Christmas is always the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you want to go on a festive holiday trip with your family. Whether you’re looking for new and exciting ways to celebrate the holiday or are looking for a good excuse for a family holiday vacation, there are many options for planning a magical and safe Christmas getaway for your family. The best news is you don’t have to go outside of the United States!
There are many places to travel to in the US, so you can spend your December vacations locally. Like the past few years, you’ll need to follow safe travel guidelines — and fortunately, plenty of destinations offer holiday events that focus on outdoor activities like sleigh rides, drive-thru light displays and more.
So, if you’re looking for Christmas getaway ideas in the US, we’ve rounded up some of the places to travel in the US during the holidays.
What better way to celebrate Christmas than with truckloads of chocolate? OK, maybe not truckloads but tons of chocolate!
If your family loves chocolates, you’ll love spending Christmas at Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane. You and the kids can visit Santa and his reindeer, enjoy holiday rides and eat plenty of chocolate. If you want to maximize your trip, come hungry! From Milton’s Ice Cream Parlor to The Chocolatier, there are plenty of seasonal eats in the park. There are funnel cakes, s’mores and crab fries!
Also, don’t forget to get the souvenir hot chocolate cup! If you love hot chocolate, this cup is for you!
Charleston, South Carolina
If you’re looking for an immersive Christmas experience but don’t like shivering in the cold, go to Charleston, SC! It’s a great destination spot any time of the year, plus it’s magical and it stays warm around the holidays.
One of the most popular holiday attractions in Charleston is the annual Holiday Festival of Lights, an event that features 750 light displays and more than two million twinkling lights. You can enjoy the lights from the safety of your car. Apart from the driving tour, you can also park your car to explore other attractions, dine out and shop. Other activities to try out include:
- Festival train rides
- Enchanted Walking Trail
- Marshmallow roasting
- Santa’s Sweet Shoppe
You can drop by the Winter Wonderland, which houses the largest holiday sand sculpture. Visit the festival shops for personalized items, ornaments, stocking stuffers and decorations.
From its abundance of light shows to the Christkindltmarket, Chicago just knows how to celebrate the Christmas spirit. On top of that, the freezing temperatures add to the cozy Christmas feel (that encourages you to wear fluffy coats and earmuffs).
One of the best things to do in Chicago for Christmas is skating. On winter days, take the family to the scenic rink at Millennium Park. This skating rink offers a beautiful view of the Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean.” While skating, you can also enjoy the view of the scenic skyline, which is often dusted in snow.
You can also enjoy some Christmas shopping in Chicago’s many shopping districts. Drop by the Magnificent Mile, which is one of the world’s best shopping destinations. You’ll find your favorite food chains, luxury showrooms and famous department stores — plus more twinkling lights!
New York City, New York
There’s no shortage of movies that celebrate Christmas in New York. That’s because Christmas is always more magical in the Big Apple.
We’ve seen it in films and on Instagram, so it makes sense to start your holidays in NYC by visiting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza. If you’re looking for the best place to stay (and you have more room in your budget), why not stay at The Plaza? It is approved by many, including “Home Alone’s” Kevin McCallister.
Also, New York’s big department stores wow locals and visitors with their astounding displays. If you walk from Central Park on Fifth Avenue, you’ll immediately get into the holiday cheer. The entire city is adorned with bright lights and wreaths. If you keep walking downtown, you’ll see the most beautiful window displays in the city.
If you need ideas, visit the window displays of Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Henri Bendel and Tiffany & Co.
Cap your NYC Christmas by taking a walk in the snow. There’s nothing more New York about your Christmas than walking through Central Park’s snowy landscape. This is pretty much everyone’s favorite place, so your family will love it, too!
Who says you have to go out of the country to enjoy the Christmas season? Enjoy safe holidays with your family in the US instead so that you’ll come home with good memories (without the stress of international travel!).