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11/08/2024 to 12/31/2024
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It’s the Lowcountry’s most festive event of the year.

Holiday Festival of Lights

Here’s the perfect way to get in the holiday mood.   Check out more than two million lights, arranged in 750 different themed displays… all shining brightly and awaiting your visit.  It’s perfect for all ages, and is the ultimate in family-friendly fun.

The Holiday Festival of Lights has been a Lowcountry tradition ever since 1990.  2024 will mark the 35th annual installment of the beloved event. 

Over the years, it's raked in the accolades: Coastal Living dubbed it one of the top ten holiday celebrations in the country, USA Today called it one of the 10 Best Holiday Light Shows in America, and the Southeast Tourism Society named it one of the top events in the Southeast.  It lives up to the hype.

The Holiday Festival of Lights takes place at James Island County Park, across the Ashley River in Charleston.  It’s open every evening from Friday, November 11th through New Year’s Eve (aka December 31st), rain or shine. 

The main part of the Festival of Lights involves driving your vehicle through a vast array of traditional holiday scenes, including unique Lowcountry subjects like the old Cooper River Bridges and the “new” Ravenel Bridge, Rainbow Row and a Charleston single house, along with themed areas like Candy Land, Toy Land, Sea Land and Dinosaur Land. 

You can go with a whole bunch of family and friends, as admission is by the carload.  Tickets are sold by vehicle, for up to 15 guests, with online ticket purchasing available.  Regular "Green" nights are $15 advance or $20 at the gate.  Semi-peak "Yellow" nights are $25 advance or $30 at the gate.  Peak "Red" nights are $30 advance or $40 at the gate.  Admission is free with a Charleston County Parks Annual Gold Pass.

Traditionally, there’s been a lot of other things to take in after the drive-through, like: a professionally carved sand sculpture made from 50 tons of sand, depicting a special holiday theme; interactive light displays; visits with the big guy himself, Santa Claus!; Santa’s Village, perfect for some Christmas shopping; Santa’s Sweet Shoppe with delicious holiday treats for sale; hot chocolate and marshmallows you can roast around the fire; the holiday train which you can ride through the woods and along the lighted trails, seeing even more light displays; handmade gingerbread houses on display; giant greeting cards made by local students: and a Victorian carousel.

Insider tip: Be sure to keep an eye peeled for the gigantic live oak tree festooned with lights.  It's kind of hard to miss and is one of the festival's most photographed features.  The gorgeous tree is covered with over 10,000 twinkling white lights, and it takes workers 80 hours to deck it out!

NOTE: Dates and details for 2024 are tentative.  Check back closer to the holidays for the latest info.