Weekend Getaway to Santa Claus, IN – Review of Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort
We recently had the privilege of a hosted stay in a cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, right next door to Holiday World. Usually, I think of this location for summers, the but it was terrific for Christmas time! While you may not use the pool and water slides on site, they do include Breakfast with Santa and the Land of Lights around Rudolph Lake as part of your stay. Then there is the town of Santa Claus – it is very cute, inexpensive, and goes all out for Christmas.
LAKE RUDOLPH CAMPGROUND AND RV RESORT: We arrived at the camp ground on Friday night. If you don’t mind driving in the dark, it’s a great time to arrive. Not only do you see Lake Rudolph’s lights from the road, but you also see a lit Christmas tree on the porch of every cabin. It’s a beautiful sight! The cabin was cute, and everything looked new and well maintained. There was 1 bedroom downstairs and an upstairs loft that my kids loved! They felt like it was their own space, and it came with 5 mattresses to choose from. The cabin also has a full kitchen, bathroom, and all-purpose room too. The website tells you what the cabin has, and what you need to bring, but I was still pleasantly surprised. Little things like cable on the flat screen TVs, bedside tables, reading lights by the bed, and plentiful outlets made it easy to relax and enjoy the weekend. It was well stocked with everything it promised to provide. There was also a well organized binder that described everything from area attractions to how to work the free WiFi.
Here’s the events and attractions we went to over the weekend. We were not able to do everything, but here’s our tips on what we did see.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AT LAKE RUDOLPH: (Free with your stay at Lake Rudolph, crafts extra). They hosted Santa in the garage this year with heaters (last year was in a cold tent). “Breakfast” is pushing it – it’s more like an early morning snack, but they tell you that up front, we weren’t surprised. Santa was MARVELOUS! The atmosphere was very relaxed, and there was plenty of time for everyone to chat with Santa. They also had a table of several inexpensive crafts set up that my kids loved making. We had plenty of room and supplies to do our crafts.
OPEN HOUSE AT TOWN HALL: (Free event). Might not be worth stopping by – just refreshments and a raffle, but good photo op outside.
SANTAS LODGE: (Free unless you buy food or items).
Very cute hotel with incredible decorations, a good restaurant in the bottom level, and a kid’s craft room with a few light crafts set out. There was a Craft Show the weekend we were there. It wasn’t big, but it looked like all local artists and had great prices.
(FYI – there are several craft shows in town the weekend we were there)
ST NIKOLAUSFEST: (Free unless you buy something). Cute little German festival in a church with delicious food (slightly high prices, but I felt worth it for the delicious German foods). Lots of baked goods for sale and free kids crafts.
KRINGLE PLACE SHOPPING CENTER: (Free unless you buy something). Main road in town with stores including SANTA CLAUS CHRISTMAS STORE, SANTAS ORNAMENT SHOP, and HOLLY TREE CHRISTMAS STORE. Cute, but crowded stores. Prices seemed on the mid to high side. Santa and Rudolph visit during select times for photos.
SANTA CLAUS CHRISTMAS PARADE: (Free event). Typical small town parade, very cute and friendly. My kids got TONS of candy – don’t forget a bag to hold it all!
SANTA CLAUS MUSEUM AND VILLAGE: (Free event, but they welcome donations for postage costs).
Definitely worth stopping by for a photo op with the giant Santa statue and writing a letter to Santa. They have a team of volunteers who answer every letter written to Santa, and pay for letters to be sent all over the world. My kids loved this, and they’ll love it even more when they get a letter from Santa this December!
SANTA’S CANDY CASTLE: (Free unless you buy something). Cute candy shop just outside of town. I can’t stress how friendly the staff is here. You can chat with an elf on the North Pole Network for under $10 (there are several computers in one of the rooms, but at times they were all taken). The questions are all about good health and behavior habits. Kids are presented with a nice certificate inside a thick sleeve after agreeing to work on any need areas. A wood carving with chain saw demonstration was advertised, but was cancelled due to rain. In the evening, you can go to the outdoor chestnut roasting. It is a cute area with an open fire. I’d definitely add these to your list.
SANTA CLAUS FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS AT CHRISTMAS LAKE VILLAGE: (Free with donation welcome)
This is a residential neighborhood right nearby. Many of the home owners go all out in decorating their houses. They are well organized, from donations taken by Santa at the entrance, to arrow signs and people with flashlights that lead you all over the neighborhood. This took a LOT longer than I expected with lots of slow traffic. Be sure to have a full tank of gas and an empty bladder! There is a place to stop for refreshments and restrooms mid-way through, but my kids were ready to leave long before we reached it. Best to go right at dark or late to avoid heavy traffic.
SANTA CLAUS LAND OF LIGHTS AT LAKE RUDOLPH: (Free with your stay at Lake Rudolph). Well worth it! This was my kids’ favorite part of the weekend. It’s a 1.2 mile drive of Christmas lights that tell Rudolph’s story. It gets really full right at 5pm when it opens, and everyone that goes through gets a coupon for a free photo with Rudolph at a nearby store. Rudolph’s line forms quickly. You may want to go to the Land of Lights early and wait in line for it to open, or go late and hope the line for Rudolph has gone down. I felt the Rudolph photo was worth the wait.
This was a TERRIFIC weekend. It is the perfect getaway for families of any age group. The cabin was wonderful, relaxing, there were so many things to do, and everything was close by. And the town is so friendly! I can’t wait to come back – I may try a weekend around Halloween or in the summer next time!
By guest contributor: Caryn