It has become a tradition for my family and I to head out in the weeks prior to Christmas to view the holiday light displays around Wilmington. We have our favorites that we return to every year, and it’s always a treat when we stumble across a new display (we’re always getting lost, but that’s part of the fun). So, I thought I’d share a few resources and our favorites.
When I moved here, I was happy to learn there are some very enthusiastic, Griswold-type homeowners in Wilmington. Part of that discovery was thanks to the website Wilmington Christmas Lights (WCL), which has a Google map showing the local displays in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Castle Hayne. The map is color coded with blue being an average display, red being an advanced display, and green being elaborate and over the top. Some Christmas displays are only available on specific nights and times (Santa even appears at specific locations) and those schedules are posted on the WCL Facebook page, so it’s a good idea to follow it. The map may be a little outdated, because the owner relies on visitor feedback, but you can usually count on the green displays being there. My family’s favorites include the displays found at:
- 6808 Buckhurst Court – Farrington Farms off Gordon Road.
2012 – Music Box Dancer from David Williams on Vimeo.
- Buckhorn Court – Courtney Pines off Gordon Road (The whole cul-de-sac decorates to the extreme.)
- Springtime Road – Spring View off North College Road (So many decorations you can barely see the front yard!)
- Kirby Smith Dr. – Woodberry off South College Road
- King Neptune at Wrightsville Beach
For the past 12 years, WCL has been the best resource for Christmas light displays for our area, so I always recommend looking there first. They’ve also expanded the map to cover Leland, Southport, and Boiling Spring Lakes. If you’re looking for Topsail and Hampstead, check out this map (there may be a new one for 2017).
You may also want to check out the Nextdoor App. Every year, they have a Holiday Cheer map that allows neighbors to mark if their home is decorated for the holidays. It’s a great way to see where displays are located near your home.
Other Wilmington Christmas Lights
We also attend Enchanted Airlie at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington. During the month of December, the folks at Airlie decorate the gardens with over 300,000 lights and visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour, as well as meet Santa and enjoy some hot beverages. It’s a magical experience and was voted one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for 2012. Every year, they add and update the displays so there’s something new to see. My family loves the singing Christmas Trees.
If you’re looking for more Christmas and Holiday events, check out the Holiday Highlights on the tourism development website for Wilmington. You can find many of the major annual events there, including info about the Holiday Flotilla where boat owners decorate their vessels with lights and parade them down the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Island of Lights Festival featuring spectacular displays around Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at the north end of New Hanover County or the south end, there are some great light displays in every zip code around Wilmington. If you know of any good ones that haven’t been mentioned here or would just like to share your own tips for enjoying the holiday lights around our area, we welcome you to leave a comment.
Have a GREAT holiday season!
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