6 Places You Never Thought To Celebrate The New Year

Skip the all-you-can-drink hotel bash and ring in the new year in a far more memorable way this year.

1. In A National Park

Summer may be the most popular time to visit our national parks, but there’s a lot to love about starting off the new year hiking, stargazing and generally being awed by nature in our national parks. Off the Beaten Path offers a six-day Grand Canyon New Year package that includes epic hikes, red rock jeep tours, colorful sunsets and a New Year’s toast at the historic El Tovar Hotel. Or, try the six-day Zion New Year’s Adventure.


2. At The First Place To Welcome The New Year

Sydney, Australia receives the lion’s share of media attention for having one of the first celebrations of the new year. However, Tonga is the very first country to ring in the new year, a full three hours ahead of Sydney. Made up of more than 170 South Pacific islands, the main island and home to the Royal Palace is Tongatapu, a coral island with plenty of sandy beaches. Go for snorkeling, island hopping and sea kayaking in the protected lagoon.


3. At The Last Place To Welcome The New Year

Just 558 miles from Tonga, be among the last to welcome 2019 in American Samoa. Technically, the clock will last strike midnight on Baker Island in the South Pacific. However, Baker Island is uninhabited, so you’ll need to clink glasses an hour earlier in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Plan to snorkel and dive at the National Park of American Samoa, which is home to over 950 species of tropical fish. Two Dollar Beach is also a must-go for stunning coral reefs and underwater wildlife.


4. On A Cruise Ship

Leave all your meals, activities, and of course, your champagne toast, up to a cruise line as you sail the high seas to ring in the new year. Book an expedition cruise to enjoy wintry celebrations and fireworks all up and down the magical coast of Norway on New Year’s Eve. You’ll also enjoy colorful displays of the northern lights throughout your voyage. Or, go south to the Caribbean with an eight-day sail from Miami to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and Bahamas.


5. Running A Midnight Race

Lace up your running shoes and get ready to take your first steps toward reaching your fitness goals in the new year with a midnight race, like the four-mile Midnight Run in Central Park that’s put on each year on New Year’s Eve by the New York Road Runners. Or, sign up for the Beat the New Year 5K in Salt Lake City, a race that starts at 11:30 p.m. and encourages runners to, yes, “beat the new year” and finish the race before the stroke of midnight.


6. On A Ski Slope

There’s nothing like starting a day with fresh powder on a mountain that’s just begging to be conquered, especially when that day is the very first of the new year. All the better if you can be out on the slopes at the stroke of midnight. Whitetail Resort in Pennsylvania will have fireworks and a ball drop at midnight, as well as skiing and snowboarding until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.

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