Walking in a winter wonderland, Florida-style.
Dunnellon, Florida
Credit: orus/Getty Images

Have you heard of Dunnellon, Florida? This small Florida town is located northwest of Orlando and is full of Christmas spirit. Every December, the town kicks off the holiday season with plenty of events for the whole family to enjoy. It's a small town Christmas celebration with Southern charm to spare.

This town is so excited about Christmas, they even have a countdown to this year's parade. Dunnellon's A Small Town Christmas event includes one spectacular Christmas parade through town (with an appearance by Santa!) followed by a community after-party, light show, and festive celebration.

Last year, 2,000 members of the community gathered in the town's Historic District to watch the parade and celebrate the season. The parade's Grand Marshal was James Johnson—at 109 years old, the oldest resident of Dunnellon. After the parade, residents enjoy the After-Party Celebration, an event every family gets involved in, thanks to plenty of games, live music, snow, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

In years past, Dunnellon's Christmas celebrations have continued with the "Light Up Dunnellon" event, the Ugly Sweater 5K/1-Mile Fun Walk and the annual Victorian Holiday Festival, which included horse and carriage rides, Christmas carolers, entertainment, and holiday lights, plus arts & crafts-filled Christmas Village.

When in Dunnellon, you can also take in the Christmas season at the Rainbow River and Rainbow Springs State Park for the Christmas in the Park celebration, which has live music to enjoy as well as twinkling lights hung throughout the park. Once a year, there's also a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Christmas couple makes their way up the Rainbow River to great fanfare and pose for pictures at the park's Santa House.

Check the A Small Town Christmas Facebook page and the City of Dunnellon website to learn more about upcoming events in Dunnellon at Christmastime and to plan your trip. Small towns in the South are perfect places to enjoy the Christmas season.

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Where's your go-to Christmas destination in the South? What are your favorite small towns in which to celebrate the Christmas season?