- South Africa's east coast is a low-cost, low jet-lag, sea-food and wine paradise, with action-packed city beaches such as Durban and totally peaceful, undeveloped beaches like Nature's Valley. In December beach business is brisk so book ahead for your space on the sand.
- India: Goa beaches. A tourist magnet but still fun. The least crowded stretches are north of the Chapora River.
- Maldives Islands: A chain of superb silky sand beaches on coral islands serviced by equally spectacular resorts and astronomical prices.
Most visitors come on all-inclusive packages. Resorts are well set up with perfect
beaches and clear azure seas, great for snorkeling and diving. There
are no cultural experience, just luxury and escapism. Photos.
- Mauritius: Flic en Flac, Trou aux Biches and Paradis beach. Less pricey than the Seychelles
but excellent beach resorts and more inner-island activities available.
- Ngapali Beach, Chaung Tha Beach beach, Ngwe Saung Beach, Myanmar.
Very little developed, very reasonable prices, very nice locals,
very unpleasant military junta.
- Oman: Muscat beaches (Arabian Sea). Over 1,000 miles of coastline with
endless unspoilt sand and very few tourists.
- The north & east coast of Zanzibar. Perfect for relaxing
after wildlife safaris.
- Seychelles: Anse Lazio, Praslin island, Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue Island,
Ile Souris, east coast of Mahé island. Pricey but incredible
'paradise' island resorts including one of the world's most photographed
- Unawatuna, Sri Lanka. An ideal destination for a beach and culture holiday.
The Caribbean Sea encompasses hundreds of dazzling beaches and magnificent beach
resorts and the climate should be excellent in December, but beware the Christmas rush and book well ahead.
If you're conscious of spending check our Best Budget Islands page which features the Dominican Republic as number one for good deals, mostly all-inclusive, along with a multitude of interesting activities, Jamaica's colourful and lively island at number two and Puerto Rico at three, just like home for Americans - great, full-facility beaches and US fast food chains! US Virgin Islands are also easy for US citizens, good flights and no passports needed.
Yacht sailors like the line-of-sight navigation of the British Virgin Islands or the Grenadines, with the Spanish Virgin Islands (around Puerto Rico) a close third. Caribbean information
Florida and especially down south in Miami or the Florida Keys it should be quite warm and sunny in December with occasional showers. Highs will be around 75F (24C) and lows around 61F (16C), but the sea will be unpleasantly chilly.
Southern California is also quite warm in December, with occasional rain showers. Long Beach, for example,can expect averages highs of about 66F (19C) and lows of 46F (8C) at this time.
Beaches services and facilities may be limited and seaweed evident, depending on the area.
- Mexico hosts a fine selection of white sand beaches on both Pacific (such as Cabo San Lucas) and Caribbean coasts (such as Cancun). High temperatures should be around 79F (26C) and lows of 59F (15C) with showers from time to time.
December is of course a busy, pricey month so book well in advance (or maybe at the last minute for bargains!).
The Yucatan peninsula is scattered with magnificent ancient sites a day trip from Maya Riviera beaches (pyramids!), great snorkelling and diving, delicious cuisine and potent drinks.
- Bondi or Manly,
near Sydney for convenience, style and surf.
- Byron Bay, between Sydney and Brisbane, for a neo-hippie 'alternative'
- North Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane,
for wildlife walks, quiet beaches and good surf.
- Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast, a tranquil, dispersed town with great, soft
beaches, parks and surf.
- Fraser Island's Lake
McKenzie, with clear freshwater surrounded
by tropical rainforest and the purest white sand.
See also Beach
Ne, Mui Ne, near Phan Thiet. An upcoming resort area known
for its rolling dunes.
- Hon Chong, Ha Tien; a tempting beach near the Cambodian
- Bai Tam (Long Beach), Phu Quoc Island. An Asian gem.
- Datai Beach, Langkawi Island. One of Asia's best stretches of secluded sand.
- Pantai Teluk Belanga (Emerald Bay), Pangkor Laut. A luxury resort
on a perfect crescent of a private island.
The best season for both east and west coast beaches; it's a long hike there for most travellers but once you're there it's magic...low prices, lovely people, a fascinating culture tinted with sleaze, exquisite food and of course magnificent stretches of sand to suit all tastes from Phuket to Pattaya and Phi Phi; see Thai beaches map and beach pictures.
- Honda Bay, Palawan, Philippines. An area of outstanding
- Muelle Bay, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island. A terrific place to go
island-hopping on to perfect, isolated beaches.
- White Beach, Boracay Island. Exceptionally white,
soft sand that never gets hot, with a large number of small, friendly
Myanmar (aka Burma)
Beaches along the Bay
of Bengal such as Ngapali Beach, Chaung Tha Beach and Ngwe Saung along the Bay
Red Sea beaches
Egypt's Red Sea beach resorts as well as Israel's rather tired Eilat are reasonably priced, the sun is constant, the coral is kaleidoscopic, the sea's still warm and day trips to Luxor or Abu Simbel are a mass-tourism must-do. Ahem.
The Red Sea's air temperature is generally about 20°C in December (18°C at night) and water temperature is 23°C with low humidity and little chance of rain, so book ahead if you fancy swimming on Christmas day!
- Camps Bay, South
Africa, with great views and conveniently located near magnificent Cape Town but the water is always chilly.
- Spain's Canary Islands, enjoy endless sunshine and beaches of all types - activities, nudist, family, surfing, wild town sand, back-to-nature coves.
The southern sections of islands tend to be the warmest and Fuerteventura and Lanzarote the sunniest. La Palma is the wettest island.
Beaches that are not a good destination in December
Not a good time for much of the Pacific but there are bright spots. e.g. SE Australia,
Mexico (for both, see above); the Rock Islands, Palau are good in
December but south Pacific such as the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoas are going through a wet patch.
Indonesia: Generally south Bali is where the best beaches are, including the huge stretches of Kuta and Legian and the newer, classy resorts on the Bukit Peninsula, though from December to Feburary is not an ieal time to go due to heavy rain.
The wind's brisk and the water's brassy!