If you’re looking for a way to get in the Christmas spirit, we have nine festive North Carolina towns perfect for visiting during the holiday season. With plenty of twinkling lights, dazzling decorations, and community festivals, these towns will help make you feel like you’ve stepped into Santa’s workshop!
1. Blowing Rock
Located in northern North Carolina, this is a part of the state that very well might see a white Christmas. Blowing Rock is a small mountain town full of holiday spirit. With events like its Festival of Trees, Christmas in the Park, a holiday stroll, and carriage rides, there are many ways to celebrate the season in Blowing Rock.
In honor of the holidays, Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a snowglobe world for Tweetsie Christmas! Enjoy a nighttime train ride surrounded by thousands of dazzling lights, and visit Santa in a real life-size gingerbread house, and who doesn’t like to roast s’mores over an open fire?
Due to its location, hitting the slopes might be an option for your holidays at the Appalachian Ski Mountain. It has snow-covered slopes and an outdoor ice-skating rink to enjoy. Then cuddle up by the fire and relax for an evening as you celebrate the holiday season.
Pro Tip: Blowing Rock has three webcams set up so you can view weather conditions and what is happening before you arrive.
2. Black Mountain
The tiny town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, has the perfect Christmas-like vibe for anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit. If you enjoy small-town charm, you will love Black Mountain.
With festive events like its colorful and energetic Christmas parade through downtown and the circle of lights displays along Lake Tomahawk, you can’t help but feel joyful. Don’t forget its Holly Jolly Christmas event the first weekend of December. Shops stay open late, serving holiday sweets and treats while you shop. Listen to street musicians, carolers, and Santa will be down at the Old Depot on Sutton Avenue to hear what everyone wants for Christmas.
The “Deck the Trees” event is held every year. Businesses in Black Mountain trim a tree and the public votes on the best tree.
Enjoy “Dinner with Dickens,” an intimate meal at one of our local restaurants, Red Rocker Inn, complete with live music performed by talented locals.
Pro Tip: There is live music available several nights per week. Check the music calendar to see who is playing where. It is no wonder the town’s slogan is “The Little Town that Rocks.”
3. Wrightsville Beach
The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla is a boat-filled parade on the water that culminates in a spectacular fireworks show in Wrightsville Beach. The flotillas light up and create a floating parade. This event is traditionally held at the end of November, and it is celebrated with a weekend of fun activities.
The “Dock to Deck” contest has contestants decorate their boats and the docks, and they are judged, with the winner receiving a nice cash prize. The best way to view the entries is to take a Holiday Harbor Cruise.
If indoor activities are more to your liking, Hark the Herald Angels Swing cabaret might be perfect.
Other festive things happening include a tree lighting ceremony with Santa visiting and spreading holiday cheer, lots of delicious food, live entertainment, and a festive atmosphere.
You don’t want to miss the Enchanted Airlie (garden) featuring more than one million twinkling lights, festive flowers, and Christmas music.
Pro Tip: Want to know the best places to view the Flotilla, a map of the route is online.
All aboard the Denton Farmpark’s Country Christmas Train! You’ll stop by Santa’s cabin, travel through a real-life gingerbread house, and even sing carols at church.
This is one Christmasy trip that you won’t want to miss out on — both for yourself or any little ones traveling with you. Denton truly seems like a homey Christmas village with only 3,000 residents.
Pro Tip: Pets are welcome as long as they are friendly and leashed.
This small town is also known as Christmas Town, USA. As you can guess, McAdenville is one of the best Christmas towns in North Carolina. One visit and you will fall in love with this charming village full of Christmas spirit.
The town has less than 1,000 residents, but it is big on holiday cheer. Its Christmas festival draws in over half a million visitors each year.
The entire town is illuminated with sparkling Christmas lights. People come from all over to walk through (best experience) or drive around the city and view the lights. Christmas trees surround the streets as seasonal music echoes through the town.
What makes this town so special is everyone decorates their homes with their own funds just so others can enjoy visiting. Real town, real people who live in the homes.
Holiday festivities include a yule log ceremony, a seasonal 5K, the Christmas tree lighting, and a holiday festival. It also has a 70-year tradition of hosting a Yule Log Parade. With all this happening, how can you not be filled with the spirit of Christmas?
Pro Tip: USA Today conducted a nationwide survey in 2020, and McAdenville was voted one of the 10 Best Public Holiday Lights Display in the Nation. They have been nominated again in 2021
This tiny town with less than 300 residents is a tight-knit community full of holiday spirit. Join this festive mountain village for the Dillsboro Festival of Lights and Luminaries event held the first two weekends in December.
More than 2,500 white bags holding candles line the streets, creating a warm glow for everyone to enjoy.
The merchants also stay open late, serving hot cocoa or cider! Santa arrives in a pickup truck as holiday music plays in the background.
You can find entertainment around town, including wagon rides through snowy woods — all you have to do is sit back and relax!
Pro Tip: This artisan village is a great place to pick up unique gifts. They have an impressive mix of specialty shops and galleries representing numerous local artists.
This is the time of year that small towns turn into replicas of magical movie scenes that you can visit in real life. You will find Christmas glamour galore when you visit Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. Take in elaborate Christmas decorations, gingerbread house displays, and one of the largest lights displays in the state. The Biltmore, a historic Vanderbilt mansion, is dressed up lavishly with garlands, ribbons, and sparkling lights for the holidays. Be sure to visit the Biltmore in the evening for a special candlelight holiday treat.
The Biltmore is a destination on its own, but many other fun things are happening in Asheville during the holidays.
Santa repels down Chimney Rock to supposedly a warm-up for all the exertion on Christmas Eve. If viewing Christmas light displays is your thing, you are in luck. Asheville has seven different light displays in the area. There are many unique gift and craft shops, art studios, and more.
8. Forest City
You are sure to have lots of holly, jolly Christmas spirit with a visit to Forest City during the holiday season. Loaded with mountain charm Forest City is known for its huge Christmas celebration.
From the end of November through New Year’s Day, you can enjoy Main Street covered in millions of lights and holiday decorations.
Forest City kicks things off with a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Other festive events include the Christmas parade, horse-drawn carriages, ice-skating, visits with Santa, and holiday movie showings. Forest City just feels Christmasy with its elaborate light displays around town, the town fountain reflection lights, and carolers in the street.
Pro Tip: A great photo op — have your photo taken by the most oversized lighted ornament in the region!
Stroll through cobblestone streets, tour historic buildings and homes full of holiday cheer, and decked out in their best Christmas attire. With over 260 years of holiday traditions, guests will enjoy feeling like they are walking into a Christmas from the past when they visit Winston-Salem during the holiday season.
Participate in an authentic Moravian Christmas with stars sparkling on the Old Salem bridge, and be sure to take a walk through Old Salem.
Take in over a million dazzling lights at Tanglewood Park’s Festival of Lights, which is celebrating its 30th year. Enjoy the festive tunes on the interactive musical displays. There are more than 80 illuminated displays along the countryside route.
Pro Tip: The music on the displays at Tanglewood are original compositions from the UNC School of the Arts students.
There is nothing better than being surrounded by the holiday spirit during the most wonderful time of year. These nine festive towns in North Carolina are perfect for visiting this Christmas season for a fun experience that will leave you feeling merry and bright!
Here’s more holiday editorial on North Carolina Christmas happenings: