Holiday and Winter Guide to West Central Florida and South Florida

Nov 15, 2023

When the snow is falling in other areas of the country, the Sunshine State beckons visitors with its warm weather, pristine beaches, and renowned attractions. The regions of West Central Florida and South Florida stand out as ideal destinations for winter vacations, offering vibrant local culture, diverse holiday celebrations, and many family-friendly activities. In this blog, we’ve made a list of our favorite seasonal things to do in each region, ensuring your winter stay with Kong Vacation Homes is filled with sun, festive fun, and unforgettable memories!


Sports Action

For winter sports enthusiasts in Tampa Bay, it’s the prime season to catch exhilarating football and hockey games. Don’t miss the chance to cheer on the home team:

Winter Festivals and Events 

Explore a winter wonderland in the Tampa Bay area with a lineup of enchanting festivals and events, spanning from holiday extravaganzas to a pirate invasion:

  • Christmas in the Wild at Zootampa (Select Nights November – December 2023): Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of the holiday season amidst exotic animals, festive lights, and joyful celebrations.
  • Christmas Town at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay (November 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024): Experience the magic of the season with dazzling lights, thrilling rides, and heartwarming holiday entertainment in the enchanting setting of Busch Gardens.
  • Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park (November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2024): Transforming downtown Tampa into a winter wonderland, this event offers ice skating, holiday shopping, and festive treats beneath the city skyline.
  • Festival of Lights at the Hillsborough County Fairground (November 23, 2023 – December 31, 2023): Illuminate your night and your holiday with this spectacular display of lights!
  • Holiday Spectacular & Tree Lighting at the Tampa Riverwalk (November 2023 – January 2024): Experience this riverfront display of lights, live entertainment, and the ceremonial lighting of Tampa’s holiday tree!
  • ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium (January 1, 2024): Witness the excitement and athleticism as top college football teams compete on New Year’s Day!
  • Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival (January 5-14, 2024): Be part of this ten-day cultural event featuring speakers, musicians, artists, poets, and craftspeople locally and nationally.
  • Children’s Gasparilla (January 20, 2024): Delight in the Gasparilla season’s family-friendly festivities with a special parade designed for the kids!
  • Gasparilla Pirate Fest (January 27, 2024): Embrace your swashbuckling spirit as Tampa transforms into a pirate’s haven, featuring parades, live entertainment, and the legendary Gasparilla Pirate Invasion!
  • Florida State Fair at the Florida State Fairgrounds (February 8-19, 2024): Head to the fairgrounds for carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, and delicious fair food.
  • Gasparilla Music Festival (February 16-18, 2024): Check out Tampa Bay’s exciting music scene with a diverse lineup of artists across various genres.
  • Florida Strawberry Festival (February 29 – March 10, 2024): Savor the sweetness of the season at this iconic festival, featuring live music, carnival rides, and delightful strawberry-themed treats!


Sports Scene

Winter in South Florida puts sports in the spotlight:

  • Florida Panthers: Hockey fans can join the excitement of the Florida Panthers’ 2023/24 season!
  • Miami Dolphins: Football enthusiasts can catch the Miami Dolphins in action during the NFL 2023/24 season.
  • Miami Heat: Experience the electrifying atmosphere of a Miami Heat game during the NBA 2023/24 season.

Cultural and Culinary Delights

South Florida also offers a rich cultural and culinary scene to explore during the winter months:

  • Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Hialeah Park (November 9, 2023 – January 7, 2024): Get into the holiday spirit at this winter wonderland of dazzling lights, festive rides, and a magical atmosphere!
  • Symphony in Lights Display in Hallandale Beach (November 12 through December 31, 2023): Be captivated by this mesmerizing display, illuminating the night sky with a harmonious dance of colors and holiday magic.
  • Christmas Wonderland at Tropical Park, Miami (November 16, 2023 – January 7, 2024): Step into a festive paradise, featuring enchanting displays and seasonal activities with a tropical spin!
  • Zoo Lights Miami at ZooMiami: (November 24, 2023 – December 30, 2023): Experience the wild side of the holidays as the zoo transforms into a sparkling wonderland, blending the magic of lights with the wonders of wildlife.
  • South Beach Jazz Festival (January 4-7, 2024): Let the smooth sounds of jazz serenade you at this soulful celebration of music.
  • 2024 South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach (January 12-January 28, 2024): Embark on a journey of fun and discovery at the fair, where thrilling rides, live entertainment, and a themed expo promise an unforgettable time.
  • Coconut Grove Arts Festival (February 17-19, 2024): Discover South Florida’s vibrant art scene at this annual display of creativity.
  • South Beach Wine & Food Festival® (February 22-25, 2024): Indulge in this delectable experience for food and wine enthusiasts alike, where culinary excellence meets the beautiful backdrop of South Beach!
  • Orange Blossom Festival, Parade & Rodeo (February 24-25, 2024): Celebrate Davie’s agricultural heritage at the Orange Blossom Festival with carnival rides, live entertainment, and delicious food for the whole family.

As you can see by this list, there are countless fun and festive things to do in West Central Florida and South Florida this winter. Make this winter a memorable one as your family experiences Florida’s warmth, charm, and festive excitement, all while staying in comfort with Kong Vacation Homes!

Kong Vacation Homes offers short-term rentals and vacation rental homes in the popular Florida destinations of Davie, Hallandale Beach, Tampa Bay, Wesley Chapel, and Zephyrhills. For more information about Kong Vacation Homes, contact us at 866-499-9026 or

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