Twinkling lights, trees, and festive decorations are often what gives us that warm and tingling feeling come the holidays, with homeowners and businesses going out of their way to wow the neighborhood. Whether you like your decorations Disney-style in the Orlando theme parks or with the tropical feel of the far south of the state, Florida aims to impress.
Orlando's famous theme parks boast the city's most impressive decorations. Don't miss the Main Street decorations in the Magic Kingdom for a traditional experience, while at Universal, the Harry Potter villages become even more magical with the addition of snow and sparkles. Away from the park, the Gaylord Palms Hotel runs festive events over 6 weeks, open to non-residents as well as guests.
Experience Christmas lights with a difference at Miami Zoo. During December the zoo comes to life after dark with almost a million animal-shaped lights. Merrick Park's 50-ft tree is one of Miami's largest and is lit with 50,000 bulbs to dazzling effect.
The highlight of any Christmas vacation in Key West is the annual lighted boat parade, with boat owners working for weeks to create the most extravagant display. Join the crowds at Key West Bight Marina for the best viewing point.
Florida Christmas vacations are a great choice for families as they offer the opportunity to combine so many fun experiences. Where else could you spend a winter vacation on the beach, learn about the nation's space exploration heritage, and take a ride on an airboat before hopping onto a roller coaster?
St Augustine's beach is the ideal destination for families and couples looking for a laid-back pace with miles of unspoiled golden sand on your doorstep. Anastasia State Park is St Augustine's largest nature reserve, with 1,600 acres of wildlife and dunes to explore.
Orlando's Christmas has to be seen to be believed, with special events and festive parades taking over the theme parks. Another truly Christmassy event is the annual performance of the Nutcracker by the Orlando Ballet, with magic, fairies, and beautiful stage decoration.
Santa's Enchanted Forest is Miami's premier Christmas festival, with attractions to delight adults and kids of all ages. After dark, venture into the beautifully-lit woodland, meet Santa in his cabin deep in the woods or watch the elves picking candy canes in the magic garden. It's a true fairytale experience for the whole family.
Florida's many islands provide the chance to switch off completely and spend the holidays relaxing and recharging your batteries for the year ahead. Entertainment and activities are there if you want a more vibrant experience, but island vacations in the depths of winter are hard to beat.
The southernmost point of the continental US, Key West combines beach life with water sports, great shopping and all the other amenities of a large city. Head north through the Keys from Key West to escape the crowds and find your own little piece of paradise on the Florida sands.
The island of Miami Beach is separated from the mainland by Biscayne Bay. Spend your Christmas vacation among the swaying palms, finding a private spot on the sand, or enjoying a relaxing Christmas meal of seafood in a beachside restaurant.
Anastasia Island lies just to the east of St Augustine across the Matanzas River, and in addition to the large area of State Park, has miles of golden sandy beaches stretching away to the south. It's a family-friendly place with museums and an interesting alligator park in the north of the island, but as you go further south the vibe gets even more laid-back and peaceful.