Magical Towns Near DMV That Will Make You Feel Like You're In a Snow Globe

The holidays are a time for spending time with family, eating delicious food, and of course, enjoying Christmas traditions. If you're looking for a town near DC to get into the Christmas spirit, look no further! Drive to these holiday destinations for Christmas parades, horse-drawn carriages, and charming decor. We've compiled a list of 11 towns that will make your holiday season merry and bright. Make it a day trip or a weekend in these charming small towns that know how to celebrate the season. From festive light displays to charming markets, these towns have something for everyone!


St. Michaels, Maryland

Distance from DC: 82 miles

Christmas festivities get a nautical twist in this Eastern Shore town. Two parades take place December 10: one on land and another in the bay. First, the annual holiday promenade at 10:30 AM features antique cars and fire engines rolling alongside llamas (yes, real-life llamas) walking down Talbot Street.

Once the sun has set, proceed to the harbor for the second procession, in which boats are decked out for the season with rainbow lights, Santa figurines, and occasionally even enormous Christmas trees, creating a spectacular light display. On December 10 and 11, purchase a $25 ticket to explore historic homes decked out for the holiday season. For more decorations, consult the town's map of decked-out homes.


Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Distance from DC: 185 miles 

The town was given its current name by Moravian missionaries on December 24, 1741, before acquiring the appellation "Christmas City." The moniker is accurate: During the winter holidays, nativity scenes abound, horse-drawn carriages whiz through the historic center, and buildings are decorated with lights.

At Christkindlmarkt, the Bavarian holiday market, dozens of artisans sell seasonal wares. Shoppers can purchase ornaments and jewelry as well as festive foods like strudel, roasted nuts, and warm beverages. This year, a new outdoor ice rink made its debut next to SteelStacks, the former Bethlehem Steel facility where skaters may glide every day, including on holidays (November 22 through January 1).


Williamsburg, Virginia

Distance from DC: 152 miles


Visit Colonial Williamsburg for a traditional holiday where roving carolers and the Fife & Drums, a band of costumed reenactors playing instruments, sing carols. The streets of the 18th-century village are transformed into a festive stage with live theater productions depicting the story of the villagers getting ready for a holiday gala.


There are modern elements, too, such as the Grand Illumination, a fireworks display on December 3, 10, and 17. If you’re looking for more trimmings beyond the blazing cresets, 2,500 wreaths, and ornamented tree, drop by neighboring Busch Gardens for the amusement park’s annual “Christmas Town” (November 11 through January 8). Grab a hot cider and stroll through grounds transformed into charming European hamlets glittering with 10 million lights.


Middleburg, Virginia

Distance from DC: 42 miles

In this equestrian town, where horses and hounds shepherd in the holiday season, Santa's reindeer enjoy a break. The lighting of a massive tree and holiday music on December 2 kicks off a weekend of programs called Christmas in Middleburg. A parade of vintage cars, floats, and the sweater-clad "Corgi Corps" will take place later that day after the foxhunt riders in bright red coats trot through the streets at 11 the following morning. The 18th-century village continues to radiate holiday cheer all month long, adorning the brick-lined sidewalks with glistening lights and pine branches.


Berlin, Maryland

Distance from DC: 142 miles

A Victorian-era town appropriate for a Hallmark movie is illuminated by festive stores and bright lighting. In fact, the artistic neighborhood next to Ocean City served as the location for scenes from the 1999 romantic comedy The Runaway Bride. On November 25, a 30-foot-tall tree is lit to kick off the holiday season, and ice sculptures are displayed all throughout the city as part of a performance. Visit the winter market on weekends (November 25–December 18) to peruse local artists; kids can get their picture taken with Santa at the festive Kringle Kottage. The Eastern Shore theme is featured in this year's Christmas parade, which will take place on December 1 and feature floats, marching bands, and decorated fire trucks


Lewisburg, West Virginia

Distance from DC: 258 miles

There is a direct line for Claus-related communication in this picturesque mountain town, so there is no need to travel to the North Pole. Be sure to stamp envelopes with a return address before letting children put their letters into the town's large mailbox where Mayor Beverly White, one of Santa's helpers, answers every letter. In the daytime, the picturesque streets are lovely, but the extended store hours leading up to Christmas offer a reason to go shopping and take a stroll around the neighborhood when the snowflake lights are on. During the weekends, flag down a horse-drawn carriage for a storybook ride or sip hot chocolate while strolling. The Greenbrier resort nearby transforms into an elaborate winter fantasy with themed trees, Christmas decorations, and halls dressed out in festive décor.

This little town is full of holiday cheer! Take a stroll through the historic downtown area to admire the twinkling lights and decorations lining the streets. Head over to Market Station for some unique gifts or indulge in some Christmas treats at one of the local bakeries.


Annapolis, Maryland

Distance from DC: 32 miles

Annapolis is always a festive place to be during the holidays. Enjoy a show at the charming local theatre, and don't forget to visit City Dock for some of the best views in town. You can also take a carriage ride through downtown and see all of the holiday decorations up close. 


Alexandria, Virginia

Distance from DC: 32 miles


This historic city will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit! Enjoy a stroll through Old Town while admiring all of the stores, restaurants and businesses that are decked out for the holidays. Don't forget to visit Shuter’s Hill for its festive light display. 


Frederick, Maryland

Distance from DC: 40.35 miles


This charming town is full of Christmas spirit. Visit the many unique stores for some holiday shopping, or tour one of the local museums to learn about the city’s history. Don't forget to enjoy a hot chocolate at one of the cute cafes in town! 


Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Distance from DC: 67 miles

Nestled in the mountains, this quaint little town is the perfect place to enjoy a winter holiday. Enjoy the picturesque views of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers while taking in all of the historic sites. Don't forget to take a ride on one of the local carriages for an unforgettable experience! 

Warrenton, Virginia

Distance from DC: 47 miles

This charming town offers plenty of family-friendly activities during the holiday season. Enjoy a visit to one of the local parks, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Main Street. Don’t forget to visit Fauquier County Museum for some Christmas fun!



No matter which town you choose, it's sure to be a special and magical holiday season near DC! So pack your bags and get ready for some Yuletide cheer. You won't be disappointed!

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