Are you planning a trip to Holiday World? During your visit, check out these fun things to do in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Celebrate the holiday season year-round with a visit to the charming small town of Santa Claus. True to its name Christmas takes center stage with a holiday-themed amusement park, attractions, and lodging. Write a letter to Santa at the Santa Claus Museum, grab a frozen hot chocolate from Santa’s candy castle, then see if you can find all of the Santa statues throughout the city.
In this article, we will take you from the childhood home of Abraham Lincoln to zipping down roller coasters with our list of the top things to do in Santa Claus, Indiana.
We thank our friends at Santa Claus, Indiana, for sponsoring this post. This page contains affiliate links.
Where is Santa Claus, Indiana?
Santa Claus, Indiana, is in the southwestern portion of Indiana in Spencer County.
Drive Times To Santa Claus:
Cincinnati: 157 miles ~ 2 hours and 55 minutes
Louisville: 72 miles ~ 1 hour and 11 minutes
Indianapolis: 179 miles ~ 2 hours and 41 minutes
Top Things To Do In Santa Claus, Indiana
Stay At Sun Outdoor Lake Rudolph
Sun Outdoor Lake Rudolph is one of the best places to stay while visiting Santa Claus, Indiana. The Lake Rudolph campground offers a variety of cabin rentals, full hookup RV sites, and tent camping. In addition to having plenty of vacation rentals, Lake Rudolph has tons of family-friendly amenities.
During our visit, we stayed at the Holiday Cottage. The Holiday Cottages are spacious 2-BR cabins with a full kitchen, dining space, and screened-in porch. One bedroom had a full-size bed with a bunk over it, and the other room had a queen-size bed. There are larger cabins available; however, we found this perfectly suitable for two adults and two children.
Tips For Staying At The Holiday Cabin At Lake Rudolph
- You will need to bring your top sheets and blankets. The fitted sheet and pillows with pillow cases are provided.
- Bring your own towels, hand towels, and washcloths.
- The kitchen has essential cookware and serving ware. I recommend bringing meals that are easy to pop in the oven, one-pan meals, or using the charcoal grill.
- Bring an oven mitt or use a towel to get hot things out of the oven.
- They provide coffee filters for the coffee maker.
- Bring salt, pepper, oil, and other spices you need for cooking.
- Bring charcoal, foil, and lighter/ lighter fluid if you plan on using the grill.
Amenities At Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph
You will not have to step foot off of the campground with all the great amenities and programs that Lake Rudolph offers. Many families choose to spend the day at Santa’s Splashdown Waterpark, which guests of Lake Rudulph can access for a daily fee. It makes a great alternative to Holiday World as it offers water slides, a splash area with a dumping bucket, and a baby splash area.
Golf carts are available to rent out daily. You can reserve your golf cart when you make campground reservations or upon arrival. Keep in mind that golf cart rentals are on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Be sure to check these fun amenities out during your stay:
- Access to the outdoor pool and toddler pool are included in your stay.
- Guests can enjoy complimentary mini-golf.
- There are a variety of playgrounds, basketball courts, horseshoes, and sand volleyball courts.
- Paddleboats are available to rent from Prancer’s Activity Center.
- Check out their website for a detailed list of the daily programming happening around the campground.
- Enjoy a nature hike on Prancer’s Path or Dasher’s Path.
- A camp store and Blitzen’s Kitchen are great spots to grab stables or a quick meal.
- There is a FREE shuttle to and from Holiday World.
- You can go gem mining for a small fee.
- There is a Dog Park.
- Catch an appearance by Rudolph!
Are you looking for a Christmas-themed hotel? Stay overnight at nearby Santa’s Lodge.
Visit Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari
The best place to visit in Santa Claus, Indiana, with kids, is Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari. As the premier amusement park and waterpark in southern Indiana, Holiday World takes guests through different holiday-themed lands, and your ticket gives you admission to Splashin’ Safari water park. Ride the Turkey Whirl in Thanksgiving, grab a blue ice cream cone in the 4th of July, and hop a ride on Santa’s Sled in Christmas.
Tip: I recommend kids be over 36 inches to ride a good amount of rides.
I really enjoyed this amusement park because it was a good mix of classic family rides, kid rides with a handful of thrill rides. While there is not a designated kiddie section of the park, parents can find many kids’ rides in Christmas and Holidog Town, including a kiddie coaster.
After riding the Raven, named the world’s best wooden roller coaster, venture to Splashin Safari to beat the afternoon heat.
Splashin’ Safari water park
Splashin Safari is known for its water coasters and water rides. It is often deemed a showroom for other parks looking to invest in water attractions as there are so many incredible water rides. Hop on Cheetah Chase, the world’s first launched water coaster, then venture down the world’s longest water coaster, Mammoth, before relaxing in the wave pool.
Kids will love the huge variety of water slides designed just for them! I was blown away with all there was to do for kids not quite tall enough to tackle the big rides. Tembo Tides and Tembo Falls offer fun small slides and a kiddie wave pool!
Then venture to Safari Sam’s Splashland for even more slides, splash pads, and a wading pool. Kima Bay is a massive splash playground complete with a dumping bucket, even more, slides, and other fun water sprayers.
Bonus: There is FREE sunscreen throughout the park
Tips For Visiting Holiday World Amusement Park
- They have FREE parking.
- Soft Drinks are FREE! These free soft drinks are Pepsi products, Gatorade, lemonade, tea, and water at Oasis stations throughout the park.
- For the best deals on tickets, purchase them online, then save even more money when choosing the pick your date option.
- Holiday World theme park offers a flexible date option for tickets.
- I recommend visiting during the week for lower crowds.
- A fun drone show is happening until the end of July.
- If you are visiting from out of town, plan on spending the night. You can easily spend a whole day, if not more, exploring Holiday World.
- Stroller and locker rentals are available.
- There is NOT a fast pass option for rides at the time of this article.
Browse The Santa Museum & Village
The Santa Claus Museum & Village is a top thing to do in Santa Claus, Indiana. Not only will you learn about the town’s history, but you can read letters to Santa that kids have written through the years.
The museum takes you on a journey showcasing how Santa Claus’s iconic theme park, Holiday World, came to be. After the museum, take a stroll outside to see the 1880 Santa Claus Church and the iconic 22-ft cement Santa statue dedicated to the children of the world.
Stop into the original Santa Claus post office to write a letter to Santa. Don’t forget to jingle the bells to let the elves know to check the mail. You never know; come December, you may get a response.
TIP: The museum and village are free, but bring a couple of dollars to donate to help keep this enchanting little village beautiful. Remember, Santa is watching.
Get Frozen Hot Chocolate At Santa’s Candy Castle
Step into a literal Candyland as you gaze upon walls and walls of nostalgic candy, homemade confections, and an entire wall of Pez dispensers. If you are looking for a particular type of candy, you will likely find it at Santa’s Candy Castle.
However, you must try their world-famous frozen hot chocolate. Frozen hot chocolate is one sweet treat you will not want to share and is mandatory for every visit to Santa Claus.
While insane to some, including myself, the Candy Castle offers a food challenge that will likely leave you with intestinal distress. If you can stomach a pound of fire popcorn washed down for a half-gallon frozen hot chocolate and live to tell the tale, you will be featured in the Candy Castle hall of fame. This challenge has been featured in the Man Vs. Food series on Food Network; however, I won’t tell you if he completed it.
Fun Fact: Santa’s Candy Castle was America’s First Themed Attraction, opening in 1935.
Go Horseback Riding At Santa’s Stables
One of my favorite things to do in Santa Claus, Indiana, is go on a horseback ride with Santa’s Stables. Offering pony rides and trail rides for kids five and older, Santa’s Stables is a perfect family outing. Choose between a short 20-minute ride or a long 45-minute trail ride. The trail guide takes you into the beautiful shady woodland of southern Indiana.
The trail guides are knowledgeable and professional. They made my daughter feel at ease on her first trail ride and kept the entire ride upbeat with humor, sharing fun facts about the horses and Santa Claus, Indiana.
Tips For Going To Santa’s Stables
- There are no weight restrictions.
- Reservations are required
- Children 5-7 will need to ride double with a trail guide. This is what my daughter did, and she loved it.
- Helmets are required for children 17 and younger.
- Bring money to tip your guides.
- Santa’s Stables operates from April-October.
Go Shopping at the Santa Claus Christmas Store
Start your Christmas shopping early by stopping into the Santa Claus Christmas Store. This massive gift shop has everything you could need, from personalized gifts to tasty treats that would make the perfect souvenir. Browse thousands of Christmas collectibles, Christmas decorations, ornaments, and more.
Santa does make appearances during the Christmas season and select events.
Tip: The store is only open from May-December.
Grab Pizza At Frosty’s Fun Center
Frosty’s Fun Center is a great spot to bring the family for delicious pizza and a few arcade games. Frosty’s offers a wide variety of menu items, including sundaes and ice cream.
Tip: Bring coins or cash because you need them to play the games.
Play A Round Of Golf At The Christmas Lake Golf Course
Try your hand at the Christmas Lake Golf Course. This championship 18-hole Golf Course is open to the public and has a full-service Golf Shop. The Christmas Lake Golf Course has a Putting Green and Driving Range.
See The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Minutes from downtown Santa Claus is the Lincoln Boyhood National Park. The park preserves the area where Abraham Lincoln spent his childhood, including the cemetery where his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, is buried.
Start your tour a the Memorial Visitor Center, which offers tons of information about the park, Abraham Lincoln, and museum exhibits. Restrooms can be found at the Memorial Visitor Center, a bookstore, and a film and gift shop.
A living historical farm on the property that has been re-created to represent the 1820s homestead of the Lincolns. Park rangers are often seen in period clothing demonstrating farm life with historical tools and techniques.
Tips From Visiting The Lincoln Boyhood National Park
- There is no fee to visit the park or the Lincoln’s Indiana boyhood home.
- Get your National Park Stamp
- Kids can become Junior Rangers for free! Check-in with the front desk in the Memorial Center to get information on how they can become one.
- You can hike to the historic sites or park a lot closer to the Living Historical Farm.
- The Trail of Twelve Stones is a fantastic hike featuring important stones from the life of Abraham Lincoln and the period.
Go Hiking At Lincoln State Park
Directly across the street from the Lincoln Boyhood National Park is Lincoln State Park. Abe Lincoln spent a good portion of his youth in the region that is now Lincoln State Park. The park features a variety of activities, from camping to touring the historic Col. Jones Home.
Our recommendation is to hike the “Mr. Lincoln’s Neighborhood Walk,” highlighting the park’s Lincoln-era sites such as Noah Gorden’s mill and the grave of Abe’s sister, Sarah Lincoln-Grigsby.
Another popular trail is the South Forty Trail, which takes visitors to the front of the Colonel Jones Home, and the Trail 1, which takes you around Lake Lincoln.
Become A Junior Ranger
If you are traveling with kids, stop into the Lincoln Boyhood National Park to have them sign up to be a Junior Ranger. Stop into the Memorial Visitors Center to get started.
Kids will get a fun Junior Ranger packet they will have to fill out during their visit to the park. Upon completion, they get sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive their official pin!
Bonus: This is all for free!
Go Fishing At Lake Lincoln
Stop into the camp store at Lincoln State Park to grab some bait and try your luck at fishing on Lake Lincoln. The lake is full of Bass, Bluegill, and more! A state fishing license is required and available at the park office.
Visit the Saint Meinrad Archabbey
Take a short drive to see one of only two Archabbeys in the United States. It is only one of 11 in the world!
Upon entering the chapel of the Saint Meinrad Archabbey, you immediately feel that you have entered a place of God. Take a moment to appreciate the sanctuary’s beauty. After leaving the sanctuary, stroll the grounds and revel in gorgeous architecture and gardens.
You have the option to do a self-guided tour or opt to take a free tour.
Grab A Glass of Wine At Monkey Hollow Winery
A great place to enjoy a glass of wine overlooking a scenic vineyard is Monkey Hollow Winery. Swing into their tasting room, where you can enjoy a complimentary tasting of their award-winning wines and other distilled products.
The winery does offer live music on Saturdays from May-October.
Mail A Letter From The Santa Claus Post Office
Ever wonder where letters to Santa Claus are mailed? The ones that are addressed to Santa Claus arrive here! The Santa Claus Post Office is the only post office in the world with the Santa Claus name. Stop by to receive the famous Santa Claus postmark during the Christmas season.
Find All The Santa Statues Around Town
Do you enjoy a good scavenger hunt? You will find numerous Santa statues scattered throughout the town of Santa Claus. With Statues popping up in the most bizarre places, it is a great way to get familiar with the town.
Make it a personal goal to find every stature and get a #santaselfie. There is no official map of all the Santa’s, so you might have to ask around to ensure you have uncovered and photographed each one! Look high and low, for one Santa could be on the roof and the other outside of Subway.
Visit During The Christmas Season
While summer months are often the best time to visit Santa Claus, Indiana, the town transforms into a magical place during the Christmas Season. Local businesses often have fun events and participate in the annual parade. In a city where all things are Christmas, it is hard not to get into the holiday spirit during a visit in December.
Roast chestnuts over an open fire, enjoy the Santa Claus land of lights and have a pancake breakfast with Santa. Check the official Santa Claus Indiana website for more details on events.
Tip: One thing I loved when I came during Christmas is that there were tons of small local events to get involved with.
We hope you have a very merry visit on your next trip to Santa Claus, Indiana! If you are looking for more things to do in Santa Claus, check out the article recapping our Things To Do In Santa Claus in December.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out these related articles.
Save It For Later