If you listen close enough, you may be able to hear sleigh bells ringing in the distance. They're likely coming from the cheery and elaborate displays in the top 10 Christmas towns of the decade in the U.S., according to HGTV, or the super festive markets that are set up from coast to coast. This holiday season, it's your job to find out and explore these magical towns that are totally decked out with nutcrackers, gingerbread houses, twinkly lights, and more.
According to HGTV, the'll treat you to all kinds of unique traditions and fun. For example, during your winter getaway, you may participate in a gingerbread house competition, go to a lively parade, or take selfies in front of a tree with a lobster-style star on top. Whether you're checking into a well-known vacation spot in New England or a town nestled in between mountains in the Pacific Northwest, you're bound to be greeted with crowds, too.
HGTV notes in their video series on the merriest and brightest Christmas towns in the U.S. that these beautiful destinations attract people from far and wide with their cozy shops and horse-drawn carriages. Travelers put their covered bridges, traditional English treats, and yule logs on their bucket lists.
You'll want to add them to your bucket list, too. So without further ado, the 10 highest ranking towns include: Leavenworth, Washington; San Antonio, Texas; Woodstock, Vermont; Durango, Colorado; Alexandria, Virginia; Mackinac Island, Michigan; North Pole, Alaska; Mountain View, Arkansas; Kennebunkport, Maine; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Rent a car, buy a plane ticket, or dash through the snow to their festivities ASAP.
In Durango, Colorado, you can put your cozies on and hop on an IRL version of The Polar Express. The train has a special route during the holidays which brings travelers to the "North Pole" where they get to meet Santa Claus. Throughout the ride, chefs sing carols and serve hot cocoa to guests. And if you get a first class or deluxe ticket, you'll receive a one-of-a-kind mug to take home, too. After your adventure, check out the sights throughout the town, and grab a bite at restaurants that put cowboy hats and boots in their holiday displays.
On the other hand, HGTV says that in Kennebunkport, Maine, holiday decor includes lots of lobsters. This town holds a 10-day long Christmas Prelude festival and takes pride in their nautical roots. The festival begins with a kick-off concert, outdoor market, and wine and chocolate pairing event — amongst other events. It continues on to include trolley rides, big lobster and chowder dinners, and bonfires you won't want to miss.
There's even a hat parade, where locals and travelers alike put on their most festive hats and walk through the town's streets. Some people may wear mini Christmas trees on their heads, and others might find a way to get lobster stuffed animals and ornaments into their looks.
Of course, the holiday spirit is also high in North Pole, Alaska. The name practically screams Christmas carols and festivities year-round. If you venture to the chillier temperatures and explore the natural beauty and charm of the area, know you're in for a real treat. Christmas reaches a whole new and merry level in this destination with its wonderful ice sculpture competitions. To say the very least, Buddy the Elf would be proud and probably want to participate, carving a cute reindeer or plate of sugary spaghetti.
Do yourself a favor and follow the ring of the sleigh bells, and be part of the magic of these towns during the holidays, too. A winter vacation will never look or feel so elf-ing good.