6 Very Reasonable New Year’s Vacations to Book From SF (Right Now)
Ring in 2020 on a beach, under the aurora, or from the top of a black-diamond slope
New Year’s Eve is a problem. It’s ideally best spent on a beach, or a mountaintop — but oof, those prices.
To make the process easier, we sought out the best value-for-money destinations from SFO to faraway places — and found cheap (and cheapish) fares to some of our favorite spots.
It wasn’t easy. Let’s just say it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a $3,300 fare to Portugal. And NYC? At least at the moment, those peak-period round-trips are almost four figures.
Here, the best of what’s out there.
You’re going to: Fairbanks
Round trip: $271 on Alaska connecting in Seattle
Briefly: So you wanted to see the northern lights?
Stay: We’ll be tucking into the Bear Family Suite (yes) at the Chena Hot Springs Resort
Must-dos: Sort of like an Alaskan version of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, the hot springs with reputedly healing waters have drawn visitors since they were first discovered. Watching the aurora from the spa, go on a dog sled ride, or snowshoe into the wilderness.
You’re going to: Salt Lake City
Round trip: $196 on Delta
Briefly: Save on the flights, spend on the slopes
Stay: At the luxe Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley
Must-dos: If it requires snow and ice, you can do it: ice skating in Park City, fat bike riding on the trails, snowboard at Park City Resort, and, of course, skiing some of the most famous slopes in the world. Plus a horse-drawn sleigh, if that’s how you want to enter 2020.
You’re going to: Miami
Round trip: $516 on American and Frontier
Briefly: Is there a more fun American city than Miami? (Doubtful.)
Stay: Instead of the usual suspects (the W, the Fontainebleau, the Betsy, etc.) we’ll be at the Life House Little Havana, a Cuba-looking boutique hotel with a mellow vibe. If you can’t live without immediate proximity to the water, try their South of Fifth location in Miami Beach.
You’re going to: Kahului
Round trip: $458 on Hawaiian and United
Briefly: Not a bad deal for Maui
Stay: Instead of heading directly for the $1000-a-night oceanside resorts, why not spend 20 percent of that on an oceanside private rental?
Must-dos: After you’ve finished the Road to Hana — the 65-mile bucket-list scenic drive — head to the Haleakala Crater at Haleakala National Park for an equally iconic hike. Make a reservation if you want to see the sun rise over the crater’s rim.
You’re going to: Las Vegas
Round trip: $131 on Frontier and United
Briefly: New Year’s Eve at the end of the world
Stay: If you want to avoid glitz, glam, gambling and cigarette smoke, definitely opt for a private rental, like this 31st-floor apartment with views of the Strip.
Must-dos: If you like gambling, you know what to do. If you don’t, Vegas is a foodie paradise, from the make-your-res-now é by José Andrés to the lower-key but still excellent spots like Flock & Fowl, led by James Beard-nominated chef Sheridan Su.
You’re going to: San Jose de Cabo
Round trip: $627 on United/Alaska
Briefly: Sunny, beautiful, and delicious
Stay: Admire the talent of leading Mexican interior designer Marisabel Gómez Vázqueza from your tranquil room at The Cape, part of the Thompson Hotels brand — all come with balconies and views of the iconic El Arco.
Must-dos: Eat just-caught seafood (maybe at the extremely laidback Maro Shrimp House), go on a sunset cruise, and shake off the winter vibes at Lovers Beach.
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