Destinations abound for quick getaways to see holiday lights

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Gale Horton Gay

With so many concerned about traveling during the pandemic, quick getaways can be an answer to cabin fever induced by COVID-19. And December is an ideal time for daytrips, especially to venues that offer holiday cheer. Venues near and far are offering outdoor holiday experiences that are filled with lights and festive decorations.

Here are some that are likely to brighten the holiday season and imbue uplifted spirits.

Candy Rush
Described as the “world’s largest drive-thru animated light show,” Candy Rush takes place on the grounds of White Water Six Flags in Marietta and features nearly 2 million lights. “A delicious whimsical wonderland that kids’ fantasies are made of – all without the sugar crash,” is the description on the venue’s website. This new attraction features a 500-foot-long light-filled tunnel, sugar plum fairies, a gigantic gingerbread village, animated characters and other holiday features. Open nightly 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 3. Admission $35-$45 plus taxes and fees per vehicle. For more information, go to

Lakeside Lights Spectacular
Head to Buford for the new Lakeside Lights Spectacular, which replaces Magical Nights of Light at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. This is a walk-through event accompanied by festive music and is open through Feb. 21 on select days. It’s described as “ranging from traditional holiday displays to high tech images and Margaritaville themed scenes.” Tickets start at $14.99. For details, go to and search for the event.

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Fantasy In Lights
A year-round attraction, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain puts on quite a show during the holidays. National Geographic named Callaway’s Fantasy In Lights as one of the world’s 10 best light displays. The drive-through experience takes guests through an illuminated forest and includes access to Christmas Village for a Santa encounter, shopping and dining. Guests have the option of riding the Jolly Trolley (masks required) or riding through in their personal vehicle. New this year is Magical Field of Lights, a scene that’s nearly two football fields long with a 10-story tall Christmas tree. Open through Jan. 4. Tickets start at $14.95. Fantasy In Lights overnight stays at Callaway’s Resorts are also available. Go to

Jekyll Island
Head to South Georgia for Holly Jolly Light Tours that run through Jan. 3. The trolley takes guests around Jekyll Island, which has been proclaimed as being home to more than a half million lights. “The whole family can sit back, relax and view the lights from Beach Village to the Historic District. Trolley riders will enjoy festive holiday beverages, music, and a one-of-a-kind tour souvenir,” according to the website. Tickets $12-$22. Visitors also can do their own self tours. Visit for more information.

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights
The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee has been transformed into a holiday light show, with special Christmas music provided by local churches. Mountain Country Christmas in Lights also showcases art and craft vendors, holiday food, hot chocolate, and pictures with Santa. For more information, go to

Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Right in our own backyard is Garden Lights Holiday Lights, which Atlanta Botanical Garden is showcasing for the 10th year. This light and sound attraction features lighted sculptures from the exhibition Alice’s Wonderland Reimagined. Characters Alice, the Red Queen, White Rabbit and Phoenix are part of the show. It also features the “world’s largest choreographed curtain of lights,” according to the garden’s website. Limited capacity and masks are required. The event runs through Jan. 16. Adult tickets start at $24.95. For details, go to

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