Christmas comes around every year urging us all to make it count. What will it be this year? A traditional holiday celebration, or perhaps one that’s completely out of the box? How about a tropical beach vacation? If you have your heart set on the latter, this article will share some of the best places you can go for a Christmas beach vacation. We’ve even included some spots within the USA that might be just what you need as part of your Christmas celebrations this year.
The best Christmases are those that bring joy and perhaps a little sunshine into your life. Here are some amazing places in the Caribbean where you can find both:
Grace Bay Beach has a beautiful ring to it and seeing it for the first time might just take your breath away. So mesmerizing is this beach, which is considered a hallmark of the Turks & Caicos, that it is absolutely safe to say there isn’t a better place in these islands to spend a Christmas vacation.
You might wonder, what exactly makes Grace Bay Beach so special around the holidays? The answer to that question begins with the accessibility of this area and extends to things like the abundance of restaurants, resorts, and other conveniences. When Christmas comes around in Grace Bay, you can expect to find the beach well decorated with lights and other Christmas ornaments. Resorts too are decorated, including some of the luxury all-inclusive beach resorts in Turks & Caicos.
All in all, you’ll be able to have a relaxing and fun beach vacation in the Turks & Caicos Islands that includes experiencing events like the Maskanoo Parade (a masquerade festival) in Providenciales on Boxing Day.
You simply can’t go wrong with Jamaica for a beach vacation. This island is a textbook Caribbean vacation destination that has soared in popularity over the years. There’s always something interesting to do in Jamaica, from lounging on amazing beaches and bathing in Jamaica’s waterfalls, to river rafting and enjoying gourmet cuisine at all-inclusive resorts in Negril.
Negril, a town in western Jamaica, calls out to visitors looking for adventure intertwined with luxury. In this part of Jamaica, one of the popular attractions is Seven Mile Beach. This extensive strand will be a great backdrop for your holiday getaway, and you can view incredible sunsets from there as well.
Overall, ‘no worries and no problems’ will be your mantra while in the laid-back town of Negril, and you’ll be able to get into some carol singing and other festive celebrations too.
Expert tip: Rick’s Cafe, Norma’s on the Beach, Cosmo’s Seafood Restaurant, and Margaritaville are some of the eateries you might want to visit while in Negril.
Ocho Rios is located in the Parish of St. Ann in Jamaica. Like the name (which translates to Eight Rivers) suggests, there’s a river at nearly every corner of this town. Some of these will certainly hold adventures that are worth experiencing during your Christmas vacation.
A former fishing village, Ocho Rios caters more to visitors these days with amazing natural attractions, all-inclusive resorts, and gorgeous beaches. Speaking of beaches … resorts like Beaches Ocho Rios will ensure you spend as much time as possible at the seaside and enjoying the multiple pools and swim-up bars on the property as well. Plus, if you’re traveling with kids, they can get into Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street® which include parades, parties, and all things festive!
Insider tip: Carolling in the Caribbean is a Christmas experience like no other, especially at Beaches Ocho Rios where the Beaches choir performs reggae-infused carols you’ll learn in no time!
‘Tis the season to fly out to Antigua for a tropical Christmas getaway. If you’ve got this Caribbean island in mind, a stay around Dickenson Bay can be the best way to have a spirited island experience. Dickenson Bay is a popular beach in Antigua, an island with a whopping 365 beaches.
When you’re not busy trying to make your way to as many beaches as possible during your Antigua visit, you’ll have plenty of time to admire the Christmas decorations that start popping up in November every year. Decor staples around Christmastime in Antigua are paper chains in red, white, and green — you may spot these on the doorways of local homes during your trip. You might also see people dressed as Scottish Highlander soldiers, which is an island tradition. If you’re brave enough, join them for an entertaining dance!
Insider tip: You’ll have plenty of options for all-inclusive resorts in Antigua that can take your Christmas vacation to the next level!
Breezy and beautiful with greenery everywhere you look, Saint Lucia appeals to nature lovers and anyone looking to have a quiet Christmas near the sea. Spend Christmas in this island paradise. You’ll have a truly varied experience that can revolve around in-house Christmas celebrations at your resort, and festivities in various towns and villages.
Rodney Bay, in the north of Saint Lucia, tends to be the hub of Christmas activities, and you’ll find easy access to the island’s best beaches from this location as well. While in Saint Lucia, keep an eye and an ear out for local traditions like bamboo bursting that happen around Christmastime. This is a holiday pastime for some locals, typically young boys, and it involves stuffing the hollow side of a bamboo cane with kerosene and rags and then lighting a wick for a loud bang. This as well as sorrel sipping, enjoying the best of island cuisine, and attending various events including the Festival of Lights adds a sense of vibrancy to the simple celebrations of this island.
Insider tip: Have a fancy Christmas dinner at one of the luxury all-inclusive resorts in Saint Lucia followed by an evening filled with entertainment!
Having a great Christmas in the islands has a lot to do with where you decide to go and the type of resort you decide to stay in. On that note, one destination where you’re bound to have a memorable Christmas vacation is St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados.
A popular neighborhood in Barbados, St. Lawrence Gap is home to a beautiful beach with markedly shallow waters at low tide. On this alluring strand, you can frolic, swim, tan, and just feel your happiest as you make the most of the warm temperatures and easygoing atmosphere of this island. Enjoy beach barbecues, go diving, and join in the festive celebrations on and around the beach on Christmas Day. For Christmas dinner, try some popular Barbados food and drinks like Jug Jug (a local favorite comparable to the Scottish dish haggis), black cake (rum-filled fruit cake), and sorrel. As an alternative, you can stay at an all-inclusive resort in Barbados and dine at one of the restaurants on the property for the holidays. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be able to do so against the backdrop of paradise.
Expert tip: December is considered peak season for many destinations in the Caribbean. If you’re planning to travel during this time, confirm your bookings (resort accommodation and flights, etc.) at least six months in advance to ensure availability.
Montego Bay is a popular town with an almost irresistible pull. In this beautiful part of Jamaica, you’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful Christmas vacation with lots of options for things to do, including free concerts on the beach at venues like Dump Up Beach and Events Park. When you’re not out looking for something festive to do, you can soak in the holiday cheer at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay and make plans to explore the rest of the island.
When it comes to beaches, Montego Bay has some of the finest shores in Jamaica including the Sandals Montego Bay Beach. You’ll definitely want to spend some time swimming, diving, or even trying new water sports during your vacation. While in Jamaica for Christmas, plan to drive around or arrange a tour where you can scope some of the best-decorated local homes.
Adventure and luxury collide in The Bahamas! You can have a Christmas vacation while island-hopping in The Bahamas. This tropical archipelago is made up of several different islands and cays, and in this territory, you can experience an authentic Caribbean Christmas.
Exuma is one of the best islands in The Bahamas for a vacation. Around Christmastime, you’ll be able to see Bahamian Christmas traditions come alive in Exuma, including Junkanoo. Junkanoo festivities in Exuma are on a smaller scale as compared to what happens on the island of New Providence, but the event is just as fun. As you enjoy some of the most amazing beaches in the world, tasty Caribbean cookouts, and some of the best all-inclusive resorts in The Bahamas, you’ll probably wonder why you hadn’t thought of going to Exuma sooner.
The Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao is one of those destinations where you’re bound to have a Christmas vacation that will always stay close to your heart. This island stands out for many reasons including its friendly people, great shopping, and amazing beaches like Jan Thiel, which plays host to a Christmas fair on the beach during the holidays. This island fair usually happens during the third week of December and it involves live music, food and drinks, and the perfect seaside ambiance.
Another Christmasy affair happens in Pietermaai, one of the four districts of Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. This event is a vibrant street party where the drinks never stop flowing. Food and various craft items are usually on offer as well. These events will be the beginning of what is sure to be an eventful Christmas vacation on the charming island of Curaçao.
Insider tip: The all-inclusive resorts in Curaçao are among the Caribbean’s best, including Sandals which offers a world of romance for couples in love.
A vacation in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines for Christmas might be just what the doctor ordered this year. On this island, you’ll be able to trade snow and cooler temperatures for sun, sea, and sand and relax in a laid-back, tropical environment.
As December is one of the hottest months in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, you’re likely to want to spend lots of time in the water. What better way to do this than with a vacation at one of Saint Vincent’s luxury all-inclusive resorts? All the details will be carefully arranged for your vacation before you get there, and once you arrive, all you’ll really need to think about is enjoying the festive ambiance of the island and living in the moment.
Insider tip: Find out about the new all-inclusive beach resort in Saint Vincent that everyone is talking about and see whether a vacation on this island fits into your Christmas calendar!
Life in Grenada might seem a little slower than what you’re used to, and for some, this is exactly why it works for a Christmas getaway. This island is famous for its spice production, so much so that it is often referred to as Spice Island. While in Grenada, you’ll have a chance to embark on spice and culinary tours that can start your holiday vacation on just the right note.
Some other things you might like to do while on this island include exploring the Underwater Sculpture Park, visiting some of the beautiful beaches like Pink Gin Beach and Grande Anse Beach, and even staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Grenada. Before you leave the Spice Isle, try the local black cake, punch-a-creme (spiced eggnog), and if time permits, visit the festive Christmas Park.
The Bahamas comprises several different islands with New Providence being home to the capital of Nassau. Nassau is a lively destination year-round but even more so at Christmas time. Things come alive in this Caribbean territory during the holiday season and typically this means you can expect lots of activities happening around town.
While in Nassau for Christmas, you can participate in events including the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pompey Square. This event is hosted by the Ministry of Tourism. If you stick around for Boxing Day in The Bahamas, you’ll be able to take in the spectacle that is the Junkanoo Festival. Junkanoo is held annually on December 26 and includes a parade and lots of colorful costumes.
Insider tip: Want to be at the heart of it all during your Christmas vacation in The Bahamas? You’ll have easy access to all the popular attractions and events from Sandals Royal Bahamian!
Traveling for Christmas vacation doesn’t always have to mean leaving the country altogether. There are quite a few beach destinations within the USA that can be perfect places to spend the holidays. Here are some of our top picks:
Christmas vacation in the Key West is something worth experiencing at least once. Things really light up in this part of Florida during the holidays and a big part of the celebrations is the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
While in Key West, you’ll also be able to ride the Christmas Conch Train through the town to really get immersed in the festivities. Let the ‘conch song’ lead the way to places like DJs Clam Shack for a hearty Christmas meal. Explore the city and scope the glittery, decorated houses and boats, take photos in Santa’s sleigh, and pose next to miniature displays like the gingerbread house. You can even rent out some bicycles to cruise around the town. However, you decide to celebrate, you’ll definitely enjoy the Caribbean Christmas feel of Key West, complete with warm temperatures and good cheer.
Miami Beach, Florida is a beach vacation staple you’ve likely already heard about. If you’ve been before, or you’ve always wanted to go, this can be the perfect place for a Christmas beach getaway.
Considered by most to be an exciting beach location, you can expect lots of activities happening on Miami Beach around Christmastime. While in the area, you can even visit the nearby Santa’s Enchanted Forest, a must-do while in Miami for Christmas— this is the largest holiday theme park in the world. At Santa’s Enchanted Forest, you can stick around for the light show, exciting rides, Christmas-themed karaoke, animal and magic shows, and more. For something more low-key, you can visit the local zoo or stroll around Miami Beach on Christmas Day and enjoy the holiday displays.
There’s definitely something in the water that makes Coronado Beach California stand out among beach destinations. This can be the ideal vacation destination if you’re looking for a chill beach ambiance with lots of activities to do beachside. With temperatures usually in the high 60s around Christmastime, things won’t be scorchingly hot, but you’ll still be able to get into the beachy vibe.
While on Coronado Beach for Christmas, you can get cozy and watch festive movies on the beach, or even go to Skating by the Sea. This ice-skating rink overlooking the ocean on this beach and an experience here can be unlike anything you’ve tried before. The appeal of Coronado Beach for Christmas has a lot to do with just how relaxed everything feels, with the perfect holiday infusion.
If you’re traveling for Christmas, it makes sense to do your gift buying once you’re at your destination of choice. This will help you avoid having to lug gifts back and forth. If necessary, open some of your gifts bought at home ahead of your trip, and get smaller items at your destination from local Christmas markets. Christmas markets tend to have unique items that you might not have considered getting back home, so it’ll be a win-win.
Learning about a new destination is half the fun of going there in the first place. Traveling around Christmas highlights this in a big way and it is the perfect time to learn about foreign holiday traditions. If you’re curious, ask resort staff about the traditions of your destination and learn to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in a local language!
School holidays are the ideal time to travel and explore the world with your entire family. Christmas is an especially great time to travel because you can get away for some fun and a change of scenery, plus you’ll get away from colder temperatures for a bit. While you’re busy enjoying the sunshine, school timetables will be the last thing on anyone’s mind!
Lots of people travel during the Christmas holidays, so it is a good idea to plan your vacation well in advance. If you’re traveling to the Caribbean, remember that peak season starts around mid-December, which means you’ll need to book early to get the reservations you really want. Booking early will not only help secure your flights, accommodations, tours, etc., but it can also sometimes result in neat discounts as well.
It might seem like a given, but you should ask somewhere along the booking process whether there is WiFi at your resort. As you’ll be traveling during the holidays, you’ll likely need to make contact with your family and friends back home, so this will be an important aspect of your booking.
Good to know: WiFi is included in the room and all common areas at Beaches Resorts, so it’ll be easy to spread some Christmas cheer with the ones you love back home during your vacation!
Maybe you had not even considered the possibility of having a staycation, particularly not one that had anything to do with the beach. If you can’t travel far this year, this could be a cool idea to try out. Bring the beach to your home with fancy decor, and beach towels, and even trade your Christmas tree for a palm tree with beachy trinkets. Turn up the heat and do whatever it takes to get you and yours into a festive mood and celebrate just as you would on a sunny beach!
The goal of a beach vacation, or any vacation at all, is to relax. Whether you go at Christmas or during any other time of year, try to keep things in perspective. Do as much or as little as you want. Soak in the beach, the waves, and the sun if you do travel, and make the most of your Christmas beach celebration in whatever form it comes.
Whether you choose to skip off to an island for Christmas vacation this year, or you decide to enjoy a beach in the U.S., one thing is certain — Christmas truly can add some magic to an already incredible beach vacation experience. We hope this article will help you choose the best place to go, and that you have a Christmas beach vacation worth talking about for years to come!
Expert tip: Still thinking about where to go? Here are some more great Christmas vacation ideas for families.