Tired of the same old celebrations on New Year’s Eve? Why not consider a destination adventure as a great way to celebrate the arrival of a brand new year. The US has some amazing destinations for singles, couples, families, and groups to get away for a new kind of celebration.
To get the best ideas for places to celebrate NYE, we asked some of our favorite travel bloggers where they love to go for this special holiday. See below to find some great ideas for your next New Year’s trip!
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you are looking for an adventure for New Year’s Las Vegas is the place to be. No matter your age you are sure to find a party that will suit you. Here are some things you might not know about spending New Year’s in Las Vegas.
Vegas is actually a family friendly spot for New Year’s. Lots of resorts offer family friendly celebrations. You can also ring in the New Year watching a fantastic show. And be sure to get a room with a view. If you get in one of the upper level rooms at Mandalay Bay you can watch fireworks shows all over Vegas from the comfort of your room.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on New Year’s in Vegas. Can’t afford an expensive show? Just go wonder around the Las Vegas strip. The people watching on New Year’s Eve is free entertainment. Want free drinks? Gamble at a slow and steady pace and the free drinks will keep coming to you.
Be sure to check out the scenery just outside of Vegas while you are there. Red Rock Canyon is a beautiful place to get in nature and away from the lights and action of the big city. Or visit the Hoover Dam and the parks surrounding the area. There is no shortage of beautiful places to visit just outside of Vegas.
Be sure to book your room early. Las Vegas is a hot New Year’s destination. The resorts on the Las Vegas strip in the middle of the action get booked up months in advance.
Cyndi Buchanan, Mom Elite
On a Cruise Ship
Whether you’re celebrating as a family, a couple or on your own, a cruise ship is one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Cruise ships pull out all the stops for New Year’s Eve and you can expect a fun-filled formal evening with a five-course gala dinner where the champagne will be flowing. While parents are enjoying a romantic meal, kids can have their own New Year’s Eve party in the kids’ club, ready to join their parents again before midnight.
New Year cruises are great for solo travellers too – they’re all usually seated together for dinner on a cruise ship, which makes it really easy to mingle with new people.
But the gala dinner isn’t all that’s on offer – You’ll also have a choice of evening entertainment included in your cruise, with a Broadway-style show, a casino and lots of live music in the various bars and lounges.
Cruise ships tend to dock in a port for New Year, so head up to the top deck at midnight for the best views of fireworks over the city. At the end of the night, you can make a detour past the buffet for a late-night snack as you stroll back to your cabin.
Some cruises include drinks, which means that you can enjoy cocktails all night without worrying about the bar bill, finding a taxi or clearing up any mess the next day.
The most popular place to embark on a cruise ship for New Year’s Eve is one of Florida’s cruise ports such as Miami, Port Canaveral or Port Everglades. However, you could also cruise from New York, Galveston, New Orleans, Los Angeles or Portland.
Jenni Fielding, Cruise Mummy
Key West, Florida
If you’re looking for a perfect place to ring in the New Year tropical-style, head to Key West, Florida, the Southernost City in the USA!
Winter temps in the Florida Keys hover in the mid-80’s (F), and the warm ocean currents are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving one of the most pristine reefs in the western hemisphere. Key West over the holidays means lots of parties, time spent with friends, and being on the water. So be sure and take a sunset cruise (with Champagne or a side of snorkeling) to fully appreciate the amazing waters.
The holidays are a festive time in the Conch Republic for singles, couples, and adventurous families. There is so much to do, but choosing to simply soak up the sun is just as popular. By day, relax by the pool, nosh on some fresh Florida spiny lobster and key lime pie, then take in a fiery sunset celebration at Mallory Square.
Ringing in the New Year is a Key West tradition and almost always involves a pub crawl along Duval Street and leads to some of the most outrageous countdown celebrations you’ll ever see — a drag queen named Sushi lowered in her champagne shoe at Bourbon Street, a conch shell dropped at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, and a pirate wench lowered from the mast of a tall ship at the Schooner Wharf Bar!
Be sure and make accommodations months ahead of time, and expect to book a minimum 5- night stay, typical for this time of year.
Lori Sorrentino, Travlinmad.com
Of all the wonderful places to explore for New Year’s Eve, why not consider Honolulu Hawaii for the holidays. With the best of tropical, fun, entertainment and outdoor activities, Honolulu offers the best of the holidays and celebrating New Year’s Eve.
You can start the evening right with world class cuisine offered at so many award winning international focused dining venues. Followed by fireworks displays offered by the major hotels and even the county of Hawaii or you can easily go to the beach and fire off your own displays for the night. The nightclub scene continues at all the fun venues in Waikiki or you can opt for a lovely walk on the beach with all the magical lights and fireworks display all over the beach areas.
After an active night, you can easily go for a nice brunch again with five star dining or opt for a nice picnic on the beach. Follow this up with outdoor fun like climbing Diamond Head for fabulous views of Waikiki, or how about taking a surfing class on soft sand beaches? A nice afternoon sailing cruise or even sunset cruise would be a wonderful way to cap of the New Year’s Day and there’s even more activity to keep busy exploring the rest of Oahu.
For inspiration, check out all the top things to do in Honolulu here for more fun things to do and see around the island. You’ll have so much to keep you busy during New Year’s and start to a fantastic new year holiday on the island.
Noel Morata, This Hawaii Life
San Diego, California
New Year’s Eve in San Diego is simply magical. The fireworks over the San Diego Bay reflect in the water and you get two shows for one.
As a local, I prefer to spend New Year’s Eve in downtown, preferably on a rooftop bar with views of the bay. The best views are from Harbor & Sky Rooftop Bar and Lounge. It almost feels like private show. The bar is actually located in the Residence Inn by Marriott, so if you want to make it really convenient, just book your hotel there as well. This is the perfect spot for a romantic New Year’s Eve celebration or if you want to get together with a couple of friends.
Another fun way to celebrate New Year’s in San Diego is a fancy Bay Cruise. They include dinner and drinks and while they are a bit pricey, they are definitely worth it.
You’ll get to experience a delicious multi-course dinner, while watching the beautiful San Diego skyline pass by. Then at 12, you can watch the fireworks from a unique angle and toast with your partner and friends to the new year.
A more budget-friendly option is to have a bon-fire by the beach. This is also a great option if you have kids as they can run around the sand, you can make s’mores and other fun activities with your family and friends while waiting to ring in the new year.
Whatever you decide to do, San Diego is a fun choice to visit for New Year’s Eve. (It’s also a great place to catch a sunset!)
Maria Haase, San Diego Explorer
Boston was where the American Revolution started, and there’s nowhere more special to celebrate New Year’s Eve than this city that played a vital role in the history of the USA.
Most years, Boston’s First Night celebrations start at midday, with a concert in Copley Square and the partying continues into the evening with a fabulous display of fireworks at the Boston Common. A yearly tradition for families is to watch the Frog Pond Skating Spectacular, which is a free show. This coming New Year’s Eve, Boston’s First Night celebration is going to be virtual, and festivities will be broadcast live.
Whether it’s New Year’s Eve or not, there are lots of fun things to do in Boston at night. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Boston by watching the fireworks light up the sky over the Boston Harbor. For families, the New Year’s Eve’ bowling lane parties’ are perfect and you can book a two-hour part for up to six people that includes a New Year’s Eve toast.
There are lots of parties around town, such as at City Works in Watertown. Brew Year’s Eve is a fun event if you love beer and food, with a pairing menu and an excellent list of unique beer. Another fun way to ring in the New Year in Boston is to go on a bar crawl, but the bars and pubs can get busy, so it’s worth getting a Boston New Year’s Eve Party Pass for guaranteed admission to popular venues.
Christina Pfeiffer, Travel2next.com
Orlando, Florida is such a special place to spend New Year’s Eve. This city caters to not only kids, families, and those that are kids at heart with the overabundance of amusement parks to celebrate this occasion. The amusement parks and the city of Orlando put on an amazing show. There are so many magical options for families such as enjoying New Year’s Eve at a Disney park.
You could choose from the following Disney parks or resorts: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Boardwalk, and also Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Everyone knows Disney knows how to throw a party. These parks are decorated beautifully, and Disney is famous for its spectacular firework shows and musical celebrations.
There are also special New Year celebrations at the other amusement parks such as Universal Studios, Legoland, and Seaworld. All each have their own individual unique celebration experiences in their parks with fireworks.
The best way to enjoy these celebrations is to get there early to get a good spot especially if you are traveling with kids. The quickest and most convenient transportation option is to take a shuttle service from your hotel to the park. This is the advantage of staying at Disney or Disney partner hotels for this and also hotels associated with Universal Studios, Legoland, and Seaworld.
If you are in the city of Orlando as a solo traveler on New Year’s Eve there are lots of festivities to participate in around International Drive and in the downtown area of Orlando. International Drive known as the nightlife area of Orlando has many bars and restaurants to enjoy the night of festivities. Additionally. there are several adult-themed events parties at clubs, bars, and restaurants in this area.
If you are looking to have a fun unique Orlando experience you can visit downtown Orlando where on Church Street the city drops the “big orange” at midnight making this such a fun way to bring in the New Year. As you can see Orlando offers so many diverse experiences and unique ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve hence making it one of my favorite destinations to welcome in a New Year.
Orlando is centrally located so it’s pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Florida via I-4, the turnpike, the Beachline, or a bus from Jacksonville to Orlando.
Leticia Alleyne, ChicTravelAroundTheWorld.com (site no longer available)
One of the best places in the United States to celebrate New Year’s is in Miami, Florida. This southern Florida city is known for its party atmosphere, beautiful people, and gorgeous beaches and when all that is combined over the New Year, it makes for one magical and vibrant celebration.
You will find a variety of activities leading up to the New Year and on the special night itself. A can’t-miss activity, particularly for those traveling as a family or those not looking for a long night at clubs and bars, is to watch the fireworks in South Beach. This is held annually and the best seat in the house is at the beach on 9th Street and Ocean Drive. You will see many others joining in for the show and setting up picnics along the beach.
An alternative to the fireworks show on South Beach is the Big Orange Ball Drop and Fireworks in downtown Miami. The best place to watch these is over at Bayfront Park. You will be greeted with a dance party and fantastic live music as you wait for “The Big Orange” that will go up to the top of the InterContinental Miami. This is one of the most popular things to do in the city for New Year’s and Pitbull has even hosted it multiple times, giving it nationwide recognition.
And, if you’re looking to ring in the New Year in true Miami style and in a luxurious way, head to Biscayne Bay where you will see a lot of million-dollar yachts lined up to watch the fireworks display. There are DJs and top-shelf liquor present in your ticket price if you opt for a big night out on the Bay.
Miami is definitely one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s in the US and you will find several things to do regardless of what your NYE party style is. And, after a long night of partying, enjoy the drive from Miami to Key West and relax and soak the new year in!
Megan Starr, Megan & Aram
New York City
New York City and the Ball Drop in Times Square is what New Year’s Eve dreams are made of, when you think if popular destinations to see in the New Year most people would say New York City would be top of their wish list. I know, it was top of mine and I did it in 2017.
I do have to admit its not all that its cracked up to be, don’t get me wrong the atmosphere is magic and New York City is a good idea anytime of year but there’s a few things you need to know before making NYC your NYE dream.
It’s very expensive if you want to be in Times Square, firstly if you want the luxury of food and a bathroom you’ll need to book into one of the many highly overpriced functions that operate from Times Square. These are the best places to get the best view. If you go general admission, you need to get there very early in the day, like lunch time and once you’re in you can’t leave.
Also there are never enough bathrooms to service the crowd and you can’t leave to go to an outside bathroom. It’s cold and I mean freezing. Its the middle of winter in NYC and in 2017 it was -12c degrees with a chill factor of -20c degrees. You’ll need to rug up which makes bathroom stops even more challenging.
Central Park is the perfect spot to see in the New Year, if you follow the crowd you’ll be able to see straight down 5th Ave and watch the Ball Drop in the distance with the fireworks behind you in the park. It really is the perfect spot and the crowd dissipates quickly and you don’t feel crammed in. It has all the atmosphere and you can walk down there from a cozy spot right about 11.30pm just in time to see if all happen.
Sally Lucas, OUR3KIDSVTHEWORLD
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana is by far the best place to spend New Year’s Eve in America. It is the most lively, eclectic happiest place and you can feel the special energy not only during one of its many holidays but just on a regular day.
Local New Orleans people are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and generally care about you seeing and enjoying the real New Orleans – not the tourist side. While Bourbon Street is a fun time (and a great place for New Year’s Eve as well), I would highly recommend going to Frenchman street for midnight. Frenchman is in the Marigny neighborhood and is a lively street lined with live music bars and street dancers. It is one of my favorite places to be at night and you can see the true ambiance and meaning of New Orleans.
New Orleans for New Year’s Eve is not so much suited for families but is better for a group of friends or young adults and couples simply because of the open container policy. Everyone is constantly in the streets and drinking in public and there is a party culture here. I’d also recommend staying in a hotel on Canal Street if you want to be in the center of the action or Uptown if you want to be a little further away in the quiet area (Uber is very popular in NOLA) or if you are a group of people there are a ton of Airbnb’s in the Marigny as well.
You are sure to get a true New Orleans experience when going during New Years.
Rachel Shulman, From East to West with RMS
Milwaukee is the largest, economic center and main cultural city of the State of Wisconsin. The city looks at its best during New Year’s Eve. Every year, there are various locations around the city celebrating the eve with joy and cheer. What makes New Year’s Eve special in the city are its traditions and a lot of exciting happenings. If you are looking for a family-friendly destination, Milwaukee can satisfy you with the best. Because of the awesome gatherings, fireworks, and big events, the city is perfect for a family visit. However, you will also enjoy your visit alone, with friends or with your partner.
On the first day of the new year, hundreds of people in Milwaukee participate in the city’s incredible traditions. They strip down in their skivvies and wade into the frigid water of Lake Michigan. You can also go skating at Red Arrow Park where they host fireworks and many more exciting activities. You can do ice skating and concessions with your partner. Apart from skating, you should not miss the New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Domes. There is a lot to cherish about the place. You can enjoy live music from Fox & Branch and folk music, fire dancing and a lot more. The dazzling light shows make your night at Down even more fun.
There are New Year’s Eve parties happening all around the city and you can walk out of your hotel to feel the vibe of it. Talking about the accommodations, there are some popular Airbnbs in Milwaukee where you can experience a great stay. You can travel to the city easily with public transportation. You can reach there by getting a flight to the General Mitchell International Airport.
Paulina, Paulina on the Road