December is a popular month for travel as people look to escape the cold winter weather. Though some may head to tropical destinations, there are plenty of warm places to visit in December right here in the USA. From sunny beaches to desert landscapes, here are some of the best warm domestic destinations to consider for your next December getaway:
Warm Places To Visit In December In USA
The American South has a mild climate in December, with average temperatures in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit. Head to these warm spots in the South for a comfortable December vacation:
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has a lively atmosphere any time of year. The average December temperature is a comfortable 63 degrees. Take in the sights of the historic French Quarter, listen to live jazz music and feast on local Creole cuisine.
Florida is known for its year-round warm weather. Popular warm-weather destinations like Miami, Key West, Naples, and more see average December temps in the 70s. Enjoy the beaches, outdoor activities, dining and nightlife. Don’t miss the Art Deco architecture in Miami.
Texas has a diverse landscape, from beaches to deserts. Places like Austin, San Antonio and South Padre Island enjoy pleasant weather in the 60s and 70s during December. Visit San Antonio to see the famous Riverwalk lined with restaurants and shops. The beaches of South Padre Island near the Mexico border are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
The Hawaiian islands experience balmy weather year round. December averages highs around 80 and lows in the 60s. Relax on the beaches of Maui or explore the volcanoes of the Big Island. The island of Kauai offers incredible scenery like Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast.
The desert regions of the American Southwest see little rainfall and mild temperatures in December, making them excellent warm weather getaways for winter.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs boasts sunny skies and highs around 70 degrees in December. Relax at one of the many posh resorts featuring pools, spas and golf courses. Check out the mid-century modern architecture or go hiking in nearby Joshua Tree National Park.
US Virgin Islands
Temperatures in the US Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas) remain in the 80s year-round. Island hop and explore the white sand beaches, go sailing or snorkeling in the turquoise waters. Don’t miss the historic architecture and nightlife scene in downtown Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas.
The Phoenix metro area offers warm weather and endless sunshine in December with averages in the upper 60s. In addition to golf and spa resorts, enjoy outdoor activities like hot air balloon rides, hiking and even swimming since many resorts have heated pools. The town of Scottsdale is known for its lively restaurant and nightlife scene.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas sees pleasant weather in December, with daily averages around 58 degrees. Beyond the world-famous casinos and entertainment, take in the holiday lights and decor along the Strip. Day trip options include hiking at Red Rock Canyon or driving to the nearby Grand Canyon.
Warm Island Destinations
If you want a truly tropical getaway in December without leaving the US, consider these warm islands:
Puerto Rico makes an excellent warm weather choice in December, with temperatures in the 80s on average. Spend time lounging on the beautiful beaches in places like San Juan, Playa Flamenco on Culebra island, or the bioluminescent bay on Vieques island. Go hiking in El Yunque rainforest or explore Old San Juan’s cobblestone streets.
What to Pack
If heading to the warm locations in the Southern US, pack layers you can add or remove as some evenings may get cool. Bring swimsuits and sun protection.
For the deserts and tropical islands, pack light clothing, swimwear, sandals, sun hats and sunscreen. Be sure to bring proper hiking shoes and outdoor gear if planning activities like hiking. Light jackets may be needed for cool desert nights.
When to Book
Due to the holidays, airfares and hotel rates are often higher in December. If possible, try to book flights and accommodations at least 2-3 months in advance for the best deals. Some tropical resorts may require longer lead times. Booking activities, tours and restaurant reservations 1-2 months out is also recommended.
Popular warm December destinations can fill up fast. However, visiting in early or mid-December before the Christmas rush can mean smaller crowds and easier booking. The weeks after Christmas into early January are also less crowded at many warm weather spots.
What is the warmest place in the continental US in December?
Some of the warmest places in the continental US in December are South Florida and south Texas, where average highs reach into the upper 70s. Miami and Key West in Florida are very popular warm spots for December travel.
What US cities have warm weather in December?
Some US cities with reliably warm weather in December are Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Charleston, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. Average December highs range from the 60s to low 80s.
What is the warmest Caribbean island in December?
Some of the warmest Caribbean islands in December are Aruba, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and the US Virgin Islands, all with average temperatures in the 80s. The ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are outside the hurricane belt as well.
Are the Hawaii islands warm in December?
Yes, Hawaii has consistently warm temperatures all year long. The Hawaiian islands see average highs around 80 degrees and nightly lows around 70 degrees during December, making it an excellent warm weather destination.
Is Puerto Rico warm in December?
Puerto Rico maintains warm tropical weather in December, with average high temperatures in the mid 80s. Lows only drop to the 70s, so pack light clothing and plenty of sun protection. The rainy season has ended by December as well.
December is a fantastic time to escape the cold and soak up some warmth. With beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, and desert landscapes, the United States offers a variety of tempting warm weather destinations to choose from. Just be sure to pack accordingly and book flights and hotels in advance to get the best deals. Wherever you choose, one of these warm American places will make for an unforgettable December getaway.