Trip Ideas

Georgia's Signature Holiday Events

From parades to lights, and from home tours to train rides with Santa, Georgia gets decked out for the holidays.

  • Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden

    Atlanta Botanical Garden

From the mountains to the coast, here are the state’s signature holiday events that the entire family will enjoy.

Historic Heartland

Madison's Holiday Tour of Homes. (Madison) It’s the perfect seasonal delight for adults or a grand Georgia welcome for out-of-town visitors. Madison’s Christmas Tour of Homes invites visitors to explore Madison’s most beautiful and iconic homes decked out for the holiday season. Even more spectacular: explore the grandeur by candlelight! Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2017.

Antebellum Christmas at the Old Governor's Mansion. (Milledgeville) Embrace the smell of fresh-cut Frasiers and chestnuts on the fire as Milledgeville's Old Governor’s Mansion transforms into a beautiful representation of what Christmas looked like in the time period before the Civil War. Every room is dressed with authentic period decorations - from streamers in the children’s room to poinsettias, holly branches and gorgeous ribbons in other rooms and parlors. Holiday tours offered Nov. 19-22 and Nov. 28-Dec. 22, 2017. For an especially unique experience, take a candlelight tour, offered Dec. 9, 16 and 19, 2017.

Classic South

Christmas Tour of Homes. (Washington) Join the Christmas party at Merry Oaks Plantation on Friday evening, and spend Saturday glimpsing inside expertly preserved private homes showcasing some of the finest architectural details of the Old South. Complete the weekend with the Holiday Parade of Lights Saturday evening. Dec. 8-9, 2017

Christmas at the The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. (Greensboro) Enjoy breakfast with Santa, the Lighting at the Lake, ice skating, story time with Mrs. Claus, gingerbread workshops and elf tuck-ins. The resort offers winter warmth and luxurious tidings for guests each holiday season. A must-see for the holidays is the one-of-a-kind, life-sized gingerbread house that is created by the pastry team. This holiday treat, made with gingerbread, 180 pounds of candy and 480 pounds of icing, will be on display for guests’ delight throughout the holidays. Dates vary, extending through Jan. 2, 2018.

Presidential Pathways

Fantasy In Lights. (Pine Mountain) Callaway Gardens' Fantasy In Lights, celebrating its 26th season, is not only the South’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, it is one of the world's "Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights," as named by "National Geographic Traveler." Shop in the Christmas Village, listen to story time with Mrs. Claus or ride the Christmas Train. Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 6, 2018.

Christmas at The Rock Ranch. (The Rock) Families can hop on board The Rock Ranch Christmas Express Train ride, featuring falling snow, a snowflake tunnel and a dancing Christmas lights show. Other activities include a tractor/trolley ride through more than a mile of lights, Santa’s workshop, visits with Santa, dinner, hot chocolate, and shopping for gifts and Georgia-grown goodies! Various dates, Dec. 9 – Dec. 25, 2017.

Plantation Trace

Downtown Christmas Parade. (Moultrie) This evening parade is known as one of the largest in South Georgia. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season at this festive event. Dec. 14, 2017 at 6 p.m.

31st Annual Victorian Christmas Festival. (Thomasville) Carriage rides with jingle bells and twinkling lights set the stage for a truly unforgettable experience. Carolers sing traditional favorites while colorful characters capture your imagination with street theater. Community sing-alongs, chestnut roasting and marshmallow toasting will put you in the mood for Christmas. Festival favorites include live musical entertainment, carriage rides, a live nativity and a winter wonderland for children! Dec. 14-15, 2017.

Atlanta Metro

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. (Atlanta) The annual electrical extravaganza features spectacular light displays throughout the garden. The massive Tunnel of Light along with favorites such as the Orchestral Orbs, Glittering Galaxy, Radiant Rainforest and Model Trains continue to make the exhibition a must-see holiday tradition. Nov. 11, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018.

Stone Mountain Christmas. (Stone Mountain) Have a Holly Jolly Christmas at Stone Mountain Park, where the true magic of the season is in the air. Enjoy the glow of more than 2 million lights, festive music and visits from some your favorite holiday characters. Start a new tradition and create memories that will last a lifetime for your kids...and you. Various dates Nov. 11, 2017 - Jan. 3, 2018.

The Coast

21st Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade. (Hinesville) Enjoy the twinkling lights and holiday cheer at this annual event featuring lighted floats designed by community groups. You'll be amazed at the variety and creativity on display in the parade! Dec. 1, 2017.

Holiday Tour of Homes. (Savannah) The self-guided tour will take you on a stroll through some of the most picturesque parts of historic, downtown Savannah. Dec. 9, 2017.

Magnolia Midlands

Christmas Extravaganza. (McRae-Helena) Bring your jingle bells, wear your craziest Christmas shirt and jingle all the way on the 1-mile walk through town. Afterward, enjoy entertainment, visit Santa, make s'mores and shop! Nov. 30, 2017.

Dublin Christmas Parade. (Dublin) Kick off the holiday season with The Exchange Club of Dublin’s Christmas Parade. Stretching over a mile through the Bellevue and Downtown Historic Districts, the Christmas Parade adds a touch of wonder and delight! Dec. 2, 2017. Don’t miss Dublin Christkindlmarket, which brings a taste of Germany to Dublin during weekends in November and December.

Northeast Georgia Mountains

Magical Nights of Lights. (Buford) Twinkling lights come to life, transforming the landscape with pictures of Christmas wishes. Journey to Santa’s Holiday Village, where kids can share their Christmas wishes with the big man himself and grab a photo memory of their special meeting. Nov. 17, 2017  Jan. 3, 2018.

Old Fashioned Christmas. (Dahlonega) Don’t miss the Lighting of Downtown Nov. 24, 2017, the Christmas Parade and Lighting of the Tree Dec. 2, and visit with Santa various dates. Enjoy live entertainment, wine tastings, caroling, extended shopping hours and more holiday festivities.

Historic High Country

Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights. (Lookout Mountain) This award-winning light extravaganza features more than 30 holiday scenes that transform the gardens' natural daytime splendor into a nocturnal fantasyland. Visit with St. Nick and his elves! Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating, hot cocoa, Sugar Plum Fairy makeovers and nightly entertainment in the North Pole Lodge. Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 6, 2018.   

Santa Express. (Blue Ridge) Enjoy a daytime fun-filled train ride with Santa. While on board, your family will hear the “Twas the Night Before Christmas” story, sing carols and visit with Christmas characters and Santa. Select dates Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 2017.

Lesli is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more family content from Lesli.

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