Maybe you love champagne bubbles and bursting fireworks, or maybe you got a headache just from reading these words. Fortunately, there’s no “right” way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Whether you want to join the party, avoid the party or just get weird, here are five trip ideas to help you mark the occasion your way.
The Snoozer: New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade, Nassau, Bahamas
You like parties, but lack the stamina to stay up until midnight. Good news—in the Bahamas you can sleep through the countdown and wake up early to all the excitement. The New Year’s Day Bahamian Junkanoo parade in downtown Nassau, which begins at 2 a.m. and ends around noon, brings thousands of dancers, musicians and street performers into the streets for hours of celebration. Soak up local culture and snack on street food.
The Eccentric: Allendale Tar Bar’l, Allendale, England
Forget fireworks. In the Northumberland village of Allendale, soot-covered “guisers” ring in the New Year by carrying torches and whisky barrels full of flaming tar through the streets and hurling them on a massive bonfire in the heart of town. No one is quite sure how the ceremony, known as the “Tar Bar’l,” began (some say it dates back to the Middle Ages), but it always ends the same way: with dancing in the streets and sparks in the sky.
The Outdoor Warrior: English Bay Polar Bear Swim, Vancouver
A Vancouver tradition since 1920, the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim in English Bay is an invigorating way to wash away the old year (and the night’s excesses). You can just dunk your head and run shrieking back to the beach, or you can commit completely by showing up in costume and doggy paddling the Peter Pantages Memorial 100-yard swim race. When you stop shivering, there’s coffee, hot chocolate and even commemorative buttons.
The New Year’s Scrooge: Rara Avis Rainforest Lodge & Reserve, Costa Rica
If the idea of a champagne countdown and big crowds make you want to run far away, this is the place to go. Avoid New Year’s celebrations altogether in a quiet lodge set amid a pristine Costa Rican rainforest, accessible only on foot or by tractor-drawn cart. Swim in a jungle waterfall, eat home-style Costa Rican meals, do some birdwatching from your wraparound balcony and, most importantly, lose track of time.
The Traditionalist: Times Square Ball Drop, New York City
Get your Auld Lang Syne on at what may be the most famous New Year’s Eve celebration of all. Join more than a million fellow revellers in New York City’s Times Square to see celebrities and musicians perform, and then watch the 12-foot-wide crystal ball drop atop One Times Square. It’s pricey, chaotic and completely over the top—in short, the most iconic, bucket-listy, selfie-tastic New Year’s Eve experience ever.