Watching the little ones faces light up when they see a house adorned with Christmas lights or a blanket of snow covering the ground is priceless.
That’s why we do it, right? We enjoy going all out during the holidays because of the joy it brings to those we love the most.
But some places really bring joy and offer more excitement per square inch than anywhere else in America.
So check out these ten places, because they really know how to make Christmas come alive for the whole family.
1. Skaneateles, New York
Escape the less congested cities of New York and head upstate to Skaneateles, located on one of the Finger Lakes.
Every Christmas, this beautiful lake town celebrates a Dickens’ Christmas. This festival offers horse-drawn wagon rides while the iconic characters from the beloved classic, A Christmas Carol, walk around and interact with families.
The kids will feel like they’ve stepped into a winter wonderland when Father Christmas makes his grand appearance.
Their Christmas parade will surely be fun for the whole family, and the little ones will enjoy having Mother Goose read to them during story time.
Dickens’ Christmas runs every Saturday in December until Christmas Eve.
Plan your family’s stay at The Bungalows at Skaneateles Suites, it’s a great place and only 2 miles from the festivities.
2. New York City, New York
There’s no place that does Christmas quite like New York City. Everything is decorated for the holidays, which makes the whole city light up… literally.
The Radio City Rockettes is a classic show you’ll want to catch during your stay in the city. This 90-minute performance incorporates 3D glasses, LED screens, and even helium-filled snowflakes. It will be hard to pick your jaw up off the floor when it’s over because it’s that good! The show runs until January 1, 2019.
Of course you’ll have to take the kids to Macy’s Santa Land, where the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square is transformed into a Christmas paradise.
In addition to a 6-foot Christmas tree, there are ice sculptures, trains, ducks skating on ice, even elves busy making toys in the toy shop.
Choosing to stay at the Omni Berkshire Place will keep your holiday spirit going with Christmas carols welcoming you into the lobby and a hot cocoa bar that will totally wow the kids.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Blue Cross RiverRink WinterFest in Penn’s Landing is the place to be in Pennsylvania this Christmas.
It features a large outdoor skating rink and heated open cabins for when you need to warm up.
Drink homemade hot cocoa from the Confectionary Cabin and roast marshmallows on one of the many firepits located around the festival grounds.
Running until March 3, 2019, enjoy some quality family bonding by playing games together at the kids lodge and enjoying homestyle cooking at Garces or the well-known Chickie’s and Pete’s.
The Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing is a close walk to the festival and provides classy accommodations for the whole family.
4. Grapevine, Texas
Grapevine, Texas is affectionately known as ‘The Christmas Capital of Texas’, and for good reason too. Boasting 1,400 Christmas events each year, there is something every member of the family will enjoy.
But riding the Grapevine North Pole Express will take the cake. Drink endless amounts of hot cocoa while you listen to a Christmas tale during your journey.
As you pull into the North Pole, you’ll see Santa’s workshop and all his helpers. They will welcome you with a joyful Christmas performance while the children giggle with delight.
Plan your stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. Their indoor water park will be decked out in Christmas lights, and even a “snow-fall”! You’re guaranteed to warm up quickly in this 84-degree playground.
5. Branson, Missouri
You may want to hold off buying Christmas gifts for the kids until you visit the World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex in Branson, Missouri.
There’s more than a million toys on display, including dolls, trains, teddy bears, and more. Then when you’ve had your fill, walk over to Silver Dollar City, the museum’s theme park just next door.
With Christmas shows, 6 million lights, and rides, this winter wonderland offers almost more thrill than the kids can take.
And stay at the Big Cedar Lodge located right next to Silver Dollar City. The lodge is decorated to look like a giant gingerbread house until mid-January. You’ll feel like you’re in a real life fairytale!
6. Hershey, Pennsylvania
Most people know that the famous Hersheypark resides in Hershey, Pennsylvania, but what you may not know is they also go all out for Christmas.
Millions of lights illuminate the park into a winter fantasyland, complete with real life reindeer and Hershey’s Christmas Candyland.
The family will definitely want to stay at Hershey Lodge with its indoor water park and lit-up wooded path for exploring at night.
7. Williamsburg, Virginia
Busch Gardens is another theme park that likes to take things up a notch for the holidays. Check out Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland which runs through January 5, 2019.
The kids will get to meet all of Santa’s reindeer and ride a 1.5 mile Christmas Town Express. Many epic Christmas performances will run at various times throughout the park.
Colonial Williamsburg also offers a unique Christmas experience which the family will get a kick out of—Talk of the Town: Christmastide.
An eighteenth century character dressed in traditional garb will take you around the town and fill you in on all the news and juicy gossip of the day.
8. Orlando, Florida
Airfarewatchdog.com deemed this popular family destination the most visited during the holidays in 2016.
Apparently, it’s even better this year. Every major theme park in Orlando is putting on a big Christmas show, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and Lego Land.
The Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, including an incredible light show at Cinderella’s castle. And watch the snow fall onto Main Street following a Frozen show.
Lego Land is also mega impressive with a 30-foot Christmas tree made completely out of Legos and Duplo blocks.
The kids can participate in a giant holiday scavenger hunt before meeting some of their favorite Lego characters too.
All of the parks in Orlando offer hotel accommodations. They’ll also be holiday themed and geared towards children—or the kid inside all of us!
9. Nashville, Tennessee
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center offers their Country Christmas package through December and is hailed one of the most “Christmassy destinations in the country,” according to Parents.
You can decorate gingerbread, check out Build-A-Bear, or go on a General Jackson Showboat holiday cruise.
Be sure to check out ICE!, an attraction that features over two millions pounds of ice hand carved into holiday themed figures. Dress warm, because at 9-degrees Fahrenheit, it will be pretty chilly inside this exhibit.
10. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Nestled in northern Vermont is Smugglers’ Notch Resort, voted ‘No.1 Kid-Friendly Resort in the Eastern US & Canada’ by SKI Magazine readers, according to TripSavvy.
Activities for the whole family go on all day long. Satisfy your sweet tooth by decorating holiday cookies. Or get in touch with your artistic side by making a puppet, or get the whole gang involved in family races and games.
Check out their weekly Winter Carnival full of delicious food, great music, games and more. And to end a perfect day, they hold a parade and put on a fireworks show—a great ending indeed.
Remember, wherever you choose to spend your holidays, being close with family is the most important.
Vacationing at any of these great locations will definitely have your kids talking about their magical Christmas adventures all year. Who knows, they may even forget about all those presents they asked for!