California, Charlotte, Miami, Vienna, Australia

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December is peak travel season as travelers take advantage of the holidays. 

Many have to journey to see their relatives. But for those who can take trips just for leisure, there are plenty of options.

Here are a few places around the USA and abroad that shine in December.

California Central Coast

The devastating California wildfires have been making headlines, but there are still parts of the state that are welcoming tourists.

The central coast has many unique towns along the Pacific Coast Highway that are eager for visitors.

There’s the seaside town of Morro Bay, the Monterey Aquarium, Hearst Castle, and Big Sur. All benefit from warm weather and proximity to the ocean.

“December is a great time to experience the original road trip – California’s Highway 1,” says Michelle Carlen, president of the Central Coast Tourism Council. 

Despite the warmth, people can still go ice skating at Gilroy Gardens and watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” live. They can take sleigh rides in Ventura and go whale watching in Oxnard.

And Hearst Castle, the home of William Randolph Hearst, will host twilight tours and dinners through the month.

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Charlotte

This North Carolina town has a thriving craft beer scene, restaurants run by chefs that are James Beard semifinalists, museums, and plenty of shopping.

Hotels keep popping up in uptown Charlotte, including the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, which has a rooftop bar called Merchant and Trade overlooking the city.

For families, there’s the U.S. National Whitewater Center, an outdoor recreation facility for whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking. 

There are many holiday shows going on, including “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 7 to Dec. 23 and “Holiday on Ice” through Jan. 6.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway is hosting a “Speedway Christmas” show until Dec. 31.

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Miami

Miami is always hot but it’s about to heat up even more this month.

Art Basel, one of the biggest art festivals in the USA, runs from Dec. 6 to Dec. 9. Expect the city to party.

South Beach is a big draw for those looking for warm weather. But there is much more to do besides sitting on the beach.

Those looking for culture can go see the holiday decorations at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. They can also take an Art Deco Walking Tour of South Beach, known for its unique architecture. And they can head downtown for a cruise on Biscayne Bay.

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Vienna

It’s the holiday season and time to check out the Christmas markets in Europe. Germany is probably the most well-known country for holiday markets but Austria has many as well.

The Christmas markets in Vienna date back to the Middle Ages. In 1298, Albrecht I declared that Vienna’s citizens could have a December Market or “Krippenmarkt.” There are now more than 20 markets in Vienna selling chestnuts and mulled wine.

The largest is the Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of City Hall. Inside City Hall on the ground floor, there is an area dedicated to children, where they can learn how to make cookies or candles. Choirs sing carols on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Australia

It’s summertime Down Under.

It’s a huge country but here are a few places to visit this month.

Perth has many beaches, including Yagan Square. Sports-lovers will enjoy Optus Stadium. QT Perth, a design-forward boutique hotel recently opened. Rottnest Island is one of the 19 beaches that are just 20 minutes from Perth’s city center. It is home to the “Quokka Selfie” taken by celebrities such as Margot Robbie and Roger Federer.

Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland, has parks all around and Kangaroo Cliffs next a river.

Adelaide in southern Australia has some of the best food and wine in the country.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2018/12/03/december-trip-ideas-california-charlotte-miami-vienna-australia/2189492002/



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