Guide to Holiday Lights in South Carolina


Few things signal the kick off the holiday season more than lights going up. It’s a wonderful time of year already, but something about lights sparkling throughout the season makes this time of year feel magical. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to see these lights in Columbia, and all over the state. Check out some of the best of the best South Carolina has to offer! A great social distance activity!

27th Annual Anderson Christmas Lights

150 Rose Valley Blvd, Anderson, SC 29621

Imagine a place filled with snowflakes, toys, reindeer and even old St. Nick himself. Nope, it’s not the North Pole; it’s “The Anderson Christmas Lights.” Over 292 displays, 2.5 miles of roads lights, 3.5 plus, million light bulbs, 14 – 200 amp power meters and 4 – 400 amp power meters, miles and miles of extension cords

  • Thanksgiving-Christmas Day
  • $10 per car
  • Gates open at 5:30 p.m. daily
  • Proceeds benefit local charities
  • Driving tour and holiday activities

Celebrate The Season Holiday Driving Tour at Santee Cooper

Celebrate The Season is an annual charitable holiday event, powered by Berkeley Electric Cooperative, organized by Santee Cooper, Old Santee Canal Park and the Town of Moncks Corner, that honors the communities of the Lowcountry and Santee Cooper Country with a month-long holiday celebration. Enjoy the Holiday Lights Driving Tour with dozens of brilliantly lit displays and thousands of twinkling lights, supported by local businesses and organizations.

  • Nov. 27 – Dec. 30, 2019 (closed Dec. 24 – 25)
  • $5 per car
  • 6 – 9 p.m.
  • All gate proceeds benefit charities serving Berkeley County
  • Driving tour

Christmas in Hopelands

 135 Dupree Place, Aiken, SC 29803 (but you must take a free shuttle from Citizens Park at 1060 Banks Mill Road)

The 29th Annual Christmas in Hopelands takes place in Hopelands Gardens. This enchanting walk-through exhibit features over two miles of lighted pathways and holiday displays. Over 100,000 twinkling lights are a must-see this holiday season.

While Christmas in Hopelands is a free event, donations are accepted and are used to help support the growth of the program. Donation boxes are located at each entrance.

Parking is available on-site and at the Green Boundary Club.

  • Dec. 1 – 23 & 26-27, 2019
  • Free but donations are welcome
  • 6 – 9:00 p.m.
  • Smores available for $5
  • Walking Tour- Dress for the weather!

Harbour Town Lights in The Sea Pines Resort

32 Greenwood Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Enjoy the lights! Stroll along the harbour and enjoy the illuminated seasonal figures, with the centerpiece of the display being a towering Christmas tree. Harbour Town is the perfect place to be this holiday season!

  • Nov. 27, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2021
  • Free but donations accepted to benefit local charities
  • 5 p.m. – midnight
  • Walking tour

Holiday Lights Safari

2325 Hampton Road, Wellford, SC 29385

For 30 years and counting, the preserve has hosted the Holiday Lights Safari Benefit. This family-oriented event will, once again, offer an unforgettable opportunity for children and adults alike to share and embrace the Christmas spirit. Numerous new displays, music, religious, and secular themes, programmable lighting and new, featured exhibits will blanket the hundred-acre park.

Proceeds from this event directly benefit the hundreds of animals that reside at Hollywild Animal Preserve, a 501 (c) 3 not for profit organization since 1999.

Admission: $7 per person for the drive-through. Admission to the Enchanted Deer Forest is optional with an additional charge of $10 per vehicle, which includes a bag of animal food.

  • Nov. 20, 2020 – Jan. 2, 2021 (closed certain days so check website ahead of time)
  • $7 Adults & Children General Admission
  • Free Children under 24 months
  • 6 – 9 p.m. (10p.m. on weekends)
  • Driving tour 

Fantasy of Lights at Swan Lake Gardens

822 W. Liberty Street, Sumter, SC 29150

South Carolina’s largest FREE Christmas light display!

Holiday cheer arrives in Sumter with the opening of the annual Swan Lake Fantasy of Lights. For the entire month of December, the gardens come alive with a display of twinkling holiday imagery created by more than one million lights. The Pilot Club’s floating Christmas tree is an annual favorite,  angels and characters of song and story.

This event is designed to be a drive through, but visitors are allowed to park to take pictures with the lights. Access into the walking trails is closed after dusk. Lights are all along the main parking lot area to Swan Lake Iris Gardens, along Liberty Street and along Garden Street (enter at Liberty Street and exit onto Oakland Avenue).

  • Dec. 1 – 31, 2020
  • Free
  • 6 – 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Fri/Sat)
  • Driving tour

Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park

871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC 29412

Let your heart be light at the Holiday Festival of Lights, a beloved Lowcountry tradition. This is a unique year, and we are creating a special experience from the comfort of your own vehicle. During your driving tour through millions of twinkling lights, we will have magical surprises along the way!

Festival visitors will not be allowed to leave their vehicles, except to use the designated restrooms. Concessions will be available to purchase from your vehicle, but “tailgating” will not be allowed anywhere in the park.

  • Nov. 13 – Dec. 31, 2020
  • $20 for vehicles holding up to 15 people, $50 for 16 – 30 people, $150 for more than 30 people
  • Nightly 5:30 – 10 p.m.
  • Driving tour 

Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park

East entrance at 6071 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC 29210

Experience the magic as Saluda Shoals Park comes alive in a blaze of more than a million sparkling lights. Journey through more than two miles of lights featuring over 400 colorful, animated light displays of all shapes and sizes! Create lasting family memories this year at Holiday Lights on the River.

  • Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, 2020
  • $20 for cars, $40 for vans, $60 for buses
  • 6 – 10 p.m.
  • Driving tour only

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens

500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210

Experience Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition—the 30th annual Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. The Zoo will illuminate at 5 p.m. each select evening with nearly one million twinkling lights and countless animated images. Guests are invited to meander through the park while soaking in the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Plus, Riverbanks is the only place in town where it snows every night. 

*Timed tickets required. 

  • Nov. 21 – Dec. 30, 2020 (select days)
  • $10 Children (ages 2-12 years), $12 Adults, younger than 2 free (all Riverbanks members receive one free visit with a valid membership)
  • Concessions available at an additional fee
  • 5 – 9 p.m.
  • Walking tour

Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens

1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Experience one of the most beloved holiday events in the Southeast, Nights of a Thousand Candles. See Brookgreen Gardens come to life amid the soft glow of more than 2,700 hand-lit candles and millions of sparkling lights. Walk the paths with a warm cup of cider, hear the sounds of holiday music, carolers singing, and celebrate the season with family and friends!

Named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by Travel+Leisure Magazine. Winner of the Charles A. Bundy award for excellence in tourism from South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism.

We are making some adjustments for COVID-19 safety and will not have our large entertainment tents or large food tent this year. Food trucks for take-away meals and snacks will be available, as well as a ticket price that includes a seated meal option. Harvest Restaurant will also be open and taking reservations.

  • Nov 27- Dec 23, 2020 (Wed-Sun only)I Dec 26- 31, 2020
  • Member adult tickets are $20 and member child tickets (ages 4-12) are $12
  • General Public adult tickets are $25 and child tickets are $15
  • Special rates for groups of 15 or more arriving together
  • Advance tickets only and the number of tickets sold each night will be limited
  • You will need to select a specific date when you purchase tickets
  • 4 – 9 p.m.
  • Walking tour

Carolina Lights

1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201

The South Carolina State Fair will usher in the holiday season with its 2nd annual drive-through light show. The drive-through light experience will feature more than 100 individual LED light displays along a mile-plus stretch in the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park in the South Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Patrons will enter at Gate 6 on George Rogers Blvd.

  • Dec.  5 – 27, 2019 (closed Christmas Day)
  • Cars – $20, Mini Buses (9-24 passengers) – $35, Vehicles over 25 passengers – $70
  • Monday – Thursday, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Friday – Sunday, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Driving tour

Neighborhood Lights to Visit In and Around Columbia

In Lexington

  • Mallard Lake Drive
  • Liberty Farm Blvd (The Farm Subdivision)
  • Torrey Glen Drive (Martin’s Grove Subdivision)
  • River Birch Drive (Westbrook Subdivision)
  • Dupre Mill Road (Parkside Subdivision)
  • Mill Wheel Drive (Millstream Crossing Subdivision)
  • Crepe Myrtle Circle
  • Hope Ferry Road
  • Saluda River Club
  • Palmetto Hall

In Columbia and the Northeast

  • Long Creek Plantation
  • Lake Carolina
  • North Springs Subdivision

West Columbia

  • Brookdale Subdivision
  • Hamlet West Subdivision

Where is your favorite light display?

Previous articleWhere to See Santa Around Columbia
Next articleThe Thankful Jar
Lisa is a transplant from the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas (yes, she has seen a tornado) and spent a few years in Ohio before moving to South Carolina in 2014. She holds a degree in Biology and works as a research assistant at the USC School of Medicine. Her career in science spans 11 years and she can't imagine a job anywhere else. She has also been married to her college sweetheart for 11 years. He is a professor at USC, so they are Gamecock fans by default. They are proud parents to a spunky 2.5 year old girl who keeps them on their toes. As a family, they enjoy being outside in the wonderful southern sun, gardening, playing tennis, and going to the beach. They also are parents to 2 fur babies who still aren't sure about their little sister.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here