Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/10/23
The Capital of South Georgia will transform into a magical Christmas wonderland this holiday season. With millions of lights, decorations, sweet treats and jolly visits from Santa, Valdosta is the ultimate Christmas destination for festive family fun.
“In Valdosta, Christmas is not just a season; it’s an opportunity for our community to create something authentic and truly meaningful,” said David DiSalvo, President/CEO of Visit Valdosta. “Our local destinations curate affordable and family-centric experiences that provide a lifetime of memories for locals and out-of-town visitors alike.”
There are countless events, destinations and local businesses to celebrate with this season, including:
Wild Adventures Christmas Wild & Bright: Boasting over two million lights, this is Wild Adventures’ brightest and merriest celebration yet, spreading cheer across the park with new attractions, jolly entertainment and holiday culinary delights. The event features a new animated floating lake spectacular with thousands of sparkling lights reflected across the water. Guests will journey through Wonder Woods, watch the beloved tale of Rudolph come to life in the Holly Jolly Junction and experience the Gingerbread Village to capture one-of-a-kind family memories. Join the Christmas spirit on select dates from November 18 through December 31.
Community Tree Lighting: On December 1 at 6 p.m., the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners and the Valdosta City Council invite the community to kick off the holiday season at the Valdosta-Lowndes County annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Located on the lawn of the newly renovated historic courthouse, guests will enjoy a performance from the Lowndes High School Viking Cantors, and festivities include hot cocoa, light refreshments and family fun.
Greater Valdosta Community Christmas Parade: This year’s Christmas parade promises to be more enchanting than ever with a magical Snow Globe theme. The parade will spread holiday cheer by transforming the streets from Woodrow Wilson to Downtown Valdosta on December 2 starting at 6 p.m. Thousands of guests will enjoy a festive processional of beautifully decorated floats, lively music and the jolly presence of Santa Claus.
Christmas at Valdosta State University: Before Valdosta State University students head home for the holidays, students and faculty will gather for the Blazer Nation tradition of the Lighting of the Palms. Featuring holiday music, sweet treats, a VSU Winter Wonderland and a special visit from mascot Santa Blaze, this holiday tradition kicks off on VSU’s front lawn at 1500 N. Patterson Street on November 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Christmas Card Cruise: What started as a small event in 2020, has now expanded to include the entire county. The community-wide Christmas Card Cruise, hosted by Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority, Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta, includes businesses, organizations and families creating jumbo Christmas cards out of 6-foot sheets of plywood to display outside of their buildings and homes throughout December. Last year, more than 100 cards were posted. Visit vlpra.com on December 1 to view the official cruise map.
Christmas Lights at Camp Rock: Camp Rock, a nonprofit organization serving underprivileged children in South Georgia, will have a Christmas light display on select days in December for families to enjoy. For just $10, guests will enjoy a Winter Wonderland featuring mini golf, bounce houses, roller skating, axe throwing and a light maze. The event also includes a petting zoo, light show, games, crafts, outdoor movies and more.
Hahira Festivities: Just a few miles north of Valdosta, visitors can enjoy several holiday activities in Hahira. Check out the third annual Parade of Trees at Hahira Square where families and organizations decorate trees to spread holiday cheer, commemorate loved ones and promote local businesses. The Merry Main Street Christmas Parade and Festival will take place on December 9 at 10 a.m., with the parade beginning at 6 p.m. The festival features arts & crafts booths, local vendors, food trucks and more.
31st Annual Toy Ride: Calling all motorcyclists from South Georgia and North Florida! Hosted by the Outback Riders of Valdosta, the Toy Ride brings together motorcyclists to spread holiday cheer to children in Valdosta. Thousands gather to bring a toy and ride through Valdosta, ending with a donation to the Salvation Army. This year’s ride takes place December 16 at 1:30 p.m.
For out-of-town visitors, Valdosta has cozy inns, a new boutique hotel, campgrounds and much more to find a perfect fit for every family this holiday season. Plan your trip and learn more about overnight accommodations at visitvaldosta.org/stay.