20 Best drive-through Christmas Light Shows in the US

20 Best drive-through Christmas Light Shows in the US
20 Best drive-through Christmas Light Shows in the US

Nothing says Christmas better than thousands of twinkling lights. Across the United States, you’ll find glittering, glowing, gorgeous drive-thru holiday light displays for the whole family to enjoy. 

In the last decade, drive-thru holiday light extravaganzas have grown in popularity across the country. From Florida to Hawaii, these light shows come with miles of festive lights, visits with Santa, and more – all from the comfort of the family car!

1. Holiday Light Fantasia

Location: Hartford, CT

Booking.com

Dates: Thanksgiving Night – January 2, 2022

Enjoy two miles of holiday-themed animations and light displays in the beauty of Goodwin Park. Over one million lights glitter on this spirited drive. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, and Three Kings Day all get their share of the show.

The Holiday Light Fantasia benefits Channel 3 Kids Camp, a program that provides camping opportunities to underprivileged and special needs children. Every car that drives through the holiday lights contributes to this beautiful cause.

2. Fantasy of Lights

Location: New Haven, CT

Dates: November 18 – December 31, 2021

For 27 years, Goodwill of Southern New England has hosted this dazzling array of Christmas-themed displays. All proceeds help fund their mission in the community to provide opportunities for individuals with special needs.

Drive to the joyful sounds of Christmas tunes and enjoy a drive through Lighthouse Pointe Park. Sixty animated displays depict classic holiday scenes. Attendees can purchase 3-D glasses to enhance their experience!

3. Lights of Joy

Location: Branson. MO

Dates: November 1, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Explore over a mile of vibrant LED lights that bring a new meaning to the spirit of the season! Overnight, Branson becomes home to one and a half miles of Christmas cheer, including displays of a Christmas Safari, the Twelve Days of Christmas, and more!

After touring the twinkling lights, kids can visit with the Big Red Elf himself. Finally, guests can wind down with a cup of cocoa before the night is through! Donations at this event help support KLife, an interdenominational Christian ministry for kids.

4. James Island Holiday Festival of Lights

Location: Charleston, SC

Dates: November 12-December 31, 2021

Mark the calendar to visit Santa’s Village this year at James Island! A veritable Winter Wonderland full of elves, sparkling lights, and delicious treats make this holiday light show one to remember. 

Guests have the option to walk the grounds or drive through the lights for a socially distanced evening of holiday cheer. Take the kids for a spin on the Christmas carousel or enjoy a visit with Santa before turning in for the evening.

5. Winterfest Driving Tour

Location: Pigeon Forge, TN

Dates: November 13, 2021 – February 14, 2022

Spend the holidays in the beauty of the Smokies, surrounded by Christmas lights! More than five million lights decorate Pigeon Forge to celebrate the season of giving. Guests see giant ornaments, forest critters, and more on their drive.

Want more Christmas fun? Visit Dollywood, decked out for Yuletide, while you’re at it! Holiday shows, delicious food, and visits with Santa abound within the theme park’s grounds.

6. The Mission Inn Festival of Lights/Candy Cane Lane 

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Dates: November 26, 2021 – January 6, 2022

Celebrate the holiday season in balmy Los Angeles! When December rolls around, the historic Mission Inn decks itself out in glittering lights. Voted one of America’s “Best Public Lights Display” by USA Today, this light show isn’t one to miss.

After touring the inn, take a drive down Candy Cane Lane. Residents of Lubao & Oxnard Streets in Woodland Hills put together a community light show that brightens the wintery nights. This community show provides free holiday entertainment to the community.

7. Jolly Holiday Lights

Location: Altoona, IA

Dates: November 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Celebrate the holidays while benefiting a fantastic cause at the Jolly Holiday Lights. Held in Adventureland Park, this Altoona favorite has made thousands of wishes come true for the Make A Wish children of Iowa.

The Jolly Holiday Lights features a Santa’s Village, complete with visits with Santa, snacks, and gifts to round out the evening.

8. Holiday Trail of Lights/Natchitoches

Location: Natchitoches, LA area

Dates: November 20 – December 25, 2021

Natchitoches gives “ lighting up the holidays “ a new meaning. Named a Best Holiday Light Show and ranking just behind Rockefeller and Disneyland, Natchitoches enjoy over 100 lighted displays along the Cane River.

Follow the Holiday Trail of Lights, a gorgeous display of holiday cheer spread out between Natchitoches, Shreveport, Minden, and other neighboring towns. Then, end your evening back in Natchitoches and enjoy a cup of cider on Cane River Lake.

9. Lights on the Lake

Location: Liverpool, NY

Dates: November 15, 2021 – January 14, 2022

Discover the Land of Oz, a fantasy forest, and beloved holiday scenes along Onondaga Lake. Two miles of glowing lights provide a whimsical Christmas experience for the whole family.

The kids will love coloring the free Lights on the Lake coloring pages as you drive through the shimmering splendor of the show. Also, don’t forget to tune in to the local radio station for holiday music!

10. Southern Lights

Location: Lexington, KY

Dates: November 26 – December 31, 2021

Celebrate Christmas in Bluegrass country! In the Kentucky Horse Park (home to the US Equestrian Olympic team,) visitors can enjoy scenes of traditional Nativity, Christmas, and holiday displays.

After the drive, take a stroll through the scenic greens of the park and visit Santa and his elves. Or, stop by Animal Land to meet a baby camel, sheep, donkeys, and more friendly animals.

11. Lights UNDER Louisville

Location: Louisville, KY

Dates: November 12, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Put a new spin on Christmas lights this year and go underground! In Louisville, KY, the Mega Cavern gets decked out with over four million points of light. This show is the only underground driving Christmas display in the world!

Guests will see over nine hundred lit characters along the thirty-minute route beneath Louisville. The underground show offers the option of using your personal vehicle or taking a ride on the Christmas Express trailer.

12. The Lights of Christmas

Location: Stanwood, WA

Dates: November 26-28, December 1-5, 8-12, 15-23, 26-30, and January 2-8, 2022

Enjoy a pleasant drive through a bedazzling display of a million Christmas lights against the backdrop of pine trees. While driving through The Lights of Christmas, children and parents will love the larger-than-life scenes of the holidays.

The thirty-minute drive includes a visit with Santa and Mrs. Clause. The festival has an app for the kids providing games and a digital mailbox for Santa Letters. Tune in to the show’s radio station for music and commentary by festival mascot Bruce the Spruce.

13. Gardens Aglow

Location: Boothbay, ME

Dates: November 20, 2021 – January 1, 2022

Discover the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens dressed up for Christmas. For the seventh year in a row, the Botanical Gardens will provide gorgeous displays of technicolor lights to ring in the holidays.

After exploring the gardens, tour the Lighting Contest homes around the city. Then, vote for your favorite homes with their text platform.

14. Christmas Town, USA

Location: McAdenville, NC

Dates: December 1-26, 2021

You can’t go wrong visiting a place called Christmas Town, USA, during December. When December 1 rolls around, McAdenville unwraps their Christmas spirit and transforms their city into Christmas Town. 

Explore over 100 homes covered in Christmas lights, seasonal music from the historic McAden Mills Bell Tower, and 250 evergreen trees decorated with twinkling bulbs. Finally, take a walk through Christmas Town to end your evening!

15. Santa Claus Land of Lights

Location: Santa Claus, IN

Dates: November 25 – December 27, 2021 (Closed on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day)

Christmas lasts year-round in Santa Claus, IN. But every December, they create one of the longest light shows in America. For over one mile, the Santa Claus Land of Lights includes storyboards and LED lights detailing the story of Rudolph.

Tune in to the Tri-State’s Christmas Music Station and enjoy the twinkling lights reflecting off the waters of Lake Rudolph. So bring your cocoa and settle in for a bright evening! Consider staying in one of the cabins around the lake to end the night.

16. Santa’s Ranch

Location: New Braunfels, TX

Dates: November 5, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Since 2003, Santa’s Ranch has provided holiday fun on their winding Christmas light drive for the whole family. Just look for the 50’ Christmas Tree to get started. Rain or shine, these lights will shine.

On your drive, enjoy 1.5 million custom-made lights depicting gingerbread houses, scenes from the Nativity and the North Pole, and more. On your drive, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or kettle corn, courtesy of the concession stands.

17. Joy of Christmas Light Display

Location: Columbiana, OH

Dates: November 18-21 – December 26, 2021

Get your fill of holiday scenes and Christmas cheer at the Joy of Christmas Light Display in Columbiana’s Firestone Park. Over eighty holiday-inspired sets and a million lights make up this glittering display of lights.

After your drive, visit Santa’s Ice Castle for photos and cocoa. Or, stop by the Gingerbread House to meet Mrs. Clause and enjoy a cookie or two. For more fun, check out the hayrides and other nearby events that occur in the city during December, too.

18. Hershey Sweet Lights and Candy Cane Lane

Location: Hershey, PA

Dates: November 12, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Chocolate fans and Christmas lovers alike, rejoice! The Hershey, PA – home of the chocolate adventure that is Hersheypark- also hosts Hershey Sweet Lights during the holiday season. 

At Sweet Lights, beautiful displays depicting Christmas scenes, wintery delights, enchanted forests, and stories come to life a few miles away from Hersheypark. So sync your radio and put on complementary Holospec glasses, and enjoy the show!

While you’re in town, check out Candy Cane Lane at Hersheypark. Over five million lights celebrate the season, along with a Kissmas Tree, visits with Santa and real reindeer, and plenty of rides and fun for all.

19. Rocket City Christmas Light Show

Location: Madison, AL

Dates: November 12, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Baseball and Christmas lights come together in a fabulous celebration of the holidays at Toyota Field in Madison, Alabama. Visit the home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas aglow with over a mile and a half of shimmering Christmas lights.

The whole family will love driving down Toyota Field’s Safari-Christmas-themed show. Lights dance, synchronized with Christmas music broadcasted into your vehicle. Eventually, the path leads you to a waiting (and optional) Winter Wonderland.

After the light show, attendees have the option to explore a wintery village full of hot chocolate huts, smores, bonfires, ornament decorating, and more! Don’t forget to visit with Santa and other holiday characters while you’re there.

20. Winter Wonders

Location: Hales Corners, WI

Dates: November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Feast your eyes on the festive lights decorating Boerner Arboretum and Whitnall Park this holiday season. This scenic one-and-a-half-mile drive includes over a million lights highlighting the natural beauty of Whitnall Park.

In addition to beautiful displays, attendees receive a holiday gift bag, and kids can have a drive-by visit with Santa! Additionally, kids receive an email letter from Santa that arrives before Christmas; just sign them up between November 21 and December 23.

BONUS! It’s A Wonderful Light

Location: Aurora, CO

Dates: December 2021

Spread holiday cheer and #SpreadLight on autism by visiting It’s A Wonderful Light in Aurora, CO. This home display features over 55,000 lights. It focuses on bringing awareness of autism and raising funds for The Autism Society of Colorado (ASC).

This home display is a Denver Post Holiday Lights Champion, and 5280 Magazines declared it “One of the Best Home Light Displays in Denver.” Visit and celebrate the season by shining light on a wonderful cause as you enjoy the holidays in the Rockies.

Have A Merry and BRIGHT Holiday Season!

This holiday season, make memories and have a de-LIGHT-ful time exploring one of the many fantastic light shows around the country. Remember to prepare for your drive – pack snacks, holiday music, and plenty of cocoa to enjoy the ride! Happy holidays!

10 Best drive-through Christmas Light Shows in the US

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