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.
Southern hospitality meets the holidays with light displays, decorations, and opportunities to visit Santa in Huntsville and Mobile.
- Huntsville - Huntsville Botanical Garden Galaxy of Lights
- Huntsville - Santa's Village
- Mobile - Bellingrath Gardens and Home Magic Christmas in Lights
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.
- Orlando - Walt Disney World Holiday Events
- Orlando - Macy's Holiday Parade and Grinchmas at Universal Orlando
- Orlando - SeaWorld's Holiday Celebration
Georgia offers celebrations of holiday lights, ice-skating, and decorations in Atlanta, Lake Lanier Islands, and the mountains.
- Atlanta - Holiday Lights, Ice Skating, Macy's Pink Pig, Atlantic Station and More
- Lake Lanier Islands - Lake Lanier Magical Nights of Lights
- Lookout Mountain - Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
- Pine Mountain - Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights
- Stone Mountain - Christmas at Stone Mountain Park
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.
- Berea - 12 Days of Christmas (Festive Workshops)
- Lexington - Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park
- Louisville - Christmas at the Galt House Hotel
- Louisville - Lights Under Louisville at the Louisville MEGA Cavern
New Orleans' mansions decked out in lights are not to be missed. Enjoy festivals in Natchitoches and St. James Parish as well.
- Natchitoches, Louisiana - Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights
- New Orleans, Louisiana - Celebration in the Oaks, Reveillon Dinners and More
- St. James Parish, Louisiana - Festival of the Bonfires
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.
- Asheville - Christmas at Biltmore Estate
- Asheville - National Gingerbread Competition and Display at the Grove Park Inn
- Asheville - A Dickens Christmas in the Village
- Clemmons - Tanglewood Festival of Lights
- McAdenville - Christmas Town USA (McAdenville)
- Wilmington - Enchanted Airlie
- Winston-Salem - Holiday Season at Old Salem
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.
- Charleston - Holiday Festival of Lights
- Columbia - Riverbanks Zoo Lights Before Christmas
- Myrtle Beach - Holiday Shows, Broadway at the Beach, Ripley's Festival of Trees + More
- Murrells Inlet - Brookgreen Gardens Nights of a Thousand Candles
- Sumter - Swan Lake Fantasy of Lights
- Wellford - Holiday Lights Safari Benefit
Tennessee's celebrations include Elvis Presley's decorated Graceland Mansion and Dolly Parton's Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.
- Bristol - Bristol Motor Speedway in Lights
- Chattanooga - Ruby Falls - Ruby Red Christmas
- Clarksville - Christmas on the Cumberland
- Gatlinburg - Gatlinburg Winter Magic
- Memphis - Winter at Graceland
- Nashville - Gaylord Opryland's A Country Christmas and ICE!
- Pigeon Forge - Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival
From holiday sing-alongs, miles and miles of sparkling (and sometimes tacky) lights, to Victorian and Colonial celebrations, Virginia is for Christmas-lovers.
- Alexandria - Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk
- Alexandria - Christmas at Mount Vernon
- Charlottesville - Monticello Holiday Events
- Norfolk - Dominion Garden of Lights Norfolk Botanical Garden
- Richmond - GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- Richmond - Richmond Tacky Lights Tours
- Richmond - Victorian Holidays at Maymont
- Vienna - Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long
- Williamsburg - Colonial Williamsburg Christmas, Busch Gardens Christmas Town + More
- Richmond to Virginia Beach - 100 Miles of Lights
More Southeast U.S. Locations
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.