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Celebrating the Holidays in the Southeast

Festive Events, Light Displays, Traditions and Destinations

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Steeped in holiday traditions and offering an array of seasonal festivities, the Southeastern United States is a wonderful destination for memory-making holiday fun. This guide to celebrating the holidays in the Southeast provides information about some of the popular events, holiday light displays, trip ideas and more.

50 Holiday Attractions and Festive Things to Do

Richmond Holiday Lights; Photo Credit: Courtesy of "100 Miles of Lights"
Richmond Holiday Lights; Photo Credit: Courtesy of "100 Miles of Lights"

For a festive day trip, short getaway or holiday vacation to the Southeast U.S., here are 50 fun seasonal attractions and fun places to visit. Enjoy Christmas lights, visits with Santa, exploring time honored traditions and more. Entry prices range from free to moderate, offering choices for all travel budgets.

See the Listing of 50 Holiday Attractions

Christmas in the South - Holiday Festivals and Christmas Lights

Stone Mountain Park - A Stone Mountain Christmas
The Grand Santa Entrance at A Stone Mountain Christmas: Courtesy of Stone Mountain Park

Find out about ten popular holiday festivals to enjoy for family fun for all ages in the Southeastern United States, including seasonal fun in the mountains, on the coast, in the country and holiday light displays galore.

More about Holiday Festivals and Christmas Lights

Historic Sites Explore Holiday Traditions of the Past

Photo © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation - All Rights Reserved
Photo © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation - All Rights Reserved

Enjoy the festive side of history during the holidays, when many historic sites in the Southeast U.S. offer special seasonal programs, activities, tours, traditional decorations and more.

More about Where to Enjoy History and the Holidays

Choose and Cut Christmas Tree Farms

Photo of a Christmas Tree Farm in the NC Mountains by Bill Russ - Courtesy of NC Tourism
Photo of a Christmas Tree Farm in the NC Mountains by Bill Russ - Courtesy of NC Tourism

Setting out with family and friends to find the perfect Christmas tree is a seasonal tradition in the Southeast, where Christmas tree farms number close to 4000, with many offering Choose and Cut options. Second in the nation for the number of Christmas trees harvested, North Carolina alone produces about 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees and supplies 19 percent of the fresh Christmas trees in the United States, according to the most recent figures from the National Christmas Tree Association.

More about Choose and Cut Farms

Holiday Parades in the Southeast

The Scottish Walk Parade in Alexandria, Virginia
The Scottish Walk Parade in Alexandria, Virginia - Photo by Jeremy Harvey / Alexandria, Virginia CVB

Often heralding the arrival of the holiday season, holiday parades by the dozens provide festive cheer each holiday season in the Southeast. Wherever you may be visiting, from the largest cities to the smallest country towns, there is likely to be a holiday parade taking place somewhere nearby during November or December.

More about Holiday Parades in the Southeast
Also see Holiday Boat Parades and Christmas Flotillas

Holiday Travel Packages

Holicay Presents - Photo Credit:  Digital Vision / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Digital Vision / Getty Images

Holiday packages come in all shapes and sizes in the Southeast, from budget to luxury, offering many ways to add seasonal cheer to this most festive time of the year. From the coast to the mountains and beyond, enjoy Southern hospitality and the special ambiance of a holiday visit to the stunning Southeast.

More about Southeast US Holiday Travel Packages

Ski Resorts for Great Outdoor Holiday Fun

Photo of North Carolina skiing by Bill Russ: Courtesy of NC Division of Tourism

There are more than 15 ski resorts to enjoy in the mountains of the Southeastern United States. From full service resorts with on-site lodging and luxurious spas to smaller ski areas that are ideal for a day of skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, the ski resorts of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains offer winter wonderland destinations with something for everyone. During the holidays, many of the resorts feature special holiday packages and activities such as visits with Santa and New Year's Eve fireworks on the mountain.

More about Ski Resorts

The National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn

National Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn
Photo of the 2007 Grand Prize Gingerbread House © The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa

Gingerbread architects and artists gather each year to compete in the National Gingerbread House Competition, held annually at the Omni Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in Asheville, North Carolina. This unique and delightful competition has become a favorite holiday tradition at the Grove Park Inn, with hopeful entrants from points near and far.

More about The National Gingerbread House Competition
More about the Omni Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa

New Year's Eve Celebrations

Photo of Atlanta's Peach Drop -Underground Atlanta: Courtesy of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

From Atlanta's popular Peach Drop and other midnight countdowns to grand gala events and elegant getaways for two, college football and family friendly events, the Southeast welcomes the New Year with an array of special celebrations. Popular events book up early in the season so try to make your reservations as soon as possible.

More about New Year's Eve in the Southeast

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