Three Southern destinations are among the best in the world when it comes to places to spend Christmas this year, according to Travel + Leisure.
This month, the website for the travel magazine picked its Top 15 “Best Places to Spend Christmas.” Criteria for selection included “cheerful decorations and festive events that capture the holiday spirit, all set against the backdrop of a beautiful destination,” according to the article.
The first Southern destination noted in the list is Highlands, N.C.
“If you’re looking for a charming, small-town Christmas experience that feels like it’s straight out of a Hallmark movie, head to Highlands, North Carolina, this holiday season,” the article reads.
The town, nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains and Nantahala National Forest, is highlighted for its Old Edwards Inn and Spa and Half-Mile Farm.
The list also includes the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., where Travel + Leisure says travelers can find “the perfect combination of holiday cheer and interesting activities the whole family will enjoy.” A bonus: Many of the attractions are free, including the Smithsonian museums, the National Mall, and the National Zoo.
For those looking for a warmer place to play this holiday season, Travel + Leisure suggests The Florida Keys.
“With pleasantly warm December weather, the Florida Keys are an ideal escape for those looking to spend the holidays in a U.S. beach destination,” the article states.
The article spotlighted Sunset Key Cottages, which was voted best Florida Resort in Travel + Leisure‘s 2021 World’s Best Awards.
The three southern U.S. picks stand alongside impressive worldwide locales, including The Maldives; Bavaria, Germany; Rovaniemi, Finland; and London.