The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and what better way to get into the mood for the season than visiting somewhere that totally embodies the spirit of Christmas? We’ve put together a list for anyone looking for the perfect Christmas town, filled with Christmas spirit, Christmas lights, and fantastic accommodations to enjoy a winter vacation with the whole family. With so many charming towns in stunning parts of the country to spend the holidays, 2019 could be your most memorable Christmas yet!
Keep reading and discover our picks for the best places to spend Christmas with your loved ones this year
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana—does exactly what it says on the tin! With a name like that, it’s hardly a surprise that this kicks off our list of places to stay this Christmas. Less than a 30-minute drive to the Hoosier National Forest, and billed as “America’s Christmas Hometown”, this beautiful town boasts Christmas spirit all year round. Unsurprisingly, the name of the town led to the post office in the 1920s finding itself inundated with letters from children putting in their requests to Santa. Since then, every year, thousands of letters are sorted by volunteer elves, and the town also boasts a wide range of festivities, such as a Christmas parade, a candy castle, and the main attraction, over a mile of Christmas lights—one of the best displays in the country—that visitors can drive through.
If you’re looking for places to stay in Santa Claus, In, you could consider staying in Santa’s Lodge. Alternatively, there are numerous rentals within an hour’s drive of the town that allows you to enjoy all the Christmas build-up going on while also enjoying a quiet getaway in a stunning national forest.
Visit Santa’s house and witness the wonders of the Aurora Borealis, Mother Nature’s Christmas lights!
North Pole, Alaska
Ever wanted to visit Santa Claus’ house? North Pole, Alaska, awaits! Don’t worry, I’m not actually suggesting that you go to the North Pole! The town of North Pole is actually 1,700 miles south of Earth’s geographical north pole, and 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle, so you won’t be stranded on the ice. The town is home to Santa’s House, a Christmas store with the largest fiberglass Santa Claus in the world. Less than a 30-minute drive from Fairbanks, Alaska, there are some amazing places to stay nearby to both North Pole and Fairbanks.
When planning your winter vacation to Alaska, of all the things to do in Fairbanks and North Pole, you cannot miss out on the incredible beauty of the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are a perfect addition to a memorable winter vacation in this stunning, remote part of the world. With a natural visual display lighting up the sky during your Christmas vacation, it will truly make it the most unique holiday season for the family.
Experience the real Polar Express this Christmas in one of the best places to travel in December
Have you or your kids ever dreamt of taking a ride on the Polar Express? Durango, Co, is the town that will fulfill your Christmas dreams! A historic mining town, this charming spot boasts a steam train that operates throughout the year. However, during December, the Durango & Silverton narrow gauge train offers a kid-friendly, Polar Express themed trip through the surrounding mountains, and along the Animas River. As well as this, there are also weekend trips for you to choose and cut down your own Christmas tree and have it transported back to town to put up in your cozy winter accommodation!
With so many wonderful places to stay in Durango, CO, and in the surrounding area, you can look forward to an incredible winter getaway of exploring the national forests, mountains, get involved in some skiing, and of course, enjoying the Christmas wonderland in downtown Durango.
Visit a snow-covered Nantucket Island for a small-town Christmas
“Nantucket in the winter?!” I hear you ask, but actually, Christmas is the perfect time to head out to this New England island for anyone who wants to enjoy a quiet, small-town Christmas away from crowds, but still with all the traditional touches that make Christmas, Christmas! It goes without saying, winter on Nantucket island is generally regarded as the off-season, however, there is still life and activity here during the Christmas period, giving the place a unique small-town Christmas feel.
The first week of December boasts the annual Christmas Stroll on Nantucket Island, and it is the perfect time to admire the snow-covered New England buildings, while also enjoying some shopping in the unique stores and boutiques in the town itself. When looking for somewhere to stay on Nantucket, options abound! From cozy cottages to beach houses overlooking the ocean, it is more than just a unique winter getaway—this is the perfect time to escape the daily grind and truly relax in a stunning part of New England with the whole family.
Take a ski trip in the Cascade Mountains and stay in the perfect Christmas town!
Bavarian in style and in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth, Washington, is just two and a half hours from Seattle, and it’s a picturesque place for a winter vacation over the Christmas period. With ski resorts nearby, it is an idyllic winter wonderland. Each weekend throughout December, visitors to this adorable Bavarian-style town can enjoy a Christmas Lighting Festival. Each Saturday and Sunday, you and your kids can look forward to meeting Santa Claus himself in the afternoon, while various groups and bands perform some holiday classics to add to the atmosphere. Then, in the early evening over half a million Christmas lights illuminate this idyllic mountain town during a ceremony with a touch of pomp and circumstance to round off a fun-filled day, making this one of the best places to spend Christmas.
Searching for hot destinations in December? Read on for some suggestions for the best Christmas towns in the sun!
St. Augustine, Florida
Maybe you already live in a cold, snowy part of the country, or perhaps the winter weather is just not an appealing prospect for you this Christmas, and instead, you’re searching for hot destinations in December. In Florida, you can escape the cold and indulge in some winter sun by spending the holidays in the Sunshine State. St. Augustine is perfect for an escape this holiday season. Despite the sun, there are so many festive things to do in St. Augustine over the Christmas period. One of the most highly anticipated events in the city is the Nights of Lights Festival, which has been running for 25 years, creating a Christmas wonderland. Additionally, there’s a Christmas parade, The Surf Illumination event, and of course, you can just relax on the beach before heading to your oceanfront accommodation for Christmas dinner.
Head to the desert and marvel at some unique Christmas town decorations!
Palm Springs, California
Christmas in Palm Springs may seem like an unusual choice, even for those of you who prefer warmer climes for the holidays. However, there are numerous things to do in Palm Springs at this time of year. One of the best places to travel in December for some winter sun, from Thanksgiving weekend onwards, you can head to the zoo for the incredible Living Desert’s annual WildLights display. Not only is there live music, entertainment, food and drink, camel rides, Santa Claus, and of course, animals, but there are a million lights and a variety of displays. The magic of Christmas lights doesn’t end there! Robolights, a creation of artist Kenny Irwin takes place every year and features some unique displays of robots, aliens, and more, perfect for anyone who loves sci-fi as much as Christmas. Keeping things slightly more traditional, there is the Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade with a variety of fun and unusual floats.