Pack the car with family, friends, snacks, maybe an overnight bag, and tune into your favorite Christmas music station for a de-LIGHT-ful road trip. A visit to these sites, some of the biggest and brightest holiday light displays within a few hours, surely will get you in the Christmas spirit.
Christmas at The Rock Ranch
Various dates through Dec. 25. Drive through the mile-long display of thousands of lights, all strung by volunteers and ranch hands of the property. Bring the family by Truett’s Barn for hot cocoa and apple cider, soups and other treats. On select days, families can dine with Santa and pose for a keepsake. 5020 Barnesville Highway, The Rock. 706-647-6374. Therockranch.com.
December Nights & Holiday Lights at
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens
Through Dec. 23. Savannah’s jewel of a Christmas returns with more than 1 million sparkling lights. This walking tour allows you to stroll leisurely through illuminated garden areas. Visit with Santa Claus and the Coastal Rail Buff’s miniature train display, and stop at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen for a hot beverage and baked goodies. 2 Canebrake Road, Savannah. 912-921-5460. www.coastalgeorgiabg.org.
Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City Gardens
Through Dec. 31. Holiday scenes include more than 1 million lights. Stop in the pavilion for nightly entertainment, gingerbread cookie decorating and to warm up by the fire. Special VIP tickets are available for dinner with Santa and early garden entrance. 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, TN. 706-820-2531. www.seerockcity.com.
Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
Through Jan. 5. Bundle up for a Jolly Trolley ride, or drive your own car through more than 8 million lights. Named one of the top 10 places to see holiday lights by National Geographic Traveler, Callaway Gardens glistens with custom-built scenes. Inside the Christmas Village, shop for gifts from Georgia crafters and specialty treats. 17800 U.S. Highway 27, Pine Mountain. 706-663-2281. www.callawaygardens.com.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
Open through Jan. 6. Orchestral Orbs glow harmoniously with holiday tunes. A Tunnel of Light from the radiant Ice Goddess to the Glittering Galaxy embraces visitors in enchanting light. Named one of the top 10 holiday light shows in the country by USA Today. 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859. www.atlantabg.org.
Holiday Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park
Open Dec. 7-23, starting at 6 p.m. Holiday Lights of Hope features a walk-through Christmas light display with more than two million lights. Families can stroll through the mile-long maze, roast s’mores and take pictures with Santa. Tickets are $10 for adults, children age 14 and younger are free. Proceeds benefit the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. Hobgood Park, 6688 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock. www.holidaylightsofhope.com.
Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort
Through Jan. 1. Visitors (including those who are not staying overnight), are welcome to view more than 1 million lights and festive décor in the historic 1800s
manor house ruins, surrounding gardens and English-style village. There is a small fee for the self-guided tour. 597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville. 770-773-7480. www.barnsleyresort.com.
Lights of LIFE on the campus of Life University
Every night, rain or shine, through Dec. 31. Introduced in 1989 as a gift to the local community, this display has grown to be one of the most popular light shows in the Southeast, attracting nearly half a million spectators. Cruise through the spectacularly illuminated campus, stopping along the 1.5-mile drive to enjoy an array of seasonal entertainments. Costs are $5 per car Mondays-Thursdays, $10 per car Fridays-Sundays, as well as Dec. 14-31. The display opens at dark every night and runs until 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. www.life.edu/events/lights-of-life.
Lights for Lupus
The annual Smoot Family Lights for Lupus takes place each night through Dec. 31. The family decorates their home with a variety of lights and fixtures that are synchronized to music, and collects donations for the Lupus Foundation of North Georgia. Jeremy Smoot’s mother, Debbie Founds, passed away from complications of lupus. Lights are on 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The family provides free hot chocolate and cookies every Saturday night. One hundred percent of the donations go to the foundation. 3699 Autumn View Drive, Acworth.
Magical Nights of Lights at Lanier Islands
Through Jan. 6. Drive through larger-than-life holiday light displays while you hear songs of the season on your radio or smartphone. Enhance the experience with the companion app, and be sure to stop at the Holiday Village to visit Santa, shop for gifts, and ride carnival rides. This year, enjoy License to Chill Snow Island at Margaritaville. With one of the fastest snow rides in North America, ice skating, snow play area, fire pits, and s’mores, carnival rides and more, Snow Island is one of the best Southern snow attractions and fun for all ages. 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Gainesville. 770-945-8787. www.lanierislands.com.
Mountain Country Christmas in Lights at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds
Through Dec. 29. A holiday treat for the entire family, where the fairgrounds are transformed into a spectacular and magical holiday light show, with Christmas music, arts and crafts vendors, holiday food, a visit and pictures with Santa, and hot chocolate and s’mores! 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee. 706-896-4191.
Okefenokee Swamp Park Annual Light Show
Through Dec. 30. Bring a blanket and snuggle on the trains as they make their way along a 1.25-mile rail at the show in Waycross, filled with thousands of lights. Walk through the park and enjoy a meal or snacks (including gator tail) at the Peach Pit Snack Shack. www.okeswamp.com.
Pettit Creek Farms Light Show
Display open through Dec. 30. Gates open 6-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Drive through more than one mile of Christmas lights with live reindeer (Comet and Cupid) nightly at the petting zoo. Families can visit with Santa Thursdays-Sundays and the live nativity can be seen on weekends. Hay rides also are available nightly. 337 Cassville Road, Cartersville. 770-386-8688. www.pettitcreekfarms.com.
Stone Mountain Christmas at Stone Mountain Park
Open through Jan. 6. Millions of lights, Christmas shows and Rudolph create a night to remember. Don’t miss an excursion on the Singalong Christmas Train, featuring a satellite message from Santa’s elves and a track-side show about the first Christmas. Experience the new Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony, and end your night with the Snow Angel Snowfall Finale. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690, www.stonemountainpark.com.