By BLAIR WEISINGER
Planning a vacation in December can feel overwhelming alongside holiday shopping and year-end festivities. But you’ll thank yourself later if you squeeze in time for a trip. Whether you’re seeking a warm weather hideaway or want to experience the holiday spirit in a snow-covered town, you’ll find it in these three spots.
- Hawaii, The Big Island- This tropical paradise is the perfect place to escape winter’s onset. Weary travelers can thaw on black sand beaches, while more adventurous types can hike in Akaka Falls State Park or catch a glimpse of the 4,000-foot-tall Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You’ll likely contend with other snowbirds, but you’ll find that hotel prices on the Big Island are consistently lower than those on neighboring isles.
- Quebec City- It’s easy to fall in love with this Canadian destination, especially when it’s covered in fresh snow. You’ll be enchanted by Old Québec’s sights and sounds as it transforms into a Christmas village. Or, you can shop for gifts (or for yourself) in Quartier Petit-Champlain. Plus, with its 17th- and 18th-century architecture, Quebec City allows you to soak up European culture without dropping the cash for a flight across the sea.
- Breckenridge- Ski season is in full swing by December, and Breckenridge is one of the best places in the world to hit the slopes. While you can count on crowds and higher hotel rates, the 2,908 acres of skiable terrain along the Tenmile Range means there’s plenty of room to spread out. Away from the fresh powder, this Colorado town offers a charming Main Street with locally owned boutiques and restaurants. Just remember to reserve a room a few months in advance before resorts are all booked up.