If you’re looking for a way to get in the Christmas spirit, we’ve got nine festive towns in North Carolina perfect for visiting during the holiday season. With plenty of twinkling lights, dazzling decorations, and community festivals, these towns will make you feel like you’ve stepped into Santa’s Workshop!

Photo credit: Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority

1. Blown rock

Located in northern North Carolina, this is a part of the state that could very well 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 vacation ride, and horse-drawn carriage rides, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season at Blowing Rock.

In honor of the holidays, Tweetsie Railroad turns into a snow globe world for Christmas tweetsie! Enjoy a nighttime train ride surrounded by thousands of dazzling lights and visit Santa Claus in a real life-size gingerbread house, and who doesn’t love roasting s’mores over an open fire?

Due to its location, hitting the slopes can be an option for your vacation in Appalachian ski mountain. It has snow-covered slopes and an outdoor ice rink that you can enjoy. Then, curl up by the fire and unwind for an evening while celebrating the holiday season.

Pro tip: Blowing Rock a three webcams set up so you can see the weather conditions and what’s going on before you arrive.

2. Black mountain

The small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, has the perfect Christmas vibe for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit. If you love the charm of small towns, you’ll love Black Mountain.

With festive events like its colorful and energetic Christmas parade through the downtown core and the circle of lights along Tomahawk Lake, you can’t help but feel merry. Don’t forget his Holly Jolly Christmas event the first weekend of December. Stores stay open late and serve up holiday candies and treats while you shop. Listen to street musicians, Christmas carols, and Santa will be at the Old Depot on Sutton Avenue to hear what everyone wants for Christmas.

The “Deck the Trees” event takes place every year. Black Mountain companies prune a tree and the public votes for the best tree.

Enjoy ‘Dinner with Dickens’, an intimate meal at one of our local restaurants, Auberge du Rocker Rouge, with live music performed by talented locals.

Pro tip: There is live music several nights a week. Check the musical calendar to see who is playing where. It’s no wonder that the city’s slogan is “The Little Rocking Town”.

North Carolina Vacation Flotilla
Photo credit: Wilmington and CVB beaches

3. Wrightsville Beach

the North Carolina Vacation Flotilla is a parade of boats on the water that ends with a spectacular fireworks display at Wrightsville Beach. The flotillas light up and create a floating parade. This event traditionally takes place at the end of November and is celebrated with a weekend of fun activities.

The “Dock to Deck” contest offers participants to decorate their boats and docks, and they are judged, the winner receiving a nice cash prize. The best way to see the entrees is to take a Holiday harbor cruise.

If indoor activities are more to your liking, Hark the Herald Angels Swing cabaret maybe perfect.

Other festive events include a tree-lighting ceremony with the visit of Santa Claus and the spread of holiday cheer, many delicious food, shows and a festive atmosphere.

You don’t want to miss the Enchanted airlie (garden) with over a million sparkling lights, festive flowers and Christmas music.

Pro tip: Want to know the best places to see the Flotilla, a the route map is online.

Photo credit: Denton Farmpark

4. Denton

All aboard the Christmas train in the countryside of Denton Farmpark! You’ll stop at Santa’s Hut, walk through a real gingerbread house, and even sing Christmas carols in church.

It’s a Christmas trip you won’t want to miss, both for yourself or for the little ones traveling with you. Denton really looks like a welcoming Christmas village with only 3,000 inhabitants.

Pro tip: Animals are welcome as long as they are friendly and kept on a leash.

Christmas lights in McAdenville
Photo credit: Steve Rankin

5. McAdenville

This small town is also known as Christmas town, United States. 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 city has less than 1,000 inhabitants, but it is very busy with the holidays. Its Christmas festival attracts over half a million visitors each year.

The whole city is lit up with sparkling Christmas lights. People come from all over to take a walk (best experience) or drive around the city and see the lights. Christmas trees surround the streets as seasonal music echoes through the city.

What makes this city so special is that everyone decorates their homes with their own funds just so that others can enjoy the visit. A real city, real people who live in the houses.

Holiday festivities include a Yule log ceremony, seasonal 5K, Christmas tree lighting and a holiday festival. It also has a 70-year tradition of hosting a Christmas log parade. With all that is going on, how can you not be filled with the Christmas spirit?

Pro tip: United States Today conducted a nationwide survey in 2020, and McAdenville was elected one of the 10 best holiday light displays in the nation. They were nominated again in 2021

6. Dillsboro

This small town of less than 300 inhabitants is a tight-knit community full of holiday spirit. Join this festive mountain village for the Dillsboro Festival of Lights and Luminaries event organized the first two weekends of December.

Over 2,500 white bags containing candles line the streets, creating a warm glow for all to enjoy.

The traders also stay open late and serve hot chocolate or cider! Santa Claus arrives in a van as holiday music plays in the background.

You can find entertainment all over town, including wagon rides through the snowy woods – all you have to do is sit back and relax!

Pro tip: This artisan village is a great place to shop for unique gifts. They have an impressive mix of specialty shops and galleries representing many local artists.

Christmas decorations at Biltmore Estate
Biltmore Estate (Photo credit: ExploreAsheville.com)

7. Asheville

This is the time of year when small towns turn into replicas of magical movie scenes that you can visit in real life. You’ll find Christmas glamor galore when you visit Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. Admire elaborate Christmas decorations, displays of gingerbread houses, and one of the state’s largest displays of lights. The Biltmore, a historic Vanderbilt mansion, is lavishly dressed in garlands, ribbons and twinkling lights for the holidays. Be sure to visit the Biltmore in the evening for a special candle light gift.

The Biltmore is a destination in itself, but there are plenty of other fun things to do in Asheville while on vacation.

Santa pushes Chimney Rock away for supposedly a warm-up for all the efforts of Christmas Eve. If looking at Christmas lights is your thing, you’re in luck. Asheville has seven different light displays in the zone. There are many unique gift and craft shops, art studios and more.

Asheville is considered a romantic christmas town with horse drawn carts and much more. You’ll definitely want to add Asheville to your vacation bucket list.

Pro tip: National Gingerbread House Exhibition 2021 is available for viewing from December 2, 2021 to January 2, 2022, at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

8. Forest town

You are sure to get plenty of Merry and Holly Christmas spirit with a visit to Forest town during the holiday season. Loaded with mountain charm, Forest City is known for its great Christmas party.

From late November to New Years Day, you can enjoy Main Street covered in millions of Christmas lights and decorations.

Forest City kicks off with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Other festive events include the Christmas parade, horse-drawn carriages, ice skating, tours with Santa Claus, and holiday movie screenings. Forest City just feels like Christmas with its elaborate light shows around the city, the reflective lights of the city fountain and the singers in the street.

Pro tip: Great photoshoot – have your photo taken by the area’s most oversized light ornament!

Winston Salem Tanglewood Festival of Lights
Photo credit: J. Sinclair Photography

9. Winston Salem

Stroll the cobblestone streets, visit historic buildings and homes full of holiday cheer, and dress in their best Christmas outfits. With over 260 years of holiday traditions, guests will enjoy feeling like stepping into a Christmas of the past when they visit Winston-Salem during the holiday season.

Take part in an authentic Moravian Christmas with twinkling stars on the Old Salem Bridge and don’t forget to take a stroll through Old Salem.

Admire over a million dazzling lights at Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights, which turns 30. Enjoy the festive tunes on the interactive music screens. There are over 80 illuminated displays along the country road.

Pro tip: The music exhibited at Tanglewood are original compositions by students of the UNC School of the Arts.

There is nothing better than being surrounded by the holiday spirit during the most beautiful time of the year. These nine festive towns in North Carolina are perfect to visit this Christmas season for a fun experience that will leave you cheerful and bright!

Here is more holiday editorial on Christmas events in North Carolina: