December is the season of togetherness: spending time with your loved ones, enjoying good food and taking some time off to reflect on the passing year. But if you're you're looking to mix up the traditional holiday season of eggnog and family dinners by adding some elevated adventure, December can the perfect month to travel and get away from it all! Why not spend the holidays relaxing on a beach or hiking through a jungle? Here are our top picks for places to travel in December.
The Hawaiian islands are a year-round tropical paradise! For those looking to escape the snow-shoveling drudgery of the winter season at home, a December vacation in Hawaii might be just what you need. You can cycle along the dreamy coast and pass through charming towns and historic Hawaiian villages, kayak hidden bays at the edge of the Pacific Ocean or relax on red, white and black-sand beaches. For hiking in December, it doesn't get better than strolling through a Hawaiian jungle while snacking on wild fruits picked for you by your guide. December in Hawaii is whale-watching season, so you'll be awed by the spectacle of the over 10,000 whales that migrate to these warm waters every year. Say "Aloha" to a sunny December adventure in Hawaii.
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This tiny Central American country has been a pioneer in active vacations south of the border for decades. From its incredible biodiversity to its landscapes that range from towering volcanoes to cloud forests to peaceful white-sand beaches, everything about Costa Rica seems designed for the perfect family vacation destination. December is the height of tourist season so everything will be humming along... from zip-lines through the jungle to surfing classes on the beach. The weather in Costa Rica is perfect during December and biking sounds amazing when you've got miles of deserted jungle or beach-front tracks to choose from. For an active family vacation in December, Costa Rica is the perfect choice.
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Located on the northern tip of South America, Colombia is home to a wealth of hidden cultural and ecological treasures. From the colonial streets of Cartagena where Spanish galleons filled with gold once docked, to the indigenous communities of La Guajira, to the coffee farms and misty landscapes of the Cocora Valley... everything in Colombia will delight and stimulate. December is, of course, the holiday season which brings many opportunities to make friends with fellow international travelers and locals alike while soaking in the sunny weather and the dramatic vistas of the high Andes. Learn about the dramatic history of this country, venture on a hike through misty jungles or relax on the beach with a cold drink in hand. This is a fascinating destination just north of the equator that's perfect for a December get-away.
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Is Southeast Asia calling? Thailand is a country celebrated for everything from its opulent royal palaces to its peaceful rice fields to its stunning pristine beaches. Its glowing reputation is well-deserved; Thailand offers a dynamic travel experience like no other. It's a place where monks wave to you from the temple steps as you cycle past. And then there's the experience where you might start your day with breakfast in a luxury hotel and finish with a homemade curry dinner in a village of 100 people. It seems that almost anything is possible in Thailand! In December, the weather is absolutely perfect and everyone from locals to tourists comes out to partake in the fun that happens during celebrations like the Lop Buri Sunflower Festival and the Phitsanulok Food Festival. For a captivating December destination, Thailand might be the perfect choice.
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Tanzania may just be the African destination you've always dreamed of! And the month of December is the perfect time of year to enjoy wildlife watching, cycling and hiking among the flora and fauna in this stunning landscape. You'll visit traditional Maasai villages and learn about the history of their people, hike through stunning savannah and witness herds of zebra at dawn. With relatively dry weather, December is one of the best months to visit East Africa. There is lots of movement among the resident wildlife from the wildebeest in the southern Serengeti to the migrating birds in the Selous Game Reserve and Tarangire National Park. Want a December vacation that will open your eyes to a different part of the world? Tanzania is the place to go!
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See our expert recommendations for every month of the year: