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Winter wonderland of lights shoring up at Lake Lanier’s Margaritaville
Margaritaville at Lanier Islands kicks off the holiday season Wednesday, Nov. 24 with its immersive walk-through light show, Lakeside Lights Spectacular. Photo courtesy Margaritaville at Lanier Islands.
Lakeside Lights Spectacular

When: 5-10 p.m. nightly from Nov. 24 to Jan. 5, then weekends through Feb. 27

Where: 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford


The shores of Margaritaville at Lanier Islands are wastin' away in a winter wonderland once again as the resort’s Lakeside Lights Spectacular opens the curtain for its second Christmas season on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Debuted last year in place of the nearly 30-year-old Magical Nights of Lights, the walk-through experience fuses lights, color and motion into immersive displays synced to Christmas songs ranging from timeless classics to modern favorites.

Unlike holiday decor hastily packed away with the season’s ending, the lakeside lights will shine well into the new year, welcoming amblers and ramblers from 5-10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 5; after that, the show will adopt a weekend-only schedule through Feb. 27.

“We’ll still have a hint of Christmas throughout the light show,” said Maggie Garcia, spokesperson for Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. “This is a family-friendly event that doesn’t have to end at Christmas. Especially during a season when it’s so busy, you’re traveling or family is coming — it’s so nice to have that extra time afterwards to still enjoy it.”

Santa’s Tiki Bar stands at the beginning and end of the light show, offering cocktails and craft beer, popcorn, cotton candy and other sweet treats to savor throughout your walk (or refuel after) until you reach the Tipsy Elf, the show’s midpoint refilling station for all you cocktail, cocoa and popcorn needs. If those treats don’t keep you warm, s’mores kits will also be available to toast over one of the resort’s giant fire pits.

Families can dash into Santa’s workshop to hunt for souvenirs and Christmas gifts and visit with the man in red himself, who Garcia said will be onsite nightly from Nov. 26 through Christmas Eve.

The route also affords easy access to LandShark Bar and Grill, enabling visitors to pause their walk to grab a bite or enjoy dinner sans the show. 

Households falling behind in snapping those Christmas photos, fear not — the Spectacular displays pose the perfect backdrops for your Kodak moments, Garcia noted. 

There’s no time constraint on your visit, either; visitors can spend 30 minutes, an hour or all five strolling through the lightscape. 

“There is no time limit while you’re here; enjoy it, make the memories with family and don’t feel pressured to speed through it,” Garcia said.

Tickets can be purchased online or in person upon arriving at the resort. Tickets are valid for one-time visits, but not date specific; should your plans to stroll the festive shores be doused by rain, your unused ticket will grant your entry on a drier occasion. 

Any closures initiated by inclement weather will be communicated via the Margaritaville at Lanier Islands website and social media outlets.

Individual tickets are $19.99, with family 4-pack packages available for $59.99. Admission for three- to seven-year-old children, active and retired military personnel, senior adults age 62 and older and groups of 15 or more is $14.99. Admission is free for children younger than three.

Ticket pricing does not include the resort’s $20 parking fee, Garcia noted.

Whether you’re visiting next week, next month or next year, Garcia advises: “Dress warm and be ready to take photos.”

For more information, visit