Select Page

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to visit Florida. With hurricane season behind us and a full roster of holiday events ahead, the Sunshine State is merry and bright with holiday spirit. Here are a few of our favorite uniquely Floridian ways to celebrate the season.

RELATED: This is How You Celebrate the Holidays in Southern California

Santa’s Enchanted Forest

Miami‘s annual extravaganza bills itself as the “world’s largest holiday theme park and free carnival.” With more than 100 rides, games, shows and attractions, who are we to argue? Photo ops with Santa and fair foods complete this Christmas/carnival mashup.

Miami, Florida Christmas

Christmas trees look just a little bit different in Miami!

Frozen Ever After Dessert Party

Here’s a sweet finale to a day at Orlando‘s Epcot World Showcase: Set sail on the Frozen Ever After musical boat ride, enjoy a waterside viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and indulge in a buffet of desserts, savory treats and adult beverages. As for your diet? Let it go.

Orlando, Florida Christmas

What’s more magical than spending the holidays at Disney?


Jack Frost will be nipping at your nose inside Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, where the 9-degree temps keep things chill. In addition to this year’s A Christmas Story-themed ice sculptures, a frozen Nativity and other cold creations, you can slide down five two-story ice slides. Cool.

Kissimmee, Florida Christmas

ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is an impressive spectacle everyone should experience. | Trover photo by monika Galang

Nights of Lights

If you thought your neighbor’s yard decorations were impressive, wait’ll you feast your eyes on what National Geographic called one of the 10 best holiday light displays in the world. Millions of tiny white lights illuminate historic St. Augustine, from palm trees to centuries-old buildings.

St. Augustine, Florida Christmas

Don’t forget to sneak in a peek (and a stay) at St. Augustine’s iconic Casa Monica Resort & Spa.

Key West Holiday Fest

Ain’t no Christmas like a Key West Christmas, ‘cause a Key West Christmas has a lighted bike parade, lighted boat parades (yes, plural) and even a Parade of Paws for your four-legged friends. The celebration kicks off the day before Thanksgiving with the lighting of the Harbor Walk of Lights and continues through New Year’s Eve with a conch shell drop. Because, well, Key West.

Key West, Florida Christmas

Everyone loves Christmas in Key West, even the pups feel right at home!

Pensacola Winterfest

Nightfly snowfalls and trolley “performance tours” are the centerpiece of this downtown Pensacola celebration. Options range from Living Nativity to Polar Express to Scrooge and more.

Christmas in the Wild

Enjoy fun after dark with the denizens of ZooTampa at Lowry Park. The offerings include animal encounters, a holiday-themed animal show, photo ops in Santa’s Village, a 50-foot Christmas tree with dancing lights and even a holiday food and drink menu: hot chocolate for the kids, peppermint martinis for you. It’s a win-win.

Tampa, Florida Christmas

What makes the animal encounters at ZooTampa at Lowry Park even better? The holidays, of course! | Trover photo by Todd Siravo

North Pole Express

All aboard this train ride that takes its cues from Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved Polar Express children’s book. At dusk, pajama-clad kids board a train at the Florida Rail Road Museum in Parrish and disembark at the “North Pole”—a giant field twinkling with holiday lights. There, they’ll enjoy snacks, crafts, games and a meeting with St. Nick himself.

Christmas Tour of Homes

Mount Dora is a charming Central Florida town, known for its antique shops, craft festivals and picturesque homes—and each December, you get a chance to peek inside some of those houses in all their Pinterest-worthy holiday glory. The town’s Women’s Committee of Fine Arts sponsors the tour, which raises money to provide student scholarships. It’s holiday eye candy with a built-in good cause.

Mount Dora, Florida Christmas

This town is extra charming year-round, so you know it’s going to be over-the-top joyful at Christmas! | Trover photo by Lara Dunning

Surfing Santas

Eager to work off all those holiday cookies? Don a Santa hat, grab a surfboard and join hundreds of other surfers for this annual Cocoa Beach tradition. If you’re not ready to hang ten, kick back on the beach and watch the Santas ride the waves. After toweling off, swing by the original Ron Jon Surf Shop to pick up last-minute gifts.

Happy holidays from the Sunshine State!

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Pin It on Pinterest