7 really fun holiday events in the USA

Looking for some festive fun in the USA this holiday? Here’s a selection of the best places to celebrate the holidays in the USA. 

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Newport Beach, California

Yachts, boats and kayaks decked out in festive lights set sail across the harbour in the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat parade. A local tradition since the turn of the 20th century, today the parade features as many as 100 boats and has been called ‘one of the top ten holiday happenings in the US’ by The New York Times. 


Sleigh & Carriage Rides in South Lake Tahoe, California

Cosy up for a narrated horse-drawn sleigh ride through towering pine trees along the shore of South Lake Tahoe. The Borges family has been delighting visitors with stories and tales on their one-hour private rides since 1967, giving visitors an insight into life alongside one of the world’s oldest lakes. 

Nevada City Victorian Christmas, California

You’ll find minstrels and carollers dressed in Victorian costumes wondering the streets of historic Nevada City, California, throughout the holiday season. Each year, the downtown streets of this quaint, Gold Rush town nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Sierra mountains is transformed into a Victorian Christmas scene. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment, savoury yuletide food and drink, and meet Father Christmas. 

Christmas crackers in Key West, Florida 

Trade pine trees for palms with a celebration of all things festive in tropical Key West, Florida. The town’s harbour walk dazzles with maritime-themed light displays for the Key West Holiday Fest. Visit Take the ‘Old Town Trolley Lights & Sights Holiday Tour’ to see historic Key West homes decked out with OTT lights and decorations and competing for the city’s most festive building. On 14 December, the town’s Key West’s Historic Seaport and harbour is alive with brightly-lit and decorated vessels from rowboats to tall ships. See out the year with the cheery Annual Key West Dachshund Walk on New Year’s Eve, with up to 200 dachshunds parading along Fleming Street between Whitehead and Duval streets. The famous New Year's Eve ‘Drops’ in Key West see out 2019 - including the ‘conch shell drop’ at Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval St, a pirate woman lowered from the top of a tall ship's mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar a super-sized red high-heel shoe carrying drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House complex, and a huge replica of a Key lime wedge splashing down into an outsized margarita glass at Ocean Key Resort & Spa.   


Dickens Christmas in North Dakota

Through the holiday season, Garrison, North Dakota transforms into the ‘Christmas Capitol of North Dakota.’ This Victorian family festival includes a craft show, lighted parade, street food stalls, entertainment, house tours and ‘A Christmas Carol’ play taking visitors back to the days of Charles Dickens.


Santa Sky Dives, Huntington Beach, California

The holiday season kicks off with Santa Claus’ official arrival in Huntington Beach - Surf City USA - at the end of November. Santa and two of his elves appear in the sky, sky dive then land on sands at Huntington Beach. Visitors can take part in sing-a-longs, photo opportunities and candy cane-eating to celebrate Christmas in true California style.


Pick your parade in New Smyrna Beach, Florida 

There’s a choice of parades for every taste in the colourful city of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, this weekend. The festive month starts with a Kick-off the Holidays event this weekend with the first annual ‘Santa Paws’ dog parade, the first annual Flagler Avenue Christmas Crazy Cart Parade, the regular Christmas Parade and on Sunday, the 42nd Annual Port Orange Holiday Parade. Miss those? You’re in luck - the following weekend you can catch another Christmas Parade and Holiday Boat Parades. Expect fun fancy dress, free kids craft stations, the chance to visit Santa, great food and drinks and more. [Photo credit: Jacob Brokaw]  

Posted on: 06/12/2019

Sign up here to receive USA Travel News, the regular Visit USA e-mail newsletter with the latest news and information

By providing your email address and clicking “sign-up” you consent to be contacted by Visit USA with offers and updates which we feel may be of interest to you. To opt out, use the unsubscribe link or email Find out how Visit USA safeguards user information by reading our Privacy Statement.