Top Five U.S. Cities for a Last-minute Holiday Trip

If you have ever found yourself staring out the window, wishing you were anywhere but here, while holiday merriment takes place in the background, then you are not alone. Whatever the reason, we all have those moments when we just can't do the holidays anymore. These are some of the best places for a last minute holiday trip to help you escape the mad rush of family, food, presents, and all the mess and stress that has the bourbon level dropping at a pace equal to the eggnog.

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Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge is the classic Christmas ski vacation. It's also a great place to get loaded with really good looking people at bars that have fireplaces, and who doesn't like that? You can ski and be seen at the cornerstone of the resort town, The Breckenridge Ski Resort, and cover just about any avenue of good times you can imagine. Obviously the skiing is world class, but the T-Bar is also one of the best spots in town to get cozy with a drink, and if things go well, get cozy with a drink and with someone else with a drink. The next day, sleep in, then head over to the original brew pub in town, The Breckenridge Brewery, for a beer and some great pub food to kill yesterday's hangover.

San Diego, CA

San Diego is always nice. Always! That is what makes it a perfect middle of crappy cold gray winter vacation destination. If you can, book a room at the world famous Hotel Del Coronado. It's right on the beach, it's world class, and it is swift kick to the nuts of a the cold, dreary winter that most of the rest of the country is going through. While you're in San Diego, make sure you do something that is anti-holidays, like get a tattoo that says "Anti-holiday" at Flying Panther Tattoos. Jackie Dunn Smith is one of the best artists in town, if not the country, and she's just really frickin' nice too. The last time I was there I asked a clerk in a skate shop who did her work, and she mentioned Jackie's name. I was in the shop that night getting my leg done. You're going to be hungry after a few hours under the needle, so stay in the historic Golden Hill neighborhood and hit up the Turf Supper Club. In this retro dive, you buy your meat raw and cook it at the giant vented grill in the middle of the bar. Sounds weird AF, but it's a good time and a good way to meet some fellow tattooed, yard beer drinking folks.

Key West, FL

Key West is the embodiment of "weird in a good way" when it comes to travel destinations. It's also a good compromise for holiday travel because you get sandy beaches, neon boat drinks, and everything else you want out of traveling to the Keys, but you also get Christmas if you want it. Nothing says "eff you" to cold winter weather like watching Key West's annual lighted boat parade, taking in the holiday harbor walk of lights, or any of the other slightly odd/cheesy holiday festivities, all while wearing flip flops and a swimsuit. Keep it super touristy by checking out the haunted old stomping grounds of Ernest Hemingway at Sloppy Joe's , just watch out for the famous six-toed cats (yes, I'm serious) of Key West.

Maui, HI

Maui at the last minute??? That's crazy talk man, you can't go to Hawaii at the last minute! Bullshit. Granted, you can't load up the car and take a road trip, but you don't have to plan a Hawaiian vacation five years in advance. As long as you have funds, anything is possible. Hawaii is just one of those places where worrying about how much you spend isn't worth it. We're going to stay on Wailea Beach at the Marriot Wailea Beach Resort because this is a last minute trip, and Marriot is consistently good at being consistent, so we don't want any weird surprises. Plus, we're not going to be in our room much anyway, so all that is needed is a place to sleep between rounds at the Wailea Golf Club and dinner at Polynesian-Asian restaurant Ko. Is there a better way to celebrate Christmas than fine dining and golf in beautiful weather? I don't know the answer to this, but I'm guessing Uncle Frank back in Ohio does.

Bentonville, AR

Bentonville and its surrounding areas are probably one of the greatest hidden gems in the US. This is probably due to the fact that very few people equate Ozarks and Walmart (the Walton family, and their money, is responsible for much of Bentonville's glitz) with being classy, sophisticated, or cultured, but Bentonville has more of this than a lot of bigger, more well known cities. The world famous Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is worth seeing for just the building itself, but the art isn't too shabby either. It is Alice Walton's baby, so you're going to see more than just a few nice landscapes. Make a reservation at James at the Mill for dinner, and even though I have no idea what the hell Ozark Plateau Cuisine is, I can assure you that it is amazing. If you can, sit at the kitchen view seats and you'll be able to talk with the chefs as they prepare your Ozark Plateau Cuisine. I think it's code for damn fine food.

Drew loves traveling, loves the holidays, and loves traveling during the holidays. He's been to all of these places this time of year, and is on the lookout for more great trips.