After the flurry of activity throughout December, the seemingly unending responsibilities to family and friends, it is reasonable to assume that you might want to spend the very end of the year with the one person you are most passionate about. There is something inherently romantic about New Year’s Eve, as the clock ticks down the seconds to another year by your partner’s side. If you and your partner want to escape to a special place to exchange your first kiss of the year, here are the best places in the world for a romantic New Year.
1. Christmas Island
There is perhaps no better place to greet the New Year than where the sun’s light first touches — and that’s Christmas Island, or Kiritimati, a small tropical atoll in the Pacific Ocean. At home, your friends and family might endure cold wind and snow to ring in 2016, but on Christmas Island, you and your partner will enjoy only warm breezes and sunshine. Scuba diving is a common practice, as Christmas Island is little more than a raised coral reef and is thus surrounded by breathtaking marine life. Perhaps the most romantic aspect of all is the necessary intimacy of the island: Just 150 square miles, Kiritimati won’t be bustling with tourists, and you might feel like you and your love are alone in a tropical paradise.
2. Ofu Island
Ofu Island, boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in the South Pacific, is Kiritimati’s exact opposite. This island in American Samoa is among the last places on Earth to turn the clock to the New Year. Here, you and your honey can soak up the last magnificent rays of 2015, snorkeling in the warm tropical water, exploring the lush rainforests, and delaying as long as possible the end of the holiday season and the return to tedious, everyday life.
3. Niagara Falls
There is a reason Niagara Falls remains a couple’s paradise. The history of the place, the mists of the falls, and the brilliance of the surrounding region in dead winter combine to produce an atmosphere perfect for passion at the start of the New Year. For couples who prefer privacy, the small towns of St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake are serene, with splendid wineries and intimate outdoor adventures. For couples who like action and revelry, Niagara Falls proper presents a wild New Year’s Eve bash every year, with famous names in entertainment and music as hosts. No matter what you prefer, Niagara Falls is one of the best destinations in North America for NYE.
4. New Orleans
A city renowned for its raucous parties, New Orleans goes absolutely wild on New Year’s Eve. However, instead of blowing noisemakers and wearing funny hats, the citizens of New Orleans prefer their New Year festivities to have more zest. With world-class jazz music, spicy Cajun and Creole flavors, and elaborate costumes and parade floats, New Orleans’ city-wide celebration is long, loud, and exhilarating, and there is no better person with whom to experience it than your love.
5. Lake Placid
Sometimes, the best way to enjoy your partner is snuggling close and speaking your thoughts. The quiet, isolated atmosphere of Lake Placid in New York is perfect for an intimate, personal New Years with the person you love. The surrounding Adirondacks boast a wealth of pleasing outdoor activities, including hiking or skiing. Most cabins near the lake come with a number of passion-inducing amenities, like a wood-burning fireplace, a hot tub, and more than a few big, warm blankets perfect for cuddling close as the clock strikes midnight.
6. Loch Lomond
Often overshadowed by the mysterious Loch Ness, Scotland’s Loch Lomond is inarguably more romantically scenic than its famous, monster-filled neighbor. The largest lake in the U.K., Loch Lomond is surrounded by rolling green hills, tiny, secluded towns, and historic castles. A few hours away, Edinburgh presents an outstanding New Year’s festival, replete with bagpipes and fireworks, but peaceful Loch Lomond boasts a natural lightshow as the technicolor sun sets over the still, velvety waters. While you and your love explore rural Scotland, you might just hear a faithful rendition of Auld Lang Syne.