There’s a magical place in Indiana where it’s Christmas every day! Santa Claus, Indiana has been welcoming families into a bubble of Christmas joy for generations. This summer we took our kids for their first visit and decided we need to check it out in every season. There was so much to do and see, but if you’re more interested in relaxing, Santa Claus offers plenty of that too!
I visited Holiday World for the purpose of creating content for Indy with Kids and Visit Indiana. Portions of my stay were provided complimentary and I was compensated. Indy with Kids only writes about places that we love and the following places are awesome!
Where to Stay
There are so many accommodation options for your stay in Santa Claus. You can camp, stay in a hotel or stay in cabins. During our visit, we stayed in a cabin with a full kitchen so we could prepare meals if we wanted to.
Lincoln Pines Lakefront Resort
This gorgeous retreat is just minutes from Holiday World, shopping, dining and other attractions. However, you might not need to visit any other attractions because Lincoln Pines has a swimming pool with a splash pad area and a game room. Each cabin has a patio area with a grill and a firepit. Our cabin was lakefront and my kids loved feeding the fish and turtles all evening. We could have rented fishing poles too!
After being absolutely spoiled by the beautiful cabin that was so comfortable and welcoming, I’m not sure that we’ll be able to stay anywhere else, ever again! However, I’ve heard that you’ll find this level of hospitality and entertainment throughout the Santa Claus, Indiana community.
3862 E, IN-162, Lincoln City, IN 47552
Where to Play in Santa Claus | Things to do
There’s no question that there are so many things to do in Santa Claus, Indiana, but you’re going to run into a huge problem, there’s never enough time to do it all. Nonetheless, we tried to fit in as many activities as possible during our two day trip. Here are some of our favorite things to do.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
During the summer season and on weekends in the fall, Holiday World is a destination for many families from Indy and beyond. With an amazing children’s area, a huge water park and fun live shows. My friends have always raved about how many things there are to do, even for little ones and they weren’t wrong! I wish we could have returned for another day or two. If you love roller coasters, this park is for you, but if smaller and slower paced rides are more your speed, you’ll also find just as many opportunities to enjoy yourself. We’ve added the fall festival, HoliWood Nights and Happy Halloween Weekends to our fall “must-do” list.
As a parent with small kiddos and children who are school aged, I loved the versatility of the areas, allowing one adult to enjoy rides with the littles and another adult to advance to more thrilling rides with the bigs, and then the areas and play spaces that provided middle ground where everyone could play together. We spent most of our day at Splashin’ Safari water park and then wrapped up the evening with other rides. We ate our meals in the park and took advantage of the free sunscreen and soft drinks all day long!
452 East Christmas Boulevard, Santa Claus, IN 47579
This store is a dream for kids and their sweet-toothed parents. Santa’s Candy Castle is a revamp of one of the first buildings built in Santa Claus Town. It was closed during World War II but reopened in 2006. Inside you’ll find a selection of retro candy favorites, current favorites, a whole room of Pez dispensers, confections like handmade fudge and peanut brittle, gourmet popcorn and 35 flavors of hot cocoa!
Kids can sign on to the North Pole Network and chat with an elf at the North Pole or sign up for the Santa Claus, Indiana scavenger hunt that takes you around town to visit other local businesses.
15499 North State Road 245, Santa Claus, IN 47579
We popped in to the Santa Claus Museum and Village to send some letters to Santa Claus in the original post office. My kids were excited to hear that Santa will write back in December + the letter will bare the Santa Claus, IN postmark! There are also a few beautiful photo opportunities, including one with a 22 foot tall concrete Santa statue.
The biggest reason to visit the Village is for a visit to the Museum. Families can learn about the story of Santa Claus and how it came to be the best place to celebrate Christmas throughout the year. Admission is free, donations accepted.
69 North State Road 245, Santa Claus, IN 47579
I’m not the kind of person who spends all year planning for Christmas, picking up little gifts along the way. However, when I entered the Christmas Store, I immediately felt the joy of December hit me like a sleigh. There were gorgeous ornaments everywhere, Christmas decor and even the fragrances of the holidays. I started picking out ornaments for our family members, wedding gifts for friends who were starting a family and then we saw Santa Claus, in the flesh, in the middle of the week in the summer.
Would you believe that we knocked out our Santa photo right then and there in the portrait studio? Done! Afterwards, we stopped by Mrs. Claus’ bakery to buy the biggest cookies my kids have ever seen. If you’re looking for some fun Christmas themed shopping, stop here. And even if you’re not, stop here!
33 North Kringle Place, Santa Claus, IN 47579
I’ve always heard that President Lincoln spent some time in Indiana as a child, but I didn’t know the specifics (don’t forget, I didn’t grow up here, so my Indiana history is more limited than others). We spent some time at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and I’d like to return and have more time to explore. This is a National Park, so you can get a stamp in your National Parks Passport if you’re one of those types — we are! Kids can participate in the NPS Junior Ranger program by completing the Junior Ranger Activity Book.
At the memorial, there’s a 15 minute movie about Abraham Lincoln and personally, I thought it was fascinating and even found myself sharing some Lincoln stories in my conversations with friends a few days later. The best part of the whole visit, in my opinion was our short trek to the Living Historical Farm.
This space was created to give visitors an idea of what typical farm life was like in the 1820’s. The interpreters are dressed in period clothing while they demonstrate the farm activities. There are live animals, gardens and more. You can visit every day, mid April through the end of September.
3027 E S St, Lincoln City, IN 47552
Santa Claus Post Office
Right next door to the Santa Claus Christmas Store is the Santa Claus Post Office. You can mail a letter from here to get the famous Santa Claus postmark. While you’re in the area, take a snap with the big Santa statue! It makes a great photo opp. Christmas card anyone?
45 N Kringle Pl, Santa Claus, IN 47579
We had the best trail ride adventure at Santa’s Stables. Kids ages 5 and up and adults can take a guided trail ride through a wooded area. Trail rides are 20 minutes or 45 minutes and are fantastic for kids interested in riding a horse. There are also pony rides available for the littlest ones. My kids helped feed, water and brush the horses while we waited our turn.
This was the most family/kid-friendly horseback riding experience I’ve ever come across and I’ll be recommending a visit to Santa’s Stables to everyone!
6709 East County Road 1450 North, Lamar, IN 47550
Holiday Drive-In has six screens that show new release movies all summer long. This summer has been a great summer to visit the movies and the drive-in is a great place to take kids to the movies. Holiday Drive-In had a concession stand.
646 IN-161, Rockport, IN 47635
Where to Eat with Kids in Santa Claus, Indiana
We ate most of our meals at Holiday World and had a couple in our cabin, but we did venture out for lunch. Next time we’ll report back with even more places to eat, but for now I have one to share.
Frosty’s Fun Center
This 50’s diner inspired restaurant is super casual and offers dine in our take out. They’re most popular for their scooped and soft serve ice cream flavors. We enjoyed a lunch of hamburgers and pizzas to share. Be prepared, there’s a very attractive arcade at the front of the restaurant and everyone will want to play.
15 Cedar Lane, Santa Claus, IN 47579
There’s so much to do in Santa Claus, Indiana and the surrounding area. I can’t wait to return and explore even more places. We had a great time, played hard, learned a lot and fell in love with Santa Claus, Indiana.
Have you visited with your family? What other places should we visit for food or fun or lodging? Comment below or let me know on Facebook.com/indywithkids