These Travel Ideas Guarantee You’ll End 2020 on a High Note 2020 is almost over. Go out with a bang. Editor’s note: We know COVID-19 is impacting travel plans right now. For a little inspiration, we'll continue to share stories from our favorite places around the world. Be sure to check travel restrictions and protocols before you head out.
The best part of December 2020 will no doubt take place at 11:59pm on the 31st, when all of humanity shotguns a bottle of champagne and welcomes 2021 with something resembling hope.
But until then, we’ve got some clutch ideas for holiday getaways so you can leave 2020 on a high note. Ski slopes are open, holiday lights are twinkling, and road trips are still up for the taking. Bust out the Gore-Tex and carpe the diem… 2020’s on its way out.
Welcome, this is a ski lodge. | Yiwenz/Shutterstock Chill out in Vermont
For a place that’s likely covered with a thick layer of powder as you’re reading this, Vermont in the winter sure gives off a lot of cozy vibes: think glittering icicles on historic covered bridges and mom-and-pop general stores stocked with
some of the best beer in America
. We’re eyeballing friendly
Burlington as an ideal place to visit this winter
, where you can
, hit the slopes, and fall in love with Vermont. Even if you just hole up in a log cabin and
smoke a ton of (legal!) weed
next to a wood-burning stove, it sounds pretty magical. Just make sure you're following
Or warm way up in Arizona Arizona is straight-up gorgeous
, and yet somehow manages to be overlooked among its Southwestern brethren. No more! Winter is a fantastic time to visit Arizona, whether you want to explore one of America’s most
under-appreciated ski scenes outside Flagstaff
or take advantage of
in its vast wildernesses, which includes the
and the criminally under-visited
Saguaro National Park
. Stop off in lively
and you might find yourself considering a move. They legalized cannabis last month... just sayin.’
Find yourself in the desert
Speaking of deserts, those expanses are looking extra appealing right now. Maybe it’s time to
load up the RV
jaunt through West Texas
to see the
to gawk at
. See art both prehistoric and wildly hallucinogenic in
. And while California is on lockdown right now, the wide-open outdoor gallery that is the
Greater Palm Springs
area will still be there when it lifts—or just head to the
seemingly apocalyptic lake
full of stunning playground of abstract art nearby.
Get a whole national park to yourself
While some national parks
close up for the winter
, others are
at their absolute best
when the season changes. And it’s not just cold places like Mount Rainier, Bryce, and Denali, either: You’ll find crowds way, way down at
, too. Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, December’s also a prime time to go chasing waterfalls… a cliche, yes, but way easier to achieve
when they’re totally frozen
Leavenworth, Washington is about as close as you're getting to the Alps this winter. | Photo courtesy of Icicle TV Get holly and jolly across the US
The holidays are going to be a slog this year, even while the pandemic gives you a solid excuse not to listen to your uncle bloviate about election fraud over dinner. But there’s still cheer to be had.
, for one, will still be as magical a place as any, with the outdoors serving as a safe and festive release for anyone bah humbugging. St. Petersburg, Florida is leaning into the North Pole-with-palm-trees vibe on its
new pier and beyond
, offering up
multiple holiday markets
, and more. Or head to the festive
Bavarian mountain town of Leavenworth, Washington
any number of small towns
that go full Clark Griswold with holiday displays.
Go rocketing down a mountain
First, the bad news: You’re likely not going to be hitting
this year, unless you’re a Kardashian celebrating a birthday. But the ski resorts at places like
other mountainous regions
are up and running. Sure, the
apres ski scenes will be a little different
, but if your biggest problem right now is adjusting your expectations for happy hour at a ski resort, well, your 2020 is going pretty ok.
The best ski getaways near New York, Boston, LA, Phoenix, Vegas, Denver, Seattle, Philly, DC, and Chicago are callling. Slow way down on a Georgia island
While NYC's Rockefeller Center has become a holiday symbol, the place where the actual Rockefellers spent many a winter is very likely off your radar: bite-sized
. Located just north of the Florida border, this Georgian barrier island is a laid-back antidote to city-induced winter doldrums. Spend your days wandering the forests and driftwood-covered beaches, or navigate the state park
The island goes all in for the holidays, but honestly, if you wanted to just post pat the old Victorian
Jekyll Island Club Resort
and inhale a massive Low Country Boil at waterfront restaurant
, you’d still be doing things exactly right.
Go outside and look up
Unless you’re living in
—you’re unlikely to see the total eclipse of the sun. But the
skies this month
are filled with cosmic action. The Geminid and Ursid meteor shower will peak. Saturn and Jupiter are having close encounters. To experience them, you don’t need to head to a
certified Dark Sky site
will suffice). But it wouldn’t hurt. Try Utah:
There are 16 of them
Actually, maybe just stay home and pretend you’re somewhere else
OK, real talk: Many of us probably aren’t going far, if anywhere, as the pandemic continues to spike. Fill your time with a little virtual travel:
Pretend you’re on a beautiful beach
Take a digital tour
on one of
Japan’s iconic bullet trains
or pretend you’re in a
proper Dublin pub
. This downtime can be spent dreaming big… and doing your travel homework so that when the world is open again, you’re ready to trot it with renewed vigor.
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