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PSA: it’s officially acceptable to listen to Christmas music! Holiday season is in full swing and that means all things bright and merry. Kick it off right by walking through a Winter Wonderland in South Carolina with these 12 spectacular light displays. They absolutely sleigh!
- Anderson Lights of Hope, Anderson
Surrounded by snowflakes, toys and reindeer you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled right into the North Pole. Head to Santa’s Village or take your car through the illuminating 45 acre, 2.5 mile drive-through to see over a million multi-colored lights. It may be a family tradition, but it will never be the same. Arrangements change each year, this year that means 7 new displays and an upgrade to Santa’s Village. Portions of the proceeds from the $10 admission, will be donated to participating charities such as Cancer Association of Anderson, Habitat for Humanity and Veteran’s Home Rehab.
- Christmas in the Hopeland, Aiken
Every night from 6 to 9:30pm beginning Dec. 15th., Hopelands Gardens will transform with over two miles of 100,000 twinkling lighted pathways, sounds of the holidays and enchanting displays. Until December 23rd, stroll through and enjoy complimentary refreshments while the kiddos get in on some fun holiday activities. Santa or Mrs. Claus usually make an appearance and you know they wouldn’t waste their time if it wasn’t a good one. Plus, the event is free and there’s live entertainment.
- Celebrate the Season Holiday Driving Tour, Moncks Corner
If you’re a holiday-lover who’s also super into the environment, this one’s for you. Not just because of the beautiful outdoor location, but because it uses 100 percent green power and exclusively use energy-efficient LED lights. Until December 23rd, seven days a week, from 6 to 9pm, dozens of spectacular lights displays and a holiday fair will take over Santee Cooper’s headquarters and Old Santee Canal Park. Just $5 gets you children’s rides, a craft fair, food and drinks, and marshmallows roasting on an open fire. The proceeds benefit Berkeley County charities.
- Dove Street Festival of Lights Hilton Head
Come all ye faithful to the Shelter Cove Towne Centre as they flip the light switch on for the self-proclaimed “tastefully tacky” light festival. Starting as just a few strings of lights, this festival has grown into a full on canopy of lights that covers all the shops and restaurants. It may not be Santa Claus Lane, but it sure feels like it. We all know there’s one better way to spread christmas cheer than singing loud for all to hear– donating to those in need. Deep Well Project and Programs for Exceptional People will be accepting any and all cheer visitors have to offer.
- Fantasy of Lights, Sumter
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is home to South Carolina’s largest free Christmas lights display for the holidays. Opening night is December 1st and holiday cheer arrives as over one million lights are illuminated. The entire month, twinkling holiday imagery bring the gardens to life. Drive or wander through all the splendor as you sip hot cocoa. If you’re there on a Friday or Saturday, be sure to pop over to Santa’s Village.
- Festival of Trees, Myrtle Beach
For something a little different, the trees at Ripley’s Aquarium are a unique addition to their regular admission. If you stop in, you’ll find over 100 holiday trees, including 50 decorated to represent the 50 states. So you can look forward to things like a Mardi Gras tree with masks and one that’s Vegas-style with a feather headdress. The South Carolina tree is over 18 feet tall and features seashells, magnolias, golf balls and, of course, tigers and gamecocks. Challenge yourself with the scavenger hunt or take your time and marvel at the detail.
- Holiday Festival of Lights, Charleston
O Holy Night in the Holy City! The lights are brightly shining at James Island County Park, so grab your favorite people, hop in the car, turn on some holiday jams and drive through three miles of enchanting displays. An estimated two million shimmering lights lit up the park on November 9th and will continue to do so until January 1st. If that’s not enough, bundle up and stroll around the park to see interactive lakeside lights, roast marshmallows, ride an antique carousel, and stop by Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and four other gift shops. Check the calendar for entertainment on select evenings.
- Holiday Lights on the River, Columbia
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why – Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s bringing a blaze of more than a million sparkling lights! While Santa hangs out at the Claus’et Gift Shop, journey through more than 400 animated light displays, a train ride, tube slide and a laser light show! Then stop by for marshmallows and photo ops with the jolly man himself.
- Lights Before Christmas, Columbia
Lions and tigers and snow, oh my! At the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, that is. It’s the only place in town where it snows every night, under the glow of nearly one million twinkling lights and countless animated images. Over 30 years strong, this is longest running holiday tradition in the midlands.
- Nights of a Thousand Candles, Murells Inlet
4,500 hand-lit candles sparkle every week of December at Brookgreen Gardens. Meander the paths, warm cups of cider in hand, to celebrate the season with friends and family. Although a little pricier at $20-25, it was named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by Travel + Leisure, so it’s more than worth the visit. Check online for the entertainment schedule.
- Passion of the Lights (formerly Greenville Griswold), Greenville
You don’t have to travel far to get a taste of Christmas Vacation. Greenville Griswold was the family home display of a local lighting enthusiast who has recently moved and expanded to The Edge Community Church. It now includes 900,000 lights, inflatables, and giant trees synchronized to music with 3D viewing on select nights. The best part? It’s free and they collect canned goods to distribute to local shelters. There is no better way to show holiday love than generosity and celebration and there is not better place to do just that!
- Upstate Holiday Light Show, Greenville
It’s beginning to look a lot less like a race track at the Greenville Pickens Speedway, and a lot like Christmas. Set your radio to 104.3 and drive the course to see over 32 million colors jumping and dancing synchronized to holiday classics. It only gets better once you park. There’s ice skating, a pony corral, and a petting zoo.