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‘Tis the season for Christmas lights

December 15, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

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‘Tis the season for Christmas light displays. Below is a selected list of ten of the best places in the U.S. Sunbelt to see Christmas lights and other seasonal displays. No guarantee, but they’re all worth a look—and don’t forget to pack your digital camera and tripod.

Alabama

Theodore

Bellingrath Gardens

Magic Christmas in Lights

Dates: November 26-December 31, 2010; closed December 25

General information: Stroll through 3 million sparkling lights and over 928 displays throughout the 65-acre Garden estate. The Bellingrath Home is decorated in its holiday finery and poinsettias encompass the Gardens. Nightly choral performances held on the South Terrace.

Admission: Magic Christmas in Lights Only $12.00; Magic Christmas in Lights and Bellingrath Home Tour $20.00; tickets available for purchase online

Directions: Located 20 miles southwest of Mobile; from Interstate 10, take exit 15A (Hwy 90 West/Theodore exit). Travel approximately 2 miles and turn left at the Bellingrath billboard onto Bellingrath Road; 6 miles south on Bellingrath Road and turn left into Bellingrath Gardens.

Arizona

Sedona

Red Rock Fantasy XX

Dates: November 18, 2010-January 1, 2011; Friday and Saturday, 5:00-10:00 p.m.; Sunday-Thursday, 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Admission: $5, seniors $4

Directions: Located Los Abrigados Resort & Spa, 160 N. Portal Lane, Sedona

California

Newport Beach

Multi-million dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes, and other small boats light up the Newport Beach harbor as a dazzling array of holiday lights and music fill the air. Photo courtesy Christmas Boat Parade

102nd Annual Christmas Boat Parade

Dates: December 15-19, 2010

General information: Multi-million dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes, and other small boats light up the harbor as a dazzling array of holiday lights and music fill the air. The Christmas floats wind their way some 14 miles around the harbor to give viewers in restaurants, yacht clubs, on public beaches, and in private homes an incredible sight that has delighted millions of people for a century. The Christmas Boat Parade has been hailed as “one of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation” by the New York Times.

Admission: Free

Directions: 2010 parade route; starts off Bay Island at 6:30 p.m. and ends at the same site at approximately 9:00 p.m.

Palm Desert

The Living Desert

WildLights Holiday Lights Festival

Dates: December 17-23, 2010; December 26, 2010-January12, 2011, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

General information: A festive light display featuring more than 750,000 twinkling lights that turns the desert into a holiday winter wonderland. Special visits from Santa Claus, live music, wood-burning fireplaces, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, s’mores and more!

Directions: Located at 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert

Admission: $8.00; Living Desert members, $6.25; children $5.75

Florida

Melbourne

10th Annual Space Coast Lightfest

Dates: November 23-December 31, 2010; 6:00-9:30 p.m.

General information: A holiday themed drive-through event at Wickham Park featuring shimmering lights and dazzling animated displays.

Directions: Located at Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne

Admission: $10/car

Georgia

Pine Mountain

Callaway Gardens

No gift you receive this year will be more valuable than time spent with family. Build memories as you experience together the magnificent splendor of Fantasy In Lights. Photo courtesy Callaway Gardens

19th annual Fantasy in Lights

Dates: November 19-December 30, 2010 starting 6 p.m.

General information: Nestled amidst wooded landscape of Callaway Gardens, Fantasy in Lights is the Southeast’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show with more than eight million twinkling lights. This spectacular show has attracted almost two million visitors since it opened in 1992.

Directions: Located in Pine Mountain, 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus

Admission: Rates vary with date selected and range from $16.00 to $25.00; advance sales offer a discount over same-day purchases

South Carolina

Charleston

James Island County Park

RV to the Holiday Festival of Lights, James Island County Park, Charleston, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

21st Annual Holiday Festival of Lights

Dates: November 25-December 23, 2010

General information: A 3-mile driving tour through millions of sparkling lights and hundreds of light displays at James Island County Park.

Directions: Located at James Island County Park on Riverland Drive in Charleston

Admission: $10/car

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If you have visited any of the above Christmas light displays or others not listed, please leave your comments below. Your insights may help others have a fantastic holiday experience.

Worth Pondering…
Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.

—Conita Kent

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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

Comments

2 Responses to “‘Tis the season for Christmas lights”
  1. Corey says:

    I have seen the Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach, and it is amazing! If anyone is in the area, it is a must see.

  2. Katie says:

    Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights was named one of the top 48 events in the world by the Chicago Tribune last year! This year, they have added even more lights to make it bigger and better. Pine Mountain, an RVC Outdoor Destination is offering 2 tickets to this in a discounted RV package (it’s three miles from Callaway) and giving 10% of the package proceeds to the Salvation Army.

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