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Light up the holidays with magical displays
Lake Lanier Islands marks 20th year of holiday lights spectacular, plus new attractions
The annual Magical Nights of Lights opens Nov. 16 at Lake Lanier Islands.

Magical Nights of Lights

When: 5-10 p.m. Nov. 16 to Dec. 31

Where: Lake Lanier Islands

How much: $60 per vehicle, $90 for 10-to-19 passenger vans; $250 for 20-plus buses.

More info:, 770-945-8787

It’s a holiday tradition that combines something old and something new in a dazzling display.

Friday, Lake Lanier Islands Resort will switch on its yearly illumination celebration, the 20th annual Magical Nights of Lights.

The holiday-themed driving tour of lights first debuted in 1993 and included about 40 animated light displays. Opening night drew some 76 cars.

Over its two decades, the show has grown in size, scope and popularity, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 people.

The display will open 5-10 p.m. nightly Nov. 16 to Dec. 31. Admission is $60 per vehicle, $90 for 10-to-19 passenger vans; $250 for 20-plus buses.

This year’s event will pay homage to some traditional favorites while introducing a few new additions.

“It means a great deal to my family that Lake Lanier Islands Resort holds such a special place in the hearts and holiday traditions of so many people throughout the Southeast,” said Mike Williams, CEO of Lake Lanier Islands Resort and member of the Williams family, who purchased the lease rights to the resort in 2005.

“Because this is the 20th Anniversary of Magical Nights of Lights, we wanted to make it particularly special for all of our guests.”

Among this year’s new attractions:

The Animated Dancing Lights at “Holiday House” and Illuminated “Diamond Wonder” Light presented by Audi Gwinnett.

An ice skating rink at the Holiday Village.

A Thanksgiving weekend Canned Food Drive Nov. 24-25. Visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to benefit Free Chapel’s His Harvest House, a local food bank ministry. Those who do will receive one free carnival ride per canned item (limit four per carload).

Visitors also can see the show on board Lake Lanier’s Vintage Islands Trolleys, which will include treats and beverages. Also, golf carts are available, offering an open-air experience.

Among the returning favorites are:

  • The Live Nativity Show starting Dec. 1 through Christmas Day.
  • During the driving tour, visitors can tune to 103.7-FM to hear holiday carols as they view the displays.
  • The Holiday Village, featuring bonfires for roasting marshmallows, hot cocoa, a petting zoo and pony rides, carnival rides and games, holiday shopping and a chance to visit Santa Claus.
  • Night Light Canopy Tours, where visitors can ride through the night sky on four zip lines and a scenic sky bridge. Reservations should be made 30 minutes in advance.
  • The Magical Nights of Lights Buffet at the Legacy Lodge and Conference Center.
  • Breakfast with Santa from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays in December at Legacy Lodge and Conference Center.

Visitors also can book accommodations at the lodge with a special Magical Nights of Lights package, which includes a vehicle pass, amusement rides for up to two children at the Holiday Village and Breakfast with Santa on select dates.

For more information, visit or call 770-945-8787.

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