The Gulf Coast of Florida's Best Family Nights Out To Get You and Yours in the Holiday Spirit


Family traditions are what Holidays on the Gulf Coast of Floridamake the holiday season extra special. Memories in the making, time spent with the ones you love, and special family gatherings are trademarks of this time of the year. If you're looking to start a new family tradition or if you're spending the Christmas and New Year here with us on the Gulf Coast of Florida and looking for some family-friendly outings, we have some wonderful recommendations for you and yours to put you into the holiday spirit.

These Gulf Coast family outings run through most of the month of December, some continuing into the New Year. Just because you're in Florida doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice a white Christmas, or feel limited on your holiday options. There are plenty of seasonal events and they all offer their own take on the holiday season in unique Gulf Coast style. Visit one or visit them all if you can. Pick your favorite and make it your family's annual Christmas tradition.

Gather up your family and bring your friends along, too. There's a little something for everyone. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, 'tis the season to be jolly. Here we go!

A Christmas Carol at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

If your inner Scrooge has emerged with all of the holiday stress that sometimes occurs this time of year, we have just the cure. There's nothing like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future to get you into the holiday spirit—and to bring back the joy and love you once felt. The beloved Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol has one showing on December 22 at 7p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. It's the quintessential family night out on the town. Tickets start at $38 per person. Hurry, it's a popular show!

Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo

What are the holidays without the glimmering, shimmering and twinkling of a fabulous light show? Set in the gorgeous setting of the 35-acre Florida Botanical Gardens, Holiday Lights in the Gardens features over 750,000 lights (whoa!), seasonal refreshments, live entertainment and appearances by the big, bearded guy himself. There's also a Gift and Plant Sale and Dog Parade during the month-long event. The Holiday Lights in the Gardens runs nightly from 5:30-9:30p.m. through December 31. Free parking is available and a $4 donation is suggested. This has fun family tradition written all over it. Check it out! Want a sneak peek? Click here.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa Christmas Town

Ah, Christmas Town. Who knew that Tampa could be transformed into a winter wonderland? You'll be transported into a Christmas celebration which includes all of your favorite sights, sounds and flavors of the holiday season that you know and love. You'll see twinkling lights around every corner, hear festive live music, sample tasty holiday treats, and opportunities to shop 'til you drop.

The best part is that Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa is now free and included in your park admission! It is definitely a family holiday tradition in the making. Christmas Town runs through December 31.

Holidays at the Village in Heritage Village

Travel back in time and celebrate the Christmas season in true historic fashion. Pinellas County's Heritage Village offers an enchanting glimpse of life in the mid-19th century. Holidays at the Village showcases historical houses decorated just as they were in the 1800s. True to their period, locality and lifestyle, explore 21 acres of living history and see everything from elaborately decorated Victorian homes to simply adorned log cabins, and everything in between. Holidays at the Village runs through January 4. Heritage Village is open Wednesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and holidays). Admission is free and donations are welcomed. Make local history part of your family's holiday tradition this year.

There is always so much to see and do here on Florida's Gulf Coast, no matter the season or the time of year. We do hope you get to explore some of our local holiday events and seasonal traditions, as well as start making some new ones of your very own.

Does your family have any favorite holiday traditions or outings this time of year?
We'd love to hear about it!


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