Nestled along the Eastern Seaboard, the state of Maryland serves as an unforgettable Christmas vacation destination. Major cities are home to performances of The Nutcracker Ballet, as well as expansive malls and outlets perfect for last minute gift shopping. If you’re craving a small-town experience, come watch bright, colorful parades and enjoy cookies with Santa. When you book a Maryland vacation rental in the heart of Baltimore, look forward to checking out the harbor filled with boats decked out in holiday lights. Take a look at the seven best Christmas getaways in Maryland.

1. Baltimore

Feel like you’ve traveled overseas when you visit the Christmas Village. This market offers the feel of German Christmas markets with dozens of tents with local artists and craftsmen selling decorations, gifts, jewelry, clothing, and many other captivating items. Sip on a glass of mulled cider and sing along with carolers as you meander through the village. Stop by Santa’s workshop to have a photo taken, and look for Gingy, the giant gingerbread man who strolls through the village to say hello and take a picture. For the adults and older children, there are wine tastings and Ho Ho Happy Hour in the evening. Stop by one of the food tents for German fare including warm pretzels the size of your face and many varieties of sausage.

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2. Tilghman Island

Set your eyes on one of the most unusual Christmas trees you’ve ever seen when your vacation rental is in Tilghman Island. This town decorates its yearly tree with a seafood theme, the annual crab pot tree. On Christmas day, find more tables serving crab or fresh seafood than the traditional ham and turkey. In mid-December, the town holds the annual lighting with a meet and greet for kids with Santa Claus and followed by a Christmas parade of boats around the harbor and island. Your family can even sponsor a crab pot or string of lights for the tree to help you feel like a local.

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3. Berlin

Step back in time and enjoy the nostalgia with a Christmas holiday spent in Berlin. The town hosts a Victorian Christmas celebration and the buildings in the downtown area come alive in lights. Ride down main street in a horse-drawn carriage, and you might recognize your surroundings from the movie, “The Runaway Bride” that was filmed here. The historic Atlantic Hotel offers up cups of hot apple cider and cocoa along with a visit with Santa. The New Year’s Eve celebration features live music, entertainment, and plenty of hot chocolate to keep your hands warm.

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4. North Beach

Feel the ocean breeze ruffle your hair and smell the sea salt, as you watch the town of North Beach’s Christmas tree light up at the pavilion with its guard of nutcrackers standing tall and the ocean spreading out behind the sea. It’s a unique twist for your holiday trip. Stop by the North Beach Christmas Market for last minute stocking stuffers made by local artists and craftsman, or let the kids sit on Santa’s lap for a picture and their last chance to tell him what they want this year. Warm up by the campfire as you sip hot chocolate and indulge with some warm cookies.

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5. Cambridge

In this small town, your family can see a unique spin on the traditional Christmas tree when the town lights the crabby bushel basket tree. The town invests in decorating the Main Street area and down by the harbor with thousands of lights and garland strung along the tops of buildings. In the harbor, check out the boats decorated for the holidays with penguins, polar bears, and lights galore. If you arrive early enough, plan to step out on Main Street to watch the Cambridge Christmas Parade when Santa makes his big entrance and later poses for pics with his favorite little fans.

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6. St. Michaels

Experience a new twist on your favorite holiday when you book a vacation rental in St. Michaels. This small town hosts one of the only llama-led Christmas parades and bursts over with holiday cheer around each corner. The Talbot Christmas Parade lets the llamas take the lead as floats, marching bands, Santa, and kazoo bands follow along. After the parade, kids can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while the adults enjoy a cup of spiked eggnog. Take a Christmas tour of homes tour through some of the stunning historic homes and a few out in the countryside to see the sparkling decorations.

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7. Oxon Hill

A vacation rental in Oxon Hill puts you in the same town as National Harbor known for its exciting Christmas activities. Attend the Gaylord National Harbor Christmas Celebration to decorate your own gingerbread man, hang out with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ice skate at the outdoor rink, and go on a Christmas themed scavenger hunt. Each night, there is a new concert or other form of live entertainment. The theme of the Gaylord National Harbor Christmas Celebration changes each year so you return year after year to your new favorite vacation destination and find something fresh to celebrate during the holidays.

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