This Christmas Themed Amusement Park Is A Great Stop On Your East Coast Holiday Vacation

Imagine, for a moment, if suddenly your holiday snow globe came to life. That's the magic of Santa's Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, a small town with a Christmas theme park that's been in operation since 1953. Inside the gates you'll find entertainment, dining, shopping, and rides for guests of all ages, each with a holiday twist.

Start your visit at Elf University to pick up an Elfabet Card for a scavenger hunt. All day, be on the lookout for elves scattered around the park. If you find them all, you'll win a prize. Youngins will also love Santa's Express Train, the Little Elf Flying School that soars up and down, and the S.S. Peppermint Twist, which feels like a mini roller coaster. There's even a spinning ride called The Little Drummer Boy, similar to the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland in California.

If your stomach can handle it, climb aboard the Chimney Drop to see how it feels when Santa slides down the chimney. Before you take a break for food, enjoy Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, the classic swing ride that's forever a festival favorite. You may even want to hand over the keys to the kiddos for a guided antique car ride — and of course, no theme park would be complete without bumper cars.

Explore more attractions at Santa's Village

When you need a break from the rides, there are plenty of dining, shopping, and entertainment options to explore throughout the Christmas village. Visitors can shop for holiday presents at the Snowball Mall or become one of Santa's helpers at the North Pole Workshop. Of course, guests will be able to visit the main man himself in Santa's Home for pictures and good cheer. Make sure to get there before 3 p.m., when he takes a break for cookies and milk.

Don't forget to feed Santa's herd at the Reindeer Rendezvous. Guests can pet the animals, take photos, and feed them special pellets. For a treat of your own, decorate a gingerbread at the Sugar n' Spice Bake Shop. Round out your day with a view from the top of the park on the ferris wheel or the Skyway Sleigh, a monorail that soars 30 feet above the ground. During November and December, the view will be extra magical, as the park offers an outdoor Christmas lights show.

Tickets and how to get there

Tickets are sold online only, as capacity in the park is limited to prevent overcrowding. Your reservation includes access to all of the rides, a chance to visit Santa and his reindeer, a scavenger hunt, a good luck ring from the Blacksmith Shop, a parking spot, and stroller rental as needed. Around Christmas, tickets range from $52 to $59 per person. Children under the age of three can get in for free.

The park is only open for select weekends during the holiday season, so be sure to check the park calendar for your trip dates. Once you're booked, the park will be open rain, shine, or snow. To get to Santa's Village in Jefferson, fly into Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT). It's a two-hour drive north on I-93. If you're visiting from a nearby region, the theme park has a great directions page to help you find the park.

If you can't squeeze in time for a visit during this holiday season, you better not pout: Santa Claus will still be in town. In fact, the park is open during every season. In the summer months, there's even a waterpark. The only thing better than Christmastime? That would be Christmastime all year round.