Part of the West South Central States, Arkansas boasts small towns tucked away in the Ozarks, as well as breathtaking lake communities perfect for boating and swimming. Little Rock and Fort Smith offer a trendy city vibe without being too overwhelming compared to other big cities. When you stay at one of many Arkansas vacation rentals, you can enjoy easy and convenient access to the state’s most popular Christmas light displays and attractions. During the winter, Arkansas exudes holiday spirit. That said, check out the top cities and towns to admire brightly lit Christmas decorations.
1. Hot Springs
The Christmas spirit takes physical form each year in Hot Springs at the Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens event. Starting in mid-November and lasting until the end of the year, this light show includes more than 4.5 million lights across 17 acres to create animated Christmas scenes. See prancing reindeer, scampering gingerbread men, and Christmas trees with glowing ornaments. The price of admission includes a complimentary cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm on a chilly night. Check the schedule to find out when Santa Claus puts in an appearance. A local photographer snaps photos of your kids and the big guy that you can purchase. Once each year, your dog can get into the action during the Jingle Dogs Pup Parade, typically held in early December. Throughout the season, there are various musical performances of your favorite holiday songs in the Anthony Chapel to get you in the spirit of the season.
Each year, the small town of Sherwood – just a short drive from Little Rock vacation rentals – shows its holiday spirit with the Enchanted Forest and Holiday Trail of Lights. All the fun and festivities begin the Monday after Thanksgiving and run through December 30. The drive-through light display ensures your family stays warm in the car while they gaze in awe at the Christmas trains, holiday trees, and smartly wrapped presents created from more than a million lights in a rainbow of colors. The mile-long trail runs through the Sherwood Sports Complex, and everyone in your car receives a free candy cane. There isn’t a cost to visit this light display; however, the city requests canned-goods donations to help stock the local food pantry. If you visit on a weekend, plan to come early; they sometimes close the gates to ensure all the cars make it through before closing.
In the small town of Fayetteville, the downtown area sparkles in a wash of holiday lights from the middle of November until the end of December. The town uses almost half a million lights for its displays, lamp posts, and Christmas tree for its Lights of the Ozarks Festival. The lighting starts with a holiday parade, while the kids swoon at the idea of a pony ride or the family gets together for a carriage ride. For something a little unique, adults and kids can try the camel rides. Grab a cup of hot chocolate to keep warm as you wander around the downtown area, listening to Christmas carols playing softly in the background. Each of the shops on the main street decorates its window in a variety of Christmas scenes.
4. Pine Bluff
As one of the largest drive-through light displays in the state, the Enchanted Land of Lights and Legends in Pine Bluff draws visitors from the entire state, so arrive early to get a place in line. More than 200 displays are featured, including every Christmas and winter scene you can imagine, as you drive about a mile past all of them. This annual light display goes up on the third Tuesday in November and runs through the last day of the year. Instead of charging patrons, the city of Pine Bluff sells lighted stars to interested customers, or you can simply make a donation at the end of the light display.
From the final week of November until a couple of days after Christmas, Blytheville is filled with Christmas spirit. With more than 6 million lights, the Lights of the Delta is the largest Christmas light festival in the mid-South. This festival of lights covers a lot of ground, and each display is detailed for added beauty. If you’re in the area on opening night, your family can enjoy a Grillin’ With Santa event that includes burgers and hot dogs, along with photos with St. Nick. There’s a hayride each night, where you and your family can see some of the lights from the back of a wagon. After you finish driving through the 40 acres, stop by Santa’s workshop and Jingle Bell Park for additional holiday happenings, such as Christmas carolers and other live performances.
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