1. New York City, NY, USA
2. Washington, D.C., USA
Mauritius may be best-known for its underwater waterfall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but this geographic marvel is just the tip of the island. Make your holiday the trip to remember by taking photos in front of the Terres de 7 Couleurs, Tamarind Falls, and Grand Baie. Adventurous couples can kitesurf over turquoise lagoons, which comprise 75% of the island, or surf the Indian Ocean, which throws higher waves during winter. Try Mauritian street food like dholl puri and roti in Port Louis, Mauritius’ capital city. Catch a show at the Citadelle, an old British fortress built on a hill overlooking the harbor. Bet on horses at Champ de Mars, the oldest racecourse in the southern hemisphere. Hike your way up to the monument of Marie Reine de la Paix, an open-air church that offers the best views of the city. Maybe even pop the question when you reach the top.
4. Maui, HI, USA
5. Baltimore, MD, USA
6. Vienna, Austria
7. Nagano, Japan
Japan might still be closed to tourists because of the pandemic, but there’s no harm in wishing it’ll open in time for winter, right? Hakuba, which is situated in Japan’s northern alps, is arguably the best all-around ski destination in the country. The town hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998, and several of the facilities, like the Ski Jumping Stadium and Olympic Village, remain accessible and in use. Watch expert climbers scale frozen waterfalls that rise over 100-meters. Jigokudani Yaen-Koen is the only place in the world where snow monkeys, particularly Japanese macaques, bathe in thermal springs. Attend an ice sculpture festival outside Matsumoto Castle, which also happens to be the oldest surviving castle tower in Japan. Visit Togakushi Shrine in the snow. Swim in an onsen. The choices for winter date ideas in Nagano are limitless.
8. Deer Valley, UT, USA
9. Lapland, Finland
10. Mendocino, CA, USA
11. Los Cabos, Mexico
Christmas in Cabo is celebrated at a cool 60–85 F. The Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe falls on December 12 and is one of the most important religious holidays in Mexico. Each year, countless parishes all across the country throw festivals and parades in honor of Our Lady. Prefer a little more sun? You can also choose to surf the Pacific, which offers better wave conditions during the winter season. Beginner-friendly classes are offered through the season at Los Cerritos, whereas the more expert surfers can head to San Pedrito at Pescadero or La Pastora, which is just north of Todos Santos. Go scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez, which is nicknamed the Aquarium of the World. Ride camels on the Cabo camel safari, a unique Cabo San Lucas activity, and must-do winter vacation activity.
12. Bethlehem, PA, USA
True to its name, Bethlehem is the Christmas City of the USA and a beautiful spot in Pennsylvania. Stay in Historic Hotel Bethlehem, which puts on a Christmas display with over 35,000 Christmas lights every year. Drop by the Moravian Book Shop, the oldest bookstore in the world, which also offers some of the best souvenirs in Bethlehem. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the Pocono Mountains, which are dotted with over 150 lakes and quaint, historic towns. Stay in one of the dozens of charming (and sometimes adult only) bed and breakfasts that call Pocono home.
They say that the best way to get to know someone is to go on a vacation with them. Whether you’ve been together a decade or a few months, this season is the perfect time to just pack your bags and go. At the very least, you’ll have some of the best winter vacation photos at your next brunch get-together. At the very best, this winter might be the first in a slew of memories that will last a lifetime.
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