The Christmas holidays are an exciting time of year no matter where you are! Every city has events and traditions that add to the magic of Christmas. Snowflakes and overcoats are great, but, surely you’ve thought about ditching the brutal cold in favor of warm, sunny shores? Start a new Christmas tradition and enjoy the winter holiday season in paradise! To help you plan, we’ll give you our top picks for the most exciting beach destinations in and near the U.S.
Expert tip: The Caribbean is an excellent choice for an exotic Christmas getaway. Lounge on amazing white-sand beaches in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Barbados, and get spoiled at some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean!
The Caribbean is a spectacular place to visit year-round. If you’re looking for a Christmas vacation that’s tropical and bright, here are a few beach destinations in the Caribbean that you’ll absolutely love to visit this Christmas!
Picture: Sandals South Coast sits on two miles of white-sand beach along the unspoiled southern coast of Whitehouse, Jamaica. Home to Jamaica's largest pool, this resort combines European elegance with Caribbean flavor, creating the perfect setting for an unforgettable Christmas beach vacation.
Laidback and captivating, Jamaica is one of the most popular beach vacation destinations in the Caribbean. There is so much that this island is known and loved for that it can be hard to decide how you should spend your holiday here. Climb Dunn's River Falls in the Jamaican mountains, take a leisurely stroll down the shores of white-sand beaches like the popular Seven Mile Beach, or experience a cultural tour and learn about the history of reggae in the home of the Reggae King himself, Bob Marley. Jamaica is your oyster.
Even with all that excitement year-round, Jamaica truly comes alive during the Christmas holidays! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself jammin’ to holiday tunes, as well as Caribbean rhythms, as you get fully immersed in the season. When visiting at Christmastime, Jamaica offers even more things to do like visiting the ‘Gran’ Markets’, a colorful and lively marketplace that’s set up in the main towns of Jamaica on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Secure Christmas decorations, clothing, food, toys, household products, and unique items that you won’t find at any other time of year!
Around town, you’ll see buildings, homes, street lights, and even palm trees decked out with Christmas decor, blending jolly Christmas spirit with the tropical ambiance of this remarkable island. Outside of celebrating the holidays, you can enjoy traditional Caribbean vacation activities like sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and so much more!
Expert tip: Want a Christmas vacation that’s as peaceful as can be? Try one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica where it will be easy to put your feet up and sink into true relaxation.
Picture: Sandals Royal Barbados features signature accommodations, including the magnificent Skypool Suites, Swim-up Suites, and Millionaire Suites, world-class international cuisine at seven restaurants, and a 15,000-sq.-ft. spa.
Barbados is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean. With gorgeous beaches, friendly natives, and lots of places to explore, your vacation in Barbados will be one you’ll remember for years to come.
Once a British colony, this island in the southeastern Caribbean Sea is rich in history and culture. Christmas in Barbados is very jubilant, with lights, music, and food as the main attractions. Foodies will appreciate the dozens of holiday food and drinks in Barbados. You’ll never get enough of Christmas favorites like great cake or Bajan black cake, a Caribbean version of fruitcake that features local rum. Another popular holiday dish is jug jug, a hearty casserole dish made of pigeon peas and usually served with boiled ham. If you’re interested, you are welcome to attend Christmas mass on Christmas Eve, or midnight mass on Christmas morning which is a tradition for many locals.
If you prefer a more low-key approach to the Christmas season, feel free to gallivant in the capital city of Bridgetown or nearby St. Lawrence Gap, one of the best places to stay in Barbados, where you’ll find restaurants, bars, dance clubs, resorts, and shops as far as the eye can see. You can complete your Christmas getaway in Barbados by dancing at the Oistins Fish Fry events and visiting Queen’s Park on Christmas Day to partake in the local activities.
Picture: An idyllic all-inclusive resort located on its very own peninsula, Sandals Grande St. Lucian is often described as the "closest vacation to a picture-perfect postcard.
The best time to visit Saint Lucia is between Mid-December and Mid-April. That makes this sunny-weather destination a great choice for your Christmas beach vacation. Temperatures here are usually around 86°F in December, and water temperatures are generally around 79°F. These are perfect conditions for swimming, tanning, and water sports like scuba diving and snorkeling in St. Lucia!
You’ll also find lots of beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and gorgeous greenery to enjoy in St. Lucia. Popular beaches on this island include Reduit and Pigeon Point beaches in the north with beautiful views of the shoreline and the pristine Sandy Beach in the south that seems to go on forever.
If you’re looking for a more festive Christmas in Saint Lucia, you’ll definitely want to attend the Festival of Lights held in early December. This event signals the start of the Christmas season on the island and features Christmas carols, dancing, fireworks, and a lantern competition. There are usually themed Jouvert events and other street parties happening in Saint Lucia around Christmastime as well.
Expert tip: Plan on visiting Saint Lucia? Here are some popular food and drinks to try in St. Lucia, and all-inclusive resorts in St. Lucia that will make your trip unforgettable.
Picture: Voted the "World's Most Romantic Resort" year after year, adults-only Sandals Grande Antigua is located on Antigua's best and most famous beach, Dickenson Bay.
The ultimate Christmas getaway awaits in Antigua! While Antigua is known for many things, the island’s true claim to fame is its 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. You’ll have more than enough options for an amazing beach day during your Christmas getaway. Try water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and more!
Seize the chance to get into local Christmas traditions in Antigua, which reflect the population’s African and European heritage. Watch in awe as stilt walking characters dance and rejoice in the town centers. These characters, such as ‘tall ghosts’ and ‘Jumpa-Ben’, are a colorful sight, but can be a little scary for kids! There are many other traditions that are worth experiencing while in Antigua, such as Antigua Carnival which takes place around Christmastime.
As an added bonus, you could also visit Antigua’s sister isle Barbuda which is just an hour and a half away by ferry! You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Antigua.
Good to know: Antigua is located near the islands of Montserrat and St. Kitts & Nevis. This island has a population of just under 100,000 people, and it is the largest of the Leeward Islands.
Picture: Dive into a one-of-a-kind, unbelievably exciting Beaches all-inclusive Turks & Caicos vacation for the whole family.
Simply put, Christmas in the Turks & Caicos is nothing short of magical. At Grace Bay, on the island of Providenciales, you’ll find evidence of the season all around you. Large Christmas trees will be on display, along with strings of twinkling lights. You can take part in community holiday celebrations, such as annual winter festivals, which take place the day after Christmas Day through New Year's Day, and the incredible fireworks show on New Year's Eve.
When spending Christmas in Grace Bay, you’ll be able to take in all the sights and sounds of the season while in the midst of paradise. Outside of seasonal activities, there are many amazing things to do in Turks & Caicos. Visit gorgeous beaches, stay at luxurious all-inclusive family resorts, and experience the beauty of the islands! The islands of this territory are so close together that you can even see more than one in a single day. The weather should be perfect to enjoy scuba diving in the Turks & Caicos, which can be a surreal experience. Grace Bay offers reef dive sites that are suitable for all experience levels.
Good to know: Temperatures are usually around 80°F around Christmas time in The Turks & Caicos, which means when you’re not taking in the Christmas fun, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the sea and sand!
Picture: Deep within the idyllic waters of the Exumas, adults-only Sandals Emerald Bay brings unprecedented luxury to the easy-going rhythms of the Bahamian Out Islands.
A vacation in Great Exuma in The Bahamas might just be the gift you never knew you needed. Here you’ll be able to engage in traditional Christmas celebrations, from Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to holiday concerts.
While celebrating Christmas island-style on Great Exuma, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the stunning beaches of this island, which include Coco Plum Beach, Three Sisters Beach, and many others.
Besides beaches, there are plenty more things to do in the Exumas during your Christmas beach vacation. The main settlement, George Town, lights up during the holidays, and there is a one-of-a-kind all-inclusive resort in the Exumas that brings a truly diverse selection of restaurants at an all-inclusive resort in the Exumas.
Picture: Defying every convention of traditional design, Sandals new all-inclusive resort in Grenada takes innovation beyond the realm of imagination to create an extraordinary adults-only resort unlike anything you have ever experienced.
You’ll find a Christmas vacation as serene or eventful as you want in Grenada. The authenticity and beauty of this island will steal your heart and you can never run out of things to do in Grenada. Explore Grenada during the festive season by spending time on some of the most picturesque beaches in the Caribbean, visiting lush national parks like the Grand Etang National Park, and embarking on fascinating day trips to the nearby islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
Around Christmastime, you can indulge in local Christmas food favorites like black fruit cake, macaroni pie, sorrel, and ginger beer. Vibe to some Grenadian Parang, the local traditional Christmas music, and if you enjoy it, attend the Parang festival held annually on the island of Carriacou during the Christmas holidays. If you’d prefer to stay low-key, you can hang tight at your all-inclusive resort in Grenada and enjoy the in-house Christmas activities which are always good fun.
Expert tip: Still not sure what to do in Grenada? There are lots of amazing beaches to visit on this island like Grand Anse Beach and Magazine Beach. You can also explore our list of food and drinks to try in Grenada.
Picture: Easy going isn’t just how we are. It’s who we are. And it’s the spirit that imbues every corner of Sandals Royal Bahamian, the most elegant all-inclusive resort with an exotic offshore island adventure.
Nassau is a great vacation destination year-round, but the Christmas spirit ignites the atmosphere of the Bahamian capital during the holidays! Plus, Nassau has the bonus of being easy to get to from just about anywhere in the U.S. You can enjoy an incredible Bahamian Christmas spread that might include favorites like baked ham with cherries and pineapple, macaroni, peas and rice, fruit cake, and much more, or take part in local Christmas themed activities.
You’re still free to spend time on some of the best beaches in Nassau, like Cable Beach, Love Beach, and Cabbage Beach, but it’s just not a Bahamian Christmas vacation without watching or participating in Junkanoo, a celebration similar to a carnival. This annual event involves colorful hand-crafted costumes, amazing music, street dancing, and a whole lot of excitement. Celebrations usually start early in the morning on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day (around 2 am) and go on for several hours. There’s lots to do and see in Nassau at Christmas time, so you’ll be happy with your beach getaway whether you choose to be busy or laid back.
Expert tip: Still not sure what to do in Nassau? If you stay at an all-inclusive resort in Nassau, you’ll easily be able to set up fun tours via your resort and get recommendations as well.
Picture: Sandals Royal Curaçao, discover the infinity pool, redefined….times two. An island oasis where pools meet sea. Expansive upper and lower decks overlook the Spanish Water, for seamless, awe-inspiring views.
Curaçao definitely should not be overlooked when planning a Christmas vacation. This island is part of the ABC chain of islands, along with Aruba and Bonaire. There are many beautiful beaches in Curaçao, so it is a splendid place for a beach vacation.
While spending the holidays in Curaçao, you’ll have fireworks, festivals, and overall good cheer once Christmas rolls around. Plus, even more fun is in store for New Year’s Eve. Once you arrive on this island, prepare to be mesmerized by the holiday decor intricately applied to storefronts, restaurants, and even private homes. Some people put up their decor as early as October, and this definitely adds a festive feel to the whole experience.
Expert tip: While in Curaçao for the holidays try the pan de jamón, a sweet dough roll filled with ham, olives, and raisins. This is a Curaçaoan delicacy most popular in the month of December.
Want to stick close to the US this year for Christmas, but still want to get away and enjoy the beach? Here are some of the best beach destinations in the US for a Christmas getaway!
Nothing says beach vacation louder than Laguna Beach, California. This is one of those destinations you’ll love if you want a vacation spot that has it all and isn’t too far from home. Laguna Beach offers everything you’d want out of a beach destination, from beautiful beaches, warm weather, and just about as much entertainment as you’ll need.
If you travel to Laguna Beach earlier in December, like say, the first Friday of the month, your Christmas will definitely be off to a fun start with Laguna Beach’s family-friendly block party. The annual block party includes activities like a Christmas tree lighting ceremony as well as Santa pop-ups and lots of caroling. Overall, a trip to Laguna Beach can be fun for the whole family.
It’ll be a Christmas like no other in Kauai, Hawaii. You’ll feel the holiday vibes and dive deep into your vacation with activities like sailing and hiking to breathtaking waterfalls. Kauai is a beautiful destination, and in early December, you can marvel at the Lights on Rice Parade. You can also participate in lots of chorales, parades, and other Christmas events. While enjoying the Christmas cheer, you’ll be away from the icy cold, and well-thawed in Hawaiian temperatures that tend to be in the low 80s during the month of December.
Good to know: Nothing says Christmas like poinsettias! You’ll see vibrant poinsettias growing wild in Hawaii if you visit this territory during the holidays.
Prepare for some beach fun with a visit to Key West, Florida! This destination is a known Christmas favorite for many, and once you arrive you’ll see why. If you visit Key West in December, you won’t want to miss the Lighted Boat Parade which usually begins mid-month. This event is quite the spectacle as boats decorated with various patterns of lights and other designs sail near the shore. Trolley tours on the island of Key West are also a possibility if you really want to get into the Christmas spirit. These will take you around the island to admire the Christmas lights and decorations. While in Key West, you can make a stop on Duval Street where you’ll find lots of bars, restaurants, and entertainment.
A trip to South Padre Island, Texas can be a great way to close out the year with a bang. There’s lots to do on this island, including spending time in the South Padre resort town, visiting beautiful, sandy beaches, fishing, boating, bird watching, and shopping. Around Christmas, things get a little more exciting on South Padre Island thanks to the annual Christmas Parade. It’s definitely a great way to start your holiday getaway.
Traveling to Orlando, Florida for the Christmas holidays could be just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking for a destination filled with things to do and places to see. Orlando can be a great location for families since attractions like Disney World and other festivals and events are in full swing around Christmas. Must-do holiday activities in Orlando include taking in the eye-catching Christmas light displays on beach fronts, attending Christmas tree lighting events, meeting Santa Claus, and attending the Orlando Boat Parade. From November all the way into January, Orlando is a fun place to be, and you’ll likely have no regrets about this holiday choice.
Christmas is all about enjoying happy moments with those nearest and dearest to us. What better place to do that than at a tropical beach destination? You can spend your Christmas holidays hiking the mountains in Grenada, shark diving in The Bahamas, snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados, or lounging on a white-sand beach in Antigua. Make new traditions and revel in the cultural extravagance of a new city.
Sandals all-inclusive beach resorts in the Caribbean could help make your Christmas vacation that much more magical. You only need to choose a location and you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free stay with up to 16 gourmet restaurants, up to 11 bars, water sports, land sports, and around-the-clock entertainment all included.
Now that we’ve told you about some of the most popular beach destinations in and near the US, we hope it will help guide you to the perfect holiday destination this year. Whichever destination you choose, we wish you the merriest Christmas yet!