Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
It’s finally time to say goodbye to 2020, and we couldn’t be more excited. Typically, we’d suggest heading to major cities like London, Paris, and New York City to ring in the new year with fireworks and parties, but this time, we’re taking a more subdued approach, focusing on intimate experiences, nature, and wellness. Before you plan your trip, be sure to check opening dates and times for attractions and accommodations, as these may have changed amid the pandemic. These are the best places to spend New Year’s Eve this year.
Start 2021 refreshed and rejuvenated with a relaxing wellness vacation in Sedona, Arizona. Surrounded by stunning red rock formations, the destination offers plenty of outdoor activities, so you can get active before checking out one of the area’s renowned spas and wellness centers. Enjoy luxury accommodations and spa treatments at Enchantment Resort and L’Auberge de Sedona, and visit the city’s famous vortexes — centers of energy located in some of Sedona’s most scenic areas.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Begin the new year by hitting the slopes and crossing off two of the country’s best national parks during one epic trip. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers a number of wintry events leading up to New Year’s Eve, when visitors can watch fireworks in Teton Village. The resort has implemented a number of health and safety measures (including free COVID testing for visitors with a hotel or lift ticket reservation until Dec. 31), so guests can hit the 133 ski and snowboard trails safely this winter. Opt for a luxurious stay at Amangani or Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, and take day trips to nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
Visitors traveling to the islands of Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Hawaii, and Maui can bypass the state’s 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test results, so you can book a year-end trip to these beautiful islands and start 2021 on the beach. Maui was voted the best Hawaiian island by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2020 World’s Best Awards, and with rain forests, beaches, and more, there’s really something for every traveler here. Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is offering a wellness package starting at $10,000 for three nights, complete with a selection of spa treatments, an astrology reading, private Ho’olei Villa or Suite, and more to kick off 2021.
Park City, Utah
Step into a real-life snow globe with a trip to Park City, Utah, this winter. Park City Mountain Resort boasts over 7,300 skiable acres, with trails for beginners and experts, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Visit the Ice Castles — icicle structures with ice tunnels, sculptures, and more — in nearby Midway and check out the historic old town. There are a number of luxury hotels in Deer Valley, including Montage Deer Valley, Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, and The St. Regis Deer Valley. Each of these hotels has a spa and plenty of places to cozy up after a day on the slopes — the perfect spots to ring in 2021.
The Palm Beaches, Florida
Say hello to 2021 from the sunny Palm Beaches in Florida. Visit Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach for shopping, dining, and a nightly light show. On New Year’s Eve, guests can see the illuminated 32-foot banyan tree filled with 10,000 LED leaves and enjoy live music until 12:30 a.m. Or, ring in the new year in a private heated igloo at The Drake Oak Brook — the NYE package includes festive decor, blankets, hors d'oeuvres, drinks, party favors, and more. The Norton Museum of Art, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County, and more local attractions provide plenty to do after kicking off the new year on the first. There are many oceanfront resorts to choose from, like the Boca Raton Resort & Club, which offers golf, tennis, oceanfront pools, and more.
For a small-town experience with great skiing, head to Telluride. Even though the New Year’s Eve fireworks were canceled this year, visitors can still partake in winter sports (fat biking, sledding, ice climbing, snowmobiling, and more) during the day and cozy up by the fire at night. Luxury accommodations include Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge and the Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, but travelers on a budget can enjoy the privacy of an Airbnb cabin or condo.
Las Vegas, Nevada
This New Year’s Eve, embrace the foodie side of Las Vegas with a celebratory meal at one of the city’s great restaurants — many eateries are offering special NYE packages. Plus, people who visit Vegas at the end of December will still have the chance to see some of the Strip’s best holiday decorations. Can’t decide where to stay? T+L readers ranked the Wynn Las Vegas, Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, and The Venetian Resort Las Vegas as the top hotels in Sin City in the 2020 World’s Best Awards.
Big Sky, Montana
Like the other ski resorts on this list, Big Sky Resort has implemented a number of new health and safety measures, including required face coverings, enhanced cleanings, and more. Guests can still say goodbye to 2020 with an action-packed vacation, complete with activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, and zip lining. There are a range of accommodations available, from hotels to cabins to vacation homes. Sip Champagne by the fire and watch the snow fall outside for a chill way to welcome 2021.
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