Growing up outside Boston as a child meant dreaming of a white Christmas. As often or not we had frigid weather, icy roads, and no snow.
Floridians don’t have to worry about the white stuff in December. We still celebrate the holidays with most everything else. Downtown Tampa even opens an ice skating rink and every Florida theme park turns into a Christmas wonderland, often at additional admission charges. Most Florida zoos become Christmas tourist sites – bring out those penguins.
There are a few things Florida has that is rare in the North. At least fifty Florida towns have Christmas boat parades that match up with most land floats. Pompano Beach started it five decades ago and this year’s boat spectacular is December 11th.
Some of this years biggest boat parades are: December 10th – Key West, Clearwater, Panama City, and Fort Lauderdale. Destin’s water show is December 11th. Miami and Cape Coral are on December 17th. And just in case you were up North this year, Jacksonville has a light boat holiday parade on December 30th.
If you are in a town with a lake, a river, or coastline, contact your local Chamber for the dates and locations of your neighborhood boat parade.
My favorite indoor Christmas spectacular is inside the massive covered lobby of the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando. You’ll need to buy tickets for this one for people drive miles to see the activities. It will be cold – about nine degrees.
Orlando’s Garlord Palms Resort Is Christmas Wonderland
The coldness is to prevent the melting of 36 truckloads of special ice recipe (clear ice, white ice, and colored ice) turned into two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures. Thousands of Chinese ice lanterns and lights fill the air. You can slide down chutes covered with real snow, have a Charlie Brown Christmas, and watch a Cirque show with a holiday theme. The place is unreal!
And of course, the resort has restaurants and special food stalls.
My favorite outdoor Christmas trip is an extreme contrast. I like to go to the Bok Tower and Gardens in Lake Wales. The numerous trails up Iron Mountain are filled with red poinsettias and other appropriate holiday plants. Beautiful and restful.
Bok Gardens At Christmas Time
You will definitely need to go online to get tickets to the rustic Pinewood Estate in the Gardens. The mansion is turned into a historic look at Florida’s Christmas past.
Pineland Estate At Christmas at Bok Tower
If after all this, you still want snow coming down, I suggest you visit downtown Celebration, the village designed by the Disney people to resemble small town U.S.A. Every evening during December on the hour from 6 pm to 9 pm it is “Now Snowing on Main Street.”
Snow Every Night At Downtown Celebration, Florida
I may miss the real snow, but not the long double driveway Dad and I had to plow out.