Join in the festivities at parks across the country as national parks celebrate holidays of past and present throughout the months of November, December, and early January. Step into the past to discover how people celebrated winter holidays, experience another culture's traditions, or just join in the fun!
Parks across the country are hosting special in-park or virtual events, like train rides, open houses, musical performances, solstice observances, craft-making, food-tasting, caroling, resolution hikes, and more. Check the list of events below to find something near you or online. Be sure to review safety requirements before attending the event in person.
Come to an event or create your own holiday traditions of visiting a national park. Find tips to recreate responsibly for a fun, safe visit.
First Day Hikes
"First Day Hikes" is a tradition started by state park systems across the country to encourage people to kick off the new year on the right foot with healthy activities in the outdoors. National parks are also a great place to begin your new year's resolution of enjoying the health benefits of parks while also admiring the stunning winter scenery.
If you are heading to a national park on January 1—or any other day of the year—remember to recreate responsibly to promote health and safey of everyone. Share your experience and inspire others on social media using #FirstDayHikes, #RecreateResponsibly, and #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque!
Looking for inspiration this holiday season? We've made lists to enjoy national parks for you to check off everything twice.
Home for the holidays? Stay connected with your favorite parks virtually. Find Your Virtual Park watching webcams, perusing winter scenery photos, playing park games, joining the fun on social media, and much more. Here are a few winter holiday activities to get started.
Join park volunteer, Kristine Sneeringer for this holiday themed musical tour of President Grant's home White Haven. Kristine takes viewers room by room through the house, describing holiday traditions and performing music from the mid 19th-century. Sing along, and enjoy! Song List: 0:08-Jingle Bells 2:39-Over The River 4:10-Good King Wenceslas 6:23-Deck the Halls 8:04-I Heard the Bells 10:14-Silent Night 13:19-Up on the Housetop 15:12-Go Tell It On The Mountain 17:15-We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- 19 minutes, 25 seconds
Holiday Craft Ideas
Rangers and volunteers share some of their favorite holiday crafts, as well as some holiday pastimes that you can do at home.
For this week's special installment of Hands-on History, join Ranger Anna as she teaches you how to make popsicle trees to decorate with -- or give as a gift!
- 3 minutes, 12 seconds
For this week's special installment of Hands-on history, join Ranger Meaghan as she teaches you how to make Christmas Stockings for yourself and those you love! (This one is for her cat.)
- 3 minutes, 37 seconds
What are the holidays without festive foods. Rangers and volunteers share some of their favorite holiday food recipes or pull out cookbooks of historic cultural dishes prepared during the winter months. Try your hand at preparing these foods.
Holiday Safety Considerations
Find tips to stay safe this holiday season whether you are heading out or staying home. Learn more about the #RecreateResponsibly movement promoting safe choices while visiting national parks and other public lands.
Driving is one of the leading causes of injury or near misses during the winter. Roads can be slippery and visibility can be reduced during the winter. Keep in mind these basic winter weather driving tips to keep yourselves and others safe while out enjoying the spectacular winter scenery in parks.
- Drive slowly to adjust for the conditions of the road and your surroundings.
- Increase following distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.
- Turn on your headlights to help others see you and to increase your own visibility.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
The illustration includes the road signs and text for "Slippery Road" and "Reduced Visibility".
The infographic includes four driving tips, including drive slowly, increase following distance, turn on headlights, and always wear a seatbelt. More information is on the website "nps.gov".
Winter Festivity and Holiday Stories in Parks
Explore holiday histories, cultural traditions, places with special connections to the holidays, and personal reflections from our rangers and volunteers.
Happy Holidays from General Grant National Memorial. Park Rangers Jeff, Sophie, and Sierra share some holiday tales related to Ulysses S. Grant
- 4 minutes, 38 seconds
Find an Event
Set the calendar to November, December, or January to find winter holiday events and festivities with national parks across the country either hosted in-person or as virtual experiences.
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Last updated: December 21, 2020