Christmas at Jellystone Park in Caledonia, Wisconsin

Trip Planning

Go RVing 2023 Christmas Activities

Planning a Christmas RV trip? Check out these must-see locations recommended by Jeff Crider!

Tree lighting ceremonies, luminaria walks, pictures with Santa, Christmas crafts, cookie decorating, Christmas caroling and Christmas movies under the stars with hot cocoa are among the activities taking place at campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some parks also complement their holiday activities with toy drives and various fundraising events to help needy families.

Here’s a sampling of some of the activities and special events that will take place at campgrounds and RV resorts across the country in the weeks leading up to Christmas:

(Photo courtesy of Jellystone Park in Caledonia, WI)

  • Alamagordo / White Sands KOA Journey in Alamagordo, New Mexico: On Christmas Eve this park  will invite its guests to light hundreds of luminarias, which will be set up around the campground in celebration of Christmas. Luminarias are made with small brown paper bags that are weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a candle. They look beautiful when they are lit up at night and can be used to illuminate pathways, creating the ambiance for memorable “luminaria walks.” This campground will also celebrate Christmas Eve with a bonfire and s’mores.
  • Camp Cedar Outdoor Resort in Mason, Ohio: Family activities at this park over Christmas weekend include making Christmas cards, Christmas ornaments and reindeer crafts.
  • Coloma Resort in Coloma, California: December guests at this campground can enjoy visits from Santa and participate in campsite decorating contests where they can compete for a prize of free camping. The campground is located along the South Fork of the American River next to the site where gold was discovered in California in 1848, sparking the California Gold Rush.
  • Colorado Springs KOA Holiday in Fountain, Colorado: December weekends at this park include photos with Santa, Christmas crafts, cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, story time with one of Santa’s elves, caroling on a sleigh ride, and a movie under the stars with hot cocoa.
  • Encore Fiesta Grande RV Resort in Casa Grande, Arizona: This park has several holiday events in December, including its Adopt a Family Christmas Angels event in partnership with Mesquite Elementary School. The resort collects papers from families with their holiday wishes and puts them on the resort’s Christmas tree. Park residents then choose which family to adopt and make their wishes come true. The park then coordinates the delivery of the presents to the school. From December 20-27, several Christmas items will be hidden throughout the resort. Park guests can search the resort to locate the hidden Christmas items, but must leave them in place, simply noting where they were located. They then share their findings with the activities department. The guest that finds the most hidden Christmas items wins a prize. A lighted golf cart parade is also scheduled for Dec. 21 followed by Christmas caroling and a fundraising event for a local group that raises funds for cancer research. On Dec. 24 resort guests will place luminarias all around the park. A Christmas Eve dinner will be served that includes soups, salad, bread sticks and dessert. The dinner will be followed by a candlelight service with the luminarias.
  • Falcon / Colorado Springs NE KOA Holiday in Peyton, Colorado: This campground will celebrate its first annual Christmas cookie decorating event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 15. KOA will provide the cookies and icing. Guests are encouraged to bring a snack or drink to share. 

(Photo courtesy of Jellystone Park in Caledonia, WI)

  • Fireside RV Resort in Ponchatoula, Louisiana: This park is planning a pictures with Santa on the lake deck from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 23. There will also be a movie night on the lake deck and a gumbo cook off.
  • Fort Collins / Lakeside KOA Holiday in Fort Collins, Colorado: Holiday-themed activities are scheduled at this campground for Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 22-25 with holiday crafts, Christmas cookie decorating and visits with Santa.
  • Fountain of Youth Spa & RV Resort in Niland, California: This park has several Christmas-themed events, including a tree lighting ceremony Dec. 8; a golf cart Christmas light parade on Dec. 15, along with a Christmas party; a Christmas classical concert on Dec. 16; as well as services on Christmas Eve.
  • Great Escapes RV Resort in Chestnut Bay, AlabamaDecember weekends at this park include photos with Santa, Christmas crafts, cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, story time with one of Santa’s elves, caroling on a sleigh ride, and a movie under the stars with hot cocoa.
  • Great Escapes RV Resort in Bryan College Station, Texas: December weekends at this park include crafting Christmas slime, partaking in delightful cookie decorating sessions guided by Mrs. Claus herself, creating magical reindeer food, meeting Santa in person, and savoring an ice cream social inspired by the Grinch.
  • Jellystone Park in Bremen, Georgia: This park will feature Christmas activities every weekend in December, including pictures with Santa Claus, Christmas crafts, caroling, cookie decorating, story time, a movie under the stars and hot cocoa.
  • Jellystone Park in Burleson, Texas: Christmas-themed activities are scheduled for every weekend in December at this park. Activities include a red and green scavenger hunt, Magic Christmas tree planting, a reindeer dash event, Christmas Carole Karaoke, and a contest to see who can create a human snowman out of their partner the fastest in the park’s human snowman contest. Campers will also be able to design an ugly Christmas sweater and compete in the park’s annual ugly Christmas sweater contest.

(Photo courtesy of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina)

  • Jellystone Park in Pelahatchie, Mississippi: Each weekend in December this park transforms itself into a magical hub of holiday activities for both children and adults to enjoy. Activities include cookie decorating, crafting gingerbread houses, and joining the bears in special tree lighting events. Youth choral groups will also provide timeless Christmas music. Christmas movies will also be shown under the night sky. There will also be a Christmas carnival in which guests can acquire tickets for thrilling games, savor delectable treats like cotton candy and popcorn, secure a glow wand for the Sleigh 'Hey' Ride, and, of course, create a cherished one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament.
  • Jellystone Park in Wichita Falls, Texas: This park is planning Christmas-themed activities every weekend in December, including visits with Santa. 
  • Lakewood Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: This park has several Christmas-themed activities, including ice cream with Santa on Nov. 25; the park’s annual Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 1; pet photos with Santa and Polar Express Nigh on Dec. 2; a children’s Christmas carnival on Dec. 9; and a polar plunge on Dec. 30.
  • Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina in Newport Beach, California: This resort will host its 33rd annual “Lighting of the Bay” celebration on Nov. 24 with over 50 holiday light features that float on the bay. Santa will arrive at dusk to turn on the floating lights and will stay for photos. There will also be live entertainment, crafts for the kids and fire pits for s’mores. This year’s “Lighting of the Bay” event will also kick off Newport Dunes’ addition of an ice rink and a Fire & Ice Festival to complement its holiday festivities. The festival runs from Nov. 24 to Jan. 1 and will include ice skating; weekend fire dancer performances and live music; an igloo-shaped bar offering both hot and cold drinks; fire pits ablase with s’more kits available for purchase; an inflatable garden full of holiday cheer and with plenty of holiday picture taking opportunities; and a holiday tree lot with fresh trees from Oregon ready for purchase. RV guests can also show their holiday spirit by participating in a holiday decorating contest for their campsites.
  • Okeechobee KOA Resort in Okeechobee, Florida: This park will have its annual Christmas dinner from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day. KOA will provide the turkey, ham, potatoes and gravy and rolls. This location will also host a potluck, providing the protein for both holiday meals while inviting their guests to bring side dishes and desserts. The dinner is open to all KOA residents, guests, employees, and their families. 
  • San Diego KOA in Chula Vista, California: Christmas activities begin Nov. 25 at this park when the campground holds its first annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. There will be entertainment before and after the tree lighting. The park’s cafe will also be serving adult beverages, Christmas churros and hot cocoa.

(Photo courtesy of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina)

  • Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday in Watsonville, California: Both winter and holiday activities are scheduled at this park in December. Activities the weekend of Dec. 8-10 include marshmallow shooters, a nature wreath craft and an outdoor movie. Similar activities are scheduled for Dec. 15-17, but also include a snowman marshmallow launcher craft. Christmas weekend activities include a campsite decorating contest and an ugly sweater fest. Guests are encouraged to wear their ugliest sweater on Saturday evening. Hot cider, beer and snacks will be available with donations being accepted to benefit Care Camps. There will also be holiday train rides with Santa and Mrs. Claus and s’mores and cocoa with Mrs. Claus at the pond.
  • Temecula KOA at Vail Lake in Temecula: The Christmas season kicks off Nov. 2, at this park with a “Light up the Park” ceremony involving more than 100,000 lights on Christmas trees throughout the park. December weekend activities include hayrides, interactive holiday scavenger hunts, a polar plunge for a good cause, pajama parties, ornament making and breakfasts with Santa.
  • Voyager RV Resort in Tucson, Arizona: This park provides the hams for an annual Christmas dinner for more than 250 guests and park residents.
  • Zachary Taylor Waterfront RV Resort in Okeechobee, Florida: Christmas activities at this park include cookie decorating and a gift exchange. This location will also host a potluck, providing the protein for both holiday meals while inviting their guests to bring side dishes and desserts. 

(Photo courtesy of White Sands KOA)

Drive-Through Christmas Light Experiences

From Nov. 18 to Jan. 1, the Jellystone Park in Caledonia, Wisconsin offers a 1.6 mile drive-through Christmas Carnival of Lights with colorful illuminated tunnels and displays with over 2 million lights, which the park considers to be the largest drive-through display of Christmas lights in the Midwest.

The Jellystone Park in Eureka, Missouri, for its part, operates Santa’s Magic Kingdom Santa's Magical Kingdom, which offers holiday train and wagon rides. 

New Year’s Eve Activities

Some campgrounds are also planning New Year’s Eve activities for families and for adults. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Jellystone Park in Burleson, Texas: New Year’s weekend activities at this park include a “Year in Review” scavenger hunt, a 2023 trivia game, and a “Festival of Lights” glow “Hey, Hey, Hey” ride around the park. New Year’s Eve activities will include a family dance party on Friday night.
Jeff Crider


Jeff Crider, President and CEO of Crider Public Relations, has been involved in covering the campground industry for over 25 years. Jeff has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as RV Business, Motor Home Magazine, Trailer Life, Highways and other Affinity Group Inc. publications since 1995. He has also successfully pitched many of the nation's top tier media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and National Public Radio. In addition to writing, Jeff is also a talented photographer and humanitarian.