The holiday season means banks of snow, cold weather, hot cocoa, reindeer… But it doesn’t need to be that way every year. Spending your holidays in Florida is a great way to extend your motorcycling seasons.
December is a fantastic time to visit the Sunshine State, with warm temperatures and plenty of the titular sunshine. Yet, you don’t have to give up the festivities.
Florida hosts many unique holiday traditions you won’t find anywhere else. Here are eight things you can do in Florida to stay holly and jolly while enjoying sunny motorcycling adventures.
Make Sand Angels
Making snow angels is a classic winter activity, but you don’t need snow to make beautiful angels. The white sands of Florida’s beaches are a perfect substitute for colder materials.
To find the best beaches for making sand angels, I recommend pointing your front wheel to Florida’s Gulf Coast or the Florida Panhandle. There, you’ll find many fantastic beaches with suitably snow-like white sand, such as Clearwater, Panama City, Destin, and Pensacola.
That said, pretty much any beach in Florida is great for flopping down on your back and waving your arms and legs around. Don’t fret if you’re traveling down Florida’s eastern coast on US 1—Cocoa or South Beaches are great sand angel-making destinations as well.
Attend a Toy Run
The holiday season is a time of giving. And what better way to celebrate this festive time of the year than to combine the act of giving with motorcycling by attending a toy run?
If you’re spending the holidays in Florida, Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson organizes an annual toy run in Clearwater. Bert’s Annual Christmas Toy Run is now in its seventh year and takes place on December 3.
In addition to collecting new, unwrapped toys for children, the police-escorted motorcycle ride raises money for needy military and first-responder families. Do a good deed this holiday season and join in on the fun!
Visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest
Did you know Santa’s magical wonderland is in Florida? Well, at least Santa’s Enchanted Forest is.
Located in Miami conveniently off US 1, Santa’s Magical Forest is the world’s largest holiday-themed amusement park. Within its confines, you’ll find more than 100 festive rides, games, and shows. Naturally, you can also go sit on Santa’s lap for a photo.
Riders of all ages (although particularly the little ones) can find something to enjoy in this forest. The park will be open this holiday season from November 9 to January 7.
See Santa Surf
While making sand angels on Cocoa Beach, don’t be surprised if you happen to Santa shredding the waves on a surfboard. Even Kris Kringle has to let loose sometimes, you know?
He can certainly surf incognito during Cocoa Beach’s traditional Surfing Santas event. This fun gathering brings together hundreds of surfers to the beach—all dressed up in Santa costumes.
In addition to watching the Santas surf, there are multiple other fun events on the day. The best and most creative Santa costumes receive awards, and there is music, dancing, and raffles to entertain the crowd.
This year’s Surfing Santas takes place on December 24 on the 3 Minutemen Causeway. Keep a sharp eye for a Santa that looks just a bit too authentic — he might just be the real deal.
Enter The Christmas Carol in Fernandina Beach, FL
A Christmas miracle happens in the city of Fernandina Beach every holiday season. The northwest Floridian town’s historical downtown transforms into Victorian London straight out of The Christmas Carol.
The ninth annual Dickens on Centre event takes place on December 7-10, 2023. The whole town comes alive with Victorian-inspired entertainment for all ages, from costumed locals to costume parties, food stalls, holiday movies, vendors, and more.
St. Nick will naturally also be in attendance.
Whether you’re a fan of Charles Dickens or just plain holiday fun, this is a unique event well worth riding to. If you happen to spot Ebenezer Scrooge, ask him what he thinks of Christmas to find out if the ghosts already visited him.
Spend Christmas in the Keys
A white Christmas has its charms—but so does a tropical one. Head down to the Florida Keys for unforgettable and decidedly different holidays.
While the rest of the country is gripped by winter, the Keys often experience balmy weather, making it a prime destination for motorcycling in December. In terms of roads, you’re limited to US 1, but the ocean views and relaxed vibe are more than enough for a great tour.
You won’t have to forsake traditional holiday activities, either. Multiple light tours and parades take place all over the Keys to bring holly jolly cheer to the beaches.
If you make it all the way down to Key West, you certainly won’t suffer from a lack of festive events. Motorists in particular will get a kick out of the Southernmost Car Club’s Holiday Classic Car Show on December 18.
Ride to Christmas, FL
What’s the ideal place to spend the holidays? Well, a town called Christmas is a pretty strong contender on that list.
The town got its name during the Seminole Wars in 1837, when U.S. soldiers stopped in the area to construct a fort. They completed the work on Christmas Day and christened the structure Fort Christmas.
You can visit a recreation of the fort at the Fort Christmas Historical Park. For a more unusual holiday activity, take an airboat tour of the surrounding wetlands to see some alligators.
If you’d like to see ‘gators that are less likely to bite, you can also drop by Swampy—the world’s largest alligator-shaped building at 200 feet long.
Send Your Holiday Cards from Christmas
While you’re in Christmas, on Christmas, take some time to pop over to the local post office to mail out some holiday cards. After all, what’s a better place to postmark your card than Christmas?
You’ll be upholding a time-honored tradition while you’re at it. Every year, thousands of holidaymakers drop by to send out their cards here.
For that reason, you might want to get to the post office before the biggest rush hits in the weeks immediately before December 24. Otherwise, you might be in for quite a line.