Here are our top picks for the best things to do, events and festivals from Key West to Orlando to St. Augustine that are sure to bring out your holiday cheer.
1. Pensacola Winterfest
November 26 – December 24, 2021
A little bit of snow, a lot of hot chocolate and an abundance of Christmas cheer make this the Panhandle’s Christmas stop for the month. Don’t miss the Polar Express, the laughable Elf Parade or the Snowball Derby.
2. ICE! At Gaylord Palms
Lake Buena Vista, November 25, 2019 – January 5, 2020
With over 20,000 square feet of hand-carved ice sculptures and two-story tall ice slides, you won’t even notice the 9-degree temperature inside this winter wonderland. (Don’t worry — coats and gloves are provided). This year’s theme is a tribute to beloved holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
3. Annual Key West Holiday Fest
Key West, November 27 – December 31, 2019
Celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus himself at Key West’s Holiday Fest! Grab a glass of eggnog and tour historic inns, be a part of the two holiday parades (on and off the water), and and visit the harbor of lights
4.65th Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade
December 7, 2019
Don’t miss the Nights of Lights celebration (pictured), the annual Christmas parade weaves up and down the streets of the historic city, starting at 10 a.m. Picture time with Santa himself follows in the Plaza de la Constitucion.
5. Light Up UCF
November 17, 2019 – January 1, 2020
University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena gets into the Christmas spirit with free holiday light shows, film festivals and Orlando’s largest outdoor ice-skating rink. Light Up UCF is offering all the favorite rides and attractions, including the Winter Whirl!
6. Sandi Land West Palm Beach
December 5, 2019
Visit the world’s only 35-foot, 700-ton, holiday sand tree – this year the event returns with a seasonal theme and new elements.
7. Jolly Days
Brevard Zoo, December 21 – 23, 2019
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! What does Santa do before heading off to the North Pole to gather his reindeer and deliver presents? He gives tours with Mrs. Claus at Brevard Zoo! Bring Christmas spirit to the jungle with night hikes and weekend camps for boys and girls.
8. Festival of Trees
Orlando Museum of Art, November 16 – 24, 2019
The 33rd annual celebration showcases designer-curated Christmas trees, holiday vignettes, wreaths, a gingerbread village and table top displays (all available for purchase). Tickets to this event also include access to the museum’s other exhibits.
9. Santa’s Enchanted Forest
Miami, October 31, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Head down to Tropical Park in South Florida for the biggest holiday event of the year. Win prizes at the carnival booths or give yourself a Christmas thrill on over a 100 rides!
10. 26th Annual – Movies of Christmas
St. Augustine, December 14 – 15, 2019
Featuring a “Movies of Christmas” theme, the self-guided tour of over 20 historic inns decked out for the holidays is as delicious as it is pretty — culinary treats prepared by local restaurants await you at each stop. Historic and delicious? We’ll see you there.