While the theme parks are filled with festive fun this holiday season, not everyone can make the journey to these entertainment meccas, so, ITM decided to dig into the snow drifts and find alternative options. We’ve uncovered several spectacular seasonal spots of yuletide family fun for lovers of lights this holiday season.
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
This holiday production is a collection of Christmas lights and music appearing in five different cities across America. With delightful displays in Ashville, NC; Sevierville, TN; Birmingham, AL; Pittsburgh, PA; and Greenville, SC, this is one of the most ambitious holiday happenings in the country.
There are thousands channels simultaneously directing this orchestra of lights. Using the most technologically advanced equipment in the industry, Christmas Wonderland magically expresses what Christmas means to us. Our hope is for this show to spark a smile on your face like it does ours. -Shadrack Christmas Website
Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights (Oglebay WV)
Established in 1985 and achieving the honor of one the nation’s top 10 holiday light displays, this winter festival runs from November 11th through January 1st. Including hay rides, a gingerbread house, train rides, and a festival of trees, the West Virginia wonderland covers over 300 acres and features 80 larger than life displays over the six mile drive. Visit their webpage for details.
With six “Enchanted Realms” (Downtown Yule Town, Yule Town, North Pole Village, Arctic Kingdom, Magic Forest and North Pole Highway) the Enchanted Garden (Lookout Mountain, GA) has been a local holiday tradition for 22 years. Added this year: Create Your Own Holiday Adventure!
Choose a new path or allow tradition to guide the way. Experience the magic of four uniquely themed realms of wonder in the Enchanted Garden of Lights. As you enter the park through our new entrance, next to the Original 1932 Gatehouse and venture down The North Pole Highway, you’ll have the option to visit each of our themed realms of wonder in the order you choose, or experience the magic in the traditional order beginning with the Grand Corridor in Yule Town. –SeeRockCity website for more information about this magical realm.
Nights of Lights St Augustine
The Nation’s oldest city is covered in over two million sparkling white lights from November 19th through January 31st.
During Nights of Lights, businesses downtown stay open later, letting you dine in view of the lights and shop amongst the lit buildings. The trains and trolleys offer special seasonal tours that take you through the best areas of Nights of Lights, and there are also a variety of specialty tours — everything from walking to horse-and-carriage tours, and even tours to see the lights from the water and from the air. Nights of Lights website.
Santa Claus Land of Lights
Known as “the largest Campground Holiday Light Show in North America” is a “Family Christmas Light Adventure” featuring a drive-through Christmas Adventure that tells the tale of Rudolph in LED lights. Located in the Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort in Santa Claus, Indiana, this winter wonder costs $15 per vehicle and includes a photo with Rudolph for each group. Additional details can be found here, on their website.
Austin Trail of Lights
Austin Trail of Lights Website This Texas tradition includes a Ferris Wheel and Carousel and runs from December 10-23. For full details on all of the associated activities with the Yuletide gathering, visit the Trail of Lights website.
What began as a small gathering in 1965 known as the “Yule Fest,” a gift to the city of Austin from Austin Parks and Recreation Department, has now grown to be a community-wide celebration of the unique spirit and people that make Austin the place we love to call home. In the 52 years since the first Yule Log was lit, the Trail of Lights has expanded to more than 40 displays, 2 million lights and holiday activities that create countless memories. Each new display, community performance and lighted tunnel has added a new layer to the holiday tradition and brought us together more as a community. Today, the Trail of Lights is one of the three largest events in Austin.
This is just a small sampling of seasonal selections for holiday light viewing and yuletide fun. We’d love to know some of your holiday traditions and light-seeing locations and invite you to list them in the comments below.