Don’t want to spend New Year’s Eve shivering in the cold? There are lots of warm locales where you can spend the evening celebrating right on the beach. This year, do something different with an unforgettable experience at one of these spectacular destinations for ringing in 2020.
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Poipu Beach, Kauai
The Hawaiian Islands are one of the last spots on the planet to welcome the new year, and on the island of Kauai you can enjoy the tropical climate and magnificent fireworks displays right from Poipu Beach. This family-friendly island offers a ton to see and do all year long for a perfect beach vacation, including snorkeling in warm waters and hiking to countless waterfalls. On New Year’s Eve, you can pick up a meal from one of the food trucks serving everything from pizza and tacos to traditional Hawaiian fare, watch a free outdoor movie just after sunset and then watch the dark night’s sky explode into color over the Pacific.
Miami Beach, Florida
You can also enjoy New Year’s Eve in your bathing suit in Miami. This city is renowned for its parties, including festivities on the sand like the City of Miami Beach New Year’s Eve Celebration. Toss down a blanket and take in the free fireworks show, or snag tickets to Pitbull’s Worldwide NYE party or see Snoop Dogg at E11EVEN. You can also celebrate in style on the water at the Sailing into 2020 event or go to the free Wynwood NYE 2020 event. For an unforgettable stay, book a room at one of the oceanfront hotels with private balconies.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is in the Southern Hemisphere which means New Year’s Eve is summertime, bringing party-goers to the beach. In fact, over two million (many of which wear white as it’s said to bring good luck) head to famous Copacabana, a 2.5-mile stretch of sand to enjoy Champagne, samba and fireworks. The party on the waterfront includes huge stages with live music, extravagant Carnival-style costumes, traditional dance performances and carnival attractions throughout the evening. Handfuls of flowers are tossed into the ocean as a gift to Yemanja, the Goddess of the seas, and during the countdown to 2020, a procession of boats will set of thousands of fireworks over the water.
Madeira, an archipelago of four islands off the northwest coast of Africa, offers the ultimate wine and beach enthusiast’s New Year’s Eve. It’s famous for its stunning natural beauty, with nearly a hundred miles of coastline, while Funchal hosts a big New Year celebration. Of course, Madeira shares its name with the wine that put it on the map, which means the vino will be overflowing throughout the festivities. Restaurants serve special seafood and wine dinners, while a massive party is held on the beaches and in the streets. Fireworks explode over the ocean, and just about everyone seems to be sipping wine, wine and more wine until the sun comes up.
While Goa is famous for its parties all year-round, New Year’s Eve is hard to beat. Expect lots of dancing on the beach and sinking your toes into the sand while taking in the spectacular scenery made even better with fairy lights strung on the palm trees. Fireworks and celebrations can be enjoyed along the entire coast of the state, though the biggest and wildest can typically be found around Anjuna, which hosts world-renowned DJs that play tunes long into the night. If you’re looking for something a bit more tranquil, the jungle-lined bay at Palolem is filled with more casual beach bars that offer plenty of cocktails, music and fireworks.
While Hawaii may be one of the last to greet the New Year, Sydney, Australia is one of the world’s first capital cities to start the countdown. While there are practically countless ways to celebrate here, including cruises on Sydney Harbour where you can take in the fireworks extravaganza from the water. Famous Bondi Beach hosts a massive dance party and some great vantage points to watch the fireworks over the water. You’ll find things to do day and night on the golden sands framed by azure turquoise waters, including surfing and swimming, fine dining, shopping eclectic markets and taking part in a very buzzing nightlife.
Spain’s party capital does it right, with the very best saved for the year’s grand finale. Massive street parties take over Las Ramblas, Plaza Reial and Plaza Catalunya in the hours leading up to midnight, while vast crowds sing and sip Champagne. A wide range of bars, nightclubs and eateries host special events to celebrate, and at the far end of Barceloneta Beach, fireworks light up the sky. If you stick around a while, during the first week of the new year you’ll be able to watch the 3 Kings Parade with its vibrantly painted chariots, marching bands and torchlight processions.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
The islands off Thailand’s coast throws parties throughout the year, but the New Year’s Eve celebration on Koh Phangan puts on the biggest one of all. It revolves around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin and begins just after sunset continuing through the wee hours of the morning. Sip cocktails paired with fresh-caught, grilled fish then head to the party just before midnight. If you can stay awake, enjoy a swim in the turquoise waters just as the sun comes up.
Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
While Kauai offers a more laid-back atmosphere for New Year’s Eve fireworks and festivities, Oahu offers big parties and its own countdown to 2020 that kicks off with fireworks from a barge just off Waikiki Beach. At the stroke of midnight, some 1,800 fireworks in colorful assorted shapes like falling leaves, rings and palm trees light up the night sky, culminating with the tune “Auld Lang Syne.”