50 Holiday Attractions and Festive Things to Do

Holiday Day Trips, Getaways and Vacations

Christmas in New Orleans
Matthew D. White / Getty Images

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

This listing is arranged alphabetically by state and city.
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Christmas wreaths covered with snow, Huntsville, Alabama, USA
Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Southern hospitality meets the holidays with light displays, decorations, and opportunities to visit Santa in Huntsville and Mobile.

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Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade at Disney's Magic Kingdom
You won't want to miss Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade when you visit Disney World in December. © The Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney World in Florida pulls out all the stops for the holidays. Celebrations continue at other Orlando Parks like at Universal (where the Macy's Thanksgiving balloons are displayed) and Legoland.

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Atlanta at Christmas
WIN-Initiative / Getty Images

Georgia offers celebrations of holiday lights, ice-skating, and decorations in Atlanta, Lake Lanier Islands, and the mountains.

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Winter night in Covington, Kentucky
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Celebrations in Kentucky include Berea's events (including a Christmas-themed Murder Mystery Dinner Show and a Christmas Country Dance School), and light shows in Lexington and Louisville.

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Christmas in New Orleans, Louisiana
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New Orleans' mansions decked out in lights are not to be missed. Enjoy festivals in Natchitoches and St. James Parish as well.

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North Carolina

Biltmore at Christmas
Courtesy of Biltmore

The Biltmore Estate in Ashville is stunning year-round, but especially during the Christmas holidays. Other celebrations include light festivals and a Dickens-themed Christmas village.

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South Carolina

Christmas Towne, Myrtle Beach
Courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

​Myrtle Beach has some of the best holiday celebrations in the state with fireworks at Broadway at the Beach, a Dickens' Christmas show, and Brookgreen Gardens' Nights of a Thousand Candles.

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Annual Elvis Presley Lighting Celebration
Greg Campbell / Stringer / Getty Images

​Tennessee's celebrations include Elvis Presley's decorated Graceland Mansion and Dolly Parton's Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.

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A soldier in a colonial uniform walks past a house with a Christmas decoration over the doorway in historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Kelly / Mooney Photography / Getty Images

​From holiday sing-alongs, miles and miles of sparkling (and sometimes tacky) lights, to Victorian and Colonial celebrations, Virginia is for Christmas-lovers.

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More Southeast U.S. Locations

Christmas lights adorn the row houses on 34th Street in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland
Troy McCullough / Getty Images

For even more holiday spectaculars, visit one of the 10 Most Festive Southern Cities for the Holidays. Nearby National Harbor, Maryland hosts the Gaylord National Christmas on the Potomac and ICE! and in Wheeling, West Virginia you'll find the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights. Don't forget about the boat parades.