Celebrate the holidays at U.S. national parks

Want to explore some of the nation’s best holiday displays? Why not start with your favorite (or local) National Park?

The official start to the holiday season kicks off December 9th in Washington, D.C. at President’s Park with the National Christmas Tree Lighting. But no worries, even if you’re way out in Califrornia, you can still join in the fun.

Here’s what a few of our favorites are doing to celebrate the season:

At Petrified Forest National Park, you can enjoy hot drinks, cookies, treats and holiday cheer at the Painted Desert National Historic Landmark.

At San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park , turn the clock back to Christmas in the year 1901, where you will meet and talk with captains, wives, and crews aboard the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier and enjoy lamplit guided tours.

At Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Na Leo Manu Heavenly Voices – Home for the Holidays, you can enjoy a free evening of festive Hawaiian music.

At the Fort Larned National Historic Site’s “Christmas Past” display, visitors enjoy historic sounds of the season.MARYLAND:
Thomas Stone National Historic Site
offers an 18th Christmas tour by candlelight.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
hosts a memorial procession and illumination tour.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is home to Holidays at Glenmont Estate, where you can visit the Glenmont Estate when it is dressed up for the holiday season, including a tree, banquet dinner, and other decorations.

Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site features Christmas organ concerts.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site hosts “Christmas at Connemara” which includes a festive celebration from folk musicians and storytellers.

At Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park you can see what Christmas was like at the LBJ Boyhood Home.

Can’t make the National Tree lighting? Never fear. You can still visit the Ellipse at President’s Park and meet Santa and his elves in their workshop while listening to holiday music performances.

[Flickr via FlyHeatherFly]