James Island Festival of Lights

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A favorite holiday, the James Island Festival of Lights, will be happening from November to December 2023. This is a remarkable event that features almost two million sparkling lights. This is considered the most popular event in Charleston open for nightly admission. This festival is renowned for its 3-miles driving tour. However, there’s so much for you to see and do.

James Island Festival of Lights
Festival highlights

James  Festival of Lights features a remarkable sculpture that is made from fifty tons of sand, an enchanted walking train, a holiday train, Santa Clause Victorian carouser, gift shops, Santa sweet shop, marshmallow roasting as well as concessions with kettle corn, hamburgers, hot chocolate and a whole lot more.

Event Details

  • This is a rain or shine festival
  • Tickets are restricted and should be bought ahead of time
  • Registration will be closed immediately once space is full
  • Loss ticket will  not be replaced
  • A paid and registered chaperone is needed for visitors ages fifteen and below
  • You will receive a radiance necklace
  • Admission tickets are needed for event entry

Festival dates (2023)

James Island Festival of Lights will be happening from NOVEMBER 10 – DECEMBER 31, 2023. This is a 1 and half month event that you and your family shouldn’t miss.

James Island Lights Location

James Island is an exceptional, beautiful county park located in South Carolina with abundant history as well as a bright future. The island sits among the deep blue waters of the Charleston Harbor as well as the winding Folly and Stono Rivers. This amazing place boasts scenic marsh views as well as lots of majestic bushes. Once sheltered in farmland, this island is now a residential place that has managed to keep that small town and feels safe.

The distance between James Island and Charleston Airport is 19 kilometers, and the road distance of 24.6 kilometers.

There are ways on how to get to James Island, such as:

If you want, the reasonable way of getting James Island from Charleston Airport is to drive your own car just takes 22 minutes or less.

The fastest way to get James Island from Charleston Airport is to take a cab or taxi that will cost you 260 to 320 and takes 20 minutes or less. This is the best way of transportation as you are able to witness the beautiful island while you are on a highway.

There’s no direct bus to James Island from Charleston Airport. On the other hand, there are services available departing from the CIA and arriving at Prescott Street via Visitors Center/ Folly Road as well as Charleston Museum. The trip includes transfers, so it will about one hour and 52 minutes to reach James Island.

If you liked James Island Festival of Lights, you might want to check out these other amazing lights festivals as well:

Oglebay Festival of Lights

Bull Run Festival of Lights

How much it Costs to Visit the Fest

Admission:

  • One to 15 visitors: $15 online, $20 at the gate
  • 16 to 30 visitors: $50 per vehicle
  • 31 or more visitors: $150 per vehicle

Please be reminded that tickets should be bought ahead of time online at the official website or at the gate, and there is no discount offered.

Weather in the Festival Dates and Place and What to Wear

A yearly snowfall of 0.4 inch in this place means that it’s less snowy than other areas in South Carolina. November to December is the snowiest month on this island, with 0.2 inch of snow.

So, if you want to make the most of your visit during the James Island Festival of Lights, your clothing should be versatile, and you must have ready access to protective garments during your visit.

Your clothing can be divided into inner or insulating layers and outer, windproof, or waterproof layers.  The inner layer is the most vital layer in cold weather. Many thin layers which trap air and are made of materials will keep you warm, even if wet. It is advisable to wear thermal underwear as it helps in insulating against the cold.  You also need to keep dry and reduce the effect of wind chill, so the jacket as well as overpants must be windproof and waterproof. Your outer layer also assists in insulating by trapping warm air.

Where to Sleep In James Island

James Island doesn’t just offer amazing festivals, but also remarkable accommodation to make your holiday or vacation more memorable such as:

Emeline

This is a bright and well-made hotel intended for curious travelers. This hotel offers a charming accommodation, including a warm welcome to guests after a hectic and tiring day exploring the amazing places in James Island.

Each suite is complementing with modern touches like branded embroidered linens, high quality, and state-of-the-art amenities. Sits among the vividly colored row houses and cobblestone streets in a historic district, the hotel provides a really super experience, featuring a café, coffee shop, wood-fired eatery, courtyard, gallery of found objects, fitness center, and many others.

Hilton Garden

This hotel is located in the charming and scenic Ashley Marina, by Ashley River Bank. The stylish hotel is in the center of Charleston. Take pleasure in fast access to a historic district, The Citadel, Medical University of South Carolina, Historic Plantations, restaurants, shops as well as beaches.

Each comfortable suite and the guest room has a Serta Suite Dreams bed and contemporary amenities, which include an ergonomic desk, complimentary Wi-Fi, 42 inch LCD TV, tea and coffee maker, microwave as well as mini-fridge. Begin each day with a ready-to-cook breakfast in the Garden Grille and Bar. You can stay fit in the fitness center that opens twenty-four hours as well as swim in the seasonal pool overlooking the water.

Grand Bohemian

Made to celebrate creativity as well as inspire the soul, this amazing hotel integrates different offerings for both leisure and business stays. The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection is one of the best hotels near James Island for you and your loved ones to stay while witnessing the festival of lights. You can visit close by attractions like the South Carolina Aquarium and Charleston Historic District. This amazing hotel comes with an on-site Grand Bohemian Art Gallery, an exceptional selection in wine blending and tasting room, coffee shop, fitness center, and dining at Eleve Rooftop restaurant and Lounge.

Where to Eat – Top Restaurants

Your visit to James Island to witness the festival of lights will not be completed without dropping by these amazing and remarkable restaurants:
Zia Taqueria
After witnessing the amazing festival of lights, you can head over to Zia Taqueria to taste shareable Mexican meals and strong margaritas. Try their nachos topped with heaping scoops of proteins like beef barbacoa or pastor. You can also try the enchilada with sidings. This place has a casual setting, which makes it a family-friendly restaurant.

Crust Wood Fired Pizza
If you are craving pizza, and then Crust Wood Fired Pizza is the perfect place to visit. Try their best-selling wood-fired pizza with charred crust as well as sizzling cheese. All the ingredients are healthy and locally sourced, so you are assured of the quality. Onions and squash caramelize prior to being finished with truffle oil on Butternut. On the other hand, the five types of meat are roast to excellence to make up Crustavore.

Maybank Public House
This restaurant provides lunch, dinner as well as brunch, along with almost 20 beers on tap. They have a wide-ranging menu that is packed with shareable starters such as spinach, calamari as well as crab dip as well as Asian-glazes baby back ribs. The burgers are also worth trying, as they are made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients such as fried green tomato and pepper jack cheese served with French fries.

More Things to Do in the Area

Aside from the remarkable Festival of Lights, there are other things you can do in this amazing place such as:

James Island Country Park
This is one of the perfect places to visit on James Island. This place offers your family an array of recreational facilities, opportunities as well as services. There is a small conference center and a big, fully armed meeting space. You can go biking, running, or play with your little ones in this amazing park.

McLeod Plantation
This is a thirty-six historic site situated on the beautiful place of James Island. It is a vital Gullah heritage site carefully protected and conserved in recognition of the generation of enchained people as well as its historical and cultural meaning in American history.

Splash Zone Waterpark
You and your family will surely love and enjoy this playground situated in James Island Country Park. This amazing place offers hours of fun and excitement for the whole family.

FAQ

1. What are the parking options available at the James Island Festival of Lights?

Answer: There’s ample parking available within the James Island County Park for the Festival of Lights. However, given the event’s popularity, visitors might experience a wait during peak hours. It’s advisable to arrive early or consider carpooling.


2. Can visitors smoke during the Festival of Lights?

Answer: Smoking is not permitted in the main festival areas to ensure the comfort and safety of all guests. Designated smoking areas are available within the park and should be utilized by those wishing to smoke.


3. Are pets allowed at the James Island Festival of Lights?

Answer: Yes, pets are welcome as long as they are kept on a leash at all times. However, pet owners should ensure their pets are comfortable in crowded environments and are responsible for cleaning up after them.


4. Will there be refreshments available during the festival?

Answer: Absolutely! The festival features various food and beverage stalls offering a range of treats, from hot cocoa to festive snacks.


5. Are there any items that attendees should avoid bringing to the festival?

Answer: Large bags, glass containers, and drones are discouraged. It’s always best to check the festival’s official website or contact the organizers for a detailed list of prohibited items.


6. Is the James Island Festival of Lights accessible for attendees with disabilities?

Answer: The festival prioritizes accessibility, offering wheelchair-accessible paths and facilities. Additionally, there are designated parking areas and restrooms for those with disabilities.


7. How long does the Festival of Lights last?

Answer: The James Island Festival of Lights typically begins in November and runs through December. This 2023, the festival of lights will be held from November 10 to December 31.


8. What happens in the case of inclement weather?

Answer: The festival is generally designed to run rain or shine. In the event of extreme weather conditions, certain attractions or activities might be adjusted or postponed. Visitors should check the festival’s official channels for any weather-related updates.

Sources:

https://ccprc.com/3665/Holiday-Festival-of-Lights

https://facebook.com/CharlestonCountyParks/

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