We’re nearing the end of another year, which hopefully means a break for you. And if you’re all done with your holiday shopping, that means you’ll have some extra dough to keep all to yourself. While many people will opt to pay down bills or put that money into savings, it might be time to switch it up try something different. You’ve worked hard this year, so why not celebrate your efforts with a vacation? Over-working yourself can lead to burnout after all. Whether you’re a thriller seeker, beach bum, or fall somewhere in between, here are 5 vacation ideas to get you started.
1. Maui, Hawaii
Located in the Central Pacific, Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. It features coastal beaches, waterfalls, and even and natural pools in the Haleakalā National Park, which makes it the perfect place for those looking for a bit of R&R with the option of adventure. And if you happen to be planning a winter trip, Maui is one of the best places on earth to see humpback whales as they migrate from the cool waters of Alaska to the warm waters surrounding the island. For the serious adventurers, the narrow, winding coastal jaunt along the Road to Hana will allow you to drive, hike, or even snorkel your way through the beaches, rainforests, and volcanic terrain that make up this beautiful island. Plus, who doesn’t love Hawaii?!
2. Aspen, Colorado
This popular ski resort town, located 8,000 ft high in the Rocky Mountains, is the ultimate winter weather getaway. Whether you’re an avid skier or beginner snowboarder, there are slopes for snow sport lovers of all skill levels across Aspen’s 5,200 acres of trails. There’s even tubing and sledding for those who prefer to remain seated during their ride down the mountain. And don’t despair if you were looking for a summer excursion, there’s plenty to do during the warmer months as well. Aspen offers countless outdoor recreation opportunities, plenty of shops and fine dining options, and for those who want a look at the past, a chance to explore the city’s rich history in silver mining.
3. Juneau, Alaska
The next destination is not only a state capital, it’s also the second largest city in the US by area, and the perfect getaway for avid adventurers. Half of Juneau is made up of temperate rainforest teaming with wildlife, while glaciers encompass nearly a third. This makes outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, climbing, and wildlife viewing the highlights of what Juneau has to offer, but there is also plenty to do for artists, foodies, and shoppers alike. If you really feel like splurging, take a look at the VIP Alaska Yacht Charter listed on Airbnb where you and five guests can experience your own personal cruise from Juneau to Sitka, gourmet meals included, for a ‘mere’ $10,000 per night. There are plenty of cheaper options for lodging as well, though.
4. Palm Springs, California
Looking for a guarantee of warm, sunny weather anytime of the year? Palm Springs is for you then. It experiences 350 days of sunshine each year (almost the entire year!) with daytime temperatures averaging around 70ºF during the winter months. With the near perfect weather comes ample opportunities to play outdoors. Golfing, horseback riding, hiking, and taking a dip in the hot springs are just a few of the many activities this region has to offer. Palm Springs is a short drive from LA and was once known as Hollywood’s Playground, so don’t be surprised if you happen to see a few celebrities during your stay. Even if you don’t, you can live it up like you’re the celebrity.
5. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Just south of Cape Cod, there’s Martha’s Vineyard, a popular summer destination for New Englanders, known for its sandy beaches, quaint cottages, and historic lighthouses. This charming island is made up of six individual harbor towns, each with its own unique vibe. Water and air travel are the only ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard, but many people opt to ferry their cars over to the island. Here you will experience relaxation at its finest, as well as kayaking, windsurfing, and swimming along the Nantucket Sound. While you won’t find many grape vines here, much of the land is used for farming, which makes for a great culinary adventure for foodies who are fans of the farm-to-table movement.
Even if one of these 5 destinations doesn’t stick out to you, there are plenty of other options that may just be a short drive from where you are. Check out the U.S. National Register of Historic Places to see what’s around you, or dig around on Airbnb to see if there are any amazing homes to rent in your own city. After all, a vacation can still take place at home (just as long as you get a break from the hustle and bustle of normal life).