America’s Best Towns for the Holidays from America’s Best Towns for the Holidays
America’s Best Towns for the Holidays
America’s Best Towns for the Holidays
December becomes a festive month when people celebrate what they’ve accomplished and set plans to conquer new heights in the coming year. One of the unsurpassed ways to do all that is by going on a vacation to a place especially designed to reflect the holiday spirit with creative spins on traditions and decorations.
Whether you are a winter sport enthusiast, who is looking to ski his or her way through fresh snow, or you would love to view spectacular holiday light displays and watch incredible firework shows, the towns on this list are sure to excite you and put you in the holiday spirit.
McAdenville, North Carolina
McAdenville is so into the holiday that it renames itself Christmas Town USA for the month of December. Hundreds of thousands of people visit during the last month of the year – 600,000 last year, compared to a local population of about 650 people – to marvel at the stunning lights the town puts up. About 400 trees are lit in downtown alone, and around 200 garlands are placed on lampposts all over. The life-size Nativity set and the spectacle of Santa and his reindeer add to the small town’s magic. The kids won’t want to miss the Yule Log Parade where they pull a sled with a Yule log.
A light dusting of snow, cheerful displays, Christmas parades, and exciting events are just some of the many things you have to look forward to during Christmas in Woodstock. This historic New England town welcomes all to attend their pre-Christmas Winter Wassail Weekend; don’t miss the Wassail Parade, it runs through the center of Woodstock and features more than 50 horses and riders dressed in costumes. There is also a holiday craft fair and performances by local theater troupes.
Vail is a winter wonderland – perfect for a Christmas holiday combined with skiing adventures. Go in time for the Vail Holidaze (Dec. 11-21 and 31) to feel the town’s true magic during the winter solstice and a New Year's Eve Torchlight Parade – watch as ski instructors and Vail locals form a glowing train –followed by fireworks at Golden Peak.
Lancaster is an ideal place to create special family Christmas memories. Be part of the “team” that takes care of Santa’s reindeer at the Hands-on House Children’s Museum or ride the rails with Santa and his helpers during the Santa's Paradise Express trip. The town is set beautifully among snowy hills in the Dutch County. Lancaster is also home to the oldest farmer’s market in the U.S. Carolers escort customers this time of the year.
The beautiful mountain town has it all in the winter – skiing and snowboarding, sleigh rides, snowmobile tours, ski jumping and snowshoeing, snowcat skiing, and dog sledding. The faux Bavarian-themed town adds a nice element to the pristine natural atmosphere. Leavenworth becomes a magical city of lights right after Thanksgiving Day with its millions of Christmas lights, constant caroling and joyous lighting ceremonies during the first three weekends of December. For a small town there is an abundance of concerts, horse drawn sleighs, unique shops and cafés.
Park City, Utah
The fact that cars’ license plates have the “Greatest Snow on Earth” written on them should be a hint. It’s light, dry and plenty. The vibe there is very energetic. The adventurous mountain town and famous ski resort nearby host a series of popular holiday musical events, strolling elves, and holiday carols. The Sundance Film Festival scheduled for January 19-29 will draw a Hollywood crowd.
North Pole, Alaska
If you ever thought Santa doesn’t really have a home, you should go to this small Fairbanks suburb. See Santa’s home for yourself and witness the Northern Lights at the same time. Visit the famous Santa Claus House and the Christmas in Ice, the 6-week winter ice park located next to it. It features Christmas-themed ice art competition pieces, ice slides and a maze, twirlers, and indoor kids’ crafts. People from all over the world visit every year.
The Mile High City is boasts 2,500 acres of urban parks, which will be decorated with awe-inspiring Christmas lights. They offer perfect opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Don’t miss the Winter Brew Fest and a rare winter concert at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. Other seasonal events and markets are worth the trip as well. The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park is a must-see attraction. Check out the Apex Center, which has two ice rinks, a gigantic indoor aquatic play area, climbing wall, indoor track, and themed indoor playground.
Santa Claus, Indiana
The American home of Santa Claus takes the holidays very seriously. The small town of about 2,500 people has a local post office that has been sending letters to kids “from Santa” for over a century. Dubbed “America’s Christmas Hometown,” it offers a lot to locals and visitors. Book now a package at Santa’s Lodge, a pass to Santa Claus Land of Lights, an access card to chat with an elf on the Northpole Network at Santa’s Candy Castle, story time and milk and cookies with Santa, and Christmas crafts.
If the thought of fresh snow, slopes, a variety of terrain and winter activities excite you, you’re definitely going to want to spend the holidays in Breckenridge. Along with a variety of recreational activities to choose from, this town also boasts plenty of events to get you into the holiday spirit. Dress up as Santa on Dec. 3, 2016 and join in on the Race of the Santas, and make sure you attend their New Year’s Eve celebration for a spectacular fireworks show.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Contrary to what many people believe, Myrtle Beach doesn’t turn into a ghost town after the summer. No, you may not find people lounging at the beach, but you will find plenty of holiday spectacles. Enjoy holiday shows and live entertainment at several Myrtle Beach theaters; attend the tree lighting ceremony and annual holiday parade at Broadway at the Beach; and go to the annual Festival of the Trees at Ripley’s Aquarium to observe a seasonal display of more than 50 trees throughout the aquarium.
Cape May, New Jersey
The winter months are considered the most beautiful time of the year to visit Cape May. Historic homes and towns are decorated, holiday lights are everywhere, and Santa Claus makes appearances. Some of their most popular holiday events include the West Cape May Christmas Parade, Winter Wonderland at Congress Hall and the tree lighting ceremony for Cape May City.
The holiday season is a spectacular time to visit Maryland’s state capital, Annapolis. There are plenty of seasonal activities to participate in. Make sure that you head to Sandy Point State Park and take a scenic drive along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay for an incredible drive-through holiday light show – Lights on the Bay. It features more than 60 animated and stationary displays. The show will run until January 1 from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly.
Sip on some wine, and enjoy Sonoma as it transforms into a winter wonderland. Admire 8 acres of 100,000 sparkling lights, holiday treats, music and tons of events at the fourth annual Holidays in Sonoma. On December 3 attend the Annual Lighting of the Snowmen and enjoy the festival which features delicious food, wine and beer tasting, music, festive decorations and kids crafts.
Asheville, North Carolina
Get away for a weekend with your family during the holiday months and head to Asheville. From November through December you will find a variety of events to attend and attractions to explore. Take the kids on a ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express train, explore the Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum and admire dozens of vintage ornaments and aluminum Christmas trees; and make sure that you visit the Arboretum gardens for a spectacular lights display.
If you’re looking for powder hounds this holiday season, look no further than Jackson. The cold weather and snowfall are sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Create new memories and Head to Teton Village for the opportunity to ski with Santa on December 25. Other events in Jackson include the holiday spectacular “A Winter Wonderland on Ice,” hosted by The Skating Club of Jackson Hole; Stargazing on the Teton Mountain Lodge Rooftop, December 28; and Cookie Decorating at the Kids Ranch on December 26.