Charming Christmas Girlfriend Getaways To Put On Your Wish List

Shops decorated for Christmas on King Street in Alexandria, VA
Photo: Cedric Angeles

It's never a bad time for a weekend with your closest gal pals, but there sure is an extra twinkle of a good time around the holidays. While we've got your covered on girlfriend getaways perfect for fall to fun mother-daughter trips that will be worth your memory book, what better excuse to plan a vacation than to toast the merriest time of year and perhaps get your holiday shopping done at the same time?

Pack the reindeer ears and ugly Christmas sweaters, because it's time for a December getaway with the girls. 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.

01 of 19

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg Skylift Park SkyBridge
Gatlinburg Skylift Park

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.

02 of 19

Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore Estate at Christmas
Courtesy of Biltmore Company

By Asheville, we mainly mean the Biltmore Estate. Seeing this iconic Southern landmark and inn during Christmastime is a treat that your 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 on past Christmases. 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—the grounds are quite expansive.

03 of 19

Grapevine, Texas

Downtown Grapevine, TX at Christmas
Robbie Caponetto

You had us at "Christmas wine train." The roughly 1,400 other Christmas events around town don't hurt, either. In Grapevine, posse-friendly activities range from a 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.

04 of 19

Dahlonega, Georgia

Carriage Ride in Dahlonega, GA
Robbie Caponetto

Ah, the ultimate Christmas getaway for a gaggle of girlfriends. Dahlonega has small town charm mixed with snowglobe-like Christmas spirit, which all culminate 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!

05 of 19

Alexandria, Virginia

Shops decorated for Christmas on King Street in Alexandria, VA
Cedric Angeles

Given its close proximity to Washington, D.C., Alexandria offers the best of both worlds: small-town charm and urban access. This town's architecture dates back as far as 1749, when Alexandria was founded. Visit Old Town for a bevy of shops and restaurants to fill your hours (and get a dose of Yuletide historic charm).

06 of 19

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Natchitoches Christmas Lights
Robbie Caponetto

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?

07 of 19

Waco, Texas

Magnolia Market at The Silos
Jennifer Boomer

Chip and Joanna aside, this small Texas town knows how to put on a good show, especially during Christmastime. 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.

08 of 19

St. Simons Island, Georgia

Christ Church Frederica in St. Simons Island, GA at Christmas
Peter Frank Edwards

Have yourself a Lowcountry holiday weekend in St. Simons Island. Two neighboring coastal communities, Sea Island and St. Simons Island are both warm and inviting places to visit. The Cloister on Sea Island, which first opened in 1928, has been hosting holiday festivities for decades. On St. Simons Island, hop aboard a Christmas Tour of Lights, one of the open-air rides hosted by Lighthouse Trolleys. Make sure to pick up gifts in the charming village stores.

09 of 19

Lexington, Kentucky

The Inn at Shaker Village
Courtesy Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

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. We hear you can also find Santa at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. Are you a crafter? If so, 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 later on.

10 of 19

San Antonio, Texas

Southern Christmas Vacations: San Antonio River Walk
Photo Courtesy of San Antonio CVB

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 exhibit brimming with garlands, poinsettias, and ribbons galore. Another must-see pitstop is the Ford Fiesta de Las Luminarias, a special Mexican Christmas tradition.

11 of 19

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Exploring Tennessee's Pigeon Forge
George Rose/Getty Images

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.

12 of 19

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Visit Myrtle Beach

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. 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.

13 of 19

New Orleans, Louisiana

Jazz musicians at Preservation Hall in New Orleans
Cedric Angeles

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 too.

14 of 19

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fernandina Beach
Facebook/Amelia Island

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.

15 of 19

Nashville, Tennessee

A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort
Photo: Courtesy Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

There's never a bad time to visit Nashville's Gaylord Opryland, but its 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 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.

16 of 19

Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola, Florida
Slava Bowman / EyeEm/Getty Images

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. Start or end your days with a cool walk on the expansive beaches.

17 of 19

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Displaying Poinsettias
Ball & Albanese

If you and the ladies are on an annual pilgrimage to find a true Southern (and over-the-top) holiday, The Greenbrier proves a Christmastime jackpot. For the season, busy elves have been know to trim over 300 trees, hang over 120,000 lights, string miles of greenery, wrap 20,000 gifts, and give poinsettias a coat of fairy dust.

18 of 19

Beaufort, North Carolina

Beaufort, North Carolina
Cedric Angeles

Throughout the month of December, this small coastal North Carolina town hosts a variety of activities celebrating the holiday season. The festivities begin in early December with a Christmas-themed street party and the Light of the Christmas Boat Parade along the Beaufort River. Then, there's the Beaufort Tree Lighting Ceremony, as well as the annual Festival of Trees. As a bonus, and in the spirit of the season, the shops stay open late so everyone has ample time to get their holiday shopping done.

19 of 19

Franklin, Tennessee

Main Street in Franklin, Tennessee 06
Matthew Maxey (Visit Franklin)

If you are an enthusiast of—or just hold a casual appreciation for—the Charles Dickens classics like A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, then Franklin, Tennessee at Christmas time should definitely be on your list of potential destinations for a ladies-only getaway. This town really shows its holiday spirit with a signature, annual event called Dickens of a Christmas, during which downtown Franklin is transformed into the world of Charles Dickens.

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