San Diego is a year-round tourist destination, but where can locals go when they need a change of pace around the holidays? Especially if you work from home or you’re a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), what do you do for relaxation? (Kids: Try making these 5 fun crafts!)
Whether you love adventuring to snowy mountains (here are our top 10 ski/snowboard destination recommendations) or sipping fruity drinks on the beach, you don’t have to break the bank to find excitement this December. Check out some of the most underrated and affordable winter vacation spots and plan your perfect getaway.
Key West, Florida (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $375)
Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic during your stay in Key West on the southern tip of Florida. Snorkel and explore the coral reefs or work on your tan as you rest and relax on one of the many white sandy beaches; there’s no wrong way to spend your time in the “Conch Republic.” Check out the shops and restaurants along Duval Street for a unique taste of Key West’s laid-back atmosphere and enjoy the one-of-a-kind pink shrimp harvested fresh from the local waters. Just remember to save room for the island’s signature dessert, Key lime pie.
Sun Valley, Idaho (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $230)
One of the most underappreciated mountainside destinations in America, Sun Valley is the perfect place for a family trip or a romantic weekend. Grab your heavy jacket and long johns and hit the slopes on Bald and Dollar Mountains or take a sleigh ride around the resort. Once you’ve had your fill of skiing and snowboarding, you can relax in one of the many local hot springs. Enjoy unparalleled views of the stars at the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve or cheer on the home team at Sun Valley Suns hockey game. With a variety of great restaurants and shops to explore, Sun Valley combines all of the amenities of world-class slopes without the lines and hassle of larger resorts.
Chicago, Illinois (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $300)
The Windy City may seem like a tough sell during the colder months, but a wide variety of events and attractions offer respite from the winter weather. Plus you’ll enjoy the cheapest airfare of the year and a whole lot of fantastic deep dish pizza! You can catch a Chicago Bulls, Bears or Blackhawks game, or you can check out the wide variety of family fun at Winter Wonderfest including the Arctic Express Train Ride, Polar Extreme Obstacle Course, Visits with Santa and much more. Holiday light tours across Chicago make for lovely evening walks, and Michigan Avenue is a great place to stock up on holiday gifts for friends and family.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $300)
Enjoy smaller crowds with the same amazing beaches and attractions during your December trip to Myrtle Beach. With a variety of theaters hosting holiday shows, the Nights of a Thousand Candles festival at Brookgreen Gardens and many other exciting events, Myrtle Beach is much more than a summertime destination. See live music and enjoy great food and drinks along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and check out the Holiday Bazaar at the Market Common. Whether you’re bringing the whole family or treating yourself to a solo getaway, Myrtle Beach has you covered.
Dallas, Texas (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $250)
Avoid the scorching summers during your December sojourn in sunny Dallas, Texas. Enjoy the mild winter weather as you explore Klyde Warren Park, the Lone Star version of New York’s High Line Park gliding above the city’s streets. Who says you can’t learn something while you’re relaxing and having fun? Check out the many fantastic museums across the city like the Dallas Museum of Art, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science or the George W. Bush Presidential Center. In mid-December adults can sign up for the Santa Crawl, a holiday-themed quarter mile bar crawl with local food vendors, live music and dancing and much more.
Las Vegas, Nevada (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $150)
A short skip away from San Diego, there is something for everyone to love in Las Vegas. The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens becomes a winter wonderland each holiday season, while mainstay venues like the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and more host top-notch theater, live music and exciting events. You can even dress up as St. Nick and spread the holiday cheer as you join in on the Great Santa Run through the downtown area.
New Orleans, Louisiana (Round Trip Flight Estimate – $225)
Before Mardi Gras season begins, New Orleans celebrates the holiday spirit with exciting events and attractions across the city. Check out public art installations and light projections at LUNA Fete, or visit one of the many holiday parades throughout the month. Catch up on your shopping list along Magazine Street or enjoy an afternoon of ice skating at ChristmasFest. Bring the whole family and join the carolers at Jackson Square, then take a walk through City Park to admire the beautiful holiday lights.
Where will you be heading on your next trip? We’d love to hear your plans!