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Christmas County – Makes a great weekend getaway in North Carolina

Updated: Nov 10

If you're in search of a Christmas vacation filled with authentic experiences, off-the-beaten-path discoveries, and the warm embrace of local traditions, then Gaston County, lovingly known as Christmas County, should be your ultimate destination. Filled with small-town charm, you'll find a Christmas experience that goes beyond the ordinary, inviting you to truly connect with the local culture, savor mouthwatering cuisine, and create cherished memories through interactions with the friendly locals.

Christmas Town USA

A Winter Wonderland in McAdenville

Let's start with the crown jewel of Gaston County's holiday celebrations – Christmas Town USA in downtown McAdenville. This iconic event has been delighting visitors for decades, and while some things have changed, the magic remains as strong as ever. One of the newest trends is strolling through the enchanting light displays rather than driving. Imagine a leisurely walk amidst twinkling lights, with your loved ones, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

The lake in McAdenville has undergone a transformation, featuring magnificent floating decorated trees that glisten on the water's surface. It's a sight to behold, and it's the perfect backdrop for those Instagram-worthy holiday photos! The air is filled with Christmas music and carillon bells, spreading holiday cheer to all who visit. And don't forget, the people of Gaston County are known for their friendliness, so you're sure to be greeted with warm smiles and welcoming spirits.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden: A Winter Wonderland

Winter will glisten with dazzling lights, sparkling fountains, and holiday décor throughout the Garden this season. Gather with family around the warmth of an outdoor fire while kids, young and old, delight in making s’mores. Grab a snack at our food trucks and a warm beverage. Shop at The Garden Store for gifts for everyone on your list. Take your picture in front of the Orchid Tree located outside the Great Hall.

Winter Adventures at Whitewater Center

The Whitewater Center, transforms their whitewater rivers into an ice trail for anyone interested in skating. This year they will debut several new activities and programs. Two suspension bridges spanning the canyon will connect to a new activity area. A “Lights” program will also be integrated into the bridges and surrounding forest featuring over 50 illuminated installations. Winter programming will also feature new additions such as outdoor hockey, culinary events, year-round yoga, and more races and competitions.

Snowless Tubing

Chutes at Crowders Ridge

Located near Gastonia, Chutes at Crowders Ridge has created Snowless Tubing, a fast and dry tubing chute with 250-foot lanes. This fun activity replicates a snow tubing experience without freezing your buns off. You must pre-purchase tickets online.

Holiday Parades and Festivals

Gaston County's many downtowns celebrate the holidays with fun festivals and exciting events. McAdenville will feature its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Yule log Ceremony to go along with Christmas Town USA. Other festivals and events include Christmas Village in Belmont, Christmas In the City in Gastonia, A Very Cherry‑Who‑Ville Christmas with parade in Cherryville, a Historic Christmas Village in Dallas, and even more great events.


Downtown Gaston County is more vibrant than ever during the holiday season. There are plenty of shops where you can find unique gifts for your loved ones. From cozy boutiques to charming artisanal markets, you'll discover treasures that will make your Christmas shopping a breeze. And when you've worked up an appetite, you're in for a treat with the array of dining options available. From hearty dinners to sweet treats and even festive cocktails, there's something to satisfy every craving.

Plan Your Christmas Getaway Now!

With so much to see and do, Gaston County, AKA Christmas County, is the ultimate holiday destination. Whether you're captivated by the twinkling lights, craving delicious holiday treats, or seeking thrilling winter adventures, there's something for everyone to enjoy. So, don your coziest sweater, grab your loved ones, and start planning your magical Christmas vacation in Gaston County. The holiday season is just around the corner, and the festivities are waiting for you to unwrap the magic!



Christmas County is a magical time in Gaston County, from holiday lights to festivals, parades, skating, snowless sledding and more. Don’t miss the splendor of the season in Gaston County, NC.


Gaston County Tourism Development

620 N. Main Street, Belmont, NC |

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