Every New Year's Eve, hundreds of thousands of people travel to the biggest cities in the world to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Why not change up the game, ditch the big city, and spend New Year's Eve at your local (or not so local) beach?

Not only are beaches some of the most beautiful places on Earth, but they provide you with a wide variety of ways to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Below, we offer some suggestions of how to spend both New Year's Eve AND New Year's Day at your preferred beach town, but to get a better idea of the options that will be available to you, make sure you check your vacation town's website to see all the fun events happening while you're there.

What's So Great about the Beach?

Most big cities are pretty much the same, in terms of atmosphere, activities available, and crowd levels. On the other hand, Beach towns are diverse in nature and provide you with secluded options, which is nice during a global pandemic. Enjoy a quiet night with great views, or party it up tropics style–at the beach. You have options!

If you do prefer a quieter beach trip, there isn't a better time to go than New Year's. Most beaches consider the winter months to be their "off" season, which means fewer crowds and more room to stretch out. Depending on where you go, you might even feel like you have the whole town to yourself! Take in all the sights and sounds with none of the obnoxious tourists.

Speaking of gorgeous views, starting the new year in a beautiful, tropical environment can help you set the tone for the rest of your year. New Year's is all about setting intentions and goals for the life you want to create, and what environment could be more influential or inspirational during that process than the beach? Spend a relaxing evening sipping wine and sitting on your ocean-side porch making New Year's resolutions. We're sure you'll come up with some incredible ideas that you'd have never thought up otherwise!

To Celebrate New Year's Eve…

One of the best parts about spending New Year's Eve on the beach is all the different ways you can choose to celebrate! A lot of towns throw parties similar to big cities, but on a much smaller scale. For example, in Charleston, South Carolina, Folly Beach hosts a Flip Flop drop, where a giant pair of illuminated flip-flops slowly drops from the sky just like the ball in Times Square. Events like these usually involve food vendors, live music, and even carnival rides, so make sure you check to see what's going on at the beach near you!

If you're specifically visiting the beach in order to get away from the crowds, but you don't want to miss out on the party aspect of the holiday completely, you can host a smaller party for friends and family at your vacation rental. It's even better if you pick a fun theme, like tiki, disco, champagne, glitter, or casual masquerade. Put the NYC countdown on TV and let the party ball roll! (Get it? Ball? Like the one in Times Square?)

Lastly, you can avoid people altogether by staying in at your vacation rental, opening your seaside window to enjoy the roar of the waves, drinking some wine, and watching the ball drop on TV (unless you fall asleep first). If you end up passing out early, there are no worries–what better way to start the new year right than by getting a good night's sleep?

To Celebrate New Year's Day…

You know we can't talk about spending New Year's Day on the beach without mentioning the infamous Polar Bear Plunge.

If you've never done or heard of a polar bear plunge before, participants either run or jump into a large body of cold water to celebrate the new year and raise money for a charitable organization. Polar bear plunges have been held in the United States since 1904, when one of the earliest polar bear clubs started the tradition in Boston, Massachusetts. Though polar bear plunges seem to be most popular in North America, they're also held worldwide in countries like New Zealand, South Korea, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. If you've never done a polar bear plunge, consider this your very own personal challenge to give it a try this year!

Many people believe that whatever you spend the first day of the new year doing, you'll do all year long. Make it as special as possible by taking some ocean-side adventures this New Year's Day! One of the ways you can do this, if you visit a beach in California, Hawaii, Alaska, or the Northeast of the United States, is to go whale watching and let yourself feel some childlike wonder. You'll make an unforgettable memory, get a lot of great pictures, and set the tone for adventure and exploration for the upcoming year.

Another great way to set the tone for the rest of your year is to eat lots of great seafood. After all, you won't find better quality seafood than you will on the coast! Skip the chain restaurants and explore the hidden gems and deep dives in whatever town you visit. Embrace the culture and try something new; you might learn something about yourself or even find a new favorite food in the process!

3, 2, 1…

Beaches all over the world provide visitors with fun, exciting ways to usher in the New Year, but they also give you a lot of freedom to enjoy whatever environment YOU choose to create. Gather up your friends and family and take advantage of all the options available to you by celebrating New Year's on the beach this year, and don't forget the amazing food. Whether you prefer lobster or crab, shrimp or oysters, we promise you won't regret a memorable New Year's celebration on the beach!