Most of us associate New Year’s Eve with Times Square in New York City, counting down the hours, then minutes, then seconds until a sparkling ball descends to ring in a new year. However, there are other ways — even more unique ways—to spend New Year’s Eve with kids. In some cases, they involve PEEPS, in other cases they involve peaches, and in one case, there’a a giant Hershey Kiss involved! Take a look at the best New Year’s Eve events for kids.
1. Pickle Drop – Mt. Olive, NC
During World War II, bombardiers claimed to be so accurate they could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel. This gave the Mt. Olive Pickle Company the brilliant idea of hosting a New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop. A lighted green pickle is dropped at 7 p.m. (which is technically midnight Greenwich Mean Time), so it’s perfect for families who can make their way to Mt. Olive, North Carolina for New Year’s Eve with kids. Live music is provided from 5:30 until 6:15 p.m., and free refreshments, including—you guessed it—pickles, are provided.
Recommended Hotel: Hampton Inn Goldsboro
2. Golf Ball Drop – Hilton Head, SC
In Hilton Head, South Carolina, Sea Pines Resort provides an annual New Year’s Eve event for kids called Golf Ball Drop at Harbor Town. Visit to see Lollipop the Clown and Juggle Stuff, and enjoy live music throughout the night. An early ball drop for families with young kids is held at 7 p.m., with a second golf ball drop at midnight.
Recommended Hotel: Inn at Harbour Town – Sea Pines Resort
3. Big Orange Drop – Miami, FL
In Miami, the annual New Year’s Eve celebration involves a giant Florida orange. Held at Bayfront Park, the free event features live music starting at 8 p.m., with fireworks and a laser show following the iconic Big Orange Drop from the side of the InterContinental Miami at midnight. Previous performers have included Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, Pitbull and Nelly.
Recommended Hotel: InterContinental Miami
4. Pelican Drop – Pensacola, FL
Pensacola hosts a Pelican Drop New Year’s Eve event for kids, complete with live local music, street vendors, kids’ activities and fireworks, making it one of the best New Years Eve events for kids. The free event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at Blue Wahoo’s Stadium, where you might spot Wahoo’s mascot, Kazoo.
Recommended Hotel: SpringHill Suites Pensacola Beach
5. Peach Drop – Atlanta, GA
Take your little “peaches” to Atlanta‘s Peach Drop, one of the best New Years Eve events for kids. The event includes the Family Fun & Budding Peach Stage, which provides carnival-style rides, face painting, food vendors and more. Throughout the day, live music is performed, and at night, an 800-pound peach is dropped at Woodruff Park.
Recommended Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
6. PEEPSFEST® – Bethlehem, PA
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley is known as Christmas City, but it’s also the home of Just Born Inc., the maker of PEEPS. The city’s New Year’s Eve event for kids incorporates the famous candy with its 400-pound, lighted Peeps Chick Drop, held at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks just after 5 p.m. on December 31. Earlier in the day (and on December 30), families enjoy live music, arts and crafts, S’mores, photos with the PEEPS Chick, movies and more.
Recommended Hotel: Historic Hotel Bethlehem
7. Hershey Kiss Drop – Hershey, PA
Hershey, Pennsylvania, celebrates New Year’s Eve with a 7-foot-tall, 300-pound Hershey Kiss Drop at midnight. The free New Year’s Eve event for kids takes place from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Square in Hershey, with family-friendly musical performances leading up to the drop. Once the giant kiss drops, fireworks top off the celebration. The event is non-alcoholic and vendors are on hand with snack options, making it one of the best New Year’s Eve events for kids.
Recommended Hotel: Homewood Suites by Hilton Harrisburg East-Hershey
8. Acorn Drop – Raleigh, NC
If you’re in Raleigh, North Carolina, you can forget about the traditional ball drop. Here, in the City of Oaks, it’s a 1,200-pound copper acorn that welcomes the new year! The festivities at this New Year’s Eve for kids begin in the afternoon with a Children’s Celebration that includes crafts, music and more. A People’s Procession in the evening is followed by an early countdown and fireworks at 7 p.m. The event continues with performances on two stages until midnight, when more fireworks light up the sky.
Recommended Hotel: Embassy Suites Raleigh – Durham Airport/Brier Creek
9. Guitar Drop – Memphis, TN
In Memphis, Tennessee, the Hard Rock Cafe offers a rockin’ good time—a 10-foot D’Angelico guitar will drop 100 feet over Beale Street at midnight! Of course, the free New Year’s Eve event for kids also features live music. Food and drinks are offered in a heated party tent, open to the public.
Recommended Hotel: The Westin Memphis Beale Street
10. Beach Ball Drop – Panama City, FL
What else do you drop on Panama City Beach than a bunch of beach balls? This event actually involves two ball drops—one includes 10,000 inflated beach balls dropped at 8 p.m., perfect for kids, and the other includes an 800-pound, Waterford Crystal beach ball, lowered over the crowd at midnight. Live music and fireworks follow during this New Year’s Eve event for kids.
Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach
11. Onion Drop – Bermuda
Why an onion, you ask? In the 1800’s, Bermuda was nicknamed “The Onion Patch,” as onions grew so well and in all varieties (red, yellow, white, and purple) that it started trading thousands of onions per week to the U.S. East Coast. Bermuda now pays homage to the onion with an onion drop on New Year’s Eve. The event begins at 8 p.m. and includes live entertainment and local food. You’ll find it at St. George’s Town Hall at King’s Square.
Recommended Hotel: Fairmont Southampton
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