As the famous Andy Williams song goes, Christmas is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. It’s a time for reunions. For families, friends and loved ones to get together, exchange gifts, eat good food and celebrate. It’s a time to live, love, laugh and….lay on the beach.
Ok, so granted, that last bit might not traditionally be what many people first think of when planning a Christmas vacation but we at Travel2next see Christmas as a most wonderful time of the year to visit the beach.
Whether you want to enjoy a gentle stroll along the shoreline after you’ve finished your Christmas dinner or would rather take yourself away for a couple of weeks of coastal sunshine and hassle-free Christmas preparations, there are a host of fantastic options available.
There are some truly incredible beaches to visit on Christmas Day itself or during the holiday period. So embrace your thalassophile spirit, get your trunks or bikini at the ready, and seek inspiration from our list of 20 great places to spend Christmas on the beach.
- 20 Places To Spend Christmas On The Beach
- Where To Have A Beach Holiday At Christmastime
- 1- Miami Beach, Florida
- 2- Nassau, Bahamas
- 3- South Padre Island, Texas
- 4- Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- 5- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- 6- Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida
- 7- Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
- 8- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- 9- Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
- 10- Palm Beach, Florida
- 11- Varadero, Cuba
- 12- Bondi Beach, Sydney
- 13- Cannon Beach, Oregon
- 14- Qamea Island, Fiji
- 15- Laguna Beach, California
- 16- Grace Beach, Turks & Caicos
- 17- Smathers Beach, Key West
- 18- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- 19- Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
- 20- Jimbaran Bay, Bali
- Where To Have A Beach Holiday At Christmastime
20 Places To Spend Christmas On The Beach
Where To Have A Beach Holiday At Christmastime
1- Miami Beach, Florida
December is the start of the peak travel season in Miami Beach, so you won’t be spending Christmas alone here.
But the temperature is warm, the humidity high and the beach is truly magnificent. Remember the opening credits of CSI Miami with those stunning aerial shots?
Top up your tan under the sun and with a nightlife scene that rivals anywhere in the world, you can party every night like it’s 1999.
To stay very much in the Christmas spirit, head on over to Santa’s Enchanted Forest not far from Miami Beach.
It’s one of the world’s largest holiday theme parks and will get you right into the Christmas mood.
2- Nassau, Bahamas
How does spending Christmas swimming with dolphins and stingrays sound to you?
You certainly can’t do that in Utah or Maine, but this is precisely what you’ll be doing in Nassau in the Bahamas.
At least on Balmoral Island, anyway.
For a truly spectacular Christmas Day experience, snorkel, swim and chill out on a lounger at the private resort there.
The food is excellent, so swap a home-cooked turkey dinner this year for a festive ceviche instead.
3- South Padre Island, Texas
For many years those sneaky Texans kept a little Christmas secret from the rest of us – South Padre Island.
But now that secret is well and truly out.
Located at the southernmost tip of the state, South Padre Island is a 34-mile (55 km) long and half-mile wide barrier reef that contains an exotic mix of palm trees, rare birds, wildlife and, of course, exquisite beaches.
The island is the perfect spot to escape the winter blues and is known for its locally caught fresh fish, like Red Snapper, Whiting, Croakers, Sand trout, and Black Drum.
All of which can make an excellent alternative to your traditional Christmas turkey dinner.
4- Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has been a popular Christmas vacation spot for British tourists for many years now, and it is starting to become attractive to Americans too.
You will want to go to Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, which is known for its exceptional beaches, great nightlife and fabulous, family-friendly five-star resorts.
Most run gala dinners on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and are suitably festively decorated.
As the Dominican Republic is a predominantly Christian country, there is always a church nearby to visit if you want to attend mass.
5- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
If the pristine beaches of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina aren’t enough of a drawcard for you, then the way they embrace Christmas surely will be!
From its Christmas Village to its Christmas parade, and the sensational lights on display at Dove Street, Harbour Town and Shelter Cove (think palm trees covered in sparkling lights and flashy, luminous signs) you will well and truly get into the festive spirit here.
If that’s not enough, then the excellent range of local cafes, restaurants, bars and golf courses should seal the deal.
6- Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida
Who says a white Christmas has to be reserved purely for snow?
Well, at Siesta Key, you will get the gift of a long stretch of gleaming, white sand to enjoy.
It’s consistently named as one of the best beaches in Florida and once your feet hit the soft sand, you’ll hear ‘jingle bells’ playing in your head.
At Sunset Point, there is even a Christmas tree on the beach.
Other Christmas activities include ‘An Evening with Santa Claus’, the ‘Atomic Holiday Bazaar’ and the ‘SantaFest and Holiday Gift Market’.
7- Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
Fancy Christmas with a bit of Puerto Rican flavour? Then Flamenco Beach is where it’s at!
Stretching for a mile around a protected, horseshoe-shaped bay, Flamenco Beach is picture perfect.
Think white sand, idyllic palm trees and turquoise waters – you know – the kind of thing you would see on a laptop screensaver.
It’s a popular surfing and diving spot too. Some say the best in the world. And at Christmas, the locals well and truly get into the festive spirit.
Best of all, as Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, Americans don’t need a passport to visit there.
8- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Ok, so you might think Myrtle Beach is just a spring break destination. But you would be wrong!
December is a top month to visit as the weather is excellent, the beach is amazing and Christmas activities abound.
For a start, there is some excellent shopping and plenty of fabulous Christmas shows to see.
Many excellent restaurants offer homely meals for Christmas Day if you don’t feel like cooking.
Away from the beach, there are a couple of fabulous indoor waterparks to splash around in.
9- Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
Another place where Americans don’t need a passport is the US Virgin Islands, perfect for those wanting to swap their Christmas tree for a palm tree.
With stunning white beaches like Trunk Bay, the capital city of St. John provides a wonderful base for a Caribbean Christmas.
Hearing ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ played out on steel drums as you lay on the beach sipping a beer or cocktail is exactly the kind of thing you would have been dreaming of during those previous 11 months you’ve been slaving away in the office.
10- Palm Beach, Florida
You’ll probably already know that Palm Beach is blessed with some exceptional luxury resorts and five-star hotels.
But did you know that at Christmas they really come into their own?
Most of these resorts offer a fantastic Christmas experience for guests.
From festive furnishings to seasonal gourmet delights, they go the extra mile to make your holiday time with them a truly memorable experience.
Many of the Christmas events around the town are based near the beach, with boat parades at Palm Beach and Boynton Beach.
In addition, Sandi, a 700-ton Christmas tree made – you guessed it! – of sand is a must-see at West Palm Beach.
11- Varadero, Cuba
With pure white sand and aquamarine water, Varadero Beach in Cuba is often voted as one of the best beaches in the world.
So the chance to stay here around the Christmas period should not be missed.
Varadero is just a couple of hours up the road from Havana on the Hicacos Peninsula.
It is a perfect stretch of 20km of gorgeous white sand and a great place to visit if you want a quiet, no-frills Christmas break.
But if you do want to retain some elements of the Christmas spirit, then the resorts, with their fancy lights and decorations and the mass services at the local churches, should comfortably provide you with that.
12- Bondi Beach, Sydney
When it comes to a true beach Christmas, no one can beat the Aussies.
Every year thousands of people head down to Bondi Beach on Christmas Day.
So much so that it’s practically a tradition for many Sydneysiders.
The party starts from sunrise, though it kicks into full swing from around lunchtime when cafes and shops open to provide you with festive delights to eat.
On the beach, you’ll find locals wearing Christmas themed bikinis or swimming trunks, and you may even spot the odd lifeguard wearing a Santa hat too.
13- Cannon Beach, Oregon
Anything Sydneysiders can do, the good folk of Cannon Beach in Oregon can do better.
Every year, this quaint seaside community transforms into a real-life Christmas village.
With its beautiful lights and holiday displays, you will swear you have stumbled onto the set of the Christmas Chronicles.
There are many festive events to attend and an eclectic mix of boutique stores to peruse. And there are plenty of restaurants to provide you with a delicious feed too.
Down at the beach, the imperious Haystack Rock, which juts out majestically along the Pacific Coast, is a major attraction you will want to see.
14- Qamea Island, Fiji
Want something a little different? Then hop on a plane and jet off to Fiji.
The beach at Qamea Island is renowned for being one of the most spectacular beaches in the country – the usual pristine white sand and lush palm trees rules apply.
You can access this beach directly from several resorts that line the beach, all of which provide splendid Christmas Day meals and festivities.
As a bonus, most of the resorts have units that directly face the sunset.
So, sip a cocktail before Christmas dinner while taking in this incredible natural phenomenon.
15- Laguna Beach, California
Want to see Santa surfing on Christmas Day? Then make your way over to Laguna Beach in California.
Granted, it might not be the real Santa you see, but nonetheless, locals do like to dress up in Christmas-themed attire, like Santa suits, to ride the waves on this special day.
If you stroll down to the beach around Christmas, you will also find lifeguard towers decorated with holly and maybe even a decorated Christmas tree too.
There are plenty of Christmas-themed events and parties away from the beach to keep you in a festive mood.
16- Grace Beach, Turks & Caicos
The people of Turks & Caicos have the right idea when it comes to Christmas because they start celebrating it on November 24th!
Clearly, it’s a population that loves to party.
The annual Turks and Caicos Conch Festival is the official kick-off of the Christmas season.
Featuring pre and post-Christmas parties on its iconic Grace Beach, this is the place to celebrate the festive period.
The Maskanoo Parade, which takes place on Boxing Day, should not be missed too.
17- Smathers Beach, Key West
It is always lovely to see a community embrace the Christmas spirit, and few places do it as well as Key West.
When it comes to Christmas, everyone gets involved and most homes, businesses and hotels shine with decorative lights and displays.
Even the marina and beaches get a makeover, which lends itself to a congenial festive atmosphere.
After you’ve eaten, head on over to Smathers Beach, where you can see out your Christmas day sipping a drink straight from a coconut or indulge in a slice (or two!) of Key Lime Pie.
18- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Will Smith, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston are just some celebrities who might have celebrated Christmas in Cabo San Lucas.
They all own homes in this beautiful part of Mexico anyway.
Christmas in Cabo San Lucas is a wonderful experience; not only is the beach a magnificent stretch of golden sand to walk and relax on, but the downtown plaza is also a joy to see.
It’s beautifully decorated with festive lights and ornate decorations, hosting plenty of Christmas-themed activities with lashings of Mexican flair.
There are also some fabulous art exhibitions and several excellent restaurants in the area to entertain off the sand.
19- Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Fancy singing ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ on Waikiki Beach this Christmas? Well, that is exactly what you can do if you make your way to Oahu.
Christmas is a magical time at Waikiki, where you can swim, surf and chill on one of the world’s most iconic beaches.
And when you are not doing that, Christmas festivities like the Waikiki Holiday Parade and the Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade will excite you.
The Honolulu City lights are also a must-see, while the Waikiki Beach Walk hosts live and very entertaining, nightly Christmas music performances in the week running up to, and including, Christmas Day.
20- Jimbaran Bay, Bali
A unique experience you may not have thought of is eating your Christmas meal directly on the beach, which is exactly what you can do at Jimbaran Bay in Bali.
You’ll dine on the freshest seafood – caught that day – and cooked on one of the many beachfront barbeques that line the foreshore.
Time it right, and you can turn the romance levels up a notch or two by choosing to eat at sunset.
After a leisurely day of swimming, snorkelling, sunbathing or kayaking, can you think of a better way to spend the rest of Christmas Day?
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