16 Christmas-Themed Girlfriend Getaways To Put On Your Wish List
There's never a bad time for a vacation with your closest gal pals, and we've got you covered with options ranging from girlfriend getaways perfect for fall to fun mother-daughter trips that will be worth your memory book. But what better excuse to plan a vacation than to toast the merriest time of year?
Pack the reindeer ears and Christmas sweaters, and we've got the rest planned out for you. Read on for the best of the South's yuletide fun, from a classic country Christmas in Waco to an unexpected beach town along the Atlantic Coast. These are the best Christmas girlfriend getaways to put on your wish list.
Because, who doesn’t want to see America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge decked out in thousands of Christmas lights? Gatlinburg is a playground of festive Christmas activities, starting with the mountain town’s annual event: Gatlinburg Winter Magic, which includes holiday-themed highlights like grand twinkling lights displays, traditional Appalachian music, a multi-day arts and crafts show, and Christmas-themed trolley rides. Expect all the fanfare you could want for a girls’ trip.
Asheville, North Carolina
And by Asheville, we mainly mean the Biltmore Estate. Seeing this iconic Southern landmark and inn during Christmastime is a real treat that your gal group won’t soon forget. Every year, each room is decked out in classic holiday decor, like the 34-foot-tall, 2000-pound Fraser fir Christmas tree that welcomed visitors last Christmas. Typically there are over 60 decorated Christmas trees on display throughout the property, so grab your friends and get to exploring. Just don’t forget to bring a mug of spiked hot chocolate for the walk—this place is huge!
You had us at "Christmas wine train." Okay, the roughly 1,400 other Christmas events around town don't hurt, either. In Grapevine, posse-friendly activities range from The Parade of Lights to watching classic movies or Christmas concerts at the Palace Theatre. To bring a joyful token back home, swing by Dr. Sue's Chocolate (Dr.Sue is a practicing physician), which pedals antioxidant-rich dark chocolate goodies like you've never before tasted.
Ah, the ultimate Christmas getaway for a gaggle of girlfriends. Dahlonega has small town charm mixed with snowglobe-like Christmas spirit, which all culminates in the little town square during Dahlonega’s month-long Old-Fashioned Christmas event. Known for the North Georgia wineries that surround town, Dahlonega doesn’t make you go too far if you’re not so inclined. Plenty of tasting rooms scattered around the town square will give plenty to do in between finding unique gifts for everyone on your list!
Lexington's Southern Lights Holiday Festival is Kentucky's largest light festival, and will amaze newcomers and returning fans with a packed four-mile route of lights at the Kentucky Horse Park through December 31st. (Yes, there will be glowing horses.) We hear you can also find Santa at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. Crafter? You'll love shopping at nearby Shaker Village—3,000 verdant acres where a large community of Kentucky Shakers lived in the 19th and early 20th centuries— especially at the Pleasant Hill Craft Store. Compare your loot with the ladies over a marvelous meal at The Trustee's Table, which highlights the best of The Bluegrass State's agricultural bounty.
Chip and Joanna aside, this small Texas town knows how to put on a good show, especially during Christmastime. But if your group is a longtime Fixer Upper fan club, make sure to hit Magnolia Market for what the power couple has dubbed, “Christmas at the Silos.” With ice skating, live music, gift shopping, and photos with Santa, this December event is basically like a Christmas rodeo on steroids. Bring your most tacky Christmas sweaters and cowgirl boots to make it the most festive getaway that side of the Mississippi. Even book a room at the super charming Magnolia House to really keep on theme.
Natchitoches knows how to have a good time during the holidays, just ask the locals. Known for having famous meat pies, eggnog daiquiris, flying beads, and a riverboat parade during December, you’ll want to grab your most down-to-have-fun group for this Louisiana getaway. To set the scene, imagine a quaint downtown decked in garland, cloaked in over 300,000 twinkling lights, and transformed into a magical setting for its annual Festival of Lights. To top it off, it all ends in a fabulous fireworks display. Why not feel like a Steel Magnolia for the weekend?
Fernandina Beach, Florida
In this laidback beach town on the Atlantic Coast, December plays host to “Dickens On Centre,” which gives downtown Fernandina a merry Victorian makeover just before Christmas. The Historic District kicks off the holiday season in November with its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Black Friday Pajama Party, which is only made more of a jolly time if you have your gal pals along for the walkable shopping extravaganza. You’ll come home with all the unique goodies for your family and friends—plus you’ll have eaten your fair share of seafood and homemade ice cream from local hangouts like Fantastic Fudge.
San Antonio, Texas
Does it get more magical than San Antonio's River Walk during Fiesta? Arguably it does during the holiday season. Inaugurate your BFF getaway with Ford Holiday Boat Caroling during the month of December, where floating carolers sing along the beautifully decorated River Walk. The next day, delight your senses at the San Antonio Botanical Garden and the seasonal Holidays in Bloom exhibit brimming with garlands, poinsettias, and ribbons galore. Another must-see pit stops is the Ford Fiesta de Las Luminarias, a special Mexican Christmas tradition. Want to live like a local? Beeline to the holiday night market at The Pearl, a thrumming district centered around a former brewery founded in 1883.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Just down the road from Tennessee’s other most festive Christmas spot, Gatlinburg, this small town knows how to celebrate with just as much personality and panache—and that’s not just because of Dollywood. This Smoky Mountain getaway offers a hefty dose of holiday cheer for any girls’ trip, and you might as well start by booking rooms at The Inn at Christmas Place, which celebrates Christmas (and remains decked out in decorations) all year long. Yep, you heard us right. There, you’ll find a traditional Glockenspiel playing Christmas carols on the ringing of every hour and Santa paying visits and singing carols almost daily. Just make sure to stop and say hello to Dolly while you’re there.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Put your camera down and take in the warm glow from approximately 5,500 candles at Brookgreen Gardens' Nights of a Thousand Candles, a special treat for the community since 1999, which now draws around 53,000 people annually. If the group also craves another illuminated spectacle, check out The Great Christmas Light Show drive-through experience in North Myrtle Beach running through December 31st. A fitting place to toast friendship, head to La Belle Amie Vineyard, home of Twisted Sisters wines, where some seasonal events include live music and bonfires.
New Orleans, Louisiana
With more than 200 seasonal events, the gals may have a tough time narrowing down your schedule. First things first, be sure to indulge in a Creole Réveillon Dinner, a tradition that has its roots in the 19th century. After all, you'll need plenty of fuel to wander around the city's plazas and churches to catch carolers (and forge a path towards beignets). Book a double suite at the Pontchartrain Hotel which includes a Christmas tree in the living room, milk and cookies on your first night, two all-day streetcar passes, and more. But make sure to at least stop and see the iconic lights display at Hotel Monteleone.
Perched in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, about 45 minutes outside of Charlottesville, this small Virginia town is one to watch. On your trip, enjoy holiday lantern tours at the Frontier Culture Museum that are equal parts delightful and informative. Then, refuel on West Beverley Street, which dates back to the 1800s, and still maintains much of its old-school architectural charm. At night, grab tickets for the posse to check out A Christmas Carol at the American Shakespeare Center.
There’s never a bad time to visit Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland, but their Country Christmas truly goes above and beyond with ICE! Featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas and Cirque Dreams Holidaze. There’s also ice skating, Santa’s snow throw, and a whole lot more. Should you choose to wander away from the property and its dazzling three million holiday lights, head to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a slew of seasonal delights. Or, if historic sights tickle your fancy, tour the sprawling Belle Meade Plantation or Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the president’s former mansion, now hotel.
It may be sunny Florida, but a Polar Express oasis is in full swing in the Pensacola Bay Area. Starting in late November, there's a dizzying array of events ranging from the Winterfest Elf Parade on Black Friday to festive trolley tours. Other hits include The Nutcracker and the popular New Year's Eve Pensacola Pelican Drop, where live music and fireworks add to the magic of this distinctly Gulf Coast event.
Wheeling, West Virginia
If you and the ladies are on an annual pilgrimage to find the best holiday lights Oglebay Resort proves an unexpected Christmastime jackpot. Running from November to January, their light display fills 300 acres, illuminating the clear, Mountain State sky with a smattering of vibrant color. By day, enjoy skiing and snowboarding (you'll find us lazing by the firepit) or wandering the property's 1846 Mansion Museum or Glass Museum. After the sun sets, enjoy one of the on-site restaurants, or venture to Figaretti's, a family-owned Italian eatery that's been a staple in the community since 1948.