5 Incredible Christmas Beach Vacations For Families

by | Dec 21, 2022 | Destinations, Family Adventures, USA

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The winter months are here, but you don’t need cold weather and a snowy ski trip to celebrate the season. Trade in your fuzzy hats and heavy sweaters for sunscreen and flip-flops. Leave behind the pressure of holiday prep and party obligations and focus on celebrating Christmas with your family stress-free. 

Consider these dreamy locations for sun, sand, and water views and give your kids the greatest gift of all – the best Christmas vacation of a lifetime. 




Laguna Beach, CA: One of the Best Places Close to Home

Pack light because small town Laguna Beach sits between Los Angeles and San Diego, making it the perfect staycation destination for a long Christmas weekend. This popular spot gets your toes in the sand while being light on the wallet for LA locals and still offering families choices for holiday season fun.


  • Sawdust Art Festival’s Winter Fantasy Small business shopping and tons of photo ops make this festival a must go. Don’t miss Santa Claus and his carolers, art classes, or falling “snow”. Every weekend through December 18th. 
  • The Laguna Playhouse This year’s seasonal play is “The Wonderful Winter of Oz” with performances until December 29th.


Where to Stay In Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach Splurge on this 5 star family property with a special Christmas Day  menu, Gingerbread Holiday Display, and kids painting. Bonus: foot spa and a hot tub for the grownups!


best beach christmas laguna beach

Relax on the California coast at Laguna Beach! @Derek


O’ahu, HI: Great Place for Iconic Scenery

No small towns here – O’ahu is cosmopolitan, lush, and the Hawaiian islands’ most affordable spot. O’ahu is a picturesque paradise that will exceed the whole family’s Christmas holiday expectations. 

Spend Christmas time in bustling Honolulu for world class Christmas shopping and see the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and parade. Head back to Lanikai, a beautiful beach for chilled out tropical breezes and a traditional hula dance. Give the kids a chance to surf, snorkel, and swim with dolphins for an exotic and unforgettable family vacation. If you really want some winter under your feet, visit one O’ahu’s Ice Palaces for ice skating fun.


Where to Stay In Oahu

Outrigger Waikiki Beach This moderately priced luxury resort has tons of festive activities during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Greet Santa Claus as he arrives by canoe and learn to make Christmas ornaments, cookies, cards, and even play Christmas holiday tunes on the Ukulele. 


Getting To Oahu From LA

Unsurprisingly, Hawaiian Airlines offers the least expensive and most flexible nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Board in the morning and be at a luau by dinner. 

Start your research for flights with exclusive discounts from Scott’s Cheap Flights. Try out their free 7-day membership to save BIG money on flights. I’m not kidding. They have the best deals out there and we’ve tried them all, or so it seems. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals with their free one).

Another excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia!


best beach christmas oahu hawaii

Oahu – where the city meets the shore and the jungle! @Zetong


Key West, FL: Quirky Winter Wonderland

If drinks with paper umbrellas and building sandcastles on the seashore sums up your best Christmas vacation, then you can’t beat the southernmost point of the US in December. Key West may not offer a white Christmas but it is a relaxing white sand beach known for its warm weather, idyllic palm trees, and world renowned key lime pie. For family Christmas vacation fun, don’t miss:

  • The Lighted Boat Parade If it floats, you’ll find it in this festive event where boats of all sizes drift past the shore boasting impressive Christmas light displays and playing calypso versions of Christmas songs. 
  • Trolley Tour Roll past twinkling mansions on this decked-out ride through Key West’s best decorated holiday homes competition. Can your kids spot the winner?


Where to Stay In Key West

There are plenty of lodging options but Key West has great ways to experience living like a local. Rent out one of these pastel-toned spacious vacation homes!


Getting To Key West, FL from LA

After your flight lands in Miami, pick up your rental car, and follow US Route 1 all the way to the end. The 3.5  hour drive takes you past some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and there are many lesser known, but no less gorgeous, keys to pop into for a pit stop along the way. 


Pro-Tip: It’s easy to split your family vacation in half and visit both the Florida Keys and Orlando’s DisneyWorld theme parks with quick commuter flights. 


Start your research with great flight and car deals from Expedia!


best beach christmas key west florida

Keep it low key in Key West for Christmas! @Domenick



San Juan, Puerto Rico, US: Perfect Place for Festivals and Culture

The “Island of Enchantment” is your best bet for a USA getaway with international intrigue that rivals Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and San Jose in Costa Rica. San Juan, the vibrant capital city, is rich in history and tradition and surrounded by tropical national parks and a captivating coastline. 

Christmas holidays on the island are sure to awe the entire family with its Spanish, Indian, and African influences found in the food, activities, and arts. If you’re seeking sun and to awaken  your senses, San Juan, Puerto Rico is your spot. 


DON’T MISS! A Christmas Family Bucket List To Remember


The Christmas season lasts 45 days and families go all out. Listen for parrandas, where groups gather in chorus to surprise neighbors and friends with joyful singing after dark. Indulge in traditional holiday foods like pastales and coquito. Take a stroll through Old San Juan to pick up presents from local vendors and hit up the two central plazas – Plaza de Armas and Plaza de Colon – for their many Christmas trees and Christmas lights displays.


Where to Stay In San Juan, Puerto Rico

Book a stay at the Decanter Hotel for an affordable spot in the center of the action. You’ll be steps away from colonial Calle San Sebastian and the street festival that marks the Christmas season. Just 10 minutes from the hotel by taxi is San Juan’s best metropolitan beach, El Escambron, where kids can snorkel coral reefs. Visit close by Casablanca for their rooftop hot tubs. 


Getting To San Juan, Puerto Rico From LA

You can leave your passport at home when visiting this US territory. Fly into the San Juan airport but plan for a stopover in Houston or Miami. 

Start your research with great flight and car deals from Expedia!


best beach christmas san juan puerto rico

If you’re looking for colorful cliffside and a castle, visit San Juan! @Zetong


US Virgin Islands, St. Croix: Hidden Paradise

Wildlife, adventure, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s likely this island will be hard to leave behind and instead become a new family tradition. Activities include visiting sea turtle sanctuaries, ATV off-roading, bioluminescence boat rides, hermit crab racing, and scuba diving certification. 

The Caribbean’s biggest Christmas celebration takes place during the month of December. The Crucian Christmas Festival starts with many activities that honor the island’s African heritage like musical competitions and pageants performed for Carnival royalty and ends with the Children’s Parade in early January featuring costumed dancing. 


Where to Stay In St. Croix

Snag a family cottage at The Buccaneer. The property has three private beaches across 340 lush acres. This relaxed family resort offers a kids camp with games, family horseback riding, treasure hunts, and poolside babysitting. 


Getting To St. Croix From LA

Almost all flights land in St. Thomas and connect to St Croix, but American offers direct flights via Miami. Start your research with great flight and car deals from Expedia!


best beach christmas virgin islands st. croix

Paradise in the Caribbean at St. Croix! @Zetong


Whether you’re traveling 50 miles or 3500 this season, all of these festive beach locations around the United States are a great way to please the whole family and get them into the holiday spirit. Surely one of your best Christmas vacations, your family trip will be packed with fun and unforgettable moments that everyone will be asking to repeat year after year.




Colleen is the diplomatic matriarch of a nomadic family who aims to expose her kids to the humanity hidden in places most don’t go. In addition to LA Family Travel, she’s a contributor to Fodor’s, Family Traveler, and Insider Parenting and Health. She is working on her first novel The Beginners Guide to Going Home.