December is filled with holiday sights and smells and Florida’s state parks are no exception. Throughout December, Florida’s state parks offer multiple events for you and your family to enjoy. The winter weather is rolling in and it’s time to bundle up and take advantage of holiday events and fun.
Experience the Festival of Lights at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs beginning Fri. Dec. 5. Throughout the entire month of December, visitors can delight in the award-winning event, which includes unique holiday light displays, a gingerbread village, a candy cane forest and a winter wonderland area complete with snow flurries and Santa Claus. Cousin Thelma Boltin’s Gift Shop will be open every day from noon to 9:00 p.m. and will have craft demonstrations, marshmallow roasting and caroling. The event is $3.00 per person and is open each night until 9:00 p.m., excluding Christmas night. Christmas Eve will be drive through only.
Another great event to attend with friends and family this December is Santa Over the Rainbow at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon. Thanks to the Friends of Rainbow Springs State Park, Santa Claus will be visiting the park at various dates throughout the month. You are invited to walk along the wonderland of lights which decorate the headsprings area of the park and watch as Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive on a lighted boat as they head towards their cottage along the Rainbow River. Santa’s elves will also be traveling with him and Mrs. Claus and they are very excited to take photos with the children who come to visit. This fun event will take place the second and third weekend of December from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a special nighttime entry fee of $2.00.
Check below to see all the holiday and winter events being offered this December at Florida’s state parks:
Fri. Dec. 5 – 26th Annual Camellia Christmas from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee
Fri. Dec. 5 to Wed. Dec. 31 – Festival of Lights at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs (The park will be open until 9:00 p.m. and will be closed Christmas night. Christmas Eve will be drive through only)
Sat. Dec. 6 – Winter Sunrise Canoe Tour from 6:15 to 9:30 a.m. at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White
Sat. Dec. 6 – Union Holiday Encampment from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach
Sat. Dec. 6 – Caroling the Ravines from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka
Sat. Dec. 6 – A Cracker Christmas from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala
Sat. Dec. 6 – Lignumvitae Key Christmas from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park in Islamorada
Sat. Dec. 6 – Christmas on the Florida Frontier from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell
Sun. Dec. 7 – Union Holiday Encampment from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach
Thu. Dec. 11 – Astronomy Night – Winter Stars Over Pennekamp from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo
Fri. Dec. 12 to Sun. Dec. 14 – Santa Over the Rainbow from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon
Fri. Dec. 12 and Sat. Dec. 13 – The Candlelight Experience from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Fort Foster State Historic Site in Thonotosassa
Fri. Dec. 12 to Sun. Dec. 14 – Nights of Lights from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Fort Cooper State Park in Inverness
Sat. Dec. 13 – Junior League 5K Reindeer Race and 1 Mile Santa Shuffle from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City
Fri. Dec. 19 to Fri. Dec. 26 – Celebration of Lights from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa
Fri. Dec. 19 – Fourth Annual Holiday Songs in the Park from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka
Fri. Dec. 19 to Sun. Dec. 21 – Santa Over the Rainbow from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon
Sat. Dec. 20 – Christmas Candlelight Tour and Open House from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach
Sun. Dec. 21 – Chanukah at The Barnacle from 3:30 to 8:00 p.m. at The Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove
Fri. Dec. 26 and Sat. Dec. 27 – Santa Over the Rainbow from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon (Lights only)