It's getting to be that time of year again. The weather is cooling down, the leaves are dropping and before you know it the holiday season will be in full swing. With all of the cleaning, planning, shopping, and cooking that can be involved in holiday preparations, it's easy to feel overwhelmed or behind schedule before you've even had a chance to get started. Instead of waiting for the early winter months to fly by this year, take them by their metaphorical horns and make a vacation out of this holiday season. What better way to relieve yourself of some stress than taking a holiday getaway? You can even bring the whole family along and host a holiday dinner in your vacation home.
If you want to get an early start, consider taking a spooky Halloween vacation. Read all about some of the U.S.' most haunted destinations here. However, for those of you who are planning on taking a vacation later in the holiday season, there are plenty of options for you as well. Whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other seasonal tradition, these hot spots are sure to provide a great holiday traveling destination.
This holiday season, there will be virtually no better winter scene than the beautiful views of the Poconos. With the perfect landscape for curling up beside a window, skiing, or taking part in one of the area's many other winter sports, this destination is sure to have enough activities to keep the entire family happy. For those who prefer to enjoy a white Christmas indoors, the area has numerous inside activities such as cooking classes and discovering amazing dinnerware and ceramics transform right before your eyes at the local pottery center. If you're behind on the holiday shopping, the area has plenty of shopping centers, so you can pick up those last minute gifts
This European town is widely known for its ability to become a picturesque winter postcard. With heavy snowfalls and decorated trees, the city lights up into a beautiful scene each holiday season. Heidelberg is also home to Weihnachtsmarkt, a stretch of outdoor markets that span over a mile. The shops are home to intricately decorated ornaments, often handmade, and serve spiced wines and potato pancakes to keep their shoppers warm while experiencing the outdoor holiday market. Heidelberg also offers tours of the historic downtown and castle, which turns into a gorgeous winter backdrop.
If you're looking for more of a down-home scene this season, look no further than Charleston, South Carolina. Known for its slightly warmer winter climate, this city will not only provide a milder stay than a northern town, but Charleston also offers up decorated holiday scenes around every corner. Even the harbor's boats get decorated for the season. The city's historic feel and Southern charm are also illuminated by its holiday traditions; in fact, they even have their own website at Christmasincharleston.com, where the town displays its many specials and discounts on holiday activities and events. If you go, be sure to check out their annual Festival of Lights, held each year from Nov. 11 through Jan. 1.
Another great holiday travel destination is Rivera Maya, located on the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. A great tropical hot spot for your vacation, Rivera Maya will allow you to spend your holidays like you've never spent them before. Not only will you have your own traditions, but you'll get to experience new ones as well, all in the warmth and beauty of the Rivera Maya's clear, crisp beaches. Throughout most of December, there is a nightly midnight ritual that celebrates Mexican religion. Many other traditions are present as well, such as wearing “lucky” underwear on New Years, and an April Fool's Day of sorts, where friends attempt to borrow one another's belonging without them knowing.
San Diego, CA
This popular California town leaves little to be desired when it comes to holiday tourism. Not only is San Diego known for it's cheer, the city is home to the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival, where classic city traditions meet holiday spirit. Lights can been seen at the San Diego Zoo's Holiday Light Display, and The December Nights is a must-see show for families of all ages and sizes. Despite the warm climate, visitors can still ice skate each year at the Hotel del Coronado, which also hosts a great annual holiday party.
Whether you choose to spend your holidays in the winter climates of the Northeastern United States and Germany, opt for a beach stay, or head to sunny California, you're sure to find a vacation destination that the entire family can enjoy. So remember, this winter season, save yourself the stress, and vacation your holidays away instead. Not only will you get to spend the joyous season with your family, but you'll have an entire new set of holiday traditions to look forward to next year.
Bethaney Wallace is a writer and editor for The Social Robot, an internet marketing and content production company founded in 2009. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in English, she began writing professionally. To read more of her posts, go to http://thesocialrobot.com. Or follow her on Twitter @bethaneywallace.