Beach with tropical trees and Mayan ruins
Wake up Christmas morning and spend the day exploring Mayan ruins and swimming with dolphins.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Spend Christmas on the Beach at One of These Idyllic Destinations

Trade in Snow for Sand and Stress for Relaxation

Looking to ditch the snow for someplace a little warmer this Christmas? Why not head to the beach to spend the Christmas holidays surrounded by sand and surf?

Having a beach Christmas is the perfect way to shake off the winter blues and ensure the remaining days of the year are both merry and bright. Plus your beach packing list will be short and sweet, making preparations for your vacation way less of a hassle. What could be better?

If you’re worried it won’t feel like Christmas if you’re somewhere warm and sandy, we have a solution to that too. Use these tips for celebrating Christmas while traveling to ensure you insert a little holiday spirit into your days spent oceanside. Now that that worry is out of the way, let’s get planning!

From the Caribbean to Central America to the south Pacific and south Asia, let one of these warm places guide you to peace and goodwill toward men.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Just south of Cancún lies the Riviera Maya region of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. While Mexico is a fabulous beach destination year round, Christmas has become part of peak season for the coastal cities. Who wouldn’t want to escape cooking duties during the holidays with the promise of an all-inclusive resort waiting for you amid 80 degree weather and white sand beaches?

Things to do in the Riviera Maya include swimming with dolphins in turquoise waters or observing the underwater wonderland of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Even if you need a break from the ocean, there are plenty of interesting archaeological sites to explore like the Mayan ruins of Tulum, which are conveniently open on Christmas Day.

Beach with ocean and palm tree.Resorts along the coast set off fireworks on Christmas Eve. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Even in the beach towns, Costa Ricans don’t skimp on celebrations during the Christmas holidays. Many resorts along the coast of the Guanacaste Province set off fireworks on Christmas Eve or “Noche Buena” as it’s called here, which is when Costa Ricans traditionally celebrate with their families.

Christmas trees and lights decorate the waterfront and local restaurants serve up traditional tamales, filled with meat and vegetables. December also marks the start of high season for surfing in Tamarindo Beach. In fact, water sports are particularly popular during the Christmas holidays when temperatures can reach the low 90s during the day and high 70s at night.

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Christmas tree surrounded by palm trees.Spend your days basking in the sun and nights at one of the many clubs along Ocean Drive.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach turns up the heat both literally and figuratively during the Christmas holidays. Temperatures stay in the high 70s and low 80s during the day, which makes getting a tan in December an actual possibility. Chic hotels and beach clubs offer gorgeous, Instagram-worthy pools that will make all your friends back home in the cold jealous.

One such Miami landmark, Nikki Beach, has a Christmas Eve brunch full of delicious, gourmet cuisine. There’s a reason why Miami Beach is considered one of the best Florida beaches for nightlife.

After spending afternoons drinking and basking in the sun, you can dance off all those extra calories at one of the many night clubs along the city’s historic Ocean Drive strip, which are open on the weekends til the wee hours of the morning.

Beach with white apartment buildings in the distancePeak whale watching season occurs over Christmas, making the holidays the perfect time to vacation in Sri Lanka.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Colombo, Sri Lanka

What better place to warm up during the holidays then on the lush, south Asian island of Sri Lanka? There are tons of outdoorsy things to do in December, when temperatures still stand around the mid-80s. Christmas just happens to fall during whale watching season, with tours departing Colombo daily.

Sea turtles also frequent the beaches of Sri Lanka, mainly at night, but you can visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery Mahamodara to see dozens of rescued turtles, including recently hatched babies. Although the island’s official religion is Buddhism, there are some places in Colombo that do have Christmas celebrations.

You’ll find a festive spirit at the Galle Face Hotel, a five-star seafront property, that offers a six-course Christmas dinner and seasonal entertainment for the whole family.

Ocean with palm trees at sunset.The stunning black sand beaches and volcanoes are Christmas present enough.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Big Island, Hawaii

Have a Polynesian-style tropical Christmas at the beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Instead of piles of white snow on the ground, enjoy black sand beaches amid volcanoes and wildlife sanctuaries. Find the best beaches in Big Island Hawaii here and spend your entire trip narrowing them down to your favorite!

Relax and enjoy snorkeling or sunbathing at Kamakahonu Beach in Kailua-Kona, near the former vacation home of native Hawaiian royalty.

Imbibe in the festive atmosphere of a traditional luau with plenty of food, cocktails, entertainment and hula lessons near the Royal Kona Resort. Like many other coastal cities in the US, the Big Island also hosts a lighted boat parade in Kailua Bay a few weeks before Christmas. A whole host of concerts, fairs and parties leading up to the holiday are also plentiful in December.

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Beach with grass umbrellas and lounge chairs.Jamaica is one of the most beautiful places to spend the Christmas holidays.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Negril, Jamaica

One of the best times of year to visit Jamaica happens to be in December. With hurricane season thankfully over, the skies are blue and the waters are warm — the perfect combination for a fabulous Christmas on the beach. Go cliff diving into Blue Hole Mineral Springs or straight into the ocean via Rick’s Cafe.

The latter has weekly pool parties and special events where you can watch the sunset and enjoy a few bottles of Red Stripe. Christmas in Jamaica also means it’s Jonkonnu time, a celebration full of wild masks, costumes, music and dancing.

Watch the performers up close and personal on the street, but be warned — this isn’t Disneyland. Small children might get frightened by the masks, never mind the fervor and excitement!

White sand beach with palm tree leaf.Enjoy catered picnics and guided day trips to snorkeling or scuba diving hot spots.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Yasawa Island, Fiji

A secluded area off the coast of Fiji, Yasawa Island has some of the most luxurious accommodations in the south Pacific. Have your Christmas in paradise at the all-inclusive Yasawa Islands Resort, and enjoy catered picnics and guided day trips to snorkeling or scuba diving hot spots.

Enjoy views of the ocean from a hammock or cabana during the day, before indulging in fine dining and crafted cocktails throughout the evening. A trip to Fiji during the holidays is perfect for anyone looking to get away from all the noise and chaos typically associated with this time of year.

Instead, you’ll find immaculately beautiful landscapes surrounded by turquoise water, affording you nothing but peace and tranquility.

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