Dec 15 2015

The James Island Festival of Lights

While it’s a safe bet that South Carolina can’t offer a white Christmas, Charleston can provide everyone with a chance to visit a Winter Wonderland.

The James Island Festival of Lights, which is an annual holiday festival hosted by the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, transforms the James Island County Park into a magical holiday experience for all.

With millions of lights, hundreds of displays, food, and entertainment, this holiday extravaganza offers something for everybody.

Thousands of families come out each year to drive through the park to witness the lights. But unlike other light displays, at the James Island Festival of Lights, you can park your car and enjoy the entirety of the park on foot or by train.

What’s great about walking through the park is that it adds to the feeling of walking through an enchanted holiday village. The train also provides an up-close look at the lights and is great for those with small children.

In addition to the light displays, the festival includes a Victorian carousel, sand sculptures, hand-made giant greeting cards, and gingerbread houses. You can also visit a candy store onsite and gift shops full of holiday swag and Charleston-themed items.

To really immerse yourself in the joys of the holiday season, gather around the fire to roast marshmallows. Even if it’s not cold enough for a fire, the winter wonderland setting will make it feel just like visiting the North Pole.

The James Island County Park is located at 871 Riverland Drive in Charleston. It’s about an hour’s drive from the island. The Holiday Festival of Lights is open every evening now through January 3. Admission for vehicles with 1-15 guests is $15 per vehicle.

For a lower admission rate, bring a donation of a canned food item or dog/cat food, which benefits the Lowcountry Food Bank, and receive $5 off.

For more information about the festival, contact the park at 843-795-4386 or visit



Bob Hart Author

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