Family Fun,Florida,Kid Friendly,Parks,Tampa Life

Top 5 Picks for Florida Outdoor Christmas Celebrations

florida christmas

Have a holly jolly outdoorsy Christmas.  It’s my absolute favorite time of year!  I love everything about the Christmas season.  I’m looking forward to lots of lights, hot chocolate, and holiday cheer!

I was in search of some unique holiday events we haven’t done before that incorporated our love of the outdoors with the Christmas season.  I was surprised by the wide variety of Christmas celebrations. offered by our Florida State Parks.   Some of the events do require a bit of a drive from the Tampa area, but hopefully we can check a couple of these off of our list this season.

Here are my top 5 picks for Florida outdoor Christmas celebrations!

1.  Santa Over the Rainbow
Where: Rainbow Springs State Park
Dates: December 12, 13, 14
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Cost: $2
Description: Wonderland of lights decorate the headsprings area of Rainbow Springs.  Mr and Mrs. Claus come up the Rainbow River on a lighted boat.  You can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus for pictures in the cottage.  There are carols and elves and everything you need for a great outdoor Christmas celebration.

2.  Celebration of Lights
Where: Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Dates: December 19-24, 26
Time: 5:30pm to 9pm
Cost: $3 adults and $1 children
Description: Winter wonderland, synchronized light and sound show, live entertainment, refreshments

3.  A Cracker Christmas
Where: Silver Springs State Park
Dates: December 6
Time: 11am to 8pm
Cost: Regular park admission fees
Description: The cracker village at Silver Springs State Park will be decorated in late 1800s Christmas decorations, with caroling, handmade items for sale, and food.

4.  Candelight Experience at Forest Foster
Where: Hillsborough River State Park
Dates: December 12-13
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Cost: $5 ages 13 and up. Ages 12 and under free
Description: Visitors follow a lantern-lit trail through the military fort and Seminole camp.   There are musicians, living history scenarios, and refreshments.  There is also a battle reenactment after 8pm.

5.  Nights of Shimmering Lights
Where: Hillsborough County Fairgrounds
Dates: November 29 – December 30
Time: 6-9 pm weekdays ; Friday and Saturday until 11pm
Cost: Mon, Tue, Wed – $15; Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun – $20
More Info:

**Visit the Florida State Parks special events page for more information on all of the state park events.


Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™

“Tis the season for adventure!”

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  • Reply
    December 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I am ALWAYS looking for great holiday events and these all sound great! The Candlelight experience sounds especially fun. Thanks for pulling all these together!

    ~ Shannon

    • Reply
      December 9, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Thanks for reading Shannon. I hope you are able to attend at least one of them!

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