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Plan an Exciting Holiday Getaway to Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches This Season

With average December temperatures in the upper 60s and plenty of sunshine, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is the perfect place to spend the winter holidays with the family. In addition to the phenomenal weather, the area also offers several popular holiday-themed events and shows that your kids (and you) will love, as well as restaurants and shops that are a delight to visit any time of year. Here are five reasons why you should spend your winter holiday in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.

The Events

The holiday season kicks off in early December with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Palm Coast's Central Park in Town Center. The ceremony also marks the opening night of the Fantasy Lights Festival, a free month-long celebration featuring live music, holiday food and larger-than-life animated light displays. Kids will be enamored by the glowing angels, shooting stars and smiling snowmen decorating the festival. Throughout the month, you can visit the pint-size elf houses in Santa’s Village and take a ride on Santa’s Merry Train. But the highlight of the season is the Holiday at the Beach Parade when Santa arrives in town not by sled, but by parachuting onto the beach!

Flagler Auditorium also features several holiday-themed shows. There’s “The Sound of Christmas” concert on December 3rd, performed each year by the Choral Arts Society. Then there are shows like “Celtic Angels Christmas,” a celebration of Celtic heritage that includes traditional holiday song and dance, and the family-friendly favorite “Redneck Tenors: Christmas SPEC-TAC-YULE-AR.” For some holiday chuckles, Flagler Playhouse Inc presents its hilarious play, “Every Christmas Story Ever Told on December 8th.

The Food

Throughout the year, many visitors flock to Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches to explore its thriving culinary scene. Family dining favorites include the Golden Lion Cafe, a Flagler Beach staple, where you can spend the winter holidays sipping margaritas and feasting on fish tacos at a table overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Or bring the kids to the laidback High Tides @ Snack Jacks. Since the 1940s, this beachside cafe has been serving seafood favorites like crab fritters and fish tacos, as well as more adventurous fare, including jerked salmon and wild sardines.

Another popular spot for families is Tortuga’s Florida Kitchen & Bar. Enjoy live music while you gather around the fire pit on their spacious outdoor patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Tortuga’s makes delicious seafood specialties like shrimp ‘n grits and coconut curry cream mussels. Top it all off with a gigantic slice of key lime meringue pie made from scratch.

The Shopping

Whether you’re buying presents or shopping for yourself, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is home to many specialty stores selling everything from housewares to high fashion. At A Scent to Remember you can treat your skin to a “spa day” with its revitalizing body scrubs, luxurious skin creams and men's grooming products, all of which are handmade using vegan and organic essential oils. The store is run by a master aromatherapist who can answer your questions and help you create a scent profile that addresses all your aromatherapy needs.

Another favorite is Jose Gaspar Treasure Co. This shop sells unique treasures, from shark teeth and seashells to alligator skulls and jewelry. Kids will love the pirate gear and marine-themed books and toys, while you will appreciate the shell artwork and beach-inspired housewares. Jose Gaspar Treasure Co is also the ideal place to buy postcards and other souvenirs for everyone on your list. After getting some retail therapy there, head down the road to Frankie Alice's Beachside Boutique. This gem is Flagler Beach’s go-to store for clothes, jewelry and accessories. Everything here is inspired by the sea; you’ll find colorful seashell-studded sandals, handcrafted gem and leather bracelets, and trendy apparel.

The Outdoors

Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches boasts nearly 18 miles of pristine shoreline. Even in winter, the water maintains a pleasant average temperature of 70 degrees. With no high-rise hotels or condos on the beach, these cinnamon-colored sandy shores are less crowded than other Florida beaches. And if you’re an adventure seeker, there are plenty of beachside shops offering everything from boogie board rentals to surfing lessons. Don’t want to get wet? Consider renting a kayak to explore the area’s miles of estuaries and salt marsh creeks. Keep an eye out for manatees as you paddle. Every winter, these gentle giants come from around the world to make their home in Florida’s springs and rivers.

Besides the water activities, you will enjoy exploring the other outdoor attractions here. The area is also home to an extensive trail system that links the region’s parks and preserves. Flagler Bike Run and Fun Shop offers full-and half-day bike rentals; grab your helmet and get ready to explore!

The Day Trips

While there’s plenty to see and do in the area, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is also within a short drive from several of Florida’s most popular attractions. Daytona Beach, known as the "World Center of Racing," is only 24 miles south of Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. While there, take a tour of the famous Daytona International Speedway and Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. You can even ride shotgun with a professional racing instructor at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

St. Augustine, the oldest city in the nation, is only a 30 minute drive north. During the holiday season, St. Augustine's award-winning Nights of Lights festival illuminates the city’s historic district. Businesses and residents celebrate the season by hanging more than 3 million lights on the district’s buildings and homes. And the lights make for a romantic night with a horse and carriage tour of the dazzling displays. National Geographic consistently ranks the Nights of Lights celebration as one of the 10 best holiday lighting displays in the world, so it’s a must-see when you visit!