rainbow Falls.
The neighboring city Gatlinburg also has some options for skiing and snow tubing! Talk about making the most of the season!
The Rocky Mountains
Speaking of national parks…
Rocky Mountain National Park is hugely popular, but winter is your chance to get the park to yourself. The number of visitors in December, January, and February combined is still only half the number of visitors in July.
The weather gets chilly in the high altitudes, but you’ll be safe, warm, and cozy in your vehicle since this is a driving tour. The crystalline lakes, glistening mountaintops, and picture-perfect snowscape make the trip worth the cold.
While you’re here, there’s nowhere like the Rockies for snow sports! You can find some of the country’s best ski slopes and snowshoeing trails.
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon in December is another unique sight. Most of the time, the desert climate receives no precipitation, but you can expect to see regular snowfall in winter. The white frost gives the classic orange rocks a whole new look. The scenic drive is much less congested in winter, as are the walking trails. You’ll never need to worry about crowds if you visit in December!
Another day, another desert! In summer, Joshua Tree National Park‘s average temperature is 99 degrees Fahrenheit! In winter, the climate drops to a much more manageable 50-60 degrees. The winter weather won’t deter Joshua Tree’s native plant life. The park seldom gets snow, so the cholla cacti, false woolly daisies, and the famous Joshua trees will still be on full display.
San Francisco is another beautiful winter trip. The weather in December is pretty chilly but worth it when you see the Christmas magic. The whole city is decked out for the holiday season with festive lights, and the famous red-and-green trolleys bear giant bows and wreaths. Your driving tour will take you around all the city’s most famous sights, from Postcard Row to Telegraph Hill to City Hall. You can also take a California bundle to explore the entire state on your own.
While you’re on the west coast, why not pay a visit to Lake Tahoe? It’s often called “the most beautiful lake in America.” A winter makeover only compounds the beauty. The bright blue water stands out against the white Sierra Nevada mountains.
The park features 11 miles of skiing and snowshoeing trails. The lake itself gets 125 inches of snow a year, while the mountains get up to 500 inches! The skiing season can sometimes last well into May. When California hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960, many of the events were hosted right here! Sixty years later, they’re still just as perfect for alpine sports.
Civil War buffs won’t be able to resist a driving tour to Gettysburg, site of the most famous–– and bloodiest-– battle. The eerie empty battlefields frozen over with snow lend solemnity to the soldiers’ stories. The dead of winter would also be an excellent time for a Gettysburg ghost tour. These tours are driving tours, which means that you can tour the entire battlefield and listen to every story without getting frostbite.
And Many More!
Check out Action Tour Guide’s website for all your travel needs. From Aruba to Acadia, there are tons of options to choose from. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect December vacation for you! Happy holidays!