Sure, Anne Arundel County is a beautiful, scenic place to call home. But did you know it's also where many of Maryland's top holiday events take place? No need to make that drive into Baltimore or D.C. - much of the fun takes place right here in Anne Arundel!
Having resided in Anne Arundel County for over 30 years now, I've come to realize that the "fun level" in our community peaks twice a year - summertime (because of course! There are 520 miles of shoreline here, after all), and Christmastime! So, whether you're with the kids or without them (and I am almost always with mine, as many of you know), these events are fun, festive and make Anne Arundel County a charming little place to call home.
5. Eastport Parade Of Lights
Saturday, December 9 from 6pm - 8pm, Annapolis Harbor
It wouldn't really be Christmas in Annapolis without decorating our beloved sailboats, would it? During one special night in December, dozens of boats (not just sailboats - there are some pretty impressive-sized yachts that participate, too) parade through Spa Creek to show off their lights and decor. Make a night out of it and grab dinner downtown. Pro tip: Make a reservation for dinner and arrive early to stake out your spot - it can get pretty crowded.
4. Santa On A Firetruck
Visit your local fire department's website or Facebook page for dates/times
For as long as I've lived in Anne Arundel County, I've witnessed Santa and his fleet of firetrucks drive through my neighborhood each December, handing out candy canes and letting all the girls and boys know that he'll soon be on his way. This is such a fun little tradition! Typically each local volunteer fire department posts the dates and times that they'll be visiting each community. Check your neighborhood fire department's website/social media page for updated information.
3. Ice Skating In Downtown Glen Burnie
See website for hours, pricing
There's really nothing more festive and "old-fashion Christmas" than getting bundled up for a few laps around the ice skating rink with your loved ones. This year, we're excited to take our 4-year-old (stay tuned as to how that pans out) and then warm up with some hot chocolate afterward. How great is it that this adorable and charming little skating rink exists right in our own community?
2. Community Christmas Tree Lightings
No doubt, Anne Arundel is a fairly large county. But what makes it so great is the tight-knit feel of each zip code. The Christmas tree lighting ceremonies organized by each community are just one example. Did you know that Pasadena, Severna Park, Glen Burnie, Gambrills, Annapolis and Crofton each hold their own individual tree lighting ceremonies? This is a great way to meet your neighbors, local businesses and civic associations. Plus, there's always something for the kids. Check out some dates below.
Annapolis Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony - November 26, 5:30pm, Market House, 25 Market St., Annapolis City Dock.
Pasadena Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony - Tuesday, Dec. 5, 5:30pm at Lake Shore Plaza.
Severna Park Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony - December 1, 5:00pm, 1 Holly Avenue, Severna Park
Gambrills Tree Lighting Ceremony - November 25, 6:00pm, Waugh Chapel Towne Center
1. Lights On The Bay
Open daily 5pm - 10pm, $15 per car, Sandy Point State Park
Over the many years that this display has illuminated Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Lights On The Bay has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Anne Arundel County residents. Our family makes a stop at Chick-fil-A in Severna Park for chocolate peppermint milkshakes before heading to Lights On The Bay every December. Pro tip: There's almost always a coupon that can be found in the local newspaper for Lights On The Bay. Also, watch out for Rudolph at the end of your Lights On The Bay drive. Other favorite parts include the jumping gingerbread man and the naval academy grads tossing their caps in the air.