Top 8 white-sand winter destinations
Some dream of the holidays filled with warm layers, snowflakes and fireside snuggles — then there are some who would happily trade that picture of frosted fun with warm days on the beach, celebrating Santa in the sun. Here are eight of our favorite white “sand” Christmas destinations.
Outrigger Waikiki, Hawaii
Start brushing up on saying "Mele Kalikimaka" because the Outrigger Waikiki on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is giving a very big Aloha welcome to sun seekers during their Christmas vacation. What's more, Santa himself will be making an appearance at the hotel, but you won't catch him in a sleigh — he’ll arrive via a Hawaiian outrigger canoe in true Hawaiian fashion.
As the upcoming destination hot spot among international travelers, the Maldives definitely has seen its fair share of visitors. But with the holiday lull, this island escape is as rejuvenating for the mind as it is the body.
Off the coast of East Africa, surrounded by the diamond-esque water of the Indian Ocean, is the white-sand wonder of the Seychelles. Settle down with a book in hand and your toes in the sand at one of its many beaches, and reminisce about the cold weather back home.
Located in the South Pacific near New Zealand and Australia, Fiji is indeed a sun-soaked island nation, and its culture is a blend of several indigenous traditions and beliefs. Many of the hotels and resorts on Fiji utilize eco-friendly efforts and welcome locals and travelers alike to their ocean oases.
St. John Island, U.S. Virgin Islands
Framed by the Caribbean and with sunny beachside charm, the Virgin Islands unfurl with cascading stretches of white sand and mild winter temperatures. And if you're American, you don't need to bother bringing your passport, giving you peace of mind during holiday madness.
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego
Situated on sunny Coronado Island in San Diego, the Hotel Del Coronado's rich history and luxurious accommodations beacon travelers year-round. This holiday season, however, the hotel is infusing a little bit of cold-weather charm to its beachside property with an ice skating rink. Guests young and old, big and small, can spend the day at the beach and their nights at the skating rink — making for endless holiday fun.
Ko Samui, Thailand
Southern Thailand is notorious for its exotic appeal and hard-to-get-to islands, and Ko Samui is no exception. Though more popular, and often more crowded, than other islands in the area, Ko Samui unravels a unique experience for travelers during the winter season. Scuba diving, hiking and just plain relaxing can all be accomplished within a day or spread out over an entire week.
Bondi Beach, Australia
Given that the Southern Hemisphere experiences summer in December, it seemed only appropriate to include one of Australia's most-beloved beaches. Whether you're a surfer, a swimmer or just love relaxing in the sand, Bondi Beach in New South Wales has a little something for everyone. What's more, if you go on Christmas day, expect to see a lot of people donning swimsuits and Santa hats — an unspoken but very popular tradition.