As the year comes to an end, the winter holidays emerge to tie a festive bow over the past 12 months. For many, this season signals a break from work and school, and one of the last opportunities to use your hard-earned vacation days.
Although mostly jovial, this time of year can be a tad taxing, with all its tasks, traditions and lists — but it doesn’t have to be. Throw your worries to the ocean wind and opt for a new tradition: a stress-free holiday beach getaway at one of these five destinations.
- Closest Airport: Miami International Airport
- Average Temperature Range: 68–82 F in November, 63–78 F in December
- Best Beach for Relaxing: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Start inland at Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Tropical Park, one of the world’s largest holiday theme parks, open from early November through about the first week of January. Filled with millions of lights and fun attractions — like Surfing Santa — it’s easy to catch this coastal town’s flair for the season.
Love a good festive glow? Drive to the Miami Zoo to see full-scale light displays of your favorite animals. During Zoo Lights each weekend in December, stroll the zoo’s grounds, ride the hippo slide or enjoy the bright views from a boat on Snowman’s River. For more sparkle, head to the Miami Lantern Festival at Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition. From the end of November to mid-January, this celebration of Chinese culture boasts acrobats, scavenger hunts, opportunities to mine for emeralds and, of course, massive handcrafted lanterns.