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4 must-do’s to make the most of a Gaylord holiday vacation

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Nearly 60% of Americans planned to travel for the 2022 holiday season, and not all were headed to see family.

Holiday adventures are on the rise as more gift giving comes in the form of experiences instead of tangible products. With an average snowfall of 152 inches in Gaylord, it is easy to make snow-covered holiday memories.

“We have great shopping and beautiful holiday weather,” said Christy Walcott, a Gaylord native and director of marketing and communications for the Gaylord Area Convention & Tourism Bureau. “There’s a lot to do during the holidays and most of it is outdoors.”

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1. Take a snow-covered sleigh ride

Open carriage sleigh rides were popular in the 19th century, and thanks to popular songs, have become iconic at the holidays. In Gaylord, sleigh rides can hold two to 12 passengers. Cook Family Farms sleigh rides through “God’s country” are followed by cookies and hot cocoa. Treetops Resort takes riders in sleighs and wagons followed by an Instagram-worthy seat by the fire with hot chocolate.

2. Shop picturesque downtown

In the late 1960s, downtown Gaylord adopted the architectural appearance of an Alpine Village. Chalet-style facades and buildings have enhanced the Swiss theme, and downtown shopping is no exception.

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In 2022, an American Express survey reported that 97% of vacationers prefer to shop small while visiting a new area. While in Gaylord’s Alpine downtown, visitors can find everything from clothing and jewelry to chocolates and home decor to check all the boxes on their shopping list, Walcott said.

3. Search for elk

The City of Gaylord has its own elk herd that is cared for by their employees while taking up residence just a few blocks from downtown. Contained to 108 acres in the City Elk Park, the herd that started with three elk in the 1980s has grown to nearly 40 today.

In the winter, the horns on the bulls can’t be missed by viewers and visitors to the park. There are several viewing areas, and visitors can even stay in the warmth of their car to see the elk and deer that live there.

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4. Go walking in a winter wonderland

Once you’re surrounded by snow, it’s tempting to escape out into it. A trip on cross-country skis or snowshoeing through nature is one of the best ways for visitors to enjoy the season.

The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down - the lit trails at Aspen Park or Michaywe’ are designed for an evening under the stars. The lights at Michaywe’ come on as early as 5 p.m. to accommodate families or anyone with later dinner reservations.

Experience holidays in Gaylord

Whether shopping, enjoying a trek in the outdoors or bundling up for a snow-covered sleigh ride, vacationers can make new holiday memories in Gaylord.

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