Traveling to Charleston, South Carolina, is a great way to spend the holiday season this year. If you’ve never had a beachside Christmas vacation, you’re missing out. Charleston is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country right now, and during the holidays, this charming coastal city goes all out with decorations and events. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, the Holiday Festival of Lights will be open to visitors and locals. This unique holiday event is one of the best festivities in the country with incredible displays and plenty of family-friendly activities even earning the name one of the Top 20 Best Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.
To learn more about other holiday events in the area, be sure to request your complimentary copy of our Destination Guide. We have carefully compiled our favorite events and festivals along with great places to dine, shop, and explore during your stay. Skip the tourist trap-like activities and experience the real side of Charleston by using our travel guide suggestions.
What to Expect at the Holiday Festival of Lights
The Most Incredible Light Display
You will be amazed at the detail and precision that is clearly evident in every decoration on display at the Festival of Lights. Each year, the festival is set up on the grounds of the James Island County Park. Guests enter through the gate on Riverland Drive before circling around the park’s lake. The entire route will take you through various areas of the park decked out in displays including a rendition of Rainbow Row, the iconic Ravenel Bridge, and various holiday lights like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Halfway through the drive, you’ll have the opportunity to park your car and head into Santa’s Village. Whether you’re bringing the entire family with you or just have the kids in tow, this area if perfect for visitors of all ages. Walk through the gift shop to purchase unique Christmas gifts or new decorations for your house. Then, be sure to grab a sweet treat like a candied apple and a cup of hot chocolate. Roast marshmallows around the fire before a visit with Santa.
Important Event Information
The Holiday Festival of Lights opens on November 15th every year and runs through December 31st. James Island County Park is located less than 15 minutes from downtown Charleston. Sunday through Thursday, you can visit the Festival of Lights from 5:30 pm to 10 pm. On the weekend nights, Friday and Saturday, the event will run from 5:30 pm to 11 pm.
Admission is $20 per vehicle for under 15 people. Any parties of 16 to 40 guests will be charged $40 during the week and $50 on the weekend. If you’re planning to bring a very large group of more than 31 guests, the price will be $100 during the week and $150 on weekends.
Spend Your Getaway at the Hotel Bella Grace
Hotel Bella Grace in downtown Charleston is the perfect place to rest your head at night. You’ll be near everything that the city has to offer from historic sites to restaurants and bars. If you’re spending a night at the Festival of Lights, you’ll have a short drive from our hotel to the county park. During your stay, you’ll have access to some of the most luxurious amenities with kitchenettes in every room, complimentary full breakfast each morning, and an on-site fitness club.