Are you dreaming of a white-sand Christmas? Perhaps you’re in need of a warm-weather escape from the frigid temperatures up North. With fewer crowds, lower rates, and great weather, winter is one of the best times to visit the Alabama coast! Gulf Shores especially comes alive during the holiday season, and you’ll find plenty of festivities for the whole family to enjoy. Here are some of the best things to do in Gulf Shores in December.
From ice skating and boat parades to holiday celebrations and concerts, there are so many fun things to do in Gulf Shores in December. Head over to our Activities Page for even more ideas to add to your winter itinerary. Then, start planning your trip!
Top 10 Things to Do in Gulf Shores, Alabama in December
1. Christmas Lights at Bellingrath Gardens
If you’ve never visited Bellingrath Gardens and Home during Christmastime, you are missing out on the experience of a lifetime! There are 3 million twinkling lights and 15 holiday scenes spread throughout the 65-acre estate. Stroll the gardens, see the Bellingrath Home decked out for the holidays, and prepare to be dazzled by this phenomenal display. Tours take approximately one hour to complete, and hot cocoa and snacks are available for purchase.
2. Gulf Shores Christmas Parade
One of the most beloved December traditions in Gulf Shores, Alabama is the annual lighted Christmas parade! With festive floats, marching bands, and all your favorite holiday characters, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit. The parade will begin at Gulf Shores Public Beach, proceed down Highway 59, and continue to Sims Park. Mark your calendar for December 6th at 6:30 p.m.!
3. Annual Snowball Drop
Immediately following the Gulf Shores Christmas Parade is the highly-anticipated Snowball Drop in Sims Park. This family-friendly celebration includes photos with Santa, holiday treats, unique crafts, and more. Of course, the main event is the snowball drop, which is a man-made “blizzard” of 4,000 ping pong balls dropped from above. Whoever finds the winning ping pong balls will receive a prize!
4. Ice Skating at The Wharf
Ice skating is one of our favorite things to do in Gulf Shores in December! The Wharf in Orange Beach features a fabulous ice skating rink. Bring your family and friends, grab your skates, and have a blast gliding around this indoor ice rink. The rink is open every day through January 12th, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It costs just $12 to skate (includes ice skates) or $15 for a skating and Ferris Wheel combo.
5. Holiday Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Is there anything more magical than a horse-drawn carriage ride beneath the moonlight? When it comes to exciting things to do in Orange Beach, Alabama, in December, this should be at the top of your list! Head to The Wharf for an enchanting evening carriage ride through town. Don’t forget to bring your camera! Horse & Carriage rides are offered on select dates in December, including the 1st, 3rd, 8th, 15th, 29th, and 31st.
6. The Baldwin Pops Christmas Concert
Get into the holiday spirit with all your favorite traditional Christmas tunes! The Baldwin Pops annual Christmas concert will be held on December 10th at 7 p.m. at the Cultural Center Auditorium, and this is one event you won’t want to miss. We recommend arriving early as seats are first-come, first-served!
7. Christmas Lighted Boat Parade
Did you know that Gulf Shores hosts one of the largest holiday boat parades in the Southeast? The 34th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade will take place on December 13th from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Watch as more than 45 decorated vessels glide past along the Intracoastal Waterway. We recommend watching the spectacular from The Wharf in Orange Beach for prime viewing.
8. Holiday Shopping
Whether you’re searching for gifts, apparel, art, decor, or coastal treasures, you’ll find it all while shopping in Gulf Shores. Score some amazing deals at the Tanger Outlets or stop into the many specialty stores and boutiques at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The possibilities are endless!
9. Flora-Bama Christmas Potluck
If you’re visiting Gulf Shores during Christmas, don’t miss out on Flora Bama’s delicious Christmas Potluck! This laid-back holiday meal is such a fun way to celebrate the season amongst friends and family. Flora-Bama will provide the main dish, so just bring a covered side dish or dessert to share. Enjoy live music while you dine!
10. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
With uncrowded shorelines and beautiful weather, winter is one of the best times to visit Gulf Shores. Many of our first-time guests ask us if you can swim in Gulf Shores in December. The average temperatures range from the low 50’s to mid 60’s during this time of year, which is a bit too chilly for swimming. However, the weather is perfect for strolling the shoreline, golfing, fishing, or simply enjoying the sunshine!
Make It a December to Remember With Harris Properties
Now that you know about all the best things to do in Gulf Shores in December, it’s time to start planning your trip! If you’re searching for lodging along the Alabama coastline, we invite you to stay with Harris Properties. We offer a wide array of family-friendly vacation rentals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. Whether you prefer a pet-friendly rental, a beachfront home, or a luxury accommodation, we are sure to have the ideal property for your stay! Make sure to check our website for our current deals and discounts. Then, browse all of our rentals and contact us to reserve your favorite. We’ll see you soon!