Holiday Time

Only in the South: Celebrate the Arrival of 2020 with Unique New Year's Eve Drops (December 2019)

Log on to Cyber Monday Deals (December 2019)

Southern Hospitality Traveler's Favorite Things About October (October 2019)

Honor the Red, White and Blue in the South with Independence Day Celebrations (July 2019)

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Celebrating Mardi Gras 2019 (February 2019)

Pickle, Pelican or Peach: The Many Unique Ways the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2018)

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with the 29th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest (November 2018)

17 Celebrations Honoring the Red, White and Blue (June 2018)

Celebrate Mom this Mother's Day with Getaways and Experiences (May 2018)

"Throw me Somethin' Mister!" Celebrating Mardi Gras 2018 (January 2018)

Beach Ball, Fleur-De-Lis, MoonPie: Unique New Year's Eve Drops in the South (December 2017)

25 Festive Events to Keep that Holiday Feeling Through the New Year (December 2017)

Awe-Inspiring Gingerbread Displays at Various Hotels and Resorts Around the South (December 2017)

Fun and Fireworks: 14 Events Celebrating Independence Day (June 2017)

Celebrate 2017 Mardi Gras in the South (February 2017)

Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays (December 2016)

30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South (December 2016)

Five Ways to Experience the Holidays "Louisiana-Style" (December 2016)

"Brighten Up" Your Holidays with These Holiday Light Displays (November 2016)

Red, White, Blue and You: Fourth of July Celebrations in the South (July 2016)

Drops, Celebrations and More: Memorable Ways to Welcome in 2016 (December 2015)

Spark Your Holiday Spirit with the Many Events Happening Around the South (December 2015)

Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season (December 2015)

So Many Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Season in the South (November 2015)

14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now (November 2015)

Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights (November 2015)

New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese (April 2015)

Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels (January 2015)

Move Over Ball Drop - This is How the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2014)

Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South (December 2014)

Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

Creating the Perfect Cheeseburger with Crawford Ker on National Cheeseburger Day (September 2014)

Celebrate National Martini Day with these Recipes (June 2014)

It's Great to be King...Celebrating Mardi Season with King Cake Creations (February 2014)

Celebrate Your Valentine with a Getaway (February 2014)

A MoonPie, Pickle, Red Stick and More...Welcoming in the New Year in the South (December 2013)

Celebrate the Holidays with a New Orleans' Reveillon Dinner (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide...Packages and Escapes (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Made in the South (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences in the South (December 2013)

End Your Holiday Meal on a Sweet Note courtesy of Chef Sara Thomas (November 2013)

From Their Table to Yours: Holiday Recipes from The Carolina Inn (November 2013)

Firing Up the Grill: Tips and Recipes for a Successful and Tasty Grilling Season (May 2013)

Breakfast for Mom, Southern-Style (May 2013)

Mom-Worthy Hotels in the South (May 2013)

Talkin' Mardi Gras, Shreveport, La. Style (February 2013)

Southern Style: 13 Things You Must Do in 2013 (January 2013)

Holiday Joy: Tips for Creating the Perfect Gingerbread House (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience (December 2012)

8 Reasons to Visit Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights this Season (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Chef's Table at Emeril's Delmonico (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Simply Ballastone Cookbook (November 2012)

Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations (May 2012)

Seeing Various Shades of Green: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the South (March 2012)

It’s Mardi Gras Time in the South (February 2012)

Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday in the South (January 2012)

A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Opryland (November 2011)

Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

Celebrating Milestones in the South (August 2010)

5 Activities that Add a "Sizzle" to Your Summer Vacation (June 2010)

Forget Gifts, Give Experiences This Mother’s Day (April 2010)

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)

Published: November 2015
14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now  


Who says you have to wait until after Thanksgiving to enjoy holiday lights? If you are already in the holiday mood or want to get into the holiday mood, check out these 14 displays around the South.

1. The Lights of the Ozarks features over 400,000 twinkling lights illuminating the Downtown Square in Fayetteville, Ark. Enjoy the festive holiday music as you walk or drive through the lights. Amp up the overall experience with a carriage ride.

2. Take in the over million lights and 100 animated light displays along the mile-long trail at the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. Afterward sip on some hot chocolate before lacing up your skates to go ice-skating on the outdoor rink, or sliding down 100-foot long Arctic Slide. Don't forget about the other holiday happenings at Moody Gardens like the Ice Land Ice Sculptures.

3. There are a few upcoming walking nights for the Galaxy of Lights  in Huntsville, Ala. Enjoy the animated light displays, icicle forest and much more. Bring your four-legged buddy for holiday fun on November 23.

Winterfest Lights4. Tune in on the radio and watch the lights dance in synchronization with music as you drive through Shadrack's Christmas Wonderful at Smokies Stadium  in Sevierville, Tenn. In its seventh year, the experience has added two “walls of lights” that each span 220 feet that guests drive between, and a half-mile of displays featuring some favorite childhood tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack -be-Nimble and others. Finish up the visit with a stop at Santa's Village.

5. For 21 years, Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City in Chattanooga, Tenn., has been entertaining visitors of all ages. Follow the trail to see over 30 holiday scenes. You never know who you might run into, either. Be on the look out for such characters as Frosty the Snowman, Rocky the Elf and more. Check out all the other activities as well, like the nightly entertainment and Holiday Marketplace vendors.

6. The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Powered by TVA at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., is recognized as the largest holiday light show of its kind in the South. It features four miles of two million glowing lights. Over 200 displays decorate the route. Experience the lights in a new way this year with either the BMS Express (Tuesdays) or the Speedway Sleigh Train Ride (Wednesdays and Thursdays). Don't forget about their ice skating rink.

7. Lights, lights and even more lights - over 5 million through a 100-acre forest- await you at the Lights of the South in Grovetown, Ga. Walk or take a hay ride to view the many displays. End the visit by roasting marshmallows over the open fire, or exploring the lighted Christmas Tree Maze.

8. Eight million lights sparkle and glow during Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. Recognized as one of the world's "Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights" by National Geographic Traveler, it features 15 scenes that include Christmas Tree Lane and the Enchanted Rainbow Forest. Get out of your car and take the Jolly Trolley. Don't forget to stop in the Christmas Village for some shopping and treats.

9. St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, glows warmly from the ground to the rooftopsLightner NOL with over three million tiny white lights during the 22nd annual Nights of Lights. The lights trace its origins from the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, reflecting a part of the city’s 450-year history. There are many ways you can take in the lights. You can go on foot, by bicycle or pedicab. For something a little different, take the Old Town Trolley or the Ripley’s Red Train, or go by horse and carriage. Be sure to check out the all of the holiday events going on as well.

10. Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C. shines brightly during Lights Before Christmas. Recognized as the city's longest-running tradition, it features around a million twinkling lights and over 300 animated displays along the paths. Warm up at the Jingle Bell Bonfire while roasting marshmallows or drinking hot cocoa.

11. Said to be the "largest and oldest Christmas attraction in East North Carolina," Meadow Lights in Benson includes 30-acres of sparkling lights and various displays, with new ones added every year. There are train rides for children of all ages, a carousel and the Old Country Store featuring over 300 varieties of old-fashion candy and more.

12. It's one thing to view holiday lights in general; it's another thing to view them underground. Lights Under Louisville transforms Mega Caverns into holiday fun with over 2,000,000 lights and over 850 lit character displays. And the best part is you get to drive your car into the caverns and explore the 17 miles of underground passageways decked out for the season.

13. Enjoy the "Fanta-Sea" of lights along the Virginia Beach (Va.) Boardwalk during McDonald's Holiday Light at the Beach. The colorful light displays include dolphins, porpoises and much more. There is even a rather large "12 Days of Christmas" display. End the journey with a stop in the newly added Santa's Seaside Village.

Pt__Pleasant2_3456x2304_72_RGB14. Celebrating its 14th year is the drive-through Christmas Fantasy Light Show at Krodel Park in Point Pleasant, WVa. Nearly 150 pieces are placed throughout the park and around the lake. Displays include drummers, angels and even the Mothman. Some are animated this year.


photo credits: (top) Lights of the South, personal collection; (left) courtesy of Sevierville Chamber of Commerce; (middle right) Lightner Museum, courtesy of St. Augustine Ponte Vedra and The Beaches VCB; (bottom left) courtesy of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia/West Virginia Tourism