10 Fun Places to See Santa this Holiday Season
Santa appears daily in scuba gear over the holidays at the Newport Aquarium.
Transported by an outrigger canoe, Santa arrives in Waikiki Beach, Oahu.
The Towers B&B has Santa tucked in among the jewels; photo: Visit Natchez
Surfing Santa comes to Seaport Village in San Diego in December.

No matter how old you are or how skeptical you may be about Santa Claus and his role in the winter holidays, it seems that everyone enjoys seeing him on their holiday travels.

Thanks to our colleagues in public relations, we can share some of his more exceptional appearances. They’re so much fun, in fact, that you may want to vacation alongside him.

And for those who prefer a staycation, SantaCon – an opportunity for any jolly old soul to impersonate Santa, returns to cities and bars around the country. In our home of New York City the reindeers take off at 11am, December 9, 2017. The international SantaCon directory lists dates and details for global events sprouting any time between December 1 and 24, around the world.

Here are 10 more ways to catch him – if you can!

Santa Surfs in San Diego

Let’s start in San Diego, where i.d.e.a.’s client Seaport Village is located, At the waterfront lifestyle mall downtown, Surfin’ Santa — a character who arrives near shore by jet pack or pirate ship — is a San Diego tradition that returns Saturday, November 25.  Count on him dressed in board shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, and dress appropriately so you can pose for photos with him while he hangs ten inside a six-foot wave on a surfboard. 

Santa Parasails in Jamaica

We love the beautiful Half Moon resort on Half Moon Bay in Jamaica, so it’s no surprise that Santa will be heading there on Christmas Day. According to the hotel, guests will receive a hand-written note from Santa on Christmas Eve, inviting them to watch him don his parasailing gear and take off over Sunset Beach the next morning. After that impressive exit, he returns to the hotel lobby on a donkey, bearing gifts of course, for an afternoon photo opportunity. 

Canoe with Santa to Oahu

It’s always sunny in Waikiki, Hawaii – which is why tourists love it. On Oahu, Santa takes advantage of the climate to paddle his own outrigger canoe and pose for pictures. On December 9, 2017, he will pull up on the beach in front of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort at 2335 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, at 9:00am, and be met with a childen’s hula dance performance. Families can participate in a Breakfast with Santa at the sister Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, The Reef Bar & Market Grill, at 2169 Kalia Road in Honolulu, on Dec. 16 from 8am-10am. Check out special seasonal hotel rates at the Outrigger Waikiki hotels, where holiday rates begin at $279 for a double with breakfast this season. If you missed him, Santa will be returning by canoe to Gray’s Beach on December 24, and pulling ashore in front of the posh Halekulani Hotel. The hotel is inviting kids to a Christmas party with balloon sculptures and a silent disco where they can share their wish-list with Santa, have their picture taken with him, and receive a present. Adults can drink, dine and enjoy a hula performance.

Santa Enjoys Breakfast at Tiffany’s in Natchez

It’s hard to find Santa among the glitter of gold and gems at the Towers of Natchez, an ornate bed and breakfast in this waterfront Mississippi town that dates to the late 1700s. During the holidays, The Towers displays a floor to ceiling “sculpture” made up of thousands of vintage costume jewelry pieces called “The Jeweled Christmas.” House tours are available Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 25 to January 6, 2018; the cost is $20 per adult, $15 per child ages 8-12; call 601/446-6890 to confirm the schedule.

Santa Feeds the Fishes in Kentucky

Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland is a seasonal exhibit at the delightful Newport Aquarium in Newport, located just opposite the city of Cincinnati. In their comfortable theater used for guided marinelife talks, guests can watch through a huge glass wall as Santa dons a bright red wetsuit and air tank in lieu of his normal winter garb, waving to his young fans and communicating through the glass. Don’t miss Santa’s helpers at the stingray, seahorse, alligator and penguin exhibits, too. Running daily November 24-December 31 except Christmas Day when, of course, he’s too busy. 

Watch Santa’s Friends Ski in Maine

The Sunday River ski resort in Newry, Maine creates a photo-worthy spectacle on Santa Sunday, this year to be held December 3. The resort is offering free morning lift tickets to the first 250 guests to arrive in Santa costume; they must ski down the slopes together carrying a donation for the local Sunday River Community Fund to qualify. It’s a great chance to ski or snowboard early season.

Santa and Mrs. Claus Take the Train in Texas

Part of little Grapevine’s annual “Christmas Capital of Texas” festivities, the locally restored Grapevine Vintage Railroad gets dressed up for special trips to the North Pole. While families crowd the decorated Victorian rail coaches, Mrs. Claus boards the train and presents each child a “We Believe” silver Santa bell. Once at the North Pole, you can enter Santa’s workshop, meet him, have hot chocolate and get some one-on-one time with Santa for family photos. The North Pole Express departs from the historic railroad station in Grapvevine — don’t miss the huge gingerbread house that is part of North Pole Neighborhood, which opens November 28 through Christmas. Trains run weekends in December and daily the week prior to Christmas.

Santa Talks with Kids on the Spectrum

On December 2, Santa will be pausing from his preparations to visit with kids at a special Sensitive Santa event put on by Autism Live and We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym of Woodland Hills, California. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families can have their photos taken, and receive a wrapped toy, while also getting the opportunity to explore uniquely ASD-friendly gym equipment. The event is free; reservations required at Autism Lives Eventbrite

Santa is More Attentive than a Helicopter Parent

Santa gets airborne in a helicopter, arriving in style to his own party at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California, on November 25. He takes photos with the kids upon arrival, partakes in Christmas carols with the West Bay Community Band and lets kids explore the many aircraft and unusual flying machines housed at this Smithsonian affiliate.

See Santa at Macy’s Herald Square

Beginning November 24, the flagship Macy’s Department Store at Herald Square, New York City, will feature the annual Santaland, a huge area on the store’s 8th floor that is decked out for the holidays with its own resident Santa. Fortunately for restless toddlers, parents can visit the website and make timed reservations for their Santa visit, lap sit and photo opp. In the meanwhile, check out the six special holiday windows on Broadway. Did you know that Macy’s was the first department store to feature Christmas window displays? They have been enchanting generations of spectators since the early 1870’s.


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2 Replies to “Santa Sightings Guaranteed to Bring Holiday Cheer”

  • Lauriewilliams

    Of course! Christmas is a magical time for children – and equally unusual for moms and dads who love nothing more than to see their little ones’ faces smiley with festive joy.
    There are so many countries and their cities where people can enjoy these festivals, but  I think London is the most popular place to enjoy the lightning of the festivals like Christmas.

    • travelboots-pat

      Christmas is magical especially for kids. We were lucky enough to take our kids to Lapland when they were younger. Meeting the real Santa and his elves was wonderful.