Lights are usually the first thing I want to pull out of the closet when I am decorating for the holiday season. I’m always ready to do this as soon as Daylight Saving hits and I’m suddenly driving home from work in the dark at 5:00 pm. It immediately feels like I need some Christmas lights to add some cheer to the dark and cold evenings. However, the dark evenings are usually upon us well before Thanksgiving and it just seems too early to deck the halls.
So instead of getting our own lights out, we joined our friends at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland for some pre-Thanksgiving holiday fun. Every year the park organizes a Christmas Light show – the Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival – with four special weekend events before Thanksgiving. These include: Wine Under the Lights, S’more Lights, Run Under the Lights (a run/walk 5K), and Leashes and Lights (furry friends welcome). This was the perfect way to get our pre-Thanksgiving light fix.
We attended S’more Lights which included a trolley ride through the lights with a stop in the middle to enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate. It was a particularly freezing night in November, so we loved the opportunity to warm up by the fire in the middle of our adventure. Our favorite display was along the bridge over the lake. Beautiful outlines of gas lamps lined the road and complemented the light displays in the water. The lake was filled with swans, frogs, a fisherman, and even a sea monster! We thought this was a creative use of the lake and a fun way set this Christmas light show apart from the rest.
All of the pre-season events involved taking a trolley or walking through the park to see the lights. If you visit the Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival during the regular season, it is a drive-thru display. If you are interested in a walk-thru holiday light display, we suggest checking out Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights in Vienna, Virginia.
During the regular season, the festival is open nightly from November 28 to December 31 (closed on Christmas). It cost $12 per car Monday to Thursday and $15 per car Friday to Sunday. Pile all your friends in the car and crank up those Christmas tunes!
Holiday fun, families
$12 per car Monday to Thursday
$15 per car Friday to Sunday
Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Road
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878