Christmas on the Gulf Coast ~ Southern Vacation Rentals

Thanksgiving is almost here, but we’re already excited for for Christmas and New Year’s. Fortunately, there are numerous holiday parties on the beach to help you celebrate Christmas on the Gulf Coast! Catch fireworks over Pensacola Beach or send 2019 off in style in Gulf Shores. Check out some of our favorite December events to help you stay in the holiday spirit for the remainder of the year! For a full list of December events, head on over to our event calendar.

Pensacola Beach

Kick off the festivities on Pensacola Beach with a lighted boat parade on December 7th. The parade begins at 6:30 PM, with a pre-show party for kids at 4 PM. If you’re hanging out at Little Sabine Bay, then you’ll be right on time for the parade. Those watching from Quietwater Beach will see the procession swing by at 7:30 PM. Look out for Santa on the lead boat!

The next day, on December 8th, the annual Surfing Santa Beach Parade takes place down Via De Luna Drive from 2-3 PM. Thousands of spectators gather every year to watch Santa Claus make his way down the streets of Pensacola Beach atop a Pensacola Beach firetruck! You definitely don’t want to miss out on this.

One of Pensacola’s most time-honored traditions, Christmas on the Coast, is back for another year. Expreience this winter wonderland performed by Pensacola Children’s Chorus December 13th-15th at the Saenger Theatre. They’ll perform some familiar Pensacola Children’s Chorus classics in addition to some new material. Dazzling costumes, impressive set design, and more await! Get your tickets here.

Meanwhile, if watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve is your thing, then you’ll love the fireworks display on Pensacola Beach! Keep your eyes trained on the skies on December 31st at 8 PM for this stunning show. The fireworks take place right over the Santa Rosa Sound, so cozy up on the boardwalk as you say goodbye to 2018!


It wouldn’t be Christmas in Destin without a celebration on the harbor! The 33rd Annual Holiday on the Harbor is one of Destin’s most popular holiday parties on the beach. This annual event takes place on Sunday, December 15th from 1-8 PM. Festivities include a visit from Santa Claus from 12-4 PM, followed by a special performance of The Nutcracker. The parade begins right at 6 PM, so grab some hot chocolate and a blanket and get ready to watch Destin’s fleet cruise through the East Pass in their best Christmas decor.

Christmas on the Gulf Coast
Holiday Parties at the Beach

A real treat is coming to Destin on Friday, December 13th! Sinfonia Holiday Pops with Matthew Morrison brings the Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe-nominated singer to Destin for some holiday cheer. Sit back as Morrison and Sinfonia Gulf Coast perform an evening of some of the most cherished and festive holiday medleys.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Destin? Stick around for Baytowne Countdown at The Village of Baytowne Wharf on New Year’s Eve! From 6-8 PM the Village will be filled with activities like face painting, kids’ events, and live music. Fireworks will go off at 8 PM and midnight, with live music until 1 PM. What could be more festive than this?

If you still need Christmas accommodations in Destin, then we recommend Emerald Palace. This spot is one of our favorite vacation homes in Destin! This four-bedroom home comfortably sleeps 12 guests, so it’s perfect if you’re traveling with family for Christmas on the Gulf Coast. Boasting Gulf views, luxurious finishes, and a private pool, this home won’t be available for the holidays much longer!

Coastal Alabama

Coastal Alabama, the stretch of beach that includes Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, is bursting with fun holiday events for Christmas on the Gulf Coast! For starters, there’s the 8th Annual Merry Market Expo in Orange Beach. If you’re someone who likes to give homemade gifts, then this arts festival is the perfect chance to score a unique gift for that special someone. The expo takes place December 7th-8th, so you have plenty of time to find the perfect gift. Also on December 8th is a Jingle Jubilee Kids Craft Day, a free DIY event at The Wharf designed to spark your kids’ creativity. The event runs from 12-4 PM. Who knows; you may leave with a handmade Christmas tree ornament or a present to tuck under the tree!

For the entire holiday season, The Wharf in Orange Beach transforms into an ice skating rink designed to spark those Christmas memories. The rink is open to the public and skaters of all ages! Guests can skate for just $12 a day. The rink is open daily from November 15th to January 12th, with varying hours in between. Visit here to learn more about different hours on different days.

Can’t make the lighted boat parade in Destin this year? Check out the one in Gulf Shores instead! The 34th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade begins at LuLu’s Marina at 5:30 PM on December 14th. The boats will cruise from the Intracoastal Waterway Canal, past The Wharf, around Bear Point, along the south end of Ono Island, west to Perdido Pass, north into Terry Cove Harbor, south to bridge, and end at Flora-Bama. There are many exciting vantage points all along the Coast! With over 40 sailboats, sportfishing boats, and kayaks, you won’t want to miss this parade.

Need somewhere to stay for Christmas on the Gulf Coast in Gulf Shores? Stay in Southern Secret West & East, an eight-bedroom vacation home with room for 24. This two-sided home sleeps 12 guests per side, perfect if the kids want their own private vacation home. Fully equipped kitchens, en-suite master bedrooms, a private pool, and more await! To get to the beach, simply make your way across West Beach Boulevard. You won’t believe how beautiful the beach is in December!

Be sure to visit our event calendar for more holiday parties on the beach! We’ve got you covered from Panama City Beach, Florida, to Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan, Alabama. Thank you for being a part of the Southern family, and we’ll see you next month with another Southern Scoop!