11 Festive Florida Towns to get you in the Holiday Spirit

1. St. Augustine, Florida

Nights of Lights, St. Augustine

St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights begins on the Saturday before Thanksgiving with “Light Up Night” when the nation’s oldest city transforms to a beautifully illuminated Christmas town. Celebrating its 25th Annual Nights of Lights, this 3 million + light display is one of the best in the world.

Colonial Night Watch, St. Augustine

Celebrate St. Augustine’s history with events from 9am – 4pm at Castillo de San Marcos where the parade begins at 7pm. This spectacular Night Watch “Grand Illumination” Parade features a one-of-a-kind light display.

Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade

A charming home town Christmas Parade featuring floats, marching bands, and all of the things you’d expect from a town parade.


2. Jacksonville

Gingerbread House Extravaganza, Jacksonville

If you love Gingerbread Houses, this is a must do event for the Holiday season. Featuring unique and creative gingerbread houses by artisans from all backgrounds. These are no ordinary gingerbread houses!


3. Safety Harbor, Florida

Safety Harbor has its own celebrations for the local community to help get them in the Christmas spirit

Tree Lighting

A Harbor Holiday Christmas Trolly Tour

Holiday Parade


4. Downtown Tampa

Head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to celebrate the holidays in Tampa

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Santa Fest and Downtown Christmas Parade

River of Lights Holiday Cruise

Ybor City

Ybor City’s holiday celebrations kick off with a tree lighting ceremony and the area stays in the spirit for the rest of the season with events and general merriment. Check out the specific events:

Ybor Tree Lighting Ceremony

Snow on 7th Parade

Jingle Bell Bazaar


5. Largo, Florida

Largo Holiday Stroll

Come to Largo Central Park for a small carnival and holiday decorations plus special events like a gift market.


6. Inverness

Light Up Inverness

A small town Christmas celebration like no other! Meet Santa, watch the tree lighting, and so much more

Inverness Night of Lights

Come to Fort Cooper State Park for a Christmas celebration with live entertainment, a visit from Santa, and beautiful lights throughout the park.


7. New Smyrna Beach

Christmas on Canal

Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach lights up with Christmas spirit during the season with tons of events for the whole family to enjoy.


8. Daytona Beach

Light Up Volusia

Daytona Beach kicks off the holiday season with a tree lighting and visit from Santa at the Ocean Center.

Journey Thru Christmas

This is the only place in Volusia County where you can experience the story of Christmas, from the birth of Christ through his resurrection, free of charge.

Sunday Snowdays

Spend your Sundays in the most spirited way you can at Daytona One, where special holiday activities happen every week.


9. Pensacola

Pensacola Winterfest

Downtown Pensacola’s Winterfest brings the season spirit to life with arts & crafts, plaza show, carriage rides, music and more.


10. Key West

Annual Key West Holiday Fest

Lighting of the Harbor Walk of Lights kicks off the holidays in Key West followed by Holiday events.


11. Town of Christmas, Florida

This list wouldn’t be complete without listing the town in Florida named for Christmas. More than a once a year celebration, this small town outside of Orlando boasts the name “Christmas”. It is the one place where you can send a postcard from “Christmas, FL”. The town was named from the original settlement where Soldiers arrived on December 25, 1837, and establish Fort Christmas. Located halfway between Orlando and Merritt Island, it is worth a stop to visit the park. You can’t miss the large Christmas Tree along SR50 that stand year round.


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About the author


Florida Events strives to provide the most comprehensive Event & Festival listings in Florida. This column includes events, festivals, fairs, parades, holiday happenings, conventions and big events from around the state including all regions in Florida. The events listed may change without notice. Please check the event website for up to date information. Corrections or additions let us know at [email protected]