With the top of the 12 months comes a brand new world of journey potentialities. You’ll be able to spend December absolutely embracing the chilliness of the season, or discover a heat getaway if that’s extra your fashion! Good factor the USA presents alternatives for vacationers of all sorts, with interesting locations scattered all through the nation. 

Ranging from the West Coast and heading east, right here’s an inventory of the highest 29 locations to go to this December:


1. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, California

Joshua trees in nevada

Winter is for sure one of the best time to see the deserts in California. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is among the finest locations to go to within the colder months. The park’s temperatures vary on common by December from close to 40 levels Fahrenheit in a single day to close 60 by afternoon, which makes daytime mountaineering and mountaineering infinitely extra fulfilling than the insufferable summertime warmth. 

Learn Subsequent: What to Do in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

Deserts make up round 1 / 4 of the state, so there are many others as nicely. Take a look at this BMTM submit for among the finest deserts in California.

2. Dying Valley Nationwide Park, California & Nevada

death valley national park in winter

When you’ve been dying to take a look at Dying Valley (see what I did there?) however are a bit nervous about its famously scorching temperatures, think about getting in December! All all through the winter months, the realm sees a dip in its normally excessive temps, making it far more fulfilling for hikers.

Dying Valley Nationwide Park is residence to some severely out-of-this-world landscapes that you simply undoubtedly don’t wish to miss out on. From the colourful Artist’s Palette to the gorgeous Golden Canyon, there’s a lot to see and do in Dying Valley. Despite the fact that December is among the finest occasions to go to this unimaginable nationwide park, it’s not usually crowded, so you possibly can take pleasure in among the finest spots with out worrying about overwhelming crowds cramping your fashion.

3. Mendocino County, California

fort bragg glass beach

Whereas Mendocino County is known for having climate paying homage to everlasting spring, December sees chilly temperatures which are chilly sufficient to bundle up for however heat sufficient to have the ability to get outdoors and benefit from the space’s moody shoreline.

Mendocino County is the right December getaway for nature lovers and anybody who loves the comfortable vibe of the start of winter. Fort Bragg is residence to the legendary Glass Seaside, which will get its identify from the layer of colourful sea glass that washes up on its shore. In Mendocino, you possibly can take a look at Jug Deal with State Pure Reserve, Van Damme State Park, Mendocino Headlands State Park, and different gorgeous pure areas.

4. Truckee, California

Truckee within the winter is a snowy wonderland and completely stunning when the snow settles. You’ll wish to take a look at the lake views at Donner Memorial State Park, hike the Truckee River Regional Park Legacy Path, and dive within the Emerald Swimming pools swimming gap — it’ll be chilly, however so very refreshing. Lake Tahoe and Reno are solely day journeys away, and Donner Move is a historic expertise to drive by means of. There’s additionally enjoyable available with snowboarding, snowboarding, and ice skating!

When you get snowed in although and should spend time indoors, there are many neat museums, breweries, and occasional outlets to fill your coronary heart. Take a look at this superb checklist of issues to do in Truckee.

5. Solar Valley, Idaho

Idaho is one the nation’s best-kept secrets and techniques, and December is very a good time to go to the state. Solar Valley provides you the chance to see among the most picturesque winter landscapes in the USA. All through December, the close by Sawtooth Mountains get that far more magical when a brand new layer of snow decorates the surroundings. With unbelievable snowboarding alternatives, naturally occurring sizzling springs, and hospitable locals, Solar Valley is among the most perfect journeys for a comfortable December getaway.

6. Yellowstone Nationwide Park, Wyoming

Because the least populated state, Wyoming would be the perfect vacation spot to get some peace and quiet. Yellowstone Nationwide Park is gorgeous it doesn’t matter what time of 12 months, however particularly so throughout the winter. There’s a motive why the park is one in every of BMTM’s bucket checklist–worthy street journey stops!

Many roads could also be closed throughout the month, however the oen between Mammoth Scorching Springs and the northeast entrance is open all 12 months. Take a look at the park’s webpage for extra info.

7. Grand Teton Nationwide Park, Wyoming


Head 30 miles south of Yellowstone and also you’ll discover Grand Teton Nationwide Park, which might be loved simply as a lot in December. Most of it’s only reachable by cross-country ski or snowshoe throughout this time of the 12 months, however the isolation is greater than price it.

8. San Juan County, Utah

valley of the gods

Many individuals considering of December journeys might not think about Utah. Fortunate for you (and your pockets!), there’s a lot to discover within the state’s off season. The temperatures within the space dip to highs solely within the 40s Fahrenheit and lows within the 20s in December, making the climate chilly however bearable. In order for you a visit filled with exploration, San Juan County’s Valley of the Gods is BLM land, that means you possibly can camp in any of the street pulloffs (offered you permit no hint). When you resolve to hike in any of Utah’s nationwide parks, make certain you’re ready for doubtlessly icy circumstances.

9. Moab, Utah

Moab sits between two of Utah’s finest nationwide parks: Arches and Canyonlands, so this charming city surrounded by red-rock landscapes is a good decide for December adventurers. Not solely are you able to hit up widespread locations like Delicate Arch and Mesa Arch with out seeing too many crowds, however the chilly climate right here isn’t too frigid to place a damper in your journey.

Moab doesn’t get very a lot snow, however the surrounding La Sal Mountains will seemingly be utterly white this time of 12 months. The colour distinction between the white mountains and red-orange rock formations is a shocking sight that you simply solely get within the wintertime.

Discover out what else to do in Moab right here.

10. Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, Colorado

In order for you a December filled with towering mountains, Colorado is the place to go. For one, the state is thought for having probably the most “fourteeners” (mountains larger than 14,000 ft) within the nation. 

Whereas some parks shut throughout this time of the 12 months, Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park is open year-round. Although you possibly can take pleasure in your journey right here with simply snowshoeing gear, there are alternatives for sledding and snowboarding too. The colder months are additionally perfect for watching wildlife like elk, moose, and deer. Take a look at the park’s web page for extra particulars on the winter actions you are able to do right here. 

Colorado additionally makes for a enjoyable street journey if you wish to discover the state throughout your December journey. 


11. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona, is among the United States’ hubs for all the things religious, however it’s additionally a unbelievable place to benefit from the open air in December. When you’re coming from a spot that will get tremendous chilly within the winter, Sedona is a good escape to hotter temperatures with out it being too sizzling.

One other big plus of visiting Sedona in December is the laid-back environment and thinner crowds. Head out for a hike to the Seven Sacred Swimming pools or Satan’s Bridge, and also you may be capable to take pleasure in some solitude, as there gained’t be as many hikers as there are within the hotter months.

Discover out what else there’s to do in Sedona right here.

12. Bisti Badlands Wilderness, New Mexico

Wish to see some otherworldly landscapes with names like “Alien’s Throne” and “Dragon Eggs”? Head out to the Bisti Badlands Wilderness in New Mexico for all that and extra. This unimaginable slice of undisturbed nature is a must-see place in New Mexico due to its uniqueness. The Bisti Badlands are a whopping 45,000 acres, with no actual trails or paths to comply with, making it perfect for vacationers in search of a really rugged journey.

You’ll be able to go to the Bisti Badlands any time of 12 months and discover only a few folks, however December is very perfect due to the gentle climate and even fewer folks. Make sure that to carry a 4×4 car and loads of water!

13. Taos, New Mexico

After the warmth of the New Mexican local weather fades away, December brings a time of wealthy cultural actions to the state. Taos combines each the pure and conventional attracts of New Mexico, as a historic city situated a half-hour drive from mountains perfect for snowboarding. When you come round Christmas, you’ll be capable to see luminarias mild the streets and parks of the state.

Taos can also be a hub for forward-thinking structure and has a whole group of individuals with Earthships, a sustainable sort of residence with every kind of neat, environmentally pleasant options. Learn extra concerning the Taos Earthships right here.

Take a look at this submit for different issues to do in New Mexico.

14. Albuquerque, New Mexico

When you like historical past, Albuquerque is perhaps one of the best subsequent trip for you. Positively take a stroll by means of Previous City, take a look at the Albuquerque Museum, keep at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Natural Farm, go to the Petroglyph Nationwide Monument, and watch a movie on the historic KiMo Theatre.

However there’s a lot extra to do in case you’re not that into historical past, like snowshoe the Cibola Nationwide Forest, hike the Sandia Mountains, and get a view from above on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway.

15. Huge Bend Nationwide Park, Texas

Huge Bend Nationwide Park is a desert space alongside the southwest Texan border with Mexico. This park is arguably one of the best place on this checklist to stargaze — it has the least mild air pollution of some other nationwide park unit within the decrease 48 states! 

The common temperatures in Huge Bend vary from a nighttime low of 39 levels to a daytime excessive of 63 levels Fahrenheit, although sudden durations of chilly climate occur occasionally. In line with the park’s web site, the vacations are usually busy, so reservations for lodging are extremely really helpful.

16. Fredericksburg, Texas

For a vacation expertise with a German contact, take a look at Fredericksburg, residence to the biggest variety of Texas German audio system. When you come within the latter a part of December, you’ll be capable to see the city decked out in full Christmas decorations — German Christmas pyramid included!

The city can also be round 70 miles from different cities, reminiscent of San Antonio and Austin, making for a fantastic roadtrip cease.


17. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans has so a lot to supply past the Mardi Gras season. In addition to being a fantastic metropolis for solo feminine vacationers, it’s simply as filled with vitality in December as in February throughout Mardi Gras. Positively go to the Bywater District, and perhaps attempt some scrumptious vegan meals! Right here’s a fantastic itinerary for exploring New Orleans, and a useful packing checklist. As a plus, December is throughout the shoulder season, so that you’ll be capable to nonetheless discover comparatively good lodging offers.

18. Florida Keys Street Journey

florida sailing school

When you’re craving a way of freedom, the Florida Keys are the reply. You’ll be able to drive your entire Abroad Freeway and gaze out on the Atlantic Ocean the entire time, hopping from key to key. There’s loads of issues to do in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Huge Pine, and Key West, like sundown sails, snorkeling, and heading to the seashores. It’s America’s personal slice of Caribbean paradise, with a particular really feel. (When you’re touring solo, right here’s all the things it is advisable to know.)

Learn subsequent:

The place to Keep in MarathonWhere to Keep in Key LargoWhere to Keep in Key West

19. St. Augustine, Florida

In order for you a December buying and selling snowboards for surfboards, few locations match the invoice as completely as Florida. Throughout the vacation season, St. Augustine is most identified for its Nights of Lights, a free celebration throughout which town is roofed in lights! 

Usually, you possibly can take pleasure in Florida’s summer time actions throughout the winter. Whether or not you wish to discover ways to sail in Ft. Myers or discover Cocoa Seaside, the state has a ton to supply all through the top of the 12 months.

20. Savannah, Georgia

For a quaint Southern getaway, Savannah is a perfect vacation spot. Outlets promoting vacation trinkets fill the hallmark River Avenue in December, providing the festive expertise with out the extreme chilly.

As a bonus, head about an hour and a half south to Georgia’s Jekyll Island for its annual Holly Jolly Jekyll competition. All through December, the island presents actions, starting from a skating village to an array of sunshine shows.

21. Charleston, South Carolina

Just like the attraction and historic panorama of Savannah, Charleston is a calming choice for vacationers this month. The town has a gentle local weather, giving guests a slight chill of winter with out the dramatic snowfall. All through December, town hosts a celebration referred to as the Vacation Pageant of Lights, full with lights, sculptures, and Santa!

22. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville’s location allows you to expertise one of the best of the Appalachian’s winter surroundings whereas holding the conveniences of town. Relying on the climate, some elements of the Blue Ridge Mountains could also be closed.

However there are extra issues to do right here than simply day hike. Listed here are just a few of one of the best free and budget-friendly issues to do in Asheville. When you’re prepared to spend some cash, the Biltmore Property hosts an annual Christmas at Biltmore celebration that’s made town widespread throughout the vacation season.

23. Nashville, Tennessee

Despite the fact that a lot of December is Nashville‘s off-season, town doesn’t lose any of its attraction. Well-liked pastimes all through the month embrace seeing the Christmas decorations on the Gaylord Opryland Resort and attending the annual Christmas Parade. When you come on the finish of the month, you possibly can catch Music Metropolis’s New 12 months’s Eve extravaganza.

That is additionally a unbelievable finances vacation spot within the US, as there are dozens of free issues to do in Nashville.


24. Hocking Hills, Ohio

Hocking Hills is an space in southeastern Ohio with among the most dramatic topographic options within the Midwest. There are a ton of scenic preserves and parks within the space, probably the most well-known being Hocking Hills State Park. In December, you might even see snow and ice formations alongside the paths, including to the great thing about the parks’ hikes.

25. Chicago, Illinois

There’s no denying that winters in Chicago can get very chilly. Nevertheless, December doesn’t undergo the brunt of the winter freeze, which makes it a wonderful vacation spot if you wish to benefit from some low season offers. You’ll be capable to see among the metropolis’s essential vacation sights, together with mild shows on the Lincoln Park Zoo and the normal Christkindlmarket.

Chicago additionally has tons of free issues to do, so between that and the low season offers, December is the excellent time to go to Chicago on a finances. 


26. New York, New York

If Hollywood has confirmed us something, it’s that New York Metropolis is the quintessential place to spend the vacation season. And the way can it not be iconic? From ice skating within the parks to vacation buying down Fifth Avenue, NYC is a playground of festive exercise.

When you’re intimidated by its repute for being tremendous costly, think about all of those free issues to do within the Huge Apple, which may help offset among the larger costs on issues like meals and lodging.

27. Acadia Nationwide Park, Maine

Acadia Nationwide Park, a chunk of northeastern coastal land totally on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, shines in December. A few of its roads shut this month, so pay attention to the park’s working hours and seasons. Cross-country snowboarding and snowshoeing are just a few of the widespread actions this time of 12 months, together with ice fishing (although that’s primarily widespread throughout the latter a part of winter).

Off the Mainland

28. Maui, Hawai’i

road to hana

There isn’t actually a nasty time to go to Hawai’i, making it a well-liked vacation spot for these with break day throughout the vacation season. Maui is a good spot to discover, particularly solo (listed below are suggestions for learn how to expertise Maui alone), with journeys just like the Street to Hana to maintain you busy.

Take a look at our Hawai’i information for extra suggestions as to how one can spend your December right here. Unsure what to pack? We’ve bought you lined with this excellent Hawai’i packing checklist.

29. Vieques, Puerto Rico

Due to its location south of the Tropic of Most cancers, Puerto Rico is in a year-round state of summer time. As one in every of two territories within the Caribbean that US residents can enter with out a passport, Puerto Rico is an ideal choice for December vacationers desirous to brush up on their Spanish. Most individuals visiting Vieques Island come to see Mosquito Bay, one of many 5 bioluminescent bays on the planet. Come out right here on a darkish evening to expertise nature’s very personal mild present.


No matter the place within the US you’re, there is no such thing as a one approach to spend the month of December. With the vacation season in full swing, there’s sure to be a vacation spot that’ll end your 12 months off in an unforgettable method.

Is there a spot you wish to go to this December? Tell us!

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