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There’s Snowplace Like Home: Winter Staycations with all the Holiday Magic

There’s Snowplace Like Home: Winter Staycations with all the Holiday Magic

There’s Snowplace Like Home: Winter Staycations with all the Holiday Magic

Dreaming of a winter wonderland this holiday season? For residents of a tropical state like Florida that may seem impossible. Fortunately, several local attractions, resorts and parks are perfect for fulfilling those snowy dreams- without heading to the airport. From arctic slopes to magical productions featuring the best holiday cheer, Greater Gainsville is not far from some fantastic spots ideal for unforgettable fun for the whole family.


  1. Walt Disney World

Perhaps the most well-known attraction on the list, Walt Disney World pulls out all the stops for the winter season. See Cinderella’s castle light up at Magic Kingdom Park, enjoy a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and get all your entertainment thrills at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including caroling sing-alongs and a holiday-themed toy land.

  1. Snowcat Ridge

Seeing snow in Florida is possible with a visit to this grand snow park.

“A lot of our customers will comment on our social media pages saying that they grew up with snow, and now they live in Florida, and their kids have never seen snow. So, it’s kind of a novelty to bring the kids out to [the park],” said Jon Pianki, marketing director for Snowcat Ridge.


Snowcat Ridge creates a winter extravaganza for visitors, allowing them to enjoy winter-inspired activities like ice skating under the stars, racing down snowy slopes, snow tubing, playing in an arctic igloo, cozying up to a campfire to roast s’mores and so much more. Pianki recommends buying tickets early to get the best price and to reserve your sport.

  1. ICE! at Gaylord Palms

Grab a coat and bundle up for this chilly attraction. Returning for another year, the Gaylord Palms annual ICE! attraction features nearly 20,000 square feet of exhibits made with 2 million pounds of ice. This year, the production tells the story of the iconic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and brings the Peanuts characters to life with expertly carved ice sculptures.

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“We’re so pleased to bring this Central Florida holiday tradition back for our guests in 2023,” said Johann Krieger, general manager of Gaylord Palms Resort, in a press release. “Since debuting here in 2003, ICE! has become a one-of-a-kind attraction for our guests, and one of our most popular events of the year.”

  1. Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™

Named “The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park,” Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ boasts one of the largest holiday displays in North America. From millions of dazzling lights to holiday shows featuring ice skating, immersive performances, musical numbers and more, the whole family is sure to find something to make the holidays a little more magical. Thrill seekers will enjoy the park and its numerous rides and roller coasters, including the all-new Pantheon. Not to mention, there is plenty of food, treats and pho ops for making memories.

Traditional Alsatian half-timbered houses in old town of Colmar, decorated and illuminated at snowy christmas night, Alsace, France

A festive winter escape is within reach for those who call GG home. The best part is that these dreams all come true within driving distance. So, grab the family and make some of the warmest winter memories yet.

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