Christmas Lighted Boat Parade

Festive Family Fun on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

Get in the holiday spirit by visiting Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. With so many things to do in December, it will be a Christmas to remember.

Santa Drop at Flora-Bama

33rd Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade - December 8 from 5pm-8pm. Free admission. Watch dozens of festively lit boats drift past on the Intracoastal Waterway canal. Find your spot along the parade route, bring a thermos filled with hot chocolate and take in the sights and sounds of Christmas.

Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Now through December 31 from 5pm-9pm. Garden admission: $15 adults, $7.50 for children ages 5-12. Home and gardens: $24 adults, $13 for children ages 5-12. Stroll through a dazzling light display that features more than 1,100 set pieces, three million lights and 15 scenes throughout the 65-acre garden estate. The Bellingrath Home is decorated in its holiday finery and enhanced with beautiful poinsettias. After touring the lights, you’ll want to have photos taken with Santa and find that perfect holiday present in the popular Bellingrath gift shop.

7th Annual Merry Market at Orange Beach Event Center, December 7 from 9am-6pm and December 8 from 9am-5pm. Free admission. Browse over 70 vendors displaying a variety of gifts, apparel, homemade products, local honey, toys and much more.

A Charlie Brown Christmas at South Baldwin Community Theatre, December 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30pm and December 9 and 16 at 2:30pm. Adults: $18, students: $15. The classic animated television special comes to life in this stage adaptation. Watch as Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts Gang discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Santa Drop at Flora-Bama, December 8 from 11am-2pm. Santa jumps out of an airplane and lands on the sugar-white sand behind the world-famous Flora-Bama. It’s a sight you’ll not soon forget. Enjoy arts and crafts, sweet treats, live music including lots of Christmas songs for the kids, and pictures with Santa. Bring a canned food item to donate to Manna Food Bank or a toy for Toys for Tots in exchange for a free drink.

Billy Claus and the LuLuBelles at Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, December 8 from 1pm-4pm. Billy Claus is Santa’s warm weather-loving brother who lives in the Caribbean but comes this way to help Santa during the holiday season. The LuLuBelles are Billy’s fun version of Santa’s elves. Take a photo with the colorful crew and let Billy pass your children’s wish list on to Santa. In addition to kid’s arts and crafts activities, there will be a reading of Billy Claus and the Spirit of Christmas, a children’s book written by Lucy Buffett.

Christmas Potluck at Flora-Bama, December 25 from 12pm-4pm. Join plenty of friendly people and break bread to celebrate the holiday. Bring a covered side dish or dessert. Flora-Bama provides the main dish. There will be live music starting at 11am, and food will be served at 1pm.

Make it to the Line 4 Mile Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run at Flora-Bama, December 29 starting at 10am. Take off some of those extra holiday pounds as you run, jog, walk or crawl to the line. Individuals and families can compete. Trophies will be awarded three deep for all age groups in both the run and the walk. Special awards will be given in a multitude of categories.

LuLu's Noon Year's Eve in Gulf Shores AL

Noon Year’s Eve at Lulus, December 31 from 10am-3pm. Free admission. One advantage of celebrating New Years on the Gulf Coast is that you don’t have to stay up till midnight. Enjoy crafts, kid safe fireworks (bubble wrap), a live band, face painting, balloon animals, a sand castle building contest, and when the clock strikes noon, a colorful beach ball drop.

New Years Eve Bash at Flora-Bama, December 31 starting at 7pm. Admission: until December 30 - $40 (all ages), on December 31 for ages 21 and up - $45 and for ages 18-20 - $55. Be prepared to have a blast and enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet, free breakfast sandwiches starting at midnight, free champagne split, party favors and live music on three stages.

Reel in the New Year at The Wharf, December 31 from 5pm-12am. Free admission. Enjoy family-friendly fun including dancing, live bands and various kids’ activities. At the stroke of midnight, the marlin will drop, and fireworks will light up the sky.

Polar Bear Dip at Flora-Bama, January 1 from 12pm-3pm. Dress up in a funny costume and take a dip in the Gulf. If you’re brave enough to take the plunge, you’ll enjoy a traditional feast with black-eyed peas, cornbread, ham and more.

You’ll be so glad you celebrated your Christmas and New Years in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Plan your trip today.

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