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The 10 Best Georgia Christmas Towns to Visit This Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, Georgia transforms into a winter wonderland adorned with festive decorations and a joyful spirit that emanates from its charming small towns. In this guide, we explore the ten best Georgia Christmas towns that capture the essence of the holidays.

From enchanting Christmas light displays to annual parades and festivals, each town on this list offers a magical experience for visitors eager to embrace the spirit of the season. Delve into the charm of the Peach State by exploring its hidden gems–from Dahlonega to Jekyll Island and more!

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1. Dahlonega

A horse-drawn carriage ride through Dahlonega's main square, which is decorated with Christmas lights

Credit: Michelle Kraft Deblois

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming North Georgia town earns its spot among the best Georgia Christmas towns. Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas, from the day after Thanksgiving through mid-January, kicks off with the enchanting Lighting of the Square.

Apart from the twinkling lights, there’s also the Annual Christmas Parade on December 9th! Don’t miss horse-drawn carriage rides or your chance to see Santa in the square. For the ultimate Hallmark Christmas Movie experience, consider a stay at the Dahlonega Square Hotel & Villas.

2. Helen

Downtown Helen decorated for the holidays, showing lights and a Christmas tree surrounded by Bavarian architecture

Credit: Alpine Helen White County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Embracing the holiday spirit year after year, Helen, Georgia, solidifies its reputation as the perfect Christmas town in Georgia. A standout event is the 16th Annual Christkindlmarkt, hosted by the Helen Chamber of Commerce on November 25-26 and December 2-3, 2023.

This traditional German market offers an array of unique gifts, decorations, and delectable treats, immersing visitors in a festive atmosphere. Plus, the annual Christmas parade is on December 9th, featuring fire trucks, horses, unique floats, and, of course, Santa himself! 

3. Blue Ridge

Santa and Mrs. Claus riding the front of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Credit: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Blue Ridge offers a festive atmosphere that captures the charm of small Georgia towns during the holidays. Watch the city transform with Christmas lights at the Light Up Blue Ridge event and Christmas Parade, which fall the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, 2023).

For a magical experience, hop aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Their special holiday train rides feature Christmas music, “The Night Before Christmas” story, and even a visit from Santa Claus. With tickets selling out fast, you’ll want to secure a spot for you and the kids soon!

4. Thomasville

Shops lining downtown Thomasville, Georgia

Credit: Ralph Daniel

Thomasville, a South Georgia town, transforms into a Christmas paradise with twinkling lights and festive window displays. Don’t miss the Christmas tree lighting at the Ritz Amphitheater on December 1, featuring extended shopping and dining hours, live entertainment, and a free concert.

Of course, Thomasville is best known for its Victorian Christmas event–this year, on December 14-15, 2023, from 6-9 p.m. This cherished tradition began in 1986 and now attracts over 30,000 attendees, with carriage rides, marshmallow roasting, and Santa Claus.

5. Jekyll Island

A view of Jekyll's jolliest trolley, offering a guided tour of the illuminated Historic District during the Holly Jolly Jekyll event on Jekyll island in Georgia

Credit: Jekyll Island

Celebrate the holiday season in coastal splendor during Holly Jolly Jekyll. Running from November 24, 2023, to January 7, 2024, this enchanting event adorns the Historic District in Christmas grandeur with over 1,500,000 light bulbs, 350+ displays, and 45,000+ lights on the Great Tree.

Embark on a carriage ride or hop aboard Jekyll’s jolliest trolley for a guided tour of the illuminated Historic District. Don’t miss the Holly Jolly Jekyll Light Parade on December 9, where you can meet holiday characters as they spread Christmas cheer! 

Read More: The Best Georgia Christmas Lights

6. Santa Claus

View of Santa Claus, Georgia, city hall

Credit: City of Santa Claus

Santa Claus stands out as one of the best Christmas towns in Georgia, embodying the holiday spirit year-round. This tiny community was aptly named by a local entrepreneur aiming to draw attention to his pecan business and nearby motel.

Santa Claus boasts Christmas-themed street names such as Candy Cane Road and Sleigh Street, creating a festive atmosphere for residents and visitors alike. Located just 15 minutes from Vidalia, you can bring your Christmas cards to City Hall for a special postmark by Santa’s elves.

7. Stone Mountain

The entrance to Stone Mountain Park in Georgia decorated with twinkling Christmas lights and wreaths for the holiday season

Credit: Stone Mountain Park

Just 15 miles east of Atlanta, Stone Mountain captivates visitors with its Christmas celebration. Running every weekend and school holiday from November 11 through January 2, 2024, this beloved tradition offers dazzling lights, festive music, parades, and 3D experiences.

With cutting-edge technology, the brand-new North Pole Immersive Walkthrough Experience transports attendees into a winter wonderland. Or, don’t miss Santa Claus himself as he makes a grand entrance with a thrilling fly-over in the Stone Mountain Christmas Parade.

Kids will love the World’s Largest Christmas Light Show, featuring 250 drones in the Magical Christmas Drone Show. You’ll also find meet-and-greet opportunities here with North Pole friends and the Sing-A-Long Christmas Train, making it a top destination for families to celebrate.

8. Cleveland

Experience the magic of a North Georgia Christmas in Cleveland, just a 20-minute drive from Helen. The 39th annual Christmas in the Mountains Celebration marks the beginning of the holiday season in White County, offering festive fun and fantasy for the entire community.

The celebration includes a holiday market on the Cleveland Courthouse Square and a Christmas parade through Downtown Cleveland on Saturday, December 2, 2023. The Holiday Market runs from 5-8 pm, while the parade begins at approximately 7 pm.

For those with children, visiting Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland is a must-do activity while in town. Admission is free, after all!

9. Ellijay

Downtown Ellijay, Georgia, decorated for Christmas, showing large Christmas tree in the town square

Credit: Gilmer Chamber

Ellijay, nestled in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains and renowned as the Apple Capital of Georgia, transforms into one of the state’s most magical Christmas towns. This year, the town introduces the “Holiday Lights of Ellijay,” a spectacular walk-through light show at the Lions Club Fairgrounds. 

Open November 20-December 23, 2023, this experience features twinkling lights, hot cocoa, and even photos with Santa Claus! Then, the classic Christmas tree lighting and Christmas market, “Light Up Ellijay,” falls on December 2nd, 2023, marking the perfect start to the holiday season.

10. Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain earns its place among the best Christmas places in Georgia thanks to Callaway Gardens. For over 30 years, the renowned “Fantasy in Lights” event has adorned the town, earning recognition as one of National Geographic’s “Top 10 Light Displays in the World.”

This seven-mile scenic drive showcases 17 festive Christmas scenes, including dancing trees, colossal wreaths, Snowflake Valley, and the mesmerizing Tunnel of Lights. Visitors can sing carols on the open-air Jolly Trolley or enjoy the displays from the comfort of their cars.

The Christmas cheer extends to Callaway Christmas Village, where guests can stroll through a Winter Wonderland Walkway, Christmas Tree Lane, and the Christmas Market. Of course, gourmet hot chocolate at the Snowflake Diner also adds to the festive atmosphere!

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Explore Georgia's magical Christmas towns, from Dahlonega's Old Fashioned Christmas to Jekyll Island's Holly Jolly Jekyll. Dive into the enchantment of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Thomasville's Victorian Christmas, and year-round cheer in Santa Claus. Whether it's Stone Mountain's dazzling light show or Cleveland's 39th Christmas in the Mountains, Georgia's towns promise a festive holiday season for all.

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