Whether you’re looking to take a trip to a snowy city in the mountains or escape to a warm spot on the coast, we’ve got the perfect last-minute holiday getaways.
Stay: Inn at Woodlake at Destination Kohler
Destination Kohler is set on hundreds of acres and has 40 miles of lights, 30 wreaths, and 28 Christmas trees, and 27 fireplaces! The resort has festive events during the holidays, including a breakfast with Santa on Dec. 20 at the American Club and Christmas Caroling in the American Club library, not to mention an array of holiday menus at their restaurants
in town. There’s the Making Spirits Bright holiday lights show, and fun outdoor adventures in the village of Kohler such as snowshoeing, ice skating and cross-country skiing. Rates from $99/night.
Stay: Hyatt Regency Newport
Newport was named one of America’s Best Towns to Celebrate Christmas in Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Places survey. At this tony town in Rhode Island, only white lights are encouraged on homes and restaurants, to conjure an old-fashioned candlelit vibe. Take a tour through history with the Mansions of Newport Tour where you’ll through Gilded Age icons like The Breakers, the Elms, and the Marbles, all decked out in sumptuous trees, fine china, and decorations. Since crowds are lighter than in the high summer season, it is also an affordable time to go and stay at the Hyatt Regency Newport that is dressed up in holiday décor in a nautical winter wonderland theme. The hotel also has Strolling Carolers singing holiday music on Saturday & Sunday mornings (December 6&7, 13&14, 20&21) Rates from $109/night.
Green Mountain Falls, Colorado
Stay: Outlook Lodge
Go for a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway Santa Claus Train that’s a two-hour round trip that goes halfway up Pikes Peak with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves will be along for the ride. The train will have an hour layover so children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari gets festive in during the holidays with nearly one million sparkling lights illuminating the night, then stop in and see Santa through January 1. Select animal exhibits are open during the event. Children under three are free. Stay at the rustic chic Outlook Lodge where you can enjoy the holiday season around the outdoor fire toasting marshmallows and gathering with family. Rates from $119/night.
St. Augustine, Florida
Stay: Hammock Beach Resort in nearby Palm Beach
St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights feature millions of tiny white lights that is a spectacular and magical display throughout – and the lights are up until February. Since St. Augustine was first settled by the Spanish in 1565, the Nights of Lights tradition can be traced to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays. You can check out the lights by walking, biking, on the Old Town Trolley or even a horse and carriage. Stay at the nearby Hammock Beach Resort – a full service resort with a holiday activity schedule including cookies and milk with Santa's Elves, Christmas Eve in the lobby with crafts, and more. Rates from $158/night.
San Diego, CA
Stay: Lakehouse Hotel & Resort
San Diego hosts the Parade of Lights where more than 80 boats get decked out with a décor highlighting new theme each year, with boats cruising the water.The event just happened on Sunday (Dec. 14) and is set for this Sunday, Dec. 21. The city also hosts the Big Bay Balloon Parade that they call “America’s Largest Balloon Parade” – happening on December 26 with marching bands, floats, and a enormous balloons. Over 100,000 street-side spectators expected! Another fun activity – the Hotel Del has an ice skating rink – cool to be skating right by the beach (and you don’t have to stay at the hotel to use the rink). At the Lakehouse Hotel & Resort they have Cider & Holiday cookies on select nights and also Family Holiday Ornament Making and Santa Letter Decorating, Saturdays 4pm-6pm. Rates from $149/night (promo code “cheer”).
San Antonio, TX
Stay: Omni La Mansion del Rio
The centuries-old tradition Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias happens the evenings of Friday, Dec 5, 2014 through Sunday, Dec 21, 2014 along the River Walk where you’ll find more than 6,000 Luminarias - warmly glowing candles in sand-filled bags line the walkways. At the Celebrate San Antonio event on New Year’s Eve, you’ll find music on three stages and fireworks at midnight—more than 250,000+ people are expected in the downtown area. The Omni La Mansion del Rio is located close to the festive happenings on the River Walk. Rates from $152/night.