Christmas in Tampa Bay: Snow, Holiday Boat Parades, Tree Lightings & More!
Location: St. Petersburg
Cost: Most activities are free (with the exception of $5 for ice skating)
2014 Date: December 6th from 10:30am-3:00pm
St. Petersburg is one of the warmest year round cites, with an average yearly high in the low 80’s. Average temperatures range from the lower 90’s in the summer months to the lower 70’s in the spring and summer months. But this doesn’t mean the city never sees snow. Every December, the city hosts Snowfest, an event filled with all different types of seasonal fun including an outdoor ice rink and a snowslide, complete with 60 tons of real snow.
A holiday parade, karaoke, and reindeer races are also on the line up. This seasonal festival is sure to please families who have never seen snow or recently relocated from cold areas. Kids will be fascinated with the chance to go sledding on a real snow hill. The event is located at beautiful North Straub park, so you will be able to enjoy some scenic views of the waterfront as well.
Note: this event, as many others in the area, is very popular and over crowded. Anticipate hoards of crowds and a long walk from your parking spot. Arrive early to find a decent spot.
There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs
Location: Tarpon Springs, Florida
Cost: All activities are free!
2014 Date: December 13th from 4:00-9:00pm
One of the best holiday events in the Tampa area is Tarpon Spring’s “There’s Snow Place like Tarpon Springs.” Tarpon Springs is a small waterfront town just 45 minutes or so from Tampa. As you walk down the historic streets of Tarpon Springs, you will be transported outside of Florida as snow falls around you and carolers greet you with traditional favorites.
An old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride takes you down a short, beautifully lit and decorated section of the Pinellas Trail (a popular bike path stretching all the way to St. Petersburg). A colorful lighted hayride is also available.
Other activities on the schedule include: visits with Santa, a snow play area, dance school performances, a holiday movie, and live Christmas music and karaoke. In addition, many of the shops and restaurants stay open late during the event. A variety of antique shops offer the perfect opportunity to pick up a new holiday decoration or find that special something for someone on your holiday shopping list.
The event is very popular, meaning there are long waits for everything, however, it’s a great event to visit if you are missing snow. Although the snow doesn’t accumulate, it does look pretty when it is falling down. If you are looking for that feeling of being back home, if only for an hour or 2, “There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs”, is sure to leave you feeling festive.
Note: Street parking is near impossible to find due to the popularity of this event. Park further away and take the Jolley Trolley to avoid the hassle of searching for parking.