Arkansas is LIT!  Let's take a trip through the natural state to find some of this year's brightest and best Holiday Lighting Displays.

I can remember grabbing a thermos of Hot Cocoa and loading up "The Wagon Queen Family Truckster"  and sitting in the very back of the wagon with a blanket and my siblings who mercilessly tortured me while traveling the roads of my home state in Arkansas looking at the Christmas Lights.   We were listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks and John Denver and the Muppets Christmas albums. These are some of the best memories we had as a family and a tradition that I would later share with my kids in Wisconsin.; complete with the festive hunt in freezing temperatures looking for the perfect Christmas Tree and staving off frostbite while my son and I tried to cut down the real tree..  It's much harder than it looks we would soon find out but again those are memories that no one can take from you. Those are the special moments that last a lifetime!  So, take your family on a festive outing this year and take the pictures. 

Winter Garden Festival at Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs (November 18–December 31, 2023)

Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs put on one of the most celebrated annual outdoor light displays in Arkansas. Holiday Lights opens on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Eve. The light extravaganza features over 4.5 million lights in a variety of natural settings.

Our first stop on our Holiday adventure is of course Garvin Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs. I will tell you to get your tickets in advance and get there early so that you can stroll the trail of twinkling lights while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. Be sure to take photos by the enormous 50 foot animated Christmas Tree with synchronized music and lighting while soaking in the ambiance of the season.  It is a walking trail but you can purchase a golf cart rental tour at an additional cost. (This is perfect if you have family members who cannot physically walk the trail)  Be sure to go left and check out the koi pond with the sea serpent! 

Lights of the Ozarks at Fayetteville Downtown Square (November 17, 2023–January 1, 2024)

Our second stop takes us to Northwest Arkansas and the home of the Razorbacks. People gather along the town square to enjoy the lights, carriage rides, and pony rides.  Organizers offer hot chocolate, music, and fun for the kids. The spectacular display of some 400,000 lights illuminates Fayetteville's Downtown Square. The festival also includes a Lighting Night Parade, Santa's mailbox, and food trucks serving festive food and drinks. The Square lights up every night at 5 pm and stays aglow until 1 am, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the dazzling array of colors. The event is free of admission charge. This display is perfect to recreate any Hallmark movie moment! 

Enchanted Land of Lights & Legends at Pine Bluff Regional Park (November 21–December 31, 2023)

For our third stop in our natural state winter wonderland tour we stop off at Pine Bluff for their drive through light display.  Pine Bluff hosts a spectacular Christmas Lights festival at Pine Bluff Regional Park every holiday season. Drive through some 250 animated and still light displays from 6 to 9 p.m. starting from late November through the end of December. Enchanted Land of Lights & Legends is Arkansas’s largest drive-thru holiday lights show: it stretches for about 1.3 mi (2 km) of the winter wonderland. The entrance to the display is located at the intersection of Martha Mitchell Expressway, Convention Center Drive, and Regional Park Drive.  The admission for the drive through light display is fee. 



Sherwood's Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights (December 1–30, 2023)

As we make our way through Central Arkansas, the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, has one of the most impressive light parades in the state. Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights is a drive-thru course at Sherwood Forest with the entrance located near the Sherwood Sports Complex. The display opens on Monday after Thanksgiving and runs through late December. The one-mile Enchanted Forest Trail offers thousands of lights, spectacular displays, and holiday scenes. The trail is open daily from 6 pm to 9:30 pm. There are a couple of things to note and one of them is get in line early and there is usually a line of cars lined up to go through the Enchanted Forest. Secondly, while admission is free; donations are most assuredly welcome! 


If you are looking to recreate that Christmas Village feeling that you only get watching Hallmark Christmas Movies, then these next two are sure to delight you and your little ones. 

Searcy Holiday of Lights: Holidays at Harding (November 27, 2023–January 1, 2024); Living Nativity (December 1–3, 6, 8–10, 2023)

Searcy, Arkansas, is a great place to get into the Christmas spirit. The downtown area is home to the historic White County Courthouse and Rialto Theater, which is adorned with thousands of holiday lights. Stop by Art Alley, the new creative spot downtown, visit the Courthouse Square, a skating rink in Spring Park, displays at Berryhill Park, and the grounds of Harding University. The parks will be illuminated with more than one million cascading lights under a beautiful tree canopy. There is also The Living Nativity at First Assembly of God, held on selected dates.

Saline County Trail of Holiday Lights (See website for Holiday Events and Hours of Operation) 

Santa will be in the Gazebo tonight December 12th, and also on December 13th, 19th & 20th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will be free pictures, hot chocolate and cookies those nights. Santa will be inside the Courthouse on December 12th for all our friends with special needs. We will have "Character Night" on December 13th. You might see Batman, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, or a reindeer running around the Courthouse Square. The lights are on every night during the Christmas season, from sundown until 11:00 p.m. Carriage rides are provided by Hot Springs Carriage Company throughout the season. Check out our website for details!

Magical Lights Adventure (NEW in 2023)

There's a new drive through display this year in Northwest Arkansas called Magical Lights Adventure at the Washington County Fairgrounds.  This newest display boasts over a million lights all synced to your favorite Christmas songs with the list of music not being published it gives hints of the "Surprise Songs" from the Eras Tour. (hmmm, wonder if Christmas Tree Farm is included in the list of songs....needless to say Northwest Arkansas with its drive through tunnel may be in their magical winter wonderland era. 

"A new holiday drive-through, called Magical Lights Adventure, promises to be "the biggest ever in Northwest Arkansas," says co-founder Chris Berryhill, with nearly 1 million lights set to music.

Berryhill adds that "personally, my favorite part is our 300 foot tunnel made of lights. This was custom fabricated locally by our welder, and I have never seen any light tunnel like it. Don't quote me, but this may be the longest light tunnel in any drive-through show in the country! It is epic!"

Berryhill says at 3 to 5 mph the drive-through experience will last 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic. There will also be a food truck and, on selected nights, "we partnered with a helicopter vendor who will be doing Northwest Arkansas Christmas lights tours from the sky. They will circle our show, circle the square and other big areas that are decked out in Christmas lights."


Magical Lights Adventure

WHEN -- Through Jan. 1; hours are 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

WHERE -- Washington County Fairgrounds in Fayetteville

COST -- $30 per vehicle; a $75 season pass is available



Don't forget the Capital in Little Rock to round out your festive holiday car ride this year!  Please take a moment and visit the links below for additional information about these holiday events and here's wishing you a magical holiday season from your friends at Adkins & Associates Real Estate.  Who's ready for a sleigh ride? 


Author: JL Owens 




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