Have you ever wondered what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem or the North Pole? How about in a town called Santa Claus? Ho-ho-hop in your sleigh with your holiday hound and tour these yuletide towns named after the most wonderful time of the year.
Posted by Billy Francis
Santa Claus, IN
In 1856, the townsfolk of Santa Claus, IN, had a decision to make. The proposed town name of Santa Fe was already taken. On Christmas Eve, at a town meeting to discuss a new name, the door swung open and a child announced “It’s Santa Claus,” or so the tale goes. Although the city isn’t as prosperous as it was when it boasted three different amusement parks dedicated to Christmas (only Holiday World remains), there are still gems worth checking out. Take Fido to visit the World's Oldest Santa Statue, the only remaining artifact from Santa Land, built in 1935.
Treat your little elf to a stay at the Hummingbird Creek Cabin in nearby Birdseye, IN. This cozy and secluded Airbnb is a perfect winter getaway. While you’re here, spend a day with your pooch walking around the lake on the Patoka Lake Main Trail.
Spend Christmas in Christmas with Fido. What started life as a factory for making festive ornaments and decorations has grown into a small community that makes merry throughout the year. Pose for a picture next to a 35-foot-tall Santa Claus adjacent to his workshop, which closed due to elf and safety issues. After securing the photo for your next Christmas card, take a stroll on Munising Falls Trail together. This pretty path leads to a nice waterfall, and you can enjoy the beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along the way.
Stay the night in an Elf House in Christmas. The large backyard is perfect for reindeer landings and late-night pee breaks.
Located at the opposite end of Christmas, MI, Holly is a seriously jolly destination. Starting at the end of November, dress your dog up as Bullseye, Bill Sikes’ dog in “Oliver Twist,” and attend the annual Holly Dickens Festival. The event is the oldest Dickens Festival in the United States. Wrap Tiny Tim up in his warmest sweater and enjoy a light parade, Santa Claus photos, Yule eats and treats, fun activities and reenacted scenes from the greatest Christmas story of them all, “A Christmas Carol.”
After a busy day in Victorian times, retreat to a recently renovated Lakefront Horse Farm. This Clubhouse Cabin boasts an exquisite interior in secluded surroundings, making it ideal for a family Christmas vacation.
Christmas Cove, ME
Disney fans will recognize the name John Smith from “Pocahontas.” Believe it or not, leading man Smith was a real-life explorer. Around Christmastime in 1614, he was said to have given Christmas Cove its name while he was moored there. Today, you can explore this quaint coastal town with your intrepid pooch. The pebbly terrain of Christmas Cove Beach is a common sight in Maine, but it doesn’t make the beach any less inviting. Staring out over the wintry waters like Smith and his crew, the world is Fido’s oyster.
Located just a stone’s skim away from the beach, this pet-friendly rental promises a spectacular view from Christmas Cove. The East Coast sunsets bathe the open windows in a pink hue, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your home away from home.
Like Mary and her trusty donkey, travel with your four-legged friend to Bethlehem this Christmas. The town was named by the German Moravian Brethren on Christmas Eve, 1741. Just four years later, the church founded the Moravian Book Shop, the oldest bookstore in America and the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world. Is there anywhere cozier than a pet-friendly bookshop around Christmastime? The town is also the setting for a magical Christkindlmarkt. Although the Christmas market isn’t pet-friendly every day, Fido is invited to have his photo taken with Santa on select dates.
Reserve a pet-friendly room at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. Harking back to a time of class and refinery, Fido will be given a pet bed and bowl to use during his stay, and a treat will be brought to his room.
North Pole, AK
Thousands of letters from around the world make their way to North Pole, AK, every Christmas destined for the big man himself. The city’s name was chosen in the 1940s to attract a toy manufacturer. Who wouldn’t want to buy a toy made in the North Pole? Although the toy company never came, the Christmas theme has helped build the town’s reputation as a festive holiday destination. Located just 20 minutes from Fairbanks, you’ll find candy canes painted on city streets, Christmas in July parades and the Santa Claus House gift shop. Dogs aren’t allowed inside, but don’t miss the photo opportunity with the Christmas-themed building. Outside the house is the World’s Largest Santa, standing at an impressive 42 feet tall.
Rest your weary heads at the Hotel North Pole, where Christmas decorations and a crackling fire spread Christmas cheer to two- and four-legged guests.
Garland is a Christmas city that plays host to a bounty of happenings during the festive season. Hollywood Feed, a popular local pet store, invites Fido to get his photo taken with Santa himself on select dates. Join the Magical Christmas Candlelight Home Tour and witness the twinkling lights on eight houses across two historic downtown neighborhoods.
Cap your Garland trip off with a night at the pet-friendly La Quinta Inn & Suites Garland Harbor Point. The hotel has a grassy field next door, perfect for late-night bathroom breaks.
Santa Claus, GA
It’s hard to believe that there’s more than one Santa Claus. We’re talking pet-friendly towns, not jolly round gentleman. The name came from a peeved pecan farmer named C.G. Greene. Tired of people driving by his stall without purchasing his precious pecans, he chose the name to make them stop and look around. Nowadays, you’ll find much more than pecans in this little city. Don Fido’s festive apparel for a photo in front of the City Hall of Santa Claus and streets like Candy Cane Road, December Drive, Rudolph Way and Sleigh Street.
While you’re in the area, take a trip to the charming coastal city of Savannah. Spend the night with your furry elf at Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown Savannah near the historic district, and check out our guide to the pet-friendly activities you can enjoy while you’re there.
Noel is inundated with requests for stamps at Christmastime. The post office is always happy to oblige if supplies don’t run out. If the weather outside is frightful, sightseeing from the car can be delightful. The Christmas City: Anderson to Noel scenic drive is just the ticket. This journey features views of Elk River, Indian Creek Roadside Park, Mt. Shira Stream, Noel and impressive overhanging bluffs. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for frozen waterfalls in the limestone.
Bring Fido and the family for an unforgettable Christmas vacation on the banks of the Elk River. The large balcony of this vacation cabin has uninterrupted views over the clear, meandering waters.
Don’t forget to #bringfido with all your snaps of Santa and have your “elves” a merry little Christmas in Christmas. Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
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