The year's final month offers plenty of fun-filled vacation opportunities in the Lone Star State. Like everywhere else, Texas is dominated by holiday activities during December. However, there are plenty of non-holiday related events and activities available to visitors to the Lone Star State in December as well.
One of the year's most unique events is Galveston's Dickens on the Strand. This annual event sees Galveston's historic Strand filled with costumed characters right out of Charles Dickens' novels. This holiday festival takes visitors back to the Victorian Era as street vendors with push carts work amongst carolers and street musicians, while children busy themselves at the Royal Menagerie Petting Zoo. As a bonus, visitors showing up dressed as a Dickens' character will received half-price admission to the Dickens on the Strand festival.
There are also a number of more traditional holiday events during December, such as the Children's Hospital Holiday Parade in Dallas. The parade, formerly known as the Neimann-Marcus/Adolphus Children's Parade, has been a Dallas tradition for more than 20 years and is held the first weekend of December in downtown Dallas.
'Holiday trails' are also prevalent across Texas during December. Of course, as one would expect, there are a number of holiday light trails. Virtually every corner of the state features an illuminated holiday-themed trail. From tiny Jefferson in East Texas to Texarkana on the Texas/Arkansas border to the scenic Texas Hill Country, Texas has some awfully impressive holiday light trails. Among the best known and most popular are Whistle Stop Christmas in Cleburne, Texarkana's Twice As Bright Festival, Jefferson's Holiday Trail of Lights, College Station's Santa's Wonderland, and the Hill Country Regional Lighting Trail, which includes the Texas Hill Country towns of Bandera, Boerne, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Goldwaite, Johnson City, Llano, Marble Falls, New Braunfels, and Wimberley.
Another popular trail located in the Texas Hill Country is the Texas Holiday Wine Trail. This annual event covers two weekends and includes two dozen independent wineries in the Texas Hill Country. The location of the participating wineries runs from New Braunfels to Lampasas and from Fredericksburg to Dripping Springs.
In addition to the numerous holiday-themed or related events held across Texas during December, there are also a number of sporting events. One of the most popular running events of the year, Dallas' White Rock Marathon is always held during the twelfth month. There are also a handful of college football bowl games held in Texas during December, including the Valero Alamo Bowl (San Antonio), Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Ft Worth), Texas Bowl (Houston), and the Brut Sun Bowl (El Paso). As an aside, two more college football bowl games are held in Texas just after New Year's - the Heart of Texas Bowl (Dallas) and AT&T Cotton Bowl (Arlington).
Of course, no other month ends with a bang quite like December. On December's final day, there will be plenty of New Year's Eve parties and celebrations throughout Texas. Virtually every city and town in Texas will see numerous New Year's Eve celebrations of all sizes. In the larger cities, dozens of clubs, bars, hotels and restaurants will be throwing New Year's parties. Additionally, Texas' biggest cities also host some of the biggest New Year's celebrations. Among the largest are Dallas' Big D NYE, San Antonio's Carnaval de San Antonio and Austin's First Night Austin. Both cities feature an impressive fireworks show as the calendar changes years. Houston also has a large downtown concert and fireworks show. However, not all the New Year's Eve fun is limited to the big cities. The iconic Texas towns of Gruene and Luckenbach are always popular New Year's Eve destinations as are numerous other Texas towns.