The holidays are all about slowing down and spending quality time with family and friends. Sometimes that’s easier to do if you leave the everyday demands of home behind. Taking a short vacation with the people most important to you is a great way to create lasting memories and to celebrate this wonderful time of year. Here are 10 great holiday destinations close to Houston that will help bring just the right amount of joy to your winter. These places are close enough to home they won’t require too much planning. But they’re far enough away to guarantee that when you’re there, you’ll know you’re on vacation.
1. Galveston Island, TX
Start your holidays off right with an enjoyable trip to Galveston Island. This island virtually sparkles with cheer during the holidays. The Moody Garden Festival of Lights opens on November 11. Walk through the delightful trail of lights, show off your best triple Salchows at the outdoor skating rink, and warm your hands over a delicious mug of hot coco.
2. Austin, TX
A few days in Austin this winter will jumpstart your holiday spirit. This quirky college town hosts the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar from December 14-24. The bazaar rolls holiday shopping, great music, dancing, and a bit of beer drinking all into one. Before you know it, a trip to Austin will be your new holiday tradition.
3. San Antonio, TX
Head on over to San Antonio for some holly jolly vacation fun. On December 24, the city’s famous Ford Holiday River Parade kicks off San Antonio’s season of winter cheer. This year’s theme is “Christmas at the Movies.” Enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations along the River Walk for the duration of the holiday season.
4. South Padre Island, TX
There probably won’t be any snow on South Padre Island anytime soon, but minor details have never really hampered the good times in this tropical paradise. Holiday festivities begin on December 1 with a weekend packed full of activities. Scheduled events include the lighting of the island’s Christmas tree, SPI Christmas Parade, and Lighted Boat Parade.
5. Brenham, TX
Brenham’s holiday festivities will put a smile on your face and have you wishing good tidings to all. This small town in Texas wine country knocks it out of the ball park with a deliberately old-fashioned weekend-long celebration. Things get underway on December 1 with the lighting of courthouse square, caroling, and yes, rides on a firetruck.
6. Fredericksburg, TX
This town in Texas Hill Country takes its holiday reveling very seriously. Spend the morning at the outdoor ice skating rink and the afternoon savoring a glass of wine (or two) at the Sip with Santa wine tasting event. Other festive activities include the Santa Day Parade, Lighting of the German Christmas Pyramid and Community Christmas Tree, and Christmas Wine Affair.
7. Big Bend National Park, TX
This time of year can be stressful. And sometimes the only kind of vacation you want during the holidays, is a vacation from the holidays. If you find yourself wishing that Frosty the Snowman would just melt, it might be time for the glorious tranquility of Big Bend National Park. This is West Texas wilderness at it’s most sublime.
8. Corpus Christi, TX
Corpus Christi gets its celebration underway with the Harbor Lights Festival on December 2. Enjoy the official Christmas tree lighting ceremony and then head to Corpus Christi Bay to watch the Illuminated Boat Parade. If shopping for unique gifts is more your style, the Downtown Farmers Market has a special Holiday Market featuring the work of local artists and craftsmen.
9. Biloxi, MS
Biloxi is the place to go for seriously delicious cajun food, good music, and waterfront fun. The city gets its holiday merriness going on December 3 with Christmas in the City, a delightful afternoon of music and shopping in downtown Biloxi. Antique dealers, choirs, and bands will be on hand to celebrate. Christmas on the Water, a boat parade, takes place later that evening.
10. New Orleans, LA
There’s no best time to experience the holiday magic of New Orleans. This city goes into holiday mode right after Thanksgiving. Join in the exuberant caroling in Jackson Square on December 17, stroll through the beautiful lights of Celebration in the Oaks, make time for a delicious Reveillon Dinner, or go to a concert at St. Louis Cathedral.
Where Are You Dreaming of Going?
Shopping in Biloxi, ice skating on Galveston Island, dancing at the Armadillo Christmas Bazar in Austin—something on this list is bound to make your inner Grinch cheer up so you can start shopping for tinsel. Make sure your four-legged family member has as much fun at home as you have while you’re on vacation. Give us here at Barking Life Pet Concierge a call and we’ll work with you to arrange the perfect pet “staycation.” We can walk, visit, and play with your pet while you’re not home.