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Get in the Mood for Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort

Experience ICE! A Charlie Brown Christmas and enjoy an easy weekend road trip with the kids.

If you’ve checked off your Holidays in Philly Checklist and are looking to get out of town for the weekend, Gaylord National Resort offers a one stop shop for holiday fun. Philadelphia Family was hosted by Gaylord National Resort with accommodations, tickets and some meals to make this article possible.


Our family of four made the trip, about three hours south of Philly along the shores of the Potomac, downriver from Washington DC and across from Alexandria, Virginia, to experience Gaylord National Resort’s Christmas on the Potomac holiday celebration, including ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas. This 9 degree walk-through winter wonderland features more than two million pounds of colorful, larger than life, ice sculptures and 2-story tall ice slides. Visitors can watch Charlie Brown rediscover the true meaning of Christmas as the beloved classic story unfolds through interactive, hand-carved ice sculptures. Blue parkas are provided to pull on over your coats, but make sure to bring warm gloves because it’s CHILLY!


Watch Our Philly Family EXPLORES Video:



After ICE!, we warmed up with some hot chocolate, visited the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, and enjoyed the indoor Ice Skating Rink (especially with these polar bear chair helpers!) while we saw younger friends ride the miniature train and carousel rides in Christmas Village. Some visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus for a story, while other headed straight to the Christmas Shoppe for ICE! souvenirs and the Build-A-Bear Workshop®.


What I loved most about this getaway was how easy and accessible all the entertainment and activities were, within one venue. The staff was very friendly and did an outstanding job of making us feel at home as well. The holiday activities at Gaylord National Resort are available to book individually or as a bundle in advance online, with special package options for overnight guests through the end of December.



Gaylord National Resort Ice Skating in Christmas Village


Gaylord National Resort overlooks the Potomac River and is surrounded by the National Harbor, with more than 160 shops, public art and entertainment, including rides on The Capital Wheel, a 180-foot observation wheel with breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. We popped into the Peep Store for some treats, strolled along the river to see National Harbor’s main plaza with Christmas tree and were delighted to grab lunch at one of our our favorite sandwich shops from back home, Potbelly.


Gaylord National Resort offers comfortable accommodations and amenities, including a rejuvenating spa, indoor pool, large fitness center, shops and restaurants. Securing a room facing the open 19-story atrium meant that we had a chance to enjoy shows from our private balcony! Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, a vibrant Christmas show with gravity defying feats, elaborate costumes, and music, as well as the Holiday Light Show featuring laser lights, dancing water, and holiday music, are best viewed from the reserved seats around the hotel’s 55-foot, suspended Christmas Tree to experience the magic of the indoor snowfall.


We capped the weekend with a delicious breakfast with Charlie Brown and his friends Lucy, Linus, and Snoopy! Breakfast included an assortment of delicious choices, my kids went straight for the Belgian waffles with powdered sugar shaker at first, but the bacon and sausage appealed to them as well. This photo with Snoopy – and the look on my son’s face as he went in for a hug – made the weekend SO special.


Gaylord National Resort Snoopy and Charlie Brown Friends Character Breakfast

Ten Things Families Can Do After ICE! at Gaylord National Resort

  1. Ride the Christmas Carousel
  2. Indulge in milk and cookies with Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions story time
  3. Get your photos with Santa through December 24th
  4. Ice skating without the chill is PERFECT for beginners
  5. Get sticky at the Gingerbread Decorating Corner
  6. Be curious with the Snoopy Scavenger Hunt
  7. Ride the Potomac Express Miniature Train, for children up to 42”
  8. Find ICE! Souvenirs and a festive Build-A-Bear Workshop® at the Christmas Shoppe
  9. Laugh and be dazzled with Cirque Dreams Unwrapped and A Christmas Wish Laser Light Show
  10. Dine at one of more than 40 restaurants within National Harbor


Featured slider photos and Snoopy snapshot courtesy of Gaylord National Resort. Video and ice skating photo by Sarah Bond and Jonathan Butz.


Publisher & Editor | Email me at sarah@familyfocus.org.



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