This is the year to forgo the big holiday presents and instead book a trip. Whether its a singles getaway, a weekend escape or a vacation the whole family will love, the memories made are the gifts that will keep on giving!

If you’re looking for a festive vacation, the Southern USA is the perfect destination to capture the holiday cheer. From sunny shores to winter wonderland ski resorts,  a big city or small town, there’s a Southern destination that’s suited for your travel needs. So what are you waiting for? Let this list of real-life hallmark destinations inspire you to book now!

Holiday Events in the Smokies – Tennessee 

The Great Smoky Mountains are your background for the annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest Nov. 10, 2022 through Feb. 20, 2023 that includes SeviervillePigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. More than 15 million lights and displays line the Parkway for a magical experience. In Sevierville, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland illuminates your drive with lights dancing in perfect rhythm to Christmas music played over your radio. New custom built, all-LED displays will surround you with holiday cheer. In Pigeon Forge, enjoy the new Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail with 20 new light displays along the city’s Riverwalk nature trail. Set to music, the displays include walk-thru arches, a 52-foot-long caterpillar, larger-than-life flowers, an enchanted forest with seven-foot-tall mushrooms, shooting stars and more. In Gatlinburg, you can do a self-guided Trolley Ride of Lights to see all the holiday decorations around town from the comfort of your car. Check out the stops from the app.

Photo Credit: Universal Concepts

Celebrate on the Gulf Coast – Alabama 

If you’re searching for a non-traditional and fun-filled Christmas vacation, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the perfect destinations for you! They celebrate the holidays a little differently on the coast, so leave your winter coats and boots at home and pack your flip-flops and sunglasses for a comfortable holiday on the beach. The holidays on Alabama beaches include non-stop fun all winter long. From ice skating at The Wharf to tree lightings and plenty of Santa sightings, there are many great December activities and events for the young and young at heart. Be sure to check out their guide to a Coastal Christmas to see all the holiday happenings this season!

Photo Credit: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Resorts Ready for the Holidays – West Virginia 

The winter season in the Mountain State is an amazing time of year when you can experience new and exciting things. The Mountain State is full of incredible ski resorts that are located throughout the state. These resorts put on unique and exciting events all through the winter season. Explore Snowshoe Mountain Resort on horseback or by a horse-drawn sleigh. Autumn Breeze Stables will take you through the Potomac Highlands wilderness at Snowshoe. You’ll see scenic views of Silver Creek Lake and valley views towards Cass Scenic Railroad. Make your way to breathtaking Pocahontas County to hit the slopes at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Snowshoe Mountain Ski and Snowboard School offers private lessons, group lessons and kids lessons for both skiing and snowboarding. Or try out tubing for a change at the Coca Cola Tube Park. Visit the West Virginia Ski Areas Association to learn more about the incredible ski resorts in the state and their events and activities.

Photo Credit: West Virginia Tourism

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.