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, If you’re looking for a fun weekend destination for families, look no further than Santa Claus, Indiana. This small town totally embraces the Christmas spirit, all year long. Many families flock to the area to visit Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari Water Park. There’s also a pretty amazing campground next door to the parks–Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph. When you’re not at the parks or the campground, you can explore the little town that celebrates Christmas every day.

We took our pilgrimage one October weekend to check out Happy Halloween Weekends at Holiday World and Lake Rudolph. Though you can’t visit the water park, the fall was an amazing time to visit. The park and have fun Halloween-themed activities and decorations. If you love fall and and enjoy kid-friendly Halloween experiences, Santa Claus, Indiana, may just be the place for your family.

History of Santa Claus, Indiana

The history of the town dates back to the mid-19th century. The town was originally known as Santa Fe, but due to the existence of another town with the same name in Indiana, it was renamed Santa Claus in 1856.

The town’s name change was motivated by a desire to attract new settlers and businesses. The residents believed that the name Santa Claus would be unique and memorable, making the town stand out. Additionally, it was hoped that the name would attract the attention of the United States Postal Service, leading to a post office being established in the town.

The legend of Santa Claus also played a significant role in the town’s history. The story goes that a group of children in the town wrote a letter to Santa Claus in 1914. Since there was no post office in Santa Claus at the time, the children addressed the letter to the North Pole. Surprisingly, the letter reached its destination, and Santa Claus himself decided to answer the children’s request by sending gifts. This event brought national attention to the town and further solidified its association with Santa Claus.

In the years following this event, Santa Claus, Indiana, embraced its unique name and developed a Christmas-themed identity. The town had its first Santa Claus post office established in 1856, and it continues to receive and respond to thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus every year.

Over the years, Santa Claus, Indiana, has grown into a popular tourist destination, particularly during the holiday season. The town is home to several Christmas-themed attractions, including the Santa Claus Museum & Village, where visitors can learn about the town’s history and explore exhibits related to Santa Claus. Additionally, the town hosts various seasonal events and festivals, such as the Santa Claus Christmas Celebration, which attracts visitors from all over the country.

Holiday World

Many visitors travel to Santa Claus just to visit this great family-friendly theme park. If you go in the summer, you can also visit the joined water park Splashin’ Safari.

Holiday World is themed to different holidays. Before it was known as Holiday World, the park was called Santa Claus Land. I actually visited the park as a child when the park was known as Santa Claus Land, and I have a few memories of my grandparents and extended family enjoying the Christmas-themed rides and stores.

When we had the chance to visit the park, I was excited to explore it with my family and see how the other holidays had been incorporated.

Christmas in Holiday World

The park now has several great coasters along with a slew of other great attractions and shows. We had a fun-filled fall day.

Halloween in Holiday World

Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph

If you want to stay right next to the park, Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph is the perfect campground They also have several cabin options. We stayed in a Legendary Cabin, and it was perfect. Just be sure to reserve as soon as you can because the all the cabin types book quickly, at least that’s the case in the fall for Happy Halloween Weekends.

Lake Rudolph Holiday World Happy Halloween Weekends

In the fall, many activities are going on in the campground, from decorating golf carts and sites to trick-or-treating and hay rides. During other times in the year, there are other seasonal activities offered.

Happy Halloween Weekends at Lake Rudolph

Santa Claus Museum and Village

The Santa Claus Museum and Village is a fun place to stop while in Santa Claus. You’ll see some history of the town while you’re there.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

Check out the Santa Claus Land memorabilia.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

And don’t forget the enormous Santa Claus statue. It was created in 1935.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

You can even see the original post office for Santa Claus, Indiana.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

And you can go inside.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

It’s a fun stop on the museum grounds.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

You can also step inside the Santa Claus church, built in 1880.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

You definitely feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you step inside this church.

Christmas Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus Christmas Store

This was one of the places I was really looking forward to seeing. I mean, who doesn’t love shopping in a Christmas store?

Santa Claus Christmas Store

You will find just about everything you’ve ever dreamed of in this place. If you’re into Fontanini nativity scenes, they have those pieces, too. We couldn’t resist purchasing a piece for our set that we add to every year.  During our trip, we purchased a building; we’ve been collecting for 18 years, so we’re getting creative in our new piece additions.

Santa Claus Christmas Store

We also bought an ornament here to commemorate our visit to Santa Claus.

Santa Claus Christmas Store

Santa’s Candy Castle

This is another fun stop in Santa Claus.

Santa's Candy Castle, Santa Claus, Indiana

You’ll see the old standards when it comes to candy.

Santa's Candy Castle, Santa Claus, Indiana

But you’ll also see some classic and unique items, too.

Santa's Candy Castle, Santa Claus, Indiana

Check out all the Pez.

Santa's Candy Castle, Santa Claus, Indiana

There are some other places to see in Santa Claus that we didn’t get to, but I think we hit the highlights. We did go to the Lincoln Boyhood Home that’s nearby; stay turned for that post someday. It’s worth a stop.

Santa Claus, Indiana, remains a symbol of holiday cheer and a place where the spirit of Christmas is celebrated year-round. If you’re looking for a family-friendly weekend destination, I think you’ll have a good time checking out what Santa Claus has to offer.

It’s a small town, but don’t let that stop you. Lodging may be a challenge, but don’t be afraid to book one of the properties that offer cabin rentals, like Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph. There are other options in town, too. Food can also be a challenge. We ate one meal in Holiday World, one at Denny’s a little outside of town, and we cooked everything else at our cabin. Also, though it is a year-round destination, realize that Holiday World is not open during the Christmas season. Check their website for their operating dates and hours.

If you think this sounds like a lot of fun, plan your trip to Santa Claus, Indiana, today!

Santa Claus, Indiana
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Check out some of our other adventures:

Kansas City BBQ at Q39

Family Guide to Springfield, Illinois–Home of Abraham Lincoln

Our Little Cabin Getaway at Silver Dollar City Campground

Carhenge in Nebraska

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Wow! What a wonderful experience for the Christmas season! I would love to visit Santa Claus, Indiana. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and this seems like such a magical experience.

  2. I just recently hear of Santa Clause Indiana. It looks like a fun spot to enjoy a weekend getaway.

  3. Cindy Moore Reply

    I love visiting towns during the holidays. I’ll add Santa Claus Indiana to my list!

  4. I now want to spend a weekend in Santa Claus, Indiana. How fun that they celebrate the Christmas season all year long. Love learning the origin of town names.

  5. This looks like a great place, especially for Christmas! I also love the ‘old fashioned’ sweet display! You don’t find many places like this anymore!

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