Christmas is a popular time to get away for adventures across the world by ditching the local scene during the festive holidays.
There is a hidden gem in every place you visit, especially when it comes to USA. Believe it or not but different cities in America have something or other unique for you to offer. For example: Indiana has dubbed itself “America’s Christmas Hometown” and Alaska has its streets decorated in white and red all season long.
Christmas celebrations are always magical whether you are at home or somewhere outside. This season whatever your choice is, we bring in you the ultimate list of destinations:
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN:
A Midwestern town with a Christmas market that resembles CHristKindlmarket in Nuremberg, Germany. Elkhart Lake is a home to the famed Old World Christmas Market where visitors can hop on for a horse drawn wagon ride and have delicious breakfast with Santa. Indulge yourself in some traditional German schnitzel and mulled wine on Christmas Eve. You can spread the festive cheer at nearby Greenbush’s Wade House Historic Site where an Old World Christmas; a mid 19th century style Christmas celebration that is filled with live festive music, photo ops with a Victorian Santa Claus and horse drawn rides bedecked with jingle bells is held.
A perfect place for jet setters who are really committed to the idea of white, cold Christmas. There are a good number of Christmas festivals and events that takes places in Alaska including Christmas themed Ice Art Sculptures. If you are adventure lover then you can try out dog sledding in Alaska. Winter is also meant to be a prime time to catch the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights that streak across the skies over the state. Alaska is the best place for families with small kids. The town keeps Christmas going year around but comes alive in December with the annual North Pole Christmas Ice Contest which attracts ice sculptors around the world. Take a 15 minutes drive to South of Fairbanks and nearby Chena Lake Recreation Area that has 80 campsites with swimming beach, paved bike trails and canoe rentals.
St. AUGUSTINE, FL:
St. Augustine is a perfect place for those seeking warm weather locales. It is downright festive with candles, lights and Christmas décor that are sprinkled throughout the town for the entire holiday season. Best of all, you do not have to wear a coat to get out and enjoy the festivities.
The place is usually thought of as a summer destination but during off season, it is really peaceful. The annual Christmas stroll takes place in the first week of December and is an excellent way to get the local shopping done while sipping mulled cider. Enjoy wine tasting and carolers or partake in home tours. Do not forget to check out Whaling Museum which has around 80 decorated trees. The charming cobblestone streets lined with decorated trees and storefronts on the Main Street makes this place a perfect holiday destination. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the island for the famous Christmas Tree Lighting and Stroll Weekend.
The town has a unique Christmas history dating back to the start of World War II which states that in 1939, a blockade disrupted the shipment of imported goods from Europe including glass Christmas ornaments and as the holidays were approaching, American retailers had to meet the demand for more than 250 million ornaments and it was then a factory in Wellsboro stepped in with Max Eckardt’s Shiny Brite brand. In honor of its history, Wellsboro puts up 2 dozen displays of historic, locally made ornaments and also hosts a holiday weekend filled with a live Nativity, festive themed game nights and more.
MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH:
With 27 towns and villages that surround Mount Washington; the tallest peak in the North – East, the place is an ideal spot for skiers and families who enjoy scenic beauty. The center of the valley is North Conway, NH that is a top ski town in the U.S. and also the home to 13 ski resorts and XC Centers. People who love to hit the trails; this is the perfect spot for the task in the northeast. Non – Skiers can find the fun with 2 mountain coasters, canopy tours, zip lines, three tubing parks and snowshoeing.
It might sound like an image of a Christmas card which includes a parade of horses and buggies circling a snowy village green but Woodstock Wassail Weekend is the main event in picturesque. Carolers are seen with everyone else gathering for the lighting of the tree and Yule log. Farms and historic homes open up to celebrate rural holiday heritage. Filled with nostalgic charm, the New England town transforms with historic decorated homes. As a visitor, you can experience the traditions of a 19th century Vermont Christmas with a tour of the festively decorated 1890 Billings Farm House and farm barns. With its covered bridges, at least a light dusting of snow and plenty of pine wafting through the air can be seen and felt.
If you are travelling with your kids then you can experience Chris Van Allsburg’s magical Polar Express coming to life in this city where every night from thanksgiving to the first week of January, kids wait in Pajamas in line at the historic depot of Durango to get a chance to board the famous Polar Express; an actual train pulled by a steam locomotive. Take the ride, sing along the melodic Carols with a sip of hot chocolate and visit Santa Claus. The place also has a world of Christmas delights to offer to its pilgrims with a mesmerizing wintery setting that reminds of a traditional Christmas post card. Durango is a historic mining town as well and is located near the 4 corners area where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah meet.
If Ogden is your choice for a winter getaway then do make sure to visit the Electric Light Parade celebration that is an opening ceremony of the town to kick off the festive season for Ogden’s Christmas Village. Since 1962, the place has been a prized tradition for the people of this mountainous Utah City. After thanksgiving, the parade can be seen filled with elaborate floats, world class performers and sensational festive themes where Santa appears in the final float of the ceremony, flips a magical switch and illuminates all of the Christmas Village once it reaches Municipal Gardens. All the guests are transported to Santa’s workshop at the Ogden’s Christmas Village where dozens of miniature cottages are modeled. Without riding on the Polar Express, your trip to North Pole is incomplete. You can also take a ride on a mini locomotive that travels through a tunnel featuring festive artwork in the glow in the dark paint.
JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING:
A quaint charming ski town is an ideal destination for outdoorsy type people. It offers endless winter activities and a magical town square ornamented with twinkling lights. Resorts in Jackson Hole spread the festive cheer with room delivered wreaths, eggnog, fresh cookies, trees and horse drawn carriage rides in the property, throughout the holiday season. They offer a plethora of holiday themed family events throughout December which includes skiing with Santa on Christmas Eve, ornament and tree decorating, cookie decorating and ice skating. There is no town like Jackson Hole that lights up for the holidays.
Besides the fact that the city provides a nice break from cold weather, Puerto Rico is a special place to spend the festive holiday and that makes it one of the reasons to visit during Christmas. It has its own set of Christmas traditions that ranges from storytelling to delicious food and decorations. While the holiday season starts in early November, Nochebuena is the most anticipated festive event. Be a part of world’s longest festive season that starts in November and ends in February in Puerto Rico.
The city showcases an impressive 18th century historic district during the festive holidays with candle lit strolls and guided tours of some of town’s grand homes. The town can be seen trimmed lavishly with garlands and down on the City Dock, the reflections of the festive tree twinkles in the water. The nautical tradition of the town is honored with a lighted boat parade.
This town is full of history. You can visit Jamestown and celebrate the festivities like the colonists. Colonial holiday traditions like caroling by drum performances, torch light and interpretive programs set the stage for Christmas. The activities culminating in a Grand Illumination, fireworks of celebration and historic gun salute can be viewed and enjoyed from the town green.
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA:
A 100 foot tall Christmas tree is the USP of this city and just the thing to shift the mood to holiday from a beach. At the center of Old School Square the tree can be seen opening magically to reveal a wonderland inside with toy trains running around miniature scenes. Delray might not be a snow covered winter wonderland but there is no shortage of Christmas spirit. During the month long celebration, tourists can take their pick from festive activities.
Escape the cold by planning a Hawaiian vacation over Christmas. Kauai is one of the most gorgeous Hawaiian Islands filled with secret beaches to explore and resorts to soak up in the sun! The Christmas season is kicked off by a month long event that is centered on recycling because everything displayed is made from recycled materials.
When you visit this ski town during holidays, you will feel like stepping into a snow globe. The town transforms in a breathtaking Victorian style Christmas Village for whole of December that starts with the Lighting of the city including hundreds of Santa racing down Main Street, picking cookies and milk, caroling and the Blue River holiday lighting. Explore the torch light parade down the mountain on New Year’s Eve.
The top pick for the US city to visit once during Christmas time is Leavenworth in Washington. This Bavarian town is idyllically situated in the foothills of Cascade Mountains that is around 2 hours east of Seattle. Visit the snowy mountain village in December and you will find this place transforming in the winter wonderland of a childhood dreams lasting throughout the month. With town festivities including caroling, more than 5 lacs lights deck the streets. Santa is seen on the visit, roasted chestnut vendors, boutique holiday shopping, sledding, sleigh rides and more can be enjoyed. On the holiday, the village gives off an Alpine holiday air. You will feel like entering into a historic German Town on visiting the place.
Christmas in this town starts in June when the bulbs on the strings of holiday lights are tested in anticipation of town’s proud Festival of Lights. The small town of 18000 celebrates the season honoring the holiday and Creole heritage. The festivities go until January which includes historic home tours, kids’ festivals, 5k race, parades and live performances.
COCOA BEACH, FL:
Florida’s Space Coast is a favorite spot among families, beach bums alike and adventure seekers. Space Coast is located in the east of Orlando which has 72 miles of beaches, golf courses, rocket launches, East Coast Surfing Capital and world’s largest community built zoo. Enjoy the annual charity Surfing Santa Event where more than 300 Santa’s catching waves entertains around 4000 spectators.
MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN:
With just 500 residents where everyone celebrates the holidays just like they did a century ago, hop on a ferry to reach this enchanting island town. A place where people travel by buggy and horse because motor vehicles have been banned! Santa actually visits every child on Christmas to hear their Christmas wishes. The annual Christmas market features unique crafts and décor.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!