12 Best Christmas Towns in Florida To Celebrate Holidays in 2023
Christmas is a merry and magical holiday season filled with good wishes and happiness. Everyone around you is pleasant and cheerful and enjoys Christmas, decorating the home and trees. You can go Christmas shopping, buy gifts for friends and family, go ice skating or have a mug of hot chocolate and cookies while watching a carol performance.
With so many things to do to make Christmas the best experience, let’s look at some of the most beautiful Christmas towns in Florida where you can enjoy all the above things and more!
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Filled with theme parks, shopping malls, and lakes, Orlando, The City Beautiful, is one of the best places to escape in the holiday season. What can be better than sipping hot chocolates and looking at big gingerbread houses or ice skating?
Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort is decked up with 70 feet-tall Christmas trees, wreaths, and lights twinkling everywhere, making Christmas more beautiful and unforgettable. With its Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and fireworks which will make Grinch go Christmassy with awe, Disney World is perfect for a Christmas vacation in Florida.
One more fantastic place, Legoland, is decorated with an enormous Christmas tree made of Lego bricks and Christmas-themed Lego figures holding puddings.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, located in Orlando, makes Christmas more magical. If you’re a true Potterhead, you can discover and go ‘wow’ over the details you will find among the decorations of alleys and shops.
With The Frog Choir and various scenes like Yule Ball, this Universal experience will make you want to borrow Dobby’s socks to wipe your happy tears! Also, Gaylord Palms, SeaWorld, Orlando Museum of Art, Lake Nona, and Lake Eola are some venues you can visit if you want a spectacular Christmas celebration in Florida.
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There are many unique places in Miami to celebrate Christmas. For example, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is an amusement park that comes to life during Christmas.
It has impressive light displays and is known for its carnival events and food. This park is filled with more than a hundred rides and offers acrobatic, and magic shows.
You can see life-sized holiday-themed crafts and miniatures to make Christmas more fun and exciting. Also, walk along the Mistletoe Lane enjoying the carnival food as the carolers serenade you, or showcase your hidden singing talent with Christmas Karaoke.
Bayfront Park, overlooking Biscayne Bay, is filled with Holiday spirit, with a 70 feet Christmas tree decorated with thousands of lights, perfect for a Christmas celebration in Florida.
Stroll through the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and enjoy the soft lights from the trees festooned with antique ornaments and illuminated walls. Watch the Christmas-themed light figures and whisper your Christmas dreams to Father Christmas.
Miami Outboard Club organizes a ‘Christmas Lighted Boat Parade‘ where the boats and yachts are decked with lights. You can see Santas and elves showing their moves as reindeer hop around.
You can expect a twist in the holiday festivities as there are high chances you might see a Santa lounging in beach clothes or flamingos flapping instead of reindeer!
3. St. Augustine
Christmas decorations in Florida can be seen best in St. Augustine. Every building, from hotels to homes and Colonial architecture, will be decorated with beautiful white lights.
The Plaza de la Constitución and the surrounding areas are decorated with nearly three million lights during Christmas, making it one of the best cities for Christmas lights in Florida.
To view the annual Nights of the Lights followed by carols and the All-Star Orchestra, you can book an Old Town Trolley Tour and visit the winery or go around, soaking up in the soft glow of the lights.
The annual Regatta of Lights can be seen on the second Saturday of December on Matanzas Bay. Grab a drink and sit along the bay to watch the boats float with different themes and decorations.
In addition, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum organizes the annual Luminary Night with more than 2500 luminaries.
Last but not least, you cannot miss the Christmas Parade in St. Augustine, one of Florida’s largest holiday parades. It begins at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.
4. St. Petersburg
A place with sea and art and delicious restaurants, St. Petersburg, has one of the most visited Christmas markets in Florida. Don’t miss the St. Pete Beach Boat Parade, where you can see a variety of boats floating with lights lifting your holiday mood.
The North Pole Winter Wonderland is designed with beautiful miniature models, and there are also music performances. Also, look out for the giant tree lighting event at Safety Harbor, followed by pictures and treats with Santa Claus.
If you love some adventure and mystery with a side of food tasting and ice gliding, then the Enchant Maze is a must-visit for you. This maze is filled with lights and Christmas figures leading to a mystery.
One of the best Florida Christmas activities is visiting the Winter Beach at St. Pete Pier and ice skating in Christmas-themed rinks with a beautiful view of the water. There’s also a Christmas market where you can buy unique Holiday gifts and stock up for next Christmas.
Richly filled with culture, museums, theme parks, and beaches, Tampa is famous for its Christmas celebrations too. Want to meet Santa and Rudolph while also seeing some penguins along the way? Then head to Christmas town in Tampa Bay. This holiday park is filled with light, beauty, and great Christmas treats.
Don’t forget the ice shows if you visit this place. Christmas Town in Busch Garden is filled with light shows, rides, fantastic food, and shopping activities. More than two million gloomy lights light up the place giving it a dreamy glow.
Visit Curtis Hixon Park’s Winter Village, where you can enjoy skating with a view of sparkling lights and holiday decorations. The Icicle Craft Kitchen will satisfy your Christmas cravings with treats and candies.
Also, look at the Victorian Christmas Stroll at Henry B Plant Museum if you want a historical dose of fun. Each museum room is decked up with various themes and vintage Santa Claus.
The Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is filled with so many decorated vessels. The Parade starts from Davis Islands and ends at Sparkman Wharf. Rough Riders Holiday Parade and Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland is a must-visit for you to have a complete Christmas celebration.
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Pensacola has a beautiful and slightly different Christmas tradition. Papa Noel or Pere Noel can be seen dressed up in pelts and comes with an alligator instead of reindeer. So, if you stumble upon the word ‘Cajun’ and are not hit with the memory of an alligator, then you need to go to Pensacola this Christmas.
Pensacola is one of the Florida Christmas towns that offers Cajun Christmas. What can be more wonderful and festive for Christmas than Grinch joining the holiday celebrations?
You can see Grinch vibing with Christmas festivities alongside Santa and Rudolph. If you want to take a picture with an adventurous Santa, don’t miss Santa Drop, as Santa skydives straight to the beach and takes pictures with you.
Surfing Santa Beach Parade is something you don’t want to miss out on because watching Santas riding those big waves is fun. There is the Pensacola Lighted Beach Parade on Pensacola Beach Boardwalk and a Polar Express train ride filled with lights and decorations as you ride Christmas with glee.
Elf Parade is another hilarious and engaging way to get into Christmas spirits. Filled with thousands of people dressed as elves walking through the streets and giant elves’ floaties, this will surely bring your inner child happy.
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Tallahassee has a Winter Festival on December 3 every year. This annual Winter Festival is an event to visit if you want live music performances, shopping, and a parade. So, tap your feet to the performances, sing along with carolers and buy gifts for loved ones.
You can also enjoy a cup of complimentary hot chocolate while watching the musical performances in Cascades Park. Also, participate in the annual Christmas tradition of watching ‘The Nutcracker’ performance live at Centennial Building.
Enjoy the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Bloxham Park and participate in the Jingle Bell Run of Capital Health Plan, one of the unique Christmas events in Florida. Then, join the Christmas joy with Nighttime Holiday Parade and performance from talented local actors, musicians, and dancers.
If you’re a lover of art, head straight to LeMoyne Arts Annual Holiday Show. So many artists who paint on different themes are featured in the gallery for the public.
The decoration and light displays at Candy Cane Lane will take you back to the fond memories of childhood Christmas. Stroll through the Lane and enjoy the carolers.
Walk through Tallahassee’s streets, see the decorations, and take a Tour of Lights. You’ll see light figures ranging from cartoon characters to Christmas-themed figures.
8. Key West
The Hometown Holiday Parade starts on Truman Eve and ends on Duval and Front Streets. In addition, the historic Seaport organizes the Nautical Harbor Walk of Lights. Besides, if you’re a fan of boat parades, there’s an Annual Lighted Boat Parade that goes throughout the Key West Bight Marina.
Hundreds of boats like sailboats and catamarans take part, the best of which, in the end, are awarded based on themes and decorations. The Parade displays a lot of different Christmas traditions. This Parade can be viewed from many places.
The famous Holiday Historic Inn Tour helps you visit the historical architectural wonders through trolleys. In addition, you can enjoy food in the five most popular and decorated inns across the island along the way.
Another tour you want to go to is Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights and Sights Tour. So, go straight to Mallory Square and gaze at the beautiful and unique decorations put up across the place by people as you munch on some cookies.
You can head to Naples, a lovely small Florida town, to celebrate Christmas. So, if you want a break from the heat and feel the snow melting on your skin, Snowfest will make it possible.
You can chase and throw snowballs to your heart’s content and lie down on the snow with your loved ones to make snow angels. Also, visit the annual Christmas Walk Tree Lighting Ceremony on Fifth Avenue South and be a part of lighting the Christmas tree.
Naples Christmas Parade is filled with school groups, dance groups, music, and civilians. For more dancing and merriment, visit the Theater Zone and dance all night! If you love a little history to go with your holiday celebration, visit the Historic Palm Cottage.
For Potterheads out there, Naples has a Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball where you can let free your inner magic and celebrate Christmas, wizard-style. To end the Christmas night with luminescence, go to the Night lights at the famous Botanical Gardens or the Christmas Boat Parade.
10. Fort Lauderdale
Commonly referred to as the ‘Venice of America‘, Fort Lauderdale is a place to consider if you want to celebrate Christmas in Florida. The annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade is an event where every boat, from small sailboats to big yachts, is made to glow with lights.
You might also see some pageant queens and celebrities go about these boats waving at you as the boats tread the water. The Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant makes the night more memorable with beautiful carols, musicals, and performances.
Las Olas Boulevard hosts a free Winter Wonderland family event called ‘Christmas on Las Olas.’ There are choirs to keep up the Christmas spirits and trampolines to have a little fun. And, of course, you can’t miss the 75-foot snow mountain on the way.
If you want a historical twist on your holiday celebrations, walk down to Stranahan House Museum, where you can learn a little more about the history of Fort Lauderdale while enjoying the Christmas lights and live performances.
Sarasota is a place to consider if you want to experience Christmas celebration in Florida. Holidays on the Green are celebrated on The Mall at University Town Center and Temple Sinai. Here you can shop till you drop, glide through snow tubes and enjoy ice skating.
Grab some food and enjoy some hands-on Hanukkah Storytime. Nearly four million lights are used to make various Christmas-themed shapes and figures that make the place glow beautifully.
The Holiday Tour of Lights is an annual light display. Do you want to take a look at a life-size gingerbread house? Then head straight to the Gingerbread Festival, where gingerbread houses are made by people and put on display.
Snowfest Sarasota is hosted by Lakewood Ranch, where you’ll have an opportunity to roll around happily in a snow globe of your own. You can slide through snow tubes and let loose some of those fantastic dance moves to Dj Grinch.
Have a relaxing walk through the Historic Spanish Point Museum Forest decorated with magical festive lights as carolers serenade the way. This event is called Holly Days and Mangrove Lights because the mangrove trees are decorated with a beautiful white glow.
Celebration’s streets are filled with machine-generated snow for the Now Snowing event. Celebration is one of the places that offer snow during Sunshine Christmas. The Holiday Light Parade fills the community with a festive glow.
Do a Teddy Bear Toss, where you have to throw a toy into a truck by donation. Lakeside Park is wholly decorated to host Holiday Fest; you can skate, slide and roll around in the snow to your heart’s content.
You’ll see Charles Dickens carolers caroling as the people decorate their houses with lights and ornaments. There are decorated penguins and pink flamingos on every porch. Not only are there Christmas themes, but the houses are lighted and decorated with various Disney and cartoon characters, amping up the mood.
This Christmas village in Florida is a wonderland with live music performances and horse-drawn carriage rides.
Do you want to build a snowman in Naples or watch a boat parade in Fort Lauderdale? If yes, head to any of the abovementioned Florida towns during the holiday season. Sun and heat do not dampen the spirit of Christmas.
So, if you don’t want to miss out on holiday fun, pack your bags and enjoy Christmas in any of these Florida Christmas towns to make the experience more magical.
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FAQs- Christmas Towns in Florida
1. Which state has the most Christmas spirit?
A: According to research done by GetCenturyLink.com, New Hampshire is the state with the most holiday spirit in the US. Maine, Montana, and Utah also should be on the list.
2. What city in Florida has the best Christmas lights?
A: With its Night of Lights and Mount Dora, St. Augustine is said to be the best city in Florida for Christmas lights.
3. Can Christmas trees grow in Florida?
A: Christmas tree farms in Florida grow Virginia pine, spruce pine, red cedar, Leyland cypress, Torulosa juniper, Norfolk Island pine, and Arizona cypress.