While some of us might be content to celebrate Christmas in a traditional, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, halls decked, O’ Christmas Tree, let-it-snow kind of way, others of us are just chomping at the bit to get out of the house and away from all that winter wonderland stuff.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy a winter holiday, so for those looking to change it up this year and find yourself a warm spot with a cool drink in your hand, we have curated a list of the top ten beach destinations for a little Christmas getaway!
What Should I Pack for My Christmas Beach Vacation?
When thinking about your packing list, it’s important to remember that sometimes less is more. Consider the activities you will be doing on vacation, and tailor your suitcase accordingly. We consider this a “bare minimum” list of clothing items that you should be taking with you.
If you are hiking, bring your hiking boots. If you’re mostly relaxing at the spa, bring your shower flip-flops. You get the drift!
- A few tank tops that can double as outdoor apparel or loungewear
- Your favorite T-shirts
- A versatile day-to-night maxi dress
- Activewear, if you’ll be active on your vacay
- Shorts, both loungey and dressy
- A pair of linen pants
- One long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt (nights can sometimes be chilly)
- Comfortable sandals
- Comfortable sneakers
- One pair of heels (if you can rock high heels! If not, we get it)
- A practical and cute sunhat
- A packable tote bag or backpack
- Socks and underwear
- Comfy bras and/or bralettes
- Your coziest jammies
- At least two bathing suits and a coverup
Oh so many people have Thailand on their travel bucket lists, and with good reason. While the flights to Thailand can be on the pricey side, once you get there, you will be amazed at the bang for your buck.
Gorgeous hotel right on the beach for the price of a Motel 6? Check. Street vendors selling the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten for the American equivalent of a couple of dollars? Check. And yes, it’s cliche, but the food alone is worth the trip!
The beaches are beautiful, the nightlife is vibrant, and believe it or not, it’s a great spot to travel with kids as well. Some of the best beach towns in Thailand include Pattaya, Ko Samui, Phuket, and Krabi.
If you don’t want to spend your entire vacation on the beach, you can also check out cultural gems like the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Wat Arun- one of the most famous temples in Thailand, or The Royal Grand Palace, which has been the official residence of Thai kings since the late 1700s.
If you visit temples and the palace in Thailand, be aware there are strict dress codes. Shoulders need to be covered, and for women, skirts must be worn and should be on the longer side.
2. The Maldives
We know you’ve seen pictures of the unbelievable overwater bungalows in the Maldives. Yes, they are fabulous! And yes, they often cost a small fortune to stay in. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, spend it, enjoy it! If not, you’re not out of options.
Many people don’t realize that there are many more affordable options when it comes to staying in the Maldives. There are resorts, which can still be pricey, or you can think outside of the box with guest houses or by using a third-party site like AirBnB or Booking.com to get amazing deals.
Why do people love the Maldives so much? Turquoise blue waters, white sand beaches, perfect weather, what more can you ask for?
Hulhumale Beach is one of the most popular destinations for beachgoers in the Maldives, but if you go the resort route, many have private beaches. If you’re fancy, you’d better look the part too!
For a romantic winter getaway in the Maldives, try out our super sexy Lucia one-piece suit in Chestnut. Pair that beauty with a white Korvo cover-up, and you’ve got the perfect lounging swimwear for your Maldives getaway.
Ah, the classic getaway destination: Hawaii! There’s nothing like it, and nowhere in the United States to experience beautiful beaches like this. If you visit in December, you can see poinsettias at their finest growing in their natural habitat and experience gorgeous weather, typically in the mid-80s during the day.
Temps can sometimes dip into the 60s at night, though, so best to bring your comfiest wide-leg pants and matching robe for when things cool off in the evenings. It’s worth noting that this is one of the busiest times to travel to Hawaii, so you’ll likely encounter some crowds.
Luckily, this state is chock full of immaculate beaches, so you’ll have no problem finding a perfect spot. The nice thing about traveling during Christmas time is that there are all kinds of special events and activities, so you and the family will have no shortage of fun things to do and places to go!
You might not have known this, but Hawaii is not just one island — it is comprised of 137! Say what?! It’s true. But still, most people traveling to Hawaii for vacation are going to “The Big Island,” O’ahu, Maui, or Kauai.
Most people have heard of it; most people know very little about it. Fiji is its own country, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji experiences summer weather during Christmas, with temperatures ranging from 75-90 degrees. The beaches in Fiji are a major draw, and you can do snorkeling, scuba diving, and boat tours to nearby islands. Can you say heaven?
The natural beauty of Fiji is absolutely unrivaled, which is why it’s also a very popular spot for a Christmas getaway. Use this to your benefit, girl!
Many resorts go out of their way to organize special Christmas events and dinners (many require advance booking, so keep this in mind). You can enjoy traditional Fijian music and dance performances at these events and indulge in a delicious Fijian fest. What’s not to love?
Fiji is so perfectly immaculate that we named one of our most popular one-piece suits after this gorgeous destination. Pack your Fiji, obvi!
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica experiences its dry season from December to April, which makes this the ideal time to visit the beaches and explore the sights. During Christmas time, you can expect warm, sunny weather with temps from the mid-70s to the mid-80s.
Costa Rica is known for its stunning coastline on Pacific and Caribbean shores. The most popular beach destinations include Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Jaco, and Puerto Viejo.
Trying one beach destination will not be enough if you're like us! Get your sunshine on and try ‘em all! Each beach has its own unique charm, and we promise once you visit, the imagery will live rent-free in your head for a long time.
People also love this destination because there is so much more to do beyond the beaches and water activities. If you have older kids (or none, or if you’re lucky enough to be taking a kid-free trip), you could go zip-lining through the rainforest.
The country is famous for its national parks, wildlife, and biodiversity, so make sure to take in some hiking. You just might encounter wildlife such as monkeys, iguanas, and colorful feathered friends.
Taking a beach trip to Seychelles in the Winter can be the trip of a lifetime! While many have heard of it, most do not know much about it or even where it is.
This is actually the smallest country in Africa. It’s an island republic in the western Indian Ocean, and it consists of 115 small islands.
Because of the setup of this country, you will definitely want to do some island hopping! This super popular activity allows you to explore many different islands and their beaches, such as Paslin, La Digue, and Silhouette Island, each offering unique stunning beaches. Don’t forget to bring a couple of swimsuits with you. We recommend the classics: our Tulum and our Laguna.
Seychelles is renowned for its pristine, Insta-worthy beaches with crystal clear blue waters, soft white sands, and lush greenery. When you’re there around Christmas, you are likely to experience perfect weather, and if you do get a rain shower or two, they are always short-lived.
Seychelles is also known for its tranquil and laid-back atmosphere: exactly what you’re going for if you’re on a beach vacay! It’s a place where you can unwind, rejuvenate, and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you.
If you are looking for something a little different, you might want to try a Christmas vacation in Australia. December is one of the most popular times for tourism because it marks the beginning of summer in this beautiful country!
Yup, you heard us right. This could be the perfect trip to break up your year. Just as winter is starting to kick your butt, you could be enjoying absolutely perfect Australian weather.
It’s important to note, though, that just like in the United States, weather can vary greatly depending on where you go. In northern areas such as Queensland and the Northern Territory, temperatures can range from the mid-80s to the mid-90s!
However, if you’re heading to the southern regions like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, it’s more likely to be in the mid-60s to mid-70s. Either way, nice weather, but definitely two different types of vacations.
Australia is famous for its outdoor activities and beautiful coastal landscapes. Expect plenty of swimming, surfing, snorkeling, sunbathing, and exploring coastal walks.
December is a particularly festive month in Australia, leading up to Christmas and New Year celebrations. You’re likely to find holiday decorations, Christmas markets, carol concerts, and all sorts of community events taking place.
For the locals, December is when students start their long summer school vacation, which means that many families are planning their vacations at this time of year too! The more popular tourist destinations may be especially busy during this time.
Overall, December in Australia offers a lively festive atmosphere with plenty of outdoor activities, gorgeous beaches, and opportunities to explore the country’s diverse landscapes and wildlife. A few of the best beaches in Australia include Whitehaven Beach in Queensland, Bondi Beach in Sydney, and Lucky Bay in Western Australia.
8. The Bahamas
Visiting the Bahamas at Christmas time offers a delightful tropical getaway with a unique holiday twist. You can expect festive decorations as the Bahamas truly embraces the Christmas spirit. Palm trees, streetlights, and buildings are all lit up with lights and ornaments, giving that festive ambiance we love.
And you guessed it: the weather is perfect. Relax on the white sand beaches, dip your toes in turquoise waters, and just soak up the sun during the day.
At night, you will find festive celebrations and events. Concerts, parades, and street parties abound! Junkanoo, a traditional Bahamian street parade with colorful costumes, music, and dance, is a highlight of the holiday season that you won’t want to miss.
Christmas in the Bahamas is a great time to indulge in delicious traditional foods. You can savor Bahamian specialties such as baked ham, roasted turkey, conch salad, peas and rice, as well as sweet treats like coconut tarts and rum cakes.
After a day in the sun and a tasty dinner, you will appreciate the relaxed island vibes of the Bahamas. Escape the hustle and bustle of your regular daily life and routine and create lasting memories in this enchanting Caribbean destination!
Bali is an Indonesian island known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality. In other words, you may not want to go home after a Bali vacation! December IS the wet season in Bali, but that shouldn’t stop you from heading there. While you may experience an occasional rain shower, they don’t usually last long, and temps remain warm and beach-worthy.
Christmas is not a traditional Balinese holiday, which might be a good thing if your vacation goal is to get away from the traditional hubbub of Christmas festivities. There is no shortage of cultural experiences, however!
Bali is well known for its Hindu culture, and you can explore various temples and witness traditional ceremonies. You may also want to try a Balinese cooking class or visit local markets to engage with the island’s culture.
Popular beach spots include Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Jimbaran. Unpredictable weather can make surfing a little tricky, but if you’re more of a swimming-sunbathing-relaxing kind of gal, you'll find plenty to enjoy on a Balinese beach!
Bali’s wellness offerings and spa retreats are known worldwide. Take advantage of the tranquil settings and indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, yoga classes, and meditation sessions. Many resorts and retreat centers offer specialized wellness packages to help you unwind and find your inner peace as you escape the pressures of the holiday season.
Okay, so we might have just saved the best for last. Do not sleep on Mexico! There are a ton of hot spots when it comes to beach days and nightlife that you won’t want to miss.
Even if you’ve been to Mexico before, you should consider going again and maybe hitting up a different location for a different experience. Here are a few of our favorite Mexico locales:
Playa del Carmen is located in the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and it’s known for its beautiful beaches, lively atmosphere, and vibrant nightlife. Aside from enjoying the stunning beaches, you can also visit nearby Mayan ruins such as Tulum, explore the underwater world via snorkeling and diving, and indulge in outrageously delicious Mexican cuisine.
We also cannot get enough of Cancun! If you think of Cancun and immediately picture MTV’s Spring Break specials from yesteryear, you’re not alone. Solidarity, sister.
However, keep an open mind and remember that this is actually one of the most popular destinations for your average beachgoer (not just drunk college kids). Relax on the beach, go diving in the Great Maya Reef, or visit nearby islands like Isla Mujeres.
A lesser-known but equally wonderful Mexican spot is Los Cabos. Located at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, Los Cabos offers a unique blend of desert landscapes, rugged cliffs, and beautiful beaches. You can relax in luxury resorts, go snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez, take a boat tour to see the iconic Arch of Cabo San Lucas or enjoy water sports like fishing and kayaking.
Moreover, Christmas in Mexico is a vibrant, festive time of year. You’ll find elaborately decorated nativity scenes in churches, public places, and homes. On Christmas Eve, known as Nochebuena, there is a special midnight Mass called La Misma del Gallo.
Fireworks are common during Mexican Christmas celebrations, and traditional Mexican music and dance play a huge role in Christmas celebrations. It is a time of joy, togetherness, and cultural traditions, and a unique chance to immerse yourself in Mexican culture and enjoy the festive Christmas spirit!
Bonus On-a-Budget Destinations
If you’ve been reading this and lamenting your strict budget, we’ve got you covered. If you live in the United States and are looking to stay closer to home, here are a couple of locations where you can enjoy warm beachy weather without blowing your budget.
On-a-Budget Destination #1: South Padre Island, Texas
Here you will find beautiful sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches stretch for miles, and the sand is soft and clean. This is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, so if jet skiing, kiteboarding, and parasailing sound like your idea of a good time, check it out!
You can’t go wrong with the nightlife scene here, either. You’ll find beach bars, live music venues, and amazing nightclubs. There’s also delicious local cuisine, and South Padre Island is known for their fresh seafood.
On-a-Budget Destination #2: St. Petersburg, Florida
Our second choice for a close-to-home budget beach getaway is in sunny Florida. The powdery white sands and clear blue waters of St. Petersburg are sure to satisfy! In addition to various water sports and activities, the St. Pete Pier is a newly renovated waterfront complex with restaurants, shops, a fishing deck, playgrounds, and a beachfront park. Perfect for families!
You’ll find an impressive arts scene with many galleries, theaters, and museums, most notably the Salvador Dali Museum and the Morean Arts Center.
If you’re a foodie, you will enjoy a diverse culinary scene with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Along the beachfront and downtown, you’ll find a range of restaurants, cafes, and bars serving all sorts of local flavors.
There is nothing better than getting away from the cold of winter and escaping to a tropical beach destination for the trip of a lifetime. Whether you’re taking a romantic trip, a family memory-making excursion, or a solo adventure, a non-traditional Christmas beach vacation may just shake it up and add some excitement to your life. Pack your favorite swimsuits and leave your worries behind!