We may not have the snow, and some days it may be too warm for hot chocolate, but there is nothing like Christmas in the South! There are many holiday festivals, parades, and our favorite, twinkling, magical Christmas lights, that take place 🎄 Charleston has amazing light displays, but if you're visiting family out of town or you just want to change it up and take a quick trip, there are many neighborhoods, parks, gardens, and towns that are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!
May your days be Merry & Bright at these holiday light displays you can find all around the South:
Holiday Festival of Lights - James Island
The Holiday Festival of Lights will begin on Friday, November 15th and last until New Year's Day! With over 700 displays and two million lights, the James Island County Park will come to life this Holiday Season.Coastal Living named The Holiday Festival of Lights "One of the Top 10 Holiday Celebrations", and many from all over the Southeast come to experience this Lowcountry tradition.
It is more than just a driving tour. You can get out and explore all that is offered, including:
- Sand sculpture made from 50 tons of sand
- The Holiday train
- Santa's Sweet Shoppe
- Giant greeting cards
- Victorian Carousel
Experience the holiday magic this year at the Holiday Festival of Lights!
⏰ Friday, November 15, 2019 - Wednesday, January 1, 2020, 5:30PM - 11:00PM
📍 James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC 29412
Celebrate the Season - Moncks Corner
Take a drive through thousands of twinkling lights this holiday season at the Celebrate the Season Holiday Lights starting on November 29th! Admission is only $5 per vehicle and the proceeds from the light display will benefit local charities. Celebrate the Season is presented by Berkeley Electric Cooperative.
⏰ November 29th - December 30th (Closed December 24th and 25th), 6:00PM - 9:00PM
📍 Old Santee Canal Park, 1 Riverwood Dr, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
These are not your typical holiday lights, but you want to plan on visiting the Lights of Magnolia sometime between November and March at Magnolia Plantation! America's oldest public garden can be seen in a new light, with 9 acres of beautiful lanterns and 23 themed displays. There are also unique family activities, nightly food trucks, the BEST photo opportunities, and so much more. Magnolia Plantation is bringing a unique cultural experience to the Lowcountry that everyone will enjoy!
⏰ November 15, 2019 - March 15, 2020, 5:30PM - 9:30PM
📍3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Brookgreen Gardens' Nights of a Thousand Candles - Murrells Inlet
Worth. The. Trip! Take a less than two hour drive to see what Travel + Leisure Magazine names the "Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina". Starting on Thursday, December 5th, Brookgreen Gardens comes alive when it is glowing with almost 3,000 hand-lit candles and other twinkling lights. Take a stroll around the gardens, sip on hot cider, and listen to holiday music and carolers while taking in the beauty of Nights of a Thousand Candles.
⏰ Thursdays - Sundays from December 5, 2019 to December 21, 2019, 3:00PM - 10:00PM
📍1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Lights on Taggert - Goose Creek
Lights on Taggert will be returning for a fifth year starting the day after Thanksgiving. Enjoy this Goose Creek home that will display a light show that corresponds with different holiday songs on a select radio station. There will even be one night, Sunday, December 5th, that Santa Claus will make a visit!
⏰ Friday, November 29, 2019 to Wednesday, January 1, 2020, Thursdays + Sundays 6:00PM - 9:00PM, Fridays + Saturdays 6:00PM - 10:00PM
📍 311 Taggert Cir, Goose Creek, SC 29445
Riverbanks Zoo Lights Before Christmas - Columbia
Experience the holiday tradition of Lights Before Christmas at the Riverbanks Zoo starting on Saturday, November 23rd! There are almost one million glittering lights, numerous decorative images, an animated story tree, visits with Santa, a bonfire, and Holly Jolly Christmas Parade on the weekends. Enjoy these spectacular holiday lights, and maybe some of the animals will come out for a surprise appearance!
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
⏰ Wednesday through Sunday nights in November + December, 5:00PM - 9:00PM
📍 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens December Nights and Holiday Lights - Savannah
There will be over one million lights on display at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah starting on Friday, November 22nd! This self-guided walking tour spans across six acres of themed garden areas. Holiday music will be playing throughout the garden to really get you in the Christmas spirit. The entire family will enjoy this light display!
📍 2 Canebrake Road, Savannah GA 31419
Christmas Town, USA - McAddenville, North Carolina
You will have to make a weekend out of visiting these Christmas lights, but there's no better place to get in the Christmas spirit than in Christmas Town, USA. It's located outside of Charlotte, so it is a little less than a four hour drive. On Monday, December 2nd, McAddenville, North Carolina will be transformed into a winter wonderland. The Christmas tradition has been around for over six decades, and approximately 600,000 people visit each year. There are over 375 trees and every house in the community is lit with extraordinary displays and decor. This little town knows how to do Christmas.
And, your chances of seeing snow are a little bit better here.
⏰ Starts Monday, December 2, 2019, 5:00PM
📍 McAddenville, NC 28101
We love to decorate for the holidays in the Lowcountry! So many neighborhoods are lit with colorful lights, twinkling lights, and candles. Load the family in the car, fix a cup of hot chocolate, and just drive around enjoying each other's company. You never know what you may discover. Here are some neighborhoods that have a reputation of having the best decorated homes + businesses:
- Simmons Avenue, Summerville
- Ashborough East
- Dominion Hill, Hanahan
- Camp Road, James Island
- Park Circle, North Charleston
📷 Photo: Getty Images